War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
Stark builds Ultron as a prototype, a way to possibly never have to get back in the Iron Man suit himself again.
This is the second version of the Kaiju monster series from Toho starring Godzilla. This version has much better special effects and action, though the first was quite spectacular for its time period.
In my mind the Japanese were on the cutting edge of special effects for a very long, long time ceding the quality of their work more recently to the Chinese productions such as Young Detective Dee and The Sea Monster, which being a later film only a few years old now is filled with absolutely stunning graphics and effects.
Below is the wikipedia history of the second version of Godzilla Versus Mechagodzilla.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, released in Japan as Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (ゴジラvsメカゴジラ Gojira tai Mekagojira?), is a 1993 Japanese science fiction kaiju film produced by Toho. Directed by Takao Okawara and featuring special effects by Koichi Kawakita, the film starred Masahiro Takashima, Ryoko Sano, and Megumi Odaka. Despite being produced and released in 1993, this twentieth film in the Godzilla series was marketed as the 40th anniversary Godzilla movie.
The film featured the return of classic characters from the original series such as Rodan and Mechagodzilla, as well as introducing an infant Godzilla named BabyGodzilla. Although it shares a title with Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, the film is neither a remake nor a re-imagining of the earlier film. Despite its North American title, the film is not a sequel to the original Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, nor does it share any connections or similarities with the original.
The film was released straight to pay-per-view satellite television in the United States in 1998 by Sony Pictures Television.
Two years later, on a mission to Adona Island in the Bering Sea, a Japanese team comes across what they assume is a large pteranodon egg. The egg gives off a strange telepathic signal that attracts Godzilla and Rodan an adult pteranodon irradiated by the nuclear waste. Both monsters appear and fight for the egg. During their battle Godzilla critically wounds Rodan while the research team escapes with the egg. It's taken to a research center in Kyoto, where it imprints on a young female scientist. When a Baby Godzilla hatches from the egg, the research team concludes that the egg was left in the pteranodon nest with Rodan, just as European cuckoos leave their eggs in the nests of other birds. Godzilla appears in Japan, once again responding to the creature's psychic call. The JSDF mobilizes Mechagodzilla, which intercepts Godzilla as he is making his way to Kyoto. The two battle, with Mechagodzilla seeming to have the upper hand, until Godzilla disables Mechagodzilla with a pulse of energy. Godzilla continues searching for Baby, but the scientists, having discovered the telepathic link between the monsters, shield it from Godzilla. Frustrated, Godzilla destroys most of Kyoto before returning to the ocean.
Tests on the baby reveal that it has a second brain in his hips that controls the animal's movement. The UNGCC assumes that this also holds true for Godzilla and decide to use Baby to bait Godzilla into a fight with Mechagodzilla. The "G-Crusher" is installed in Mechagodzilla's wrists, allowing the robot to penetrate Godzilla's hide and paralyze the monster by destroying its second brain. The plan backfires, however, when Rodan, having survived his battle with Godzilla and further mutated by radiation, responds to Baby's call and intercepts the UNGCC transport.
The UNGCC is forced to send Mechagodzilla and Garuda after Rodan instead and, in the ensuing battle, Rodan is mortally wounded. Godzilla shows up moments later and attacks Mechagodzilla. When the two appear to be evenly matched, Mechagodzilla combines with Garuda. The upgraded Mechagodzilla, called Super-Mechagodzilla, carries out the G-Crusher plan and succeeds in paralyzing Godzilla. Suddenly, the dying Rodan, once again revived by Baby's call, attempts to escape. Super-Mechagodzilla shoots him down and Rodan lands on top of Godzilla. Rodan's lifeforce regenerates Godzilla's second brain and supercharges him. Now more unstoppable than before, Godzilla attacks and destroys Super-Mechagodzilla with a high-powered red atomic ray.
Godzilla finally locates Baby, who is at first afraid of the giant monster. Miki Saegusa, a young psychic woman with a link to Godzilla, telepathically communicates with Godzilla, convincing him to adopt Baby as his own. Baby then accepts Godzilla as his father, and Godzilla and Baby head out to the sea.
Original Showa Godzilla director Ishirō Honda was reportedly asked to direct this film, but his death in early 1993 prevented this from happening.
English versionAfter the film was released in Japan, Toho commissioned a Hong Kong company to dub the film into English. In this international version of the movie, an English title card was superimposed over the Japanese title, as had been done with the previous 90s Godzilla films. So far, the only known evidence of this version's existence is a Hindi dubbed version cannibalized from a fully mixed English print.
In past English dubbed films, as well as many Godzilla video game titles that were also given an English release, Rodan's name was pronounced "roh-dan." In Japan, however, his name has always been pronounced (and spelled) as "rah-don." Therefore, in the English version of this film, the producers changed his name back to Radon, as it is in Japan.
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment released Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II on home video on August 3, 1999. This was the first time the film had been officially released in the United States. Instead of using the original monaural English dub, a new stereo version, also produced in Hong Kong but with a different cast was used. TriStar additionally cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits. An anamorphic widescreen transfer of this "new" English version was later released on DVD by TriStar in February 2005 with the option to listen to the original Japanese audio.
