Posts by Rob Fike

Christ Follower, Husband, Dreamer, Blogger, Writer, Designer, Artist.

Rob Re-writes the Star Wars Prequels

I know.

I know. The internet hates the prequels. Everyone has listed its sins – from poor acting, directing, writing, characters, an overabundance of CGI – and most, if not all, have wondered what would make the prequels worthy of being connected to the Star Wars universe.

I’m going to give a brief outline of how to re-write and fix the Prequels.

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See, I can hear you now, screaming far away in the echoing chamber of the internet’s digital hallway. It’s been done before! Everyone has their theory on fixing the prequels! It’s going to be trash!

Probably. But I gotta try.

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Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Episode I is probably in the most need of change. Not because it’s bad. In fact, I enjoy Phantom Menace. I know it’s probably the most ridiculed (although I think Episode II is the worst of the prequels), but I like it. It also has some practical effects and sets that were somehow thrown out the window when the rest of the films were made.

The Phantom Menace takes place too far removed from the other films. Anakin is not the main character. It’s a weak ensemble piece. The Prequel trilogy was intriguing to us because Obi-Wan mentioned his relationship with Anakin and the Clone Wars, so we need to get right into that. So let’s fix that.

The Basics

Let’s Start A War

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First, Palpatine is already Chancellor. He’s just won election on the back of trade reforms that should spread money around better across the galaxy. The Trade Federation doesn’t like this though, so they blockade his home system of Naboo (so we keep that plot point from OG Episode I). Palpatine sends two Jedi to negotiate. Those two Jedi? Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker. Anakin is in his late teens, but he is early in his training, and Obi-Wan mentions having to ‘beg’ the council to train him because of his obvious talents. They have a mentor/pupil relationship that is strained by their peer friendship.

The Trade Federation does exactly as they did in the OG Episode I, they invade Naboo after trying to kill the Jedi (at the behest of Sith Lord Darth Sidious/Palpatine). The events carry on much as they do in OG Episode I, except that Anakin meets Queen Amidala here on Naboo instead of on Tatooine. Anakin and Obi-Wan escape with the Royal Party, and hide on Anakin’s home world of Tatooine.

Anakin and Padme

It’s on Tatooine that we get to know Anakin. He was once a slave. He won his freedom after proving useful to a local moisture farmer, Owen Lars, who married his mother. Anakin became a talented pilot, which brought him to the core where he met Obi-Wan and began training. Padme, a teen ruler, identifies with Anakin’s overwhelming feeling of responsibility and inflated sense of importance in the galaxy. Anakin and Amidala bond while Anakin is fixing the ship.

Hunted

giphy-15Enter Darth Maul, the coolest character from the Prequels. He is the apprentice of Sidious and he is sent to find the Jedi and Royals. Sidious uses Darth Maul to hone Anakin’s skills as a fighter. This is how Anakin becomes a great lightsaber duelist. Darth Maul eventually finds them, and Anakin holds Maul off and the group escapes to Coruscant after repairing their ship (this is a similar plot line from OG Episode I).

Politics

Politics in the Prequels can be a rough slog, so we’ll try to keep this concise. Palpatine is struggling to keep the Trade Federation (among other parties) in line. His negotiations are failing because he doesn’t have the military force to back up his demands. Count Dooku stands as the leader of the Coalition fighting back against Palpatine’s reforms. The former Jedi stands at the Senate floor, stating that this blockade is merely positioning to show that the Federation, and its sister nations, are important to the Galaxy and shouldn’t be punished for their prosperity. Dooku rebukes Palpatine for using the Jedi to conduct political maneuvering.

Palpatine, feeling the pinch from both parties, begs Queen Amidala to request forces at the senate floor, to be conscripted from the Cloning world of Kamino. She refuses.

Palpatine speaks with Anakin, telling him the situation in the galaxy. He feels that things will turn to chaos without the threat of force. Padme doesn’t understand this. Anakin promises to talk with her. Palpatine mentions that Anakin truly understands the burden of leadership, inflating his sense of importance.

Padme seeks the council of Obi-Wan and Anakin. Obi-Wan agrees with her stance against clone troops, while Anakin, under Palpatine’s sway, makes a passionate case for the need to enforce the laws. Obi-Wan and Anakin are obviously strained in their friendship by these conflicting ideologies.

