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|11-10-2006, 12:32 AM||#1|
The WLA Creative Arts Brigade Presents: Wombat Fan Fiction, Story #1
|11-10-2006, 12:35 AM||#2|
Part I -- Revelations
Part I -- “Revelations”
__________ 1 __________
Darkening clouds gathered and rolled across the sky as dull, deep blasts of thunder echoed from the west where the night played canvas to mad brush strokes of lightning.
An aging man, alone, slogged down the dreary sidewalk, surprisingly empty in a city this large and alive... Amazing how the threat of rain can clear the streets. He pulled up at the collar of his grey overcoat with his left hand, clutching tightly at the smooth leather handle of the briefcase in his right.
In these modern times and in a city where hope and dispair clash daily in the cold public arenas full of unwitting and unarmed gladiator-consumers, genuine class is as rare of a commodity as anything. One rarely realizes its absence until encountering a man like this, who was certainly many things, but above all, a man of class and distinction.
His perfectly assembled attire, from finely crafted leather shoes to his elegant wristwatch was of such a precise quality as few can afford. His flawless haircut even looked like money. No local barber could turn a head of hair like that.
From the shadows behind, dusky lamp light aroused the glint of a blade as a gloved hand darted around over the man’s face, the knife stabbing into his back and cutting swiftly upwards, warm crimson soaking a stain into the grey cloth of the overcoat, then down in collapse. A crushing stamp of a boot to his skull, a small cracking sound as his eye glasses gave way, a muffled groan - sickly and sorrowful in its tone - rose to find no sympathy as the briefcase was snatched and the assailant began a determined stride down the street.
A police siren sounded as the killer made away with the goods. Too distant and becoming even moreso to be a threat. Crime statistics sadistically hide trauma in a cloak of numerical distance.
__________ 2 __________
“Damn it!” A voice of frustration cried out, from a face marked with furrowed brow and five o’clock shadow, illuminated by the glow of the television filled with frantic action. Our unlikely hero sat up towards the edge of his chair, ankles crossed on the floor, a controller clasped in hands tightened with white knuckles. “What the hell is wrong with game developers that they can’t get the difficulty level right in RPGs? I’m slaughterin’ these zombies with one hit - two max - and then the mini-boss hands me my ass?!”
From another room in the small Manhattan apartment came the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. “What are you making coffee for at this hour? You’re not gonna be able to sleep tonight!”
“I need a pick me up,” Mrs. Wombat softly shouted. “I’m really into this project and have some great ideas I need to get down tonight!”
“Did you decide on whether or not to put those Roman columns in the great room?” Mrs. Wombat was designing a new home for the blind to be constructed in the Bronx with a sizeable government grant and money from a private endowment.
“Nah, I scrapped that three days ago. I re-did the whole downstairs to be more organic.”
“That’s cool,” replied a vacant sounding Wombat, zoning out in a level grind that would probably last at least two days. From not more than five feet away, a telephone rang a sonic blast of annoyance at our hero. “Honey, can you get that?”
“What the hell...” muttered Mrs. Wombat. “Okay!!!” she said louder in a more cheerful voice and put down her pencil.
“Hello? Oh, hi! How are you? Good... yeah, he’s here.” Dropping the phone’s mouthpiece to her neck, “It’s your father” and then bringing it back up, “he’s just playing some game. Yeah. Well, he has fun with it. Do you want to talk to him? No problem, just a minute.” She gracefully thrust the phone at her focused husband and said “pause it!”
“Yeah, dad! Hey! What’s up? No... I didn’t hear about that. ...Well, I’m sure lots of people get killed around this city. Don’t worry, you hardly ever leave your lab except to go home occas --”
“Look, son,” said Dr. Wombat, his voice becoming more stern. “I’m not concerned about me. At least not directly. Right now I’m more concerned about the fate of the world.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Sighing, Dr. Wombat explained with weary voice, “Son, this is complicated. The man who was stabbed last night was a special agent of the IAEA - the International Atomic Energy Agency. He was carrying a briefcase containing some very important - and very secret - reports that could, if not handled with the utmost diplomacy and care, rock the very foundation of our modern society!”
An awkward pause and a slight roll of the eyes, then Wombat’s reply, “Now first I’m gonna ask how in the hell do you know this? Then I’m gonna ask why in the hell should I care? I’m in the middle of a game over here! Get the NYPD on it or someone else with a badge.”
“I told you this was complicated. I’ve probably already told you too much over the phone. Come to my lab tomorrow morning and we’ll talk some more. There’s so much more that you need to know, about this disaster... and about yourself.”
