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Corrandion, Corridane
I am JT, Ringer, nutjob, and archer, in that order. I like animated films, epic films, book films, movie music, folk music, and the occasional random other thing. I make friends by accident and like it that way...

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28 February 2011

The Elevator to Mars

This is a rewrite and expansion of a story I wrote when I was about ten. I bring this out because I had it and I do not have any new chapters for R&D yet. I hope you enjoy...

The Elevator to Mars

My name is Rich Lee, and I’m the kid who went to Mars by elevator. Yes, really. I went to Mars by elevator. Whether that was the weirdest part of my adventure, though, is up to you.
Now there’s one thing you should probably know before I go on. I have a problem with heights. So maybe you’re wondering how I ended up on the top of a one-hundred story tower. Well, to tell the truth, I don’t remember why myself (I get along fine if I stay away from the windows). But that is beside the point.
What I want to tell you is how I got so popular at school in one day. As in, prior to my adventure, a lot of kids knew me simply as “that weird kid from room 5B”. Afterwards, I became even more widely known as “that kid from room 5B who flew to Mars.”
It happened like this: the week before, while we were taking the stairs down to the ground level, my dad had hurt his leg (he’d been attempting to beat his own record time of twenty minutes down to the ground, which he would have had the elevator mechanic not gotten in the way on the 37th floor). In consequence, he couldn’t walk very well for a few days afterward, and so my mom would send me down to bring up lunch. To make the job easier, I was allowed to take the elevator.
Well, on the first Saturday after dad’s injury, I left the apartment, just like every other day, to take the plunge down to the ground floor to bring up lunch. I must have had my mind on something else at the time, because I distinctly remember now that I accidently punched the ‘up’ button on the control panel instead of the ‘down’ button, which is the only one worth pushing when you live a hundred stories above the ground. Anyhow, instead of staying where it was, as it should have at the top of the building when one pushes the ‘up’ button, the elevator did go up, straight through the roof of the building. The last thing I remember thinking before being thrown against the wall by the force of the rocket boosters underneath is “I’m gonna get that elevator mechanic somedaaaaaaay!”
When I finally woke up, it took me a few moments to realize that the elevator had stopped, and a few more before I was ready to stand up. After ten minutes, I did so, walked to the control panel, and punched the ‘doors open’ button. As soon as I stepped outside the elevator, I heard a loud, robotic-sounding voice announce “Abduction pod 15 has returned. Welcome, Earthling.”
Turning around to look for the speaker the voice was surely coming from, all I saw was a green humanoid creature wearing a bright red jumpsuit. The creature greeted me again. “Welcome, young Earthling.”
Stunned, I hesitated, and then asked the thing “Where am I?”
“On Mars, of course, buster, where’d you think, the Hilton Hotel, New York, USA, Earth?”
“What am I doing on Mars?!” I shouted at the alien receptionist, inexplicably hoping that it had the answer. Surprisingly enough, it did.
“You can hear, can’t you?!” It shouted back, in it’s strange robotic voice. “You heard me say you arrived on abduction pod 15, didn’t you?!”
“You abducted me?! What do you want from me?! What do want from any Earthling? You’re Martians! You’ve got all the super high-tech technology Earth is still only imagining! Where are your high-powered laser guns?! Where are your teleportation tubes?!” I retorted, stomping over to the alien’s desk and pounding my fist on it.
“I’m only a receptionist. I don’t know where they keep those things. There is one thing I do know about, though.” Having said this, the alien pushed a bulky gray computer keyboard toward me until my chin was practically resting on it. A moment or two went by while I stared dumbfounded at the typewriter in front of me.
“A typewriter?! A typewriter?! Is that all you have?!” I shouted, astounded.
“Typewriter, you call it?” The alien replied, surprised “Really? My superior calls it the HAWC, short for Hyper Accelerated Word Copier.”
I was so surprised at the backwardness of the Martian society I had landed in that I hardly noticed that I had lifted the alien’s ‘HAWC’ above my head and was preparing to throw it across the room. I was stopped just in time by the alien, who exclaimed “Careful! That’s my only one! Those things cost five hundred spoons, and I only get paid three hundred every year!”
“How long is the year on Mars?”
“About twice as long as yours.”
“How much is a spoon worth on this planet compared to a American dollar from Earth?”
“Have you got some on you? Find out for yourself.” The alien replied, pointing toward an enormous box that I would have mistaken for a soda machine had there been a coke on the front. Instead, I saw a large image of a shiny golden spoon. In every other way, the box was exactly like a soda machine. I walked over to it and dug two dollars out of my pocket. I fed them into the machine and waited. After a moment or two, I heard the noise of several objects tumbling down a narrow chute to the opening at the bottom of the dispenser. I reached into the opening and drew out, not two, but twenty spoons, which would have been hidden in plain sight on any dinner table, except for the fact that they really were solid gold.
“Crazy!” I shouted, holding up the spoons. “It’s like, a universal ATM!”
“ATM?” the curious alien replied questioningly. “That’s not what we call it. We call it the MISS, Mysteriously Instant Spoon Supplier.”
“Well, you’ve beat us there.” I conceded to the alien. “That’s a better name than ATM. Now what happens?”
Just at that moment, a second alien walked into the room through the door to the left of the first alien’s desk. This alien’s voice sounded like Darth Vader talking down a tube. It bounced around the room painfully as he announced “Interrogation room 5 is now prepared for the subject. You are cleared to bring him in, Minion 10.”