The Jedi

Anakin and Obi-Wan visit the Jedi council, where Anakin is reprimanded for speaking out of turn to the Queen. Jedi are not supposed to give advice on political matters. The Jedi are extra sensitive because of Dooku’s words at the Senate.

Anakin sees this as hypocritical, as Obi-Wan also gave advice. Obi-Wan shows a weakness here as he uses the council to admonish Anakin rather than do it himself and hurt their friendship. But Anakin sees this.

They also mention Darth Maul, and a feeling that the Sith are returning. The Council agree that Maul was drawn to the Queen, so Anakin and Obi-Wan should follow her.

Decisions

Queen Amidala, in the end, takes a centrist point of view on the matter of war. She leaves Coruscant, but leaves a hand written letter rebuking the Senate for its inactivity and need to enforce the laws it passes. She travels back to Naboo, with Obi-Wan and Anakin following after her (unaware to her)

Battle for Naboo

Events happen in much the same way as they did in the OG Episode I, except for a clear deviation: Anakin is an expert pilot and a Jedi. Obi-Wan orders Anakin to help with the space battle, while Obi-Wan fights Darth Maul by himself. Obi-Wan holds his own against Maul (he is somewhat older than he was in OG Episode I, so he’s more experienced). Maul is vicious, but he isn’t methodical like Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan, bloodied and bruised, takes high ground (which will make the episode III scene more powerful) and punishes Maul for his hubris (a mirror to Anakin in episode III) by cutting him off at the legs.

giphy-16Obi-Wan tries to interrogate a pained Maul, when Maul is rescued by none other than Count Dooku, aka Darth Tyranus. There is a sense that Dooku feels this task is beneath him, and that he sees little need for Maul’s animalistic nature. Dooku strikes Obi-Wan with force lightning, knocking him to the ground; allowing Dooku and Maul to escape.

Anakin and the other pilots take down the control ships running the droid army, effectively winning the battle. Amidala takes control of the throne room much as she did in the OG Episode I.

Aftermath

Dooku now outed as a Sith, the Council believes it has its 2 Sith Lords – Maul and Tyranus – while Palpatine’s identity remains a secret.

Amidala and Anakin are falling in love. Obi-Wan reminds him that attachments are forbidden in the Jedi Order. Anakin mentions that maybe that is a stupid rule (which it is).

The Senate passes a provisional power for Palpatine to procure clone troops for the emerging war between Dooku’s forces – the Trade Federation, etc – and the Republic. Palpatine, as a measure to appear bipartisan, appoints the Jedi to lead the troops in battle.

Differences: No Gungans, No Jar Jar, No Little Annie, No Podracing (sorry), No Qui-Gon death.

NEXT TIME

Episode II: The Clone Wars

The Hunted – Chapter 2

“What are you doing?” the girl asked with the conviction of a disappointed parent. Alan pulled his hand back from the bubbling air, his arm causing a wave to erupt from the temporal pool in front of him. They had been walking around the fields of the in between for what felt like weeks. Alan finally realized that the pools were points in time. He couldn’t resist trying to help his friends.

 

“I was just,” Alan pointed with the hand he pulled from the temporal pool, but the girl could see that his watch was gone. Alan followed her eye line to his missing watch. Hand in the cookie jar.

 

“What did you do?” she asked with a hushed, angry viciousness that scared Alan a little. Alan was being yelled at by a ten year old girl, and he was second guessing his decision to leave a clue for his friends.

 

“I need to help them,” Alan stammered the explanation. “They need to know I’m still here.”

Alan pulled his body back, and looked at the pool of air swirling in front of him.

 

The girl’s eyes welled up, “You promised me you’d help me find my dad.”

 

“I know, and we will, but my friends-,” Alan explained.

 

“… will be there when we get back,” the girl countered. “That’s the beauty of time travel.”

 

“Ramona,” Alan said like a condescending adult.

 

“Stop,” Ramona snapped, holding a finger up to shush Alan. “You made a promise.”

 

Alan ran a hand through his messy hair, clearly frustrated about being led along by some little girl who couldn’t find her daddy. He tongued his gritty molars and exhaled a frustrated breath. “Yes. Yes, I did. Let’s keep going.”

