See, here's the thing. That comic was the first comic we received after Hurricane Whatever hit the Yucatan Peninsula (where our estimable Goddess resides). The comic hadn't been updated in at least two weeks. So, you see, there was at least half a month - fourteen days - of unbridled, unnappeased, unquenched Boardie thirst for silliness. - Laserlips, in a speculation thread about to come back to haunt him...
"Seek out the basest and most corrupt of their number...it is to THEM we shall give the power of Energy X! Let THEM become stronger, smarter, more powerful than their fellow man..." — Lord Dominion, Freedom Force
Speculation Report Digest, Dated 11th March 2003, To: Coyotegirl, CC Fleet Operations Command From: Tangent, Speculation Alpha RE: Seek-and-not-destroy-oh-no-course-not Mission
Oookay, let's see what speculation can second-guess from Her Twistiness today...
Nothing in the update to panic about, certainly nothing Foreboding. We estimate Dave, Mike, Marsha, and maybe Roger will be on-site. Margaret's always tricky to track but even her usual static's looking remarkably uninteresting. We do have a few blips over April, so pop over if you can, but no Twistiness Warnings. Do remember Diana's out there, so watch which kerbs you drive tanks over. Oh, I forgot...*rollseyes*, you're only sending aircraft.
Yet more SKID activity, I'm afraid. Truck convoy in Tennessee heading north, loaded with unmarked crates that worry us. Josh has put out a Thread on them, so we'll keep an eye on it.
The kittens say *mew*
* * *
The morning of Tuesday 11th March dawned bright and clear with a light wind blowing north-northeast — perfect flying weather. We shall pan down from the clear blue skies a little, since nothing's happening up there just yet.
Roger yawned, stretched as much as you can in a university bathtub, and then woke up. He spent a second translating his internal timesense to Pacific Standard (it tended to default to Ry'leth), said Good Morning to his pets, checked his fingernails to ensure he hadn't Turned during the night...and, in fact, remembered last night.
"Be elsewhere". Well, THAT was typically ominous...and, like 90% of Board stuff probably wouldn't go beyond ominous much anyway.
There was a rustle from the window, and Roger reflexively moved towards it in case Chester was playing on the outside of the building again. But no, until events proved otherwise, he saw no reason to renege on his contract. Just because for once the Board weren't the ones coughing up his infiltration fee didn't mean he couldn't...
...what in the name of Pepe the Magnificent?!
Archer ripped off a jaunty action-film salute from the cockpit of Flax's "reminder", a Board stealth fighter neatly balancing outside the window on VTOL pulse-detonation engines, before reengaging his cloak and boosting out of sight.
Yes, yes, today looked like being a good day to stay home and blink a lot.
* * *
"Morning, Dave..." said the Man In Black standing idly in the street outside the apartment block that may or may not be the pivotal location in the eventual Day of Reckoning. He happened to be Archer, but there was little chance Dave would know this and no chance whatsoever Marsha would.
"Morning...who was that?"
"I haven't the faintest idea..."
Marsha nodded as she walked. "Heh. One of those, yeah? I hate it when that happens, you can be halfway through a conversation before you even remember meeting them and even then it's never the name, always the fact that they were the one who shouted hello across the street while you were creeping through your ex's rose bu..."
"uh...Hi Dave..." said the MIB who was leaning on a streetlamp, holding what looked like an attempt to disguise a rocket launcher by putting it in a violin case.
"Dave...you friends with Rumsfield or something...?"
Dave twitched, narrowed his eyes, and firmly walked in the opposite direction.Whatever this was, he wasn't getting into it. You could start out perfectly friendly with the Board but you'd end up with them offering to conquer a continent. He had shopping to do, and firmly intended to...
"'Ello, Dave..." said the WIB with what looked like a large sword slung over one shoulder, being completely ignored by the newsagent as she leaned on his counter and read the day's newspapers. "DC and MW say hi and I think there's a winning lottery scratchcard somewhere in here..."
"Dave, stop with the creepy people already!"
"Just ignore them, they go away..."
