Narr: The Earth Guard - the planet's most powerful heroes united in the common
goal of protecting the innocent people of planet Earth and defending them
from threats of all kinds. From the Guard Tower, their base of operations,
they watch over the citizens and spring into action at any sign of danger.
To that end, the Guard take shifts monitoring events all over the globe. Sooner
or later, they all have to take a shift of… Guard Duty. This week: Peaseblossom
and the Stallion in "No Choices."
Stallion: So, there I am, Attractor has me bound to the tracks with the twisted
remains of my own horseshoes, and the train comes around the corner. The conductor
sees us and hits the breaks immediately, but Attractor won't have it. He starts
using his own power to speed the train up.
PB: (feigning interest) I see!
Stallion: At this point, I think I'm done for. I start thinking about how
likely it is the people in the train are going to get hurt, and if there is
anything I can do to make the impact easier on them.
PB: How very... mortal of you! (as if it were a compliment? Or charming somehow?)
Stallion: But all of sudden, Foal bursts forward, jabs him with her electro-crop,
and reverses his polarity. The shoes fly from my arms and legs, and the train
stops coming towards us and even starts to roll backwards down the line before
I clock the bastard in the jaw!
PB: Oh my!
Stallion: I can't even tell you how great it felt! I'd forgotten what it's
like to have her with me- someone always there to get my back. Someone I can
really count on.
PB: (laughing under her breath) You don't say.
PB: Nothing, nothing at all.
Stallion: Ever since Tanya's been back, I just feel... I feel like a huge
weight has been lifted off of me. I think ever since that night, I've been
wrestling with it... her death, I mean. I kept asking myself if it was all
worth it, and I think a part of me never really believed it was. But regardless,
once she died, I could never stop. I had to keep going, do more; I had to
make it worth it.
PB: And now that she's returned, you can retire?
Stallion: What? No, no, I'm not going to retire. I just feel like... it takes
some of the burden off my shoulders.
PB: I see... so you're saying... having Foal back relieves you of responsibility?
Stallion: Well, no... Of course not, not really... Forget it. Let's just
say I'm happy she's back, and leave it at that.
PB: Alas! If only it were that simple! I too am glad that Foal doth live
once more, but Ocean Man didst say that though Foal livest, yet Voodoo Lady
is dead in exchange! That on the fateful day Creationist attempted to turn
Hillary to salt, the Foal was to fight Mudman and the Ribs. 'Twas she that
fell in battle on that day, held down by Ribs while Mudman dealt the blows.
Yet now, because of something Earth Guard did, not she, but Voodoo Lady lives
Stallion: It wasn't something we did, it was... No, it was because of the
Time Marines. We didn't make them go back in time. Hell, if we hadn't gone
after them, things would have been a lot worse, let me tell you. You could
have been exiled in the Socialist Collective of America, for one thing.
PB: It matters not to me. Economy and politics hold little interest here.
Stallion: Just take it from me, it wouldn't have been pretty.
PB: Regardless of all change you did prevent, Foal's death was one that managed
to slip through. The choice now stands: whether to fix what's rent... and
as the team leader, it falls to you.
Stallion: Choice, what choice? You mean to kill Foal? To actually choose...
to decide that she has to die?
PB: Someone is dead right now, as you well know. Someone who wasn't dead
a week ago.
Stallion: Then we can save both of them. We can go back and change things,
make it so neither of them dies.
PB: A very diplomatic choice, indeed, but one that sets an awkward precedent.
For once one uses time travel to stop one thing, then why not do the same
for all? Don't all who die deserve to live some more? A slippery slope awaits
after that choice.
Stallion: I'm not giving up Tanya.
PB: No one would ask you to; they're far too scared. And yet, methinks it
Stallion: (louder, more firm) I'm not giving up Tanya.
