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Aeroquest… Canto 14

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Canto 14 – Sorcerer 3

 

Trav thought this Dana Cole girl was hot stuff.  She seemed to like him.  She talked nice to him.  She made him feel at home in Slaghoople Manor.  She looked really sexy in a fake fur bikini.

“So,” she said, “your name is Trav Dalgoda and you seek the fabled Hammer of God.  Why do you seek it here?”

Trav slouched back comfortably on the synthetic rock sofa.  “My friend Frieda told me it was here.”

“Who is this Frieda?”

“Oh, she was my invisible friend in third grade at school on the planet Questor.  No one else could see her, but she was always nice to me.”

Dana took his hand and slipped an electronic ring on his finger.

“What’s this, then?”

“That is a little something to help me get to know you,” she said.  “Now, you say this friend was invisible?  Did others think you were crazy?”

“Well, yes.  Actually, I sometimes thought I was crazy myself.  It’s hard to believe anyone as handsome as me could be as truly wonderful as I tend to be.”

“He speaks truthfully,” said a tiny voice from the ring on Trav’s finger.  “At least he believes it is so.”

“How interesting,” said Dana.  “I know a man named Count Appleby that you must meet some day.”

“Is he wonderful too?”

“Oh, yes.  He believes he’s the reincarnation of Napoleon.”

“Who would that be?”

“Didn’t you study ancient history back on the planet Questor?”

“Oh!  Well, I…  You know, sometimes there isn’t enough time for study when you’re growing up to become one of the most important men in the Milky Way!”

“He is now untruthful,” said the ring.

“Well, isn’t that something!” marveled Trav, ogling the talking ring.

“Here comes the boss,” said Dana in a purr of dark intent.

“Oh, good!” said Trav.

Rocko Slaghoople was a balding, but massively-muscled cave man who looked quite dangerous.  His brutish face had but one thick eyebrow across his beady-eyed visage.  His powerful arms looked like they were dragging on the floor.  His arms seemed even longer than his legs.

Traveling next to Rocko on metal legs came a white-robed Synthezoid, or artificial man.  His soulless white eyes had no pupils and his head came to a point like some kind of conehead.

“Hello, boss,” said Dana Cole.

“Hello, my beauty,” answered the Synthezoid.

“Hello, Mr. Rocko,” said Trav.  “I understand that you might know something about the Hammer of God.”

“Whu…?” grunted Slaghoople.

“The Hammer of God!  The Ancient artifact!  Everyone says you’re the man to see about such things.”  Trav’s voice cracked with sudden desperation.

Rocko looked stupidly at the Synthezoid.

“Yes,” said the artificial man, “and my intel claims that you know something about the Crown of Stars.  Weren’t you with the infamous Tron Blastarr when he stole it?”

“Well, I…”

“I am even told that you came away with the item.”

“Who… who are you?”

“I am called Sorcerer 3, and I am your new partner in this little quest.”

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Aeroquest… Canto 13

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Canto 13 – Dino-Man

 

Fred 3576 was tied to one side of the tree, his girlfriend Wilma456 was trussed to the other side.  Their pet, Dino6476 was laid out dead and ready for skinning, much too dangerous to try to keep as a live captive.  The two cave youths looked at Ged with large, fearful eyes.

“I can’t wear that!” moaned Ham, looking at the fur loincloth young Fred was wearing.

The Nebulon Princess grinned at Ham.  It began to dawn on all of them that she now understood the words being spoken around her.  Ham blushed.

“We have to find that clown of yours before he can do some real damage.  Unless you think you can do the riding beast, you are going to have to use what that boy is wearing as your disguise.”

“Ged?  What are you going to do about the riding beast?”  Ham seemed nervous about the grim determination he obviously saw on Ged’s face.  Ged could tell just by looking that what came next was going to traumatize Hamfast Aero.

“I’m going to skin and eat this thing.”

Ged’s environment suit was laid aside.  Ged sat down next to the dead raptor with his lectroknife.  The blade shimmered with barely controlled energy.  He slit the beast open from throat to groin.  He quickly peeled back the hide, and then spent about half an hour stretching and preserving the hide on the gray ironwood frame he made from tree branches.  The meat he carved off was eaten raw with special cat teeth he grew in order to eat the meat.  Then he began to analyze and absorb.  Complex DNA patterns formed in his inner eye.  He had never gone further than imagining this process before, yet he knew he could achieve it.  He ate more as he began to change. The skin of his face split at the nose ridge and fell away to reveal scales.  The bones of his face began to elongate into raptor form.  The more he changed, the more he felt the need to eat.  As his own previous flesh sloughed off, he had to replenish his own mass with the flesh of the raptor.  After another twenty minutes, Ged Aero had become a dinosaur, a Dionysian velociraptor.

