Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Kryptos Disco Ball

Sven advanced a bit, and asked Yo about the Kryptos.

“So Yo, do you want to be a good tour guide and give Mr. Nickel and I an up-close look at the Kryptos? I mean, as long as we’re here…”

“Of course not! There’s too much radiation in there. The radiation levels in that building would burn your flesh off within seconds. Luckily, the individuals who are in this building lack the flesh you have. They aren’t exactly the fragile beings you and Jackass Nickel are. They’re not affected by the energy due to their molecular structure.”

“You look more like a jackass than myself, shorty!” said Robert Nickel

“I’ve told you once, and this is the last time I’m going to repeat it: I’M YO, NOT SHAWTY. THAT’S MY BROTHER. I’VE BEEN COMPARED TO HIM MY WHOLE LIFE, AND NOW THAT WE’RE APART, THAT CAN FINALLY END!” Yo screamed.

Sven became alarmed by the anger and overall temperament of their tour guide.

“Look you two, we’re just taking a simple tour of the city. There’s no reason for you to call each other names, and get this pillowbeak’s tail in a knot.”

Sven suddenly remembered his urge to enter the Kryptos.

“What could be in there? Could it really just be a public service headquarters? How the hell am I going to find out with Yo’s restrictions on me entering the building? I’m positive that this pillowbeak doesn’t understand ions and isotopes and the like. I don’t care how he came to be; I know that he can’t contain and process that kind of information. Surely he’s just repeating propaganda meant to keep me from knowing the truth.”

Suddenly two mirrorlings walked past with glittery bell-bottoms and popped collars; outfits that resembled John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.”

“You said that disco was popular here, right Yo?”

“Yes, it’s all the rage with the mirrorlings, and to tell you the truth I’m sick of it.”

“Well, I’ll be honest Yo. I want to have some fun. And this beat in the distance… it’s sick. If there’s one thing that will bring me comfort, it’s dancing at the local disco. What’s the name of this establishment?”

“Well, the place where the idiotic disco-goers congregate is called ‘The Disco Stick.’ Are you sure you want to go there?”

“I think it’d be just right for me and Robert. We’ve been thinking too hard. We need to bust a kick.”

They walked a few hundred yards and saw in mirrored-English characters: “kcitS ocsiD ehT”

“This is it,” said Yo. “As I said before, I’m sick of this whole craze so I’m not going in. I’ll be waiting right here at the door while you guys go partake in that silly dancing.”

“Sounds good, Yo. Robert and I will just dance for a few minutes and meet you back here at the front.”

As Sven opened the double doors he saw a dark room with smoke and a huge disco ball in the middle of the floor, attached to the ceiling. The familiar tune of the Bee-Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” began erupting from the speakers. Just as Sven made the connection, he heard the mirrorling disc jockey come on the microphone: “Here’s the new Hee-Bees song, ‘Still Breathin’.’” There was an interior balcony that stretched all the way around the room, completely overtaken by mirrorlings who were watching others dance on the wooden floor. There was a variety of hues filling the room as the lights above shot streams of color through the smoky, dancing bodies. As they walked across the floor they found themselves completely surrounded by dancing mirrorlings. They mimicked their dance moves, which of course consisted of basically pointing their fingers up and down, swaying their hips simultaneously. After a few minutes of dancing, they looked at each other, nodded, and headed for the exit sign at the back door that read “TIXE.”

“I bet that idiot is still waiting for us at the front,” said Robert as he wiped the disco sweat from his brow and caught his breath.

“Yeah, too easy.”

Sven knew what he had to do, and began making his way toward the Kryptos. Robert followed him without so much as a word. It seemed that great minds really do think alike.

“We’ve got to get in that building and find out what’s going on in there, Robert. I don’t know about you, but things aren’t really adding up for me anymore. I don’t know if Dr. Octopi is telling me the truth because I heard Violet say something frantic in my head that sounded like she was in trouble.”

“Wait, you heard Violet speak inside your head? Did you disco too hard, or is there something here that I’m not getting?”

“I’d say the latter Robert because I discoed just enough. When Violet and I passed through the vortex we gained a sense; an ability if you will.”

“Go on,” Robert said, his eyes growing larger with every word Sven spoke.