Box officeThe film sold approximately 3,800,000 tickets in Japan grossing roughly $18,000,000 (U.S).
Critical reactionMonster Zero said that "some critical flaws exist" but felt overall that "of all the films of the [Heisei era], Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla II represents Toho's most technically and artistically successful effort," adding that "the action sequences in this film are impeccable... excitingly staged, logical, and quite dramatic." American Kaiju said the film "stumbles in the areas of both story and special effects" but concluded it to be "a good, solid entry in the Godzilla series," saying that "the battles between Godzilla and Mechagodilla entertain" and "Akira Ifukube's music score soars." Japan Hero said "the story was interesting," "the soundtrack is plain gorgeous," and "the costume designs are just as great," concluding: "While this is not my top favorite movie [of the Heisei series], it is definitely one of the best."
It is considered as one of the best Heisei installments released theatrically.
Home Media releasesSony - Blu-ray (Toho Godzilla Collection) 
Samuel was the first up, even though Robin and Smarn were usually the early ones up, he beat them by several hours.
A lot of the things he had seen and been shown since they had begun this journey had seemed a bit peculiar and off at times. He had let his Detective mind kind of tune out during all of it, but it had been hacking away in the background, tossing up bits and pieces from time to time for him to ponder. He didn't bother Jimbo with his doubts or his concerns, because he had his heart and hands full with Nanny, who was would've kept any honery Texan busy, even one as outrageous as Jimbo tended to be...all blustery, hands on, get dirty and kick their butts action kind of guy that he was.
But Samuel, while he wouldn't eschew action, usually preferred to figure things out before jumping into action. He had been pretty much corralled into action since he had met the Lady Marantha at the Denny's.
He wasn't angry with either Nanny or Jimbo. He wouldn't take back everything they'd done, even the scarier parts of it if he had a choice to do so. So it was with somewhat of a heavy heart for many various reasons that he climbed down from the tree house and headed along the criss crossing bridges of the lake to the highest islet.
It had caught his attention all along. Something about it bothered him, but he couldn't put it into words just yet.
He reached the middle of the lake and the highest islet and stopped at its base. It was the prettiest of them, topped by beautiful rows of flowers that cascaded down its sides with benches between the rows for visitors to enjoy their beauty and fragrance.
Daisies, petunias, marigolds, sunflowers, roses of every hue of the rainbow, azalea, orchids. Just about every kind of flower imaginable, all growing in one spot, all growing in the same conditions, which should, theorhetically, of course, been impossible.
He went up row by row, allowing the scent of the flowers to soothe his troubled soul. For troubled it was. He suspected there was a lot more going on than anyone had told him or Jimbo, and that there was much yet that remained hidden. When he had put his nose to the last violet colored rose...which had been divine...and reminded him of Hawaii and the beautiful orchids there...he reached the summit, where a single bench sat alone and uninhabited. A small fire burned next to it, fed by a channel of fuel that was piped from underground somewhere and fed it.
Yes, Robin's world was far more advanced than it seemed at first. Trees that could mold beds to your sleeping needs, flowers that didn't need special growing circumstances, psychic abilities in almost all the people he'd met...even the tiny elephants, which brought a smile to his face, who he just saw were now trailing him, the Mother Elephant sniffing the ground, then trumpeting to those in the rear to follow her.
They finally reached the islet he sat at the top of. The Mother Elephant raised her nose in greeting and he could swear that one of her eyes had just winked at him.
She turned around and her babies formed a line of defense about the islet, though what they might be defending it from he didn't know.
"Interruption, Sam." Al told him as he materialized on the bench next to Samuel.
Marilyn appeared next, dressed in a lovely all yellow summer dress and yellow shoes, with a yellow bow in her hair. She flashed him one of her usual dazzling smiles, and sat down next to Al on the grass next to him. She took out a half-darned sweater and began darning it as they spoke, her eyes on them and her work as well. She never missed a thing, even though she was usually the quieter of the two.
Anyone who mistook her for stupid or not so smart, had been so wrong, this woman was one of the sharpest cookies ever born. She had just been born too soon.
Sam eyed Al thoughtfully. "This is the moment, isn't it?"
Al nodded his head. "I'm sorry, Sam, but it had to be done this way, or you wouldn't have come this far."
"Far to do what?"
Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds ever born on Earth, the ghost of him, the angel he had become frowned. "That which is right."
Samuel felt a chill go up his spine. It was reckoning time. Always was. There was some kind of lesson he was supposed to get from all of this that he had been missing because of all the diversions going on...the Nazi attacks, the monster in the snow...the past life regressions. He felt like a sponge that was full to bursting and he had to be squeezed or he would explode.
"None of this is real, is it?" Samuel finally asked.
"Oh, it's real all right." Al answered brightly, but just not as real as it seems at first.
Al didn't say anything.
Then Samuel began weaving through his mind all the events that led to this point in time. "The touch from Lady Marantha was the trigger, wasn't it?"
"Yes. And have you figured out who she is?" Al asked, his eyes watching Samuel for any sense of confusion or digression from the topic.
Samuel put his head in his hands.
"Yes." Albert answered, a tinge of sadness in his voice.