 

Ramona exhaled a sigh of relief and straightened her white jacket, then she let her arms flow down her periwinkle dress. She pointed past Alan to another temporal pool forming in the field of tall grass that made up most of the surface area of the in between, the strange island found lost in space and time.

 

“Are you sure?” Alan asked uneasily. He didn’t like sticking his head into dimensional wormholes. It tended to scrambled the senses.

 

“I made this place, Mr. Mitchell. I know every inch of the in between. And the nexus to all other time at my fingertips is pointing me in that direction.”

 

“You’re a creepy little girl,” Alan replied, looking back at the wormhole. This was all completely out of his element. Time travel. Babysitting. Ten year old girls talking about nexuses and temporal wakes. Nothing was normal. Everything was upside down and topsy turvy. Alan repeated, “Creepy, little girl.”

 

“Am I?”

 

Alan turned back. Ramona was now older, a full fledged teenager. Her clothes had adjusted to the age change, seemingly by some strange magic. Her long dark hair brushed back to reveal hazel eyes that portrayed a knowing intensity, aware of the age of her new appearance.

 

“Holy shit,” Alan yelped, falling back into the tall grass. He looked up at the blue sky overhead, a golden sheen floating over it and lending an ethereal, light-headed quality to the atmosphere. Teenage Ramona’s face came into view, a smirk plastered on her face. She burst into laughter.

 

“Time is irrelevant here, Mr. Mitchell,” Ramona said. “It’s outside of what we call linear time. Age. Years. Months. It’s all just a construction in these destinations, not here.”

 

“Good to know,” Alan grumbled.

 

“That is, it’s a construction for me. I’ve never pulled another person into the in between. You could die.”

 

“Gee. Thanks,” Alan jeered sarcastically.

 

Ramona held out her hands, and Alan rolled his eyes and accepted the help. He made it to his feet, and fixed his wrinkled shirt. “Good to know I’m your first guinea pig.”

 

“I don’t understand that reference,” Ramona said casually, her eyes studying the rippling air they were walking towards.

 

“It’s about scientific testing. I guess they used guinea pigs? I’m not really sure actually. It’s just something I heard,” Alan explained, a little unsure how to explain some vernacular that he never really learned the lesson for in the first place. Weren’t mice testing animals in labs? It didn’t seem to come up that way. Lab rats? Maybe. “I’m having a hard time concentrating.”

 

“We’ve spent too long in here. It tends to make the mind foggy.”

 

“Worried to follow you, knowing how long you’ve been in here,” Alan joked.

 

Ramona shot Alan an unamused sideways glance from the corner of her eye. Everything was a wisecrack with him. Alan couldn’t just let words stand unopposed by his shallow wit. Ramona cleared her throat, her eyes steadfastly peering into the temporal torrent. A few stray sparks of lightning struck within the swirling mass.

 

“My father leaves a temporal wake behind him. Breadcrumbs. We just have to keep following the trail to him.”

 

“So you know breadcrumbs, but not guinea pigs?” Alan asked in a mocking tone.

 

Ramona cleared her throat and looked at Alan, who was brandishing a sheepish grin. She grabbed his hand and flung him into the pool, sending Alan down the time tunnel and out of her sight. Ramona laughed as she heard a whiny shriek echo through the void, fading off in the distance.

 

Alan tumbled to the ground, rolling along the grass in a small park. He dusted himself off, finding his way to his knees. He coughed a few dust clouds out of his lungs and shook the cobwebs from his brain. Things were starting to get a little clearer in his mind now that he was out of the in between.

 

“I’m okay,” Alan’s voice cracked. He cleared his throat out of embarrassment.

 

Ramona stepped through the pool of swirling air, a big smile plastered on her face.

 

“You’re quite the entertainment, Alan Mitchell,” Ramona joked.

 

“Glad I’m here for your amusement,” Alan coughed, his upper body heaving over his knelt form. Alan looked around the park he had tumbled into. “This place looks familiar.”

 

Alan stood up, using a merry-go-round to pull himself up. The blue tinted slides. The red monkey bars. Alan scratched his head. This place was full of memories.

 

“It should. You played here as a youth.”

 

“What?” Alan questioned.

 

“We’ve jumped into your timeline. I’m still trying to figure out exactly when we are,” Ramona explained.

