|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Matter|
Seriously, Where’s Jack?
Chaos And Destruction
Deep in the jungle behind Jack’s home in Quarryville, a certain anomalous Mount Drase shimmers into the Universe. The sudden shifting between metaphysical and physical planes stirs Tim-nah’tee from his meditation in the garden behind the empty cabin that he’s been watching over since yesterday. A cold wind blows through the trees and carries with it a voice, a message, a shiver down his spine.
Tim-nah’tee rises – he knows what he must do. He leaps from the meditation ring and soars over the cabin, landing on two feet in the meadow, causing a slight quake to ricochet through the ground. When the mountain ceases its trembling, he takes off into the forest. His legs move faster than his brain can keep up with, but Tiny Tim does not falter, not now; Jack Monta must be saved. He zags before WHOOPing the zig back into nonexistence, and momentum alone carries Tim-nah’tee to the summit of Bored Mountain.
Here he pauses, looking out over the valley and the spaceship that hovers above it. He throws hand signs and a brilliant white orb overtakes his body.
The orb shrinks down to the size of a grapefruit and screams across the sky, crashing into the
Zeroc ship with a blast of blinding light. By the time the lift carries a battle-ready Jolon to the surface of the moon chunk, Tim is waiting at the center.
“Jolon,” Tim says in a grave voice, placing his palm on Jolon’s forehead. He continues to speak but the
Zeroc hears nothing, seeing with his mind’s eye a vision of chaos and destruction on a nearby human highway. When Jolon opens his eyes, all he sees is a small white orb flying away towards the valley near the end of the dam.
After flying in through the busted powder room window, Tim floats through the Monta household and enters Jack’s bedroom. The house is quiet, everybody is asleep; this works in Tim’s favor, nobody to hear him move the ottoman. He slides down the hole and lands on the uncushioned seat of the BioBot machine, but nothing happens; the device must be dead, it needs fuel. Throwing more hand signs, Tim uses a large hunk of his remaining energy to materialize a brick of pure Lysergic Acid Diethylamide about the size of a Sunburst candy in his palm. After feeding the BioBot station its favorite treat, Tim-nah’tee slumps over.
He awakes inside AdultJack’s body, still laying on the floor in the Dirt Eater Mk I’s bedroom. Tim picks himself up and bursts through the door, more than prepared to climb up an elevator shaft to reach the forty-second floor of the Cape Enterprises, Unc tower. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to – Chuck is sitting on the couch playing video games.
Chuck is so enthralled in said video game that he doesn’t even hear AdultJackTim approach him from behind. As soon as Chuck removes the gun from within his guest’s mouth, he plops back down on the couch and asks AdultJack to join him.
“Chuck, there is no time to explain. Jack is in trouble.”
“You’re right AdultJack, you will be in trouble if you don’t do yourself a plop. I just got this game, it’s literally a New Manhattan simulator. You just go around shooting en-pee-cees, stealing cars, and selling drugs; my character is even a dude in a business suit, it’s so lifelike!
AdultJackTim stands between Chuck and the TV and opens his mouth. Then, gripping his top and bottom rows of teeth with the tips of his fingers, he stretches his jaw so far that it snaps, the top of his skull falling backwards. From within the throat of the BioBot, a swarm of hemi-atomic nanobots forms the face of Tim-nah’tee.
“Woah… you definitely won’t have to show me how you did that.”
“Chuck, it is I, Tim-nah’tee.”
“Yeah no shit, what’s goin’ on dude?”
“Jack is in danger, ye–”
“How do you know that?” Chuck shouts, not wanting to believe him. The weekend just started, can’t a Chuck get a break?
“I was meditating atop the anomalous mountain when a divine voice whispered into my ear. Something crashed out of the sky and blocked up traffic, Jack is stalled on a main road in a long yellow transport vehicle. I believe it may be a diversion of some sort, Jolon is heading to the scene of the crash with his entire invasion ship.”
“Oh… well fuck, that sounds about as legitimate as possible.” As his power armor melts around him, “What do I do?”
“Go and protect Jack, he should be right outside his high school. I used what I believe was the last of my energy to conjure the fuel to send you this message.”
“Well why in the fuck didn’t you just use that energy to go and protect him yourself??”
Tim considers this for a moment, then, “Because I likely have another role to play in this ordeal. I would be useless in a situation which calls for you.”
“How is a bigfoot ever useless in any situation?”
“My feet aren’t that large, and you are a god. You must go now, I fear the eL-eSs-Dee I conjured won’t la–” as AdultJackTim topples to the floor.
