Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 10

race-to-danger

I’m not sure how long I just sat there cradling Katellan’s head. It could have been two seconds, or it could have been two hours. When I finally looked up, I saw the Trandoshan staring at me. He didn’t have his blaster pointed at me this time, however. “That shot was meant for you,” he said in Huttese. “Be glad your friend took it for you.” A red bolt of energy passed over his head, but he didn’t duck. Instead, he continued talking to me. “I don’t have to kill you now. He will do it for me.”

With that, he ran out of the hanger. I stayed down on the ground with the body. The sound of footsteps behind me made me turn. Nalith was walking up to me with a scowl on his face. He stopped right in front of me and began screaming. “My employer told me you were going to be a pain to work with, and he was right. If you had done what you were told to do, and left well enough alone, none of this would have happened!”

Normally, I don’t do things as stupid as shooting my mouth off at people who could easily kill me, but I’d had enough of this. “You forced me into this situation. You threatened my life and my livelihood. You got my friend killed and now you’re trying to blame this all on me? I’ve got two words for you, pal….”

I was unable to finish my thoughts as a fist caught me squarely in the jaw. Flat on my back is not an advantageous position to start a fight in, but that’s where I found myself. Nalith stood over me. His weight started shifting from one leg to another, so I knew he was about to strike. My knee shot up, in hopes that it would catch him in the crotch. He must have anticipated this as he moved enough for it to hit his thigh instead. A blur that used to be his hand came at me and my world went black again.

Waking up to find a mercenary standing over me was becoming too much of a habit for me lately and I was getting a little bit tired of it. Nalith looked me over before he began to speak. “This is how this is going to work from now on: You’re only going to speak to me if I ask you a question. If you talk without me asking you a question, I will hurt you. Do you understand?”

“Sure,” I replied.

“Good. Now that we no longer have Turussk with us, we need someone to win the race. Since the race is in a couple of hours, we don’t have enough time to convince another of the racers to work with us. So, what is going to happen is that you will race for us. Not only will you race for us, you will win for us.”

I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. “I can’t finish better than last without someone fixing the race, and you expect me to win one of the biggest races on the circuit? Good luck with that.”

Nalith backhanded me across the face. “You will do this, or I will make the evidence of the last race being fixed in your favor public. Your career would be over. I can also find other ways to make your life a living hell.”

“Sorry for breaking the talking rule, but simply threatening me will not make me a good swoop racer.”

“Your problem is not that you’re a bad swoop racer. Your problem is that you’re too cautious. If you’d stop playing it safe, you’d win. You have the fastest swoop bike in every race, yet you still come in last. Stop worrying about crashing ans start worrying about winning.”

His words hit me like a bolt of lightning. I’d heard them before, about a year ago, just not from him. I now knew who his employer was, I just didn’t know what I was going to do about it.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 9

race-to-danger

Another headache greeted me when I woke up. I’m starting to loathe the person who invented stun blasts (Granted, they’re not the one who pulled the trigger, but if they didn’t invent the thing, I wouldn’t have been stunned in the first place. Then again, if they didn’t invent them, someone else probably would have and the only thing that would change is who I loathe. Great. I’m starting to ramble again. This happens every time I get hit with a stun blast. I’m starting to loathe the person who invented stun blasts. Granted, they’re not the one who pulled the trigger….Wait…Blast it!).

I was in my quarters. Nalith had pulled a chair up next to my bed and was lounging, waiting for me to awaken. He hadn’t seen my eyes open yet. I could make a move for his blaster.

“You will never get the drop on me,” he said, “if you keep announcing your intentions before you do them.”

Blast! I was thinking out loud again. “What’s with the stun blast,” I asked. “If you wanted to talk, all you had to do was come and ask me. You didn’t have to send those two idiots.”

“Let’s just say that it was another test I had for you. I must say, Torr, that you continue to surprise me. I never expected you to be so much fun.”

“I’m so glad that I’m amusing you,” I said in my best Envy imitation. He was not impressed. Either that, or he didn’t get it. Ignoring my sarcasm, Nalith continued.

