Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Robot-Pirate War for Super Island

WARNING: you are about to embark on a journey through layers of unadulterated corruption and unabashed drama. The story that is about to unfold requires a sturdy constitution and I ask that the weaker readers refrain from continuing.


The latest telegram! Anxiously, I crowded around the operator, pushing my fellow henchmen aside to get the first glance at the message as it was transcribed. Dot-dot-dot… dash…

“There was a downed communiqué-cable — a communi-cable — but we’ve got the gist,” Army Amanda (Colonel Chickenpox’s attaché) explained.

Pirates were always cutting the cables on us; we refuse to pay tribute. And yet the Spanish armada refuses to harry the scalawags from our waters, despite our redresses to the Colonel. Colonel Chickenpox was (in my opinion) the bravest shoehorn I ever met, but his administrative skills were stumblingly sub-par.

“Your task is to… ‘prevent the super-pets from reproducing’ using any means.”

I stoked my firebeard. “Travis. Have you ever seen one of these so-called super-pets?”

“Can’t rightly say I have,” said Travis. We both knew he was lying. He pulled a map out and laid it on the war room table. “But I’ve heard many legends during my time in Piratetown.”

“Tell us again how you escaped the infamous Captain Carrow?” Codex asked, barely looking up from the mangled telegram. I plopped down in the Colonel’s armchair, eager for a thumping good story.

“It was Tuesday,” he began. “The Colonel asked me to empty the tar traps. Not thinking much of it, I packed the canisters on a handtruck and wheeled them to the local disposary.”

Amanda disconnected the ringer and pulled up a chair. This story got better with every telling.

“I saw my friend Jack Robbins on the way downtown. ‘Mornin’, Travis!’ he yelled, ’cause I didn’t see him. ‘You’re off in a hurry.’ So I showed him the handtruck and explained about the tar traps. He said he knew a shortcut…”

“Aw, this is the good part,” I whispered.

“So Jack, my best friend since third grade, took me down a shady alleyway. ‘Jack,’ I said, ‘this doesn’t seem like a good neighbo-’”

SLAM! Travis pounded the sandpapered chestnut wall. Sawdust sparked off his fist.

“My good friend hi-Jack-ed me; knocked me out cold, and the next thing I knew, I was in irons in the belly of the Sea Kettle.”

He held his arms above his head. “I was a captive of none other than Captain Carrow, that crafty Caribbean cur! He’d built quite a reputation in the south as a hardboiled swordsman, willing to slit throats on a whim and strand his own men on deserted islands to settle bets.”

Lighting a hand-rolled Havana on my firebeard, Travis pursed, pensive.

“By capturing me, Jack had bought his own freedom. My hypnotic repertoire is legendary; Carrow gave Jack a motorized rowboat and a month’s supply of taffy and cut him loose. I haven’t heard from him since, but make no mistake—” he unsheathed his scabbard and waved it menacingly, “—if I ever see Jack Robbins again, he’s getting a permanent haircut.”

“So you were aboard Captain Carrow’s ship, the Sea Kettle? What was it like?”

“Smelly. Crowded. Disease spread rapidly. Society had broken down. Then we set sail from Los Angeles and conditions improved.”

Leaning back on his stool, Travis’ eyes jolted. He was nearing the crux of the story.

“Carrow threatened me with painful torture if I refused to teach his crew to resist hypnosis. Colonel Chickenpox says to hold out against torture for 24 hours, and I did — and all it bought me was a day in the shark tank.”

Travis rolled up his sleeve to show off the bite marks. “Was the Colonel asleep at the switch?” He snapped at Amanda. That was unfair of him, she had no control over the Colonel’s narcolepsy.

“…So I had a hammerhead under one arm while I fought off the Great White with my legs, kicking its stomach as it gnawed my free arm. Sharks are naturally immune to hypnosis, so it was an uphill climb.” He flexed ardently. “I sent ’em packin’ in tuna cans. But then Carrow sent in the dolphins.”

We all shuddered. Dolphins are the mortal enemies of hypnotists.

“Thursday was indoctrination day. I personally administered the oath of office to every member of the crew, Westminster style, and the training began.” He sighed.

It was one thing to use hypnosis for evil and personal gain. But to be used like a tool — like a 32b-bit adaptive coil handler — was plain humiliating.

“We landed at Piratetown after two weeks of hypnotherapy. We were stocking up on provisions for an antarctic voyage to parts unknown. Or at least, unknown to me.” He took a sip of water before continuing (even though there was iced tea right there), “Carrow wanted me at his side at all times, to counter any would-be hypnotic assassins. With his enemies and diet, it’s surprising he wasn’t already long-dead.”

