Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chapter 17: Alright, Shawty, Let's Do This.

Junior Mint leaned over the capable shoulders of Dr. Lars Vanderslice as he attempted to successfully activate the inner workings of the earth’s Large Hadron Collider.

“I usually have an entire team of scientist helping with this particular portion of the calibration, but I thought it best we not alert any more people to the impending end of the world than absolutely necessary.” Dr. Vanderslice looked over his shoulder offering this statement as a comfort, but Junior Mint still nervously fidgeted with the ends of her hair.

The laboratory was empty other than the two people leaning over the beeping machines. They had arrived at the lab shortly after Junior Mint and Dr. Vanderslice had had their revealing conversation at the library, and Dr. Vanderslice had ordered all the workers to leave. He needed the lab empty, ‘for science,’ he had told them, and they all instantly understood, packed up, and left.

Dr. Vanderslice continued to press buttons and pull levers. Every once in a while, he’d stop his work and turn to observe a small screen. After a few minutes, he’d turn back to the panels and begin pressing more buttons and muttering under his breath.

Junior Mint wanted desperately to help Dr. Vanderslice, but she hadn’t had much time to observe Dr. Octopi before she was transported to earth.

“Dr. Octo- I mean- Vanderslice, can I help? I could flip a switch or something.”

“Thank you, Junior Mint, but I’m simply trying to recreate the same conditions that allowed the first inklings of the vortexes to appear a few weeks ago. I think I’m close. Perhaps if we can create these vortexes we can reach Violet and Sven and this Dr. Octopi. There is really nothing you can do for me at this point.”

Junior Mint sat back in her chair and watched Dr. Vanderslice continue his work.

Robert Nickel stood in disbelief at what he’d just seen. He never expected to be in a situation like this. He always wanted to live a life of informational excitement, not one that was actually dangerous.

“Alright, Nickel, get to work. We don’t have time enough for yours and Mahoney’s little games.” Dr. Octopi used the hand resting on Robert’s shoulder to shove him toward the three, purple hazed machines and control panel.

“Yes, sir.”

Dr. Octopi left the room, but his minion pillowbeaks stayed behind.

Robert turned to the machines and sank down to the floor. He thought about Sven being dragged away by monkeys. Why couldn’t he just lie a little longer? Robert hadn’t been paying attention to Sven when he was communicating with Violet, but what could she have said to cause Sven’s reaction? Surely he and Sven could’ve come up with a plan, but now Robert was left alone, and Sven was off who knows where. He placed his head in his hand and grabbed his hair.

One pillowbeak, a tall muscular one guarding one of the doors, watched Robert’s every move. “Hey, human, you need to get to work. You heard Dr. Octopi, get on it.”

But Robert wanted to think things through. He glared at the pillowbeak and then let his head drop into his open hands once again. This is where Robert made his mistake. The pillowbeak let out an earth shattering shriek, and Robert jumped to his feet holding his ears. He began clawing at any and everything around him searching for something to heave in the creature’s direction, but he found nothing. He fell to his knees and begged the pillowbeak to stop. After only a few seconds more, the pillowbeak walked over to Robert and stooped to look in his face.

“Now,” he said through clenched monkey teeth, “get to work.”

Nickel turned to the machine and began working.

“Ok, listen Violet.” Sven was concentrating to explain the basics of the Large Hadron Collieder to her, but the new distance was causing that excruciating migraine to return. “My head hurts, so we might have to take a break. If you can get into the control room and access the panel, that’ll be a great start. Get Nickel to help you.”

“Sven, I’m just not sure. What if I can’t do it? What if the pillowbeaks do something? Wouldn’t it be easier to try to free you?” The information that Sven had been imparting over the past fifteen minutes had boggled her mind and shaken her confidence. She was used to reading literature and categorizing books, not analyzing particle physics.

Shawty broke in on their thoughts, apparently Shawty had learned telepathy from the Clearing Man, but hadn’t been using it until now, “Violet, I can handle the pillowbeaks. I have talked to Billy. He and our army of loyal pillowbeaks will be here soon, but we have to start the fire. Sven’s right, if you and I can just get in there, maybe we can reverse any progress Sven made before.”

Violet looked at Shawty, the monkey pleaded with her in his mind. “Please Violet, we need your help.”

“I guess I can help. Sven, how do I log onto the system and where do I go from there?”

“There will be screen that flashes when you enter the password is “doyouhaveoneinblue.”

The password rang a bell with Violet, but she couldn’t quite remember.

“It’s the same thing you were supposed to tell The Clearing Man. Apparently there are a lot of things connected.” Sven clarified, “Anyway, can you remember that?”

“I hope so,” thought Violet, “if not surely Shawty can remember.”

Shawty shot her a skeptical look, “It’s not that I won’t remember, I just may be a little distracted fighting off that real big fellow over there.” He indicated the pillowbeak who had assaulted Robert earlier.

