Narrator: The year was 1683. The place was Canterbury, England. To be more
specific, the place was on top of the Cathedral of said city in England. The
Cryptogs had finally been handed off to the Priests for safekeeping. And Sara
Keane was nowhere to be found. As per usual, the rest of the Flashpack was
awaiting her arrival so that they could leave.
Jimmy: We could just leave her behind.
Molly: Jimmy! That’s a terrible thing to say!
Jimmy: Just a suggestion. I think I recall a similar phrase being said by
her about me not too long ago.
Max: Patience, Jimmy. What’s ten minutes or so going to hurt?
Slotter: Ten minutes of us NOT fighting off Vampiros in Baltimore of the
very very distant future?
Narrator: Max gave her a look.
Slotter: What? I’m just saying. Besides, it’s already been way
longer than ten minutes. Furtrace! Would you please leave the birds alone!
You’re going to fall off the roof!
Furtrace: Hello! Magic user! It’s not like I’ve never survived
a long fall before!
Jimmy: Then how does impaling yourself on one of those gargoyles’ tails
Max: Chill out everyone. Keane will be back soon and then we can…wait…where’s
Molly: Oh…you and Slotter were working on time logistics so Jimmy,
Drallus and I drew straws to follow Keane.
Molly: Just a hunch. I’m probably wrong…don’t worry about
Narrator: Meanwhile, in a rotting castle in Blackmoor, formerly part of the
Greater North Sea continent of Britain…
William: So you're off to the future. How long before you return, my darling
Keane: Oh, not long. It should only take us a few weeks to collect everything.
William: Pardon my asking, but, what exactly is it that you and your Pack
Keane: Well...Max said we weren’t supposed to go around telling people.
In case of spies. I'm really sorry, William. I know that sounds horrible.
It's just that...oh what the hell?
William: Language, my dear Sara. A lady never belittles herself by stooping
to the use of common language.
Keane: Forgive me, my darling. We're going to Baltimore. Something about
collecting goo for innocence. It really is a genius idea, may Molly never
hear me say that. Anyway, I must dash. They'll be waiting for me, and I do
not wish for Molly to send anybody else to come spying on me. (beat) Oh, I
shall miss you so!
William: Well, to tide you over until we are reunited, I was wondering if
you would ponder something for me.
Keane: Anything, my love!
Narrator: Sir William Alfred Whickersham, fourteenth lord duke of Blackmoor,
formerly part of the Greater North Sea Continent of Britain, dropped to one
William: Sara Keane, I am but a humble man, simple of heart and pure of spirit,
but I dare to ask, against all odds, if such a graciously distinguished Lady
such as yourself would deign to marry such as I.
Keane: Marry…marry you??
William: Aye, my beloved. To have, to hold, to raise children, grow old and
rule with. For Eternity.
Keane: Of course I will, William!
William: Splendid! Now you must away, so that I can make arrangements for
the moment you will return to me and we shall be joined as one!
Narrator: Keane, her cheeks flushed with delight, pushed a button on her
transporter belt, and dissolved from William's sight.
William: It's a shame really. She really was a lovely girl.
Narrator: A figure stepped out from behind a tapestry.
William: You will return when the deed is finished, to receive eternity?
Narrator: The figure nodded. Sir William Alfred Whickersham, 14th lord duke
of Blackmoor smiled.
Narrator: Meanwhile, the Flashpack was getting fidgety. They all sighed a
mixture of relief and exasperation when finally Keane materialized behind
Furtrace, practically scaring the Catman right out of his fur.
Furtrace: (scared cat yipe)
Keane: I thought it was rocking chairs that made cats nervous. Not rooftops.
Furtrace: Rocking chairs make cats nervous. I am not a cat, I am a Catman,
thank you very much. And Jimmy told me that the gargoyles were going to eat
Slotter: Um. No. He said you were going to impale yourself on one if you
didn’t stop goofing off.
Narrator: The discussion was ended with the appearance of a very pissed off
Molly: (quietly) I suppose she wasn’t our best choice for someone to
send on a wild goose chase after Sara.
Jimmy: Probably not. I hate it when she looks scary like that. It reminds
me of the Empress of Alter earth.
Molly: Oh well, at least they’re both back. I think it’s time
to head out.
Max: Ready, Slotter?
Slotter: Baltimore of the very very distant future, correct?
Keane: The year 98673, to be exact!
Jimmy: …and when we're done collecting the goo from the Goopy Marsh,
we'll take you to the aquarium!
Furtrace: What's an a-qua-ri-um?
Jimmy: It's a giant museum of fish!
