Just Jim

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About Just Jim

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  • Location Central Florida
  • Interests I remember when I was a kid I watched the first moon landing on my grandparents big TV, along with my grandpa, who was equally fascinated.
    And I've watched each and every satellite, probe, and rover to go into the solar system since.
    That's why I'm so hooked on this game.... it's like I get to do it all over again, and this time I'm in command... cool!
    I read a lot... probably too much, if that is possible. My favorite authors are Frank Herbert and H.P. Lovecraft.
    I also love studying history... and obviously I'm a huge science fact and fiction fanatic.

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  1. Oh, wait.... it's supposed to be a magazine, isn't it? Opps... my bad Sorry... I was thinking of 1000 details at the same time and totally missed that. Correcting now
  2. From central Florida, about 70-80%.... the clouds are my friends!
  3. Thanks, but truth be told, I got SOOOOO lucky! I couldn't really look at it to aim the camera, so I just waited until it was coming out from behind a cloud, then quick popped off about a dozen or so shots... and much to my surprise, two of them actually came out.
  4. WOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Clouds are my friends!!! About 70% from Florida 5 minutes or so ago:
  5. Kraken krap... It's starting to really cloud up here... stupid Florida weather... not sure if we'll get to see much or not at this point..
  6. No..... too funny!!!
  7. So??? Have you read Emiko Station??? I have telepathic Krakens!!! Seriously, I see no problems with things like telepathy or alternate realities in a good sci-fi story.... quite the opposite... IMO
  8. Understood, thank you... That's how mine were finishing this up last night... it was a really long chapter, and my fingers were turning to jello. I have to proofread it again this morning, I probably missed a ton of goofs...
  9. Blurring and stirring the truth and the lies So I don't know what's real and what's not Evanescence, "Going Under" Chapter 86 Emiko's Backstory - Going Under Dedicated to all my awesome readers.... Be careful what you wish for... Night had fallen on the Kerbal Space Center, and a horrified hush fell over Gene Kerman's briefing room as he and the rest tried to take in all that Emiko and Chibi had just revealed about their encounter with these "Krakens" on the strange and faraway planet called Earth. For several minutes no-one said a word, until Gene reached over to press his intercom button. "Please have snacks and coffee brought up," his voice cracked. "We... we're going to be here all night." Next to him, Valentina had gone a pale lime color. "My God.... Gramiko..." Val tried to hold back her tears. "You... you sacrificed yourself?" "Yes..." Chibi looked over at Emiko and smiled sadly. "Yes, she did...... but...." "But..." Across the table Captain Kuzzter, a master at connecting dots, immediately saw where this was going, and was almost too horrified at the thought to continue. "But... you, Miss Chibi.... they blamed you... didn't they?" "Yes... Krakens set Chibi up, tried to frame her...." Emiko smiled sadly at her best friend. "Emiko so... so sorry... didn't know they would blame you for murder-poof. Would not have left you if..." "No... stop..." Chibi smiled back. "You did what you thought was right... and it was so, so very brave.... don't apologize... not ever." "So this human named Badie," Geschosskopf asked, deep in thought. "She was the third human to be possessed... And I saw three Kerbals who were... or are... clearly possessed in my vision... Carlenna and Thompberry's parents, they're possessed by the very same three Kraken Spirits, aren't they?" "Yes..." Chibi said softly. "Emiko said she heard the leader, the one that possessed Mary-Sue on Earth, and is now possessing Carlenna. And if Emiko said she heard that... monster... laughing in her mind, I believe her... and fear for her... and all of you." "And the other two are her... servants?" von Kerman asked. "More like minions..." Chibi tried to explain as best she could. "But each quite terrible in their own right. My impression is it's almost like royalty... Carlenna-Kraken is some sort of leader or ruler, and these two were some sort of high-ranking generals under her... or something akin to that." "That fits into what I saw," Geo nodded. "But earlier you mentioned there might be a fourth... Is there another of these... things?" Emiko and Chibi looked at each other again before Emiko looked back and shrugged. "Emiko really, really not sure what it was..." Again there was a long drawn out pause before Gene asked softly. "So what happened next? Where did they take you, Emiko? And Chibi, what happened... please? You were framed for this... Greeves, is it? For his murder-poofing? Chibi and Emiko looked at each other, and neither seemed to want to answer. "Emiko didn't know at first where she was..." Emiko whispered softly. "Not until after..." "Until after they threw me in jail," Chibi finished, a tear running slowly down her cheek. "And charged me with... murder-poofing." * * * * * Unfortunately for Chibi, her father, Armand DeBateau, was halfway across the planet, attending the opening ceremonies of a newly founded children's hospital, when the incident at the Fishhead Hotel occurred, and no amount of money in the world could have gotten him home any faster. So it wasn't until nearly two days later that Armand pulled up to the Belladonna Cove police station, and was sickened at the thought that his poor little girl was being held inside. There was a distinct chill in the air, but the killer frost of just a few days earlier turned into a remarkably warm, but gloomy, Indian summer, and Armand bundled his coat close against the rain and fog, took a deep breath, and headed in. The whole flight back home Armand promised himself he would