I visualized the gritty scene in my mind: a dingy den of deceit, monkeybirds chained to their masters’ arms, gold-laden lamps caging blue-hot flames. An endless sea of graft, despair and opportunity. It was a place to which I could easily relate.

Because I was there.

“You were there!”

The room turned to face me. I arched my left eyebrow in mock shock. “Sí, yo estuve allí. Piratetown is one of the many places I frequent. There’s no law against piracy, is there?” I asked defiantly.

“Uh…” Codex shook his head. “What does any of this have to do with the super-pets? We’re supposed to-”

“You’re supposed to speak when spoken to, ingrate!”

I belted him in the face with my knuckle dusters on. He went down, and I kicked him in the gut. Then I apologized and we became the best of friends. I helped him move the following week, and we had iced cream and mine fell off the cone but he bought me another. But that was next week; this week we were at war.

“Colonel Chickenpox had just ordered a general holiday so he could have some free time to burn incriminating evidence regarding his purchase of a United States Senate seat. See, Jefferson Smith — the longest serving senator in history, and record-holder for the longest filibuster — had just kicked the bucket after serving for 79 years in the Senate. The Colonel wanted to get someone into office who was sympathetic to his pet cause: BANANA EXTINCTION.”

“So he concocted a scheme,” Travis added. “He sent this clown to Piratetown to rustle up some votes; pirates vote in a bloc, and most are fans of the banana anyway.”

“But the pirates were too riled up to think about politics,” I broke in, “because of those lousy super pets.”

“Then you’ve encountered the super-pets before?” Codex asked. “And where was I this whole time?”

“I don’t know… probably playing your Gameboy deluxe, advance, whatever the kids are — pocket — whatever they’re calling them today. And yeah, the super-twerps were part of the problem. Those do-gooders raided the raiders, throwing pirates in prison with their bare paws.”

“So, with my hypnotic prowess, I helped Captain Carrow and the other pirate lords and ladies broker a deal with the colonel’s proxy,” he gestured to me. “And thus the joint Pirate-Banana lobby was born.”

“The Banana-Pirate lobby. This was all before you were hired,” I told Amanda. “It also explains why we can’t go after the super-pets…”

“Dead. All of them.” Travis was, as usual, brutally blunt. “Colonel Chickenpox funneled experimental ‘toys’ to Piratetown through his cronies in the Pentagon. Those four lieutenants who got discharged after testifying before Congress last year? Patsies. Scapegoats. The DOD wanted that equipment tested under real world conditions, and if it meant turning over the top-secret location of the Island of the Super-Pets…”

“The whole island was torched,” I replied equally bluntly. “We watched from the captain’s lounge. Hypnotically-controlled androids bounded through the napalm, pre-programmed to kill. Pirates in Haz-mat suits sliced their quarry with Kryptonite blades.” I crunched the numbers. “And not one person lost a contact lens amid the horror. It was beautiful.”

“That was the end of the super-pets,” Travis said as he enjoyed a ripe Cavendish banana, thanks to the Colonel’s preservation efforts.

“All thanks to Mr. Jack Robbins,” accidentally burst past my lips as I took a sip of the iced tea Travis had coldly refused. Boy, did I have some explaining to do!

Travis blanched. “Wh-what?”

“Jack was a plant, yo! You were set up. Colonel Chickenpox played Carrow like a fiddle, and you were the bow!” I took pleasure in knowing I facilitated this realization. “One of Bush’s last official acts was to give Jack the presidential medal of freedom, which he wears quite well.”

SNAP! Travis was about to blow a gasket!

“I… fought sharks…”

“For your country.”

“Those animals…”

“Vigilantes unaffiliated with any nation.”

Travis slumped down. “WHAT WAS THE POINT?!”

I was perplexed by his reaction. “Why, to test Earth’s finest hypnotic weaponry against a genuine alien presence! The only issue in Washington that has real bipartisan support is intergalactic conquest. And, apparently, saving the banana from extinction.”

As Travis knelt and wept for the super-pets, brave soldiers with human names like “Lyndon” and “Mahathanashi” from places like “Pensitucky” and “Khorma” were already setting foot on Tau Ceti, armed to the teeth with hypno-beams, ready like all-get-out to unleash their fury on the murderous slugfolk.

And over the fray, despite the lack of atmosphere, their battle hymn carried all the way back home.

And those who remained on that rock died proudly, with their bananas in their hands.


Henchman432 said...

... ?

captain koma said...

well killing them does stop them from reproducing. So I'm going to have to say.

Job well done.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Who did what in the where now?

captain koma said...

C'mon Jon its a story inside a story about the fact that Gyrobo had already killed off all the super pets on super island.