“We have a problem, Torr. I have many toys that you’re not aware of. One of those toys intercepted a transmission coming from this ship, warning Turussk about the little present I was leaving for him.”

“You mean the bomb you brought on my ship?”

“That would be it.”

“If your toy is as good as you claim it to be, then it’ll be good enough to tell you that I have made no transmissions since I got here. If someone did warn him from this ship, it happened while I was off of it.”

“I am aware of this, but you could have had one of your crew do it for you.”

“Go ahead and ask them. Katellan works more for you now than me, and Envy would have no trouble in turning me in.”

As if on cue, the door opened and Envy started walking backwards into the room. He was apparently in conversation with Katellan. “No, I get his room now that he’s,” was all that he was able to speak before he turned around and saw me. “You’re alive,” he queried. “I mean, thank the stars that you’re alive, Master.” Turning to Nalith, he said, “What is wrong with you? why haven’t you killed him yet, you moron?”

Nalith looked at me and said, “For no charge, I can make sure that it never talks again.”

Envy looked back out into the hallway and hollered, “You need me where, Katellan?” There was no answer, but Envy continued anyways. “Why do you look so scared now, loser? Wait, where are you going?”

A thud sounded out in the hallway, followed by heavy footsteps running towards the ramp. “It was the Devaronian,” Nalith cried as he jumped out of the chair. “Let’s get him!”

I followed Nalith out of my quarters and down to the ramp. When we arrived, Katellan had stopped only a few meters outside of the ship. A few meters beyond him, Turussk stood with a blaster rifle in hand. “If you and your little puppet want to kill me, Nalith,” the Trandoshan said, “you’re going to have to do a lot better than that.”

Red bolts of energy shot out of his blaster. I jumped off the side of the ramp and tried to find some cover. Nalith began to return fire as he sought cover, too. I heard something clatter beside me and, instinctively, I jumped away from it. A stun grenade went off right where I had just been sitting. Luckily, my jump took me far enough away from it that it didn’t hit me full-force. My ears were slightly ringing and it took me a few seconds to see straight again. When I opened my eyes back up, I saw Turussk standing ten meters away, pointing his blaster rifle right at me. He pulled the trigger.

A shadow passed in front of me and I heard a grunt of pain. The next thing I saw was Katellan laying next to me with a blaster wound in his chest. Turussk pointed his blaster again, but Nalith’s fire caused him to duck for cover again. I picked Katellan’s head up off the floor and looked into his eyes. Turussk could have began firing at me again at that moment and I wouldn’t have cared. I cradled the head of the man who just saved my life.

“I never betrayed you,” he breathed.

“I know,” I assured him as he, my friend, died in my arms.

PepperJam Collaboration

I know it’s last minute, but that’s just how I operate. Here is the collaboration between Daniel (from Stray Dog Strut) and I. He, being a much more talented artist than I could hope to be, drew an image for me to attach a story to. Daniel’s picture is of the characters from my Star Wars fan fiction, Torr Nupp and Envy.

Since there are still some parts of the story that have yet to rerun (and not everyone has read them all), I will be doing a prequel story based on the awesome picture that he drew. Besides, it’s Star Wars. Making prequels goes with the territory. So, please take a good look at the amazing job he did at bringing Torr and Envy into the land of the seen. Also, be sure to follow him when you go check his blog out.

pepperjam

I don’t know if you know this, but it’s pretty hard to breath when a Wookie has grabbed you by the throat. It also hurts a tad bit more when he’s lifting you off the ground while he’s choking the life out of you. “Gee, Torr, how did you get to be so smart?” The answer to that will have to wait. I’m somewhat preoccupied at the moment.

“Is your face supposed to be turning that odd shade of blue,” I hear from behind me. “Just when I think I have you fleshpiles figured out, I learn that you can change color.”