keep his cool, but as soon as he got to the front desk, he began to shout at the night officer. "I demand to see..." DeBateau began to shout, but was immediately cut off by the quiet, but stern, voice of Police Chief Delarosa. "I'm right here, Armand." "Lieutenant," the chief said to the night officer as she walked into the lobby and up to Armand. "We will be in briefing room 7. Please see to it we are not disturbed." "Yes, ma'am," the officer named Nick nodded. "I understand completely." "Thank you," Delarosa nodded back, then turned to DeBateau . "Would you follow me, please?" "Before you say anything," Delarosa turned and whispered to DeBateau once they had reached the elevator. "No-one here thinks she's guilty. But when my men got to the scene she was screaming and crying about how she had killed Mr. Greeves, and it somehow being all her fault. And unfortunately, even after they read her rights to her, and tried to get her to keep quiet until a lawyer could be gotten for her, she wouldn't shut-up... and so she was arrested and brought in." "Oh, no..." Armand whispered. "Yes," Delarosa shook her head sadly as they entered the elevator. "Now I'm getting pressured from the DA and mayors office... Both want her charged and tried as an adult... and they're hinting about throwing the book at her!" "But why?" Armand asked in a cold sweat. "Why go after her if you think she's innocent?" "I... I don't know" Delarosa replied as they stepped from the elevator into the second floor detention area. "Mr. Greeves is... was... a duel citizen, it could be the mayor and DA are being pressured from on high as well." Delarosa lead Armand from the elevator and down a series of cold, cement block hallways to a small meeting room before speaking again. "Stay here for a minute," she whispered before closing the door and heading across the hall and into the holding area. "How's our guest, lieutenant?" Chief Delarosa asked the watch officer as she walked into the holding area. "Oh, she's fine," the officer smiled back. "I wish all our "guests" were as well behaved." "Good, good," Delarosa smiled as she watched Chibi, lying on her bunk and day-dreaming about Emiko. "Everything downstairs is quiet," Delarosa said, turning back to the guard. "And I needed to get out of my office for a few minutes. Why don't you go take an early break? I can watch things up here, and get away from my paperwork at the same time." "Really, chief?" the night guard beamed as she got up to leave. "That would be great, thank you!" "My pleasure," Delarosa smiled back and winked. "Like I said, it also gives me an excuse to get away from filling out reports, at least for a little while." Once the guard was out of sight, Chief Delarosa ran back across the hall to where Armand was still waiting and motioned for him to follow her. "OK, I can only give you about five minutes," she said softly and pointed to the interview room behind her. "I'm sorry, it's the best I can do." "Frances..." DeBateau gave the chief a big hug and whispered back. "You... you could get in so much trouble for this... I.... I can't thank you enough." "I know," Delarosa whispered back. "But you've done so very much for this department, and the Belladonna Cove community over the years. If I'm going to lose my job breaking a couple rules, I can't think of a better person to risk it for. Now hurry, go inside and have a seat and I'll get her." The chief paused again for a moment to make sure the hallway was empty, then rushed back inside the cell and up to Chibi's cell door. "I swear, if you breath a word of this, I will help them convict you, do you understand?" Delarosa whispered harshly. "I... yes, yes ma'am," Chibi answered meekly, unsure why the police chief would suddenly look.... nervous? Then to Chibi's utter astonishment, Chief Delarosa reached into her pocket, took out a large set of keys, and opened Chibi's cell! "First chair... hurry. I'll watch the door!" Delarosa whispered, pointing to the interview windows. "Da... DADDY!" Chibi looked over and gasped when she saw her father on the other side of the window, and ran to the chair. "Thank... thank you," she smiled back at the police chief. "I promise... not a word... but I'll never forget." "Just hurry..." Delarosa whispered back over her shoulder. "I don't know how much time you have." But try as she might, the second Chibi saw her father, she broke down completely... "Oh... daddy... I.... I didn't do it!!! I swear.... I... I can't remember... but I... I know..." she sobbed. "And I don't know where Emiko is!!!" "It's OK, I believe you" Armand tried to smile and be brave for his daughter. "And I promise, sweetheart, I will be on the phone as soon as I get out of here, and I'll get you the best lawyers in the country, and get you out of this place." "Bu... bu... but I'm... sooooo scared!" Chibi weeped. "Chibi, please," Armand pleaded. "Please, don't be frightened, nothing is going to happen to you, I promise." "Nooooooo...." Chibi wailed thru her tears... "Noooo... not me..... Emiko... EMIKO!!! Daddy, I don't know where she is... or what happened to her... but she's gone..." Chibi began sobbing uncontrollably again. "Chibs... sweety," Armand tried to be as gentle as he could. "Was Emiko with you the other night when... when?" "Yes... No..." Chibi screamed, then dropped into a soft whimper... "I... I can't remember! I... can't... All I know is she's gone, and I know... I can feel it... Daddy, Emiko is in terrible, terrible danger." * * * * * Not long after his visit, Armand DeBateau, having already scheduled an early meeting the next morning with his legal staff, pulled up to his step-brother Nick's house, and smiled grimly when he saw Professor Mortimer Goth's odd looking jalopy already parked out front. "Oh, my friend." Goth stood up and sighed as Armand walked in. He looked 20 years older than the last time Armand had seen him. "I.... I am so sorry... I've..." "It's alright," Armand said softly. "I've already seen Chibi, and she