Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tyrant - 1



1895. Somewhere beneath Menlo Park...


"Behind you, Dorothy!"

The Queen of the Emerald City's form was immersed in a blooming flower of green light; she soared toward the immense room's ceiling, avoiding the iron-clad fist that cracked and splintered concrete beneath it.

Edison's murderous contraptions--the Auto-Men--lumbered through the room, their gears snarling as their electric eyes burned with a mechanical rage. The seven foot tall devices had been 'jacked' by Doctor Von Dread's Dreadbots--the tiny spider-like machines were nested inside of the Auto-Men, forcing them to do violence upon the members of the Society.

Dorothy blocked another metal fist with a shield formed of emerald energy; a similar javelin manifested into her left hand. She threw it, skewering the Auto-Man through its torso--a series of sparks ripped out from behind the blade's tip, showering the others behind it.

Spring-Heeled Jack--a devilish man dressed in black with oversized boots--wrapped his arms around one Auto-Man from behind and proceeded to jump. The force of his leap catapulted them both into the air, where the Auto-Man's head met with the room's ceiling--only to crumple and break.

"That's how it's done. Jolly good!" the Skull cried, his own pistols blazing as he pumped round after round into the emerging Auto-Men. He was dressed sharply in his usual formalwear, a ruffled shirt and black long-coat--his jawless skull mask obscured his face. "Show these meddlesome metal maroons what for!"

A shrill note raised above the din of battle; Christine DaaƩ--also known as Euterpe, the current muse of music--opened her mouth and unleashed a sound capable of sundering stone. The Auto-Men ahead shuddered beneath the violence of the sonics, their glass apertures shattering. Several stuttered and crumbled to the ground, only for the rest to be felled by rapid shots from the Skull's pistols and Dorothy's burning green lances.

The smoke cleared. From behind the rubble that the Auto-Men had left, one figure was apparent--clad in an immense structure of iron and bronze.

"Greetings and salutations, ladies and gentlemen," Doctor Von Dread said. He wore a heavily modified deep sea diving suit; the helmet was set upon a hinge and lay behind his head. Gears and pipes applied constant pressure to the suit's joints, allowing him to move it with ease--and with a frightful strength. "You're just in time to witness history in the making."

"Your damnable contraption could sunder the very veil of space and time itself," Spring-Heeled Jack said. He landed besides Skull, fists clenched, ready to leap. "See reason, Dread!"

"The only thing I see is the glory of a new future! Behold, the Omnisphere!"

The machine rumbled to life from behind him. An immense, golden orb was suspended above a circular ring of bronze, mounted on top of a platform through which various cogs and pistons churned. The orb seemed to be held aloft by the force of magnetism; every inch of its surface was carved with detailed lines, giving it the grooved appearance of a phonograph record.

"With this device, I shall traverse the Omniverse--rewrite history! Rewrite universes!" Doctor Dread said. "I've already discovered a world to conquer, much like our own--one which I have dubbed the 'Dreadverse'. Now, behold as I--"

A flash of energy exploded above their heads. Briefly, a rip appeared in space, flooding the room with light; then a figure descended through the rip and landed in front of Doctor Von Dread with a loud whump.

Whoever it was, they were clad in a uniform of black--but it was unlike any uniform anyone present had seen before. Sleek and armored, it resembled some exotic bipedal beast. Except for one startling detail: The head was a helmet that looked like a human skull.

"Uh... Andrew?" Jack asked.

"Not me," the Skull replied.

The figure reached back and drew a sword--long and straight. They pointed it at Dread, then at the Omnisphere.

"Hi," they said, their voice smothered beneath metal via some mechanism of the helm. "That's the 'Omnisphere', right?"

"Er--" Dread looked back at the Omnisphere, then back at the figure. "...yes?"

"Okay. Cool."

"'Cool'? I fail to see how that is--"

"That other thing behind you," the figure said. "That's your pulse laser gatling cannon, right? The one you stole from the future."

Dread gawked. "I--bu--what? How could you--I mean, I didn't--but--"

"Yeah, right. I need that," the figure said, and they darted forward. With a single bound, they leapt past Dread and landed next to the immense automated gun that the doctor had planned to use against the Society. They then turned, waved to the Society members, and pressed something on their belt.

A vibrant light swelled up and consumed both the figure and the gun. As they were swallowed, the figure's voice spoke once more, addressing the still-stunned audience.

"Oh yeah, when that Omni-thing goes critical? S'gonna explode. Then a dude who looks exactly like Andrew Bristle--your current Skull--will come out of the wreckage. But he's from the Mirrorverse, so don't trust him."

"What?" the Skull said.

"By the way--huge fan," the figure said. "You people? Totally awesome."

The light subsided. Both the figure and the gun had disappeared.

Silence settled over the gathering.

And then the Omnisphere exploded.




  1. I wonder if the Skull impersonator will help defeat the new and improved Scourge.

    1. I'm leaning toward the "Skull impersonator" being a future version of our current Skull, going on a scavenger hunt across time to collect the things she needs to defeat the Scourge.

    2. I had the same idea, reading this.

  2. Hey... In the excerpt below, you'll probably want to change the "they" to something singular unless there's more than one figure. Which could be cool too.

    "Yeah, right. I need that," the figure said, and they darted forward. With a single bound, they leapt past Dread and landed next to the immense automated gun that the doctor had planned to use against the Society. They then turned, waved to the Society members, and pressed something on their belt.

  3. Well, it's a contentious grammatical issue--there's no singular gender neutral pronoun in the English language (unless you want to dip into obnoxious terms like 'xie', 'hir', etc), so there's a utility to using 'they' as a singular pronoun when you wish to leave gender ambiguous (which is what I wanted to do). Regrettably, it *is* a little bit confusing, and read one way, can imply a multitude of figures rather than just one with an ambiguous gender--but there *is* precedent for this usage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun#Singular_.22they.22).

    To clarify, there's only one figure, and their gender is supposed to be unclear.

    (Also I'm only going off on this rant because language is something that fascinates me--particularly its limitations).