Narr: The tension was thick among the Flashpack. This impenetrable group
of friends had spent the last year fighting off deadly enemies like Cthulu
and Slimer. They had buried loved ones together. With their combined energies
they had christened, flown, lost, stolen, and crashed spaceships. They had
cooked and eaten meals together, gone on top secret missions, and played a
few video games in between vicious alien attacks. Now everyone was wrapped
up in their own business and the group seemed very disjointed. Jimmy’s
inauguration speech was only a day away, and of course the entire Flashpack
was going to attend. Getting there, however, may have been a problem as they
probably needed to take at least three separate ships if they were going to
refrain from killing each other on their way. It was as if the only members
of the ‘pack who were getting along were Max and Drallus. The two had
taken a trip to San Francisco to pick up a specially made bust of Jimmy that
they intended to present to him as something of a housewarming gift after
his inauguration ceremony. The trip was proving quite pleasant, and the bust
had come out beautifully, thank you. Meanwhile, the rest of the Flashpack
was still on Venus, and they certainly weren’t getting along. They had
successfully thwarted the Blagenstraf invasion of Flutwana, Venus’s
capitol and were invited by the Venusian Prime Minister to stay for a couple
of days in his palace and attend an elaborate ceremony in their honor. The
ceremony had been beautiful, the food scrumptious, and the accommodations
absolutely elegant. They were spending their last day there, which they should
have been enjoying. But Molly and Keane were still not speaking to each other
and Slotter was avoiding both of them by making a huge card for Jimmy that
said "Congratulations Prez – don’t mess up the country!" Now
Molly was sitting in her room and futzing with her portable videophone and
Keane found herself in the parlor chatting with the Prime Minister, who happened
to be an old family friend.
Prime Minister: I still cannot get over little Sara Keane all grown up and
fighting for one of the most famous intergalactic crime-fighting troops of
Keane: (teasing) One of?
Prime Minister: (teasing back) Oh, I apologize, of course. The most famous
intergalactic crime-fighting troop of our time! Seriously, my young Sara,
you look positively radiant!
Keane: If you weren’t a religious man…
Narr: The two chuckled quietly and sipped from the small round bowls they
were resting in their laps.
Prime Minister: But come now, my little crime-fighting niece, you have just
come from grueling battle with our arch enemies! You have saved my entire
planet from certain destruction and here you are cooking for me? This is unacceptable!
Keane: Well if you don’t want it I’ll be happy to finish it.
PM: Nonsense, I would not let a drop of your curry out of my hands. Are you
sure you are not part Venusian? Your cooking is better than that of my head
Keane: Now now, don’t let him hear you say that! The dinner you offered
us was positively lovely! This is just a gesture to you to thank you for all
the hospitality you have afforded us. I’m sure it is insufficient, but
it’s the least I can do. And you know I love to cook.
Narr: Upstairs and down the hall a ways, Molly’s portable videophone
made some squeaking noises and a picture started to form. The static suddenly
faded away and Max’s voice came in loud and clear.
Max: Molly? Hey Molly are you there?
Molly: Max! Sorry, I’ve been having some trouble with the VP. It’s
a long story. How are things on your end?
Max: Couldn’t be more stellar, Moll! We’ve got Jimmy’s
bust and it’s just perfect. Drallus really outdid herself finding this
Molly: Oh I’m so glad!
Max: Where are you guys?
Molly: Oh, we’re still on Venus.
Max: What!? I figured you’d be home by now! I thought it was a wild
goose chase! Did it turn out to be true?
Molly: Oh, it was true alright. Blagenstraf galore.
Max: What!? Jeez, Molly, why didn’t you call me?
Molly: I told you, the VP’s been down. Not to mention, Captain America,
that we’re perfectly capable of fending off a few harmless Blagenstraf.
Max: Harmless. Sure.
Molly: Well they’re gone now, in any case.
Max: Well, good work. Will you be heading back tonight?
Molly: Yes, in a few hours.
Max: Okay then we’ll meet there. Drallus and I are-
Narr: Max’s image became very fuzzy and his voice cut out for a moment.
Molly: Max? Max, I didn’t catch that. You and Drallus are what?