Just as Ged had imagined, Ham was nearly in shock over the transformation.  He’d seen Ged grow scales here and there, and change color a few times.  He’d even seen the fangs grow in once or twice.  But this was the first time Ged had let anyone else witness how completely his ability allowed him to change form.  He knew it was disgusting and awful to watch, but he felt the time had come to reveal what he could truly do.

“Ged?  How did you…?”

“Truly amazin’ Bucko!” Sinbadh gasped.

The Princess took Ham in hand and made sure he followed through with the plan.  She stripped the captured Fred of his Bam-Bam shorts and then undressed Ham, before putting the caveman disguise on him.  Ham was too far gone to protest or be embarrassed.

“Thaank you, Princesssss,” said the velociraptor that was Ged Aero.  “You and Sssinbadh ssstay and guard the prisonerssss.”

The Princess firmly shook her head no.  She stripped the girl of her Raquel Welch 1,000,000 B.C. bikini and put it on.  Her small son she stripped naked.  “We go,” was all she said.

Ham mounted on Ged’s saurian back and the Princess got up behind him.  The little blue boy was wedged safely in between them.

“What is to become of us?” cried young Fred3576.  “You killed our Dino.  You can’t just leave us here in the wild naked and tied up!”

“No harm will come to you,” hissed Ged.  “Sssinbadh will ssstay and guard you.”

“Blimey!  Ya kin count on me, Cap’n.  As long as ye don’t eat me.  I am yer faithful dog!  Space dog, that is!”

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Star Wars Aliens, Mickified

I spent a good deal of my time as a game master for the Star Wars role-playing game in creating alien characters that fit the movies, the books I read in the Star Wars series, and the game materials.  In this post, I will give you a mini-gallery of the aliens I drew for the game.

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Chee Mobok was a space trader who had a problem with his own ego.  He believed that he was a genius at language and could speak any language he had heard a handful of words from.

The Galactic Common speakers were always laughing at the things he said.

Huttese speakers like Jabba the Hutt were always trying to kill him for say precisely the wrong thing.

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Hethiss was the Jedi Master when my son’s Jedi character was still a padawan learner.

He was wise, but unable to keep his student from doing things in violent ways when a diplomatic solution was called for.

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Merv was a potential terrorist and a suspect in a series of murders on a water planet.  He was, however, the good badguy character.  You know, the villain who has a heart of gold and whose actions redeem him in the end…  As opposed to a bad goodguy who seems to be a hero and ends up betraying everyone.

 

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Fisonna was a street kid from the same planet and same race as Hethiss the Jedi master.  He had the potential to become a padawan learner.  But he also used his Force skills to pull pranks on serious adults.

 

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Odo-Ki was a Gotal with the ultra-sensitive cones on his head.  He had a limited ability to see behind walls and predict the near future.

 

 

 

 

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Nadin Paal was an actual pirate and terrorist with no redeeming qualities at all.  The best thing about him was, that when the time came, he blew up really nicely.  A colorful fireball.

 

 

 

 

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Kehlor was a Herglic, one of the whale people who required specially built extra-large space ships and accommodations.   He was also a gifted pilot.  You can see that he wears the uniform of the Trade Authority.

 

 

 

 

 

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And finally, Klis Joo was a Duro and a Jedi, a gray alien with considerable Force powers.

 

There were many more drawings like this as well.  But these are some of the best ones.

 

 

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Aeroquest… Adagio 4

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Adagio 4 – Don’t Go Here

I have to tell you, brilliant as I am, I will probably never figure out the reasons for the existence of things like the Bedrock Culture of the planet, Don’t Go Here.  I do know that the first colony that archeologists uncovered from there was a back-to-nature group that had a weird religion that insisted they reject all modern technology.  After a number of years, their culture began to be inundated with marooned starship passengers by the Stardog Corsairs.  It was claimed that the only entertainment that had been left to them were a handful of cartoon holovids and one holovid player.  The Flintstones took on a kind of religious significance among the growing population of the planet.

