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The Misadventures of Nobody (and X-Ray)


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#1 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Jun 03 2013 - 04:45 PM

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]At long last I am returning to writing comedies. I hope that you all enjoy this![/color][/font]

 

 

Prologue

 

In the time before the restructuring of BZPower.com, in a world known as the internet, the being known as X-Ray authored creative works known as fan-fictions in the Library section of BZPower.com. These fan-fictions fell under three categories; Comedies, Short Stories, and Epics. He wrote several of the first two, but only one of the last. They were separate, and without purpose, other than to entertain a small pool of readers. So, X-Ray illuminated his comedies with a new character: Nobody. Nobody was, by X-Ray's own description, an anthropomorphic running joke. The friendly wraith could be equal parts charming and grim, stoic and exuberant. He went on many adventures in X-Ray's comedies, frequently providing color commentary on the events surrounding him in Glatorian of Bara Magna: Curse of the Grey Crystal. It was only in Nuva Nation, X-Ray: The Return, and Bionicles at Work that he became a fully developed character, having a larger role to play in the plot. He went on many adventures as an agent of the Order of Mata Nui. Eventually, he met up with X-Ray at the end of Bionicles at Work, ready to explore the new world of Spherus Magna.

 

X-Ray, on the other hand, was a decidedly cautious fellow. He did not exactly long for adventure the way Nobody did. True, he wished to travel, but he did not want to take part in a climactic battle for the fate of the universe. Fortunately, he, being the author, was able to steer himself away from danger... until now, that is.

 

---------------------

 

Chapter 1: Arrival

 

“…and Malum would have been Davy Jones, and the Vorox and Zesk would have been his crew, Metus would have been Lord Beckett, Atakus would have been Mercer, and Ackar would have been Sao Feng!” X-Ray took a deep breath, having just finished explaining his casting choices of a Bionicleized parody of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. Nobody was with him at the moment.

 

“What about the Kraken?” asked Nobody. The transparent armored being with a tattered, grey hooded cloak and a banged up silver Kanohi Suletu was riding with X-Ray on the newly built Magna-Rail, a continent spanning train privately owned by Fe-Nui Industries. They were on their way to Fe-Metru, where they hoped to engage in some sightseeing.

 

“The Scopio, of course!” said X-Ray. In marked contrast to the bedraggled appearance of his companion, X-Ray wore a finely tailored pair of dark blue slacks, topped by a white dress shirt and dark blue vest with a silver tie. His right eye was the eyepiece of a Kanohi Akaku Nuva, adorning his face like a monocle, as a certain female comedy author had once described it.

 

“Wow,” said Nobody dryly. “Almost makes me wish you would write a sequel.”

 

“I would have,” said X-Ray, “but copying things word for word from the novelization and movie while trying to think up jokes gets tedious after a while. Besides, I don’t think there was much demand for it.”

 

I would have read it,” said Nobody.

 

“Yeah, but you’re Nobody,” said X-Ray. “You’d probably be in the comedy. I’d like everybody to read my comedies.”

 

“Nobody will read them if you don’t do something original,” said Nobody. “That is to say, people, not including me, won’t read your comedies unless you come up with something original.”

 

Nuva Nation wasn’t original?” said X-Ray. “Bionicles at Work wasn’t original?” He paused for a minute, and then said, “What would you know about originality? You’re the one who’s named after a character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

 

Bionicle: Infinities was original!” said Nobody. “And besides, you named me. And you’re the one who named himself after a character from Holes!”

 

“Point taken,” said X-Ray. He glanced out the window, and then said to Nobody, “I believe that we have arrived at our destination.”

 

The bus came to a halt at the Fe-Metru Magna-Rail station, where X-Ray and Nobody grabbed their bags and headed towards the front of the train car. They descended the steps, and headed into city. The streets, brightly lit by abundant sunlight, were packed with life, including Agori, Matoran, Glatorian, Toa, Turaga, and dozens of other species that had moved into this location, Spherus Magna’s fastest growing metropolis. The urban center was home to many thriving industries, from clothing and office supplies to restaurants and book stores. Indeed, there had not been a clothing market in Spherus Magna for a hundred thousand years, what with the predilection for twenty-four hour armor among the Spherus Magna inhabitants. Fortunately, thanks to the newly ushered in Pax Bionicle, people were beginning to walk about without their armor, in plain clothes. A few key pundits predicted that Fe-Metru would soon become the business capital of the world.

 

Speaking of pundits, X-Ray decided to listen to one by flipping on the radio app on his handy-dandy cell phone. There, on station AM 420, he decided to listen to The Ben Geck Program.

 

“Do not underestimate the Shadowed One!” said Geck from X-Ray’s phone. “He will not stop until he has completed is agenda or had died trying. My fellow Spherus Magnans, we must unite if we wish to stop this threat to freedom and peace.”

 

“Do you actually believe this stuff?” said Nobody to X-Ray as they walked down the sidewalk. A skyscraper under construction loomed ahead of them.

 

“Of course!” said X-Ray, turning down the phone’s volume as the radio program went to commercial break. “Ben Geck has a high rate of accuracy, and is by far one of the most knowledgeable conservative pundits out there. And you of all people should know that TSO is a serious threat.”

 

“Whatever,” said Nobody. “I read Era Magazine. Besides, I’d like to remind you that the Shadowed One hasn’t been seen in over a year. The Dark Hunters are for all intents and purposes defunct. The most serious threat to public safety is the Skakdi, and they’re not waging war any time soon.”

 

X-Ray and Nobody stopped at a street corner to take a picture of the under-construction skyscraper. “Okay,” said X-Ray, consulting his phone, “we need to find some lodgings for the night.”

 

You need to find lodgings,” said Nobody, “I have to find someplace to live. I’m on assignment from the OMN, you know.”

 

“That assignment being…?” said X-Ray, pulling up the GPS feature on his phone.

 

“I can’t tell you,” said Nobody. “It’s a secret.”

 

“You and your secrets,” said X-Ray. He examined his phone’s screen, and then said, “Okay, there’s a Motel 6 a couple blocks west of here. Let’s head there.”

 

“Good, good,” said Nobody.  They walked down the street, passing by the various businesses and persons. Finally, after several minutes of walking, they had reached the Motel 6.

 

“An Earth based business on Spherus Magna?” said Nobody.

 

“Thanks to that portal that got opened up recently,” said X-Ray, “Earth businesses and entrepreneurs have been flourishing on Spherus Magna. This one mining company even started mining protodermis over where the Mata Nui robot collapsed!”

 

“Ah, the beauty of capitalism.”

 

They walked into the lobby of the hotel, and the person behind the counter, a water tribe Agori, said to them, “Good afternoon, sirs. How may I help you?”

 

“We’d like a room for the night,” said X-Ray. “How much does it cost?”

 

“Our spring rates currently apply,” said the Agori, whose name tag read Sheila, “so it would cost $70 dollars per week day for an apartment with two double beds, $58 for just a room with two double beds, and $50 for just one double bed.”

 

“We’ll take the apartment with two double beds,” said X-Ray.

 

X-Ray took out his credit card and handed it to Sheila, who then gave it back to him when she was done. She then handed them a key card and said, “Your room number is 201.”

 

“Thank you,” said X-Ray, flashing his best smile. He and Nobody headed out of the lobby towards the elevators, and proceeded to ascend to the second floor. Once they reached their room, they set down their luggage and made themselves at home.

 

X-Ray said, “Isn’t this great, Nobody? We’ve got a spectacular view of the Skrall River, a sweet hotel room, and a whole city to explore!”

 

Nobody yawned, and then said, “Yeah, it’s great, X.” He set his suitcase down on his bed, and took down the hood of his cloak. “I’m going to go take a shower, X,” said Nobody, going over to the bathroom. “I’ll be out in a minute.” He took his cell phone and placed it on the nightstand next to his bed. “Let me know if someone calls on my cell phone. I’m expecting an important call from my boss at the OMN.”

 

“Righto, Nobody!” said X-Ray. The youth plopped himself down on the bed, and grabbed the remote control. He turned on the television and clicked to the Discovery Channel. Dual Survival was on. X-Ray sat back and watched the show, dreaming all the while what grand adventures he and Nobody would have in this wonderful city. He glanced at his watch. It was 3:15 P.M.

 

After Nobody was finished with his shower and dried off, he emerged from the bathroom and laid down on his own bed, joining X-Ray is watching TV. They were both tired from the long train ride from the portal site, and were glad for the down time.

 

“What should we have for dinner?” said Nobody.

 

“I hear that the baked sand bat over at McKyry’s is fantastic,” said X-Ray. “They’ve really stepped up in their menu. Besides, I’ve always wanted to taste some Bara Magnan food.”

 

“Baked sand bat it is then,” said Nobody. “I’ll go get it-” Nobody was interrupted by his cell phone ringing. He picked it up and said, “Hello?”

 

“Nobody, this is Claire from the OMN, Fe-Metru Base. We need you and X-Ray to come to our building right away to be debriefed by Thomob.”

 

“Understood,” said Nobody. He clamped the phone shut and then turned to X-Ray, saying, “We need to get to the OMN building now.”

 

“What’s the matter?” asked X-Ray. “Is there another consulting thing that they need help with?”

 

“They didn’t say,” said Nobody as he got up from the bed and grabbed his cloak. “All I know is that we need to be debriefed by Thomob.”

 

X-Ray rolled his eye and then said, “Right then. I guess that means we’ll have to postpone going to McKyry’s. Let’s go, old friend.”

 

To be continued...

 

--------------

 

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]C & C appreciated! I've gotta say, it's good to be back![/color][/font]

 

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;] :akaku: X-Ray :akaku:[/color][/font]


Edited by X-Ray, Jun 21 2013 - 04:38 PM.

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#2 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Jun 18 2013 - 06:00 PM

[color=#008080;][font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"]And now, chapter 2! Comments and Criticism appreciated![/color][/font] :)

 

Chapter 2: The Deputy Director’s Dilemma

 

The Order of Mata Nui Spherus Magna Headquarters was an impressive sight on the outside of the building. Thanks to help from Artakha’s people, the OMN had enough know-how, combined with their immense resources, to quickly set up shop anywhere they chose. And what with the Order’s decision to go public after the Destiny War, it was all the more important that they keep up appearances. The shiny, silver and grey skyscraper was officially known as Mata Tower, but had been dubbed by most people in and around it as “The EB.” That is, “the Empty Bottle.” This was because of the simple reason that only three floors of the sixty story building was actually in use. The EB was empty largely because the OMN, though still wealthy enough to acquire the EB in a matter of months, was still by and large a weakened, halved organization. The higher-ups were too paranoid to allow anyone to rent out the empty floors, convinced that even as a public organization, it would still be better if they remained as cloak-and-dagger like as possible.

 

Nobody thought this was a good idea, though X-Ray only saw it as another source of mirth in the universe. That said, X-Ray was content to quietly listen to Nobody speak at length about why secrecy was more important to the OMN than ever before.

 

“…and furthermore, X, we still don’t know where Helryx, Axxon, and Brutaka are. Helryx’s standing orders may have been to go public, but she had confided with the board that our organization required strict secrecy in the areas where secrecy was necessary. Our operations must be treated as confidential until they are no longer confidential.”

 

“I just think the idea of working in the PR department of a black ops organization is a funny idea,” said X-Ray. He adjusted his eyepiece, scanning the EB. “Ah, here we are,” he said as he and Nobody rounded the corner. X-Ray’s eyepiece showed him various technical stuff and flowcharts on the heads up display built into his vision.

 

“The Mata Tower,” said X-Ray. “Built within six months in 101,002 A.S., this building serves as the headquarters for the Order of Mata Nui. It cost five million widgets to build and is the fourth tallest building in Fe-Metru. The reason a whole office building was built was because the OMN needed to move into Fe-Metru fast, so they bought the Mata Tower before it was being built, when they still had buckets of money to burn, our tax money, you know. Anyway, they bought the tower to use before their official, new Spherus Magna headquarters could be built.”

 

“I don’t think you read all that on your HUD, did you?” said Nobody, keeping lockstep with X-Ray. He looked around, keeping an eye out for something.

 

“No, I just made it all up out of my head,” said X-Ray. “It helps that I’m the author and all.”

 

“We have to go to Thomob’s office on the 59th floor,” said Nobody. The wraith led the way through the revolving doors, walking through the near deserted lobby of the EB. They walked up to the front desk, where a Ga-Matoran sat, alert.

 

“Visitors for Deputy Director Thomob,” said Nobody, leaning on the front desk.

 

The Ga-Matoran picked up a phone, made a call to the 59th floor, and then hung up. She then said, “Yes, you are Nobody and X-Ray? I’ll have to see some ID.”

 

X-Ray pulled out his wallet, and showed the Ga-Matoran his student ID, while Nobody fumbled around his person. X-Ray glanced at Nobody and frowned, saying, “What’s the matter, Nobody?”

 

“I, um…” said Nobody nervously. “I don’t have any pockets.”

 

“Not even in your cloak?” said X-Ray. He rolled his eye, and then said to Nobody, “Here, just wait here, I can talk to Thomob by myself.”

 

“No!” said Nobody, shouting suddenly. He calmed down, and then said, “I mean… no, no. The deputy director was very clear that he wanted me to accompany you at all times.”

 

X-Ray raised an eyebrow, and then said, “Very well. I know how to fix this.” He turned around, concentrated for a few seconds, and then produced a bag out of thin air. “A bag, Nobody,” said X-Ray. “You will find everything you need in it.”

 

Nobody took the bag and rifled through it, finding a Bionicle toiletry kit, which included mask polish and oil, as well as a wallet. Nobody took the wallet and opened it to find a driver’s license of himself. He looked to X-Ray with a confused look, and said, “Is this legal?”

 

“It was never illegal,” said X-Ray. “This stuff didn’t exist, but now it does. You’ll even find your registration records in the DMV database.”

 

“But I don’t have a driver’s license!” said Nobody. “I never took the test!”

 

“We can fix that after the meeting!” said X-Ray, happily walking towards the elevators. “Now, let’s go, Agent!”

 

Nobody sighed, showed his ID to the Ga-Matoran, who buzzed him in. Nobody then ran to catch up to X-Ray, wondering how long he would have to put up with his charge’s reckless use of author powers.

 

*         *          *

 

A few minutes later, Nobody and X-Ray were seated in Thomob’s opulent office. There was a solid oak desk (imported), Corinthian leather chairs (imported), five day old donuts (not imported), and a great ash book case, filled with tomes from floor to ceiling. A window gave a magnificent view of the skyscraper across the street, as well as the street below. The emerald armored Thomob, wearing his powerless Noble Ruru, stood gazing out the window, with his back to the seated Nobody and X-Ray.

 

“I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve called you here today,” said Thomob. “Ha! I always wanted to say that.”

 

“Please cut to the chase,” said X-Ray. “My time is valuable, and so is yours and Nobody’s.”

 

“Very well,” said Thomob. He turned to face X-Ray and Nobody, and walked over to his desk. He sat down, and opened a ledger lying on his desk. He took a grainy photograph out of it, and showed it to X-Ray and Nobody. “We believe this fellow here is out to get you.”

 

“Who is that?” said Nobody, peering at the photograph. It showed a freaky looking dude walking down a street with swords coming out of his head like a pair of antlers from Medieval Home Depot.

