|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Cover|
And The Winner Is…
You Don’t Know
After a long and action-packed brawl, Chuck’s managed to disarm his assailant and hold her at bay.
“Who the fuck are you, and who do yoU WORK FOR?!” Chuck says and then yells, the comically oversized barrel of the disarmed woman’s gun indenting a bullseye into her forehead.
Auntie Vigil grins and then spits at Chuck, the loogie landing on the toe of his right shoe. Inside his sock, Chuck’s toe grows eight silver spider-like arms and detaches itself from his foot before melting into a puddle and seeping, first through his sock, and then through his shoe, onto the dusty floor of the warehouse. The toe then reforms, spider legs and all, and the toenail lifts up to reveal an unsettlingly human-like mouth with dentures that aren’t glued in quite right. The toe then eats the loogie, audibly chewing in a bovine fashion for the room to hear, before melting again and rejoining Chuck’s body. At the sight of this, Auntie Vigil’s eyes grow larger than her hands.
“Yeah, see that? You don’t know what I am, lady. You should see what my pinky’s capable of.”
Broken from the trance, Auntie Vigil hocks another loogie and spits it between Chuck’s suited legs, the frothy green sludge gliding through the air like a metal paper airplane until it smears itself all over the far wall of the warehouse. She makes no further noises.
Chuck checks the watch digitally projected on the lenses of his sunglasses. “All right, it’s getting late and this is stupid. You win,” he tiredly says as he pulls the trigger and is immediately thrown into the front wall of the warehouse by the roided-up flashbang grenade that was evidently stuffed into the barrel of the gun.
A Tropical Island
Auntie Vigil wakes up on the beach of a tropical island, her face set aglow by the streaks of sunlight that beam through the gaps between the arms and torsos of the multiple large, hairy, man-shaped, too tall to be human creatures she’s surrounded by (???).
When his eyes stop lagging and finally catch up with the rest of the Universe, Chuck is utterly astonished to find himself alone in the warehouse. He tries to move but can’t, his back is fastened to the wall by that nasty snot rocket the apparently superpowered lady shot between his legs. A single layer of the epidermis that makes up Chuck’s back pulls a big toe maneuver and our man is freed, for the time being. He walks to the spot where he was holding some strange woman hostage not even a minute ago and observes the odd lack of remnants.
Chuck asks the Universe, “What the fuh–” and is cut off when he vanishes from the warehouse.
Where Was I
“The heck? Boss? BOSS!” Karen shouts, startling Chuck back into consciousness.
Chuck leaps from his bed, both of his hands turning into a cross between a samurai sword and a chainsaw while he’s in the air, and lands in battle stance, ready to cook whoever the hell just activated his fight-or-fillet response. Then he realizes it’s just Karen and his hands return to hand form to pull out and light a joint in one swift motion. He takes a long pull of the happystick, burning it halfway to the crutch, and then hands it off to Karen, who accepts with a tired smile.
As he exhales, “Well hello Karen, please don’t tell me I was dreaming. That would be so fucking lame.”
After a short coughing fit, Karen hands the joint back to Chuck. He burns the rest of it in a single hit.
Almost impressed, Karen says, “No, probably not. I heard a thud so I came in and you were just kind of laying here. I think Sigmund needs you down in the lab.”
“Wonderful. Did the am–”
“Your new toy is safely stored away in one of the robinite vaults down below.”
“Swimming,” Chuck says as the floor around him opens up and he is lowered down on a platform.
Karen just shakes her head before returning to her desk and picking up her pencil. “Now, where was I…”
Chuck travels through the tube system Sigmund installed in the Cape tower until the platform finally brings him into Sigmund’s lab where he finds something of a little powwow going on. There’s Sigmund, sweaty as usual, standing across from… oh boy. This moment. He’s standing across from some vaguely familiar silver-haired, tall-ass let us call him a purple-painted human, accompanied by a slightly familiar-looking human who, for some untold fucking reason, is holding about ten kilos of brick LSD in his menacingly gloved hands.
“Chuck!” Sigmund exclaims, running over to Chuck. “Look! That’s an extraterrestrial! And so is that one, they’re both actual, extra-terrestrial extraterrestrials!”
Chuck looks at Sigmund, then at the purple dude, then at the bricks piled in the kid’s hands, then at the chinchilla sitting on top of Sigmund’s head, then at the kid, and then back to the body painter, making eye contact.