 

“Ten years ago,” Alan interjected. Ramona gave him a puzzled look. Alan motioned forward to a young boy – about ten or eleven years old – running out in front of his parents.

 

“Is that-?”

 

“Yeah,” Alan responded with a barely audible murmur. “What are we doing here?”

 

Ramona cleared her throat. She had a hunch, but she couldn’t be certain for sure what was happening. “I don’t know. We’re just following my dad.”

 

“Why is your dad here?” Alan questioned.

 

“He isn’t. At least, not anymore.”

 

Alan felt the uneasy sense that he was being followed. Hunted. For whatever reason, he was the target for some elaborate time-traveling weirdo’s hunting habits. Alan stared at his younger self. The boy’s eyes were filled with a youthful exuberance and optimism that Alan could hardly remember. It was a strange, unearthly feeling to stare at one’s self from the outside.

 

“I don’t like this.”

 

“We should get going,” Ramona said, grabbing Alan’s arm as the young boy looked up from the slide stairwell at them – pair of strangers across the park. Alan nodded, his mind uneasily detaching from the surreal memory visitation he was experiencing.

 

Ramona pulled him backward by the arm, and they opened a portal around the side of a tree to jump back to the in between.

 

“Is your dad looking for me?”

 

“It would appear that way,” Ramona replied, visibly uneasy with this new variable.

 

“Why?” Alan questioned her with an interrogating tone.

 

Ramona confessed, “This may have something to do with how I found you.”

 

“I thought I ended up here by accident,” Alan said, confused by her admission. Ramona lowered her eyes, staring intently at the flowing long grass of the field of the in between.

 

“I found you when I was looking for my father. There was a strange nexus of temporal energy around you and my father.”

 

It all made sense now.

 

“Your father is the Director?” Alan asked, his voice shrill and markedly upset. The girl stared at the ground.

 

“I never knew him by that name, but I have heard it uttered before.”

 

“Your father is a monster,” Alan shouted, “He’s been destroying our kind for decades. Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”

 

“He wasn’t always this way, and he wasn’t always this Director. In my time, he was my father and he loved my mother.”

 

“Whatever man you knew, the one you’re looking for is hunting me down through time. That’s why you found me. He was going back to destroy me before I could stop him. He would’ve killed ten year old me just now if we didn’t show up at that park.”

 

“I’m deeply sorry. I didn’t know,” Ramona apologized.

 

“Don’t be sorry. You’re going to help me catch him. And stop him.”

The Hunted – Chapter 1

One shallow breath sucked into the back of her throat.

The truck screeched as Athena drove it into the lobby of yet another government institution. Glass shattered, spraying across the ground like windchimes detonated across a metal sheet. The truck slid up to the lobby’s front desk, pressing up against it, and then lurching back as its weight redistributed. Athena exhaled as the hydraulic truck brakes sighed, smoke tracking back from the tire marks across the marble floor. Athena looked up from the steering wheel, where her hands were gripped with white knuckles enveloped in black, leather gloves. She smirked and reached out with her mind.

 

“There’s one behind the desk, and three behind the false mirror,” Athena shouted into the back of the truck.

 

The truck’s back doors swung open with a metal creak, and the big man dropped down to the floor; his boots crunching broken glass underneath. Marshall zipped up his jacket and held a fist out as he adjusted his gloves.

 

“Good looking out, Athena. Knew there’s a reason I brought you on,” Marshall joked, as he pulled the security guard over the top of the front desk, ripped the keys from his belt, and tossed the man up against the wall. The guard felt to the ground, slumped over, unconscious.

 

“Gee, I’m so happy to be useful, sir,” Athena jeered, as she slammed the truck door behind her.

 

Marshall punched the false mirror, sending shards of thick glass in all directions, and revealing three shocked guards. They raised their handguns at Marshall, shouting excitedly.

 

“Oh no, Marshall, they have guns,” Athena retorted in a dry tone. “Whatever will we do.”

 

“Put your hands up! Reinforcements are on the way,” one of the guards shouted. “Don’t make us -.”

 

The guard dropped his gun, wincing in pain. He pulled off his glove and looked down at his beet-red hand. The guard looked back up, and his other two co-workers dropped their guns as well. Another pair of boots crunched glass as they came closer and closer to Marshall and Athena.