tried to explain... she said she can't remember much of what actually occurred.... and she said neither can any of you???" "No..." Goth shook his head slowly. "I can't. Neither can your brother, or Cassandra. Just vague images... Cassandra is upstairs lying down, but she can't stop crying... and Nick..." But just then several shots rang out... Blam... blam... blam blam blam blam blam blam blam..... "Oh, dear... Goth sighed. "Here we go again.... Armand, go talk to him, please..." "I take it he's in his "play-room"? DeBateau looked at a heavily armored and triple locked door on the other side of the room. "Yes..." Goth hesitated a moment. "But... he's been in there for hours... and hours... just shooting at target after target... and I fear whatever happened that night may be slowly tearing him apart." Blam... blam... blam blam blam blam blam blam blam..... "OK," Armand sighed this time. "I'll go and see if I can talk him down." Knowing his step-brother was, in fact, a secret operative for several years, hearing him on a target shooting binge was no real surprise to Armand... That is, until he walked into the private range and spied at least a dozen empty ammo boxes scattered about the room, and nearly choked on gun powder smoke so thick it was difficult at first to see Nick standing rigid in front of a practice target. "I... I missed, brother..." Nicked said softly, knowing Armand was behind him. "I... I don't know how... but I missed... and... I don't know what... but Chibi... Emiko... I failed them" Nick turned and walked slowly up to his brother, looking for upset than Armand had ever seen him. "I am so sorry...." "Nick," Armand said softly, "I've already talked to Chibi and Mortimer, and they said the same... I don't understand what's happening. But I do see something is... wrong... And whatever happened... I believe you, all of you. I really do." Not long after, Mortimer went and fetched his daughter, who looked more broken then ever, and the four sat around a dining room table, waiting for Cassandra, who quite obviously had something to say, but was clearly too afraid to speak. "Cassy," Mortimer asked gently. "What is it, dear?" "I.... I felt..... I know.... now" Cassandra buried her face in her hands and trembled visibly. "The night Greeves died... someone, or something, was in... in our minds!!!" "Damn..." Nick growled. "You mean like some sort of telepathy, or witchcraft?" "Yes... and no..." Cassandra shook her head. "It's hard to tell exactly... not like anything I've ever felt, almost alien... But now that I know... I know... our minds have been wiped!" "That... would explain a lot," Goth breathed heavily, now also clearly upset at the revelation. "And this definitely points to someone else murdering Greeves, kidnapping Emiko, and framing Chibi in the process... but who, and to what end?" "To my knowledge," Nick thought hard. "There is only one person in the Cove that comes even close to that much power..." "Agreed," Goth looked over, but then shook his head "But while she wouldn't blink an eye at murdering an adversary, she prefers subtlety and guile. Something like this is not her style, not at all." "True..." Armand mused. "But if she didn't do it, perhaps she could be persuaded to help us find out who did." "What?" Cassandra screamed in horror... "Are you suggesting we... summon... her??? The Dark-Witch???" "Cassandra," Goth asked as gently as he could. "Please, for the girls... you do know how to contact her, don't you?" "I promise she won't hurt you," Armand tried smile. "Please, can you summon her, for me?" "But... but you don't understand," Cassandra shivered. "She promised if she ever saw me again... she would slowly roast me in a cauldron and feed me to her pets.... Have you seen her pets???" "Cassandra, please," Armand pleaded again. "For Chibi and Emiko... and Greeves. We... We have to know what really happened." Cassandra dropped her head into her hands, visibly torn between her fear for the girls safety, and her terror of the most powerful witch in all Belladonna Cove, and quite possible the entire planet. Then, knowing in her heart what she had to do, Cassandra Goth gave in with an almost inaudible whisper... "On the balcony..." Once they had reassembled on the balcony, Cassandra told the others to stand back near the door, while she walked slowly out into the rain and fog and pulled out a wand of her own! "Why am I not surprised?" Nick whispered, but was immediately shushed by both Mortimer and his step-brother. From where they were standing it was impossible to make out Cassandra's whispered summoning spell. But it clearly worked when within just seconds there was a horrid screeching, and Dark-Witch McCullough swooped down onto the balcony, jumped off of her broom, spied Cassandra... and screamed a spell at her! "You!!!!" "Please..." Cassandra begged, trying desperately to cast her own protection spell. But her efforts were like an ant trying to hold back a volcano, and within seconds the enchanted flames began to rip thru her own spell... "Please... I... please..." "I told you..." The Dark Witch sneered... "I warned you... and yet you have the audacity to summon me... ME?" But just when Cassandra thought she couldn't hold out any longer, Armand called out in a loud voice... "Let her down, Francis... I asked her to call you." Instantly the spell was dropped, and Cassandra fell to her knees, exhausted and slightly singed, but alive. "You... Armand deBateau," the Dark Witch seemed oddly conflicted. "Why would you summon me to this place?" To everyone surprise Armand walked over and gently took the witch's hand. "Do you remember the first time we met?" "Yes..." The Dark-witch answered slowly. "The rogue-witch." "Back then I helped you and your... companions... because I saw it was the only way.... And while I may not have agreed with your... methods... I looked the other way so you could do what had to be done." "Yes... you did." The Dark Witch turned away and frowned. "Is that why