Samuel looked up, but Albert wasn't sad looking. He had a glance that was filled with pride and purpose. "Samuel, you've been hanging onto her since she crossed over. You know you can't do that. Your mission on Earth is too important to live in the past. You're still a young man. You have a whole world. A whole universe to explore yet. And it's so........vast."
Albert touched Samuel on his forehead. Not physically, but with a spiritual touch and Samuel felt a dazzling spiral of colors open up in front of him.
Lady Marantha stepped out of them and stood before him, smiling. Then as he stared hopefully, she began to transform into his mother as he remembered her. Tall, proud, smiling, her warmth like a minature sun shining in the day.
"I love you, Sammie." She told him.
He rose from the bench and reached to hug her. She backed off.
"I'm sorry, son, but I'm not really physical anymore."
"But you touched me before!" He pleaded to her.
"Yes. But that was God's touch not mine."
"I miss you so, so much." He said, his eyes watering with a flow of tears.
"And I am so, so proud of you, my son. So very, very proud. You have become everything a mother could ever have hoped for and so much more."
"But all of this..." He gestured to the world about him. "Why here? Why now?"
"Haven't you known all along?"
And yes he had. Nanny looked too much like someone he had loved with all his heart. It just hadn't occurred to him that it was his mother, because she had altered her appearance in so many ways.
"She's real, Sammie. She's your sister. From my first marriage. That is why you felt so close to her from the very beginning and why you've felt certain feelings so strongly as you get to know her."
"Your father and his first wife."
"All yours, Sammie." She laughed. "All yours. Why else do you think Jimbo loves you so much? He doesn't give a horse's tail for the spiritual side of your life. It's you he cares about, your lightheartedness, your dedication...your drive to do what is right. It brings out the best in him, it honors his own soul's determination to do what is right."
She smiled gently, then began to fade. "But there's more."
Samuel tried to stop her, but his hands passed right through her.
"I love you, Sammie. I always will. Listen to Albert. He's not half bad for an angel kind of guy."
Albert broke into laughter and gave her a wave. "And you're not so bad yourself, madam."
She smiled at him, then extended her hand out towards Samuel, who reached out to touch it. Their fingertips touched and a spark ignited.
The rest of their journey was relatively uneventful.
Mother Elephant recovered several days later with the tender care of Nanny, who it turned out was a quite capable nurse among her many other talents. She never left the Mother Elephant for a moment, making sure she was warm enough, sometimes even using her own body for extra heat, though the baby elephants usually closed in to add warmth as well.
It was quite a site to Samuel and Jimbo as they watched that last morning.
Robin and Smarn were off scouting for the best path back to their home, which was also where they wanted to go.
When Samuel told Robin about Lady Marantha his eyes lit up. "Oh her!"
Smarn smiled. "Smarn!"
Robin glowered at him. "You lovesick puppy!"
Robin eyed Jimbo, who had this look on his face. "Everyone loves her. They can't help it, she has a charm on her."
"Charm?" Jimbo demanded. "No one is charmed!"
"Little do you know, oh tall one." Robin replied, even though he was as tall as Jimbo.
Jimbo looked flustered a moment. "Tell me how then!"
"Do you not believe in the goodness of the One Light?"
Jimbo rolled his eyes. "There we go with all the hocus pocus, spiritual mumbo jumbo again."
Robin looked at Samuel. "Is he always like this?"
"Pretty much." Samuel agreed, winking at Jimbo, who gave him a disgusted look, then walked away, pretending to go looking for food.
"He's in love with the Mommy and the daughter, I take it." Robin commented, as he and Samuel watched Nanny hugging the Mother Elephant, who put her trunk around Nanny's neck and hugged her back.
"Aren't you?" Samuel asked, a hint of amusement in his eye.
"I suppose." Robin said, a touch of sadness in his voice and eyes. "There was one like her once I cared for quite deeply. We came here after the War of the Roses saw the defeat of good King Richard."
"I don't remember him thought of as a good king." Samuel remarked.
"You wouldn't. Those times were rife with the hand of the church, which rewrote history to whichever way it served it. Hence, I becoming a legend to your world, when I was quite real."
"You're that...Robin Hood!" Jimbo exclaimed, having come back with a handful of odd fruit.
"Exactly. And the love of my life was none other than..."
"Maid Marion." Jimbo jumped in with, looking excited for the first time in days.
"My heart and soul."
Robin touched his heart, then wiped at his eyes. The memories were burning his heart once more. Though he was not one to look back, but instead forward, these moments of remembrance were bringing up old pains. He would have to speak to Methusaleh about it, to see if there were something he could do to heal that wound, which it obviously still was, in his heart.
He took a deep breath, then looked up. "Ah, your young friend looks ready to take a journey!"
Nanny joined them. She took Robin's hand and squeezed it. "I wanted to thank you again for rescuing us."
"Oh, it didn't look to me so much like we were rescuing you as assisting you." Robin said with absolute humility. He gave her a half bow and kissed her hand, his eyes never leaving hers. "Though I must admit that I would not find it hard to imagine risking my life to rescue one so fair as..."
"Look at that!" Jimbo interrupted, pointing to the sky. "A flying whatzit!"
Robin jerked away from Nanny's hand and looked.
Samuel burst into laughter.
Nanny and Robin both looked at him.