“Should we wait for the others?” Violet asked Shawty, who immediately responded.

“No, there’s no time. Dr. Octopi could be back at any moment and it’s possible that he may be able to properly calibrate the machine himself just from the small amount of progress that Sven has made. And who knows what Robert’s been doing.”

“Do you think Robert’s really willing to carry on Dr. Octopi’s work?” Violet asked Sven.

“I’m sure he’s conflicted, we’ve been working together for ten years, and he’s followed me to each new place,” Sven voice started to sound starined, “but…” Sven didn’t finish.

“Oh shit, Sven’s migraine. Well, we can just see about Dr. Robert Nickel when we get there. We’ve got to do this. Let’s go, Shawty, no time like the present.”

“Wait, wait. We need a plan, Violet. Right now, there are two pillowbeaks guarding Robert. Do you think you can handle one on your own?”

Violet looked back through the window and sized up the pillow beaks. They were both smallish. The “tall” one who had attacked Robert was her height, but the other was shorter. They were both super stocky, though. Violet sighed, honestly, she thought she could hold her own against the smaller one at least long enough for Shawty to take out the big one and come help her. But how long would it take for them to call for help. Violet didn’t know.

She knew Shawty had heard her thought process, there was no way he wasn’t listening to her thoughts now, so she looked to him for his opinion.

He shrugged, “At this point, we have to do something…”

The pair looked at each other. Violet glanced at Robert working furiously on the computer.

“Here’s the plan, you take the small one for as long as you can, and when I get finished with the big one, I’ll come finish him off. Whatever you do, do not let him leave the room. That’s how he’ll signal for help.”

“Alright, Shawty, Let’s do this.”

Shawty led the way down the hallway. He turned right onto another hallway. He was crouching and moving quickly, Violet struggled to keep up.

“Listen, Violet, we have to go for the element of surprise. We’re going to have to ignore Nickel for the time being. If necessary, I’ll keep him at bay with my super sonic screech.” He motioned for her to come stand on the opposite side of a door they had come to. “Om the count of three. One…two…three!”

Shawty let out a tremendous shriek as he leapt into the room and grabbed the tall pillowbeak. Violet stood stunned at the animosity of Shawty. He ripped at the pillowbeak’s neck and scratched at his eyes. The tall pillowbeak was no match for Shawty, and Violet was mesmerized.

Luckily for her, the other guard was also shocked, but he recovered more quickly than Violet. He charged on Shawty and the tall one clearly meaning to save his friend. But Violet reacted. All those years of Jui-jitsu came to use all in one flash of movement. She grabbed the pillowbeak’s arm and spun her body around using her body weight to fling the stout monkey body over her head and onto the ground. He landed with a hefty thud on the concrete floor of the laboratory.

He was stunned, and he didn’t move, but he wasn’t out of the game, yet. In a few minutes he would have regained his composure, and Violet was absolutely certain he would be pissed. She gathered all her strength and dropped all of her weight onto him jabbing a strategically aimed elbow into his ribcage. The pillowbeak let out a sharp cry, and rolled onto his side. This last move was not something they taught you in Jui-Jitsu, it being more of a defensive art, but Sven’s childhood obsession with “professional” wrestling had actually come in handy for the time being. Violet observed her work as the pillowbeak continued to writhe in pain.

Violet gasped as someone grabbed her from behind. “Here,” Shawty said breathless handing her a wad of rope and cloth, “Tie him up and gag him with this.”


  1. WOW!
    I thought the flashback to Juniormint and Dr. Vanderslice was nicely done and added to the pressure of the he unknowingly speeding up the end of the world? will he save Sven and Violet? will Juniormint fall in love? (okay maybe not the last bit but you get the point)

    I was also glad to see the Jui-jitsu training is no longer a "gun on the mantel."

    I am excited to see what Billy will be up to in the next chapter and what new conflicts will arise!

    “Alright, Shawty, Let’s do this!”

  2. Glad you used the Jiu-Jitsu. I think this was an interesting chapter. You definitely kept moving things forward. I still want to see more growth for Violet's character. I want her to be a dynamic character.

    I'm a little confused about this army of Pillowbeaks. I feel like the Pillowbeaks could have been capable of stopping Octopi in the past if there is an entire army. Why wait until now? I guess I want to know why Clearing Man, Shawty, and the others revolted in the first place. Something to think about for the next few writers.

    Lauren, I think you said you're next, so have fun with Billy. :)


  3. This was very action packed, and I like it a lot! It was time for some action/suspense, and I loved the jui-jitsu. I like how the good pillowbeaks and Billy are on their way to the lab. Maybe we can have an epic showdown between good guys and bad guys. Shawty having telepathy will make things easier, but it is a little forced. A lot went on here and we will have to make sure we keep things straight, but I feel like the action is all going in the right direction. Good work!