you've summoned me... do you now seek payment, after all these many years?" "No... No, not at all," Armand replied gently. "I told you then, and I tell you now, while you sought only revenge, you also saved countless innocent lives in the process. And while this fact may mean little to you and your companions, I consider it more than sufficient." "Then why am I here?" The witch asked again, but much more softly, already starting to suspect the answer. "Because..." Armand replied in a hushed whisper. "I fear the same thing may be happening all over again." Back down in the dining room, the Dark Witch had Mortimer, Cassandra, and Nick sit back at the table, but motioned to Armand to step back while she felt out and touched each of the three's minds. So powerful was her mind-probe even Armand felt a shiver down his psyche, and he took another step back. "Well," The witch said softly. "This is... unusual." "What do you mean?" Armand asked. "There are definitely mind-blocks in all three of them... But strange... and sloppy.... who did this?" "That's what we need to know. Can you help them?" "What, unblock them?" the Dark Witch laughed. "Are you teasing me, Armand? Of course I can." Then the witch turned, pulled out her wand, and looked Cassandra directly in the eye with an evil smile. "But I have to warn you... this may hurt... a lot!" Bolts of power surged thru the helpless three, and what was actually just a couple seconds felt like an eternity, until the witch screamed her spell to completion, and the three fell into their chairs, physically drained, but their minds slowly... slowly clearing.... And then Cassandra let out a horrific scream, and began to wail uncontrolably... "No.... Mary-Sue... No... NOOOOO!" "It worked," the witch turned to Armand. "But Mary-Sue Pleasant.?? You mean to say she's the one behind this... she's gone rogue? Is this true?" "I... I don't know." Cassandra blubbered. "She always hid it... always. You know... that's why you left us alone... I swear, we never told anyone... I don't know why she would... would...." "I can see in your mind if you're lying... or covering up." The witch looked at darkly at Cassandra, then waved her wand again and this time summoned a great dark throne at the head of the table. "Now," she demanded as she sat and glared at Cassandra. "Tell me everything." "Krakens..." Dark Witch Francis McCullough whispered an hour later. "On Earth, in the Cove... and no-one knew? Are you certain?" "Certain?" Mortimer answered slowly. "In all honesty, no. I've never encountered such a being before this. But even though it's a little fuzzy, I remember Emiko called them Krakens, yes." "Kraken-lady Mary-Sue monster," Nick said, trying to also see thru the clearing fog in his mind. "That's what she said... I think. She called the one... the one I missed!!! Yes... I remember now! I unloaded a full magazine of 9mm hollow-points right into her skull from only 2 meters... and completely missed!" "Ahhh, yes," The Dark Witch smiled. "It is relatively easy to enter one's mind and misdirect their eyesight and aim. I doubt you could hit me, either. Against a skilled mentalist most conventional weapons are useless." "Then you've encountered them before?" Mortimer asked. "Myself? No..." the witch replied. "The only witch to vanquish a Kraken from Earth was my grandmother, thousands of years before I was born. She was an Egyptian Pharaoh, in the 6th dynasty, and to my knowledge to only human to actually combat a Kraken scourge on this planet.... and survive." "Wait... Oh... Oh, noooo..." Armand suddenly gasped. "I just remembered. Chief Delarosa said she was getting pressured to throw the book at Chibi.... from the mayors office itself.... OMG... Mayor Mary-Sue Pleasant!" "If Mary-Sue's been taken by a Kraken, then your daughter is as good as dead," The Dark Witch said in a surprisingly soft voice. "How ironic...." "What?" Armand pleaded. "What?" "Ironic... indeed... Tonight, Armand deBateau, you will, in fact, receive full payment for once doing me a favor," the Witch laughed softly again. "I wish to meet this.... Kraken, if that's what it truly is, face to face. And because it's just the incentive I need to draw it out, I will save your daughter in the process." "I... I... can't..." Armand began, but was quickly cut off by the witch. "No, don't say it..." the witch hesitated a moment. "I'm... I'm just doing what has to be done." "I understand," Armand smiled. "What do you have in mind?" "Well, first, while I would much prefer an upfront fight," the Dark Witch smiled. "This calls for cunning and trickery, not brute force." "But you'll still help?" "Oh, yes," the witch smiled evilly. "Breaking your child out under everyone's nose is also deliciously wicked in its own way, and might prove to be quite amusing. And even if it doesn't draw one of these Krakens out into the open, it should still serve to get their attention.... and perhaps send a message." The Dark Witch sat back and thought about it a second, then began to chuckle wickedly again. "Yes... perfect," she leaned in and grinned at the others. "I know just the perfect... person... to assist us in this. Now, listen closely...." The Dark Witch planned her mischief for the following night, but despite her insistence for discretion, Professor Goth now knew his old rival, Professor de'Alain, was somehow involved, and was determined drive out to de'Alain's castle and investigate. But as he and Nick wound down the mostly deserted road, they fog grew suddenly much more dense and thick... until they got close and saw it wasn't fog at all... but vast columns of smoke billowing from the old castle!!! "Simon... no," Goth whispered, digging desperately for his cell phone so he could call 911, while Nick ran valiantly up to try and search for the professor. But as he got close, Nick saw the front entrance was totally blown out, and the interior nearly engulfed as well.... yet still he bundled his jacket close... and tried his best to press onward