"Jimbo, time to leave this place, I think."
So they had packed up what little supplies they had gathered, using giant leaves as backpacks, that they had sewn together with strips of bark from the nearby trees. For canteens they used hollow nut shells the size of footballs that had fallen from some of the trees.
Jimbo had come up with the idea when Robin had told him they made their canteens from pieces of wood wrapped with cloth.
Smarn was silent for the rest of the journey, except for the occasional laughter he would give off when the baby elephants ran between his legs as he walked, playing tag with each other. The Mother Elephant followed Nanny like a pet dog, always close to her, its eyes on her constantly.
Robin noticed. "I think even our elephant friend is in love with...what's her name again?"
"Nanny." Jimbo said.
"Nanette." Samuel answered.
Jimbo gave Samuel a searching look.
"She told me when you weren't listening. Out for one of your nature hikes."
"Oh. Yeah. I think she is too. Who wouldn't be? She's smart, pretty as a rose, sharp as a tack..."
"A tack?" Robin asked.
"It's like a nail, but smaller and used to pin paper to boards."
"Why would people waste paper like that?" Robin asked in confusion.
Jimbo winked. "You'd be surprised at some of the things people do upearth these days."
Robin eyed Nanny fiercely as he made his next remark. "I've been thinking a lot about doing just that lately."
"What?" Jimbo asked.
Jimbo caught where Robin was looking and grew fiercesome looking for a moment. Samuel was about to say something, when Jimbo laughed. "You just go on thinking that, feather boy!"
Robin gave Jimbo a scowl, but said nothing in return.
Jimbo had found something that got to Robin and wasn't letting go it.
"With that fancy hat and bow you'll be an instant hit upearth. Robin Hood. Your Medieval boyfriend available for romance."
Jimbo barked with laughter at his own mean spirited joke.
Smarn looked back and growled, revealing his teeth.
Jimbo stopped laughing.
Samuel laughed then. "Oh for the peace of my balcony back in Vegas again."
Robin turned to Samuel. "Tell me about this mythical place called...Vegas."
Jimbo responded instead. "You'd love it there. Thieves run the place and all the women in the shows there are half naked or more."
Robin gave Jimbo a horrorfied look. "That is indeed most foul! What maiden of honor would ever reveal herself in such ways?"
Jimbo was suddenly dumbfounded and speechless. He couldn't think of anything to reply that made sense.
Samuel saved him. "Look, I can see the lake again."
They all stopped on the rise they had just reached the top of and looked down at the people working in the fields. The hint of smoke came from the thick forests beyond the waters.
"You'll like it here in Sherwood Forest." Robin pointed out with pride.
"Sherwood Forest?" Nanny asked with surprise.
"Oh yes. When I first arrived here I immediately saw that it was the spitting image of the resplendent forests of Old England we had resided within."
Smarn shook his head, but Robin ignored him.
"We even have tree houses."
Smarn shook his head.
Robin gave him a scowl. "Well, some of us do."
Smarn didn't move.
The Shasta Caper
None of them suspected that the Nazis were able to fly in stealth mode, but they had. When they shivered into visibility they were surrounded by ten Mechas, all standing at least fifteen feet tall with soldiers mounting their sides, all with weapons trained on them.
The closest Mecha stood over thirty feet tall and Saron stood at its peak, a cape flaring behind him. He looked majestic as the air flipped his cape about, but his eyes were like cold ice. His soldiers watched Samuel and his friends nervously. They had seen the death and destruction left behind by these people and were wary of what they might do.
"We meet again."
"Unfortunately." Jimbo muttered, looking for a weapon.
A number of Soldiers raised their weapons when he moved.
"Don't." Samuel warned him.
Jimbo growled angrily, but kept still.
Saron laughed. "Such wisdom in a savage is unparalleled. Maybe it's time we emerged on the upper earth and took back what was rightlfully ours."
"And maybe not." Samuel replied, his eyes steel hard at that moment.
Robin put a hand on his hip, close to his sword. "You are barely suffered here, there you would be annihilated!"
"Perhaps." Saron replied, the hint of a snarl on his lips.
Saron dropped to the ground and stepped several feet in front of his Mecha. "Did you really think you could get away from us so easily?"
"Actually." Robin said with a half bow.
"Shoot him!" Saron ordered.
A dozen soldiers raised their arms to fire.
Samuel shouted. "If you do, then you die along with him!"
The soldiers hesitated.
Saron looked at Samuel. "You hardly look capable of carrying out such a threat."
"Looks can be fooling."
Saron weighed that a moment, then smiled. "Okay, let's say I do fire, what's the worst you can do?"
Samuel looked at the nearest walker and held a hand up. It glowed a bright red for a moment. Samuel's body became lit up like a living flame.
"Shoot him!" Saron ordered, pointing to Samuel.
"No!" Cried out Jimbo and Nanny at the same time.
The soldiers fired, but instead of their energy beams striking Samuel, they repelled from the energies around Samuel and struck the men who had fired them. The lances of energy struck the weapons that had fired and they exploded, sending all the soldiers flying into the air, their armor and clothing on fire. Their screams filled the air as they collapsed to the ground.
Samuel stood there. Not a word coming from him.