I tried my hardest to turn around to face the speaker, if only so that kicking my droid Envy in the head would be the last thing I ever did. Tranduur, the Wookie that was less than pleased with me, was against this idea for some reason. My eyes were forced forward into the growling face of an irate hairball. Having people angry at me was nothing new. In fact, it seemed to be a fairly common occurrence for me (jealousy runs rampant in this galaxy. It’s sad, really). This time, however, I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything to deserve it.

Just as my vision began to fade, I heard Tranduur yelp in pain. I felt myself falling for a second before hitting the ground hard. The metallic hands of Envy pulled me roughly onto my feet. “What happened,” I managed to croak out of my damaged larynx.

“The red idiot jabbed the hairy beast’s arm with one of his horns.”

I looked up to see Katellan, my Devaronian pilot, standing between me and the Wookie. Both of them were showing off their sharp teeth in, what I could only assume was, an attempt to scare the other one off. Neither of them moved. Bending down, I picked up a couple of my tools that had fallen out of my pockets when I hit the floor. At the same time  I let out a loud whistle. They finally turned away from each other to look at me.

“What’s the problem,” I angrily asked the thing that tried to kill me. (“He’s not a thing, Torr. Tranduur is a fellow being that has feelings.” That may be true, overly sensitive person who may be reading this, but anyone who tries to kill me for no reason gets no respect from me.)

After a lengthy bout of the grunts and howls that make up the Wookie language, Envy translated. “The hair-covered fleshpile says that you have dishonored him, therefore you must be punished.”

“How did I dishonor him? We’ve never had any dealings before.”

“He says that he is the major sponsor of this race and that your swoops skills are so bad that it made some of his business associates not want to watch.”

“I don’t get it.”

“He’s saying that your lack of racing skills made him look bad for allowing you to enter the race.”

“I’m sorry that I made him look bad, but that doesn’t justify him trying to kill me.”

“You wouldn’t be saying that if you had to watch you race,” Envy quipped. “I am incapable of feelings, but watching you attempt to compete in that race caused me considerable pain.”

“It couldn’t have been that bad,” I pleaded as I looked to Katellan for support. He immediately dropped his head, refusing to meet my gaze. Apparently, he felt the same. “Fine,” I conceded. “I’m not a great swoop racer. But, that doesn’t mean you have to try to kill me. I just won’t enter the race next year.”

Tranduur gave another series of growls and groans. “He says that it’s not good enough,” Envy translated. “He needs to finish what he started.”

“Remind him that if he kills me then I can’t work on any of the swoops that enter his next race. I may not be a good racer, but his races will be even worse if I don’t upgrade any of the bikes.”

That got Tranduur’s attention, as well it should. I am, after all, the greatest swoop bike mechanic in the galaxy (I’m also the galaxy’s greatest lover, ladies. However, that’s not important to this story). With a grunt of defeat, the Wookie waved me away. Using my bountiful deductive reasoning skills, I figured out that he said I was free to go. I instructed Katellan to take Envy back to the Quick Fix and get it ready for take off while I said one more thing to Tranduur. The Devaronian looked at me funny, but he did as I asked.

“Without Envy, you won’t be able to understand what the Wookie is saying!” I know that, dear reader. I don’t need to know what he’s saying. I just need him to understand what I’m saying, which he does.

I give him a long, drawn out apology. Tranduur is beginning to get bored, I can tell, but it’s very important that I take a little time with telling him that I was sorry. As soon as I feel like he can’t take any more, I abruptly cut myself off and offer him a goodbye. He gratefully accepts it and starts to walk away. Once he’s a good ten meters away, I call out to stop him. I draw my arm back and let the tool I had picked up earlier fly as he turns around.

A direct hit!

The metal hydrospanners smacked Tranduur right in his forehead. I wanted to stick around and revel in my small victory, but I was sure that my strike didn’t do enough damage to allow me to do so. My feet were at full speed by the time I heard the angry growl from behind me. I weaved in and out of the crowds as I made my way back to the ship. As soon as I made it to the top of the ramp, I hit the button to close it. “Let’s get out of here,” I hollered to Katellan through the comms.