inside... "Professor... PROFESSOR!!!" he screamed, but was barely able to hear his own voice above the roaring inferno... "PROFESSOR!!!" Then a horrific creaking drowned out the roar of the flames, and a huge chunk of stone fell into the empty lab.... empty.... And then Nick knew there was no-one here... and ran back out into the cool rain as fast as he could... "Not... nothing left..." Nick tried to say as he caught his breath. "Oh, no... Poor Simon," Goth sighed. "No... No..." Nick coughed. "The furniture, everything... not burned... the place has been emptied out...." Just then a loud meow interrupted them, and both men turned to see a raggedy and bedraggled Svengoolie come limping to Mortimer and look up with a sad meow. "Oh, Sven," Goth sighed, and reached down to pick up the now half-starved cat. "I am so sorry." "This was de'Alain's?" Nick asked, already knowing the answer. "Yes, Svengoolie," Goth replied sadly. "This settles it... Simon could be a somewhat hard man when it came to his students, but he loved this cat more than anything... and would never left him behind... ever. Those... things... must have him... and I know now it must be against his will!" * * * * * That night Mortimer and Cassandra Goth, along with Nick and the Dark Witch McCullough, rendezvoused at a small, run down bar named Fisk's, conveniently located diagonally across the intersection from the Belladonna Cove police station, and ideally situated for the witches plan. Now, it was a well known fact that old-man Fisk was loyal to no-one except old-man Fisk, but after being quietly passed several large bills by Professor Goth, he was more than glad to lock the front doors so that Mortimer and Cassandra could "play a nice game or two of billiards in private", while Nick and the witch did... whatever it was they were doing upstairs. Old-man Fisk didn't know... and didn't want to. He was just happy at the idea of having twice a normal nights profit already in his pocket, and gladly kept his mouth shut and looked the other way, hoping for a nice tip when this was all over. Upstairs Nick and McCullough were watching the police station from Fisk's office, while Nick explained what they had discovered earlier that day. "It was foolish to go out there," the Dark Witch grumbled. "But you say it was empty, nothing was inside when the blaze was set then?" "No," Nick shook his head. "My guess is they took whatever they could first, then set it to hide their tracks.... which means we just missed them." "Not necessarily," the witch frowned. "It could have been a simple enough spell, set to ignite once someone was close enough..." "But why did it go off before we got there, and not when we were inside... unless it wasn't a trap..." No... it wasn't a trap... it was a message" the witch speculated as she looked down and spied a large rat in the corner trying to scavenge a snack in a small pile of garbage. "This place is filthy.... I may have to visit more often." Meanwhile, across the street in her cell, Chibi was just about had the end of her limits, and sat on the edge of her cell cot, trying desperately not to despair. "Emiko...." she whispered to herself. "Where are you? Why... why can't I remember? Emiko... remember when we used to just sit for hours and... and.... Oh, why can't I remember!!!" But just then she was interrupted by the two night guards bickering out in the hall, and what sounded like something big and metal scraping along the tile floor. Well, this was at least a break in the long monotony, and Chibi immediately jumped up off her cot, hoping to catch a view of what was happening outside... and had her wish granted a few seconds later when the two night officers, who she had already learned were named Chester and Geoff, struggled in through the big double doors half-carrying and half-dragging what looked more than anything like a large, old fashioned bathtub! OK, this is really weird, Chibi thought to herself as she watched the officers quickly unbolt the cot in the cell next to hers from the wall and slide the tub in it's place, run a hose over, and begin to fill it with water! "Whatcha doin?" Chibi asked, unable to contain her curiosity any longer. "I thought water torture was illegal..." "Lucky for you," the officer named Geoff smiled. "No, believe it or not, you're getting company tonight, young lady," Officer Chester smiled and walked over to Chibi. "And you're going to water torture him?" Chibi giggled, a little bewildered... "He's a she..." Chester laughed back. "And no.... I don't believe she rises to the level of water torture... She's just in for trespassing and being a... hehehe.... a nuisance... She's going before the same judge you're seeing in the morning." "And she, what... sleeps in a tub?" "You'll see..." they both smiled secretively, walking out and down to escort Chibi's "company" upstairs from being processed. And sure enough, Chibi's jaw fell wide open when returned, escorting a... a plantling? "I... I thought Plantlings were just superstition," Chibi whispered out loud as the stunning green figure stopped a moment to look directly at her. Superstition or not, whatever this... plant-person... was, she was beautiful... In fact, she was absolutely stunning, and Chibi couldn't help but marvel at how mysterious and gorgeous her eyes were. Quietly the strange, emerald figure walked calmly into her cell, then over to where Chibi was standing, still quite in awe. "Hello, young lady," the stately green woman said in the most pleasant of voices. "My name is Rose... Rose Brier. And you are?" "Chibi..." Chibi started to say, but then stopped and began again. "I'm sorry. My name is Tara Marie Louisa Anastasia DeBateau... but please, my friends call me Chibi." "Chibi it is, then," The plantling named Rose smiled. "I am honored to make your acquaintance, even if it under such... uncouth conditions." While the two sat and began chatting quietly, officers Geoff and Chester turned to leave, but before doing so Chester turned