Max: (under static) Drallus and I will-
Molly: Max? Max! Damn! Stupid thing…
Narr: Molly went out of her room and knocked on the room next door. She heard
a friendly but tentative –
Slotter: Come in!
Narr: - and opened the door to find Slotter with all kinds of construction
paper, glitter, and glue strewn about the room.
Molly: Uh, you’re going to like…clean that up before we leave,
Slotter: Nah, I figure the Prime Minster could use a little arts and crafts
in his life.
Molly: You’re a card. Listen, I just heard from Max.
Slotter: So you got the VP up, eh?
Slotter: Bet he blew a gasket when he heard about the Blagenstraf.
Molly: He probably had an accident. But he’s proud of us.
Slotter: As well he should be. Is he still on? Can I say hi?
Molly: I haven’t got all the bugs out, I guess. He said he got Jimmy’s
present okay, but he cut out just as he was telling me about something he
and Drallus were going to do, I think.
Slotter: Just as long as they’re in time to see Jimmy.
Molly: Yeah, I hope so. Listen…would you mention this to Keane? Just
so she’s up to date?
Slotter: Yeah, sure.
Narr: Just then, Molly’s videophone started beeping up a storm from
her room and she ran in to see what it was doing. Drallus’s face had
manifested clearly on the screen.
Molly: Hey! I figured you guys would call back.
Drallus: Yeah well Max had to, uh, use the little boys’ room so I thought
I’d try you back. Having trouble with the VP?
Molly: Well, not at the moment apparently. It’s going in and out. So
why are you so made up?
Drallus: Oh, I guess that’s where you guys cut out. Max and I have
stopped for dinner in El Paso. I know a nice place and we’re famished.
Molly: Must be a really nice place for you to make yourself up! You never
touch the stuff!
Drallus: (shyly) Well, I want to look nice for Max.
Molly: (taken aback) …Oh.
Drallus: It’s something of a date, you know? Hey listen he’s
ready and we should head out. See you at Flashpoint tonight?
Molly: Yeah…sure. Have fun.
Narr: Drallus clicked off her videophone and turned to see Max standing behind
Max: Wow, Drallus…you look really nice.
Drallus: It’s the same tee-shirt and jeans I was wearing before you
went to the loo, Max.
Max: Yeah I know. But still, you look nice.
Drallus: Well thanks. Wanna go?
Narr: The two got into their space taxi, which took them to a large very
modern looking building with no signs on it.
Drallus: This is a hotel I discovered on my last trip here. It’s got
a beautiful little restaurant inside.
Max: Sounds great! I could eat a gleepglorp.
Drallus: And you can.
Narr: The two hopped out of the taxi and went inside the building, not noticing
the little catman who was a few yards behind them. Max thought it was a rather
ugly hotel. It was pretty industrial looking on the inside and the lobby they
walked through was deserted. But soon they found what he thought was the restaurant.
When he peeked his head in he saw just a small carpeted room with a table
set for two with a candle.
Max: A…private dinner?
Drallus: I told you, classy. I figured we’d avoid the noise of all
the other diners. Have a seat.
Max: (flabbergasted) Wow, Drallus, this is so nice! Seriously, this is such
a sweet thing to do.
Narr: They sat down and hadn’t looked at their menus for a minute before
Max heard a deep voice behind him say-
Troop: Can I take your order, sir?
Narr: Max turned, intending to ask for a minute, but was confronted by several
men with the exact same face, build, and machine gun pointed at his face.
He turned to look at Drallus and could only muster a –
Max: WHAT THE….!?
Narr: -before he blacked out.
Drallus: Take him to the examination room! And start deploying troops to
the streets! I want this city secure before I send a distress call to the
Troops: Yes ma’am.
Narr: The troops filed out, carrying an unconscious Max and headed down the
hall, followed by Drallus. No one noticed the tiny catman who had scampered
around the corner. As soon as the hall was clear he skitted down the hall,
out of the building, and down a few blocks to safety. Back on Venus, Molly
was sitting out in the garden reading some engineering book. Keane was still
catching up with the Prime Minister on the other side of the garden. Slotter
was in her room covered in glitter. Molly’s videophone beeped and a
small grey catman appeared.
Furtrace: Hello, Molly.
Molly: Well you’re a sight for…well you’re a sight anyway.
To what do I owe the honor?