"Greetings, Dave." said, of all things, one of those "Keep the streets tidy!" upright bins as he exited the shop with lunch and Mike's reading matter for the day in tow...although if you looked hard you could see the faint shimmer of a holoprojection system, assuming you knew the basics of fog-projected imaging.
Dave banged his head against a wall. Whoever said it was nice to have friends in high places clearly hadn't met the Board when they were feeling protective.
* * *
BSS Spirit of Texas Technically ComicSide, at an altitude of a good 30,000 feet. Speed: 43 knots, reality adjustment level at 3.8 FSH.
ElObscuro hadn't been Comicside in a while. Too long, in fact — he'd brooded a bit much on the demise of D&M. After that and the resulting round of brutal oneupmanship by a few D&Bers that had threatened to reignite the first civil war, he hadn't wanted to face his "canvas" again - and the Board mourned the loss of one of their best ficcers.
Still, at least he didn't have to feel useless when he had his ol' tin can around him. The SoT might be a brick but she was a good brick, and the old gal...new gal, really, since like all Board ships she was still ridiculously young in realspace terms...would be more than enough to give a few rioting cultists a nice white-hot bath if they started messing with his Roomies. "His" Roomies because like all fanficcers ElObs was regarded by the rest of the Board as firmly convinced that the comic was run for his benefit so he could play tourist, of course.
Well, ElObs was playing more than tourist today....he checked the bulkhead chronometer. Enough clock-watching. Time to go...
"Oookay, Pseudo, let's get started...all hands, go to yellow alert."
"All right Boardies, this is the Texas." Pseudo spoke over the klaxons into a Board transmitter, his voice making it painfully obvious that maybe there was a touch of nepotism or patronage involved in getting this station, but then again ElObscuro picked his bridge crew for aptitude rather than ethnicity. "Grab your throttles and remember this ain't a war thread...A reminder that your FAC for this run is ToxicFrog...he's at eight o'clock high and telling you this now..."
On cue Toxic's customised fighter wobbled it's long swept-forward wings in the age-old method of airborne communication, and two dozen HUDs lit up with his location.
"All right, my flight...form up on my wing and we'll buzz the campus and break into a checkboard search pattern. Yellow One, your people hold at 5 thou and circle the perimeter..."
"Roger that, Pink One..."
"Any of you with better senses than your aircraft, you pick anything up TELL us about it. Keep your guns cold and comms hot. Pink One out."
Enough hardware to make the Dragon's aerospace companies drool until their socks melted bore down on the relatively innocent denizens of the CRFH university at Mach 1...
* * *
They're up there. I can see 'em. Like...like that dart board we keep out the back.
[BMT]"I'm going for lunch now, guys..."[/BMT]
"Yeah, sure Ted..." The guy running the garage's kiosk seemed to be completely unaware it was still barely eleven in the morning. "...grab me a Pepsi on the way past, will ya?
I love being able to do that.
Never mind. I have been granted these powers for a reason, and it's time to spit destiny in the eye...
* * *
We're still ComicSide as we follow a teenager who should really be in school as he slouches in that special 14-year-old way that actually provides forward momentum. But then again, if Louie ever puts any effort into anything it's usually hurting people. That kid is not growing up well, and his mother's hit squads mean that the usual adolescent anger phases are finding increasingly nasty ways to work their way out.
I mean, even his mobile ring tone...Boyzone?
"Yeep...the Significant Owl Hoots in the Night."
Another pause, and by the sound of it not a happy one. Louie's shoulders slumped.
"Oookay, Mum. Can I...aaaaw. Yes, I'll be back for...bye, Mum."
The teenager snarled at his mother's ability to lecture him even over a cellphone, sighed, and turned towards the Apartment Block that warranted a capital letter. Better get the morons out before someone noticed their new outlook on life...
* * *
That car hadn't been there a moment ago!
Ford coupe. 1932. So out of place on a campus it was painful. Surrounded by...oh ye Gods, Men In Black...
Ted gulped. It had started.