Evidence clearly indicates that the first colonists were Galtorrian refugees from the planet Dionysus.  They were a group of Galtorr/Human Fusions, Earthers, and a group of humanoid saurians known as Dions on Dionysus.  You know what that mix looks like, right?  Lizard men and half-lizard-men with humans mixed in.  They brought with them saurian pets and work animals of the kind usually referred to in Galactic English as the dinosaurs.  They also brought numerous Dionysian plants.

Now, Dions are not accustomed to wearing clothing anywhere but in space.  They have natural scale armor and even their private parts and prehensile tails are covered by living leather and scales.  That’s a fashion choice that makes me cringe a little.  The humans who came with them were dedicated to the idea that it was only right to wear as little clothing as they could get away with in honor of their Dion friends.  Even the primitive monkey people who were brought along as slaves, those peculiar furry pygmies known as Lemurians, were taught to wear nothing beyond the occasional synthetic fur.

I guess it only made sense when this back-to-nature group with their cartoonish ways and chosen primitive lifestyle were mixed with castaways from all over, and marooned spacers stripped of all tech gear, they were bound to mutate into a blended culture unlike any that had grown up anywhere else.

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For clothing, a few electrical material synthesizers were created from scrounged parts of the scuttled colonial ships.  Thus, synthetic furs could be manufactured for clothing, since organic material was plentiful, but furred animals didn’t exist on the planet.  Synthesized stone-foam wads could be easily hollowed out to make stone homes that looked almost exactly like the homes in the Flintstones holovids.

The fake orange furs with black triangles on them came to be known as Fredsuits.  White fur dresses became known as Wilma Skins.  Blue fur went into Bettypelts, and Brown was for Barneysuits.  Bam-Bam Shorts and Pebblespelts, also known as Bonehead Skins, rounded out the major styles.  Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles and Bam-Bam became the most common names chosen by colonists and castaways alike.  They began to distinguish themselves from one another by adding numbers to their names.  Most ridiculous of all, the most common vehicle developed by the highly imitative culture was the foot-powered car.  They gave up all practical value in order to imitate the cartoon show.

By the time the Aero Brothers arrived, the culture of the planet Don’t Go Here had degenerated into something unparalleled in history and monumentally silly.

 

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Aeroquest… Canto 12

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Canto 12 – Goofy in Flintstone Land

Trav wasn’t wild about the plasticized fake tiger fur he was wearing.  It was itchy and uncomfortable in all the most private of places.  He kept his gob hat and eye-patch, though, unwilling to give up that part of his personal style.  He was wearing this disguise only because Frieda had insisted.

Downtown Bedrock was an unusual place.  For some reason unknown to Trav, the city designers had modeled things on an old Earth cartoon show called the Flintstones.  It made sense to Trav, in a weird way, to have people dress up like cave-man cartoon characters and live in synthetic stone houses that looked like hollow mushrooms with flat tops.  But he could form no reasons in his head for why a whole planet full of normal people would follow through on a strange idea like that.  He thought he was more-or-less unique in the universe, the only one given to such ideas.

At a shop for selling Pterodactyl Burgers, he met a man named Fred347 Rubble.  He was polishing the stone countertop with a white cloth and pouring the occasional Guava Juice for the customers.

“Excuse me,” Trav said, after gulping down the Guava Juice, “but do you know anyone who knows anything about Ancient artifacts?”

“You are the second one to ask that question of me in a week,” said Fred347.

“So, do you?”

“I know who would be able to answer your question, but you don’t want to go there.”

“Oh, yes, I do.  I need to find out about the Hammer of God.”

The balding Fred347 glared at Trav as if he’d just said something completely stupid.  It made Trav grumble to himself.  Ged always thought he was stupid too.  He’d show old Ged Aero, though.  He’d find that hammer and make a fool of the know-it-all hunter from Questor.

“You have to go up Mount Quagmire to the mansion of Rocko Slaghoople.  He’s the man who knows about ancient things around here.  He’s a notorious gangster, though.  He’s got a rock-caster with exploding bullet-rocks, and he likes to use it on guys like you.”

“Why thank you.  I appreciate getting the straight poop, old Jester.”  Trav saluted with two fingers to the brim of his gob hat.