Just as the ramp was about to fully close, I saw Tranduur step into view. Thankfully, he only stayed there for a second before the loud bang that announced that the ramp was back in the ship. I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked up to join Katellan on the bridge. “You need to pilot those things better,” Katellan sighed as he lifted the Quick Fix into the air.

“I’m not worried about it,” I laughed. “I may never win a race, but I’m going to have fun while I do it.”

“I wouldn’t say you’ll never win a race. I’ve got a good feeling about the next one.”

In the Background 

A noise outside got his attention as he sat on the couch and watched TV. He got up, walked to the window, and peeked out through the blinds. Outside of his house, all of his neighbors were on the sidewalk having some kind of party. The people were all talking, laughing, listening, or crying. It was something that he normally wouldn’t do, but it looked like fun.

So, he walked outside.

A few people noticed him at first, but most paid  him no heed. Undeterred, he walked from group to group. He would talk a little, laugh a little, listen a little, and cry a little. Most of his neighbors were nice and acted politely towards him. Still, he could tell that he was out of place among them. They were great people, but they weren’t him.
As the party went on, he found that the more he talked, the less people listened.

His thoughts first turned to anger. How could they treat him this way? Instead of giving in to the anger, he took a step back and began watching from a distance. People continued on with what they were doing. A few of them even took the time to break out of their groups to walk over and talk to him. For some reason, this made him happier than if everyone at the party gave him their undivided attention.

He realized that he didn’t need everyone to notice him. He didn’t need for all the people to know he was there. All he needed was the right people to see him.

A smile crossed his face as he slid back into the shadows. He watched. He listened. Everything went on like normal without him getting in the way. He was at peace.

Things were better now that he had taken his place, had faded into the background.

Looking Back: Moon Knight 

This post gets to be both a Looking Back post and a Marvel Unlimited post. The reason it’s not just a Marvel Unlimited post is that, like my previous Looking Back posts, I now view Moon Knight in a whole new light than I did before I started reading his books on Marvel Unlimited. The other comics I’ve reviewed for Marvel Unlimited are books I still have the same opinion on.

Back then: Moon Knight was cool superhero character.

Now: Why the hell did I ever like this guy?

To be honest, I didn’t ever actually read a Moon Knight comic until a year or so ago. For some reason, before then, I just really liked the character. I don’t know why. I just did. All I really knew about Moon Knight was his origin story.

Marc Spector was a mercenary hired by archaeologists in Egypt to guard their expedition. He was betrayed by his partner Bushman who shot him and left him for dead in one of the dig sites. That particular dig site was actually a temple of the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. Khonshu resurrected Spector to be his champion on Earth.

Sounds like a cool story so far, right? I certainly thought so. That origin story is all I based my Moon Knight fandom on. A couple of years ago, when I first started at my job, there were other comic book guys there and we would talk about the characters we liked and those we didn’t. They began telling me bits and pieces of what happened after the origin story.

They basically turned him into a Batman wannabe.

Batman’s costume was all black. Moon Knight’s  was all white. Batman had Batarangs shaped like bats. Moon Knight’s were shaped like crescent moons. The Batplane was shaped like a bat. Moon Knight’s Mooncopter was shaped like, you guessed it, a crescent moon. Batman had a European butler, Alfred. Moon Knight had a European pilot, Frenchie.

In order to try to distance him from Batman, Marvel gave him a character trait that was supposed to make them different. They gave Moon Knight Dissociative Identity Disorder, or in other words, multiple personalities. One was Steven Grant, millionaire. He had money saved up from all of his mercenary gigs that allowed him to do this. Another was Jake Lockley, a cab driver, who gathered information on the street.

Hmmm…..

A millionaire persona and someone who gathers information from the streets. Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, that’s also something Batman does as Bruce Wayne (millionaire) and Matches Malone (street information).

The only difference is, as far as I know, Bruce never had a problem with thinking these were separate identities. Well, that, plus Khonshu was always a voice in Moon Knight’s head.

