Me in Comic Books:
A Sequel .
The Adventures of Me 2003
Buying the Farm
As much as I'd like to attend a big superhero baseball game I've been invited to (well, I'd rather avoid superhumans right now), I've got another job to do. I still have allies outside the superhuman community, and they still need my help.
Last year I helped throw a bunch of alien invaders out of Illinois. A bunch of paintball warriors mostly carried that fight, though.
This year, there are some paintballers making sure the aliens can't inhabit any of the Great Lakes where they used to live, but mostly they've scattered to their homes.
But now, there are some appeals for mutual aid going out. Some of these guys spent so much time fighting the aliens, they let the farms go to seed, and now they're being foreclosed.
So, a bunch of us former paintball warriors and allies converge upon Rockford, Illinois, near where one of the imperilled farms lies. After a nationwide process of hotel reviews, we settle in at a cheap hotel with a diner nearby. The diner has an Internet cafe built in, which gives me some amusement. I even meet some old friends.
- My role in this? I can give some money toward saving the farms... but I can also go work at the nearest farm in person, to get the farm ready for winter.
- Another team of volunteers brought the harvest in, but that's certainly not the end of the work year on a farm.
- Manual labor is not my specialty, but in today's economy, it's useful to develop one's diversified non-software work skills.
- I have to confess, I got invited to the big superhero baseball game. I could even have put on a suit of powered armor and played! But ever since my last interaction with superheroes, I really don't feel like hanging around with superheroes any more.
A reporter comes out to interview us... and I recognize her! She's Jody Beaudine, a Chicago TV anchorwoman.
- Kristi the "Whale Girl" is here! She'd retired from adventure after we fought the Jellyfish, but she says she's been convinced that she should help the people she cares about.
- Kristi's friend "Longbow the Archer" is here too. I first met this guy at the infamous Ultimate Brawl. He doesn't give his name out. He's just a bit older than me, but he can pull a bow with a 75-pound draw, which is pretty damned impressive.
And so I go through with an interview, and we start getting national publicity.
When we get on site, the proprietor comes in, with a lawyer. The lawyer's from Germany, but he's familiar with our story, and he assures us that the world will not forget its heroes, even the secondary ones like us. He's working with some of the local lawyers to give us legal coverage.
But some of my allies are still paranoid; they wanted to hide from the lawyer, until they were sure he was on our side. When they notice someone else approaching the house, they lead the way to cover.
And this time, they're right! These intruders are driving up in a "Hummer" all-terrain vehicle - and it's got flamethrowers mounted! We dive in the nearest pond for cover.
Boy, it would be nice to have Sub-Mariner powers on demand right now. But I don't do superpowers any more, ever since "The End". But luckily, Kristi still does; she can store enough air underwater to sustain both of us. And that's the last thing I remember.
- I know her because I fought her, in the Ultimate Brawl. I could have died in that match, which is hard to imagine my agreeing to... but she was mind-controlled at the time, so it was nothing personal on her part. And I was kind of mind controlled at the time too.
I wake up the next morning, with Kristi standing guard over me in my hotel room (like I did for her once). It seems I now go fetal in the face of danger. I guess I'm not as good at facing death as I used to be. Dammit.
Kristi fills me in on what happened...
The Archer took out the Hummer with a special arrow with a drill on it, for the windshield - and then a tear gas grenade. Another friend of Kristi's was able to stop the vehicle before the driver recovered.
Inside, there was a Jellyfish - one of the alien invaders! He's got a special compartment, with a human driver in front. And the driver is the banker who was trying to foreclose on the farm!
The arrows knocked out the driver, but the Jellyfish wasn't even touched! But it's not like Jellyfish can drive a car. So, we have that live captive Jellyfish we always wanted!
Our lawyer tells us, we can't legally claim the banker was under duress (namely, mental domination by Jellyfish), but we can question his mental state. Odds of saving the farm look pretty good right now. But there might be some more important problems...
