Author’s note: This story was originally posted at The Willard’s site before it shut down but I have re-edited it for the Supernaughts. This soon to be serialized story is my unabashed love letter to the Mecha- Anime genre, 80’s Spielberg, Lovecraft, and everything awesome. So it may be a little self-indulgent but isn’t that what fiction is all about, really? I dedicate this story to The Willard.
Charlie Ellison floated in his gargantuan, armored Ifrit in Mars’ orbit, waiting to unleash the fucking apocalypse. The Ifrit, tethered in the docking bay of the Damocles cruiser, a cylindrical ship half the size of a planetoid, as he stood by for Captain Langley’s authorization. The clear embryonic fluid that surrounded him, filled his lungs, kept him in a world of silence as he clenched his fists before opening them. On the outside, the Ifrit mimicked his motions.
He and the Ifrit were in synch through telepathy, one of the few ‘gifts’ from the Ifrit when they first met. The Ifrit could easily take on the entire armada but Charlie didn’t want to. Much less pilot one of these…things. And yet, he couldn’t fathom doing anything else with his life.
My life wasn’t always like this. Funny, never thought I’d actually want to die so much…
“And how is the exceptionally talented Charlie holdin’ up!” The voice boomed in his implanted nanorobotic comms as fellow Ifrit operator Lila Landers disrupted Charlie’s line of thought.
Annoyed with the abrupt annoyance from Lila, he sent his reply back. “Don’t shout so loud, dammit.”
“Aw, poor widdle Charlie can’t handle the pressure? Maybe you should step back and let me take care of everything. Don’t worry, I won’t tell the squad how you ran to your bunk and hid under your covers as I saved the day,” Lila said as a rectangular hologram popped up in front of Charlie’s ‘cockpit’ (Charlie couldn’t bring himself to call the interior of the Ifrit a cockpit since it’s mostly organic) with Lila’s pale face on it, blond bobcut tied back, clear blue eyes looking at him with mirth, smirking as though she dared him to fire back.
“You go ahead and be the gloryhound as usual while I do all the work again, Lila.” Charlie said, disconnecting from the Ifrit telepathically so he could move around freely, making adjustments to the guidance systems surgically implanted within the cockpit. The rectangular block of hologram followed him.
“Ah, so there’s that no-nonsense Nietzschean man’s man that’s been hiding under the pathetic shell of a human being. I was wondering where he’d gone. Oh dear hero, how are you going to rescue the fair maiden this time so she can reward you with her purity?” Lila said in a little girl’s voice. She was looking to push Charlie’s buttons but he was simply ignoring her. But she wouldn’t let it go.
“I bet all the girls go ‘Oh save me save me so I can furiously fuck your brains out!'” Lila was doing her maiden in distress bit again because if it wasn’t funny the first million times then it was bound to get some chuckles now.
“Do you mind, Lila?” Charlie said before she started moaning, as though she were having the best orgasm in the universe. Great, now she’s doing her moans again.
“Oh yes, give it to me hard, you fucking cunt!” Lila said in her most sultry voice that she could put on. Charlie couldn’t stand this any more. She got on his nerves so much. And then she said something that set him off.
“But you want only one person, right? You’re always sitting there, hoping she’d notice. Saving yourself up for someone who won’t ever-“
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s that time of the month again, Lila, but last I checked, you never had one and your never will,” Charlie said as he finished up his adjustments. The hologram moved in front of him, Lila’s face full of fury.
“Take. That. Back.” Lila said, emphasizing every word she said. “If you were physically in front of me, I’d gouge your fucking eyeballs out, you little shit.”
Charlie walked through the hologram, telepathically linking with the Ifrit again. “You act like a bitch every time someone puts you in your place so why don’t you just quit crying and get over it.”
“You know that going there is off-limits, asshole!” Lila was screaming now and there was nothing she could about the slight dealt to her by him. Except for tearing through the ship to kill him but there’s a killswitch implanted in the Ifrit pilots to prevent that sort of situation.
“Lila, you keep starting shit with everyone, pushing them. It’s only fair I push you back.” Charlie said with blood flowing faster as his temper started flaring up.
“YOU DON’T EVER FUCKING TALK ABOUT THAT, DO YOU UNDERSTAND? NOT EVER.” Lila popped up again in his face, screaming bloody murder at him. Charlie felt his loins stirring as he watched her shout at him. She’s kinda cute when she’s mad. That color of blush her cheeks give off whenever she’s in one of her moods really does make her attractive…is that why I pushed her buttons?
