Monday, August 2, 2010


Choose Or Die: Red Planet Stowaway Ch. 6 - You Are Here
By John Elrod

Momentarily forgetting everything about the day, you stand, shoulders squared in confrontational disdain and head pivoting from point-to-point. "Shopping malls? Drive-thru restaurants? A STRIP club? This is Mars?"

Slowly your neck begins to crane upward as the crimson Martian sky overflows from your eyes, leaving you agape. "This is Mars."

"You noticed the bar, too, huh?" Bob practically salivates onto the nape of your neck as he wraps his arm around your shoulder and talks just a little too longingly into your ear, "Yeah, maybe that drink isn't too great of an idea there, Wallace. I've got a bit of a drinking problem..."

Bob continues, but every bit of your predicament comes rushing back in an instant, with the refreshing click of an idea.

"Come on, Bob," you interrupt his sobriety speech--and his sobriety. "One drink can't hurt, right? I mean, I took you for more of a man than that."

Four shots of space tequila later . . . (Space tequila is much more potent than just your regular, old tequila)

"So that's when I said, 'intergalactic chronoton-collider? I barely even know her!'" Bob bellows as he finishes up a particularly bad joke (and his fifth shot of space tequila). "What's with you, Wallace? You've barely drank any-anything at all."

You have to give him credit. Even in his current, bent condition, Bob managed to be nearly correct; you haven't drank anything at all. You've slowly plied him with alcohol, and it's just about time for you to start getting some answers.

"So, Bob... this mission we're on--"

"Geez, work work work. We have plenty of time to get to that." He interrupts you this time.

You begin again. "Yes, but this mission; what exactly are we doing again? I mean, I know... but... um... who... who's this guy we --"

He interrupts again and begins shifting his appearance haphazardly; first, as Saleen. "Listen, hot stuff, I know you want to get to work; well, so do I." "She" heaves her chest upward before sloppily shifting into Malloy. "Yeah, come on. You know you want some of this. I think my junk is feeling nice now. Why don't you check for me?"

You're feeling all kinds of things, most of them being shades of nausea, but you simply must know the answer. "Who are we here to assassinate?" You blurt out above Bob's nonsense, dampening his inebriation for the time being.

"I don't think everyone over in Cydonia heard you." He quips, through the bottom of yet another shot glass. "Can't you guess? No? Geez, no wonder they picked you. It's Manuel Womack."

Suddenly, your insides feel like they want to be outside. You ask a question you wish you didn't already know the answer to. "P-P-President Manuel Womack?"

"Yes, 'P-P-President Manuel Womack.'" This time Bob morphs himself into a reasonable facsimile of you -- the alcohol seems to be impairing his abilities. He takes on a mock-simpleton tone, "Ugh, I'm Wallace -- or whatever -- and I need shit spelled out for me. Why did I wake up in a storage locker? What am I doing here? Wah-wah-wah."

"What did you say? I --" You stagger to find the words to counter his, but your mind is still mush, and he apparently knows, anyway.

"Listen, kid. You seem nice enough. It's been, what? 25 minutes since I took a leak? I contacted Malloy, and I'm supposed to stall you until he gets down here. Why don't you just run? The job's wrapped up, anyway. There's nothing that will change that. Maybe you can buy yourself a few more days of freedom before they haul your ass in."

You have so many more questions than before, but only one has the stamina to leap out of your mouth. "Are you even really drunk?"

"Oh, yeah; I'm definitely wasted and saying all kinds of things I really shouldn't be. That's why they don't want me drinking; it messes with my programming," he says as he melts into some weird mixture of you and ... Lara Flynn Boyle?

Sprinting from your seat and out of the bar, you speedily survey the still irritatingly terrestrial streets. You spot the shuttle station. Just inside the terminal, you shuffle up to a massive directory, reading "You Are Here" with an arrow pointing to a pictograph "shuttle station.”

You utter beneath your breath, "Everything's so familiar. Where are all the Martians?" With cardiac quickness, a holographic media guide appears.

"This is the human sector: Cydonia Mensae. The majority of its inhabitants are human tourists." Bee-Boop

She vanishes as suddenly as she appeared.
"Well, how the hell do I get out of here?" You ask to the space in front of you.

"Shuttles leave regularly, going: north to Cydonia, going south to Nanditz, and going east to the construction zone of CITY NOT AVAILABLE."

From over your shoulder, you hear the female voice boom, "Pod 1-1-8 docking." The pod doors open and you hear the voice, somewhat muffled as it's now coming from inside the pod: "Welcome... to Mars." Out step Malloy, Saleen, and Peter Tan.

"Shuttles... now boarding," the omnipresent, female voice monotones from above you.

You must make your choice. Do you...


  1. ooooooo it's getting good. I was hoping to catch a pod "going east to the construction zone of CITY NOT AVAILABLE"

    Great chapter!

  2. Love it!! Anyone who can throw Lara Flynn Boyle into a Mars assassination plot is pretty damn awesome.

  3. 2 - I wanted the CITY NOT AVAILABLE too, but maybe that'd take us off track. LOL

    Great stuff!!!!!

  4. Excellent. And another good reason why I don't drink.

  5. Manuel Womack.

    That's a name I'd elect to president.

  6. If this were a Hollywood action movie, the construction zone would be home to a fight/chase/or sex scene (with Lara Flynn Boyle, perhaps?)

    Drinking messes with my programming, too.

    We will be electing Manuel Womack within this generation.

    Thanks, everybody!

  7. Good stuff!

    Apparently, I'm in the minority here, but majority with the voters.

    Follow them!