Sunday, 6 July 2008

Fictional Freakouts: The Phantom Brigade Issue #6

Not familiar with this piece of literary improv? Don't fret and check out the earlier installments:

"I was expecting something a little more dramatic," said Emma Grail, feeling an alien breeze come from what used to be a basement closet.

"You do realize that there is a portal to an alien planet, and possibly an alternate universe in your basement?" said Thorn.

"I know," replied Emma, "but I've been conditioned by years of Hollywood sci-fi. I was expecting flashing lights, streaming colours, and maybe some weird noises. This is amazing, but it's not very dramatic."

"What do we do?" asked Tanaka.

"The portal is stable," said Fahey looking over his assortment of instruments.

"What's stabilizing it?" asked Thorn.

YOU TWO, answered the voice of Professor Hawkins that came from everywhere, but nowhere.

"You're going to have to do some explaining," said Thorn, "I majored in history, and she's an actress."

"That doesn't make me an idiot!" snapped Emma.

"But it doesn't make you a quantum physicist either," replied Thorn.


"That was my theory," said Emma.

"Sure," said Thorn.

"It's an oxygen nitrogen atmosphere," said Fahey, "and we're not reading any harmful biologicals."

"I'm going to take a look," said Thorn approaching the door, "you stay here."

"I'm not going--"


"--anywhere," said Emma, as she realized that she had gone somewhere. She was still standing by the closet door, but from the other side. She was standing on the stone path, felt the breeze in her red hair, and the heat from an alien sun on her cheek.

"What just happened," said Thorn as he came to her.

"You just appeared on the other side," said Tanaka through the open door, "as Thorn walked through."

"She must be bonded to the portal," said Fahey. "Hawkins thinks she's sort of a key and has to pass through when the portal is used."

"We're going to look around," said Thorn, "then we're going right back through."

"Look," said Emma pointing.

Thorn turned and saw a giant statue over twenty feet high. It was grey stone and showed a giant sized version of the strange long necked creatures they've been finding back on Earth, it was clad in long robes and it's broad legs stood on either side of the strange portal.

"This is not a coincidence," said Thorn.

"This is weird," said Emma.

"Weirder than what?"

"Look at the writing on base of the feet," said Emma, "it's weird."

"It's an alien language," said Thorn, "I'm sure English is weird to them."

"But I can understand it," said Emma, "it say that it is a memorial to someone named Overlord Mighty Thunder-Puncher or something like that."

"You can read it?" asked Thorn.

"Yes, can you?"

"Yes," replied Thorn, "but I'm a freak, long story, but you're an actress, you shouldn't be able to read it."

"I'm freaking out here," said Emma.

"Okay," said Thorn, "let's look around and then we head right back to your basement. Okay?"

Emma nodded. Thorn drew the strange looking pistol from his belt.

"We appear to be on a mountain," said Thorn, "that'll give us a good view."

They walked for a few moments in silence. Only the rustle of purple leaves on blue trees for a sound. Then they reached a broad ledge with an old stone wall around the edge of it.

Thorn holstered his pistol and took a small black box from a pocket and unfolded it. He held it to his eyes and looked around.

"Take a look at this," said Thorn, passing the device to Emma. "Look into the eyepiece and aim it that way."

Emma looked and saw a row of creatures, relatives of the one that attacked her, and descendants of the Thunder-Puncher. They were dressed in identical metal tunics and pants, coloured bright yellow. And they were harvesting what looked like pink grain from a field.

"They're walking funny," said Emma.

"I've seen that walk before," said Thorn. "They're wearing leg-irons. It's slave labour, now look up a little farther."

Emma aimed the device upward, and saw a vast artificial plateau of brick and cut stone. Resting on top of the plateau was something that looked like a city.

"It looks like suburbia," said Emma, "suburbia meets Helm's Deep. What's going on here?"

"I have a theory," said Thorn, "but I need some proof."

"Ovak!" snapped a voice behind them, "Tellus ovak!"

Emma and Thorn turned to see a tall slender humanoid, dressed in a lime green uniform, with purple skin, solid yellow eyes, and a stubble of blue hair in a thin line on the top of its narrow head.

"This is getting weirder," said Emma, raising her hands. "I understood him."

"Curiouser and curiouser," said Thorn as he raised his hands.


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