“But I gotta work tomorrow! Can’t I come over later?”
“Son, come here first thing tomorrow morning. Please.”
And with that the phone clicked over into a soft, droning dial tone, the words that had been spoken only just starting to penetrate into the consciousness of Wombat whose brain was then jarred back into his apartment by the voice of Mrs. Wombat: “What did he want?”
“I don’t know! I think he’s going a little wacky in his old age. Say, could you call in sick for me tomorrow?”
|11-10-2006, 12:36 AM||#3|
__________ 3 __________
Dawn broke with a spoiler’s glee. Mrs. Wombat lay silent and sleeping in bed under a mountain of blankets, hair scattered over the pillow like the beautiful chaos of a new game of pick up sticks. Next to her lay Wombat, heavy eyes betraying a poor night’s sleep. “Putting your father in a nursing home has got to be one of the most rotten things you can do,” he thought sadly to himself.
He willed himself out of bed, quickly dressed as quietly as he could, but still waking his loveable dog Zelda who looked up at him puzzled and with a sleepy frump to her muzzle. He reached down and gently petted her head when out of the corner of his eye he saw the blur of a mouse running along the baseboards. “Goddammit!” he muttered before leaving the apartment dejected.
After picking up a McGriddle and a large cup of coffee, he found his way to pick up the MTA over to his father’s lab in the southern section of Manhattan.
Dr. Dixon, a colleague of Dr. Wombat and a long time family friend, answered the door at the lab. “Ah, Wombat! So good to see you again!” He wore grey flannel pin-striped trousers visibile under a knee-length white lab coat. His accent was vague. Not that of a New Yorker for sure. It carried an aristrocratic tone that a casual eavesdropper might mistake for British, but it wasn’t. Dr. Dixon was born into old Connecticut money and followed a bizarre muse into the abstract sciences with an almost equally passionate side interest in world religion and mythology. “Come in! Your father is most anxious to see you.”
The two climbed the spiral granite staircase to the second floor laboratories and research rooms. “And how have you been?” asked Dr. Dixon.
“Pretty good, I guess. Just got to level 29 last night. Should be able to beat this dungeon I’m in... finally. Let me tell you about these freakin’ developers...” Their footsteps echoed through the stoic corrridor as they moved to the end of the hall and a window flooded with the light of morning.
“Ah, very good,” interrupted Dr. Dixon, beaming with bemusement. “And Mrs. Wombat?”
“Meh, she’s alright. Keepin’ busy.” They turned to enter the private office and library of Dr. Wombat.
“You’re late, but thank you for coming.” The room represented a life’s work of collecting rare and precious things along with sundry eccentricities. A stuffed giant jumping rat from Madagascar, nearly two feet long, greeted visitors upon entering. Oak shelves lined each wall twelve feet high to the cavernous, vaulted ceiling. A wide, rolling leatherbound sofa and matching chairs hemmed in an elegant Persian carpet, upon which rested a delicately carved Qing Dynasty table.
Dr. Wombat was reclining in one of the chairs, his back to the door. “Please, come around. We need to talk... thank you, Dr. Dixon, I will meet you later in lab four. Please continue documenting today’s experiment.” Dr. Dixon withdrew, pullng the door solidly closed.
Dr. Wombat’s face was clean shaven and somewhat avuncular, but his eyes were set with a piercing brilliance. “Son, do you remember when you were a young boy, and I would tell you stories of our family lineage as great knights and the power that they held?”
“Sure I do... those were pretty good times. But you haven’t told me stories like that since I was maybe eight or nine. So what gives?”
“The point is this, their power is our power. It is still in our bloodline, waiting only to be harnessed and directed to the cause of justice. Within your flesh and bones are energies and abilities that can make you a true force, a force to stand up against criminality and evil in the world.”
“Uhm, pardon my French, but that’s in’ nuts. I’m just a regular guy! I work, I play video games, I eat, I crap, I play more video games, and I do this podcast with a giant bald guy in Japan. Average Joe over here!”
“Please, listen to me. Dr. Dixon and I have spent the past twenty years designing a super suit that provides protection against temperature extremes, abrasions, and punctures. It is an extraordinarily lightweight and resilient body armor to aid in what you must do. It will offer you outstanding protection as you develop your latent abilities.”
Wombat’s eyebrows jumped up towards his forehead with surprise. “Well, why didn’t you say I’d get to wear a super suit?”
Rising from the leather chair and turning towards the door, Dr. Wombat said “Please come with me to lab four.”