 

“That’s Shadow Stealer, right?” said X-Ray.

 

“Right,” said Thomob, putting the picture down. “Our sources say that he may want to off you.”

 

“Why would Shadow Stealer want me dead?” said X-Ray, shifting in his chair. “I understand that he already has some kind of beef with the Shadowed One for some reason. Did we ever figure out why?”

 

“This is all we have on Shadow Stealer,” said Thomob. He reached down and closed the ledger, which was marked, “Confidential.” “We have no idea what his beef with the Shadowed One is, but we do have some idea about why he’s shifted his sights at you.” Thomob took a donut out of the box and began to munch on it. Nobody and X-Ray exchanged sickened expressions.

 

“You see,” said Thomob, “we believe that Shadow Stealer has either made peace with the Shadowed One, is working for him, and has been hired out to kill you, or else he was hired by someone else to go after you.”

 

“How do you know this?” asked X-Ray.

 

“We have a source in the Dark Hunters,” said Thomob. “A certain blue and gold armored fellow who gave us a recording of TSO talking with his staff about it.”

 

“But I thought Ancient was dead!” said Nobody. “And didn’t GregF say that the DH was disbanded after TSO went to look for greener pastures on Spherus Magna, so the speak?”

 

“Firstly,” said Thomob, taking another bite out of his donut, “Ancient was only mostly dead. There’s a big difference between all dead and mostly dead. Mostly dead means—”

 

“Cut the crud,” said X-Ray. “I’m the author, and even I wouldn’t stoop to The Princess Bride references. Just say that TSO didn’t really kill Ancient. He killed his LMD or something. I don’t know.”

 

“Um, anyway,” said Thomob, “secondly, the Dark Hunters may be essentially defunct, but TSO’s new organization, the Obumbrati, rough Latin for ‘shadowed ones,’ has quickly become a major power in the Spherus Magna criminal underworld. They will stop at nothing until they are the dominant criminal power on the planet.”

 

“But why do they want me dead?” said X-Ray, still quite confused. “I’m just some random teenager!”

 

“You’re not just some random teenager,” said Thomob, leaning over his desk. “You. Are. The. Author. Whatever you say goes. They know that you are the biggest threat to their power, because you are the only one who can stop them decisively. What they don’t know is that if they kill you, this world will end. We must keep you alive at all costs.”

 

“So if you can stop them decisively, right now, with your all encompassing author powers,” said Nobody, taking a donut, “why don’t you just draft him and have him do as you say?”

 

“We would if we could,” said Thomob, “but we can’t. Directive 42—”

 

“Ha!” said X-Ray. “Hitchhiker’s reference!” Nobody and Thomob looked at him strangely, and then the author said, “Eh, continue.”

 

“Ahem,” said Thomob. “Directive 42 states that we are not allowed to interfere with the author’s design. We are only to abide by it.” He spread his hands out, as if making an introduction, and said, “Those are the rules.”

 

X-Ray and Nobody sat hunched over in their chairs, trying to understand everything that had been revealed to them. Nobody turned to X-Ray and said, “You knew all of this, didn’t you?”

 

“Hey,” said X-Ray defensively, holding up his hands, “I’m just making this up as I go. I have some rough outline of what’s going to happen, but the rest fills itself in.”

 

“All the more reason to have you locked up in a safe house somewhere in the Black Spike Mountains,” said Thomob. “But, on the advice of the board, I have relented from such measures.” He turned his head and looked straight at Nobody, and said to him, “Nobody, you are hereby appointed official liaison and bodyguard to the author.”

 

X-Ray glanced at the clock on the left wall. It was 4:15 P.M. He then turned to Thomob and said, “Well, I think that I can—”

 

Suddenly, the fire alarm went off, nearly scaring X-Ray out of his skin, and Nobody and Thomob out of their armor. Thomob quickly grabbed his donut box and said to the other two, “Don’t panic! Don’t panic! DON’T PANIC!”

 

X-Ray said, “Dude, you’re the only one panicking. Now, let’s get out of here. We’ll finish the debriefing later. And please, enough with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy references.”


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#3 Offline MT Zehvor

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Posted Jun 23 2013 - 10:40 PM

Good comedy here. Apologies for taking so long to comment; I've been meaning to do so for a while, but got tied up in...other things. 

 

Some parts I particularly enjoyed: 

 

“I hear that the baked sand bat over at McKyry’s is fantastic,” said X-Ray. “They’ve really stepped up in their menu. Besides, I’ve always wanted to taste some Bara Magnan food.”

 

“Baked sand bat it is then,” said Nobody. “I’ll go get it-” 

 

...ack...

 

“I don’t think you read all that on your HUD, did you?” said Nobody, keeping lockstep with X-Ray. He looked around, keeping an eye out for something.

 

“No, I just made it all up out of my head,” said X-Ray. “It helps that I’m the author and all.”

 

That's the sound of the fourth wall exploding.

 

“Firstly,” said Thomob, taking another bite out of his donut, “Ancient was only mostly dead. There’s a big difference between all dead and mostly dead. Mostly dead means—”

 

"Mostly dead" is the official medical term, too. :P

 

Good first couple chappies. KUTGW.

 

-MT


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#4 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Jul 04 2013 - 01:48 PM

Chapter 3: Journey to the Center of the Low Rent District

 

Nobody and X-Ray followed Thomob out of the building, going down fifty-nine flights of stairs to the ground floor, where they coalesced with the other inhabitants of the EB in the tower’s parking lot. Maxilos robots herded the crowd away from the building. The crowd of beings, mostly bureaucrats and paper pushers in dress shirts and ties over armor, gabbled like gukko birds.

 

“-just in time for summer break.”

 

“My feet are killing me.”

 

“-finally found an effective diet.”

 

“I’m telling you, Rob, I believe that Elvis is alive!”

 

In the midst of all this, Nobody and X-Ray stood with Thomob in the middle of the parking lot, waiting for the fire department to arrive. Fortunately, the fire department managed to arrive in a timely manner. The big, red fire engine, manned by Sarda, Kiina, who was the fire chief, and several others in the gang of yahoos who made up the Fe-Metru Volunteer Fire Department, plus Spinax. They raced along, lights flashing and sirens blaring, pulling up to the firelane. Sarda was being comically dragged along by Spinax, who was almost as big and heavy as the hapless Ta-Matoran. The energy hound was full of himself, as usual (get it? The energy hound was full of himself, meaning he was full of energy? Get it?).

 

Kiina, decked out in her firefighter gear, shouted, “Wahoo! Alright boys, let’s find that fire and fight it! Wahoo!”

 

X-Ray whispered to Nobody, “It’s just an overheated microwave in the lunch room. Hardly something to write home about.”

 

“And yet the fire department came,” said Nobody, observing the firefighters dash into the building, while Spinax helped Sarda secure the fire hydrant.

 

Eventually, it was determined that there was no cause for alarm, despite the fire alarms going off, and a certain chubby fellow in a bowtie was warned not to leave his popcorn unattended in the microwave, and to always follow the instructions on the bag.

 

Once Kiina had finished chewing out Rob, she looked up to the sky and said, “Hey, human-face! You just called me and my boys a bunch of yahoos!” She then paused, before muttering to herself, “I can’t believe I’m talking to the author.”

 

X-Ray was about to call Kiina to inform her of his status as the author, when Nobody clamped a hand over his mouth. As X-Ray was about to object, Thomob said to him, “Well, now that this little escapade is over, we will go back to my office to complete your debriefing.”

 

X-Ray nodded, and returned Nobody, Thomob, and the rest of the crowd into the EB. Once they had finally returned to Thomob’s office, Thomob said to X-Ray, “As the author, you are in great danger. It is therefore imperative that you not draw attention to yourself, and thus put yourself in even more danger.”

 

“What would you have me do?” said X-Ray, expertly quoting The Dark Knight.

 

“Endure,” said Thomob, who was almost as nerdy as X-Ray. “Movie quotes aside, you, as the center of the universe, must be careful. I would suggest taking up an inconspicuous lifestyle. We have a job lined up for you if you want it, not to mention an apartment you can share with Nobody.”

 

X-Ray glanced at Nobody, and said, “What is this, ‘job’?”

 

“A movie reviewing gig at the Fe-Metru Register,” said Thomob, adjusting his mask. “We figured you would like something like that.”

 

X-Ray contemplated his navel area for a moment, and then looked up at Thomob and said, “I’m in. When do I start?”

 

Thomob smiled. “Once you’ve chosen to accept the job, you start next week. Show up at the offices of the Fe-Metru Register in three days at 9:00. They’ll brief you on your new employment status.”

 

Nobody said to X-Ray, “X, if being my roomie makes you uncomfortable, then I won’t be offended.”

 

“You don’t give yourself enough credit, Nobody,” said X-Ray, patting the wraith on the shoulder. He stood up out of the Corinthian leather chair, and said to Nobody, “I mean, we’re only sharing an apartment together, and I have a job to keep me busy. How bad could it be?”

 

*         *          *

 

The next day, after collecting their luggage from the Motel 6 they had previously been staying at, Nobody and X-Ray took the train to Fe-Metru’s low rent district, Westside. They disembarked from the train and walked from there to their new apartment building. Nothing in Fe-Metru was particularly old, as the whole city had been built just over a year ago, but this particular piece of property in the low rent district was just was X-Ray was looking for. It was built in the Metru Nui style, meaning that it was a long, pointy needle of a tower with a few windows crisscrossing the sides like stripes on a shirt.

 

“Here’s our new home,” said X-Ray to Nobody as they came into the building’s lobby. X-Ray observed the shabby interior, in marked contrast to the shiny outside appearance. The carpeting was ugly and disheveled, the furniture was secondhand and grungy, and the front desk had a dust layer an inch high. Even the receptionist, an Onu-Matoran, appeared old and dilapidated.

 

“This place is a dump,” said Nobody, heading over to the front desk. “What was the Deputy Director thinking?”

 

“He probably never even went to this place,” said X-Ray, knocking on the desk. The receptionist, who had been asleep, was suddenly stirred, nearly jumping up out of his chair. “Who what when where why?” he said, confused.

 

“Sir,” said X-Ray to the great Rau wearing Matoran, “We’re here to rent out a room.”

 

“Room 581 is available,” said the Ta-Matoran, handing them a key. “Welcome to Mountridge Square Apartments. Your rent is due at the end of every month, 120 widgets a month.”

 

“Understood,” said X-Ray. He and Nobody went over to the elevator (“At least this place has an elevator,” said Nobody to X-Ray), and ascended to the fifth floor of the nine story building. Upon reaching the fifth floor, they exited the elevator and navigated the hallways to find their room. The carpet in the white painted hallways was just as matted as the carpet in the lobby, and when they finally found their room, the door was covered by a thin layer of filth.

 

“Now do you agree with me?” said Nobody as he put the key in the lock.

 

“I never disagreed with you,” said X-Ray, hefting his laptop case and his suitcase, plus his backpack. Nobody tried to open the door, but it was jammed, and wouldn’t open at first. The appliance of a little force, however, allowed him to force the door open, and the two companions were not at all impressed by what they saw.

 

The room was bare as Lex Luthor’s head, with not an article of furniture in sight. The walls were painted a drab grey, the one window was broken, there was a large dent in the left wall, and on the right wall was a chain of words written in some kind of red ink, probably lipstick, which read, “Who is Jean-Paul Valley?” The floor’s carpet wasn’t as ugly as that of the lobby, but was more so that of the hallway.

 

“Hey, it’s not incredibly bad,” said X-Ray. He walked over to the middle of the room and set down his bags. “If we can pick up a couple of beds, a table, a refrigerator, and some food, we can make this place our own. We also might want to fix that window.”

 

Nobody sighed, and set his lone bag on the floor next to X-Rays. He took his cell phone off of his belt and dialed Thomob’s number.

 

On the third ring, Thomob answered, saying, “Thomob here.”

 

“Thomob?” said Nobody. “This is Nobody. I just wanted to call and tell you that this place you picked out for us is a dump.”

 

“Hey, your rent’s being paid for by government money,” said Thomob. “Once X-Ray gets his job up and running, maybe he’ll get an apartment upgrade.”

 

“But I have to live here too!” said Nobody. “I make enough money to get my own apartment, but I have to be stuck chaperoning the author! What more do you want from me?”

 

“Just relax, Nobody,” said Thomob’s voice from the phone. “Once X-Ray’s financial situation stabilizes, you might be able to get an apartment upgrade. Besides, we’ll be providing some money for you to start off with, but you’re on your own from there. Unless you prefer the safe house in the Black Spike Mountains option…”

 

“No, no!” said Nobody. “I’m sure this will be fine. Just tell us where we can get the money.”

 

“It will be deposited in a bank account in X-Ray’s name at the local branch of Alaska USA,” said Thomob. “Just go down there and get the money. There should be some 5,000 widgets there for your use.”

 

“Okay, thanks,” said Nobody. “We’ll get down there right away. Bye.” He then turned off the phone with a “beep,” and turned to face X-Ray. “X!” said Nobody as he adjusted the taser he had stored on a thigh holster. “We’ve got to go to the bank to get some money, and then we’ve got to go get lunch!”

 

“Righto!” said X-Ray, who had just finished inspecting the bathroom. “Let’s go!” The two had spent the previous night at their Motel 6 room before taking the train down to the low rent district to see their new apartment. They had gotten breakfast from a Chick-Fil-A.

 

So, the duo exited their apartment and, with a little help from X-Ray’s GPS app on his smartphone, found the nearest branch of Alaska USA, which was a short train ride away in the Jonnstown neighborhood. This particular branch of that esteemed bank was situated across the street from the Chick-Fil-A that X-Ray and Nobody had previously eaten at.

 

Nobody and X-Ray went over to the bank, going through the glass and steel doors. X-Ray approached the counter, and the human female teller smiled at him and said, “Yes, sir?”

 

As X-Ray began the process of accessing his account, Nobody, bored, took a look around. There didn’t seem to be anything of interest in the bank. There were various personages standing in line or sitting in chairs, waiting to do their business with the tellers. A few were reading newspapers in the courtesy chairs. Nobody walked over to an empty chair, and scooped up a copy of last week’s Wall Street Journal. He began reading an article on how to kick start a global economy.

 

Just as Nobody was about halfway through the article, two Agori in ski masks burst in through the door of the bank, yelling, “This is a hold up! Everyone down on the ground now!”

 

X-Ray turned around in panic, as the robbers rushed to the counter. One of them, a fire Agori, brandished a .357 magnum in the teller’s face, saying, “Take me to the vault!” He was also carrying a bag to put the money in.

 

Meanwhile, Nobody, who was lying on the floor with the other bank customers, activated his phasing power when the other robber’s back was turned. He sunk into the floor, using his mask of telepathy to find out where the robbers were. He remembered that the second robber was carrying a glock. He cursed himself for leaving his unbreakable black Kopaka sword of awesomeness at the OMN Barracks on Daxia, but he remembered the one weapon he did have; his taser. Activating his invisibility, he peaked over the edge of the floor, and saw that the second robber’s back was turned. He then snuck up behind the second robber, an ice Agori, and stuck the robber with the taser. The robber was electrified- literally. The robber yelled in agony before collapsing to the floor in a heap.