Saron looked ready to say more, but instead he shook his head. "We'll meet again."
"I doubt it." Samuel replied.
Saron climbed one of the Mechas and they all flew off back into the forest.
Before anyone could stop him Robin clasped Samuel in his arms and gave him a big hug. "I could kiss you!"
Samuel stood in front of an oddly fashioned mirror made of polished metal, admiring his long brown hair. His blue eyes set off the color of his hair nicely. He took the goose feather comb and began stroking his hair, smoothing out the burrs in it, while his husband watched him with eager eyes from the canopied bed of their bedroom.
"You get more beautiful every year."
Samuel smiled, then turned about, causing his long woolen nightgown to swirl about his hips and legs, accenting them momentarily. "You're just saying that because you want me to kiss you."
He laughed. He was wearing no more than long woolen shorts, his hair chest bristling with gray hairs, reveal a muscled body worthy of a god. "Always the tease."
"Always the hunter."
He grinned. "But I hunt well."
"Indeed you do." Samuel replied, putting down his comb and sitting next to Hermes. She leaned her head into his heavily muscled arm and he sighed with relief.
"You know this might be our last chance to be together."
Samuel nodded. "Don't go."
"I must. Our city will fall without its general."
Samuel looked up into his warm, brown eyes. "Then let it fall."
He cupped Samuel's chin and held it close to his face. "You look even more beautiful when you're being contrary."
He kissed Samuel lightly on the lips and Samuel pulled back.
He gave Samuel a surprised look, then Samuel rose and went back to his grooming. This time he began washing his hands in a small pot of warm water that had charcoals under it, keeping it warm. Hermes had made it for Samuel on their wedding day some months back. He had been so proud of it. Called it a warmer. "Someday, everyone will have something like this." He had boasted.
Samuel had laughed at his vanity, then given him a hug. "You are not only a brave soldier, but a smart man. A thinker."
"No. Not really. Well. Sort of." He concluded with a light agreement on his lips, which always curled slightly when he was being self deprecating.
Samuel finished cleaning his hands, then dried them with a cloth hanging next to his mirror. He turned and held up his hands. "Now they are worth of being held."
That was all Hermes needed to know. He swept across the room like a vulture seeking its prey and tossed Samuel over his shoulders. He twirled Samuel about the room, yelling like a madman, causing Samuel to scream like a small child in delight, then he tossed her on their bed and dropped on top of him.
"Now, my beauty, you shall pay the price!"
"And what price is that, dear Hermes?" Samuel demanded coyly.
His lips smashed down against Samuel's mouth, his tongue...
Robin rebounded from Samuel as the flames flickered out and a bright blue light replaced it. Robin flew several feet through the air and landed on his bottom.
Smarn reached for his weapon.
Robin leaped up and stayed his hand. "He didn't mean to harm me!"
Samuel swayed there a long time, his eyes on Robin, his body trembling, then he steadied.
Jimbo said nothing. He knew what had just happened, if not the details of it. He had seen this happen so many times by now. He put a hand on Nanny, who was giving Samuel a deeply worried look. "He's fine."
"Don't look fine."
"Trust me!" Jimbo said.
She punched him.
"Owww. Or not!"
Nanny ran over to Samuel and helped him sit down. "What just happened?"
Robin and Smarn came over and squatted next to him. Jimbo sat next to his friend and watched silently.
"I saw a pastlife with Robin."
Robin's eyes widened. "Was I pretty?"
Robin looked crushed.
The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
Jimbo sneered at the self righteous bastards that had intended to kill him and his friends. But only for a moment. He heard a scream and saw that a portion of the balcony had fallen and Nanny was buried partially beneath it.
"Hang on, Sammie!" Jimbo roared, then aimed the platform towards the battle arena.
Above him the Dragon Snake made a quick snack of those in the balcony, then coiled and shot to the next balcony, landing with a bloody crunch on the ones there.
It never occured to Jimbo or Samuel why they didn't save themselves by exiting the destruction at the time.
Nanny struggled to get the debris off her. Her left leg was pinned so tight she couldnt' budge it. She felt a shadow cross her and looked up in alarm.
Jimbo's grinning face and Samuel hanging on by his hands to the railing caught her attention immediately. "About time you guys showed up. I could use a little help here."
Jimbo landed the platform and leaped off, the same time as Samuel dropped to the arena floor and rushed to Nanny's side. He saw what had happened and looked around. He spotted a broken body with a ceremonial sword sticking out from beneath some rubble. He plucked at the sword. It wouldn't budge at first, then it broke free.
He went back to Nanny's side, where Jimbo was tossing debris to lighten the weight of the debris on her. She looked strained and ready to collapse, but she held up bravely as Samuel stuck the sword under a piece of rubble and used it like a lever to move the debris pinning her leg down.
Jimbo saw what he was doing and helped.
In a matter of moments the debris lifted. Only a slight bit, but enough for her to roll free. The debris collapsed immediately afterwards and buried where she had lain.
Jimbo gave her a hand. "Don't you know better than to kick down walls, Missy?"
"Funny!" She said, then gave him a big smack on the cheek, then Samuel.
They looked up just as the Dragon Snake finished off the next to the last of the balconies of the crowd.
