Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Aug 30th 2011, 11:32 by E O Hatterpol | 1228 AU FROM SUN

IN THE deep black darkness of Heartbreak's gymnasium, feeble starlight bounced off Nixie's locket.  That brief glint showed me exactly where the bokor boxer was standing, chattering mechanical bug still in glove.

I dashed and dodged through the slow-motion sea of twisting supercharged female zonbi gymnast limbs, a sixth sense of silent assassinship guiding me through the shadowy chaos.

My antagonist was caught completely off guard, in the dark, with all his connections to the zonbis going haywire.  He was stranded, blind and fighting thousands of staticky connections in his brain, like the harsh noise a black-and-white television makes when you dial over a non-channel.

He was bent over double with hands pressed to his head, no doubt fighting the noise and pain and unfamiliarity of his situation.  I dealt his jaw a devastating bookshield uppercut blow, slamming so hard into his chin with Antipericatamentanaparbeugedamphibricationes that he reeled back up to his full height.

I pulled my bookshield back to my chest and swiped hard across his with the beersword in my left hand.  The jagged Whale Ale bottle raked a huge gash across his breast, popping off buttons and bloodying the torn ruffles in his white shirt.

Heartbreak fell back a step, grunting; I closed the distance between us and moved to strike with a sweeping backhand swipe to the neck, but he managed to get his guard up in time and counter with a quick left jab.   I couldn't control my forward momentum; the bridge of my nose sunk painfully into his padded fist.  Not a dragonfly's blink later, he sent a right hook body blow to my bad ribs, the ones I had cracked and bruised in the bookstacks and broken completely under the force of Captain Makemake's Meteor Knee.

Stars and jagged exclamation marks and red-black fireworks exploded in my eyes, seemingly lighting up the black space between us.  I stumbled back and tripped over a zonbi going salt-bonkers in the darkness, punching other zonbis in the hamstrings before flinging herself viciously and headfirst into the gymnasium floor.

Suddenly the hair atop my head danced wildly, sucked towards the great vortex around Heartbreak's right fist.  He had it tucked close to his side; I just knew he was ready to loose a punishing blast of swirling power in my direction.  But I got my feet back under me just in time.

Heartbreak practically slid across the floor, roaring "Hurricane HAYMAKER!"

A conical cyclone of circular currents came careening towards me.  My death and those of most behind me was surely assured; it would be a miracle if I survived.  And yet somehow my Fartface Monks shield came up before me, and I rose to parry Heartbreak's signature move.

For a single, disorienting moment, a bright white light *bah-WEEMED* at the point where my bookshield met his Hurricane Haymaker; I wouldn't understand for many more months what that light and sound effect even meant.

We stood there, frozen in time, a mask of hatred and desperation and fury fixed permanently on Heartbreak's face.  Suddenly I felt empty, like a ship not yet filled with cargo.  And then I felt all of Heartbreak pour into me.

I felt his parental issues, his time fighting as a youth on Earth, his eventual decision to make the trip to Starbase Octopus and leave his family behind, his first attempts at controlling others, the fights he won, the ones he lost, the research he did into practicing sorcery - all of it drained into me.

And I felt his emotions, too, and his strength, and I pushed it all into the beersword stretched behind me.  In that single frozen moment, my beerspin attack charged up faster and more fiercely and to a higher level than ever before.  Somehow, in that moment, I knew I had to release that energy or suffer my arm exploding in the magical backwash.

And so I released it.  I spun around like a ninja's top, lacing the tips of my beersword with electric blue energy that crackled and glowed in the darkness.  I tore Heartbreak's entrails from him like a clawed savannah cat running in place on a poacher's gut; he fell gasping to his knees.  But before his legs could hit the ground, I came out of my beerspin attack and snatched a long, pink, bloody stretch of intestine.  Then I whirled around back of him.

I wrapped the slick, warm cord around his neck and pulled tight, cruelly stealing the last of his breaths as a living human being with only his own bowels.  I brought my mouth close to his ear and snarled ferociously over his choking and gagging dying sounds:

"I told you I'd hang you by your own guts."

Heartbreak's boxing gloves looked for purchase under his intestinal noose but found none; just before he died, he quit struggling.  He gave a short laugh, and smiled unexpectedly, using the last of the air he'd ever breathe to say:

"You fight good, son.  I'm proud of you."

It was the same thing his father had said to him.


WHAT should I do next, Flybrarians?

A: Grab Nixie, get out of Heartbreak's gym and try to restore order to chaos before this whole Starbase goes under.

B: Forget Starbase Octopus - it's too far gone!  The Carptain is probably hightailing it as we speak, so get Nixie and make for the Flybrary straightaway - there's nothing more we can do!

Your daily choice becomes tomorrow's adventure! Choose Our Own Adventure with either (A) or (B) in the comments section below, on TwitterGoogle+Facebook or EOHatterpol[at]gmail[dot]com.


  1. Forget Starbase Octopus! Get back to the Flybrary with Nixie!

  2. REALLY? Then let's do it - let's save ourselves! A dead hero ain't a hero at all!