March 20, 2009
General Crisis Fairfax strides generally before the crack team of soldiers he has hand-picked to go into Daisingdale to retrieve Dr. Gnarlhawk Sinclair. Despite their crackedness, the men shuffle nervously in their oversized yellow hazmat suits. Crisis realizes he needs to make a morale-rousing speech…
Crisis: “When I look at you all I can’t help but think of me, and my first unit, back in The War. We didn’t have those suits, or the technical backup that exists in modern warfare, but in many ways we weren’t so different… Well, we were all drafted. It seems crazy to me that you people volunteer for this kind of thing, but who I am to judge? You’re a different generation. You’ve all grown up seeing people blown apart and dismembered on your Playstations and what have you, so I guess you’re not scared by that… What’s you’re name soldier?”
Soldier: “Mmph mmph mmph mmph.”
Crisis stares at the reflective soldier’s visor for a moment, seeing nothing but his own face.
Crisis: “You remind me of an old friend, son. Shooter McDee we called him – If he was here now he could tell you men a thing a two! Heh, heh….. Poor old Shooter. The real lesson to be learned from Shooter is when to duck. Pretty much, most of the time.”
The men look at each other, and then slowly duck into crouched stances. Crisis nods solemnly.
March 19, 2009
Rentwich braces himself for another blast from the fire hose. He aims it squarely at Gabriella and–
–a shoe knocks him squarely in the head. He staggers and falls off the phone booth. In the confusion, he pulls the hose’s lever and
The jet of water carries Rentwich skyward, he loses his grip on the hose, and arcs out of sight two blocks away.
Gabriella, thoroughly soaked, looks up as Gordnauld approaches – the same Gordnauld Fortuna whom she had been hired to kill, and who now stands before her wearing only one shoe.
March 18, 2009
María Florentina strides purposefully towards the Maldonado del Culebrón estate’s aviary. Her falconry session, with the regal red ovenbird Nearchus, had to be canceled after the receipt of the disturbing message from her agent – Gabriella.
Opening a wireframe door she deposits Nearchus in the aviary, and retires to the house. The other birds gawk at the returning favorite, with expressions Nearchus mistakes for the envy of lesser creatures. In reality, though they may not know the predatory exhilaration of the great sport of falconry, these simple birds are all too aware of the activities of Nearchus’ mate when he is absent from the aviary… An absence that today has been cut short.
Hopping suddenly onto his usual perch, Nearchus’ playful expression drops into one of utter shock, witness as he is to his mate and an audacious Italian gruccione engaged in a feather-ruffling adult situation that would make a peacock blush!
March 17, 2009
Gordnauld looks on in horror as the phone booth becomes a frothy white-water prison. It is by no means air-tight, but the sheer volume of water entering means that within seconds it is overflowing.
Rentwich: “Who do you work for!?”
Gordnauld: “Are you mad! She can’t hear you!!”
Rentwich stops the flow. Several seconds later the booth has discharged it’s water, leaving Gabriella soaked, battered and upside-down – her head resting on the floor of the booth.
Rentwich: “Who do you work for?”
Gabriella spits at Rentwich. Impressively, her spittle traverses the height of the phone booth and Rentwich combined, hitting him squarely in the face. He grimaces, and then prepares to start the flow again.
She turns, helpless, towards Gordnauld. Their eyes meet. The spot where Gabriella had struck Gordnauld with the frying pain tingles slightly as if to say, go to her.
He makes a decision…
March 16, 2009
Gabriella throws herself against the door of the phone booth, trying to escape before the lunatic on the roof drowns her with the fire hose. Now, Gordnauld Fortuna, the man whose murder she’d been hired to facilitate, has appeared on the dock.
Only moments before the young man had innocently believed that she wanted to cook an omelet – right up until the moment she brained him with the frying pan. He is a gormless fool, and yet… when she looks into his eyes and hears him desperately trying to control Rentwich, she can’t help but feel that-
March 15, 2009
General Crisis Fluxfax, commander of the army forces in the operation to quarantine Daisingdale, furrows his leathery brow much as a stout ox would score a rain-starved dustbowl field with a rusty plough.
He remembers The War – not fondly, but at least they were over there and not on American soil. Not to mention that the enemy was easier to deal with than this infernal double amnesia virus.
Intel is seriously lacking about how the breakout had occurred. All they really know, Crisis thinks, is that no poor schmuck within the radius of the quarantine has any idea what’s going on… or even of who they are.
