2099UGR Unlimited #11, Volume 1

2099UGR Unlimited #11, Volume 1 September 2007



2099UGR Unlimited

Issue #11, Volume 1

Metalscream: "Thousand-Word Week"

Written by Jason McDonald

Chief Edits: David Ellis


Litany Kirkpatrick
Metalscream


 



Monday Morning.

I’m floating, legs crossed, surrounded by floating skulls cloaked in surging yellow arcs of energy. My eyes – glazed-white – stare into some wild meditative daydream.

Words.

Sounds.

Thoughts.

Books on the occulttech, lessons taught through psychic e-mail.

Hooked the Bone Machine to cyberspace an hour ago, see what texts they could dredge up. Hard-bound leather volumes’re hard to find in this day and age. Any that John had in the Mantic Gallery are long gone, burnt up.

Starting over...

Spells from the ancient texts.

Stories of rituals gone wrong. Technodeviants.

“How to’s” for the “never-dids”.

I watch and learn.


Tuesday.

Wake up to the Priestess and the Coach arguing in my ear about one of his more sordid moments.

I yawn, get dressed.

I think up a gauntlet to run today in the War Room. A city block’s worth of holographic enemies and plenty of places to hide.

Equations, symbols, colors with ideas pool around my fingers, and techno-occult energy fills my eyes.

Turn one corner, then another. Blur in my peripheral vision, and I’m nothing but motion. Duck and cover behind a parked car and turn to fire violent streams of magic at my attacker.

Reflexes’re getting better.


Wednesday. Early Shocking Morning.

Alarm-dreams shock me awake, pounding in my ears.

They’re being broadcast by the early-warning system in the Nerve Centre of my mansion directly into my head. Alerts me when someone’s mis-using the occulttech.

Apparently, they’re not polite enough to wait till morning.

Get out of bed, get some clothes on, zero the source of the disturbance. It’s some gothic nightclub, crazy imagery of black lights surging across a mob of panicked club-hoppers and lots of bodies lying on the ground.

Images of another figure, silhouette, with a hump on his back radiating energy.

Creepy little rotter.


Wednesday. Later.

Turned out the murdering silhouette with a hump on his back was just some scared teenager, who’d merged an energy-collecting demon into his spine. Idiot was reading from a leather-bound book he found at the pawn shop and didn’t know what he was saying.

I somehow got the blasted thing out of his spine, and almost got the electricity sucked out of my nervous system for my trouble. The demon’s back in Hell where it belongs.

Nothing I could do about the ones the demon sucked dry. Or the people trampled by fleeing crowd.

Life really sucks, sometimes.


Thursday Evening.

I’m at the Greysfield Diner – nice little restaurant in Halo City – sucking back a beefy burger.

The black card I use to pay for the meal is obviously not mine. It belonged to a shmuck corporate middleman who tried using a voodoo doll to murder his boss. Nasty spell buried in his brain made him forget he even has a black card account.

Before the ratbiter’s card, I’d had to get my meals from a mission.

Thing about the shaping dimension I live in…anything I create within it, disappears after I teleport to the real world.

Including food.


Thursday Night.

I’m reading something about ‘astral forms’ in my cyberspace trance. Disconnecting the spirit from the body and piloting it remotely as a ‘covert reconnaissance tactic.’

Could be useful…

With the Bone Machine’s help, I speak the Latin words. It’s incredible: feeling, seeing and hearing everything as a wraith. Distracted, I stumble over a word…

…and before the Machine can stop me, some twisted little red gnome pops up – all bones and skeleton and clouded black eyes.

The Bone Machine helps me banish him from the Dream Zone. He was a Gatherer of Souls for some evil demon-god.

Oops...


Friday.

Against its better judgment, the Bone Machine teaches me how to disconnect itself from my body. It’s been bonded to my nervous system over a month now. Been helping to hold me together since my insides got torn up by debris when the Mantic Gallery was destroyed. The bus explosion in Paradise City didn’t help matters.

Just want to feel the damage for myself.

Convalescence spells have helped, but I’m still sore throughout my entire abdomen without the Machine to connect me together.