PB: (conceding) A war between ideals is seldom won, for one's own mind belongs
to only one. (She finds something.) Ah me! But what is this strange trinket
Stallion: Oh that's... that's a Scrabble tile. Probably the Jack's. He's
got a whole bag of them he keeps on his belt. Listen, Pease... I want to talk
to you, seriously for a moment. Tanya's like a daughter to me, having her
around again... well, it's making me consider things I haven't thought of
in a long time. I've been thinking about myself a little more.
PB: You never struck me as a person who has any trouble thinking of himself.
Methinks, perchance, we're quite alike, that way.
Stallion: I meant my... personal life. When Foal was gone, I thought it was
my responsibility to give up everything for the fight. I owed it to her. Now
that she's alive again... I've been thinking of who we are outside of our
masks. Chuck Cavallo hasn't really lived much of a life. Maybe it's time for
me to change that.
PB: Far be't from me to say thou shouldst not live! For one as I, your lifespan's
just a mood that comes and goes upon a passing thought. Endeavor, as you please,
to wring as much experience from that time as you can!
Stallion: That's exactly it- how much have I been missing, focussing so narrowly
on this one thing in my life?
PB: With so much wonder in the world, indeed, much can be missed by not looking
Stallion: Exactly. Yes. For the first time since I can remember... I want
something to be good for me. I have Tanya back, and it makes me want more.
I want us to be... a family. Which means, of course, I'll have to open myself
to the possibility of having a lady in my life.
PB: I've often noticed how the mortal brain can be subdued, diverted, or
detained by stirrings founded in those mortals hearts... or sometimes born
of other body parts.
Stallion: Yes, well... there is one certain lady I'd already begun considering.
Looking back, it seems obvious that she's been interested in me the entire
time, but I'd been too blind to notice.
PB: Just as you said- being too focused can cut one off from seeing the obvious.
Stallion: It was in small things she does. They way she carries herself around
me, always trying to draw attention to herself. She must have gotten frustrated
with me not noticing her recently, because she changed her costume to something
more... provocative in an attempt to catch my eye. You know... I think she
was even jealous of Foal when she returned.
PB: (confused) I... would... offer to make for you a draft distilled of certain
flowers, which when dabbed upon the eyes can turn their looks to love... but
from the things you have already spoke, it seems the lady lacks not love for
Stallion: You think so, too, do you? (chuckles knowingly) Yes, I think things
will be changing for me, now that Foal is back in my life. Things are just
going to get easier from here.
PB: (chuckles a little, too) Indeed, I find it hard to even think of you
living five years without Foal's help.
Stallion: What... what do you mean by that?
PB: (offhand, dismissing the thought) Nothing, nothing.
Stallion: No... No, not nothing. What were you trying to say?
PB: I should have held my tongue, for now I have-
Stallion: Just tell me.
PB: (embarrassed) These past few years among the Guard there has been something
of a running joke about... how you need Foal to save you all the time.
PB: When e'er we hear tales of your 'epic fights', inevitably it will come
to pass that your opponent has you dead to rights, and Foal has to swoop in
and save your-
Stallion: That is completely false! I mean, it's just not true! In the five
years where she was dead, I've fought hundreds of foes alone, and I've always
triumphed, no matter how hard I had to fight!
PB: And yet, in the five years that now occurred, where Voodoo Lady died,
and not the Foal, we regularly mock your-
Stallion: That's impossible. That's... I'm the Stallion. The Stallion! You
don't mock the Stallion!
PB: And yet-
MF: (over the comm) Come in, Guard Tower, do you read me?
Stallion: Mr. Fahrenheit. We're here, what's you situation?
MF: The allusionist has raised an army, and they're poised to invade New
York. They're all covered in branches, which... is a reference to something,
PB: Falling back on Shakespeare again, is he? Nothing betrays one's lack
of ideas more.
Stallion: Where are they headed?
MF: They're about to storm the George Washington. I could... melt the pavement
in front of them, if you want. Slow them down a little, at least.
Stallion: Do it. We're on our way. Attention Earth Guard, we have a priority
one emergency- all units report in ASAP. We're on the job.