Now, about a year ago, I stumbled across the Brian Michael Bendis run on Moon Knight from 2011-2012 at the library. In it, Moon Knight had ditched the above personalities and moved to Hollywood to work on a TV show based on his mercenary adventures. Instead, he had the personalities of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine in his head. He hires a former S.H.I.E.L.D tech to build him gadgets that will allow him to simulate the fighting styles of the three heroes in his head. By the end of the 12 issue run, he had defeated the main bad guy of the series, Count Nefaria (a powerful Thor villain), with the help of these gadgets.

It wasn’t bad, so when I got Marvel Unlimited, I read some of the newer Moon Knight stuff. I was not a fan. The first few issues weren’t bad. It was a continuous story about Moon Knight falling out of Khonshu’s favor and the moon god choosing a new champion. Not a horrible story, but not great. Also, they were now saying that he didn’t have DID. It was brain damage from Khonshu sharing space in his head.

After that, it all went downhill. It was nothing but a bunch of one-shot comics that were just complete crap. One story had him fighting a guy who abused dogs until they went out and stole valuable merchandise for him (No, I’m not making that up). Another had him fighting a guy that could capture ghosts in a special glove that he wore.

I haven’t read any of the current volume of Moon Knight, but from what I’ve heard, it starts off with him waking up in a psychiatric hospital thinking that his entire life as Moon Knight was just a figment of his imagination. Considering he has been a part of at least a couple big crossover events, I don’t see the whole “your Moon Knight adventures are all in your head” thing sticking.

If it were up to me, I’d get him away from all the mental health problems and get him back to mythology side of things that started the character. I actually have a story worked up that would actually usher this in. Now, I understand that nobody at Marvel will ever read this here blog, but it would be cool if I could at least pitch this idea to them. More than likely, I’d be shot down, but I could at least say I tried.

Someday, I may come back and read this new volume of Moon Knight to see if they made him better, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. I’ve got other things I’d rather read now.

RTotD 11-27

It’s that time again, dear readers. It’s time for me to inflict the randomness that infects my head onto you. I know, I know. You can hate me for it later.

This thought is centered around a show that Baby E watches off of Disney Junior called Sofia the First.

sofia

In it, the princess, Sofia, wears a magical amulet. This amulet’s magic depends on how good you are as a person. If you do good things, like help people out, it gives you good powers. If you’re bad, such as acting like a stuck up bitch, it will curse you until you right whatever wrong you committed.

Seems simple enough, right?

Well, one of the running stories in the show is that the kingdom’s bumbling sorcerer is always trying to steal the amulet from Sofia because he thinks the amulet will help him take over the kingdom.

Once again, sounds pretty simple.

However, there’s a problem that occurs when you combine those two things. Stealing the amulet is a bad thing, so it would curse him if he did end up stealing it from her. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say he somehow found a way to convince her to give him the amulet. There’d still be a problem. He’s planning on using it to overthrow the rightful king and queen of the kingdom, also a very bad thing.

So, either way, the amulet he’s been trying so hard to acquire, the one he’s spontaneously broken into song about repeatedly, would actually hinder his attempts to take over the kingdom because it would curse him as soon as he tried to use it.

I realize this is a kids’ show, and I’m probably overthinking this, but shouldn’t their shows make sense, if only for the incredibly bored parents that are being force to watch this drivel?

Granted, there are about two seasons worth of episodes that we don’t have access to (only the first two seasons are on Netflix), so maybe they’ve finally addressed this stupidity. I can only hope so. If not, when they finally release new episodes on Netflix, I’ll be forced to endure more of the pain.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 8

race-to-danger

“Don’t just sit there,” I yelled at Envy. “Get that thing out of here.”

“Master,” he replied, “I am programmed for translation and swoop bike repair. What part of either of those two bits of programming make you think I know how to dispose of a bomb? Idiot.”

“Do it anyway, you bucket of bolts!”

“You’re the one who wants it gone. Why don’t you do it?”

“You’re the droid. I’m the master. You do what I tell you to. End of story.”

“And how well has that worked out for you so far, Master?”