The other robber heard the commotion, and ran past X-Ray. On an impulse, X-Ray stuck out his foot and tripped the robber, who fell flat on his face. X-Ray quickly grabbed the fallen magnum and held it in the robber’s face, saying, “Freeze! I place you under citizen’s arrest!”

 

“But you aren’t a citizen,” said Nobody, who was just about to call the police on his cell phone.

 

“Whatever,” said X-Ray. “But seriously, dude… that was so cool!”

 

Nobody rolled his eyes, and said, “Oh brother.”


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#5 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Jul 21 2013 - 07:49 PM

Chapter 4: Plotting Plotted Plots

 

Far away from Fe-Metru, in a city known as Joisey Nui, there was a not-so-sinister looking office building. This building, called the Swenson Building, was entirely bland and uninteresting. No particularly major companies called it home, and no suspicious incidents had ever attracted the local police there. For these reasons, the Shadowed One had seen fit to rent out the thirty-second through thirty-fifth floors in the fifty story Swenson Building as his base of operations. There, the Obumbrati schemed and plotted their actions, trained their troops, and filed paperwork.

 

The Shadowed One was just coming back from his coffee break. Running an evil cabal of mercenaries could be pretty stressful. Clad in a black suit with a golden tie, He passed by one of his minions, and said to him, “Greetings, Ted.” The minion, a human in a blue suit, returned the salutation. The Shadowed One continued on his way before arriving at his office. He said to his secretary, “Good morning, Thelma. What do we have scheduled for today?”

 

“Well,” said Thelma, “the Chief of Intelligence has a report for you about the situation in Fe-Metru, the board has a meeting scheduled with you at 3 o’clock, the building manager wants to speak with you, and the weekly plotting session with your inner circle is at five.” Thelma was an aging Ga-Matoran with a light blue Great Komau, which made it look like she was wearing a large set of nerdy looking glasses. She was the quintessential secretary. “Also,” she said, “Larry from Operations died at the hospital last night.”

 

“Terribly bad news, that is,” said the Shadowed One. “Send his family my full condolences and make the funeral arrangements as stated in his contract.”

 

“Yes sir,” said Thelma as the Shadowed one strode past her and entered his office.

 

 The Shadowed One’s office was finely furnished with a mahogany desk and a Dell computer. There were a few pictures on the desk showing him at important points in his life. His and Ancient’s groundbreaking of the Odina base, the first strike against Metru Nui in the Toa-Dark Hunter War, the stag party of his third marriage. He sat down in his overstuffed velvet chair, picked up the receiver of his rotary telephone and dialed a number.

 

After a few minutes of waiting, a voice on the other end of the line said, “Hello?”

 

“Ah, Fredd!” said the Shadowed One. “My secretary informs me that you wish to meet with me. What is it you would like to discuss? I’m sure that we can handle it over the phone.”

 

“I suppose so,” said Fredd, the building manager. “You see, I’ve been getting complaints from other tenants in the building, about guys in riot gear hanging around one of the floors that your company rents. What’s that all about?”

 

“Merely my private security,” said the Shadowed One, who was known to the fire Agori as “Bruce Wolfe.” The Obumbrati was known to Fredd as Wolfe Industries, an engineering and manufacturing company. “As a major contractor to various governments, we must always be on the lookout for burglars and espionage,” said the Shadowed One. This was of course, a lie. The thirty-third floor housed a training center for the soldiers of the Obumbrati, where they were trained in combat.

 

“Alright then, Mr. Wolfe,” said Fredd. “Just make sure that there’s no trouble caused by your men.”

 

“When have I ever given you trouble, old bean?” said the Shadowed One. “Ta ta!” He then hung up the phone. He picked it up again to call Thelma, and said to her, “Thelma, tell Intelligence Chief Grant that I am ready to see her now to hear her report.”

 

“Yes, Mr. One,” said Thelma. “I’ll page here right now.” Another click. A few minutes later, the Shadowed One’s phone rang again, and he answered it. “Yes, Thelma?” he said.

 

“Intelligence Chief Grant is here to see you,” said Thelma.

 

“Go ahead and buzz her in,” said the Shadowed One. There was a buzz, and the door opened, and the Intelligence Chief entered through it.

 

Intelligence Chief Guinevere Grant was a tall, red headed human woman in her mid-thirties, with long, angular cheek bones and a short forehead. She walked like a gymnast, no mean feat in a suit coat and pencil skirt. Her hair was in a single long braid, contrasting against her light but not pale skin. She was carrying a dossier, and a pencil was resting on her left ear.

 

“Ms. Grant!” said the Shadowed One. “It is good to see you!”

 

“The pleasure mine, Mr. One,” said Grant. She took a seat in one of the chairs and opened the dossier. “I have for you a report on the situation in Fe-Metru,” said Grant. “The two beings known as X-Ray and Nobody have recently taken up residence in that city. They were spotted visiting the OMN HQ, and a day later they foiled a bank robbery.”

 

“What is the current status of X-Ray?” said the Shadowed One.

 

“Our last report placed him and Nobody in an apartment in Westside,” said Grant.

 

“Good, good,” said the Shadowed One. “Step up surveillance on them, but try to remain inconspicuous. Once we are certain of when he will be least protected, we shall swoop down and execute the final stroke of our plan.”

 

“May I ask what that would be, sir?” said Grant, cocking her head to one side.

 

“I hoped someone would ask that soon,” said the Shadowed One. “It’s terribly annoying to have to continuously speak in such vague terms. The end of this plan is to kidnap X-Ray and force him to make us the rulers of the world.”

 

“I see, sir,” said Grant. She was used to her boss talking in such grandiose terms. “Shall I inform you of the other things we have learned from our surveillance in Fe-Metru?”

 

“Certainly,” said the Shadowed One. He leaned back in his chair, and said, “Proceed, chief.”

 

“Well, we have identified four possible front companies being used by the OMN,” said Grant. “Bond Shipping, Goldeneye, Inc., Fe-Metru Auto Shop, and Fruit & Loot.”

 

“What are these businesses in business for?” asked the Shadowed One. “I can guess what the Auto Shop and the shipping company is, but what about Goldeneye and Fruit & Boot?”

 

“Fruit & Loot, sir,” said Grant, correcting. “Goldeneye, Inc. is a weapons retailer. Fruit & Loot is a fruit and check cashing store.”

 

“Why in the world would someone want to run a check cashing store out of a fruit stand?” said the Shadowed One. He was greatly puzzled by this revelation.

 

“Not sure,” said Grant. “I once saw a business where divorce lawyer work and iPhone repairs were done out of the same business. At any rate, that particular business is highly suspect, but the majority of our surveillance is on Bond Shipping.”

 

“Yes, yes,” said the Shadowed One. “Shipping companies are often used by both criminal enterprises such as ours and spies to hide smuggled goods and information.” He took the dossier from Grant and flipped through it disinterestedly. “I see that this Bond Shipping seems to deal primarily in foreign antiquities. That is also a common industry for spies and criminals to deal in. Uncertainly valued goods of varying size and weight make it a gold mine for smugglers.”

 

“Indeed, sir,” said Grant. “What is your command on the Fe-Metru situation?”

 

“You are to continue your surveillance,” said the Shadowed One. “As soon as we have finished negotiating Shadow Stealer’s contract, I want him dispatched to abduct X-Ray as soon as you judge him to be at his most vulnerable.” He turned to look Grant in the eye, and said, “Have I made myself clear, Chief Grant?”

 

“Yes, sir,” said Grant. “I’ll begin working on this immediately.”

 

“Very good then,” said the Shadowed One. “You are dismissed. I’ll see you at my weekly plotting session at five.” Grant nodded, took the dossier, and left the room. The Shadowed One’s gaze followed her out of the room, before he glanced down at his wedding ring. It was a gold band with Matoran characters etched into it which read, “Forever Bound, Forever Loved.”

 

He then walked over to his desk, sat down, and rang up Thelma. “Thelma,” he said, “When did you say that I’d be meeting with the board of directors?”

 

“Three, sir,” said Thelma. “And remember, your weekly plotting session with your inner circle is at five.”

 

“I know, I know,” said the Shadowed One. “I’ll get to both on time.”

 

 

*          *         *

 

The Shadowed One knew that board meetings were important, but nevertheless found them incredibly droll. He understood that as a board member and majority shareholder of “Wolfe Industries,” he had an important part to play in maintaining the company that served as a front for the operations of the Obumbrati. However, the Shadowed One, while an excellent strategist and organizer, was, quite frankly, a terrible leader. He maintained his “Failure Equals Death” (F.E.D.) policy from his days as leader of the Dark Hunters, though most of the missions assigned to underlings up until this point hadn’t been of particularly high enough risk to warrant worry over this detail. Of course, there was that one incident with the gopher and the donuts. The F.E.D. policy was buried in the contract of every member of the Obumbrati, and extended to those that worked at maintaining the illusion that was Wolfe Industries. On the other hand, Wolfe Industries was an extremely elaborate front, having evolved from a mere shell company to being the number seventeen employer in Joisey Nui, and the number thirty-two employer on Spherus Magna.

 

To put it simply, the front had become so elaborate that its concerns warranted the Shadowed One’s attention more than the actual operations of the Obumbrati, which annoyed him to no end. True, he was actually making money to finance the Obumbrati, but it still wasn’t his area of expertise. At the end of the day, the Shadowed One was little more than a particularly devious, not to mention diabolical, thug, presiding over a gang of slightly less devious but equally diabolical thugs. He was a commander, not a businessman.

 

Which is why he relied on Obadiah Stane to help him in this regard.

 

Stane had been hired personally by the Shadowed One to serve as the CEO of Wolfe Industries. For those of you wondering how a deceased character from the Marvel Universe had become CEO of a fictional corporation in a Bionicle fan fiction, the explanation is rather convoluted. In short, the Shadowed One had rescued Stane from certain death while experimenting with an interdimensional travel device, derived from the gun used in Portal 2 and a Kanohi Olmak. Stane had just been defeated by Iron Man at the end of a series of events we know as the film Iron Man. He was about to be completely destroyed when our good friend the Shadowed One swooped in and fired a portal below Stane’s falling body, transporting him onto the Shadowed One’s ship. After that little escapade, Stane had become a staunch member of the Shadowed One’s staff, serving as CEO of Wolfe Industries and Chief of Finances at the Obumbrati. Of course, the Shadowed One knew better than to trust Stane, who he saw as little more than a fool and a pawn, because he had, after all, betrayed Tony Stark, and therefore might betray him. He had thought the same of the late Nidhiki; nobody trusts a traitor.

 

“TSO!” shouted Stane from where he was standing over by the water cooler. He went to greet the Shadowed One with a firm handshake. “About time you got here. The board’s simmering like a steak on the grill, and I’d wager they’d be even madder still if they found out they were helping to hide an evil cabal.”

 

“Not so loud, Stane!” said the Shadowed One as he rolled his eyes. Stane’s normally bald head was hidden by a well crafted brown wig, and his white beard had been long since shaved off. Stane, in order to avoid attention, not to mention extradition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, had adopted the Obubrati-provided alias of “Stefan Smythe.” Clad in a white suit and dorky looking glasses, the oval shaped man with a roundish head entered the conference room with the Shadowed One. Thus, the meeting began.

 

Just when the Shadowed One could barely stand to hear anymore of Stane’s blathering of stocks, profits, employment benefits and whatnot, the meeting adjourned. Stane flashed his best salesman’s smile, greeting all of the board members as they filed out of the room.

 

“See you all next quarter!” he said, no disguise able to hide his trademark joviality. Stane glanced over at where the Shadowed One was asleep in his chair, and walked over to him, saying, “TSO? Hello? Time to wake up, boss!”

 

The Shadowed One awoke with a start, saying, “Send Lurker to get his head.” He blinked hard, and then saw Stane standing before him, and said, “Oh. Stane. Sorry about that, I’ve been nodding off a lot lately. I don’t sleep very well these days.”

 

Stane smiled and patted the Shadowed One on the back, saying, “Well, I understand, what with you running a shadowy cabal unrelated to this humble front company, but you know what they say! ‘You… I mean, it…” Stane searched for some words of wisdom or proverb or axiom that would illustrate a point he wasn’t really sure he understood. He drew a blank. “Ah, never mind what they say!” said Stane as the Shadowed One got out of his chair. “What do you say, huh? What do you say?”

 

The Shadowed One said, “I say…” he glanced at his watch. Four fifty-one P.M., it read. “I’m going to be late!” he said, dashing out of the conference room, leaving a bemused Stane behind him.

 

The Shadowed One bolted over to the elevator and pressed the down button, taking him from the thirty-fifth to the thirty-fourth floor of the Swenson Building, taking him to the floor on which his Plotting Room was located. He ran all the way down the halls, a difficult task to accomplish in a bipedal being with an awkwardly proportioned tail. He scrambled past surprised looking underlings in business suits, getting ready to get off work as the time neared five o’clock.

 

Finally, the Shadowed One arrived at the plotting room, a windowless door marked “Private Conference Room.” guarded by female black Skakdi. “Hello, Delilah,” said the Shadowed One. “I’m here for the weekly plotting session.”

 

“You know the drill, boss,” said Delilah in her usual gruff demeanor.

 

The Shadowed One went up to the door, and knocked the secret knock. A regular knock, followed by three fast knocks, followed by five slow knocks. The sign on the door flipped open to reveal a slot, through which a pair of eyes peered. “What’s the password?” said the person on the other end of the door.

 

“Richard of York gave battle in vain,” said the Shadowed One. The door was then opened, and the Shadowed One stepped into the darkened room.

 

Inside of the dark room, was, of course, darkness. The Shadowed One felt his way over to the dimly lit conference table, and sat at the table’s head. He looked at the other persons seated around the table. Guinevere Grant, his Chief of Intelligence; Ancient, his Chief of Personnel, and Keeper of the Door; Barraki Pridak, a trusted collaborator; Branar, head of a group of Skrall; Kilgore, chief of a tribe of Frostelus; and finally, Justin Bieber, who was not only the most vicious, feared, and hated personage to grace the internet, but was also a pop star. Together with the Shadowed One himself, they were the Shadowed Seven.

 

The Shadowed One folded his hands, and said, “Gentlemen, lady, I am pleased to announce that our plan for world domination is on the verge of coming to fruition. Our lovely Chief of Intelligence, Ms. Grant, has recently informed me of X-Ray’s activities in Fe-Metru. Ms. Grant?”

 

As Grant began to fill in the others on the situation in Fe-Metru, the Shadowed One glanced around the long table. Pridak was looking handsome as ever, what with his and the other Barraki’s post-cured state, and seemed absolutely diabolical tapping his fingers together. Kilgore was sitting uncomfortably in his chair, probably stuck in it. Ancient wasn’t standing at all, as the blue and gold being’s simian anatomy made sitting in chairs designed for humans difficult. Branar sat in his chair comfortably, eating from a bag of caramel covered popcorn. Bieber was stroking a white cat, and practicing his evil laugh in his perpetually pre-pubescent voice.

 

“...and so we’ll send in Shadow Stealer to abduct X-Ray once we’ve determined when he will be most vulnerable,” said Grant, finishing.

 

“Thank you, Ms. Grant,” said the Shadowed One. He turned to Bieber, and said, “Mr. Bieber, how goes your recruiting drive?”