"Looks like snack time is going well for our friend up there." Jimbo mused.
"All the more reason for us to leave. Immediately." Samuel urged. "There' s bound to be help on the way."
They climbed onto the platform and Jimbo guided them through the exit, they had to fly low to avoid scraping the ceiling with their heads. They flew swiftly along the corridor before them.
"Any idea where this leads?" Jimbo asked.
Samuel shook his head. "My invisible friends are still hiding."
Al popped into view a moment alongside Samuel and shook his index finger at him, then vanished.
"Or whatever it is they're doing." Samuel amended.
Jimbo freaked when he saw a huge metallic door swinging downwards ahead of them.
"Hang on!" He urged and then gave the platform all it had.
It shot towards the closing gap at breakneck speed.
They all had to drop down low, but they made it with only the back railing being torn off by the descending door.
They stood back up to see the door crunching the metal like it was candy.
"Could have had a V-8." Samuel joked.
Nanny scolded him with a glance and he looked away.
"Look out!" Samuel shouted.
Jimbo reversed their course, but too late. They struck a descending door just as it slammed into the floor, closing off their way out.
They were flung to the floor, rolling over and over, until they crashed into the walls. They lay there stunned a long time, then finally Nanny spoke.
"You guys sure know how to show a girl a good time."
"Then you're going to love us." Robin said to her as he stepped from a side door, with Smarn rising beside him.
Nanny saw Robin. "Hi! Gorgeous!"
Then she saw Smarn. "Uh."
Smarn snorted. "They never like me."
Samuel laughed. "Sounds like my lines."
He looked over at Jimbo, who was getting to his feet. Jimbo shook his head and then shrugged. "Some of us got it and some..."
"Are like me." Smarn finished with a grin.
Samuel liked the giant immediately.
Robin half bowed again. "You'll have to pardon my midget friend here's manners. I'm Robin and he's Little Smarn."
"Smarn!" Smarn said simply.
"Indeed you are." Nanny agreed, backing behind Jimbo.
"I don't understand why you two are here now." Samuel said. "I've never met any of you before. How did you even know where to find..."
A trumpeting sound rose.
The mother elephant and her swarm of miniature elephants came out of the room Robin and Smarn had.
"They wouldn't stay behind."
Smarn held his nose. "We had to sneak them aboard the flying ship. Stunk."
Robin scolded Smarn. "You should be used to the smell of poo by now, Smarn. You herd the Gelfers in your village and they smell ten times worse."
"Yes. But they also not in a closed room."
Robin grinned. "Still." He swept around to look at the new people standing before him.
Samuel, trying to make sense of what was going on, stuck out a hand. "At the risk of sounding stupid, I'm Samuel, the big guy is Jimbo and the awestruck girl is Nanny. Shouldn't we be thinking of getting the hell outta here?"
Robin half bowed.
"I think the locked doors on the balconies should hold them a bit longer.
"You mean if there's any left to hold." Nanny shot back.
Robin gave her a blank look.
"The Dragon Snake was snacking on the last balcony when we split." Samuel explained.
Smarn suddenly tensed. "Are you talking about a creature about thirty yards long and a body as thick as a large tree with sharp scales and a jaw that could swallow..." Gulps. "...Me?"
Everyone spins around.
Slithering at breakneck speed down the corridor at them is the Dragon Snake. It sees they've spotted it and opens its mouth and lets out the first sound they've ever heard from it. It's so loud that they have to clamp their hands over their ears to stop from collapsing from the pain.
Then the Dragon Snake stops, coils itself and launches towards them, its jaws opening wide enough to swallow everyone and everything in the corridor. Its mouth is a slimy red and oozing gallons of saliva that is a slimy green from the corners of its mouth.
Samuel, Jimbo and Nanny tensed as the Dragon Snake, which it resembled with its vestigial wings and huge scaly snout with blood red eyes, and row after row of pointed scales that alone could kill or crush someone to death, suddenly came out of its trance.
It slithered closer, its snout lowering to get a closer look at them.
The Leader of the Damned raised his mike to his mouth again as more spotlights lit the area of the Tube Battlefield, spotlighting the Dragon Snake and each of the three humans below facing it. "Just look at this site, ladies and gentleman. Mein Fuehrer! They represent the culmination of human history in the Upper Earthers, and what do you see?"
The crowd roared, "DEATH!"
"Exactly. Death and destruction. They are nothing compared to our might and glory. The Aryan race is gloried in us! Now without further comment, I leave you to this brief spectacle of subspecies fighting subspecies!"
Jimbo raised a bone in his hand and shook it at the Leader of the Damned. "You're so damned tough, get your ass down here and fight me man to man!"
The chamber went deathly quiet.
Jimbo thought maybe it was really going to happen.
Then the Crowd roared with laughter.
They began clapping their hands together over and over. "Death. Death. Death!"
Jimbo snarled angrily and glared at the huge Dragon Snake. "It may eat me for a snack, but not before I take a piece of it with me."
Samuel tried to restrain his friend. "It's not over yet."
"You always say that before the proverbial poo hits the fan, Sammie! It's been nice knowing you. See you on the other side...if there is another side." Jimbo growled, then charged the Dragon Snake.