to the holding cell guard, a lieutenant named Caroline, and smiled. "I'll be back to relieve you in a half hour for your lunch break," he smiled. "I don't think these two will be much if a problem between now and then." "Thank you,' Caroline smiled back. "I'll yell if there's some sinister mass escape attempt before you get back." And exactly 30 minutes later the young lieutenant returned to find Chibi and the weird plant-person calling itself Rose still sitting and talking, and the guard eager to get up and stretch her legs. "No riot, sorry," Caroline smiled as they looked down on captives. "Maybe tomorrow..." And with a short laughed the guard turned and headed down on her lunch break, while Chester walked over and looked at Rose is obvious fascination. "Young man," the strange but elegant plantling said as she rose to face the young lieutenant. "It's not polite to stare at a lady." "I... I'm sorry," Chester found himself stammering a little. "I apologize. It's just you're the first... well..." "Plantling," Rose smiled warmly back. "I am called a plantling. And your name is Chester, correct?" "Yes... yes, my name is Chester," the young officer seemed taken back. "How did you know?" "I heard the other one call you downstairs by name," Rose smiled back, and reached out to gently stroke his cheek playfully. "I wouldn't forget the name of such an handsome young man, even if you aren't a plant." Chibi, watching from her cell, did everything to stand perfectly still, and not move a muscle... and most especially not start laughing! She actually liked officer Chester, she really did. Of all her guards, he had been the kindest, and one of the few that would actually talk and interact with her, and help relieve her fear and boredom. But Chester was young, and sweet... and most of all naive... and it almost saddened Chibi to see him falling for the oldest trick in the book as he reach up to hold Rose's hand against his cheek before she pulled back.... and blushed in a weird, green sort of way. Sucker... Chibi thought, not moving a muscle.... Sucker.... "Oh, my..." Rose said in a sultry, flustered sort of voice. "It is getting warm in here. Would you mind if I unfurled my leaves?" "Would I... what?" Chester stammered... "Un... what?" "Unfurl, silly boy, " Rose laughed and stepped back a couple paces. "Oh, don't fret so. I promise, I'm not hiding a weapon under my leaves." And with that Rose seemed to shiver a moment, then tense up and... POOF!!! In a flash Rose's "leaves" unwrapped themselves, and she seemed to bloom very much like a flower before their eyes! "Oh, that is brilliant!" Chester laughed, his eyes practically falling out of his head. Sucker... Chibi silently replied in her head... I have bikini's that are far more revealing.... SUCKER!!!! "Ahhh, that's much better," Rose sighed, walking back to face Chester through her cell bars. "Would you like to see another?" "Yes, YES," Chester beamed... SUCKER!!! Chibi silently screamed... "OK, watch closely," Rose grinned, then held out her hand, as if to throw the young, and unfortunately inexperienced, officer a kiss.... And instead blasted him right smack in the face with a green cloud of something resembling pollen... or perhaps spores! "What... what did you...." Chester choked, his vision blurring, and legs legs growing weaker and weaker... "what.... waaa" "Rock-a-bye Chester, in the cell block..." Rose laughed as Chester weaved and finally fell flat on his back. "When you wake up.... well.... you'll have quite a headache." "Now, we have only a few seconds," Rose said to Chibi and she reached for the now snoring officers keys. "Let's hope they're not paying close attention to the monitors down at the front desk.... Ahh, there we go." With a grin Rose fished the cell keys from Chester's pocket, unlocked herself, then walked over and freed Chibi as well. "Thank you.. Thank you," Chibi wrapped her arms around her savior. "I don't know who you are... but thank you." "Now then," Rose looked around as she walked out into the holding area., "According to my mistress's intelligence, there should a cold air intake... somewhere." "What about Chester?" Chibi asked, looking at the still snoring officer. "He's going to be all right?" "Yes, perfectly. That was just sleepy-pollen," Rose said as she searched around the small room. "My mistress gave me strict instructions to not cause any permanent harm anyone in our escape." "And there you are..." Rose smiled, finding the small floor vent behind the guard's chair, then looked back at Chibi. "Now the real fun begins..." And with a giggle Rose began puffing something once again from her hand, and right down into the vent. "More sleepy-pollen?" Chibi asked, totally fascinated. It was becoming quite clear to her now that Rose wasn't just some sort of plant-person, and some sort of powerful magic was involved... "Better," Rose beamed, now pulling a flower from her head and blowing the seeds into the vent. "Giggle-spores and laughing-seeds!" Giggle-spores? Chibi thought to herself... Laughing-seeds? A magic plantling with laughing-seeds? And then it hit her... Rose just said she had a mistress... Of course... of course! By some miracle, she must have sent by the Good Witch Phoebe! Chibi's friend Sandra was the good-witch's star pupil... she must have talked to Phoebe, and persuaded her to send Rose to get her out of this nightmare! "OK..." Rose stood back up with a mischievous grin. "Now we wait.... But don't worry... this won't take long..." Downstairs, it turned out Rose had been quite correct, and Geoff was not watching the monitors, but instead playing with the stations newest recruit, Corporal Cupcake, a recently retired military dog with more combat experience than most human Vets Geoff knew,. And still in her office, Chief Delarosa was staying late... again... trying to catch up on the never ending paperwork. And back in the forensics lab, chief county coroner Doctor LoVar walked from the deceased body of Greeves back to a