 

“TSO, dude,” said Bieber, “I’ve got a million bloodthirsty fan girls just waiting to do anything they want for me. We’ve already got an unstoppable army which I can unleash at any time.”

 

“Excellent,” said the Shadowed One. He looked at Pridak and said, “Mr. Pridak, I assume that you and Mr. Kalamah are ready to take command of Mr. Bieber’s army should the need arise?”

 

“I have yet to see one soldier of this supposedly invincible army,” said Pridak. “I refuse to fight a battle without properly ascertaining the state of my forces first.”

 

“I understand,” said the Shadowed One. He turned back to Bieber and said, “Mr. Bieber, how soon can you deploy a platoon of your fan girls for training by Pridak?”

 

“Like, will forty-eight hours be quick enough?” said Bieber. “By the way, how many people are in a platoon?”

 

“Forty-two, by the United States Army’s standards,” said Pridak. “Just get them to me and I’ll whip them into fighting shape.”

 

“Very good then,” said the Shadowed One. He then said, “You may want to collaborate with Chief of Personnel Ancient on that.” He then turned to Ancient, and said, “Speaking of which, how goes the negotiations with Shadow Stealer, Ancient?”

 

“Not well, sir,” said Ancient, shaking his head. “He insists on speaking to you personally, and keeps disarming all of the representatives we send to him… literally.”

 

“I’ll make an appointment with him,” said the Shadowed One. “Ask him if there are any other requirements for meeting with him. If not, then tell him I will meet him at a motel in New Atero… two weeks from now. Capisce?”

 

“Capsice,” said Ancient, kneeling down on the floor heavily. He was a very tired out guy.

 

“Is there any other order of business to attend to?” asked the Shadowed One. When no one said anything, he then said, “Very good then. Let us now indulge in maniacal laughter, and then play the anthem of the Obumbrati.”

 

All of the people around the table started laughing as evilly as they could, ranging from the soft cackling of Bieber to Pridak’s great belly laugh. Finally, when they were all finished, the Shadowed One said, “And now, the anthem,” said the Shadowed One. They all stood while the Shadowed One pushed a button on the table, which played a recording of “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood and the Destroyers (that is the band’s real name). After that, they all shook hands and parted ways, exiting the Plotting Room one at a time.

 

The Shadowed One slipped off to the water cooler, and pulled out a cell phone. He dialed a number and waited for the person the other line to pick up. Finally, a voice on the other end of the line said, “Hello?”

 

“Hi, sweetie,” said the Shadowed One. “Just wanted to call to let you know I miss you.”

 

“I miss you too, daddy,” said the young, female voice on the other end of the line. “I can’t wait to come to our new home.”

 

“Oh, you’ll love our new home,” said the Shadowed One. “I’ve got us a nice penthouse, and there’s a park, and stores, and all sorts of other fun stuff for you to do. You’ll love it in Joisey Nui. You’ll be coming home very soon, I promise. The man that will take you there will arrive in just a few days.”

 

“I love you, daddy,” she said.

 

“I love you too, Maria,” said the Shadowed One. He glanced over to where Pridak was waiting to speak with him. “I have to go now, but I’ll call you later,” he said. “Goodbye.”

 

“Bye,” said Maria. There was a click on the other end of the line, and the Shadowed One put his phone back in his inner suit coat pocket. He then turned to Pridak and said, “What can I do for you, Pridak?”

 

“I just wanted to make sure,” said Pridak, “that you know what you’re getting yourself into. I mean, I understand if it means us taking over the world, but I’m not completely convinced of using crazed fan girls, bloodthirsty or not, as soldiers. I want effective troops, but I also want mentally stable troops.”

 

“Rest assured, old friend,” said the Shadowed One, patting Pridak on the shoulder. “I wouldn’t send you anything but the best. And trust me, what these fan girls lack in skill they will make up for in unwavering obedience and fanatical drive. And besides, I wouldn’t have made you my general if I knew you couldn’t marshal an invincible army out of teenage girls.”

 

“I’ll see what I can do,” said Pridak. He then went to leave, saying, “I’m going to get a drink.”

 

“Oh, wait up!” said the Shadowed One, running to catch up with Pridak. “I know this pub which serves this heavenly root beer.”

 

Pridak looked at him, and said, “Yeah… right, right, root beer. Bottoms up, I guess.”

 

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Ancient talked into his own cell phone. “Yeah, he’s recruiting Shadow Stealer,” he said into the phone. “We still don’t know when he’ll make his move, but it won’t be long now. Also, he’s working with Justin Bieber and Pridak to assemble an army of crazed fan girls. … Uh huh. Roger that. I’ll report as details happen. … Right. Goodbye.”


Edited by X-Ray, Jan 14 2014 - 12:42 AM.

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#6 Offline MT Zehvor

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Posted Jul 23 2013 - 08:13 PM

...interesting couple of chapters. Shadowed One's certainly got an interesting form of Dialect. Sounds like he'd be perfect as a villain in an educational cartoon.

 

-MT


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#7 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Aug 09 2013 - 08:06 PM

Chapter 5: The Call

 

On a nice Sunday morning, X-Ray sat in on the back pews of Westside Community Church. Nobody sat beside him, but he wasn’t lonely. He was listening intently to Pastor Raymond Roy’s sermon, leafing through an English Standard Version of the Bible.

 

Nobody, for his part, couldn’t understand the sermon, which was in English, the lingua franca of Fe-Metru being Agori. He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to understand. Even though the Bible he held was printed in Agori, he knew he had to keep alert for potential threats to his charge’s safety.

 

“And so,” said the Pastor, “it says in Acts 10:38 that Jesus ‘went about doing good.’ And in 1st John 2:6, it says that whoever professes to live in Christ must ‘walk in the same way in which he walked.’ In light of these verses, we therefore must go about doing good, walking as Jesus did.”

 

After the sermon was over, the worship Pastor, Don Jackson, led the congregation in singing “Be Thou my Vision,” followed by, “It is Well with my Soul.” After that, a few closing comments by Pastor Roy, and then the congregation was dismissed.

 

X-Ray and Nobody managed to navigate the thin crowd to the front door of the small church building. In fact, it wasn’t their own building at all, but a High School whose auditorium the church rented for use by the church. The majority of the fifty-member congregation consisted of human workers and businesspersons, the odd Agori, Glatorian, and MU inhabitant, including Takanuva and Hahli Mahri. Pastor Roy stood at the door of the auditorium, shaking hands with the each person of the small congregation as they left. X-Ray stopped to talk to the Pastor, Nobody at his side.

 

“Yes, I understand why it might be difficult for our Matoran Universe members to partake in communion,” Roy said to X-Ray. “Fortunately, I have consulted Takanuva on the issue, and believe that they will simply be able to absorb energy from the grape juice and the wafers, like they did on the island of Mata Nui.”

 

“I’d be willing to help in any translating,” said X-Ray. “As the aut-”

 

Nobody elbowed X-Ray, whispering to him, “X, don’t tell him!”

 

“Um, as the authoritative person on such matters,” said X-Ray in a sheepish manner, “I hope to be of great aid to the church.”

 

“I’ll take you up on that if we ever need it,” said the Pastor, smiling. “One of our Matoran members, Wendell, intends to travel back to Earth to attend seminary, and then return to start his own church! It is truly a new era in the field of missions.”

 

X-Ray nodded, smiled, and tipped an imaginary hat to the Pastor. “Goodbye, Pastor Roy!” he said. He turned and went out the auditorium’s main door, with Nobody close beside him.

 

“You almost revealed your secret to yet another person,” said Nobody, chiding X-Ray as he had done many times before.

 

“I know I have to keep it quiet,” said X-Ray as the duo walked down the halls of the school, out the doors. X-Ray felt the noticeable shift from the air conditioned school to comfortable breeze of the temperate outdoor environment. “But do you really think a preacher can’t be trusted with something like this?”

 

“He’s a civilian,” said Nobody, “not to mention a human. He’s not supposed to know about you.”

 

“Please,” said X-Ray. “Even if I did manage to let slip that I’m the author, he’d probably think I’m crazy and call 199.”

 

“All the same,” said Nobody, readjusting his hood, “you need to be careful. The Obumbrati is out to get you, remember?”

 

“I know, I know,” said X-Ray, waving off Nobody as they took to the sidewalk. “Relax, Nobody. I can summon forces you’ve never dreamed of to fight for me, and I do hold a first degree black belt in taekwondo.”

 

Nobody grunted, and didn’t reply. As the two of them continued walking, Nobody noticed something different about X-Ray. His usual carefree manner was now subdued and solemn, and his eyepiece burred and buzzed with activity. Nobody could tell that X-Ray was deep in thought.

 

“Okay, I’ll bite,” said Nobody, in perfect lockstep with X-Ray. “What’s on your mind, X?”

 

“Oh, you could tell?” said X-Ray. He cracked a smile, but soon banished and continued, saying, “I was just thinking of the Pastor’s sermon. You know, what he said—”

 

“No, I don’t know,” said Nobody. “Remember, I can’t understand English.”

 

“Right, right,” said X-Ray, “but I heard from him that we should do as Jesus does, because it says so in the Bible.”

 

“And what did this Jesus do?” said Nobody. The sun showed through his transparent armor, creating a bizarre shadow behind him.

 

“He ‘went about doing good,’” said X-Ray. “I’m not entirely sure what that would entail for us, but I have some good ideas.”

 

“Dearest me,” said Nobody. “What’s that big brain of yours cooking up now?”

 

“I was thinking,” said X-Ray, “that with our combined ability, we could endeavor to do good throughout the city! And not just the city, but the entire world! No, not even the world, the entire universe! No, scratch that to, we could do good through the entire plain of existence! Remember how good we worked together during that bank robbery a few days ago? Imagine what we can do when we’re looking for good things to do!”

 

“That’s… certainly ambitious,” said Nobody, slightly puzzled. “But how exactly would you go about being something tantamount to superheroes?”

 

“That’s the fun part!” said X-Ray. “I was thinking that we could, you know, go into business as private detectives or something. Then, with my author powers and brains and your know-how, we could help all sorts of people! Like- like Michael Westen on Burn Notice!”

 

Nobody stopped, stepped in front of X-ray, grabbed him by the shoulders, gave him a good shake, and said, “X-Ray! Listen to yourself! You’re taking inspiration from TV shows for Mata Nui’s sake! Don’t you think that there might be something…” Nobody’s voice trailed off as he cocked his head to one side, like he was listening for something. Then, in a whisper, he said to X-Ray, “Don’t look, but there’s a Matoran in the bus stop across the street watching us with a listening device disguised as a sub sandwich.”

 

X-Ray looked across the street to see a Ko-Matoran sitting in the bus stop, holding a sub sandwich in one hand a newspaper in the other.

 

“I said not to look!” said Nobody, taking X-Ray by the arm and leading him down the sidewalk. X-Ray decided to listen to his friend this time and averted his gaze. Meanwhile, the Ko-Matoran folded up his newspaper, took up his sub sandwich, and walked down the opposite sidewalk parallel to Nobody and X-Ray.

 

“How long has he been following us?” said X-Ray in a whisper to Nobody.

 

“I don’t know,” said Nobody, “I only noticed him just now, but I didn’t see him when we went into and left the church. We’ll try to lose him at the train station.”

 

“How did you notice him, by the way?” said X-Ray as they made their way to the station (they had been headed there anyway in order to get back to their apartment in Westside).

 

“I’m a Toa,” said Nobody, “and my element is Surprise. I can detect when others are attempting to use that element, and I pack plenty of it myself.”

 

“Ah, the element of surprise!” said X-Ray. “I knew I would be able to use that pun from my epic sooner or later!”

 

“Quiet!” said Nobody. The duo walked into the train station, Nobody stealing a glance behind them to confirm that the Ko-Matoran was still following them. He was. They went over to the ticket dispenser, where Nobody punched in their request for two tickets to Westside. After paying their fare, they waited for their train to arrive at the station. They both stood silent in the crowd, not speaking to one another.

 

Then, X-Ray broke the silence by whispering to Nobody, saying, “Nobody, I just had a top rate idea!”

 

“What would that be?” said Nobody, whispering back.

 

“Why not try and capture our tail and bring him back to the OMN for interrogation?”

 

“Such an attempt would be incredibly risky, and I don’t know if we could pull it off, even with my elemental powers.”

 

“Well, why not just scan his mind with your Kanohi Suletu and find out who he’s working for?”

 

“I already tried that!” said Nobody. “His mind’s shielded from mental attack or telepathy, similar to my own training as an agent of the OMN.”

 

“Oh. …Um, Nobody?”

 

“Yes, X-Ray?”

 

“If you’re a Toa, then how is it that you’re also an agent of the OMN?”

 

“I work in a similar function as my more famous compatriot Mazeka. Now, here’s our train!”

 

The train came to a neat stop next to the platform, and its doors opened. “11:30 to Westside, now boarding,” said the prerecorded announcement over the P.A. system. The train was white and streamlined, modeled after Japan’s world famous bullet train.

 

“Kapurkar would have a field day here,” said X-Ray as they boarded the train. He turned to Nobody as they took seats next to each other, and said, “You do know who Kapurkar is, right?”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” said Nobody. “Jalina’s brother, right? Toa of transport and everything? Likes trains?”

 

“Yeah, that’s him,” said X-Ray. He looked back at the doors, and saw the Ko-Matoran who had been following them walk into the train car and take a seat two rows behind them.

 

“Great scot!” said Nobody to X-Ray. “Our tail is sitting two rows behind us!”

 

“I know,” said X-Ray. “The narrator just said so, didn’t he?”

 

“Right, right,” said Nobody. The train started up and sped off down the dark tunnel, heading towards Westside. The train wasn’t particularly crowded, as it was a Sunday and most people had the day off, and thus didn’t need to be commuting anywhere, least of all to the low rent district. But there were still enough people that Nobody was sure he and X-Ray could lose their tail in.

 

After about fifteen minutes, the train arrived at the Westside station. “Now arriving at Westside Station,” said the prerecorded message on the P.A. system. The doors opened, and  Nobody and X-Ray got up and walked past the Ko-Matoran, who was still holding his sub sandwich. They then went out through the doors, speedily walking out into the thin crowd.

 

Nobody turned and saw the Ko-Matoran following them, and then turned back to X-Ray, whispering to him, “X-Ray, keep walking around the corner. When we go around the corner, I’m going to phase through the ground and then grab this Matoran. Keep walking casually.”

 

X-Ray nodded and said, “Got it!” He and Nobody kept walking down the street, passing a few… passerby, and then turned a corner. Right on cue, Nobody activated his phasing powers and sunk down into the sidewalk, until he had completely disappeared beneath the pavement. X-Ray kept walking.

 

As he kept walking, the Matoran following them turned the corner as well. He wore a black Noble Huna, and was still holding the ridiculous sub sandwich. Just then, Nobody sprung up out of the ground right behind the Ko-Matoran and grabbed him in a chokehold as soon as he solidified. The Matoran struggled in panic, dropping the sub sandwich he was carrying.

 

X-Ray kept walking casually, glancing behind him to see Nobody whip out a pair of handcuffs and bind the Matoran. Nobody then pushed the Matoran to the ground. X-Ray kept walking casually.