  4. Quite nice, quite nice. I liked the ju-jitsu as well. It's nice to finally see it after all these chapters. Seems like Violet would still be a bit hesitant about it though. I feel like she's never used it for real before, but she sounds like a pro.

    You held everything together very well. The dialog was nicely done and the prose was fantastic.

    Can't wait for that army of pillowbeaks! Looking forward to some monkey butt-kicking in a future chapter.

    Also, maybe the army has been biding their time waiting for Sven and Violet to show up, like a prophecy thing. Just an idea.

  5. I loved the jiu-jitsu, but personally my favorite part was Violet's little "professional" wrestling move that she added in haha. I think this chapter is definitely moving us along, but I'm a little concerned about the army of pillowbeaks too. I had an intersting thought... since we don't want to be too clear cut on who our "good guys" and "bad guys" are in order to have complex characters, I think it'd be nice to still have that doubt on who Violet and Sven can trust. When Sven said the password was "doyouhaveoneinblue," like the password for the Clearing Man, it made me think... what if the Clearing Man and Dr. O were in league together? Would that be too much? Y'all let me know what you think about that... I'll wait til tomorrow to write the next chapter. I just don't want us to have a plotline that's too predictable and give us some room to develop our characters before the end.

    Also, any ideas on Billy's origin? I want to try to explain that in the next chapter, but I wanted to see if y'all have any ideas to incorporate before I write that!

  6. The opening made me smile. I found Dr. Vanderslice and Jr. Mint funny and I loved that you used the pillowbeak screaming thing again. I had forgotten they did that, so it was a very nice touch. I really enjoyed your writing.

    I think it might be important to remember that Robert only has one hand. That might come up some way like slowing him down with fixing the machine or something.

    Personally, I like the idea that the clearing man could secretly be in on everything with Dr. O. Quite unexpected so we would have to come up with a really good motive for why he would do that.

  7. Lauren- I think that's a fantastic idea. I've had my suspicions for a while. After all, aren't Yo and Shawty brothers? They're also on opposing sides. I've always found it odd that Dr. Octopi has some at his service, while Clearing Man has some too. It seems workable and the best approach for true character development (for Sven and Violet, anyway). Besides, Dr. Octopi seems to have built most of this world from the ground up. Why wouldn't all of its occupants be deferent to him? The specifics of the "mythology" are up to you...but Billy may be, as far as I can tell, the only honest character.

    On the subject, I do wonder about Billy's origin. Has he been manufactured by Octopi like Junior Mint? Has he merely been an occupant of this world since its conception (if you will)? Again, I think their loyalties within the world are the spots with the most room for exploration and growth. Otherwise, it's all downhill from here -- and we still have five more chapters.

    Shane- I agree that some kind of prophecy would be the easiest way to make that bit work. However, I think we can all agree that prophecies are just overused plot devices. If we can approach it in a fresh way, however, then I say go for it.

  8. I also enjoyed the jui jitsu!

    Great job with dialogue, too.

    I agree with Shane about the prophecy idea. I think that would be a really nice touch.

    Thanks for bringing action and suspense with this chapter.

    I'm so stoked to see where our characters end up!

  9. I was glad you brought in the ju-jitsu, and the impending Billy. I'm excited about the show down but I think it might end up too genre-too western. That in mind, I like that the clearing man might be on Dr O's side. Maybe there wasn't a prophecy, maybe the pillowbeaks have a collective kneoledge of time ? Or is that too ridiculous? Prophecy could be a little LoTR though, especially if it all culminates in a good v evil battle. Just thoughts.

  10. Hey guys! Sorry I'm a little late putting up the chapter... my roommate got a compound fracture in her ankle and shattered her elbow yesterday, so I've been in the hospital with her this afternoon. The chapter will be up later tonight! Again, I'm sorry for the inconvenience!

  11. A couple of faves:

    "I could flip a switch or something.”

    "He always wanted to live a life of informational excitement, not one that was actually dangerous."

    @Scott- haha, Billy is the only honest character because no one's given him a chance to speak so far.

    @Allana- I did detect some romantic chemistry, but maybe it's a little too late in the game for that.

    I'm personally against the idea of a straight-up prophecy (and its spiritual connotations), but I'm down with certain characters (Pillowbeaks, et al.) revering events due to their own personal religious beliefs.

    @Lauren- What if the Clearing Man and Dr. O were in league together? I've been thinking about this for a while. Possibly going with Dr. O striking a deal with the Clearing Man. After all, "Being half man half monkey is no way to live."

    I'm thinking the best way to end the story is to have everything seem to be wrapping up, and then we throw a big monkey wrench (pun intended) into the solution, and force our main characters to scramble to save the day with their own wits and pluckiness.

  12. Haha loved the action packed story here- like everyone else has said. The ju jitsu made me laugh, I loved the writing style, it just flowed very nicel. Well done!