set of X-rays, then shook his head in complete bewilderment before turning to his assistant, for the 12th time. "It... it's as if his brain completely exploded from inside the skull... but there is not a mark on the body..." LoVar didn't seem to notice anymore he was repeating himself. "There is no way that girl upstairs... or anyone for that matter... could have caused this... I don't know what could!" But back in the lobby, Officer Caroline Jones was walking out of the ladies room, when she looked down and saw something... quite unexpected... "A mushroom patch... yeah, right...." Caroline said in a slightly amused tone, then reached down to grab one and called out. "Geoff... ah, is this one of Chester and your practical jokes?" "Is what a joke?" Geoff called back... but for a moment got no response.... until he heard Caroline start to giggle, and then laugh out loud in a slightly scary and hysterical way that made Geoff pause and get up to investigate. "OK, what's so... funny??? Carol... Oh... what the blazes???" Geoff thought he heard her say something about mushrooms, but this was both bizarre and frighting, actually,. And as she sat in front of the weird mushroom and continued to laugh, Geoff got the awfullest feeling... and slowly turned around... Only a few seconds later Chief Delarosa, still working feverishly and not really paying attention to the outer office, heard a faint scratching at her window. But when she looked around her monitor and out her office window, she gasped, and thought for a moment she had fallen asleep in her chair... again... and was just having a very bizarre dream. "OK, Francis," the chief said softly to herself as she looked around the outer office and lobby, and saw it was filled with huge and unbelievable... plants! "Pull yourself together, girl... You've always loved Alice... so this is just an Alice dream... yeah..." But this was too real to be a dream, and the she knew it... But how then did she explain what looked like a 7 foot mushroom blocking the main entrance... and her guard sitting in front of a smaller one, laughing hysterically? Anxious to find the rest of her people, Francis hurried out into the lobby, only to nearly trip over the lot of them, fallen over into a pile of mushrooms in the hallway, and laughing uncontrollably. Still unsure if she was awake or dreaming, and what to do about all this, Francis then made the mistake of going over and examining the large, red mushroom blocking the main door. Curious, she bent over to examine it... and like the others, strayed too close and breathed in some giggle-spores... and felt herself falling to the floor, overcome by waves and waves of uncontrollable mirth. So loud was the laughter, Chibi and Rose could clearly hear it coming up through the floor, at which time Rose quickly wrapped her leaves back around her, smiled at Chibi and pointed to the door. "We can go now." Rose smiled as she walked into the hallway, and led Chibi through a small maze of corridors. "But we must hurry, I don't know how much longer our luck will hold. Quickly, follow me." Ahh, here we are," Rose beamed as they entered a small room, with a much different looking door on the far wall. "The balcony. We can make our escape from here." "But how will we get... down..." Chibi started to say as she walked out onto the balcony, and her eyes went wide at what she saw reaching up into the foggy sky before her.... "No... way..." "A beanstalk... a real beanstalk..." Chibi shook her head in wonder. "I knew it, a witch sent you, didn't she?" But instead of replying, Rose stood perfectly still, as if listening for something in the rain... then turned to Chibi in alarm... .... as the entire balcony erupted in walls of flame!! So terrified of the fire was Chibi that she didn't notice through the roaring inferno Mary-Sue and her Kraken minions teleporting in, until an evil and oily laugh filled her mind with amused hatred. "Well..." Mary-Sue's terrible voice laughed in Chibi's skull. "I have to admit, my little abomination... this has been quite... entertaining." "You... YOU!" Chibi screamed, her memory coming back the instant she felt Mary-Sue in her mind. "WHERE IS EMIKO??? FIEND!!!" "Ahhh... she is quite unharmed, for now," Mary-Sue thought back. "But you, my persistent little monster... you and your new found friend here... whatever that thing is... I fear you may require another... demonstration... of just what you are foolishly thinking of going up against." Then Mary-Sue turned to the Kraken possessing Chibi's idol, the musician once calling herself Badie, only now looking more beautiful and terrifying than ever. "Show them..." was all Mary-Sue thought to Badie. And Badie looked back with a smile that dripped with venom, and replied in a telepathic voice like frozen silk... "It would be my honor, Empress..." That was when Chibi saw thru the smoke and flames the small staff of the police station now standing below them, still somewhat dazed from the giggle-spores, and totally unaware of the danger they were in... Unaware that was, until the Kraken Badie turned to them, lifted her arms, and began to rise even higher into the air.... Then a voice began to softly enter Chibi's skull... soft... melodic... hypnotic... beautiful and yet... horrible... It was clearly Badie... but Badie now amplified a million, million times over... stunning... enrapturing... and totally, totally evil!!! Desperate to drown out the singing, Chibi clamped her hands over her ears... but it made no difference... she couldn't stop it... And through the beautiful but horrifying melody, Chibi looked down and saw, one by one, each of her former guards and captures fall victim to Badie's overpowering telepathic spell... "Yes, my mistress..." "We hear you..." "... and obey." Then Badie's horrifying enchantment reached a peak, and her victims below lurched and flailed about, before all rising up with vicious and animalistic snarls full of hate. Meanwhile, across the street in Fisk's