“They’re finally here! Remember, that one New Year’s bash you threw? The one with the domestic terrorist? When I accidentally contacted the extraterrestrial transmitter that was floating in our solar system? Well, it took them a while, but they finally came!”
Chuck, noticing the abnormally tall intruder rolling his eyes, scoffs, “Hah, bullllllllllshit. That’s totally the hippie from the closet before.”
“What?” says everybody in the room, even Chuck.
“Uh, nothing,” Chuck says, evidently feeling talkative. “I’m out, I gotta go somewhere… else.”
The elevator platform begins to ascend back into the ceiling to take Chuck to a place in his tower where he can hopefully salvage what’s left of the Holiblaze, and then escape and not get eaten by a black hole. Then it shakes to a stop, Chuck opting to jump off before the device malfunctions and bursts into flames. This leaves him looking mildly annoyed.
Sigmund’s about to start monologuing about the transmitter again, but the suspected extraterrestrial holds up his four-fingered, one-thumbed hand and shushes him, not even giving him the chance.
Then, the extraterrestrial says, “Wait, before you start with that transmitter nonsense again, we aren’t staying here. I have gifts for both of you as thanks for sparing your eL-eSs-Dee. I know it will cost Cape Enterprises Uncorporated quite a bit of, how you say, dollars.”
Chuck begins to smile, but then, “Wait, how did you know the name of my–”
“You told me yourself, Chucky.”
“For you, Sigmund, this device.” Purple hands Sigmund a small black cube with a white ring on one of its sides. “That is a very special iteration-class device, use it wisely. And for you, Charles–”
“That’s what I said, Charles,” says the “painted” dude, holding out his empty palm, “But for you, this… wait, what?”
Chuck is confused and mildly irritated – Sigmund gets a present but not him? Why did he even get teleported down here in the first place?!
Then, he has an ah-ha moment as some pre-black hole memories flood his system, leading him to remove his right glove.
“Wait, I thought I… how is this…” the purple-painted player mumbles perfectly, almost as if he rehearsed it. When he looks up, he sees that Chuck is flipping him off, his middle finger sporting a ring with a multicolored gemstone. The violet vindicator’s eyes grow into that of a giant squid. “Where…” a practiced pause. Then, “Where did you get that ring?”
“Well wouldn’t you like to know, fucko?”
The purple tallman(?) takes a moment to study the situation, a perfected look of contemplation heavy on his face, but ends with a smile. “Very well,” he says, turning to Sigmund. “You know what that does, don’t you Sigmund?”
“Uh, y-yes I… believe I do,” he nervously stutters. They say never meet your idols – they’re out of their flipping minds.
“And are you going to press that button?”
Sigmund looks at the device in his hand, studying the black hole inside the white ring. “No, I… I don’t think I will, sir. I think I have plans for it though, I’ll reverse engineer it.”
The purple nothuman smiles a smile that’s taken millennia to perfect. “Very well. Welp, our time was running short even before I decided to bestow this gift upon you. We must dip, the rift is closing. Thank you Sigmund.” Then, in an existentially sincere tone, “Thank you, Chuck.”
The purple being winks at Chuck and then disappears, along with the kid and the four bricks of crystal LSD.
“So uh… what the fuck was that, Sig?”
“Hm?” Sigmund says without looking up from his new device. “I’m not sure… thank you for coming though.”
“You teleported me here.”
Chuck stretches his arms towards the ceiling, yawning a mighty yawn. “Whatever, that went better than I expected. It–”
“I thought you never expected things?”
Not wanting to agitate Sigmund into destroying this Universe for the fourth fucking time in a row, “Hah, got me there. It’s damn near midnight though, Daddy’s fucking beat. I need to go smoke a pound and get some sleep. What is that thing, anyway?”
Sigmund quizzically smiles, still transfixed on his device. “I think… I think its a black hole generator. That extraterrestrial just gave me the most powerful, most devastating piece of technology in Existence. If I deconstruct it and reconstruct it right, I may be able to invent a pocket-dimension generator.”
“What? You mean pocket-universe, right?” Chuck asks, more piffed from Sigmund’s incorrect use of the word dimension than anything else.
“Well yeah, but pocket-dimension objectively sounds better, I think. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Yeah sure, whatever man. I’m hittin’ the hay, goodnight good buddy.”