Furtrace: FISH!? *ecstatic cat noise*
Jimmy: Yup! Every kind of fish you can imagine. Even a few from the ocean
planet of Posi-
Max: Tell him about it later, please? I’d really like to get out of
here before any Vampiros show up. Not only for our sake, but I feel like the
priests would be a little grateful if they lived long enough to at least hide
the Cryptogs. Come on, everybody!
Narrator: The Flashpack grabbed hands and held on as they were punted through
time and space, to land on a soft, squishy, ground like substance that got
all over their shoes.
Jimmy: Um...Slotter? What is this?
Narrator: With Canterbury, England, 1683, behind them, the Pack stared around
them at Baltimore of the very very distant the future. So far in the future
that, apparently, there was no longer a city. No people. No cars. No buildings.
Not even visible archaeological evidence of buildings. Not even an aquarium!
Just large ferns, a few volcanos in the distance, and an enormous forest right
in front of them. The Flashpack, still in a circle from their time travel,
shuffled closer together.
Slotter: What is what?
Max: Well, for starters Jill, where is Baltimore?
Slotter: It's Baltimore. I set my watch for Baltimore of 98673. That's when
the Goopy Marshes were first discovered by Ingmare Brik...Brig....I cant pronounce
it. But that guy! Didn’t you guys take Future History of the Earth Part
3 in eleventh grade?
Jimmy: I’m not even in eleventh grade yet!
Keane: There's....there's no dinosours that are going to jump out and eat
Molly: Keane, how many times must we go over this? Just because they made
an island to actually house dinosaurs after that movie, does not mean that
they took over the world and are going to eat you!
Max: I guess we've gone so far into the future that everything has...devolved...
Keane: Either way, I vote on finding those marshes and getting back to a
civilized time before something new decides it wants to kill us.
Narrator: The Flashpack nodded in general agreement, and Molly pulled out
Molly: It says that the Goopy Marshes, found only in central Baltimore of
the very very distant future-
Jimmy: Why is it always phrased like that?! Why cant they give a date!?
Molly: Because, just in case you haven't picked up on your surroundings,
THERE IS NO MORE HUMAN CIVILIZATION TO HAVE, OR CARE ABOUT DATES!!!
Keane: And let me tell you how fun it was to track that date down with seven
Vampiros tracking ME down.
Futrace: Well, tell us. How fun was it?
Keane: A lot more fun than an afternoon with you!
Max: Hey! Guys! I hate to break up this little pow-wow. But we need to do
this thing before the Vampiros figure out where we are, come after us, and
something about the part where they suck out our innocence and kill us! I
recommend we find a place to set up camp and get to work.
Narrator: The Flashpack nodded in general assent and broke out their hover
tents. Molly then wandered over to a swampy puddle, and scooped some putrid
looking gunk into a petrie dish.
Molly: Looks like this is going to be more difficult than I thought.
Max: What’s wrong?
Molly: Oh, it’s just that the textbook said that getting pure goo was
nearly impossibly time consuming. I brought along some equipment so that we
could distill it from the swampy muck itself, instead of having to all the
way into the heart of the swamp... But it looks like it’s going to be
pretty tough to get this to work.
Max: Well Molly, if anybody can do it, I know it’s you!
Molly: Er…thanks. Thanks a lot, Max. (beat) All right, everybody. I
need you all to go get me as much muck as you can and dump it into this cauldron.
Narrator: Molly whipped out her lab goggles and lit a Bunsen burner. The
rest of the pack fanned out towards the swamp and started lugging back bucketfuls
of swamp muck.
Keane: So what exactly is this…goo…we’re collecting supposed
to be doing?
Molly: The goo itself is made up of a compound of-
Jimmy: Molly, it’s, um, great that you know and care about the micro-atomic
qualities of this stuff. But what does it do?
Molly: Oh. Well, keep in mind that this has been widely hypothesized but
never proven, it’s just the best idea we’ve got so far. Once you
make the goo into innocence blobs, you can use them to detect the approach
of the Vampiros. You set them up like a kind of perimeter shield, and monitor
them. As the Vampiros get closer, they will absorb the blobs’ innocence,
simultaneously alerting you to their proximity-
Furtrace: Because a giant purple flash of light when they teleport isn’t
a dead giveaway-
Molly: -and giving them innocence to absorb that isn’t yours.
Keane: That’s a good trick.
Molly: Yes it is, and really hope that’s how it works. Hey, has anybody
Narrator: The Pack looked around, puzzled at the absence of their friend.
Molly: Did I not say that you guys just had to get muck from the immediate
Jimmy: Maybe she found something that looked promising?
Furtrace: Maybe I should go look for her?
Slotter: Hey, how do we know if this is working?
Narrator: The Pack leaned forward and stared into Molly’s cauldron.
A thin film of nasty green goo seemed to be floating on top of the concoction.