* * *
High Earth Orbit Funky Horror Command Deck
CG leaned back in the huge and padded command chair, surrounded by information that flowed around and through her like a pebble on a tide, and smiled at the other occupant of the Command Deck.
If you drew a line between that lustrous lens, passing through the Command Deck's armoured "windows" and the Earth's atmosphere, you see that Mari was indeed watching her domain this morning. She was surrounded by monitors that could tell you everything from how much 9mm ammo Margaert had to the rate of Chester's tooth decay, and for all CG knew she was reading them too, but the telescope didn't so much as bob.
"A little spanner in her plans would keep everyone interested, don't you think?"
CG eyebrowed. "Maritza?"
"Just talking to myself." The Funky Horror's immense reality control array pulsed briefly to produce a little raw material, and CG's monitors felt the force of her grin as she did what Goddesses do...
* * *
"Louie...?" Michael "Call me Red and Die" Green's voice carried quite a distance when he wanted it to. "What the HELL are you doing here?" And why's he look like he's left a bomb ticking? He hasn't, has he?
Louie stopped. And blinked. Oh crap. Hide!
Okay, not hide. Get RID of Mike before he ruined everything! "SorryMikeBusyNowDon'tWantToGetInMyWayMumWon'tBe..."
"Louie, talk or I tell Mum you're skipping school."
"She knows already, so nyeh...." Nearby a car rolled to a halt and a quartet of MIBs leapt from it, CRFH insignia glinting in the morning sunlight. Louie got even more agitated and started to hop from one leg to the other. "Gotta run, Mike, catch ya..."
"Nuh, uh, Jungle Boy..." The tentacle closed on his throat like a vice. "You ain't goin' nowhere until you tell me what's going on."
Spanner duly thrown. Mum was gonna kill him!
* * *
"This is Yellow One, Kosei. All clear, not picking up any nasties..."
The WIB nodded, waved Spam and Joshua to take up positions by the apartment entrance, checked her POST to keep an eye on Roomie whereabouts, and smirked as she trod the illustrious stairs like so many of her predecessors. Sword? Check. Stun gas grenades? Check. Badass attitude? Check. Door about to be blown in? Well, give her a second to take aim. Rumour had it they'd taken up hiring bodyguards...oh Kosei wished they had...
"Don't tell me they tried to sacrifice you too?"
The railgun slid back into a hostler in seconds. Wha? Who would...?
* * *
Oh no! They hadn't been after the two guys with the acronym after all! Oh no, dammit, no...!
* * *
"Alert, Kosei Unit!" Spamotron's self-defence systems snapped online as he picked up an inbound energy source heading directly for the Apartment Block. "Incoming!"
Joshua heard the warning and rolled to his feet,reflexively putting the rocket launcher to his shoulder and pointing it at what looked like some kind of comet if it had decided purple was the In Thing. The damn thing wasn't locking on and Spam's hail of plasma fire should have turned whatever it was into a rice strainer!
The rocket left the launcher with a whist! of compressed air and ignited it's engine, roaring out...and then just stopped being there.
* * *
ElObs jerked from minor daydreams involving the fics that might have been or yet be at the worst possible words to hear over the comm net right now.
"Yellow One, I've got a bogey....!
Ohhh crud. Ooooh crud. If SKID were throwing artillery around things would get very nasty very fast...
"Holy...it looks like some kind of ballistic missile!"
"Weapons fire, ElObs!"
"Pink One to ground teams, what the hell's going on down there?!"
And then Waldo, Steve, April, and four Boardies vanished off the screens...and the proximity alerts twanged as autodefence systems threw the huge ship's shields up.Spamotron's note
Very Nice, But I can't access the music when I tried I got this:Loweko's replyDue to overwhelming abuse, direct linking to non-HTML files on Crosswinds is prohibited.
Ahh, typical. Just raid the U.F.S. Vanguard soundtrack. The linked file was the first battle theme.Loweko notes:
I'm afraid there won't be an update today...
I will merely leave you with this, instead, and remind you of that line in the credits about Sabin XIII...
EDIT: For those of you with non-evil browsers, be aware that 's an image file with the txt workaround for remote linking.