This is one of a few times that I wished Envy was a human….that way I could beat the attitude out of him. As it was, I couldn’t help but think he may have a point. Even if he did try to get rid of the bomb for me, he might accidentally blow the whole ship up. The last time I checked, that was a bad thing.

I tried to go over what to do in my head, but I’ve never had to figure out how to handle a bomb before. After going over several scenarios in my head, I chose one and went with it. “Envy, finish fixing the swoop as we had planned,” I ordered. “Pretend we never found that box.”

“Even for a fleshpile, that seems to be a stupid plan. Are you sure?”

“Just do it.”

I ran up to Katellan’s quarters and put a note on his door containing my orders for him. For now, all I could do was concentrate on the things that I had to do for Nalith. That meant that I had to go see Teebo. I couldn’t put it off anymore.  When I reached the ramp, I closed my eyes as I pushed the button to lower it.

As soon as I heard the ramp stop, I opened my eyes. For once, there was nobody there waiting for me with a blaster. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had a bomb on board my ship, I’d say my luck was changing. I was able to catch a ride over to the track. The first thing I did was try to find a familiar face who might know where I could find Teebo. A few minutes later, I saw one.

Ingo Harbonen was a fellow racer from Imperial Center. He was the swoop race circuit’s unofficial gossip. If anyone knew where I could find Teebo, it would be him. Unfortunately, that meant dealing with Ingo, who was a tad strange.

“Torr, you beautiful man,” he exclaimed as I approached. “Congratulations on your win.”

“Thanks,” I replied, a little uncomfortable with a man who would call me beautiful. Not that he’s wrong about it, but it’s not something that needs to be said. “I need to ask you something, Ingo.”

“Yes, we’ve all had those kinds of thoughts from time to time. It’s not unnatural, and sometimes it’s even fun to act on them.”

“Umm, what?”

“Oh, sorry. I was hoping you were going to ask me a specific question. Nevermind. What’d you need?”

“Uhh, ok. So, where’s Teebo?”

“I thought you hated that guy.”

“I do.”

“Why do you want to find him, then? You’re not going to hurt him are you? I’d hate to see you get in trouble.”

“No, nothing like that. I just need to talk to him about some business.”

“In that case, he’s in Hanger 18.”

I thanked Ingo and started to walk away. As I walked into a crowd, I felt something in my back. “Nalith wants to see you,” a voice said into my ear.

This was starting to get a little old. I was becoming tired of always being told what to do at blaster-point. It probably would’ve been a smarter move to just go with the man, but I needed to show Nalith that, even though he had me where he wanted me, I wasn’t going to completely bow to his wishes. Without saying a word, I kicked my leg straight back, connecting solidly with the man’s….personal belongings. He dropped to the ground with a girlish shriek. From behind me, I heard another man cry out. Apparently, the man has an accomplice.

Turning around, I saw the other man, who was now running towards me. The fact that they didn’t seem to care about witnesses was somewhat reassuring. Hopefully, that means that they’re not going to be shooting me today. I kicked the man on the ground again (Uhh, I mean, I tripped over him? Maybe?), and ran away from his friend. A stream of curses followed in my wake as I pushed myself through the crowd. Glancing back over my shoulder, I saw that my pursuer was having the same trouble getting past people as I was. It was time to change tactics.

I saw an alley up ahead and decided to make my move. Running into the alley, I stopped soon after and put myself flat against the wall. Even though it was only a few seconds, the wait for the man chasing me seemed to take forever. When he finally entered the alley, I immediately threw a punch at his face. Because he was running at full speed, he was unable to get out of the way. The thump that followed was something that I had never heard after a punch before (of course, the pain in my hand was something I had never felt after a punch before either. I probably should’ve thought this through a little more).

The man crumpled to the ground. I found myself strangely proud of this accomplishment. My life has been full of many fights, but none that I’ve dominated so easily and quick. I took down two hired goons with one hit each. At this point, I probably should’ve taken off instead of admiring my handiwork, but I’m new to this kind of thing. That inexperience cost me as I heard someone behind me clear their throat. When I turned to look, the only thing I saw was a blaster before I heard it fire and everything went black.