 

Nobody kneeled down and looked the Matoran in the face, and said, “Who are you?”

 

“The first of many!” said the Matoran, spitting out the words, not to mention getting saliva on Nobody’s mask. “Cut off one head, two more will take its place!” He took a deep breath, and then said, “Hail HYDRA!” He then proceeded to hold his breath. Very hard.

 

Nobody was momentarily confused, but he then remembered a scene from a movie he had watched in a theatre a few years before, and then it dawned on him. “X-Ray, come back!” he shouted to his friend.

 

X-Ray, who had been casually walking up until now, turned around and ran back to where Nobody was interrogating the tail. “What is it?” said X-Ray to Nobody.

 

“I think that our man here works for HYDRA,” said Nobody. “Imagine that. HYDRA.”

 

“What makes you think that?” said X-Ray.

 

“Well,” said Nobody, “He just said, ‘Cut off one head, two more will take its place. Hail HYDRA!’ I have a feeling he’s an agent of HYDRA.”

 

“Huh, how about that?” said X-Ray. “Well, I guess you’d better arrest him so that we can haul him off to OMN headquarters.”

 

“…Right!”

 

What neither of them knew was that a dark figure was watching them from a nearby rooftop through a pair of binoculars. Lying prone on the roof top, this shadowy character pulled out his walkie-talkie, and said into it, “This is Mordor to the Shire, the unknown has been captured, over.”

 

The person on the other end said, “Acknowledged, Mordor. What’s going on with Gondor and Rohan?”

 

“Rohan and Gondor have captured the unknown,” the shadowy figure which we will now refer to as Mordor said. Mordor paused, as a bead of sweat dripped down the side of his face and onto his chin. “Should I continue to follow them?”

 

“No,” said the voice on the other end of the radio. “Abort. We know where he lives, so it will now be easier to resume surveillance. Get the Karzahni out of there.”

 

“Roger,” said Mordor. He put his binoculars and radio into his bag, and headed to the other side of the roof, where he hoofed it down the fire escape. The mission, for today at least, was over. What thoughts did he ponder in his mind as he made his way to his escape vehicle? Those thoughts included, There will be no good coming out of this mission, mark my words! and I wish I could get a raise. and I wonder what will happen on tonight’s episode of Once Upon a Time! Such were the thoughts of Mordor.


Edited by X-Ray, Aug 17 2013 - 10:22 PM.

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#8 Offline MT Zehvor

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Posted Aug 12 2013 - 07:47 PM

Interesting chapter, and perhaps a bit of commentary on a number of issues. Not a ton of comedy, but it's certainly very well written. The parts with HYDRA chanting were pretty funny, though.

 

-MT


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#9 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Nov 04 2013 - 12:46 PM

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]Huh, I could of sworn I posted this chapter. Must have had something to do with the forums going offline. Oh well. Here it is, again. "Next" chapter will be up next week.[/color][/font]

 

Chapter 6: Open for Business

 

“Hail HYDRA!”

 

“Look, Mr. Sanjay, if you’ll just answer the question—”

 

“Hail HYDRA!”

 

As he watched through the two way mirror into the interrogation room, Nobody rested his masked face in his hand. He had implored Thomob to allow him to take part in the interrogation directly, but the deputy director wouldn’t have it. “This isn’t The Dark Knight,” Thomob had said. “You were the arresting actor. We always have fresh faces go at the interrogation.”

 

In this case, the “fresh faces” were Mazeka and Tobduk playing good cop/bad cop. Mazeka sat in a chair next to the Ko-Matoran, whose ID named him as Sanjay, while Tobduk stood over the desk, laying into Sanjay.

 

“Look, we know we know you were following X-Ray!” said Tobduk, shouting into Sanjay’s face. “We found your listening device in the sub-sandwich you had, and we’ve got two witnesses against you. So, tell us who you work for already!”

 

Sanjay just looked Tobduk in the eye, and said once again, “Hail HYDRA!”

 

As Mazeka came in on the other angle, Nobody turned to Thomob, who was standing beside him, and said, “Look, Thomob, I know you have a lot of work to do, but do you need me any longer? If you’re not going to let me help interrogate this guy, then I have to get X-Ray home.”

 

Thomob massaged his temples and said, “I suppose so. We won’t be able to hold this guy forever anyway, due process and all. You can go.”

 

“Thanks,” said Nobody. He left the room, grabbing his cloak off of a chair, and made his way through the corridors of the EB, until he came to the break room. There, X-Ray was sitting down, watching the news on the television.

 

X-Ray turned as he heard Nobody enter the room. “Hey, big guy,” said the teenager, rising to greet his friend. “I thought you’d be at it forever. How goes the interrogation?”

 

“Terrible,” said Nobody as he put on his cloak. “This Sanjay guy, the Ko-Matoran, I mean, he won’t say anything other than ‘Hail HYDRA.’ Mazeka and Tobduk are at their wit’s end.”

 

“I don’t suppose you’ve considered enhanced interrogation techniques?” said X-Ray, getting up from his chair.

 

“Not yet,” said Nobody. If he had eyebrows he would have raised one. “Are you sure the moderators would even allow that?”

 

“Not by a long shot,” said X-Ray. “Ready to go?”

 

“Ready,” said Nobody. They left the lunch room and walked through the building, heading to the elevators. They passed cubicles and offices, teeming with individuals waiting for the clock to strike five. The carpet was a drab grey, as were the cubicle walls. They finally reached the elevators, waited for them to open, and entered. They were alone in the elevator.

 

Nobody glanced at X-Ray, and said to him, “So, you still thinking of going all Michael Westen on Fe-Metru?”

 

“I don’t know about that,” said X-Ray, scratching his head. “I’d like to stay within the bounds of the law. Like I was saying, we could open up a private investigator business.”

 

“Sounds like a plan,” said Nobody. The elevator continued its descent. “Where will you set up shop?”

 

“In the low rent district!” said X-Ray. “Where else? Got to fight crime where the crime is, right?”

 

The elevator opened, and to the two friends stepped out into the EB’s lobby. “That’s great and all,” said Nobody, “but what kind of cases do you think you’ll get?”

 

X-Ray shrugged and said, “Oh, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

 

*          *         *

 

A few days later, X-Ray and Nobody had rented an office in a small Westside office building. They were able to set up shop quickly as Bara Magna did not require one to acquire a license to become a private investigator. Their office space consisted of a main room and an outer reception area.

 

“Now all we need is to figure out whose name we’ll put up on the board,” said X-Ray as he sat in the chair behind his desk.

 

“Nobody and Ray?” said Nobody. “I can’t use my real name. It’s a big secret.”

 

“Use one of your aliases then,” said X-Ray. He took out a coin and spun it on the empty desk. “Also, we have to decide who gets first billing.”

 

“You can get billing if you want,” said Nobody, turning around. “Even if I’m probably going to be doing most of the work…”

 

“Oh, are you feeling underappreciated?” said X-Ray, snatching the coin, a neat silver dollar, off the table. He stuck it back in his pocket and said, “We’ll call it, ‘Your name and Ray’ if you like. Just so long as we’re in business.” X-Ray adjusted his eyepiece, and said to his friend, “Nobody, I know I can’t know your real name, but maybe you can use the name listed on that driver’s license I whipped up for you a few days ago.”

 

Nobody went over to the door where he had left his bag, and took his new wallet from it. He opened it to look at the I.D. Nobody turned to X-Ray and said, “I can’t read it. It’s in English.”

 

“Oh dear,” said X-Ray. “That may have been a slight oversight on my part. Here, allow me.” X-Ray furrowed his brow, concentrated really hard, and snapped his fingers. “Voila!” he said, looking at Nobody. “How’s it now?”

 

Nobody looked at his I.D. Sure enough, it was written in Matoran now, with his new name spelled out perfectly.

 

“Maxwell… Deveroocks?” said Nobody, puzzled by the strange spelling of his new surname.

 

“I believe it’s pronounced ‘Dever-oh,’” said X-Ray, now looking over Nobody’s shoulder. He clapped his hands together and said, “Right then! Devereux and Ray it is. We are now officially open for business!” X-Ray chuckled lightly to himself, before making an addendum, saying, “Title drop.”

 

“Um, there’s still one thing we need,” said Nobody as he contemplated his new I.D.

 

“That being…?”

 

“A secretary.”

 

X-Ray frowned heavily, and said, “Nobody, we barely have enough money to rent this office. How are we going to afford a secretary?

 

“Well,” said Nobody, going over to the office’s second desk and sitting in the swivel chair behind it, “I suppose we could just have it read as “’Maxwell Devereux, Private Investigator,’ and you could be the secretary.”

 

“Um, yeah, no,” said X-Ray. “I want to be a part of our little misadventures too! If that requires getting a secretary, then fine, we’ll get a secretary. But how will be find one?”

 

“Put an ad in the paper,” said Nobody, slouching in his chair. He held up a copy of the Fe-Metru Register that he had bought. “I’m sure somebody will respond to it.”

 

“That’s a bit out of our budget too,” said X-Ray. He thought for a minute, and then said, “Wait! I know! I’ll whip up an ad in Publisher on my laptop, take it to a print shop, have them print it out for me, and then post it on the bulletin board at church!”

 

“Hang it all,” said Nobody, getting up from his chair and throwing his hands up in the air. “Why don’t you just use your author powers to make an ad? Make it written in Matoran and in English, and you’re set.”

 

X-Ray contemplated Nobody’s suggestion, resting his chin in his hands, and leaned on his desk. Finally, he said, “I suppose I could do that. It’s just that I don’t really like using my author powers for trivial matters. And sometimes things go wrong when I use them.”

 

“Oh, come on!” said Nobody. “It worked just fine when you made that I.D. for me.”

 

“Speaking of which,” said X-Ray, “how come you didn’t have an I.D. already? You’d kind of need one as a member of the Order of Mata Nui.”

 

“What part of ‘secret agent’ do you not understand?” said Nobody, exasperated. “I didn’t have an I.D. because I’m still officially undercover. Protecting you.” Nobody paced over to the door and folded his arms.

 

There was a silence between them. After a minute or so, X-Ray said, “Look, here’s an idea for the secretary thing. I could handle all the secretary-related work, at least for the first few weeks, but when business picks up, we’ll hire someone. Sound okay?”

 

Nobody sauntered over to X-Ray’s desk and leaned on it, saying, “It’s okay, X. We’ll make do until then. But now…” He spread his arms wide, and, in a magnificent sounding voice, said, “We are open for business!”

 

“I already did the title drop, Max,” said X-Ray, unimpressed. X-Ray chuckled to himself, leaned back in his chair, and said, “Still… it’s time to put up the sign and post the hours.” X-Ray sat up straight, and once again concentrated as hard as he could, and when he was done, he pulled out a sign from behind the desk. It read, “Ray and Devereux: Private Investigators.” And below that, it said, “Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.” Below that was their phone number.

 

“Perfect!” said Nobody. He took the sign from X-Ray, and went over to the window, where he hung it from a pair of hooks drilled into the ceiling. The hooks were a testament to a previous occupant of the office space. Nobody turned back to face X-Ray, and said, “Now, we just have to set up a website, get us in the major internet directories, and get put in the next edition of the phone book!”

 

X-Ray snickered, and said, “If I didn’t know you, Nobody, I’d have thought that you were having fun with this.”

 

Nobody laughed, saying, “Of course I’m having fun! We’re about to set off on a great adventure!”

 

*          *         *

 

The next day, Nobody and X-Ray sat at their desks, not speaking to each other. The business cards they had produced lay on their desks, beginning to collect dust. It was two o’clock in the afternoon, and not a single customer had entered through their door, or called on their phone. It was, in a word, monotonous.

 

“What the heck are we doing?” said X-Ray. “Someone should have called in by now.”

 

“It’s been less than a day,” said Nobody. “Be patient. I’ve been on stakeout for days at a time, and it’s never as comfortable as this.”

 

X-Ray sighed, and glanced at his watch. 2:01 P.M. “I get what you’re saying Nobody,” he said, “but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I decided to go into this business.”

 

“Oh, pish posh,” said Nobody. “Nothing new is ever what you expect. Except maybe taxes. But the point is, you never know what’s going to come through that door.”

 

And then, something did happen. The door was opened from the outside, and a jungle Agori came in through it. The Agori was female, and she walked upright, unlike other jungle Agori. She had a black leather purse slung over her shoulder, and a mane of brown hair fell past her shoulders. She wore no helmet. Speaking in Agori, she said, “Hello, I’m looking to hire your services.”

 

Nobody smiled, and sat up straight in his desk. X-Ray was befuddled, for he did not understand Agori. “What did she say?” he said to Nobody.

 

“She wants to hire us,” said Nobody. Nobody got up from his desk and went over to the Agori, and bent over to shake her hand. “We are at your service,” he said in Agori. “Please, tell us what you need us to do.”

 

Meanwhile, X-Ray thought, And here, we… go. And then: An Adventures in Odyssey reference and a The Dark Knight reference? I wonder if that was a bit much. Oh well, never mind that! Our first case!


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#10 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Nov 11 2013 - 11:44 PM

[font="'trebuchet ms', helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#008080;]Here's the re-post of chapter seven. A new  post will be up soon.[/color][/font]

 

Chapter 7: Investigation Consternation

 

The Carson Heights neighborhood of Fe-Metru wasn’t the sort of place most might see as a crime ridden area. Indeed, it had one of the lowest crime rates in the city, and was rather well to do. It was populated mostly by upper middle class human settlers, with the odd well-to-do Agori and Matoran Universe inhabitant. It was one such Agori, a female Jungle Agori who identified herself as Lisa, who had given us our first case. Apparently, someone had vandalized her plastic flamingo.

 

“X-Ray,” Nobody said to me as we walked down the street, “I notice that the narration is no longer in third person, but first person. Why are you narrating?”

 

I said to my Nobody, “Nobody, my very dear friend, the narrator called in sick today, so I am taking over his duties. I also figure that it will be a nice change of pace to people who might be getting bored with our humble comedy.”

 

“I figured it was more of an epic comedy,” said Nobody. He adjusted his new utility belt, and said, “Still, this could be a good way of making the comedy interesting. Are you going for the Watson approach?”

 

“The thought crossed my mind,” I said in reply, “but I’m not entirely sure I want to completely change the format of the comedy right in the middle of it. However, if the fans are receptive to this idea, I might choose to keep it.”

 

“A pity if the narrator losing his job, though.”

 

“True, but as my dear old dad always says, it amounts to two things; supply and demand. If there is a demand for third person narration, there will be a supply for it. I’ll ensure it, for that matter. Besides, I’m sure that the narrator can get another job, maybe in an up and coming epic. I always hire him to do the narrating in my short stories, though for the song fics I have a singer fellow I know come in-”

 

“X, quit babbling!” said Nobody, grabbing me by the shoulder. He turned me towards a nice looking, two story house with a four car garage and a big, white wooden door. The house was white with blue trimmings, and had a small front yard with a lovely looking flower garden. In this garden was Mrs. Lisa Muldoon, who was tending to some strange specimen that I had never seen before, probably of Spherus Magnan origin. She was wearing dirty, torn work clothes and a sunhat of a distinctly Earthen style.

 

Lisa looked up, smiled, and began talking to us in Agori. I myself couldn’t understand her speech, being unstudied in the language. Heck, I could barely put together a complete sentence in Spanish, having only begun my studies in that class.