“The two of you should keep it down. You’re both too loud,” Sam said as she cut them off. Lila instead turned on her.
“Well well WELL, if it isn’t Miss Death herself. Always there to give out orders, to take them, following them like a little mindless drone. Emotionless, lifeless, and such a BORE.” Lila laughed harshly.
“You really do get off on hearing yourself talk.” Sam said.
Lila was about to respond when the comms crackled as Captain Langley came on. “I’d really love to hear all of this chatter but you need to shut the fuck up and listen up. We got authorization to make the drop. That means you better be ready to move in one minute. “
The docking bay doors opened, as Charlie looked down at the Martian landscape far below him, reddish orange and dotted with craters, mountains, and canyons. Right now, he was about to be flung down there. This had brought up a memory from a long time ago, when his life was normal and he worried about nothing. No, that’s not true, I always worried.
The technicians started counting down for the launch.
The memory was that of a dream of him flying.
In the dream, Charlie was flying 35,000 feet in the air, skimming the puffy clouds; the blue sky radiating brilliance. The wind should be hitting him in the face, roaring all around him. Instead it was complete silence. It was also strangely relaxing being alone. He looked at the ground miles beneath him; it looked like a greenish brown quilt that went on for miles. Roads were slate lines, crawling with ant-like vehicles. For some odd reason that he couldn’t fathom, he dived towards a massive city with a dark gray smudge over it. Getting closer, the buildings seemed to resemble the ones he made with his Lego sets when he was younger. The city also seemed like it was designed by him; schools really close to factories, the hospital and police station across from each other, and the shimmering skyscrapers towering over the apartment complexes. The dark gray smudge turned out to be black smoke and debris floating in the air, from the several fires burning fiercely all over the city. He landed right in the middle of Main St. (or at least a street that looked like a Main St.) and immediately something felt off about his surroundings.
Everything seemed small to him. This made Charlie dizzy with vertigo so he tried steadying himself by placing his right foot on the roof of an office building, which collapsed under the immense weight of it. He pulled his hand back right away and, noticing it for the first time, that it was crimson and metallic. He spotted his reflection in one of the skyscrapers. He was a giant robot, his armor a mixture of the colors crimson and dark blue. Golden horns adorned his head, above two points of blue light where his eyes should be. The shoulders were very broad; topped with cannons the size of small hills. He felt like he was some goofy clone of Voltron and Tranzor Z.
As a siren blared in the distance, Charlie looked around at the destruction, wondering what caused it. The ground rumbled for a bit. Then the skyscraper shattered as a gigantic reptilian monster charged through it, the momentum slamming Charlie right in his chest and knocking him flat on his ass. He quickly recovered before the beast turned around to whip its tail down on him, barely missing him, as Charlie staggered through several buildings. He got a good look at the monster, which looked like a Godzilla wannabe, with a beak and bulbous red eyes. And two antennas with ping pong balls attached at the end. The creature grabbed a bus and chucked it; it impaled itself on his left horn. Charlie tried taking the bus off as he tried dodging the scaly monster’s second charge but he was too slow as the behemoth pushed him into another tower, the rubble burying the two leviathans.
Charlie dug his way out of the rubble, extremely annoyed at this point. At least its dead now, he thought, brushing some of the rubble off his armor.
A fireball launched itself from the collapsed pile, barely missing Charlie by a couple of inches, blowing up behind him as the monster angrily burst from the remains. It opened its beak, breathing more balls of fire at Charlie.
Charlie was being pelted with several of them and he had enough of this crap.
He pointed his right arm at the monster, aiming his hand like he would if it was a gun. A brilliant red light glowed at the tip of his finger, followed by a laser blasting the monster in the chest, setting it ablaze. Surprised that it even worked at all, he aimed both hands like a gunslinger from those westerns his dad watched, and fired so many lasers that it wouldn’t have been outta place in the Return of the Jedi. Even the shoulder cannons joined in the laser frenzy. The X monster (Charlie realized that the monster reminded him of The X from Outer Space but he forgot its exact name.) started backpedaling, flames burning its hide furiously. He could keep going on for a while-
The lasers stopped firing abruptly, smoke drifting from his fingers and shoulder cannons, signaling that he had run out of ammo. The X monster looked more pissed off than the angriest neighborhood dog.