 

“Cutting it a little closer there, Castor,” Athena chided.

 

Castor tossed a used-up cigarette butt onto the ground and pressed his boot against it, crunching more glass in the process. His other hand was outstretched, glowing orange and steaming. He adjusted the aviator sunglasses on the bridge of his nose and flipped off Athena with his free hand.

 

“Didn’t want to waste my smoke. They’re contraband, remember?” Castor said gravely, and coughed after his explanation.

 

One of the guards flicked out a police baton, catching Marshall’s eye. Marshall smiled, and pulled the nearest guard towards him and threw him into the air. The air-bound guard squealed as he slammed into the marble floor and skidded across it like an errant plaything. The guard with the baton swung at Athena. She dodged his blow, and punched his kidney, sending him to the ground in agony. As he tried to get up, Athena punched him in the face, which knocked him out cold. The final guard tried to attack Athena as it happened, but Marshall grabbed the man’s arm and wrenched him to the side wall, pressing the air out of his lungs violently. He gasped for air as Marshall released his grip, leaving the man slumped over on top of the crushed glass.

Athena winced, shaking her punching fist in the air, and hoarsely whispering obscenities as the unconscious guard at her feet.

 

“I told you we’d handle it,” Marshall reminded.

 

“Oh screw you, Marshall,” Athena rebuffed as she gripped her throbbing hand. “I deserve to have a little fun too.”

 

“It’s not going to be fun later when you won’t shut your damn mouth about the pain,” Castor sneered. “All day at the base, just chatting away with Lizzie about how much your hand hurts, and how much bigger the guy was than you. What a load of crap.”

 

“Shut up, Castor,” Athena snapped. “I hope the sprinkler system turns on. Then you’ll be a steaming pile of -.”

 

“Both of you, shut up,” Marshall said in a correcting tone. He was the defacto leader of their little band of misfits; their little renegade army of superpowered freaks.

 

They had a job to do: get in, get their friend Nick, and get the hell out before the Director brought a detachment of operatives to the fight. With Athena’s ability to read minds, it was easy to spot when people were coming, but it would get a whole lot more complicated when other supers came into the equation. They wouldn’t be able to escape… just like Alan. Marshall remembered Alan most in these situations. He knew Alan would want him to protect their friends. Well, Alan kind of hated Castor, but still… Marshall didn’t want to waste Alan’s sacrifice. They were going to bring down the government board enslaving their people.

 

Marshall motioned toward the door that was rattling behind the false mirror they just destroyed. “They’re coming.”

 

The door cracked at the handle at a gun peeked through, one gunshot cracking the air like a whip. The bullet whizzed between Marshall and Athena, ricocheting off the lobby desk, and into the ceiling. The sprinkler system activated.

 

“You just had to say it,” Castor groaned. Athena shrugged.

 

Marshall shook his head, and barreled his way toward the door, knocking over the men bunched up on the other side with a thunderous crash. The men moaned as they squirmed on the floor, broken bones and bruised egos limp against each other in a pile. A few men stood by, and they came running and saw the commotion. One guard pulled his pistol and aimed in the doorway at Marshall. The gun cracked, somersaulting in the air from Athena’s swift kick. She grabbed his arm and pushed him off balance into Marshall’s oncoming fist. His head made a thunk sound against his black helmet, and he fell backwards into the other man coming towards their team. They both fell to the floor, lying motionless in fear.

 

“I thought you were only going to give five percent power?” Castor asked, disappointed there weren’t many left for him. Marshall smiled as he pulled himself all the way to his feet. A piece of the doorway fell to the ground with a loud crash, metal and drywall scraping the marble floor.

 

“That was five percent.”

 

“Bullshit.”

 

“Care for me to show you ten?” Marshall asked. Athena stood to the side, amused at the situation.

 

“He’s thinking about it,” Athena said through a wry smirk.

 

Castor looked at her with a raised eyebrow. Another guard came running up, and Castor held his hand out, melting the tip of the gun. The gun backfired, knocking the man unconscious. He rolled his eyes, and pushed the guard’s body onto the other pile, eliciting another collective groan from the injured men.

 

“Oh, shut up. You’ll live,” Castor chided.