 

“What’s she saying?” I asked Nobody. Like all MU inhabitants, he had been bestowed with the ability to speak Agori fluently following Mata Nui’s doing so. I, unfortunately, had come to Spherus Magna at a later date, and did not have this ability, and was a human besides. I had to learn the language the hard way.

 

“She said, ‘Good morning,’” said Nobody. “Can’t you just use your author powers to give yourself the ability to comprehend the language?”

 

“It’s unwise to use my powers for such flippant reasons,” I said. I made sure to sound very grave as I said this.

 

“It’s hardly ‘flippant,’” said Nobody. I was sure he was frowning under his mask.

 

“Wait, I have an idea!” I said. I concentrated as hard as I could, and voila! A babel fish appeared in my hand, and I stuck it in my ear. I turned to Lisa and said to her, “Hello, I’m, uh, Xavier Ray, and this is my partner, Max Devereux. Please show us the crime scene.” Lisa only looked at me blankely.

 

“Dude,” Nobody whispered to me, “that babel fish only works one way. You can understand her, but she still can’t understand you.”

 

“Dangnabbit,” I said. I sighed, and resigned myself to the fact that I’d still have to learn the Agori language the hard way.

 

Nobody then explained to Lisa why we were here, and how she already knew us, having called upon our services. “Please show us the crime scene,” said Nobody.

 

Lisa said, “Of course.” She led us over to another section of her garden, where several smashed plants and a shattered plastic flamingo lay on the soft dirt. “As you can see,” said Lisa, “the flamingo is almost completely destroyed, and several of my plants are smashed.”

 

Nobody knelt down next to the flamingo. “Seems like it was bludgeoned,” he said. “Perhaps a baseball bat?” He then said to me, “X, I need your eyepiece on this.”

 

“Yes, certainly,” I said, crouching down next to my friend. I pulled up the forensic feature of my eyepiece’s built in heads up display, and scanned the flamingo with black light, infrared, and Gordon Ramsay vision.

 

“X,” said Nobody, “what’s ‘Gordon Ramsay’ vision?”

 

“It detects bad cooking,” said I. “The salesman was very convincing when he sold me the feature.” I stood up and said, “Anyhow, the scans show nothing, but I just had an idea.”

 

“And what would that be?” said Nobody, who also got up.

 

“Simple!” I said, before whipping out a fingerprint dusting kit. “We dust it for prints!”

 

“Fingerprints?” said Nobody. “Oh, I’ve heard of those. Humans and Spherus Magna inhabitants have them. MU inhabitants don’t, you know.”

 

“Is that expository dialogue I hear?” I said to Nobody. “Enough of that jargon between us, old chum. Now, let’s see here…” As I carefully dusted the mangled flamingo, Nobody questioned Lisa.

 

“When did you notice this?” he said to her.

 

“It was like that when I came to water the plants a several days ago,” said Lisa. “It was last Thursday.”

 

I heard the sound of Nobody jotting down notes in a notepad he had with him. “Uh huh,” he said. “Have you noticed anything else suspicious?”

 

The woman thought for a moment, and the next thing she said caught me completely off guard. “Nothing much, except for my car being lit on fire.”

 

Nobody paused in mid pen stroke, and looked the Jungle Agori right in the eye. “Your car was on fire?”

 

“The night before I discovered the flamingo,” said Lisa.

 

Nobody turned around, removed his mask, and massaged his temples, put his mask back on, turned back to the woman, and said, “Ma’am, I think you need to report this to the police.”

 

The woman threw her arms up in the air, and said, “I tried to get my husband to call the police, but he says not to worry about it! That’s why I hired you people!”

 

“But… but,” said Nobody, trying to get over his confusion, “but you’re concerned about your flamingo, but not your car?”

 

“I had insurance for the car,” said Lisa. “That flamingo is my favorite garden decoration, but no insurance there, no no!”

 

Nobody said to Lisa, “Ma’am, do you know about anyone who would want to harm you or your husband? Send a message, maybe?”

 

“I’m fine for myself,” said Lisa. “I don’t know about my husband though. He never tells me anything.”

 

Nobody nodded, and jotted down some more notes on his notepad. “I think we might have to question your husband… what’s his name?

 

“Barry. But he’s on a business trip,” said Lisa. “He won’t be back until tomorrow.”

 

“Right, right,” said Nobody. “Call us when he gets back so we can ask him some questions.” Nobody took a card out of his utility belt and handed it to Lisa. He turned to me and said, “Okay, X, found anything yet?”

 

I looked up to Nobody and said, “Yeah, I found one full set of finger prints. Like this flamingo was ripped out of the ground before it was smashed.”

 

“We’ll take those down to the base and run them then,” said Nobody. He turned back to Lisa and said, “Please, do call us when your husband comes back home.” The woman only nodded, and then returned to tending to her garden. Nobody then said to me, “Let’s go, X.”

 

*          *         *

 

“And… here we are, gentlemen,” said the black and grey armored being as he stood up from behind his computer. His name was Rob, and he was in charge of the new fingerprinting program that the OMN had opened after moving their operations to Fe-Metru. MU inhabitants had no fingerprints, but Agori, Glatorian and humans did.

 

“What have we got?” said Nobody, as he and I stood in the CSI lab on the forty-second floor of the EB.

 

“It looks likes your man is a small time thug named Krua,” said Rob, turning the computer screen so we could see it. A picture of a helmetless, humorless rock Agori with hard, blunted features stared back at us.

 

“Krua has been in and out of county jail for petty theft and burglary, and has been known to associate with the local chapter of the Crips,” said Rob, reading from the record on the computer. “He’s currently out on parole after holding up a jewelry store.” Rob leaned over, looking at the computer screen. “His last known residence was 21 Jump Street.” Neither of us laughed. Nobody laughed in fact. “Get it?” said Rob. “21 Jump Street? The TV show?”

 

“Rob,” said Nobody, “we didn’t come here for jokes. What’s the real address?”

 

“Fine, sourpuss,” said Rob. “It’s North 59th Street, up in Little Roxtus. Rough neighborhood though.”

 

“We’ll risk it!” I said, jotting down the address in my own notebook. “We’ve got a case to solve!” I then said to Rob, “Thanks, Rob. We owe you one.”

 

“I’ll take you up on that, detectives,” said Rob. There was a twinkle in his eye behind his orange Great Huna.

 

*          *         *

 

One twenty minute bus ride later, Nobody and I arrived on a deserted street in Little Roxtus. It wasn’t what we expected from Rob’s description of a “rough neighborhood.” Sure, the streets weren’t very clean, a lot of storefronts had bars in the windows, and there was a Toa of Stone police officer encasing a Skrall warrior’s arms in rock right across the street from us, but… Okay, yeah, it was a pretty bad looking neighborhood, but I had a formidable friend at my side, plus an awesome black Kopaka sword stuck in my bottomless backpack, from the makers of Toa PocketTM!

 

Anyway, we walked down the street to this fairly rundown looking, one story house. It was painted brown, with no trimmings, in sharp contrast to the Muldoon house. Nobody knocked on the door as the both of us stood on the weathered wooden porch. Half a minute later, a middle aged female Rock Agori answered the door. “Can I help you?” she asked us.

 

“I’m No-, eh, Max Devereux,” said Nobody. “And this is my partner, Xavier Ray. We’re looking for Krua.”

 

“Why do you want to talk to my nephew?” said the lady. “He hasn’t done a thing wrong. Are you police?”

 

“We beg to differ,” said Nobody. “And no, we are not the police. We’re private detectives, hired by Lisa Muldoon from Carson Heights to find out who smashed her flamingo, and possibly set her car on fire. We found Krua’s fingerprints at the scene of the crime, and in the interest of everyone involved, we’d like to talk to your nephew.”

 

The lady looked at us suspiciously, but then said, “Alright, come on in.” She went back inside as we entered, calling into the house, “Krua! There are two men here who want to talk to you.”

 

She led us into a grungy living room. The carpet was filthy, and looked as if no vacuum had been used on it ever, the sofa was torn and its stuffing was showing through the ripped sections, and the TV had a crack down the middle which had been repaired with a piece of duct tape.

 

“I’m beginning to think our apartment isn’t so bad,” I whispered to Nobody. We sat down on the sofa as a younger, male rock Agori came into the living room. He looked at us with contempt, and said, “What do you want, fools?”

 

“Please, sit down,” said Nobody to Krua. Krua didn’t sit down. “What’s your current address?” said Nobody. “Your full address.”

 

Krua thought for second, and then said, “10312 North 59th Street, Fe-Metru, Vulcanus Prefecture… 49127, Spherus Magna.”

 

“What is eighteen divided by two, multiplied by seven?”

 

Krua appeared confused at first, but then thought for a few minutes, counting on his fingers, and then said, “76.”

 

Nobody nodded, and then said, “Where were you on the night of August 19th?” said Nobody.

 

Krua’s eyes shifted to the left corners of his eyes, and his fists curled into balls, and he said to my friend, “I don’t remember. That was, what, two weeks ago?”

 

Nobody nodded, and jotted something down on his notebook. He gentled bumped my elbow, and I glanced at his pad. It read, “He’s lying.” He then said to Krua, “One week, actually.” He looked Krua in the eye, and said, “Do you by any chance know of a Lisa Muldoon from the Carson Heights neighborhood?”

 

The rock Agori’s pupils went to the upper right corners of his eyes. Krua’s shook his head, saying, “Never heard of her.” His fists uncurled, and his stance relaxed.

 

“How about a Barry Muldoon, from the same neighborhood?”

 

Krua’s eyes widened, and he shook his head vehemently, saying in a loud voice, “Never heard of him either! What the heck do you want, fools?!” He took a few steps toward us.

 

On the other side of the room, Krua’s aunt said, “Now, Krua, there’ s no need to get angry-”

 

Krua gave this Aunt his best glare, before turning back to us.

 

Unfazed, Nobody then said, “I believe that will be all. Also, you may want to study up on your arithmetic. The answer to the math question was 63.” Nobody got up from his seat, and went over to Krua, and looked him the eye, saying, “Also, you were mistaken when you said that you don’t know where you were on the night of August 19th. Care you try again?”

 

Krua snarled, and then said, “I don’t need to answer you, fool!”

 

Nobody said in reply, “You’re right, you don’t. However, you would have to answer questions from the police. It was your fingerprints we found on Lisa Muldoon’s plastic flamingo, smashed in her garden, and we could easily turn this evidence over to the authorities.” Nobody paused to allow Krua to absorb this information. He then said, “Or, you could tell us why you did what you did, and we could settle this between Mrs. Muldoon and yourself out of court. Do you understand?”

 

Krua stared at the floor, evidently thinking over his prospects. He then said, much more quietly than before, “It was just a job. Some human with a weird accent hired me off the street, said he’d pay me to torch the Muldoon’s car and wreck their garden.”

 

“Did he have a name?” said Nobody. I whipped out my own notepad to jot down my own notes.

 

“It was really hard to pronounce,” said Krua, mumbling his words. “Alexander… something.”

 

I wrote down the name on my notepad. “Do you know where we can find him?” I asked. Krua starred at me blankly, and I remembered that he didn’t understand English or even Matoran.

 

“He asked if you know where we can find him,” said Nobody.

 

Krua sighed, and then said, “I met him at Branar’s. It’s a bar not far from here.”

 

Nobody finished scribbling out notes, and then said, “Very good then. We’ll go pay him a visit. If you, ahem, remember anything else, please… call us.” He handed Krua our business card, and then said to me, “Let’s go, Xavier.”

 

Remembering my pseudo-name, I followed Nobody out the door of the house. I looked behind me to see Krua and his aunt arguing fervently. I hoped that nothing bad would come of it.

 

As we walked down the sidewalk, I said to Nobody, “Nobody, I have to ask you, how did you know that Krua was lying?”

 

“The Reid Method,” said Nobody. “An interrogation method which relies heavily on the study of someone’s eyes. For creative thinking, the pupils would go to the upper left corners for creative thinking, as in a math problem, or a lie, and they’d go to the upper right for memory, like when he was telling the truth.”

 

“Brilliant!” I said. “I wish I’d thought of that myself.”

 

Nobody snorted and said, “X-Ray, you did.”

 

“…Oh. Right.” We continued walking, I pulling out my smart phone to get directions to “Branar’s.” Just then, something occurred to me. I said to Nobody, “Nobody, why didn’t you just use your Kanohi Suletu to see if he was telling the truth?”

 

Nobody remained silent for a moment. Finally, he said, “That’s personal.”

 

 

*          *         *

 

Branar’s Bar and Grill wasn’t the swankest place I’d ever seen. It was the quintessential dive bar, a one story establishment with no windows and one regular door. There might have been another door in the back, as per city code, but I wasn’t sure. It was painted white, and there was a big sign on the roof reading, “Branar’s Bar and Grill.”

 

Nobody said to me, “I’ll handle this. You stay outside.”

 

“Why can’t I come in?” I said. “I’m not that young.”

 

“Bara Magna national statues clearly state that humans below the age of 21 are not allowed to enter drinking establishments,” said Nobody. “You of all people should know this.”

 

I held up my hands and said, “You’re right, you’re right. Go in and ask your questions. I’ll just loiter over here on the sidewalk.”

 

Nobody nodded, and then entered the bar. I waited for several minutes, puttering around in circles. I looked over my notes, brainstormed story ideas, and prayed a silent prayer for Nobody’s safety within the bar. I looked at the clouds in the sky and wondered at how one of them looked like a Kanohi Hau. I examined my lightly exercised muscles, and straightened my tie. I looked at my gold and silver colored watch, and read the time. 1:38 P.M. I adjusted my eyepiece, and squinted in the bright sunlight. I was, in a word, bored.

 

Suddenly, someone broke down the door of the dive bar from the inside, and Nobody came tumbling out of it. “X!” he shouted. “Get out of here!” Just before we started running, I witnessed a burly looking human with a long mane of black hair in a pony tail and a mustache-goatee run out of the bar. I had enough presence of mind to snap a picture of him with my eyepiece’s built in camera, before running away with Nobody. He and I both ran as fast as we could from the dive bar, and I dared not look behind me again.

 

“He’s too big to run very fast!” said Nobody. “We’ll outrun him soon enough!” He wasn’t panting nearly as much as I was, he being blessed with a biomechanical Toa body with ever-strong muscles and endurance. I, on the other hand, was not nearly as fit as my friend, and thus began to fall behind. Nobody didn’t look back, but I could hear the man we were running from running behind us.

 

“Hey, you come back!” he shouted in rough English. His words barely understandable thanks to a thick Russian accent. He’s Russian? I thought. Great. Why couldn’t the evil foreigner be French? …Not that I have anything but respect for the French.

 

We eventually found ourselves on a busy street, and ran into an alley. It wasn’t exactly grungy, but there were bits of trash all over and a couple of cardboard boxes. Nobody put a hand on my shoulder, and said to me, “X! Get us out of here with your author powers!”

 

“Right!” I said. I quickly pondered the ways we could escape. Use my author powers to give us both jetpacks? Whip out a Kanohi Olmak for Nobody to use to get us back to the office? Disguise ourselves as homeless people?