The X monster started to suck in air. Actually, it was sucking in the flames, puffing its chest out. It had sucked all of the flames into its beaky mouth. The hide was charred and smoking. It had arched its back. And then it spouted the fire back from its mouth like some massive flamethrower, blazing through everything in its path. Naturally, Charlie tried jumping out of the way. Unnaturally, the rocket boosters in his legs activated, launching him about mile in the air.
Not far enough from the massive flamethrower breath, it seemed, as it grazed his right leg and arm; it blew out the rocket booster in that leg causing him to do manically fly in circles before crashing on top of the X monster. It finally stopped breathing its flamethrower breath.
Charlie was shoved off by the X monster and, as it tried to stand up, Charlie started pummelling the X monster’s head, screwing up one of its ping pong antennas. The X monster swiped back, leaving three gashes in Charlie’s chest.
Charlie tried hitting it but the X monster ducked the blow, grabbing him in a bear hug and lifting him up before dropping him down on the ground hard. Followed by stomping its foot down on his face several times.
Charlie caught its foot and flipped the X monster on its backside. He staggered to his feet, almost fatigued when the X monster got up and started breathing fireballs again. One of them blew his right arm apart, sending several mechanical parts crashing down on the streets below. At this point, Charlie was starting to fall apart, sparks flying out of his joints, black oil leaking from his right stump where his arm was. The X monster looked no better, severely burned, bleeding from scratches, and one of its antennas torn off. Yet it looked like it could go for ten more rounds. The X monster, yet again, started its fireball attacks but Charlie just wearily swatted them with his left hand. That’s when his sword sprung out of his left arm.
He swung his sword at one of the fireballs, absorbing it and causing the sword to glow.
He kept swinging the sword, grabbing as many fireballs, as the glow intensified.
The X monster kept spouting those fireballs, but Charlie just collected them with his sword, now crackling with so much energy from the fireballs that it became a solid beam of light. Desperate to end the fight, Charlie charged towards the X monster with his sword held high above his head. As he closed in on the bastard, it coughed out one last fireball, shattering Charlie’s left leg. Causing him to fall forward, he used the momentum to bring the fiery sword down on the X monster, cleaving its head in two halves. The lifeless body stood for a couple seconds before falling forward, right next to Charlie.
Using his sword as a crutch, having lost its glow but not the heat, Charlie stood on his right leg, surveying the damage caused by fight. He noticed people, as tiny as ants, coming out of their shelters. He recognized a couple of them. His friend Dan, with that stupid cowlick he never bothers fixing. And his little sister Mary, the brat, was right behind him. Followed by some kids he knew from school, one of them being his crush, Samantha Gray. God, she was so beautiful. And his favorite uncle Barry was there too, with his mom. And so was his dad. And he was smiling and clapping for him.
Charlie didn’t even care that he looked beat, without a leg, and bus still stuck on his left horn.
He was just so happy that everyone was proud of him.
And then Van Halen drowned out the cheers.
Charlie woke up feeling groggy, not wanting to get out of bed. His digital alarm clock radio blasted Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man” at the highest volume possible. He did not feel like going to school today, tomorrow, or ever. There was a knock at his bedroom door.
“I hear that alarm going off in there, young man, and I hope you’re changing into your clothes at this moment.” said his mom, muffled from the other side.
Charlie grumbled, dragging himself out of bed. His room was a mélange of horror and action movie posters, his desk cluttered with Transformers action figures (not dolls!), and a shelf filled with an abundance of comic books and SF-novels. He had better chances facing school then he did with his mother. He dressed himself quickly, grabbed his backpack, slapped his alarm clock off, and went to the dining room to get some cereal. His seven year old sister had started making a mess at the table, putting too much Cheerios into her bowl.
“Dammit Mary, stop wasting all of the cereal,” Charlie said angrily, making a grab for the cereal box. Mary naturally struggled with him, as always.
“You cussed! I’m telling Mom on you!” Mary whined, gripping the box with all of her strength.
“Let go of the damn box.”
“NO! Now I’m telling Mom about those Playboys you keep in your closet!”
“You little dweeb, I told you to stay out of my room. It’s off limits to dweebs like you. And if you tell Mom on me, I will murder you in your sleep!”
“You took my Barbie dolls!”
“Because you wrecked my Optimus Prime action figure, you freak!”
The siblings struggle over the remains of the cereal knocked over Mary’s bowl onto the floor, making an even bigger mess. Mary started crying, bending down to scoop the mess into her bowl. Their mother had walked in, looking harried with her basket full of dirty laundry.