Before the Dragon Snake could react Jimbo leapt onto its back and ran lightly up its spine, then thrust his bone spur into its right eye. The Dragon Snake roared in pain and frustration, its gigantic tail lashing across the battlefield.
Samuel grabbed Nanny and threw them both to the left, as the tail swept through where they had just stood. A second longer and they would have been mashed to pieces by the sharp scales of the snake.
Jimbo looked up at the startled Leader of the Damned. "Who's so high and mighty now, you stupid cow dung!"
Jimbo gauged the distance between him and the Leader and leaped. He barely caught hold of the platform as it began to lift, urged on by the Leader, who realized he was in danger.
The crowd began jeering and booing.
The Leader of the Damned stiffened and turned around, just as Jimbo climbed onto the platform. He towered over the Leader, his eyes bloodshot and filled with anger.
"I think you had something to say to me!"
The Leader reacted quickly. He unholstered his weapon to fire at Jimbo, who kicked it from his hand, then slammed a fist into his jaw, sending him plummeting into the Tube Battlefield.
The Leader of the Damned lay there stunned, gathering his senses, his gun several feet away from his hand, when a shadow fell across him. He looked up.
The Dragon Snake was looking into his face, flicking its tongue hungrily.
He rolled to reach his weapon.
And just like that he was roadkill for the Dragon Snake as it lifted its head with the Leader of the Damned clenched between its jaws.
The Leader of the Damned look to his fellow comrades. "SAVE ME!" He begged.
He looked up. The entire crowd looked up.
Hitler rose slowly and with great effort, then raised a thumb in the air.
Even the Dragon Snake was caught up in the moment, its eyes catching the movement high above.
Hitler's thumb turned downwards.
The Dragon Snake tore the Leader of the Damned's body in two, sending sprays of blood and gore across the battlefield.
Nanny screamed in horror.
Samuel pulled her close. He felt the horror as well, knowing that they would be next.
The crowd roared with cheers, then began clapping again.
"Death! Death! Death!"
Jimbo looked at the controls of the platform he stood upon. A lever clearly marked up and one down, and two to the right and left. He played with them as the Dragon Snake upended its head, allowing the remains of the Leader of the Damned to slide down its throat into its stomach.
Then it eyed Samuel and Nanny and its tongue flicked across its snout hungrily.
Jimbo moved a lever left and almost threw himself off the platform.
He caught himself, then pulled it gently to the center again, stabilizing the platform.
"Gotcha now, baby!" He snarled with satisfaction.
Samuel and Nanny fell back as the Dragon Snake lowered its snout and slitered noisily across bones, snapping and crunching them as it neared.
The Crowd kept screaming, "Death!"
Hitler remained standing and watching the oncoming slaughter.
He was too far up for Samuel to get a clear view of him, but he could swear the man didn't look right in some way.
Samuel's attention snapped back to the Dragon Snake as it closed in on him and Nanny.
"Nanny, you have to listen to me." He told her.
She was shaking so violently, he thought she might be having a heart attack or a seizure.
"When I charge the snake you must run behind it and to the opening on the other side."
"I won't abandon you!" She said through gritted teeth.
"You must try!" He urged her desperately.
She looked into his face and saw his determination. "You and Jimbo are something else."
She swung her arms about his neck and gave him a quick kiss on the lips, then as he ran for the snake and shouted, "NOW!" She ran around its side for the exit.
Samuel was about to be engulfed by the Dragon Snake's huge mouth, when something from above swooped down and a powerful hand grabbed him by his right arm and swung him upwards, almost wrenching his arm out of its socket. He landed on his side on the platform that Jimbo had commandeered.
Samuel looked up and grinned. "My hero!"
"You bet your pretty...blank and blank...I am." He said with a grin.
"Hold on, buddy!" He ordered, and as Samuel gripped at the railing next to him, Jimbo swung the platform around and shot upwards, just as the Dragon Snake hurled itself at them.
It missed, but barely.
It caused Samuel to be flung off the platform. He caught the railing in the nick of time, but his feet and legs hung dangerously in reach of the Dragon Snake, which whirled around swiftly, its right eye still bleeding from Jimbo's thrust and launched itself again.
Jimbo urged the platform higher towards the nearer balconies.
The crowd cheered and clapped as the Snake barely missed them again.
This time Jimbo dropped lower, then caught the Dragon Snake's good eye. "Here kitty, kitty!"
"Hang on, Samuel!" He warned, then as the Dragon Snake coiled itself to strike, he raised the platform to the same level as the nearest balcony.
Some of the crowd there kept cheering, but others were starting to get nervous. No one was armed. They had never had anything go so horribly wrong before. Some realized what could happen and leaped from their privileged chairs to swarm towards the exits. Before they could reach it, the Dragon Snake shot upwards at the taunting Jimbo.
He shot the platform straight up.
The Dragon Snake landed in the first balcony.
The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
Robin and Smarn had a hard time hiding on the ground floor of the containment area where the prisoners were being held. The prisoners were so frightened that they were literally weeping to be freed, but Robin couldn't risk it. It would probably mean their immediate death if he freed them now. So with a finger to his lips for silence he climbed Smarn's shoulders and leaped to an overhanging cargo area. He reached his bow down and Smarn used it to swing himself up beside Robin. It was a routine they had practiced for years in the Hollow Lands as they were called by he and his peoples.