 

They had no time to revel in their win. Another group of guards came sprinting down the hall after them. But these men were different: they were super powered too. One of the guards grabbed Marshall by the jacket and tossed him against the side wall of the hallway, cracking the drywall and leaving a Marshall-shaped dent in it. He threw Marshall again, breaking through to the other side and into a room that appeared to be the kitchenette break room for the guards.

 

Marshall grabbed a microwave and struck the guard’s helmet, sending him to the ground momentarily. The guard punched upwards as he rose, knocking Marshall off his feet and into the kitchenette counter. The guard grabbed the refrigerator by its door, ripped the door off its hinges, and swung toward Marshall. Marshall’s eyes glowed red, sending beams flashing through the refrigerator door coming at his face. Marshall threw his arm up, splitting the door where it melted from his ‘high beams’, and ripped it away from the guard. Marshall smacked his head against the guard’s helmet, cracking through to the man’s skull and knocking him out cold.

 

Marshall bent down, picked up the melted refrigerator door, and threw it at one of the guards running at Athena. With a loud bang, the guard fell over into the pile of other guards near Castor.

 

“Hey! I had him!” Athena protested, as she kicked the next guard near her, sending him to the floor.

 

Marshall pushed his way back out of the kitchenette, rolling his eyes at his little friend. “Whatever you say, Athena.” An errant red beam sliced through Marshall’s jacket lapel, and a piece of the cloth slowly floated to the crowded floor. Marshall looked over at the guard who had shot the beam at him.

 

“You missed.”

 

Marshall’s eyes lit up orange-red and the fluorescent light panel above the attacking guard fell onto his head, and he tumbled to the floor with a loud crash of armor and broken bulbs. Marshall picked up the piece of the errant piece of his jacket lapel, and tucked it into his front pocket flap.

Athena rolled her eyes at Castor as he shoved another guard through a glass wall, which revealed a small conference room. The guard tumbled into the conference table, sending chairs rolling on each side of him.

 

“I know you’re having so much funny, Castor, but I think it’s time to get Nick.”

 

Nick. The magnet who could move metal with his mind by tapping into magnetic fields. The Nick who got locked up because of Alan’s brashness. That Nick. It was one of Alan’s last wishes: that his friends would help Nick out. Call it guilt. Call it compassion. Whatever the case, Alan wanted Nick to be free like the rest of them.

Castor grunted as he pulled an unconscious guard over to the pile of the rest of his buddies. He heaved the man onto his friends, and looked up at Athena with panting breaths.

 

“You ruin all the funny, little girl.”

 

“Shut the hell up and find me the database,” Athena said through grinding teeth. “We don’t have time for your frat boy shtick.”

 

Castor rolled his eyes, and touched his hands to the closest wall. The farther away they got from their subservient past, the more they found their abilities evolving. Castor found that in concentrating, he could feel heat coursing through objects. He became a bloodhound, sniffing out heat and energy to its source. It came in handy when looking for computers, specifically servers with their high energy and heating. He could feel the warmth of processors caching information, pulsing as they drained energy from their outlets. Castor nodded, and looked over to Marshall and Athena.

 

“The server room is down the hall to the right. Get me in there and I’ll overload the firewall controller.”

 

“Same old, same old,” Marshall grunted as he parted the bodies between him and the server room hallway.

 

The room was filled with towers of enclosed computer parts, like small skyscrapers filling a gray box. Castor put a hand on a server rack, finding its input wires. He followed the wires to the firewall control center, which was housed in another rack. Castor melted the lock off the control console, and pulled back on the small metal door. He touched a hand to the power supply, melting it down into plastic and metal pudding. The green light of the firewall indicator flashed, then turned yellow as plastic and metal dripped around it. The liquid concoction slowly overtook the bulb as it pulsed red, then died.

 

“We’re good to go,” Castor shouted.

 

Athena pulled out a small drawer in one of the racks labeled “Array 273, Detainment Records.” The metal drawer slipped out, revealing a keyboard connection and a small screen, which sprang to life, bathing Athena’s face in blue light. She slid a small drive into the input panel, and pulled up a diagnostic program from the directory.

 

“Second floor. Block A. Cell 24,” Athena said, and she then opened another window. “Copying files to our drive.”

 

“Good,” Marshall replied, and he pushed a large metal filing cabinet in front of the doorway they came through. “I think we’ve gotten some more attention.”

