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.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 7

race-to-danger

Once again, I found myself in my ship with a gun pointed at me. I looked over at Envy and asked, “Why is it that every time I open my ramp now, there’s some psychopath waiting there with a gun?”

When I woke back up, my jaw was hurting. Envy was sitting there shaking his head at me. “How did you possibly think that you’d get away with that,” he queried. “He was standing right next to you, you idiot.”

“Shut up.”

“By the way, the Trandoshan urinated on the ship a couple of times while you were knocked out.”

“Go clean it up.”

“Me? Why do I have to do it?”

“Because you’re a droid and you can’t catch anything that he might have.”

Envy looked over at the bounty hunter standing in the corner. “I wouldn’t be too sure about that, master.”

I watched as Envy walked off to, hopefully, do what I asked him to (Although I was actually wondering if the randomness of when he called me ‘Master’ actually meant something, as well. Maybe I’ll ask him about it one day. Or maybe I’ll have him disintegrated. Either way, I wouldn’t be wondering about it anymore). When he was gone, I turned to Turussk and asked, “Where’s Katellan?”

“Your pilot is fine,” he responded in Huttese. “I locked him in his quarters.”

“Look, I don’t know what’s going on between you and Nalith, but I swear I’m not trying to kill you. In fact, Nalith told me to make sure that you had the fastest swoop bike in the race.”

“Yes, you want it to go fast. That way when the bike breaks, I’ll be going fast enough that the crash will kill me.”

“I don’t want you to die (ok, that’s a lie), and I’m certainly not going to sabotage your swoop bike (not a lie).”

“I don’t believe you, human. You work for Nalith, who has always wanted me dead. He’s not good enough to do it himself, so he hires you to make it look like an accident.”

“My bikes don’t have accidents. I know that you looked me up before you came here. In the many years I’ve been working on swoop bikes, how many of my swoops have crashed due to anything other than pilot error?”

“None.”

“So, why would I break that trend just because Nalith told me to?”

“He threatened you. That’s how he gets most of his people to work for him.”

“True, he threatened me, but he told me I only had to do two things. He said all I had to do was make sure you had the fastest swoop and that I’d have to work on Teebo’s bike and make sure he had the slowest.”

“Do you really think Teebo will let you work on his bike after what you said about his mother?”

“How did you…”

“It is my business to know these things.”

At this point, I found myself tired of all of this. I was tired of being threatened by idiots with guns. I was tired of being told to do things I didn’t want to do. So, I put on a defeated expression (which wasn’t hard to do) and told the bounty hunter, “Look, whether you believe me or not, there’s only one way I have any chance of making it out of this alive and that’s working on your bike and you winning the race. If I work on the bike and you don’t win the race, you’ll kill me. If I don’t work on the bike, Nalith will kill me. So, either pull the trigger on that gun and get it over with, or send your bike over and I’ll start working on it.”

Turussk pulled the trigger. The safety was on, so all the blaster did was click. Somehow, I was able to maintain eye contact with him instead of jumping up and down screaming, “I’m still alive! I’m still alive!” What I did say was,

“When’s the bike going to be here?”

He smirked (at least I thought it was a smirk. It’s kind of hard to tell on a Trandoshan), turned, and walked away. Before he left the room, he said, “It’ll be here in the morning.”

I turned around only to find Envy standing right in my way. “I’ll bet you almost fooled him into thinking you weren’t scared out of your mind, Master,” he said. “Should I bring you a new pair of pants?”

“Shut up.” A pause. Then, “Yes.”

After I changed into a new set of clothes, my next order of business was getting drunk. Since bad things happen when I try to leave my ship, I decided that the safest thing to do was send Katellan out to procure my liquid intoxicant. That way, I didn’t even have to leave The Quick Fix in order to impair my ability to think.

When I woke up, I was happy to find that I was not suffering from a hangover. Katellan apparently helped me finish off my refreshments, as I found him passed out on the floor in the hallway in front of his room. I might have ‘accidentally’ kicked him as I stepped over him on my way to the garage. To my surprise, I walked in and Envy was already working on Turussk’s swoop bike. I was about to ask him what he had done to the bike already when he asked me something first.

“Master, may I ask you a question?”

“No.”

“Good. You, Master, are dull, tedious, and boring. (I may not be a master of language, but I’m still pretty sure that those are all the same thing.) The other fleshpiles you associate with, however, are fairly interesting. How did you accomplish this?”

I could’ve entered another pointless debate with Envy, but I kept my mouth shut and wondered why I hadn’t had Envy’s personality changed yet. The next few hours went by fairly quickly and we had almost the entire engine pulled apart. That’s when I noticed an odd rectangular metal box. It was not supposed to be there. My senses told me what this was, even if my brain didn’t know. I called Envy over to inspect it.

“Is this what I think it is,” I asked him.

“Of course, Master. This is a bomb.”