23 February 2011

Arrival and Escape

Chapter Seven

Maturin returned to the main deck a great deal happier than he had been when he had left it, and remained so throughout the long weeks that followed his speech with Duvall. For he was now armed with the knowledge which would allow him to survive the forbidden sands and claim half the treasure, sharing it with Duvall. He was now just as eager as McNeal to reach the isle of Richontor as fast as the ship could carry them. Oh, that fool, McNeal! Making enemies at every turn, as he had, it was a wonder that he remained alive! But attacking and holding Duvall as a prisoner, and holding Maturin himself as a ‘guest’ on board his ship were the greatest mistakes McNeal ever made.
One day nearly three months after Duvall had revealed the secret to him, Maturin was leaning against the starboard rail, stretching his legs on the nearest cannon, his hands behind his head, when the cry that he and McNeal had been awaiting eagerly for the past week came down from the maintop. “Land ho! Two points off the port bow!”
Ah, yes. Land. Exactly where Duvall’s mark placed the isle of Richontor. Richontor. The treasure isle, which was death to any who did not hold the key. But as it happened, whatever McNeal might think, it was Maturin who now held the key to surviving the island. Yes, McNeal held the key, or had, for some time already, but to Maturin’s knowledge, had only shot it and never tried to use it for his own gain. Instead, Maturin had found Duvall and gotten the key to the island. For this reason he found it hard to restrain himself from leaping up in excitement at imminent landfall on the approaching isle.
At the same moment, McNeal was sitting at his desk in his cabin, plotting how he would foil the plans of his foes, Maturin and Duvall. Oh, yes… he knew. He had spies everywhere on board the ship. A man could not say one word against him before he knew exactly what was being said below the deck. He chuckled at the thought that Maturin and Duvall still believed their plan to be between them two alone. McNeal knew exactly what the plan was, and had his own reasons for keeping them alive. He had his own reasons for being Captain William McNeal, most wanted man on the high seas.
Calling his first mate into the cabin, he said “Maturin is planning to break Duvall out of his cell tonight, as soon as we drop anchor, is he not?”
“He is, Captain.”
“Very well then. He shall do so.”
“He will, sir? Are we not to stop him?”
“No. If I wanted you to stop him, I would have said so. My plan requires that my prisoners remain unaware that I know their plan.”
“Their plan? To do what?”
“Could you be any duller?! Their plan to kill me and take all the treasure! Get out!” McNeal shouted this last statement loudly enough that it could be heard on the maintop, where Maturin was now positioned in an attempt to spot the landmarks Duvall had told him of. “Excellent” he thought “As soon as that fool leaves, McNeal will remember that he just revealed his secret loudly enough for the whole ship to hear, and it will drive him mad. He will also know that if I was yet unaware that he knew of the plan, I would surely know now. Therefore, he will decide that I will not jump ship with Duvall tonight after all. As that is the case, I will do so anyway simply because he is no longer expecting me to.”
Following McNeal’s outburst, nothing of any consequence occurred until after dark had fallen, when the Centaur was safely moored off the coast of the fabled treasure isle of Richontor. It was then, about an hour after sundown, that Maturin decided that he had no business waiting any longer when a half share of an enormous hoard of treasure was waiting for him on the land not one hundred yards away. Therefore, he rose from his bunk, and with his unsheathed knife in his hand, stepped silently through the length of the ship until he reached Duvall’s cell. When he had reached the door, he put out his empty hand and ran it along the surface of the door until he found the keyhole. Using his left arm as a guide, he moved the blade in his other hand forward slowly until he reached the end of his arm. Sticking the knife in the hole, he gave it a swift jerk, unlocking the cell in an instant. Once inside, he whispered “I’ve come. It’s time we made our landfall.”
A dim figure limped out of the shadows toward him. “If this is our time, then this is when we make our escape and begin our revenge upon that fool McNeal. Well? What are you waiting for? Someone to find you in here?”
Without answering, Maturin strode out the door ahead of Duvall, climbed the nearest hatchway ladder, and stopped on deck to wait for him. Looking around, Maturin saw that no crewmen were within fifty feet of the opening; they could make a clean run to the side.
As soon as Duvall had emerged from the hatch, the two started the next part of their journey, which was to cross the deck to the rail without exciting the notice of the night watch. They had to move slowly, because Duvall’s long inactivity rendered his legs nearly useless in the first moments of motion. But with Maturin supporting him, Duvall reached the rail after twenty minutes of strenuous effort. Just before he leaped overboard, Maturin inquired of his companion “Can you swim?” When he saw Duvall give the negative response, Maturin replied “I will carry you, as long as you come after me.” With that, he leapt over the side into the clear water below.
Duvall mastered himself well enough to follow Maturin only an instant later. As soon as Duvall had hit the water, Maturin pulled him onto his own back and struck out for the shore. Nearly half an hour later, the two men washed up on that shore, the one exhausted by his fear of drowning, and the other exhausted twice as much by the effort of staying afloat with the added weight on his back, besides his companion’s iron grip of terror digging into his shoulders.
When they had lain on the beach for nearly twenty minutes, Maturin rose and said to the other “McNeal knows we are here. We have to find the den quickly, before morning.” Maturin pulled Duvall up onto his feet, and the two limped off toward the densely wooded center of the island.