“Yeah, go find out about poop from Slaghoople, moron.”

Trav was taken slightly aback.  Why did people always respond to what he said rather than what he meant?  It was a mystery well beyond a man like him.

A brisk walk got him to the top of Quagmire Mountain, where he could look down over a broad expanse of Bedrock City.  The whole city was too big to see in one go.  Millions and millions of people lived there in a sprawl of single to three-story rock homes. They were all people who wore fake fur and propelled their vehicles with bare feet.

Slaghoople Manor was a big oval rock with round holes for windows and crude wooden doors.  The whole thing was dusty gray with veins of purple running through the rock.  Palm trees leaned out from either side of the front of the building.  Two thugs in fake leopard skins stood guard.

“Ay!” cried one of the thugs.  “Whatcher dooin’ there?”

“I’ve come to see Rocko about an Ancient artifact, the Hammer of God!”

Each of the thugs pulled out an over-size wooden rock-caster.  It was a cartoonish-looking hand-held catapult.  “Getchuz inside!” ordered a thug.

“Okay, okay.  Don’t shoot me with your scary-looking rock-thingies!”  Trav grinned at his own joke.

“You’d do well not to laugh at the boys,” said a sultry voice from inside the open doorway.  Trav entered to see a beautiful blond woman wearing what he would later learn was a Raquel-Welch-1,000,000-Years-B.C. Bikini.  It was striking on the young lady, revealing much of her two best features.  “Those weapons look foolish to an outsider like you, but they pack a deadly charge and can easily separate you from your head.  Thog and Thing are deadly serious.”

“Who are you, beautiful lady?” Trav squeaked.

“Here they call me Gina Rock-a-Bridgeada.  In the Galtorr Imperium, I was called Dana Cole.”

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Aeroquest… Canto 11

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Canto 11 – Planet of the Cave Man

      The planet itself was smaller than Earth, but possessed a lot more land space.  Its oceans were limited to five vast and separate land-locked lakes.  Vegetation was remarkably sparse, but what grew was tenacious and very much alive.  What truly shocked the brothers, though, were the scan signs of over nine billion humans living on the surface and in vast caverns. This was a frontier planet with no record of being developed by the Galtorr Imperium or any of its predecessors.  So how did they get there?

“Are we detected yet?” asked Ham nervously.

Ged looked over the scan and signal data on the commo screen.  “I get no scans, beams, or even radar from them.  There’s electricity of a sort, but nothing to indicate tracking or weapons ability.  It’s low tech.”

“Are we sure they are human?”

“Definitely human, but Nebulons register as humans too.”  Ged looked over at the Nebulon Princess as she sat looking admiringly at Ham.

“I think I moight know where they be from,” said Sinbadh.

“Oh,” said Ged sarcastically.  “What do you know?”

“They be marooned ones from Stardog raids.  It’s been a right while, it has, but this planet used to get lots of use from them Stardogs.  Treasure buried here too, I’ll wager.”

“You can’t tell me the Stardog Corsairs captured that many ships!”  Ged was on the verge of anger.

“Nay.  But they was men, women, an’ children got left here.  They’d no choice but to colonize.”

“Where do you want to set down, Ged?” Ham asked.

“Out of sight of the nearest community, I’d say,” Ged answered.  He didn’t fancy being met by an angry mob, or even a worshipful mob.  Mob was not a good word for planet arrival.

“Okay, I have the spot.”  Ham settled the sleek safari craft down in a clearing amongst the strange gray trees that made up the brittle and somewhat spiky jungle.  Ged put on a light set of harsh environment armor and dismounted through the underbelly portal in the nose of the Leaping Shadowcat.

Sinbadh picked up a set of laser pistols and headed out after Ged.  Ham brought up the rear with the Princess and her small son right on his heel.  He normally took the back on a hunting expedition, but he wasn’t used to this kind of attention from a pretty humanoid female.

Ged’s nose changed imperceptibly as he started tracking.  The tingling he felt there meant he was transforming it into something akin to Sinbadh’s nose.  The scent pictures it was taking in began to appear in Ged’s inner eye.

“We are on a strange trail,” Ged announced.  “Two humans and a Dion-raptor.”

“How could there be a Dionysus dinosaur out here?” asked Ham.  “I hated those things back on the jungle safaris to Dionysus.  I don’t want to tangle with them here!”