Furtrace: Listen, Molly. I’m in El Paso.
Molly: Well that’s a coincidence, so are Max and…(slyly) oh,
Furtrace: What’s that supposed to mean?
Molly: Do you have business in El Paso?
Furtrace: Of course I do, I’m a very important man!
Molly: (teasing) Uh huh. Say, have you seen Drallus lately? She happens to
be in El Paso too.
Furtrace: (annoyed) Tease if you want, Miss Singh, but I’m calling
because your stupid leader is in terrible danger and I thought I could help.
Furtrace: Where are you? There isn’t much time.
Molly: What’s going on!?
Furtrace: There isn’t much time! I can teleport to where you are, but
you have to tell me where that is before I can do it. I’m magic, but
I’m not psychic!
Molly: Venus! We’re on Venus. In Flutwana, at the Prime Minister’s
palace. I’m in the garden – hurry!
Narr: Furtrace clicked off his VP and started incanting something.
Furtrace: (cat noises)
Narr: Within ten minutes, Molly and Furtrace were across the garden. Molly
made a hasty apology to the Prime Minister and grabbed Keane, dragging her
toward the palace. Halfway across the garden Keane got fed up and wrenched
her arm free of Molly’s grasp, stopping her in her tracks.
Keane: Okay, Ms. Drama Queen, now that you’ve sufficiently insulted
the Prime Minister, who is not only the leader of this entire planet but a
close family friend of mine, what exactly is so important that you have to
corral the herd together?
Molly: Look! Sara, I love you like a sister. I don’t care what you
feel about Max right now, he’s in danger and WE HAVE GOT TO GO SAVE
HIM BEFORE WE NO LONGER HAVE A FLASHPACK! Can we put these differences aside
for ONE MINUTE while we go save our leader and best friend!?
Narr: Keane studied Molly for a minute and then picked up the pace and started
running with her again toward the palace. The three of them quickly found
themselves in Slotter’s room, pausing only momentarily to take in the
sight of Jill with glue in her hair and glitter up her nose, grinning from
ear to ear.
Slotter: Oh jeez, guys, can we not do this in my room? I told you I didn’t
want any part of this.
Molly: No time, Slotter. We have to get going. Furtrace, can you teleport
us to El Paso?
Furtrace: Yeah, in your dreams.
Molly: Well you teleported here, I just thought-
Furtrace: I can’t transport three humans who are collectively 30 times
my weight! I’m magic, but I’m not Superman.
Narr: Molly’s VP started buzzing and beeping like crazy in her pocket.
Molly: I’m getting an SOS from Drallus?
Furtrace: It’s a trap. She’s got troops waiting for you all over
Molly: Keane, can you transport to Max once we’re in El Paso?
Molly: And you can get back out?
Keane: (impatient) I’ve got it covered, Molly.
Molly: Okay, then. To the ship.
Narr: It was about 10 o’clock in Washington DC and Jimmy was just finishing
his discussion with the Chief Justice about the next morning’s proceedings.
Jimmy: Thanks a lot. I think I’m ready.
Chief Justice: You look nervous, sir.
Jimmy: Wouldn’t you be?
Justice: I’m sure I would, sir.
Jimmy: I wish I could get in touch with Max now. He’d reassure me.
Justice: Max is doing his part to help people too, sir. He’ll be here
in the morning, as will all your friends. It’s going to be a truly momentous
occasion. May I respectfully advise that you get some rest, sir?
Jimmy: Yes, yes, sleep will do me good. If I can get any.
Justice. Very good, sir.
Narr: The Chief Justice hesitated.
Jimmy: What is it?
Justice: It’s just…I don’t know…am I supposed to
tuck you in or something?
Jimmy: Leave the jokes till after I’m actually in office, hm?
Justice: Of course, sir. Good night.
Jimmy: Good night.
Narr: With that, Jimmy Kovacs went off to bed with a restless night ahead
of him worrying about the first of so many important speeches he would make
as President of the United States of America. Can the flashpack save Max from
the clutches of this new and extremely unorthodox villain? Has Drallus committed
the ultimate betrayal? Will Jimmy’s friends make it to his inauguration?
Will they even make it out of El Paso alive? Tune in for the final action-packed
season of Epic Echoes: The Backwards Series.