04 February 2011

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter XXXI

Dameon was walking down a long, empty, and inexplicably bright hallway. He was wearing his full dress uniform, holding his hat under his left arm. He seemed to have forgotten his sword, but either had not noticed its absence, or had decided that it was totally unnecessary.
He was walking quickly, as if he was required to reach the end of the hall by a certain time, and was running late. A short time later, he came to a large door situated at the extreme end of the passage. Just as with the corridor itself, there was nothing striking about the door besides its unusual brightness, as if a lamp which had been built into the wood had been turned on. He tried the handle. It was locked. Knocking twice, he waited.
After a few moments, the door was opened by none other than Joseph Sponsler. But, instead of moving aside to let him enter, Joseph spoke, saying “How came you here? You have not been summoned yet.”
After a moment, Dameon heard himself reply “I wished to come here, so I did. Why can I not enter?”
“I am not permitted to answer directly. I am permitted to say only this: go, your wife wishes to speak to you. She has already come to us to ask when you would come.”
“What?! My wife’s been dead for five years now! How can I speak to her?”
“Now do you see? You saw Coinhara shoot me with your own eyes. I am dead myself. So are all these others.” At that, Dameon recognized the faces of half a dozen other men he had known. “We can not start without you, but you may not pass through the door before your time has come. Your wife will be sent to you. Then, you may enter. Go back now.”
As Joseph began to close the door, Dameon asked quickly “May I ask you one question?”
“One question, and no more.”
“You gained admittance here because you died without defending yourself. Must I do the same?”
“Those were my orders. I have heard of no similar orders concerning your admittance. Yes, you may fight to the last. You will not, however, gain immediate admission until your wife comes for you. Keep yourself alive until that time.” With that, Joseph closed the door. It, surprisingly to Dameon, did not make any sound.
Dameon stood beside the door for a minute or two, taking in what had been said. Then, he suddenly turned and began to run down the hall, his heavy boots making no noise in the silent passage. But he did not pause to wonder at this, instead continuing onward as fast as he could go, back toward however little time on Earth was left to him, secure in the knowledge that he would know when he was to walk through this hall again. And that time, the bright door behind which sat seven or more men he had liked throughout his life, would open for him, and he would pass through.
When Dameon woke from his dream, he saw that the Spanish troops were already up and had almost completed the minor preparations necessary prior to leaving the camp. Raising himself from his prostrate position, he leaned his back against the nearest tree and looked out upon the world.
The world. The Earth. The place which God had made as the place of Man’s residence whilst he endeavored to earn his way back to the place where he truly belonged. Man truly belonged there, but not all men understood, and not all men who understood tried to gain entrance. Dameon knew well which party he stood with, and gained immeasurable satisfaction from the knowledge that he had both tried to gain to gain entrance and been granted it. But even as he sat there somewhere in Spain, knowing full well that his doom would come soon, he began to wonder if he really wanted to leave the world so soon. He wished that he had been allowed to see his house, his land, and his brothers once more, all together. He wished he could tell them all why he had decided to go on to certain doom. But then he remembered: He didn’t truly know himself why he had decided that he wasn’t meant to go home with the others. And then he remembered another point: It was because of the call. The call that he had been reminded of in the dream he had just come out of. His time was drawing to a close. It was not his lot to return home and pass on peacefully in the company of friends. Instead, he was called to pass on while surrounded by foes, fighting to the last. At the conclusion of this thought, he rose and went toward the horse which had been saddled for him. Mounting silently, he sat straight in the saddle, determined to give a good account of himself to the last minute of his time.
As he sat upon the horse, the leader of the Spaniards approached him, saying “Another day’s ride and we shall reach the capital. Then we may see how well you dance at the end of a rope!”
“I ask too late, but why are you sure that you must hang me?” Dameon replied, looking down at the Spaniard, who was astonished that the American had never shown fear, regardless of how many times he been threatened with this awful mode of death.
“Why? Because you are an American, and you have brought war against us, and you have done this without making the proper declarations!” shouted the Spanish Captain, recovering his composure a moment too late.
Restraining the mirth he felt after hearing his enemy’s first statement, Dameon calmly replied “Really? I was not aware that I had to tell all the world I was an American. What you do to me if I told you I am also Scottish? Would that merit a hanging, or just being shot right here? As for the other reasons, my actions were due to my orders. As a military man yourself, you can hardly blame me for doing what my orders told me to do.” Seeing no response to this last statement, the Spanish captain mounted his own horse, shouted “Move! To Madrid!” and rode off to the head of the column.