“Well,” chided Ged. “It’s here plain enough.  You’ll just have to be prepared to scream like a little girl again and work on your tree-climbing.”

Sinbadh laughed his growly canine laugh at Ged’s slammer.  Ged smiled at the wolfman for the first time.

Over the next rise, they came upon the trio Ged had scented.  It was a young human male with no clothing but a fake fur loin cover and an even younger human female with a fake fur bikini and plastic bone in her hair.  They were riding on the back of a large dinosaur predator, perfectly at ease riding bareback on their meat-eating friend.

Ged knew the raptor species well.  He had hunted them on the jungle planet of Dionysus.  They lived there in a loose symbiotic relationship with the humans and the dinosaurian humanoids called the Dions that populated that jungle world.  These creatures were smart enough to operate machinery and even communicate in a limited sort of sign language.  They also turned rogue fairly easily and developed a taste for Dion flesh or even man flesh.

“Do we hail?” asked Ham in sign.

“Yes,” said Ged.  He stood up from where he had been crouching behind a bush.  “Hey!  You there!  Can we talk to you?”

The boy and the girl both looked at Ged and smiled.  The raptor licked its toothy smile with a snaky tongue.

“My name is Fred3576 Flintstone,” said the boy.  “This is my girlfriend Wilma456.  And this is our dog, Dino6478. We’ve never seen anyone that wasn’t from Bedrock before!”

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Aeroquest… Canto 10

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Canto 10 – Planetfall

      Once back at the docking port on Frieda, Ged noticed that the new space ship Goofy had asked Frieda to make was gone.  His concern spiked like an EKG from a surviving victim of electrocution.

“Calm down, Ged,” soothed Ham.  “Goofy is unpredictable, but he hasn’t gotten me killed yet.”

“You know what he’s doing, don’t you?”

“What?”

Ged Aero

“He’s going after those artifacts the alien computer was talking about.”

“So?”

“Ham!  Ancient devices with unfathomable powers?  In the hands of a pyromaniac and lunatic?  Don’t you see what comes next?”

“Well,” said Ham, looking down at his spaceship controls, “I do kinda see a disaster looming, if that’s what you mean.”

“Exactly what I mean!”

Ham Aero

“Oi believes ye need to track yer shipmate down, what?” offered Sinbadh.

In minutes the Leaping Shadowcat was docked and the three teammates were aboard Frieda.  In the main control room, they found the Nebulon Princess in a red jumpsuit, her small son sitting on the floor at her feet.  She smiled beautifully at Ham as the two brothers entered the room.

“I… am… free…” she announced in halting, yet clear Galactic English.

“Ah… Good,” said Ged.  “Goofy at least started the task I set him.”

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“I… am… love…” added the Princess cryptically, moving directly toward Ham.

“Err… What?” stammered Ham.

“Oi thinks ye have an admirer, me bucko!” said Sinbadh helpfully.

The Princess reached up to touch one of Ham’s blond curls.  “Nebulonin?” she cooed.

“Wha…?  No.  Human!  Definitely Earther.  I just have yellow hair.”  Ham pinched the skin on the back of his right hand.  “See, no blue!”

“Yes, blue…” she said smiling.

“Oh, what does that mean?”  Ham blushed furiously.

“Your Nebulon slave girl has been set free by Trav,” supplied Frieda.  “She means she is grateful.  Your on-board library suggests she suffers from something called Stockholm Syndrome.  She believes she is in love with you because you were her captors, but have been nice to her.  She was apparently violated numerous times by those who held her hostage in the Imperium.”

“Erm, thank you, Frieda.” Ham said.

“Frieda,” said Ged, as if he had at that moment realized something, “Where did Trav Dalgoda go?”

“I supplied him with coordinates to find the Hammer on the surface of the planet.  He went down there to find it.”

“I knew it!” swore Ged.  “We have to beat him to the thing!  Come on, guys!  We go now!”

“Can we leave the Princess here?” asked Ham nervously as the Nebulon girl looked at him lovingly.

“Sinbadh?  Can we trust that your corsair friends won’t come back?”

“Nah.  Them buccaneers is moighty unpredictable like.”

“Everybody goes aboard the Shadowcat, then,” said Ged.

“Dang!” swore Ham as the Nebulon Princess took one hand, and her little boy took hold of the other.

 

 

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