The Hollow Earth, most people think, is a land of Holy Ones, whose vibration is so pure that they can't tolerate or live with anyone else, when the reality was that the interior of the earth was so vast that those of the secretive and spiritual sort, like the so-called Holy Ones, tended to be safely secure in one of the areas usually remote to access and well hidden, such as the Higher Mountains which some called the underbelly of Mount Shasta and the Himalayas.
If one could draw a line marking the mountains inside it would form an almost perfect star, with the ranges crisscrossing each other below, even if above, they appeared in a totally different pattern.
Robin had spoken with Methusaleh once about the pattern and the nature of the hidden world below and he had laughed and said that God wasn't talking.
Robin had been confused at the time, for that was centuries ago now, but with time and age and experience he had learned much about the Inner World...or the Hollow Earth as it was named by the Upper Earthers, as they were called by those who lived beneath them.
Basically, the mountains were power storages. They held tremendous forces which if unleashed at the same time could shatter the planet, much as had been done to the ancient planet of Maldek when its citizens became so dark and evil that the Ancient Ones could no longer allow them to spread their vibrations across the universe.
Those planterary chunks left of the dark planet now orbited near Mars. The asteroid belt. A grim reminder of how the universe can correct itself when necessary to get rid of annoying dark spots in its matter areas.
Smarn smelled like corn cobs as Robin lay next to him. He only smelled that way when he was afraid, or nervous, or building up his courage for battle. He knew Smarn wasn't afraid and by the tension he felt in Smarn, he knew his tall friend was anything but nervous. He was getting ready to do what must be done to protect his neighbors below.
Many of the caught ones cuffed to the poles below had come from neighboring villages and thanks to that, Robin was able to convince them to be quiet, even though they knew that help might be very close for them. Their terror had to be great, as he and they knew what happened to those brought to the realm of the Dark Ones, as the germanic tribes were called. The Battle Tubes were known to be a fatal field of play for prisoners.
Robin remembered when that area of the world had been inhabited by peaceful Indians who had descended from the Shasta area above to escape the rampages of the white man, who plundered their lands for wealth and rape.
Robin shuddered when he thought of the anguish his beloved friends had been through. He had fought the savagery of a terrible king and they had to fight against the ravage of not only the white men above, but the Dark Ones below.
Robin with the help of Smarn and his giant friends had managed to secure the freedom and safety of most of their tribe, but many had fallen in the last battle that caused their fall and the capture of the lands by the Dark Ones.
It had happened almost a century ago now, sometime towards the end of the second war above. He frowned at that thought. Everyone below still shook in terror at the tests that had been constructed and carried through by both the Dark Ones and the Allied Nations who had fought the.
Atomic bombs they were called if he remembered correctly.
He swiped at his forehead where beads of sweat were forming. Must be some kind of heating grid overhead causing the rise of body temperature. He glanced aside at Smarn, and his noble face was glistening with sweat.
"Soon." He told Smarn.
Smarn nodded. He was short of words when none were needed, but long in action when that occurred.
Robin again thought of what had happened when the first atomic weapons had been detonated above. He had been exploring the Inner Lands with some of his friends when the first had gone off. The sky above had shaken terribly and darkened. Every single animal for miles around had fled in terror. The skies, which never had a dark cloud in them, suddenly filled with terrible storms that tore and ripped at the landscape, sweeping him and his men off their feet and tumbling them like rags about the land, until they could finally secure themselves safely.
It had been a terrible time and he remembered Methusaleh being angry for one of the first times he had ever none him. "This must not go on!" He had proclaimed!
Robin knew from the look on his face that it would not bode well for those above if they continued in the vanity of their destruction and self destructive ways.
But as the years rolled by and more and more of the devices were exploded on the surface Methusaleh calmed down. Robin had sat with him on the Great Stone one night as they looked out over the valleys below and asked him upfront. "Why?"
Methusaleh had sighed. "It is with great pain and effort that we deny the freewill of mankind."
"But these people above risk destroying us as well." Robin protested.
Methusaleh had given him a long and searching look. Robin had felt when he looked in those ancient eyes as if he were falling into an infinite ocean of kindness and calm.
"It will not be allowed!"
And that was the last time either had spoken of the weapons and soon thereafter the testing had stopped, even though some minor testing proceeded, which Robin assumed were done in stealth as none who descended from above brought word of them.
The sound of laughter brought Robin's attention back to the prisoners below. The soldiers were entering up the ramp. It closed and they dispersed themselves about the room, weapons held loosely, but at the ready in case any of their prisoners got any ideas.
Then the ship began to vibrate strongly.
The prisoners looked up at Robin, but he shook his head sternly. They all looked back down again, but their terror was absolute. He felt it. It caused the air in the large hold to stink as many gave off their odors of fear.
The vibrating stopped, then he felt a sense of motion. Gentle at first, then more urgent.
He glanced at Smarn. Smarn looked into his eyes. He only hoped that they would be able to rescue the strangers, as well as those below. His hand tensed on his bow and his blade. His eyes narrowed as he counted the soldiers below. Only two dozen.