 

Nobody’s facial expression was unreadable beneath his mask, but I had a feeling that he was frowning. “Scratch all that!” said Nobody. He then said, “We need a trains schedule and station map! Now!”

 

I obliged, running after Nobody as I concentrated as hard as I could, before feeling the object materialize in my hand. I handed it to Nobody, who, studying it quickly, dragged me out of the opposite end of the alley. We both ran as hard as we could down the street. Meanwhile, the big Russian guy had followed us and was gaining ground. But then I had an idea.

 

“Use your taser!” I said to Nobody. “Get him!”

 

Nobody ignored me and continued running. Thinking better than to question his plan, I kept running after him. We finally turned around a corner, and, behold! There was a train station before us! Just two blocks ahead. I dared not glance at my watch for fear of slowing down, and Nobody didn’t look like he was going to stop running. “We’re almost to the train station!” I heard him shout. In an effort to slow down our pursuer, I summoned a handful of smoke bombs and let them fly loose from my hands. I heard a gassy sound behind me as they detonated, sending a column of smoke up behind me.

 

After a few more minutes of running, panting, utterly exhausted, we finally arrived at the train station. We were on a large, cement platform in an open pedestrian area, with a pair of tracks running parallel to each other before us. I whipped out my change purse to pay for tickets at the ticket machine, praying with all my might that the train would arrive on time. The tickets felt like they’d take forever to come out. “Two tickets to Westside!” I said into the machine.

 

“Two tickets to Westside,” said the computer in a halting, stilted, mechanical voice. Two tickets were dispensed out of the ticket slit. I grabbed them and gave one to Nobody. We were still breathing hard.

 

Nobody and I then stopped to catch our breath, and then, I looked back behind me. There was a big smoke cloud a block past where we’d run, and there wasn’t anybody chasing us.

 

Nobody suddenly suffered a spasm of some kind, and put a hand to his head. “He’s coming!” he said to me, almost hissing. I could tell that he was thinking quickly; he balled up his hands into fists when he got stressed. Finally, he said, “Quick! Summon a pair of trench coats and fedoras!”

 

“What?” I said, incredulous.

 

“Just do it!”

 

Nodding, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath through my nose, and exhaled through my mouth. I thought as hard as I could. A pair of trench coats and fedoras, that fits us. I then opened my eyes. There were the coats and the hats, draped across my arms.

 

Nobody grabbed one of the trench coats and one of the fedoras, and put it on while saying to me, “Put that get up on now! That brute will be here any moment!” I hastily complied with his instructions. I spared one final glance to my right, toward the direction of when we had last seen the man, and I saw him coming. I then turned to Nobody, and saw the train coming in our direction. It was getting closer.

 

Finally, our pursuer arrived at our location panting and out of breath. We had since regained our breath, and patiently waited for the train to stop in front of us. The big man with the goatee sauntered over to us and said, in broken Agori (I could tell that it was Agori because I had removed the Babel fish from my ear on the way to this neighborhood because it was giving me a headache), “Sirs… have you seen a pair of men in fine clothes running this way?”

 

I didn’t look at the man, but only said, in my best Spanish, “Uh… Yo no hablo Agori.” The train arrived in front of us, the door opened, and we boarded it. The big man with the goatee stared at us, breathing heavily. He basically looked like a younger version of Danny Trejo, only as a Russian. Good luck imagining that, gentle reader. The doors closed in front of us, separating us and the Russian man. And then the train left.

 

I went over to a pair of empty seats, and collapsed in the window seat. Nobody sat down next to me, and he said to me, “What time is it?”

 

I glanced at my watch, and then said, “1:45. The train arrived right on time.”

 

Nobody exhaled heavily, and then said, “Okay, I guess I’d better tell you what happened.” He then jerked his head up, and said, “Wait, 1:45?” He pulled out a cell phone out of a pouch on his utility belt, examined it for a few seconds, and then relaxed, before saying, “Phew. I thought… I thought today was tomorrow.”

 

“What’s tomorrow?” I asked, inquisitive.

 

Nobody took off his fedora, which clashed terribly with his hood, and said to me, “That trench coat and fedora trick works like a charm, doesn’t it? We’ve been using that strategy since my academy days.”

 

I decided to not pursue Nobody’s worry over the time and day any further. If he had something personal that he felt he couldn’t share with me right now, then so be it. I wouldn’t press him. Instead, I said, “What happened in the bar, Nobody?”

 

Nobody sighed, and said, “I walked into the bar, and I asked the bartender for a guy named Alexander. He pointed me to this big Russian guy in the back and said he was Alexander. I went over to the guy, and said to him in Agori, ‘Sir, do you know of a Jeff and Lisa Muldoon of Carson Heights?’ He then got angry and pulled out a knife, but I got the jump on him with my melee taser, but then he knocked it away from me. I would have fought him, but I didn’t want to cause a scene, especially in a bad guy bar full of his buddies, so I ran. The door, unfortunately, got broken down in the process. And we ran here, and great job with the smoke bombs, by the way.”

 

I then said to Nobody, “Thanks. Also, I got a picture of the brute with my eyepiece.”

 

“Good man!” Nobody said, and we shared a high five. He then said, “Now, you’re going to have to go interview Mr. Muldoon, see if he knows an ‘Alexander’. I’ll take this picture back to base and see what I can find.” He sat back, and took another breath, before saying, “Tomorrow, that is.” He leaned his head back and nodded off.

 

I nodded, but then something about Nobody’s statement caught me off guard. “I- what do you mean I have to do the interview? I don’t speak Agori! Hello? Nobody?”


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#11 Offline X-Ray

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Posted Mar 23 2014 - 11:06 PM

I liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive! Many apologies for the long wait between updates, but I have at last completed this newest chapter! I pray that you all enjoy it! It took a darn long time to complete it.

 

Chapter Eight: Translation Frustration

 

It is I, the narrator, returning to my old position. I hope that no one was inconvenienced. I am now switching back to third person.

 

Nobody’s alarm clock went off next to his bed. Beep-beep-beep-beep! Beep-beep-beep-beep! He reached over to his nightstand, fumbling for the digital clock’s “snooze” button. He peered out from underneath his blankets at the time: 6:00 A.M.

 

Nobody pushed the sheets aside and sat up in bed, before stumbling over to the closet. He glanced at the door. He didn’t hear X-Ray stirring, his friend using a sleeping bag on the sofa until his own bed was shipped in. Nobody grabbed his cloak and utility belt out of the closet, and put them on. He then grabbed his Unbreakable Black Kopaka Sword of Awesomeness and put it on his back. That and some other equipment of his had arrived by courier yesterday evening from the OMN.

 

Nobody turned on the lights in his room, and went over to where he had put his large duffle bag. Kneeling down next to it, he opened the bag and began to rummage through its contents, before pulling out a photo album. He leafed through it. One picture showed his graduation ceremony from the OMN Academy on Daxia. Another showed him breaking a couple of bricks. A third showed him and Jerbraz standing next to each other, with Trinuma standing between them, his arms draped over their shoulders. This picture of Jerbraz showed him before he had been rendered invisible. Jerbraz was, indeed, quite handsome for a biomechanical being, his sculpted figure colored red and silver. He wore a Kanohi Kakama and had a not-quite-awesome sword on his back. They were in the desert of Zakaz, next to a sleeping Tahtorak. There were a lot of other pictures, such as him at the office, him in a jungle, him standing in front of a burned down building. Good times.

 

Nobody put the album aside, and then took a different album out of the bag. He opened it, and saw some very different pictures. Pictures of a Ko-Matoran in a small village. One of that Matoran at a school, intently listening to a lecture, another of the Matoran working in a restaurant kitchen. The last picture showed the Matoran sitting on a sofa at a party, surrounded by other Matoran, who were all eating pizza and chips and salsa and drinking root beer, looking like they were having wonderful time.

 

Nobody sighed, and put the album back. He then left the room, walking past the sleeping X-Ray, and went over to the kitchenette. He started on making an omelet with basil and thyme, with parmesan cheese on top.  While waiting for it to cook, he went back over to his nightstand in his room, and picked up his cell phone. As he returned to his station at the stove, he checked out his schedule. Interview- Mr. Muldoon – 1:45, read one box. He scrolled over to another. Dr. Mill – 2:00, read another. Darn it, thought Nobody. He shut off the cell phone and returned to making the omelet. He also put some bread in the toaster and chopped up some apples.

 

Just then, a cell phone rang. Or, more accurately, a timer on X-Ray’s cell phone rang, sending out all sorts of noise, nearly vibrating off the coffee table. X-Ray reached over, grabbed the cell phone, and switched off the timer, before turning around and going back to sleep.

 

“C’mon, X,” said Nobody. “You’ll have to get up sooner or later. Breakfast is going to be ready soon anyway.”

 

X-Ray mumbled something incoherent, before squirming out of his sleeping bag and lurching over to the shower. Nobody shook his head, chuckled, and returned to cooking the omelet. This would be a good one. The omelet, that is. He wasn’t sure how the day would be, but he hoped everything would be… orderly. Yes, that was a good adjective. Orderly.

 

Twenty minutes later, X-Ray emerged from the shower in a towel, and grabbed some of his clothes from the closet, before returning to the bathroom. After another few minutes, he returned, dressed in his usual dapper way. “What’s cooking?” he said.

 

Nobody didn’t look up as he said, “An omelet, topped with parmesan cheese, seasoned with basil and thyme.”

 

“Sounds good!” said X-Ray, looking over the counter. A few seconds passed as X-Ray examined the tasty looking dish in the making, before he noticed something disconcerting. “Um, how many eggs are you using?”

 

“Two. Why do you ask?”

 

“Oh, I’m just… are you sure that’s enough?”

 

“It should do. Add an apple, some leftover baked chicken, and a glass of milk and I’ll have enough to last me until lunch. The city still hasn’t finished setting up the P.E.R.S.”

 

X-Ray was confused. “Firstly,” he said, “What do you mean by ‘purse’, and why do you talk like you’re the only one eating?”

 

Nobody looked up from his cooking and said, “Hm? Oh, ‘P.E.R.S.’ stands for ‘Public Energy Resupply Station.’ You remember, back in Metru Nui, that the Matoran just went to get their energy recharged once a year at this place in Ga-Metru, and on Mata Nui, the Matoran just absorbed energy from foodstuffs.” Nobody turned off the burner and took the pan to the counter, where he had a plate waiting. “Until they can get the P.E.R.S. up and running,” he said, “which could take a while, government being government, we have to keep ourselves sustained the old-fashioned way, similar to how you humans eat stuff.” Nobody opened the fridge and rooted around for what he was looking for, saying, “As for the food situation…” He turned around, now holding an apple, the milk jug, and a little bag of baked chicken. “I’m your bodyguard, X-Ray,” said Nobody. “Not your chef.”

 

X-Ray leaned on the counter, feeling positively mellow. “Oh,” he said. “Okay, that’s no big deal. I can cook my own food.”

 

Nobody smiled, and said, “I’m glad you understand.” He poured himself some milk, and then put his food on the counter, before moving over to take a seat next to X-Ray. He dug into his food, holding it up to mouth, and sucking the energy out of it like vampire, leaving only the inedible parts of the food, such as the bones of the leftover chicken, left over.

 

“That’s kind of disturbing,” said X-Ray, averting his eyes.

 

“As I understand it,” said Nobody, absorbing his glass of milk, “you humans don’t like to watch when your own kind eats.”

 

“Only when they do it in with their mouth open!” said X-Ray. He got off his stool and went over to the counter, and said, “Good grief, why am I even having this conversation? This whole section has been completely devoid of anything which advances the plot!”

 

Nobody looked up from his meal and said, “Oh, that reminds me! You have an appointment with the Muldoons to interview them about our case.”

 

“Speaking of which,” said X-Ray, “Have we received anymore calls about cases?”

 

“I don’t know,” said Nobody, returning to eating. “I’m your bodyguard. Managing your little P.I. business is your job, not mine. If you want to formally employ me-”

 

“You know perfectly well that we’re equal partners in this endeavor! Man, what’s with you, Nobody?”

 

Nobody held up his hands, and said, “I’m just saying, it’s not my job to manage the phones or the email. You’re the one who’s supposed to be doing clerical work.”

 

X-Ray glanced at his watch. 7:50 A.M. “Cripes!” said X-Ray, running for the fridge and grabbing a yogurt out of it. “We need to get to the train station A.S.A.P.!”

 

“Why, what’s the rush?” said Nobody.

 

“Because our office opens at 9:00, and the train leaves at 8:20!”

 

“So? We have plenty of time! The 8:20’s never been on time for almost two years!”

 

“C’mon, Nobody!”

 

*         *          *

 

Nobody and X-Ray managed to get to their office just in time for opening. Unfortunately, there were no messages from clients asking them to take on cases. There were, however, two pranks calls, a political call from Friends of Turaga Jay, four telemarketers offering some shady business deals, and one death threat.

 

“Say what?” said Nobody, playing back the message.

 

“He who minds his own business will live a long and happy life,” said the recorded voice in a thick Russian accent. “Stop investigating the Muldoons or die.” Click.

 

“That’s… heavy stuff,” said X-Ray, wiping his brow. He pulled out his Taser, and said, “Fortunately, we’re armed!”

 

“This is not a situation to go into lightly, X,” said Nobody. “We’re going to have to cancel that meeting with the Muldoons, and then I’m going to have to get you to a safe house.”

 

“Wait, why?” said X-Ray. “This is our first big case—”

 

“It’s our only case.”

 

“Whatever! We’ve got so much going for it!” X-Ray pulled out the dossier that he had been assembling, and flipped it open, revealing notes, pictures, data, maps, and a fragment of baked sand bat. “I mean, look at this!” he said. “We’ve got Krua’s testimony, fingerprints, pictures of the guy who tried to kill us, and now this death threat! If we save the recording, we can use it later if we get a conviction!”

 

“That’s not the point,” said Nobody. “The point is, I have a similar appointment, and now that we know for sure that you’re in serious danger, which I enabled to happen, I am failing my duty as your bodyguard and handler to let you out of my sight while the Russian mob is after both of our heads!”

 

“What’s this appointment of yours?” asked X-Ray, not at all daunted by Nobody’s declaration.

 

“…It’s personal,” said Nobody. “My point is that you can’t go do your thing while I have my appointment. You either have to stick with me, or hang out with Mazeka and Tobduk for a while.”

 

“I thought your first duty was to protect me,” said X-Ray. “Isn’t that your job?”

 

“It is,” said Nobody. “But- but I really, really need to go to this appointment. It’s important.”

 

“Ooh, got a hot date?”

 

“Don’t even start!”

 

“Alright, alright,” said X-Ray, shrugging his shoulders. “If your little ‘appointment’ is so important, then I guess I’ll have to cancel that appointment with the Muldoons, and hang out with Messers Mazeka and Tobduk.”

 

“That’s the sort of thing I like to hear,” said Nobody. He went over to the window and positioned the sign to read “Closed.” He turned to X-Ray, and said, “Right then. To the train station!”

 

X-Ray readjusted his trench coat, left over from their last escapade, and put the dossier into this backpack while Nobody wasn’t looking. Two can play the spy-detective game, he thought to himself. Or in this case, one.

