Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Story That Had To Be

As noted before, Natural Twenty was a throwaway character created for just one line in the story There Ain't No Justice.

"Objection!"  This came from a red-skinned alien on the far side of the room with the head of a squid -- a totally evil mindflayer, according to Grandpa's current sidekick Natural Twenty, sitting in the first row.  The mindflayer lawyer wore a pinstripe suit.  His face tentacles flailed madly.  Next to him sat a blue man ten stories tall, wearing white and gold armor and a scowl.
  "Prejudicial language!  My client was merely engaged in preparations for dinner in a legal and responsible manner under interstellar law."
Grandpa Anarchy jumped to his feet.  "That fat ass was trying to eat Earth, you moron!"

There was really no opportunity to provide a full description of this sidekick.  That bothered me, but the character wasn't the focus of the story and really only existed to allow me to describe the lawyer as a mindflayer.  But I wanted to flesh out the character in another story, so I added her to Future Me.

The front doors of the mansion opened.  A seven-foot tall man in blue and black spandex wrestled something onto the lawn.  Behind him came two young women -- one with dark skin and straight black hair, dressed in jeans and a tan shirt, the other looking like a cross between a Renfaire knight and Velma from Scooby Doo.
"Grandpa, do you use this armored exoskeleton?" the second woman asked.  "Like, ever?"
"Nah," said Grandpa.  "That can go, Natural Twenty."
"Just set it down anywhere, Unpossible Man," said Natural Twenty.
"What about the jet bike?" the other woman asked.  Sun Wukong the Monkey King sailed overhead, followed by the Bronze Beach Bum.  "Primal!" exclaimed the solar surfer.
"Don't use that either," said Grandpa.  "Dang thing's only good for breaking your neck.  Sell it, Ravella."
"Bring that up next, then," said Ravella.  The three disappeared back inside the mansion.

Unfortunately, Natural Twenty and Ravella were not the focus of this story either, so at best I was able to provide a description of the two, but not really explain why Grandpa Anarchy currently had two sidekicks.

I was talking to a friend about this and they said, "You'll just have to write another story!"  Heh.  Sure, a story just to explain how Natural Twenty had been lost in space and then found her way back home.  But then, as I thought about it more, it seemed like a pretty good idea, actually.

It's rare that I write a story for any reason other than I have a funny idea or character or situation in mind, but in this case, I decided a story set before Future  Me that explained how Natural Twenty had been lost and returned was in order.  I wound up working on that tonight, and titled it Roll of the Die:

Rain poured down.  The front door of the Anarchy Mansion was open, and two young women fought at the base of the stairs.  One had dark skin and black hair and wore jean shorts and a Baka Beyond tee shirt.  The other had glasses and looked a bit like Velma from Scooby Doo, if Velma dressed like a medieval knight.
"So!" yelled the dark-skinned one.  "You thought you could sneak in while your master took out Grandpa Anarchy?  Not while I'm here!"
She launched herself forward, spinning in midair to land a kick.  The armored girl blocked it but was still thrown back into the wall.
"Listen, I don't know who the hell you are," said the armored girl, "but my name is Natural Twenty.  I'm Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick.  That's why I have a key to the front door, dipshit!"
"A likely story!" the dark-skinned one replied.  "Natural Twenty died in deep space a month ago.  I'm Ravella the Traveler, and I'm Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick."  She produced a crossbow and took aim.  "And you are obviously an ally of the Octarine Orc...."
Ravella fired.  Natural Twenty tossed something into the air.  Time froze.  "Magic shield!" yelled Natural Twenty.  The object -- a multi-sided piece of metal, with numbers carved into each face -- bounced on the floor and came to a stop.  The number it displayed was...
"Twenty!" yelled Natural Twenty.  Time sped up, but she now held a round metal shield that glowed faintly.  It deflected the crossbow bolt easily.
"What the heck?" Ravella growed.  "Oh... your stupid die, I remember now."
"That's right," said Natural Twenty.  "Do you see now?  I am Natural Twenty...."
  "Page 241 of Sidekicking for Grandpa Anarchy," said Ravella.  "Beware the former sidekick who was thought to be dead.  They return 65% of the time, with a 99% chance of exacting evil revenge!"
"Give me a break!" said Natural Twenty.  "I wrote that."
Ravella threw herself forward with a series of spinning punches and kicks.  "I should warn you, I've trained for two weeks with Sun Wukong himself!"
Of course, Grandpa Anarchy is battling the Octarine Orc at that very moment.  ^_^  This gave me an excuse to use another of my OmniGen former-scientific-genius-turned-villains, and one that Natural Twenty, the  gamer geek, has always wanted to fight.

Ultimately it may not be my best story... but it needed to be written.  ^_^

I started three stories this weekend, and finished one:

Feb 09  Dangerous
Feb 09  Gutbucket Magic
Feb 10  Roll of the Die (completed Feb 10, same night)  875 words

"Dangerous" is Grandpa Anarchy versus the old cliche of a skilled hunter who wants to hunt "the most dangerous prey" ie humans.  It's an old trope, and one that Grandpa Anarchy has faced several times before.  This time he's stuck in the jungle with a sidekick named Kid Gangsta who may not be well versed in jungle survival.

"Gutbucket Magic" is a less well-defined idea where Grandpa faced a villain whose weapon is crushing depression.  You can't punch depression, but quite possibly the way to deal with it is to sing the blues...

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