Chuck sighs, saying, “Fine, I needed to go to New Jersey today anyway,” aloud to himself, if only to justify his pausing of Steal All The Cars V. He then takes his time walking over to the elevator only to engage his suit’s flight mode and beam upwards, taking the shaft all the way through the roof.
Blasting through the blue skies at speeds immeasurable by human technology, Chuck flies across the ocean and over the obnoxious beachfront part of New Jersey like a well-traveled gull. When sandy cityscape and upper-class suburbia turns to forests and mountains, Chuck descends into civilian airspace and, after a few front flips through the air, lands on two feet upon the doorstep of a run-down house in Mugsaw, one of Treering’s four segregated districts.
I mean, neighborhoods.
This isn’t any household though – this is the ratshack of Chuck Monta, the deadbeat biological father of Samuel and Jackson Monta. After meeting him and Daisy in a car crash roughly twenty years ago, Chuck had set up an arrangement with Mister Monta that he’d divorce Daisy and, on the twenty-fifth of every month, he would hand-deliver a very beefy five-digit check from Cape Enterprises, Uncorporated under the guise of child support. Leary would give the check to Monta, Monta would give the check to Daisy, and Daisy would use the check to support herself and her fatherless kids. Leary would simply push the first domino and the rest would fall into place, simple as that. Everybody wins.
Of course, the money would often get spent on alcohol, running apparel, and new cars before it got spent on the kids, but it’s the thought that counts.
Chuck hasn’t missed a single day in the past twenty years, and today will not be the first. He gives the door a courtesy knock before kicking it in, the cheap nail gun nails that hold the frame in place hardly giving any resistance to Chuck’s boot. I mean, he kicks the door in literally every month, why would Monta bother permanently repairing it?
“Oh Mister MONNNN-TAAAAH, you dirty old BAAHHHH-STAAAAARRRD!” Chuck sings, trudging through the house and flipping the furniture over. “Where AAAARREE YOOOUUUUU?”
No answer; odd, considering how the value Monta holds for his own life usually convinces him to never miss one of their meetings. Maybe that beating Chuck laid on him last month was a little more vicious than he thought it was… whatever. He leaves the check on the floor and goes to walk out, but is stopped when a painting on the wall lassos his attention.
The painting depicts a family of blue-tailed skinks sitting on a stratified rock wall. The rocks look to be slate of the bluish-gray variety, some of them even have scratches in them, what attention to detail. There’s a mommy lizard and two babies, one slightly larger than the other. There’s also a daddy lizard, but he’s clutched in the talons of a flying robin with the head of a dragon. Chuck stares at this painting for quite a few minutes trying to figure out which one is supposed to represent him before remembering that Jack might be in danger. He leaves a hole in Chuck Monta’s roof on his way out, right next to the skylight.
Chuck’s little scouting drone sees utter bedlam breaking out as it approaches the long yellow transp– oh, it’s a school bus. Or at least, it was a school bus before it was cut in half, presumably by the lady that’s standing in the middle of the two half-busses. Wow does she look familiar, as do the four other humans who somehow managed to pull the half-busses to the sides of the road. Chuck begins to think that they would make really good action figures before his thoughts are cut off by the sound of a gunshot and his senses are overcome by a brilliant white light.
Commanding the suit to adjust to the sudden unfavorable light conditions, Chuck boosts the thrusters and makes a crater with his landing, always seeking out that extra pinch of pizazz. Everybody else still seems to be disoriented – humans and shorter humans are sprinting this way and that, running into each other, charging head-first at full speed into parked cars. Even the lady with the kickin’ purple hair seems to be in a daze, she can hardly keep her balance. The power armor scans the area in search for Jack’s bioacoustic imprint that the BioBot chair recorded without him knowing, but comes up with nothing. No Jack anywhere, not even in corpse form. He’s just… gone.
That’s not possible, hold up, he can’t just be gone.’
Then, deep within the bowels of Chuck’s fragmented memory, a small projector kicks on and starts to play a film. The screen’s very bright at first, causing Chuck to squint, but he remembers back to Monday evening when he went to steal the amphibious motorcycle. That handsy lady, whatever her name was, she disappeared in a flash of light, too. After she got… shot… in the head… by that handgun…
And now Chuck’s here with the action figure guys, the ones who invaded his office yesterday. And…
And a gunshot just went off.
And there was that blinding flash of light a second ago.
And Jack’s gone.