“We’ve got telepathic powers, Robert. I don’t know the extent of these powers, or really how to use them. All I know is that I’d never mistake my own sister’s voice. I heard her speak what seemed to be a warning earlier as we were walking with Yo.”

“Well this could be vital information. What on earth did she say?”

“She told me to hear her before it was too late. I don’t know what that means, but it can’t be good. I wish I could just concentrate and know what she’s doing, and why she needs me to hear help her.”

“That’s just it, Sven. Concentrate on your sister’s image and try to block all other things out. We should be far enough away from the disco that ‘The Hee-Bees’ can’t interfere.”

Sven sat down outside of the Kryptos building and concentrated. He closed his eyes, and slowly but surely saw Violet’s face. He could see her lips moving, but he couldn’t make out her speech. Robert watched Sven’s eyes squinting in a way that almost looked painful as he used all the power he had to focus on his sister’s voice. He began to hear her voice grow louder with each passing second. It was like someone was slowly turning up the volume dial on an old radio.

“Sven! You’ve got to hear me! Before it’s too late. Oh my God, Sven; you have no idea how important my words are right now. Probably more important than any you’ve ever heard.”

“I can hear you Violet, but it’s not exactly easy. Tell me what I need to know, and do it fast!” Sven replied to his sister as he concentrated with all of his might.

“Dr. Octopi is evil Sven! I can’t believe you can finally hear me. I’d better tell you everything while I have the chance. He’s probably told you that he plans to save Earth, but you must believe me when I say that that couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s got you in his grip brother! He’s going to use you to get the Hadron Collider going again, and once he does all hell will break loose. He plans to kill us all eventually; once he’s used us to complete his master plan.”

“Oh my God, Violet; I knew something was off. I wanted so badly to trust him as a man of science, but it seems he’s using his genius for evil. What more can you tell me?”

Sven couldn’t hold his concentration any longer because tuning his mind in to his sister’s voice had brought on the worst migraine he’d ever experienced. As he began to lose his concentration, his sister’s voice grew faint.

“Sven, you’ve got to…”

Her words trailed off into noise that Sven could no longer make out.

“What is it Violet?! What have I got to do from here?”

As soon as he uttered those words he lost all concentration because of the pain.

“Damn it, Robert! I could hear her! She said that Dr. Octopi is evil; not the wholesome genius we see him as. If what she says is true, he’s going to use our expertise to further his plans to end not just the alternate universe, but our own.”

“You mean he’s actually trying to gain control of everything and rule supreme as some sort of scientist king?”

“I don’t know if he has a monarchy in mind, Robert; but from the desperation in my sister’s voice I know whatever he’s doing is going to be detrimental to us all.”

Sven took a deep breath, regained his composure, and together the men ventured into the Kryptos.

When they walked in they saw a huge atrium with floors and walls that seemed chiseled out of exquisite, polished marble. Along the back wall was a bank of elevators that would burst open periodically with mirrorlings who were emerging from some other level that wasn’t visible from their vantage point. They got into an empty elevator as the last mirrorling rushed out. The elevator rocketed downward immediately after the doors shut. Through the elevator’s glass walls the two men looked below and saw a huge underground chasm hollowed out of the ground beneath the building. There were complex industrial machines everywhere, which belched out steam and struggled to be contained by the chasm’s walls.

“My God, Robert; this must be where Dr. Octopi manufactures the mirrorling beings.”

“I think you’re right,” Robert exclaimed as the elevator stopped. Its doors opened, and the two men rushed out of the elevator as a new batch of mirrorlings piled in. They almost didn’t escape before the doors closed, but at the last minute they found themselves in a lobby.

“Where the hell are we?” said Sven.

“I don’t know exactly, but if my assumptions are correct, this is the office of the manufacturing plant,” Robert said with a shaky voice.

The two men walked through the first door they saw, and found a room full of filing cabinets with a desk at the front.

“There are no humans or mirrorlings present, so I think the coast is clear,” said Robert. As the men wandered around the room searching for information, Sven’s attention rested on an open file laying on top of one of the filing cabinets. His face grew ashen as he read the name. It was his.


  1. Nice escape!

    I like the direction this chapter is taking: telepathy is painful for Sven, Shawty and Yo have a sibling rivalry, and there is a city of mirrorlings who love to disco!