Another month, maybe…

Getting tired of having glowing skulls orbiting around my body twenty-four seven, y’know?


Saturday.

Finally!

Been at the apt pupil thing all week now. Meditation. Lessons in the Voodoo religion. Streaming online texts via the Bone Machine. Running training gauntlets. Staying off the sauce.

The Bone Machine’s idea. To get me in better shape to do the Metalscream thing.

Today’s my reward.

Sonic Gunmetal concert in all their loud, frenzied glory.

I rock out in the front row as they sing all my favorite songs, fans dressed in matching black make-up and body alterations swell crazily in the crowd beside me.

The skulls of dead sorcerers circle me crankily.

I fit in fine.


Saturday Evening.

Meditation, meditation, meditation.

The Zen Master drills the finer points of centering oneself, and excreting all thoughts from the mind.

For some reason I’m having trouble doing that.

It could be the concert I was just at. Throat’s still raw from singing along with the band, but I loved up every second.

Throughout the concert, I checked out the lead singer from time to time. Toned bod, no shirt, and when he spun around to play the guitar on his shoulder blades, I noticed how his tight leather pants formed around that tight little...

What was I saying?


Sometime Sunday Night.

I’m taking a walk around Halo City, the only place I’m safe outside the Dream Zone.

I know they’re out there…the SHIELD agents that killed John.

Only they don’t call themselves SHIELD agents anymore. They’re the Public Eyeballs, and every day more and more, I feel the need to rip them from the sockets of the world.

But I can’t reveal myself to them. Not yet. Not unless I want my brains blown out too.

I’m safe for now – the Public Eye aren’t welcome in Halo.

How long will that last?

How long does anything good last?


YOU’VE REACHED THE END OF THE WEEK. CONGRATULATIONS! YOU GET A MEDAL!



Hullo, ladies and gents.

So anyway, David Ellis was the one who brought the concept of a “hundred word story” to the UGR with his Daredevil 100-word story in the pages of 2099UGR New Year’s Eve Special.

Which was a concept that, well, confounded me at first.

“A hundred words? How the hell can you tell a story in a hundred words?”

I, being a guy who usually tells stories in thousands of words, if not tens of thousands.

So I thought I’d challenge myself.

I surmised I’d write a few separate hundred word stories for Litany, taken together to show a typical day for our resident Metalscream.

Then, I thought, why not show what a normal week looks like?

So then came the inspiration: To write a week in the life of Litany Kirkpatrick, with ten total scenes each equaling a hundred words. Quite literally, a “thousand word week”.

It’s also a very important week, as it is the first week in a return to normality after Litany’s role in the accidental destruction of Paradise City, as well as her spiral into a depressive, drunken stupor. Of course, there are only seven days in a week, and my story required ten scenes. So naturally, certain days got more notoriety than others.

We also find out that Halo City is a sort of “home-away-from-home” for our techno-sorceress. This is because Halo City’s pretty much a haven for mutants, degens, and anyone on the run from the megacorporations, even humans. Very few citizens in the city are inclined to ask questions about a teenage runaway with a stolen black card. Mutants, the majority in Halo City, know exactly what it’s like to be on the run from something, and how badly you wouldn’t want to be found. So in essence, she’s safer in Halo City theoretically than anywhere else in the continental U.S. right now.

Naturally, that’s where she gets her meals and such from. Not that she couldn’t manufacture tons of food in the Dream Zone just by thinking about it, but everything would just disappear about ten or so seconds after she teleports out of the Dream Zone. Even if she’d already digested the food into glucose sugars and energy for her body.

Anyway, this was a lot of fun to write, and a lot of exercise for the “Word Count” tool on my computer. And certainly a nice break from the dark and heavy stories I’ve been writing for Litany recently, what with the accidental destruction of Paradise City in 2099UGR Unlimited #9 and the road to healing we saw last issue.

This is Litany, Back to Basics. Under a little more scrutiny from the Bone Machine, of course.

We’ll see how long she decides to play along. She’s not good with authority, as we all know.

Of course, this story’s also a really odd experiment, so don’t hesitate to let me know how you think it turned out!


Jason McDonald
08.02.07_