__________ 4 __________
The room had a cold, sterile presence of its own that dominated the senses of the unaccustomed. Pure white floors, stainless steel tables, carts, and chairs radiated a frigidity that must feel like old blue jeans to men of science, but felt like a full-body cold pack to the rest of the world.
“Dr. Dixon, please retrieve project X-5277.” Dr. Dixon raised his head from his notes, nodded, stood, and walked to a seemless wall which opened with fluid pneumatics at a slight press, revealing a swooping metallic valet containing a thin garment and accessories.
The super suit had a bronzed, heather green patina with joints reinforced by some sort of flexible material the color of gun metal. There was a rich, regal purple helmet with a thin opaque visor, a cod piece with accessory belt, and sturdy but surprisingly stylish boots.
“Here, try them on and let us know what you think,” said Dr. Dixon, gesturing towards the valet and drawing a modesty curtain. “I believe you will find they are a perfect fit.” And a few moments later with enormous pride, “Well?”
“I’ve got to admit I like the cod piece, but the rest of it... well, I’m damn glad I went on that NutriSystem.”
“We are most proud of the boots,” said Dr. Wombat. “You could walk through lava in those boots and not be burned or injured in any way. The rest of the suit is quite impressive as well. The codpiece, for example, can take unlimited rounds of large caliber anti-tank rounds at extraordinarily close range without exhibiting even superficial damage. This is even so with uranium-tipped missiles. The suit will maintain your normal body temperature in ambient temperatures as low as -270 degrees Celsius.” Stepping back to view Wombat in full view, he remarked “And it is remarkably flexible and light in overall weight, is it not?”
Then gravely: “Within this suit rests remarkable power, and with this power comes commensurate responsibility. Please remove and return it to Dr. Dixon and join me once more in my office.”
|11-10-2006, 12:37 AM||#4|
__________ 5 __________
Wombat entered his father’s office and took a seat on the sofa. His father tilted his head slightly to the side and looked deep into his son’s eyes.
“The man who was killed two days ago who I spoke of briefly on the phone was Dr. James McCormick. He was a trusted associate of both Dr. Dixon and myself. In addition to his work with the IAEA, Dr. McCormick was researching the environmental impact of discarded microwave ovens which he found could be devastating to the DNA structures of mammals over time. This research, naturally, would prove to be incredibly unpopular with certain forces of global commerce and could lead to a public outcry that could destabilize western governments. But more importantly, in the course of his studies, he discovered that harvested materials from these devices could be used, with the proper chemical inducements under moderately controlled circumstances, to make miniature nuclear weapons. I believe that his life, along with his research documentation, was taken by ruthless terrorists based in eastern Canada. As far as I have been able to tell, they are of Armenian descent but are now second-generation Canadian citizens, bitter about the international disregard for both their motherland and their country of birth.”
“That’s friggin’ insane!” sputtered a disbelieving Wombat.
“Isn’t all terror fundamentally ‘insane,’ as you say? Who is to know what will drive men to such nefarious ends? It is not the logic of their arguments that is dangerous but rather the measure of their ability to forcibly effect their will on others and to paralyze with fear millions more. If I am right in believing that they now possess the means to threaten the world with these discarded microwave ovens, then our way of life is in desperate peril and time is firmly fixed against us.”
“So what am I supposed to do?” asked Wombat. “Go dumpster diving and collect all of the discarded microwaves in a rented garage in Queens? I said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m just an average Joe. Even with the super suit, I don’t think I’m up for this.”
“Wombat, please trust in your bloodline. You will surprise yourself with what you are able to accomplish in the name of great justice. The world needs you right now, but there is little time to waste. My contacts have informed me that Dr. McCormick’s papers are still in New York, so we have a chance to pre-empt this wickedness. That is all I can tell you for now. Come, let me walk with you to the door.”
They walked in silence down the corridor to the spiral stair case and down to the door.
“Wombat, before you go, you must keep the super suit and all of what I have told you a secret from everyone. Knowledge of the existence of this suit and our plans threatens your mission and all of our lives. ...Dr. Dixon?”
Dr. Dixon presented Wombat with a neatly packed matte finish titanium case containing the super suit and heartily wished him well.
|11-10-2006, 12:38 AM||#5|
|11-14-2006, 10:34 AM||#9|
Sorry, it took so long to comment but I was out of town all weekend and still playing catch up. Its awesome and I can't wait to read the finished piece, and the thought of my Dad as a Dr. cracks me up every time. Bravo Scobie!
p.s. Mrs. Wombat loves it too
Please review the CAGcast in iTunes by clicking here!
|11-14-2006, 12:06 PM||#10|
I'm kinda with Banky here (willingly writing material about Wombat's codpiece crosses a line, somehow), but if this is something you enjoy and your subject is kosher with it, follow your bliss.
|11-14-2006, 11:05 PM||#11|
Part II -- “Now what?”