    Sven's immediate trust of Violet's analysis is a little unbelievable, but there is room for all manner of explanation and complications. (Dr. O might even have a chance to defend himself to Sven?)

    "There’s no reason for you to call each other names, and get this pillowbeak’s tail in a knot.”

  2. Good work Zack! I liked how to the point and funny this chapter was. You did a good job of moving the plot forward while providing a great sense of setting- the disco part was really funny! The telepathy is going nicely, although I agree with Allana that maybe Sven should have some reservations about trusting Violet. There needs to be some more inner turmoil over who he believes and what his value system is. I think the way you have ended with the file with Sven's name in it will open up possibilities for someone else to have him figure out these things. Nice job!

  3. I loved The Disco Stick! It made me smile! As well as how you typed words backwards. I liked how you paced the chapter and moved the characters through the setting.

    The end was a great cliff hanger!

    I feel like we need to check in on Violet soon.

  4. OOOOO sooo creepy! Great chapter, lots of information to help keep the story flowing- I'm really glad that you got the whole telepathy thing over with and let them FINALLY hear each other, nice touch with the migraine too- makes it more believable I think. If telepathy wasn't painful or tough it would seem silly and not as special. Disco Stick is random and short lived but definitely adds to the comedy in this story and made me chuckle a bit. I'm excited to continue this story next after such a suspensful ending! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Good job, Zack! I really like the humor, and I loved how they ditched Yo. Making telepathy painful for Sven was a really great touch, like everyone said. Now, it's less likely that they can just sort everything out via their minds.

    I agree with Allana. I think it might be useful to give Dr. Octopi a chance to defend himself in order to complicate Sven's allegiance. Maybe, Dr. Octopi can claim that the pillowbeaks are evil and also trying to destroy the world.
    It could really go either way at this point.

  6. ha. Disco Stick, sick beats, bust a kick. The inspiration?

    Great chapter Zak! The humor was excellent and the piece in Disco Stick was nice. You brought back the Yo vs. Shawty thing too which was nice. I think eventually someone's gonna have to expound on that a BIT more though.

    And I second (or fourth?) everyone else in saying that Sven shouldn't give up so easily. Make him fight for it!

    “Wait, you heard Violet speak inside your head? Did you disco too hard, or is there something here that I’m not getting?”

    “I’d say the latter Robert because I discoed just enough."

  7. I loved the ending of this chapter. Very, very creepy. Nice touch. I'm interested in seeing where this is going.

    I thought that a little bit was too clear-cut, especially Sven's trust in Violet that Dr. Octopi is evil. I feel like there should definitely be further complications.

  8. “Well, the place where the idiotic disco-goers congregate is called ‘The Disco Stick.’ Are you sure you want to go there?”

    Haha that was hilarious. Well done!

    I think that from here we need to maybe switch back to Violet and see what she's up to. But I think that, like everyone else said, we should complicate things a little bit. We need to provide our characters some doubt that causes a little inner turmoil. This could come from Dr. Octopi or from the pillowbeaks... or Billy! I really hope to see Billy again soon! He's our big "gun on the mantel" in my opinion!

  9. I loved it. Nice references :). I enjoyed your dialogue. I like that Robert and Sven keep an academic voice even when they're under stress, that's believeable. I have to agree on Sven trusting violet easily beig strange, but I did see how you tried to make it clear that "now the words might be just why he needed." good creepy ending, too.

  10. I thought this chapter was hilarious. Especially "And this beat in the distance… it’s sick." and "We’ve been thinking too hard. We need to bust a kick.” However, I thought a lot of the dialogue seemed out of character for the two scientists. Although their off-kilter colloquialisms and adherence to a passé musical culture seemed spot-on.

    I'm a little wary of the straightforwardness of this chapter, and I'm still fuzzy on the origins of this alternate universe. It seems that Dr. Octopi has manufactured most of its inhabitants... Did it exist before he came along?

    Also, I wasn't really feeling the gravitas with the ending. So Sven has just learned that he has a doppelgänger in the works or he himself is a doppelgänger. But he's been so into everything up to this point that I would think this would fascinate him, at least a little bit.

    It seems that everyone in this universe is kind of obnoxious! I wonder what the mirrorlings are like though. I assume they have personalities and such. I'd like to see them developed.