Molly took out a strainer and scraped some of it out.
Molly: Um. Well, it’s greenish, which is good. I just wish they included
a picture of it in my textbook.
Keane: Didn’t you say that there was more concentrated goo somewhere?
Molly: Yeah, but it’s further into the marsh, and we don’t have
time to fight our way in there on the off-chance that we find enough to work
Slotter: Can't we send someone in to get just a little sample, just so we
can make sure this is working?
Narrator: Everybody considered Jill’s idea for a moment, nodded to
themselves, and pointedly in her direction.
Slotter: What? Me? Why?
Jimmy: Because if we sent Keane in, she’d get dirty and then hate us
for the rest of forever.
Molly: Here, take this with you. So you know what you’re looking for.
Narrator: Molly handed the grumbling Slotter the rest of the goo from the
cauldron and shooed her on her way.
Max: So anyway, how do we transport these things? If they’re goo, wontt
they sort of reconnect with each other and we’ll be back to one big
puddle instead of neat little blobs?
Molly: No. Once they are infused with innocence, they become hard to the
touch, but will retain their soft goo qualities so anyone they’re thrown
at won't be permanently damaged by them.
Jimmy: So they’re going to be a lot easier to carry than the cryptogs
that we just left with the monks?
Molly: Yes. As a matter of fact-
Narrator: The shrubbery nearby shook. The Flashpack jumped, but it was only
Drallus, still looking a bit angry and more than a bit crazed, fighting with
a blackberry-of-the-future bramble. After a few scrapes and curses, she whipped
out a double headed extra-tita-steel mono-molecular axe and hacked the vine
Molly: Oh, good, Drallus. You’re back. We were beginning to get worried.
Narrator: A flash of purple light shot from the sky right next to one of
Max: The Vampiros! They’re here! Molly, forget the explanation, we’ve
got to get harvesting this stuff. (pause) Molly? MOLLY!?
Narrator: When Max turned around, he was just in time to see Molly’s
body crumple to the ground. Her head was already there, rolling towards Furtrace.
The Catman’s eyes bugged out, he yowled, jumped, hissed, and, as Drallus
turned toward him, double headed axe in hand, ran behind Max.
Max: Wait. What? Molly? Drallus? Drallus no! Stop!
Narrator: Drallus eyed Max, then turned toward Keane, who was immobile with
Keane: Molly? Molly! MOLLY!
Narrator: Drallus stepped up to Keane. Keane looked into her eyes, whipped
out her handheld Incinerator 256, and pointed it at Drallus. Unfortunately,
Drallus dispensed with her axe, shoved her hand clean into Keane’s abdomen,
grabbed a fistful of colon, and yoinked it right out while Jimmy screamed
and shrieked like a transport anti-theft alarm.
Keane: (coughing spluttering squeaking) Drallus…how could you…I…
Narrator: Meanwhile, deep in the goopy marshes…
Slotter: Oh crap! The Vampiros are here! Hurry up Jill. Is this it? No… Ooo!
Here’s some! I think this is right- (hears Jimmy screaming) Oh no!
Narrator: Slotter booked it for the Pack’s camp. Back in said clearing,
Drallus chucked Keane’s colon at the dumbstruck and shaking Jimmy, and
turned to Max, who had been halted in the middle of coming to Keane’s
aid, by her death.
Drallus: So, Thornfield, what’ll it be? Promises of rank? Larger weapons?
More weight in my opinions during official decisions? A lecture of wrong versus
right on this planet? Or were you actually thinking of attacking me? Sorry
baby brother, I made a better deal.
Narrator: And without so much as a by-your-leave, Drallus hefted up her axe
and swung. Watching his mentor and idol be sliced like cheese snapped Jimmy
out of his state of shock. He dived for Molly’s sword, held it like
a lance, and charged at Drallus.
Narrator: Again disregarding her axe, Drallus merely reached out as the teen
rushed at her. She shoved her fingernails through his skull, and ripped out
his occipital lobe in its entirety.
Narrator: Slotter sank into the overly large collar of her sweater and dove
back into the trees. Drallus took a few steps in Slotter’s direction,
caught sight of the bramble that had given her so much trouble earlier, which
Slotter, hopeful, was crouched underneath, and turned back to the body parts
that littered the clearing.
Drallus: One, two, three, four….wait. Molly, Max, Keane, Jimmy, Slotter’s
out in the marsh. I’ll take care of her later. Who am I missing…?
Narrator: What in the world has happened to Drallus? Where has Furtrace disappeared
to? Will he and Slotter escape with their lives? Is this really the end of
the Flashpack as we know it? Tune in for next week’s exciting continuation
of Epic Echoes: The Posessed.