 

*         *          *

 

“And remember,” said Nobody as they stopped in the break room of the OMN offices at the EB, “don’t go wandering off. Stay within sight of Tobduck and Mazeka at all times. Also, don’t eat anything out the refrigerator. If you’re hungry, order take out.” He patted X-Ray on the shoulder, and said, “Got all that, X?”

 

“Got it,” said X-Ray, putting on his most debonair smile. With a wave, he waited until Nobody had left the room. He then counted to five hundred, before gathering up his back pack and slipping out of the break room. He stole through the rows of cubicles until he reached the elevator, and pulled out his IntelliPhone to consult his Horizon Navigator app. As he stepped into the elevator, he calculated that from the nearest train station, it would take half an hour to reach the Muldoon’s neighborhood. More than enough time to get to the Muldoon’s house.

 

A few minutes later, he reached the ground floor, and walked out of the lobby. Nobody was nowhere in sight, and the halls were bustling with the usual mid-morning crowd. X-Ray was just glad that he hadn’t had to deal with Mazeka and Tobduk. Those two are about as effective as energy hounds without noses when it comes to sticking to an assignment, he thought, especially when it was covering for their coworker’s bodyguard duty.  As X-Ray made his way to the train station, he began to wonder how he would interview the Muldoons. He supposed he would have to use his translator app to compose the questions while he listened to the answers in English thanks to the Babel fish. That might be cumbersome, but without Nobody’s cooperation, it would be the only way to conduct the interview.

 

I wonder what that guy’s up to with his appointment anyway, he thought. I hate it when my creations hide things from me. Oh well. I’m sure that if he thinks I should know, he’ll tell me. Nobody’s smart enough to know not to hide stuff from his friends… right?

 

*         *          *

 

Nobody got up as the train arrived at his stop. It was time for another appointment. He exited the train car and walked down the sidewalk of a far more upscale neighborhood than downtown or Westside. The buildings here in Robindale were no taller than five stories high, and there were more trees and grass patches on the sidewalks. There was not a speck of graffiti in sight, and the grass was nicely trimmed, with pretty little flowerbeds on every corner. The buildings were kept up nicely, and happy, smiling people went about their business.

 

Under his Great Suletu, however, Nobody was not smiling. Instead, he was concerned with a very pressing piece of business. He looked up at building after building, comparing the addresses to that which was on the slip of paper he held in his hand. No, not that one. Not that one either. But wait, here it was. 9104. He scrambled up the steps of the small office building, and went in through the front door. He walked through a foyer, down another hallway, and through a door which read, “Psychological & Counseling Services.” He took a seat in a waiting room as soft instrumental music played in the background. Old periodicals and magazines starred up at him, printed mainly in Agori, with a few in Matoran.

 

A door opened on the other side of the waiting room, and a middle aged Agori in semi-formal attire leaned through, saying, “Ah, there you are, Urban.” And then, with a slight cock of the head: “It is Urban I’m speaking to, isn’t it?”

 

Nobody gulped, and said, “Yes, I’m here, Dr. Mill.” He stood up and walked over to the door, and followed Dr. Mill into the offices beyond. Nobody took a moment to place his sword and utility belt in the holding bin just off to the side, before joining Dr. Mill in his office.

 

*         *          *

 

X-Ray finally arrived at the Muldoon’s house, which looked about the same as it did when he and Nobody had last visited. The garden had been mostly restored, and there was a different car in the driveway. A very nice, expensive looking car. X-Ray guessed that this must be Mr. Muldoon’s vehicle. He went up to the door, checked the prompt sheet he had on his phone, and knocked.

 

After a few seconds, Mrs. Muldoon answered, and said, “Oh, hello, detective! My husband is right in here. He just got off the phone. Come in, come in!”

 

X-Ray went into the house, and found the inside of the house to be as greatly furnished as the outside of it. It contained a piano, a chandelier, a nice set of chairs in the sitting room, a big, flat screen TV, and a staircase leading up to a second floor. “Nice house,” he said in English, before remembering that Mrs. Muldoon couldn’t understand him.

 

X-Ray followed Mrs. Muldoon in and went with her to the dining room table. Sitting there was a water Agori who could only be presumed to be Mr. Muldoon, eating a sandwich. Mrs. Muldoon introduced X-Ray to her husband, saying, “Barry, this is, eh… what’s your name again?

 

“My name is Xavier Raymond,” said the teen, in his best Agori. Mr. Muldoon scoffed, and went back to eating. X-Ray put away his phone, having memorized the questions and introductory phrases on the way. “I’ve been hired by your wife to investigate the vandalism which occurred on your property.”

 

Mr. Muldoon glanced up with a scowl and said, “What do you mean, scandalism? Is that even a word? Are you some kind of rag reporter, trying to bring trouble on an honest man? Lisa, who is this?”

 

X-Ray was flustered. He must have gotten some words wrong. “No, vandalism,” he said, making sure he had just the right words. “I understand that somebody set your car on fire and smashed up your wife’s garden.”

 

Mr. Muldoon stood slack jawed, and then stood up, standing just a little shorter than X-Ray, and said to him, “You do not get to talk about my wife that way, you stuck up, self-righteous—”

 

“I’m sorry sir!” said X-Ray, back peddling. He started apologizing, lapsing back into English, managing to get out, “I didn’t mean to say anything about your wife! I’m only trying to help you!”

 

Suddenly, Mr. Muldoon stopped sputtering, and glanced over at his wife. “Lisa, this guy speaks English?” Mrs. Muldoon shrugged. Mr. Muldoon then turned to X-Ray, and said, in perfect English, “Well, why didn’t you just say so?”

 

X-Ray gaped. “You speak English, sir?”

 

“Of course I do!” said Mr. Muldoon. “I’m a city building inspector. I’ve got to know English to talk to people all over the city.” He then said, “Now, how many I help you?”

 

A wave of relief passed over X-Ray as he switched on his recording device and said, “Alright, sir, what I mean to communicate was that I’m a private investigator hired by your wife to investigate the vandalism of your wife’s garden and car. Do you know of anyone who might have a reason to threaten you?”

 

“Not that I know of,” said Mr. Muldoon with a laugh. “Like I said, I’m a city building inspector. What harm could I do?”

 

X-Ray nodded, jotting down notes on his notepad. As he looked up, a thought occurred to him. A nice house with nice things in it. A nice car in the drive way. Overnight business trips. A building inspector, able to afford all this? thought X-Ray. I think not.

 

“We traced the fingerprints found on Mrs. Muldoon’s plastic flamingo,” said X-Ray, choosing to be cautious. “We found them to belong to a small time thug named Krua, who said that he was hired by a guy named Alexander to commit this act of vandalism. Do you know an Alexander? Big, Russian guy with long hair and a goatee?”

 

Mr. Muldoon shook his head quickly, before saying, “No, I don’t know anybody like that.” His pupils went to the upper left part of his eyes. “Maybe it was just a random act of violence.”

 

“Maybe…” said X-Ray, jotting down more notes. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Muldoon had begun talking to each other in Agori. Fortunately, X-Ray was still able to understand them because of the Babel fish which he had stuck back in his ear.

 

“Barry, if you’re getting involved with those gangsters again,” said Mrs. Muldoon, “I’ll go to the police. It’s one thing when we get a threatening phone call, but my garden, and the car?”

 

“Lisa, I’m telling you, nothing bad is going to happen,” said Mr. Muldoon. “I’m telling you, I’ll pay off my debts just like last time, and then I’ll never gamble again.”

 

“Promises, promises!” said Mrs. Muldoon. “That’s what you said when you agreed to look the other way with that apartment building, and what happened? You went and gambled your hard-won bribe money away!”

 

Suddenly, a good idea struck X-Ray: use his eyepiece’s thermal imaging vision to scout around the house. Surreptitiously, he flipped on the device and innocently glanced around the house. Nothing… Nothing… Thornax launcher… Nothing… Nothing. He flipped off the device, disappointed. His eyepiece didn’t allow for the full range of powers provided by the Kanohi Akaku, the mask of X-Ray Vision. However, it did have a video recording device on it. He turned his eyepiece toward Mr. and Mrs. Muldoon, and activated the record function on the eyepiece.

 

“-and then there was the time at Lacey’s!” said Mrs. Muldoon. “Honestly, if you’re going to go to a Casino, why not go to the legal ones?” X-Ray jotted down a note, just in case. “Lacey’s…”

 

“Because I don’t want to drive down to the Bone Hunter reservation every time I want to have some fun!” said Mr. Muldoon. “What part of saving money on gas don’t you understand?”

 

“Barry, you know what huge risks you’re taking, doing what you do!” said Mrs. Muldoon, practically yelling in Mr. Muldoon’s face. “Living like we do won’t matter much if the same people you helped garner money from are knocking down our door trying to get it back!”

 

“Relax, relax already! I’m meeting Fyodor tonight to make the final payment, and then I’m swearing it off for good. Then it will just be back to same old same old.”

 

C’mon, show me the money… thought X-Ray.

 

“These Mafiya punks can’t get by without me,” said Mr. Muldoon, putting a hand on his wife’s shoulder. “As long as I’m covering their butts, they can’t do a thing in this town.”

 

Bingo. X-Ray cracked a smile.

 

Unfortunately for Mr. Muldoon, Mrs. Muldoon said, “I wish I could believe that, Barry.”

 

“You stupid—”

 

The argument soon devolved into a flurry of vicious insults, no doubt stemming from the accumulated slights and annoyances of the last fifteen years. X-Ray stood silently by the quarrelling spouses, patiently waiting for them to let up. Finally, Mrs. Muldoon broke off the conflict and left the room, fuming. This left X-Ray and Mr. Muldoon standing alone.

 

Mr. Muldoon turned to X-Ray and said, “Eh, Mr. …Raymond, is it?”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

“Yes, Mr. Raymond. I’m sorry that you went to all this trouble for such a minor infraction.” Mr. Muldoon chuckled and said, “You know what the wife can be like.” X-Ray only nodded placidly. “Anyhow, what will your bill be?”

 

X-Ray quickly calculated the amount, and said, “Two-hundred dollars, plus expenses, amounting to a total of $215.”

 

“You don’t say,” said Mr. Muldoon, going over to a drawer and pulling out a checkbook and pen. He jotted out a check and handed it to X-Ray. “That should cover your trouble. Sorry to waste your time on such a trivial matter. We’ll inform the authorities of the car damage, thank you.”

 

“No problem, sir,” said X-Ray. “I’ll be going then. Good day, Mr. Muldoon.”

 

“Good day, Mr. Raymond,” said the middle aged jungle Agori, smiling. X-Ray didn’t much like that smile. He turned and headed out the door, and passed the nice, expensive looking car, and started down the sidewalk. It was time to head back to the office.

*         *          *

 

Dr. Mill took a sip of his coffee, and looked at Nobody. “So,” he said, “last week, you said that you were concerned that your condition might endanger your job security?”

 

“Yes, doctor,” said Nobody, bowing his head. “But above all, I just want to get my mask working again. It was doing fine until a couple of days ago, and now I can’t get it to work at all. My physician said it was psychological or something.”

 

“I see…” said Dr. Mill, taking notes. “This may be serious, Urban. Though cases such as yours are extraordinarily rare, those documented in Toa such as yourself have experienced loss of the ability to use mask powers upon the changing of identities.”

 

“It wasn’t like that before,” said Nobody. “When I’m Urban— when I’m me, I mean, I didn’t have any trouble reading other people’s thoughts. Ha, I actually had trouble not hearing other people’s thoughts constantly, and had to take a class to learn to get it under control.” Dr. Mill continued to jot down notes. Nobody sighed, and then said, “But when I’m Nobody, I... I literally become someone else entirely. I’m quirkier, more amiable, I suck at fighting. But I can still use my mask powers.” Nobody shook his head, and then said, “I just don’t know what I’ll do if my boss finds out about this. I’ll get booted out on a Section 8 in a minute, if they don’t arrest me for lying about my medical records.”

 

“My advice remains simply this,” said Dr. Mill, looking sage. “Tell your supervisor the truth, and try to work through it with him. Remember, your mental health is more important than any job.”

 

“But it’s not just a job!” said Nobody. “The Order is my whole world. I get to travel around, kick bad guy butt, and be a hero. What more could a guy want?” Dr. Mill smiled kindly, and was about to say something, but Nobody continued. “But you know what?” he said. “It’s not just that. Even more important than all of that stuff are all the people I’ve met, who have become my surrogate family after... everything that happened to me. Jerbraz. Trinuma. Johmak. Mazeka. Thomob and Tobduk even. Even if I was stuck with a desk job, I’d still have all the guys there to work with. I’m an agent through and through, and I always will be.” Nobody chuckled, and said, “But at least I get paid to watch X-Ray’s back. That guy may be a total knucklehead sometimes, but he’s also one of the coolest, hippest, smartest, nicest, and bravest guys I know, and I’d follow him through the gates of—”

 

“Eh, Urban,” said Dr. Mill, “I beg your pardon for interrupting, but our time is up for today. Let us meet again next week. Same time?”

 

“Uh… yeah, that will be good,” said Nobody, rising.

 

He shook Dr. Mill’s hand, said his farewell, and walked out the door. He collected his utility belt and sword, before heading out the door. He made his way out of the building, walking to the train station. Nobody knew that he had to get back to the EB before X-Ray began to get restless. As he stood in line to buy his ticket, he took out his cell phone and called X-Ray. Four rings later, all he got was an answering machine.

 

“Hi, X here,” said the recording. “I can’t get back to you right now, but please leave a message.”

 

Nobody frowned under his mask. That was odd. X-Ray always made sure to answer his phone. Let’s try Mazeka’s number. He dialed Mazeka, and on the second ring, he got an answer. “Mazeka here,” said the Ko-Matoran.

 

“This is U- eh, Nobody,” said Nobody. “Can I talk to X-Ray? He’s in the break room, and he’s not answering his phone.”

 

“No, he isn’t here,” said Mazeka. “I’m there right now. …Wait, shouldn’t you be with him?”

 

Oh no… “Uh, everything’s fine, Maz,” said Nobody. “Goodbye!” He put the cell phone back on his belt, and quickly bought a ticket to Westside. He had to get back to the office.

 

The train ride was hard on his nerves, his fingers gripping his sword feverishly. If X-Ray had tried investigating the Fe-Metru bratva on his own… If Mr. Muldoon was really mobbed up… He didn’t want to think about that. Finally, the P.A. system said, “Arriving at Westside Station. Prepare to disembark.”

 

Nobody jumped out of his seat and ran to the front of the car, shouldering past other passengers and dashing out onto the platform. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, all the way to Ballard Street, where their office building was. He ran through the doors, up the stairs, and finally, he reached the office suite (If it could be called a suite). Nobody fumbled with his key as he struggled to get the door unlocked, and when he did, he flung it open. He froze, dropping his sword. It audibly clattered to the ground.

 

“No… No! No!”

 

:akaku: X-Ray :akaku:


Edited by X-Ray, Mar 24 2014 - 03:13 PM.

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#12 Offline Phovos

Phovos
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Posted Mar 24 2014 - 08:59 AM

Oh no!
 
Nobody's troubles are unique. You don't see many BZP comedies where one of the main characters needs a psychiatrist. Hope X-Ray is okay. Bonus points for the Babel Fish.
 

Unbreakable Black Kopaka Sword of Awesomeness


That's so tacky and lame, it's amazing.

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