The general’s trusty assistant, Corporal Telemachus Tsang, enters in a hurry.
Telemachus: “I’ve got good news and bad news General.”
Crisis: “I’m in no mood for either Telemachus… Give me the good news first.”
Telemachus: “We managed to track down the world’s leading expert on double amnesia… He’s the best of the best, and probably the only person who could stop the bastard virus in it’s tracks. But…”
Crisis: “Let me guess… he lives in Daisingdale.”
Telemachus: “Yes… His name is Gnarlhawk Sinclair… but how did you know sir?”
Crisis: “Fate and I go a long way back Telemachus… So Dr. Sinclair, where in the blazes of blue hell are you?”
March 14, 2009
Gordnauld comes to on the yacht to discover that Gabriella is gone. Somehow she’d gotten the jump on him…
He dashes onto the dock and is confronted with an almost unbelievable sight:
On the nearby road, a fire engine is parked, it’s siren blaring at full blast. Next to it, a quartet of firefighters are strewn about, unconscious, as if they had just been assaulted by a roving gang.
Next to the road is a phone booth – inside it: the mysterious Gabriella. She is banging her hands against the the plastic windows, but a rope is wrapped tightly around the booth, keeping her trapped inside.
Perhaps the least surprising aspect of the whole scene – Rentwich is standing on top of the phone booth, trying to kick in the roof. In his arms he holds the nozzle of a huge fire hoze, which he is now forcing into the top of the booth.
Rentwich: “Who do you work for!?”
Gordnauld: “Stop this madness Rentwich!”
Rentwich: “We tried things your way Gordnauld, and look where it got us – one prisoner turned into dolphin chum, and the other getting a message out to her handlers. It’s time to do things the Rentwich way!”
Before Gordnauld can reply, Rentwich pulls a lever on the hose, and sends a torrent of water into the tiny phone booth.
March 13, 2009
It’d been a tough cruise, but finally they had reached land. Rentwich hadn’t had any agreeable company since his past self left on the other yacht.
They had started with two passengers/prisoners – the pilot who had downed their plane, and his accomplice, a Latin woman named Gabriella. Unfortunately Gordnauld had adamantly insisted that Rentwich not make any efforts to find out who the pair were working for.
One night, on Gordnauld’s watch, the pilot had lept overboard in a desperate effort to escape. By the time Rentwich was on deck a ravenous dolphin pod had found the pilot. He looked on with frustration as the silver-skin gagglers spewed red mists from their blow-holes.
Rentwich leaves Gordnauld to guard the girl and heads into the seaside town to find a liquor store. As he returns he is shocked to see Gabriella in a phone booth next to the dock, and Gordnauld nowhere to be seen! That damned boy!
Seeing an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, Gordnauld pulls out his cell phone and calls the fire department…
March 12, 2009
María Florentina: «She said what?»
Nearchus – the circling red ovenbird – on hearing María Florentina’s raised tone, returns to perch on her outstretched arm – his talons padding gently with the hard-learned knowledge that she is not a woman to be crossed, nor indeed to be prodded with pointy toes.
The messenger trembles as the bloodthirsty bird of prey eyes him up.
Messenger: «That.. that.. Gordnauld Fortuna is still alive..»
María Florentina: «How!? The plane went down – we know that much.»
Messenger: «Yes but.. they apparently made it to an islet in the Mid-Atlantic, and then they were rescued by future versions of themselves who had travelled back in time after capturing the yacht.»
María Florentina: «An islet in the Mid-Atlantic? Weren’t there any vampires?»
Messenger: «Uh…… I.. I don’t know..»
Nearchus licks it’s bird lips with it’s hungry bird tongue, in anticpation of the coming meal. The moment stretches…
María Florentina: «…No matter. The plan will go ahead. It seems that Gordnauld Fortuna wont be killed as easily as his brother was…»
March 11, 2009
Yes, falconry. That noble pursuit in which, or so it is said in The Boke of St. Alban, it is most-befitting a lady to fly a very particular bird. The petite falco columbarius, also known as the pigeon hawk or merlin, is said – in that oft-cited tome – to best complement la fauconiere.
Perhaps that is why the present woman has ventured so far out of Caracas to fly her spectacular red ovenbird. As the resplendent creature spreads it’s wings and loops into the air, the arresting woman – María Florentina Alejandra Maldonado del Culebrón – seems totally at peace in her surroundings.
Little does she know, a messenger is approaching who will greatly disturb her afternoon.