The platform, still hanging lazily in the air, lowers to the floor for Chuck to step on. The suited man is then whisked back up to his bedroom and, after walking out into the office to hit each one of the bongs on Karen’s still for some reason occupied desk, he retreats back to his room to change into his silk sleeping business suit so he can comfortably fade into a DMT trip that the majority of humans on Earth still call a dream.
Sigmund, meanwhile, places the extraterrestrial black hole device into his reverse engineering and analysis machine and spends the next hour or two trying to disassemble it so he can put it back together again. Frustrated with the lack of progress he’s made, he grumpily returns to the chamber with the chair contraption. When the secret door closes, he sits and slumps over; a moment later, about two hundred feet above him, Terry springs to life and runs back onto the set of his show. The feed is still live, cameras still rolling. It’s like he never left.
“Hello, TerryTeammates! My humblest apologies for the delay, I believe… I believe I just, officially, made the first physical contact with extraterrestrials in the history of humanity. But, I’ll save that scoop for another day. Unfortunately I’ll have to cut the show before I can show you the rest of the clips due to that little interruption, but before I go, I need to announce the winner of the contest!”
Terry picks up the folded slip of paper and smiles wide, looking directly into the camera. “And the winner is… the TerryTeammate named… AlienFootPrint…! How fitting, if not a little ironic given the offensivity of that word!”
As Terry speaks, the microphone rubs up against his lab coat, causing a bit of white noise to be broadcasted across America. Jack stirs in his deep, drooly slumber, but does not wake up. Terry, on his turned off computer screen, continues.
“Well, thank you so very much, TerryTeammates, for tuning into the tubular TerryTeamTwenty telecast tonight. We saw some footage, we picked a winner, AND I surprisingly made face-to-face contact with extraterrestrials, and for the first time in the history of humanity, no less! To that, I say goodnight, and offer a question that I will immediately answer for you: Was this a small step for man, or a giant leap for mankind? There’s only one way for us to know – by looking at the footprint.”
Terry ends the broadcast and returns to the BioBot room behind his studio, then slumps back over so Sigmund may come back to life. After changing into his rocketship footsie pajamas and brushing his teeth and all that, Sigmund crawls into his floating flying saucer bed and busts out his secret journal that nobody – not Chuck, not Karen, not his computers, not even Terry – knows about. It’s the only log he keeps that isn’t digitized, and for good reason: Sigmund writes his deepest, darkest secrets in this book, secrets which would undeniably tear a hole in his relationships with the humans in his life, similarly how that black hole generator would tear a hole in the fabric of the Universe if he were to press the button, which he won’t. He has no reason to; Chuck is alive and making his own decisions, and he doesn’t seem to suspect a thing.
Tonight’s entry in the journal goes as follows:
April 20th, 2020
Hello journal. It’s me, Sigmund. I think… no, I know that something happened up in space yesterday after Chuck disappeared from comms. That big thing going towards him – I think that was an extraterrestrial spaceship, one piloted by the beings who originally sent out the transmitter I found at the party. When they found Chuck and saw that his brain had been injected with my hemibots, they must have sent him back to Earth and then tracked him so they could come meet the inventor of the technology. So they could meet me.
Actually… no, that would be silly. If they sent him back here, why would they need to track him? Besides, the extraterrestrial I met tonight said the transmitter talk was nonsense. But, at the same time, he claimed to know Chuck. So… I don’t know.
Maybe nothing happened in space yesterday, maybe Chuck is just… maybe he just shut comms off and came back. Or maybe he’s from a different universe, hah! Or, even better, maybe he’s a version of Chuck from a past version of this universe, a version in which I pressed the button on the black hole device the extraterrestrials gave me tonight. Now that would be a plot twist… although, I’m not sure exactly how he would escape a black hole, if that were the case. He’s good, but I don’t know if he could accomplish the impossible.
Anywho, I finally met my extraterrestrials tonight, journal. Finally, at long last, I’ve met my extraterrestrials, and they gave me a device which I’m pretty sure creates black holes. And Chuck is still alive, and operating under his own free will, as far as I can tell, which means my conscious is totally clean. It’s like I never even put the hemibots in his brain, an observation which I am not exactly unhappy to make.
Oh, and, I get to meet the winner of the TerryTeam contest tomorrow. I’ve never met a fan before, I’m pretty excited! Things are looking good for ol’ Siggy, journal, yes they are.
Yes they are.
Goodnight, journal. This is Sigmund, signing off.