bar, Nick and the Dark Witch Francis saw the eruption of flame, followed by Badie's haunting song, and both were stunned for a second. "A... Siren?" the Dark Witch growled in disbelief... "One of them is... a Siren???" "I... I... I..." was all Nick could get out. But Francis just ignored him, bolted up to the roof, climbed upon her broom, and rose up into the foggy night sky as fast as she could. Back on the police station balcony, Mary-Sue's Kraken shivered and purred with malicious satisfaction. "From meager beginnings..." she laughed into Chibi's mind. "We shall forge a new army of thralls... mere zombies to you... but who's only desire is to do our bidding.... Do you now understand who you face, little abomination?"" But then Mary-Sue noticed the plant... thing... that had assisted Chibi in almost escaping seemed totally unphased, and instead stood looking back at the Kraken with amused defiance.... just before a brilliant flash of light caught the Krakens totally by surprise! As the light faded, Mary-Sue was taken back by a new human that had suddenly appeared from the sky, and climbed off some sort of... broom??? But instead of speaking, this new human instead pulled out what Mary-Sue knew was something called a wand, and began to twirl it, while whispering an incantation that rumbled and echoed like thunder through the night sky... Then a monstrous series of thunderbolts rained down upon the balcony, taking Mary-Sue and her minions again completely by surprise, while the Dark Witch calmly turned and walked through the conflagration and up to Rose and Chibi, who now was completely paralyzed, and not entirely sure who to be more afraid of. Then the thunder subsided, and so did Mary-Sue's illusionary inferno, and she instantly went from amused to enraged. But the witch didn't seem to care, or even notice, and instead stood before Rose, who was now bowing before her. "Mistress." "Mistress..." Chibi gasped... "Her? HER?" "Yes, her...." Francis growled, but inside was thoroughly enjoying the shocked look on Chibi face. "Did you know your father and I once dated?" "WHAT???" Chibi felt faint, but Rose looked over and smiled. "Chibi, dear, you've trusted me up until now..." Rose took Chibi's hand and held it tight. "Please, for your own safety, I need you to trust me just one more time..." "OK," Chibi mouthed, unable to speak at this point. Behind them Mary-Sue continued to rant and rage at the witch. "Who are you to ignore me?" Mary-Sue's voice echoed through their minds. "Oh, dear," Francis looked over her shoulder and taunted. "Did you hear something?" Then she turned back to Rose and whispered. "Now..." Rose looked at Chibi and took her hand once again. "Chibi... just do what I do, and get ready to jump as high as you can..." "Jump?" "Yes, just jump... on three," Rose said, kneeling down as far as she could and pulling Chibi down with her. "What foolishness is this?" Mary-Sue raved, but Rose just started counting down... "One... two... three... NOW!" To the Krakens continued amazement, both Chibi and Rose jumped impossibly high into the air... And then Mary-Sue roared as the two suddenly vanished into some sort of wormhole!!! "No... NOOOO!!!!" Mary-Sue howled. "Who... who... do you think.... how DARE YOU!!!" But the Dark Witch said nothing, and instead turned to face the Kraken with a face as cold and dead and expressionless as the grave... And for a long moment the Dark Witch just stared back with eyes cold and evil as the Kraken's own. Then she pulled out her wand again, only this time her spell thundered through the minds of the Krakens, causing all three to pause, and draw back, before the Dark Witch exploded in a wreath of flame and power of her own... and then screeched like some forsaken banshee into the Krakens minds. "The half-human Chibi is now under MY protection!" the Dark Witches thoughts ripped through the Kraken's minds mercilessly, and for the first time in over 72,000 earth-years, the Kraken-Empress possessing Mary-Sue Pleasant faced an adversary who was just as evil, and malicious... and perhaps as powerful... as she. And also for the very first time in her long, long existance, the Kraken-Queen felt.... fear! "You now have 24 hours to release the alien child called Emiko Kerman!" Then the witch whipped out her broom once again, and rode off into the sky in a trail of smoke, screaming back to the infuriated Kraken. "24 hours!" the Dark Witch's voice echoed off the thunder, drowning out Mary-Sue's howls of fury and rage.... "If Emiko Kerman is not free by then... I'm coming for you!!! The Saga of Emiko Station, and the now even stranger Tale of Emiko and Chibi Kerman, are still far, far from over... Return to Index
  10. Oh, wow... too funny! Is this like a victory celebration dance??? I can make this easy... we changed her name from Navi to Bug... short for love-bug, cuddle-bug, etc, etc.... And since this is the appropriate thread for a funny thing happening update... she's doing great, and is a riot! We figure she's only about 2 1/2 or so, but has totally adjusted to the new house, and now shes acting like a kitten, running around all over the place, and exploring every square inch... and the cuteness is so very strong with this one! Jedi-master level cuteness...
  11. Thanks. But I have the chapter all done in my head, I just need to write it up now. Normally how I do it is to develop and finalize the chapter in my head as I'm doing the screenshots, especially the final sorting. When I sort them, I'm not just picking them out, I'm using them as my final storyboard as well. This is why it takes me a day or more to sort. Each screenshot I add I'm also working out the accompanying dialog or whatever in my head, from start to finish. So now that the screenshots are all ready, so is the chapter, I just need to sit down and type it all out... which usually takes about 6-8 hours or so for a long one.
  12. Actually, looking at this picture, it all makes sense to me now where the name came from.