 

The cabinet rattled as the door behind it start banging. “Ok, I know we have.”

 

“So we go up to the second floor,” Castor cried out as he melted the door back onto the firewall control box.

 

“No, you idiot. These buildings do their floor numbers backwards. Floor 2 is beneath us,” Athena snapped, her eyes staring at the file copy process box on the computer screen.

 

Castor rolled his eyes and melted down the firewall controller cabinet from the exterior inward. The metal and plastic bubbled over on themselves, collapsing the tower into a heap. Castor grinned, and straightened his jacket.

 

“Whatever you say, little girl.”

 

“Stop calling me that,” Athena said under her breath.

 

The file copy was 98 percent complete.

 

“Guys,” Marshall said, his body pinned up against the shaking cabinet. “We don’t have time for this.”

 

“No time. Gotcha’,” Castor said, and he bent down to put his hands on the white, tiled floor. The floor began glowing red, the floor melting all around Castor’s palms.

 

“What’re you doing?” Athena called out, her eyes still on the copy process.

 

“Shortcut,” Castor grunted, as he concentrated even more on melting down the floor beneath his feet. The tile began to bubble and crack under his weight. “This may take too long.”

 

“I got this,” Marshall cried out from the spastic cabinet that he was perched on. Castor ran over and pressed himself against the cabinet, and Marshall went to the red spot forming in the tile. He leaped into the air and drove his arms down with a force that created a crack down the entire room’s floor. He punched again. A fissure tore through the tile, revealing crumbling concrete underneath. Another punch. Now Marshall could see pipes. Marshall reached down and yanked rebar that was reinforcing the concrete out of his way. The rebar flew through the air and stuck into the drywall around them like darts in a board.

 

“Hate to rush, but…,” Castor grimaced, using all of his strength to keep the cabinet pinned to the door.

 

Marshall looked up for a brief moment to see the door’s hinges snap under the pressure of a dozen shoulders and rifle butts. He lifted his fists in the air and slammed his arms down onto the floor, and his body – with a mountain of rubble – crashed down into the next floor. The pipes had been filled with water, so the room Marshall was in was already ankle deep and soaking his boots. Marshall pulled back his long hair and saw several guards looking on in disbelief.

 

“Sorry. The elevator was broken,” Marshall said stone-faced.

A guard broke up the gawking onlookers and punched Marshall across his face, sending him flying into a wall behind him. The second floor walls weren’t as flimsy, made of steel and concrete, so Marshall could feel his back pop a little bit, knocking the air out of his lungs for a moment.

 

“Not bad,” Marshall managed through a hearty cough.

 

The guard grabbed Marshall by his jacket and punched him in the face. Marshall felt his jaw rattle from the impact. He coughed as another punch smashed him up against the wall again.

 

“Guys… little help,” Marshall called up. The guard pulled out his nightstick and held it over his head.

 

“They warned us about you. Have to say: not impressed,” the guard jeered, then he shrieked, dropping the glowing hot nightstick.

 

“Likewise,” Castor said with a smirk, and he grabbed the guard by the arm, a stream of hot air spraying around the edges of Castor’s grip. The guard winced, and jerked his arm back, catapulting Castor into the wall where Marshall had been slumped up against. Marshall wasn’t on the ground though. He was running at the guard at fullforce, slamming into him with enough power to snap a normal man’s back. But this guard was strong like Marshall, so he was merely caught off balance, and he smashed against another wall next to the other dumbfounded guards. The guard’s head wobbled and fell over.

 

“Anyone else?” Marshall asked. The other guards ran away, fumbling over each other to get to one of the two exits in the room. Marshall chuckled as he picked himself up off the wet floor.

 

Athena dropped down into the hole in the ground and helped Castor to his feet.

 

“Thanks for the help, Castor,” Marshall said, his body still recovering from the shock of its damages. Castor nodded and twisted his torso back and forth.

 

“Everything seems to be alright,” Castor moaned as he felt a little pop in his torso from stretching. Athena helped Castor over the snarled remains of the concrete, rebar, and metal sheets reinforcing the floor they had come through.

 

“At least physically,” Athena shrugged and tapped her index finger on Castor’s head. Castor chuckled and nodded in agreement, and then the three of them tried to get their bearings.