“I can’t turn my back for one minute without the two of you fighting!”
“MOM, CHARLIE HIT ME IN THE FACE!” Mary screamed shrilly.
“That’s not even true! Stop lying, you fu-“
“Charles Ellison, if you finish that sentence, you will be grounded for a month,” Charlie’s mother interrupted, “Mary, don’t put it back in the bowl, honey, it’s been on the floor. Charlie, help your sister clean up. And do it quick or you’ll be late for school. And fix your shirt, Charlie, it’s inside out.”
He took off his shirt and fixed it as Mary whined again. “Ground him for two months! He hit me!”
“She’s lying, I didn’t even elbow her!”
“That’s enough! Clean up this mess.”
After cleaning up, Charlie opted for some toast since he lost his appetite for Cheerios. Right then, Jerry the orange tabby leaped on the counter.
“Jerry, get off. You’re not supposed to be up here.” Charlie picked up the tabby and put him on the kitchen floor.
“Don’t be so mean, he’s just hungry for breakfast. Aren’t you, Jerry?” Mary went to the fridge, opened it and got some ham. Jerry looked up, waiting for his breakfast.
“Here you go.”
She dropped it on the floor. Jerry gulped it up and then looked up at Mary as if to say, “Is that all I get?”
“Jerry is fat enough as it is. Don’t feed him everything,” Charlie said as he put his two slices of bread in the toaster.
“Stop calling him fat! He’s very sensitive, aren’t you, Jer?” Mary proceeded to pick him up, causing him to yowl. “C’mon, let’s get you outside for some exercise!”
“Doubt he can.”
Mary ignored him and went outside with Jerry.
The toaster popped the two slices up, wafting Charlie with the smell of delicious toast. He got out the butter and decided to with grape jam. Spreading the butter on one slice and the jam on the other, Charlie mashed both slices together and wolfed it down. Then he went to brush his teeth, rushing through it. He went outside, to unlock his BMX, and stopped to take in the fresh morning air. The sun shimmered through the tree branches, the birds chirping, the cat yowling.
The cat yowling? What-
A ball of orange jumped up to him, digging its claws into his leg. Jerry did not want to play any more games with Mary and looked up to Charlie for salvation.
“Ow! Get off, you dumb cat, this is what happens when you let her feed you.” Charlie said, shaking Jerry off his leg. He unlocked his bike (A gift from uncle Barry.), hopped on it and rode out of the driveway, off to school.
“Turn your textbooks to page forty-seven, as you’ll note that a rational fraction is an algebraic fraction whose numerator and denominator are both polynomials, thus…” Mrs. Nelson droned on during algebra class. Charlie bored out of his damn mind. He could never make heads or tails of anything she said, so he sat there, acting like he listened along with the other kids. First class he had was English, second class was history, and math was third. Good grief, my brain is turning into mush. Charlie, as usual, let his mind wander. In his head, he was on a field somewhere, the grass high enough to reach his waist, the sun beating down on him and his opponent, a ninja clad in all black. The air buzzed with cicadas and the tension was so thick you cut it with a katana.
“Fool, you thought you could escape from the Sakamoto Clan’s fortress and live to tell the tale?!” The ninja said in a mocking tone, unsheathing his sword.
“It depends, are you going to bring me back by yourself?” Charlie-san replied, readying his own sword. The two faced each other for what seemed an eternity, until out of the corner of his eye, the grass rustled slightly.
With sudden fury, one hundred black clad ninjas, armed blowguns with poison darts, shurikens, sais, katanas, smoke bombs, and other deadly devices of the ninjutsu art, made a mad dash towards Charlie-san. He made a quick draw with his katana, cutting down two to his right, before focusing on the two to the left. Cutting a bloody swath through the dastardly horde of ninjas, the field littered with their dismembered limbs and heads, he came upon the last one, the one who called him out. He lifted his sword slightly and the ninja collapsed to his knees, sobbing and begging for his life.
“Please, I beg you, let me go and I will never go after you again!” The cowardly ninja said, quaking with so much fear, as Charlie-san sneered at the pathetic excuse for a man.
“I will but let this be a warning to those who wish to collect the bounty on my head. I just want to be left alone and in peace.” Charlie-san said, turning his back to the ninja, who decided to play dirty (because that’s what ninjas always do) and try to stab him in the back!
Only for Charlie-san to whip around, make two quick strikes, and sheathed his katana in the blink of an eye. The dirty, evil ninja lost his hands and he cried out in pain.