After we threw the Jellyfish out of Lake Michigan last year, it wasn't hard to throw them out of Lake Superior too, which took out their major cultural centers on our continent.
Kristi's given up adventure; so have I. But we haven't given up helping people. Our friends the paintballers say there may be a peace treaty, but there may not. We may have a fight ahead of us... well, we may have a war. And we may not want to be combatants, but we can't just ignore it either. Damn, I wish I knew what to do. (16 November 2003)
But we do have allies, and maybe they have a better idea than reforming our private army to refight the Vietnam War in northern Wisconsin. We might as well ask, anyway.
- But the Jellyfish reacted by moving in to Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Y'know, the Land of 10,000 Lakes? And every lake is likely to have a couple of Jellyfish there now. In short, they're like guerrillas now.
- And they're still influencing everyone who ever vacations up there... including the hapless local banker from Rockford, who wanted to foreclose the farm, plus who knows how many other businessmen.
- Oh, shit.
Now that we know the Jellyfish have returned, and with the prospect of another war against them to be fought entirely by irregular forces armed mostly with paintballs, my allies are about as demoralized as I am. Which is a good thing, because that makes them realistic. One of them actually comes up with a good idea:
This isn't our war! Let the government defend its citizens from homeland assault for once!
And so, we get into another Paintballer strategy session just like I sat in on last year.
How to present the issue? Well, a protest march on Washington, DC usually works.
What goes on our banners? Is it "Save Our Farms From Bankers" or "Save Us From Jellyfish"?
But what if they had some evidence that Jellyfish were threatening the Gov itself? Like, maybe, mind-controlling militiamen into marching on Washington? Well, they might notice that.
But what if our captive Jellyfish refuses to strike then?
- A lot of the Jellyfish hunters think it's about our farms, because that's where the Jellyfish are striking. And they think the Gov will take us more seriously if it's an issue they're used to.
- I, on the other hand, think the Gov is used to blowing off the farmers. (Many of my allies agree with this.) What the Gov needs, is some evidence in their face. Like our very first live Jellyfish, which we're bringing along.
- The other side of the debate, on the other other hand, point out that the Gov is even better at ignoring Jellyfish than they are at ignoring farmers. Which is true.
But what if the mind control act goes wrong and makes us look silly? Well, silly is my specialty... but I get their point. But we could have two marches, one for each point of view.
So how are we going to work two marches? Well, I have actually coordinated multiple parades before. For instance, I know enough to clear the march route with the DC city gov for both our marches. Mind-controlling aliens still don't wanna fuck with local bureaucracy.
But where will we get people to populate two marches? Well, we did have a Chicago reporter come out to interview us. Our "Save the Farm" cause is attracting nationwide attention, largely because no farmers before ours are on record as ever getting volunteers to help do the hard work. The "Save the Farm" march can probably attract a bunch of celebrities, and thereby other human cattle. Meanwhile, most of us can work the "Jellyfish" march.
Now who leads the marches? Our usual commander leads the "Farm" march. I, being a veteran Grand Marshal and a celebrity of sorts and used to massive silliness, get to lead the "Jellyfish" march.
What's my banner? I prepare a special "Brotherhood of Evil Minions" battle flag, with a smiley-face Jellyfish strangling the Earth, for the occasion. Plus an Indy 500-style checkered field, just to throw fear into the hearts of anyone who's heard the phrase, "Victory Lane". It has 42 checkers, just in case anyone out there is wondering what "42" is the answer to, besides how old I am this year.
- Well, there'd still be a bunch of militiamen marching on Washington... namely, us. Who says we can't act mind-controlled?
- Besides, once we get a living breathing mind-controlling Jellyfish near the White House, if it does do something, it's likely to set off any number of anti-mind-control alarms.