__________ 6 __________
The ong-plong-kerplinky-plong of mid-80s video game music, then “Hello and welcome to episode 53 of the CAGcast! I’m your host CheapyD in Tokyo Japan, and with me as always in New York City is Wombat. How ya doin’, Wombat?”
“Pretty good. What’s new in Japan?”
“Just enjoying the hell out of my new PS3, which we’ll talk about more later on in the show, but what’s new with you?”
“I’m glad you asked. You remember that bad ass Robocop replica BB gun that you got? Well, I scored something even cooler.”
“Yeah, I got a super suit!”
“A super suit?”
“Sure! It’s got a purple helmet (laughs).”
“Uhh... what the hell? What does it do?”
“I dunno... I guess it accentuates my latent super powers.”
“Dude, that’s pretty retarded (belch). You don’t have any super powers.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought! But I guess I do, so there you have it. Oh -- you know what’s really cool? The boots can protect me if I walk through lava.”
“Oh man, that’s so dumb. There’s no lava in New York. Where the hell did you get this thing? Some costume shop?”
“No, my dad gave it to me. Quit trying to ruin my moment here!”
“Whatever... so, what’ve you been playing lately?”
__________ 7 __________
The winds were picking up by six o’clock the next day. The city street funneled the blasts of wind from a brewing storm and the sky was pitch black as if it were midnight. People were scrambling to and from, trying to get home before the worst of the storm and the flooding rains that were anticipated for the early evening. Papers and other litter danced on the gusts.
Wombat was marching towards his apartment building, tired after a long day at the office with thoughts of dinner and leveling up.
Across his path just three feet ahead blew a copy of the first page of the morning’s Times, catching at the base of a street light pole, scattered open text, the headline:
__________ 8 __________
Wombat opened the door to his apartment, wondering about the headline. Could it be related to the Armenian terrorist plot his father spoke of and the death of Dr. McCormick? What the hell is going on here?
Zelda dashed to the door and leapt happily at Wombat’s legs, yapping in celebration of her master’s safe return from another day’s work as he was untangling his arms from his jacket.
“Honey, are you home?” No answer. He went to the fridge and reached for a bottle of juice, opened it and took a long pull. “You there?” Still no answer. The only noise in the apartment was the measured tick of the kitchen clock and the clickety-click of Zelda’s paws on the kitchen floor as she looked up in admiration at Wombat, hoping he would feed her. Then, suddenly, a quick scurrying noise and a tiny bump inside of the wall. “Goddamn mice!”
He pulled out a large, verticle rectangular tupperware container from under one of the counters and poured it into a small bowl on the floor, decorated with cartoony dog bones and paw prints and in italics “Zelda.” The dog dove for the food and began crunching away with maniacal fervor, occasionally darting a glance over her shoulder.
Wombat sealed up the container and put it back under the counter, thinking to himself that he might cook up some pasta primavera.
He retrieved a pot and another small tupper ware container of linguine and set them on the counter when he saw a piece of paper out of the corner of his eye, a hastily written note on the kitchen counter: “Wombat, come quickly to Mount Sinai... it’s your father. Love, Mrs. Wombat.”
“Now what?” he thought. A bolt of pain, sadness, desperation, and fear flashed down his spine.
__________ 9 __________
The corridors of the hospital were enough to give anyone the creeps. A flourescent chill undercut the bustle of medical staff and the cascading emotions of family members waiting for news about loved ones.
Upon entering the room, somber with the steady rhythm of a breathing machine and the digital pulses of monitors, endlessly searching for signs of life, Mrs. Wombat crumpled in a chair by the hospital bed, turning her head to look at her shell-shocked husband, her sad eyes telling him everything he needed to know. “The doctor said he’s stabilized but still critical.”
Dr. Wombat, gasping, eyes closed: “Son...” Wombat walked to the side of the bed and took hold of his father’s hands. “They did this... How did they know?”
Mrs. Wombat’s expression turned quizzical, Wombat’s mortified. Thoughts of the CAGcast stabbed into his brain like cruel knives, and then that pale feeling cut with shame.
“Dad, what should we do?”
Dr. Wombat weakly squeezed his son’s hand and wheezed, “You know what you must do.”