 

“You didn’t happen to get a map, did you?” Marshall asked Athena.

 

Athena shook her head. “Oops.”

“Oops? Oops!” Castor replied, frustration rife in his body language as he shrugged off Athena’s help and stood on his own. “Well what do we do now?”

 

“Uh… guys?”

 

Marshall, Athena, and Castor turned to the wall lined with cells that the guards had been standing in front of moments before. Nick was standing in one of the cells, orange jumpsuit, water up to his shins.

 

“Little help here?” Nick asked.

 

Marshall smiled a huge beaming grin that set the others at ease. He ripped the thick cell door off its fused hinges and tossed it like a piece of cardboard. Nick hugged Marshall, a decidedly un-Nick move. It had been a long time. Marshall could tell from Nick’s deep set eyes that he hadn’t slept much.

 

“Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes. Hey, where’s the kid? I figured he’d be here trailing your shadow. At this point I even miss his annoying voice,” Nick asked Marshall. Marshall looked down at the ground. The group was silent, a thick fog of depression overcoming the jovial spirit they enjoyed not two seconds before.

 

“Alan’s gone,” Athena said, her voice trailing off trying to mask the lump in her throat. She cleared her throat. “We need to go. They’re recovering.”

 

Marshall pulled out a handset, pressed a button and heard Song’s voice on the other end. “Song, we’re going to need a lift. We’re on the second floor of the building in the A block of cells.”

 

A blue light exploded nearby, and a small wormhole opened up. Song, their lithe teleporting friend – once an operative of the Board and enemy – stepped through the portal and held her hand out.

 

“I don’t want to go through that thing,” Nick moaned. “They make me sick!”

 

Athena shoved Nick, and he tumbled into the hole and disappearing before their eyes. Marshall gave Athena a judgmental glance.

 

“What? We don’t have time for bullshit,” Athena argued. Song hid a coy smirk, as Marshall shook his head in disapproval. “Just go,” Athena snapped.

 

Marshall walked through the portal and Athena followed after him. Song looked at Castor with an amused grin.

 

“Time for the fireworks?” Song asked. Castor nodded, pulling a detonator switch from his jacket.

 

“Man, I loved that truck.”

 

He pressed the red button on the switch, sending a shockwave through the building as the truck in the lobby detonated. The ceiling above them shook violently, concrete and dust loosening into mist across the flooding room.

 

“We’ll steal another one. Come on,” Song implored, waving Castor on toward the portal. The two jumped into the light together and disappeared, just as the ceiling above them collapsed into a pile of metal and stone.

 

~ ~ ~

 

Nick threw up on the concrete floor of the basement in the team’s headquarters. He pulled an arm back, wiping his long, orange sleeve across his mouth. Athena rolled her eyes. Some people got sick from the strange physics of the dimensional, space and time jump that Song’s type could pull off. Marshall picked Nick up off the floor. Nick stood uneasily, wobbling like a man who’d been at sea for too long; now back on the earth, the gravity and friction an uncertain, alien feeling. His sleeve pulled back in the process, and Athena saw something she didn’t quite believe.

 

“What the hell is that?” Athena asked, her voice skeptical and haunted.

 

“My tattoo? We all have one…,” Nick trailed off looking at the ink on his arm.

 

“Not that. What is that?” Athena pointed to the watch on Nick’s wrist. It was a trinket. An interesting face. Somehow familiar, yet foreign. An old memory, yet a new visage. Nick shrugged.

 

“I woke up one day, and it was just in my cell, bundled up in my mattress. Don’t know where it came from,” Nick explained, looking at the watch as if it was mysterious and majestic at the same time. “Why?”

 

“That was Alan’s watch.”

The Hunted: A Sequel

My first novel (which you can find on this blog) is in its first revision, and I HATE editing (writing, not video… I’m good at editing video). So as a means of catharsis, I’ve started working on the next book, which takes place about a month or two after the first story. If you’ve read the first book, you know it ended on quite a cliffhanger with our characters in an uncertain situation.

I’m happy to say that I’ve finished the first chapter of the sequel to the Department for Mutated Persons, The Hunted. When I’m a bit farther along I will probably post the first chapter for those of you whose curiosity is gnawing away at your bones.

dmp_2-hunted