“Light’s Hatchling”

– another in the Sidequest series: fiction fragments which may be expanded someday –

Alex Waverly stood over the crumpled shell of Featherton’s protector. The other four were dazed and wounded, but this one was dead. He couldn’t believe he’d watched her fall less than a meter away from him. The Doves couldn’t fall. It was impossible.

He grabbed the neck brooch from Wing Majesty’s immobile form. Her magically generated costume had faded to the sweatshirt and jeans she must have been wearing before transformation. The gem upon the brooch was as lifeless as its owner.

Alex clenched his fist around it. He knew he might be killed for what he was doing, but he wouldn’t let the Hate Beast do as it would with its fallen foe. Perhaps, just perhaps, he could trigger the Purification Beam in a final vengeance.

Everyone in Featherton knew the power phrase; they’d all heard it in a hundred television specials, limited movie events, and radio commercials. He held the brooch above his head and shouted it, knowing it was a futile, ridiculous act. “I Defend the Living Light!”

It served only to attract attention. Seven glowing eyes swung toward him, and the Hate Beast began to advance. Once more Alex shouted the phrase, and he might as well have been holding a plastic toy for all the good it did. The creature scuttled closer.

“I Defend the Living Light!” he screamed a third time, meaning it as he never imagined he could. A thrill shot through his body; he understood his life was over, but he had not gone down without a fight.

A strange sensation made him look up to see the Light Gem glowing brightly in his hand, sending a kind of painless burning through the nerve endings in his skin and shooting down his arm. He felt decidedly odd.

“Welcome, hatchling…” echoed a voice nearby. An image of Wing Majesty stood tall and proud beside him, no longer battered and wounded, and wearing the ornate blouse and cropped skirt of her Dove uniform. Her eyes were closed as in trance. “Only one fully committed to the Living Light may take the place of a fallen Dove. You, young lady, have shown your faith, and shall take my place as I replaced my predecessor. Kneel before me to receive your – “ She opened her eyes to look at him. “ – oh.”

Alex stared back at her. He couldn’t find words.

“Oh… oh!” She started to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. “Never in a thousand years has any Dove seen anything like this!”

“This – this isn’t funny!” he choked out.

Majesty’s laughter died down. “It is… and it isn’t. You are right that becoming a Dove is no matter for humor. Still… every Dove as far as our memories go has been a woman. Yet, you are utterly committed to the Living Light. Without it, you wouldn’t see me now.”

“What’s going on? Did I defeat the Hate Beast? Are the other Doves okay?”

“Do you wish to defeat it? Do you wish to save my sisters from a horrible demise?”

“Well… I mean… of course I do. The Light has kept us all safe, for uncounted generations. We all owe you so much.

“I believe in what you do. I have for as long as I can remember… I have always wished I could help, somehow.” From somewhere deep inside him, the words came almost without thought. “I swear with my life to defend the Living Light.”

She pierced him with her gaze. “You mean every word of that. You truly do.

“Very well. You shall be known as Wing Chrysalis. Arise, and take your place among the Doves!” Her stern expression slipped ever so briefly into a grin. “This should be interesting.”

The next thing he knew, Alex was back in the street. The Brooch of the Light felt warm in his hands, and the Hate Beast lay dead with a 15-centimeter hole burned clean through it. The other Doves were on their feet and rushing towards him.

“How did you… I saw you grab her brooch. You couldn’t have triggered a Purification!” Wing Scimitar shouted.

“Um… look at, er, him. I think maybe he could have,” said Wing Chalice.

“Oh, no,” sobbed Wing Scepter, looking down. “Majesty has passed beyond, hasn’t she…”

“And she passed it to some guy? Some random guy? Are you kidding me?” cried Wing Talisman.

Alex tried his best to follow their exclamations. “Would someone please tell me what has happened? And why do I feel so cold?”

The Doves looked at each other. Chalice nervously twisted a fold of her skirt and said, “Majesty’s brooch is yours now. You put a Purification Beam right through the face of the Hate Beast. You saved all four of us. You’re a Dove.”

Talisman had trouble meeting his eyes. “It seems so. You’ll need training, but you have the powers… the responsibilities… and the uniform.”

Alex looked down at the pair of hairless, shapely legs visible beneath the hem of his glowing, sparkling skirt… and at the fully developed chest filling his short-sleeved blouse… and fainted.

Giving Thanks 2019

2018 has been a miserable year. All that made this year bearable has been my friends and loved ones. I want you to know that I appreciate each and every one of you, and I thank you for the support you provided just by being there.

“The Adventure of the Foreign Sun”

– another in the Sidequest series: fiction fragments which may be expanded someday –

The complicated diagram drawn on the wall flared in gold. In the flickering light, the arcane pattern briefly resembled the letters “VR” for some reason. A human-shaped shadow with glowing red eyes emerged from it, bellowing in anger.

“Grrraaaaaaggghhhh – oh. It’s one of you,” the creature snapped. “The last one worked very hard to free me from my debt to your bloodline. I see you’ve changed your mind.”

“That was hundreds of years ago. For generations, you’ve been a family legend no one really believed.”

“Obviously, you felt otherwise. A shame. I rather enjoyed my freedom, I must say. However: what’s done is done. You must have gone to a great deal of trouble to rediscover the secrets learned by your ancestor; especially as I can tell we are far from the mountains of Afghanistan.”

“Can you?”

“If nothing else, the sun outside your window is quite the wrong shade of blue. Let us cut to the heart of the matter. What do you people wish of me this time?” The shadow resolved into the shape of a man: one somewhat over two meters tall, with piercing blue eyes, a thin hawk-like nose, and a prominent, square chin.

“Nothing you are unused to. Shyarlok, I require your help solving a murder,” said Siobhán Marie Watson.

Five Decades and Counting

It’s so good to have a partner who understands that I may be 50 today, but I am still 15 as well. (Birthday presents below the cut)

This Is Your Alternate Reality

Another blast from the Atari 800 past: the opening to a video game called “Alternate Reality”. Hard to imagine these days, but this 8-bit game pushed the computer to the limit: the Atari could play four tones at once and display four colors at once. You’ll notice there are more than each in the video. This was done by playing tricks with the internal values so the computer swapped in a new set of four colors and four tones by the microsecond before the screen had refreshed. Hardcore.

Managlitch City Episode 34: Greymind

It feels so good to be releasing episodes on a regular basis! This episode was very personal to me, what with everything happening around us, my own demons, and more.

Glenn is out of Greyspace and back on the air, but he’s got lots and lots of bad news. He may not be doing the broadcast much longer, and the future of the Underground does not look good. Also, more from Sandrel Creed. Make them remember you!

Giant LEGO D.Va Mech at BlizzCon

Clearly, this is to prepare us for a sanity-sized LEGO kit of D.Va and her mech. But dang, I wish i could have this one 😀 (YouTube video below the cut…)