“Let that be a warning to you and your masters!”
“Charlie, please pay attention. There will be a pop quiz.” Mrs. Nelson said, snapping the thirteen year old boy back to his mundane life. Several of the students snickered, whispering to each other. This embarrassed him to no end.
“Uh, yes, Mrs. Nelson, I’m sorry.” Charlie said sheepishly.
Lunch couldn’t have come any sooner, Charlie felt famished. At the cafeteria he had a choice of burgers and sloppy joes, with tater tots and chicken nuggets. He got burgers and chicken nuggets, feeling the sloppy joes would give him a bad day in the restrooms, and an orange juice box. He headed to where he sat, Dan waiting for him.
“So what’s going on with you, Charlie?” Dan said through the mouthfuls of sloppy joe as he took a sip from his juice box.
“Nothing new, except that I’m gonna marry Samantha Gray,” Charlie replied as he popped a nugget into his mouth.
It was the same old routine. Ever since Charlie laid eyes on Samantha Gray, an eighth grader, he had made up his mind to court her. How he would do it was another matter entirely, but Charlie could worry about that some other time. Meanwhile, Dan just tolerated his friend’s professions of love. He had eyes on her as well, but for different reasons.
“So, how about them tits on Samantha, eh? Dan sneered, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
Charlie frowned at his friend in disappointment. A one track mind this guy has.
“That’s really inappropriate, man. Where do you think you get off saying shit like that?”
Dan just smirked at Charlie, stabbing his fork at a tot and eating it.
“So you have looked.”
“Only for three seconds, sheesh.”
“Spill. I want details. Are they big like Miss July’s of 1978?”
Charlie looked around to see if anybody was listening to them, even though it was clear that no attention was being paid to the boys.
“They put Miss July to shame!” Charlie whispered, grinning. Oh he could just sit there and think about those soft, ample breasts all day long. How he longed to touch them, if only for a second. Then somebody smacked the back of his head.
“What are you two faggots up to, thinking of sucking each other’s cocks?”
Charlie and Dan groaned simultaneously as Blaine Richardson and his two cronies, Kenny and Billy, decided to spoil the mood. Blaine Richardson was big, fat, and he had a round face with a stupid look plastered on it. He also smelled like egg salad left in the sun for two days. Kenny wore his usual leather jacket with collar upturned, thinking it made him look cool; instead, it looked too big for him. Billy, a gangly kid who made a sucking noise due to his braces, was sycophantic and mindlessly echoed Blaine’s words. Every. Fucking. Time.
“Yeah, you faggots love sucking each other’s cocks!”
Today was no exception.
“So do you have the answers to Mr. Morton’s history test or do Billy and Kenny have to take the both of you to the restroom and give you fudge cakes?” Blaine demanded, grabbing the back of Joseph’s neck in an iron grip.
“Jesus Christ, man, I’m not even done with my homework yet! Lemme finish it up tonight and you’ll have it first thing in the morning.” Dan said meekly, poking a tot with his fork. Billy leaned over and spat a huge gob on Dan’s tater tots, followed by rubbing it all over his lunch.
“Eat it,” Billy wheezed, shoving Dan’s face close to his lunch tray, “I made some improvements.”
“I lost my appetite.”
“Wasn’t (wheeze) asking, bitch.”
Dan put the now mucous covered tots, one by one, in his mouth, grimacing.
“C’mon, stop it.” Charlie pleaded, trying to get out of Blaine’s grip. He just squeezed his neck harder.
“C’mon stop it please,” Blaine imitated cruelly, “You got ‘til tomorrow or your ass is fuckin’ grass. And if you squeal to anybody, you guys will be eating the fucking pavement.” With that, he let go of Charlie’s neck. Kenny grabbed Charlie’s lunch tray.
“I’m hungry. Mind if I take your tray?”
Charlie grunted in annoyance. “You might as well take my lunch money.”
“Wow, you’re right, I should.” Kenny stuck his hand out, palm waiting.
Charlie took out what little cash he had left in his pocket and slapped it on Kenny’s hand.
“Let’s go, guys, these two shitstains got the message.” Blaine ordered, as he walked away to torment some hapless sixth grader, Kenny and Billy following closely.
“Yeah, the shitstains got the message!”
“Hope you (wheeze) enjoyed your meal.”
For thirty seconds, Dan and Charlie sat in silence, fuming. Then Dan spoke up.
“Blaine is a pain, the fucking asshole.”