And so, to coordinate the two marches, I find myself shuttling between two rod and gun clubs on opposite sides of the DC Beltway, where our two parade groups are camping out before parade time. Mine comes from the Maryland side east of the city, marching downtown through the town of Largo, the neighborhood I know as "Nova Africa", full of thoroughly suburban black folk.
And Madonna wants to march with my parade! She's heard about it somehow, and was in town for a concert anyway (at nearby US Air Arena, if I remember the corporate sponsorship correctly), and thinks it's great performance art. Hey, the more homegrown loonies, the merrier. (25 November 2003)
The next day, the "Farm" march gets going first... which is according to plan, even though we have to wait for them to get organized. My march is smaller, and it has most of the trained militarists, guarding the Jellyfish, so we're a lot better organized. We give the others an hour, then move out. It's about noon by then.
My friend Kristi and a friend of hers lead our parade, standing in my own convertible mini-SUV and waving my Evil Minions battle flag. She, like myself, is still willing to help out, but she really wanted to be as far from that Jellyfish as possible.
A bunch of us march behind, with the "Brotherhood of Evil Minions" banner. Then Madonna comes along in the back of a pickup truck, doing her best Evita impression.
Then we've got a special treat for the crowds: a drum and bugle drill team that's been trained to perform "The Celebration of the Lizard" as written by Jim Morrison himself, but with Lizard references replaced with Jellyfish. They're letting me march with them. I gotta say, a lot of that music was made for marching, even if Mr. Morrison never realized it.
And finally comes the Jellyfish. I talked my allies into putting it at the end, because the Romans always put their captives at the end of the parade. Of course, modern parades reserve that spot for Santa Claus or something. But then, the strangest thing happens...
There are crowds along the path, cheering us! Clumps of schoolchildren are waving handmade signs, saying "I Love Jellyfish" (with little hearts and smiley-face Jellyfish), and "Go Evil Minions!" As we move past, the crowds fill in behind us. (25 November 2003)
My team was keeping the Jellyfish parade secret, so either Madonna let the news leak, or our captive Jellyfish is making his mind-controlling move. But we can hardly execute the captive in public, so we keep going and hope the government notices.
I guess the Government does notice, because a man from the State Department greets us at the end of the parade route. He says he's here to greet the Jellyfish Ambassador to the United States of America! And our captive telepathically greets him in return, for all of us to "hear"!
- I'm calling myself "The Jellyfish King" for the occasion... but there's a guy here who's already memorized the whole song, and he even looks like a younger Jim Morrison, so we're letting him lead the singing, under the name "Crawling King Squid". We don't recognize him, though; he must have come in with Madonna.
On the one hand, I happen to know that the Jellyfish on Earth do not officially represent their species, any more than I officially represent mine. But on the other hand, we did come here to dump our problem on the Gov, and they do seem willing to accept it, so we can't really complain at how this episode is turning out so far. Besides, I actually have unofficially represented my own species to the Galaxy, and there can be some value in that.
Our Jellyfish captive is now calling himself "David". He's been deposited in special quarters in the National Aquarium. He's also managed to obtain Government security for himself, and disposed of all of his captors... except for me. He really wasn't expecting to find an Earthling who has Galactic experience... but here I am.
His species physically feeds upon fresh-water microorganisms, but they mentally feed upon mental emanations... like, from us. When they first arrived on Earth a few years ago, they tasted the strong stuff from crazy hostage takers. It was inebriating, so many of them looked for more of the same.
Ever since we threw his species out of Lake Michigan, they've been going hungry, and crazy. He'd like to arrange for regular "feedings" now, and is willing for his species to be less disruptive.
I'm willing to work with David the Jellyfish on this, as long as he remembers these things:
A lot of the Paintballers aren't happy with me, for how well the Jellyfish came out of this. But hey, the militiamen wanted to end the war as much as I did. And I suspect I'll be able to make sure the Jellyfish are kept under control. (27 November 2003)
Me in Comic Books:
A Sequel .
All characters in this fiction are copyright © 2004 by Eiler Technical Enterprises.