Hi, guys. Ulti here as your host for the Normal Writing contest for Fall Fanon Con 2016. About six users signed up, but only three of them managed to finish their submissions on time; Brandon, Coke and OV9. The theme for this contest is 'bittersweet'. Before I begin, I'd like to apologize if my explanations below seem rushed. As I'm writing this, it's about an hour before Wednesday and I'm under the weather. Anyway, here are our winners.
|==The Grandsmith End==
Edward Grandsmith came in through the door of Burger Shack. Ben and Rook were waiting for him. Ben saw him and waved to him. Edward came to them. Ben had been in good touch with Edward after the incident in The Bermuda Triangle.
Ben: “Hey, Ed. I want you to meet Rook, my partner.”
Rook(shaking hands with Ed): “Hello! I am glad to meet you, Mr. Grandsmith.”
Ed: “I am glad.”
Ben: “So why did you call me?”
Ed: “We’ll order first then I’ll tell you.”
Ben ordered chili fries, Rook ordered French fries and Ed ordered a cheeseburger.”
Ed(after ordering their food): “Ben! I have been followed by strange men these past few days.”
Ed: “That’s what I don’t know.”
Suddenly, the side of the hall where the table taken by Ben, Rook and Ed exploded. Ben rose and looked up to a robot. The robot had a sphere-shaped head and body. The arms was attached to the opposite sides of the sphere and the hands were armed with one laser gun in each hand. The laser guns pointed at Ed.
The robot: “Edward Grandsmith!”
Ed: “What do you want from me?”
The robot:“You are being needed by BB. You should come with me.”
Ben: “Not so fast!”
Ben dialed in the Omnitrix and chose Four Arms. He slammed the Omnitix with his hand and transformed into XLR8.
XLR8 (after looking at himself): “Or faster.”
The robot shot lasers at him, but XLR8 dodged every one of them and slowly reached the robot. Then XLR8 runs around the robot. He ran faster and faster until a tornado was formed which made the robot lift up in the air. XLR8 stopped when the robot was high enough. The robot fell down and broke. XLR8 transformed back into Ben.
Ben (looking at the wreckage): “Let me guess! The guys who followed you these past few days sent it.”
Ed: "Don't know."
Rook: “It said BB. Can that be the boss.”
Ben: “I know who BB exactly is.”
Ed and Rook (in unison): “Who?”
Ben: “Billy Billions!”
Rook: “Of course! He has the tech to build a robot like this.”
Ed: “That guy! He is actually a partner of my company.”
Ben: “Then let’s go and kick his butt.”
At Billions Tower,
Billy: “What do you mean it was unsuccessful?”
Mazuma: “The robot was wrecked by Ben Tennyson.”
Billy: “Tennyson! I wish I killed him when I had a chance.”
The wall opposite to where Billy was, exploded. Ben, in NRG form came through it. NRG was in his suit. Rook and Ed appeared behind him.
NRG: “Well! Let this be counted as another chance.”
Billy (taking out a laser gun): “I’ll take it”
Billy fired at NRG but was in vain.
NRG: “Ha! NRG’s suit is actually used to shield from lasers like this.”
Rook was fighting with Mazuma. Ed came near NRG.
Billy (looking at Edward): “Ah! Well isn’t it Edward Grandsmith, grandson of the deceased Donovon Grandsmith.”
NRG (looking at Edward): “You never told me that your grandfather died.”
Edward: “I was coming to that.(then looked at Billy) Why do you want to do this? We were partners.”
Billy: “That contract my parents and your grandfather signed had a line that said ‘If there is no claimer to one company’s wealth then the second company inherits that company’s wealth and itself.”
NRG: “So you want to kill him.”
Billy: “Practically, yes!”
The floor opened into a hole near Billy and he jumped into it.
The floor opened into a large rectangle shaped hole and out came a robot. It had a rectangular body and the arms and legs grew out of the either sides and the bottom side of the body respectively. The head was a glass sphere and inside it was Billy.
Billy: “So let me do my job.”
Billy fired a laser at Edward. NRG blocked it but it was so strong that NRG flew backwards. NRG changed back to Ben. Billy fired another laser at Edward. Ben quickly transformed into Eye Guy. Eye Guy fired a laser that blocked the laser fired by Billy.
Billy (frustrated): “Hey! I am doing my job.”
Eye Guy: “So am ‘Eye’.”
Eye Guy fired another laser at Billy. But Billy blocked it with a mirror. The laser diverted and attacked Edward. Eye Guy turned back into Ben and went towards Edward. Rook defeated Mazuma by piercing her with his sword and went towards Edward.
Ben: “Is he…?”
Rook checked his pulse.
Rook: “I am sorry,Ben.”
Ben: “No! (trying to waking Edward up) Edward! Edward!”
Billy: “He is dead right now. And now I am the owner for Grandsmith Enterprises. Future owner, actually. But this incident should not have any witnesses. (facing towards Ben and Rook) Now, your turn.”
Billy fired lasers at each of them.
Ben (nearly in tears): “You killed my friend, Billy. So I will do the killing.”
Ben dialed in the Omnitrix and chose Rocks.
Ben: “Just please give me Rocks.”
Ben slammed the Omnitrix and transformed into the Rocks.
Rocks: “Now I am gonna crush that oversized head of yours.”
The alien shot rock projectiles at the robot. The projectiles broke through the robot.
Billy: “No! Don’t do that you oversized rock head.”
Rocks: “Just call me Rocks.”
Rocks shot more projectiles at the robot, but it was blocked by a laser shot fired by the robot.
Billy: “Give up! You still cannot beat my robot.”
Rocks: “You killed my friend. That only motivates me to tear you apart.”
Rocks fired a much bigger rock projectile at the robot. It damaged the robot so badly that it fell on its back. The robot got deactivated. Billy got out of the robot. Rocks turned back into Ben. Ben dialed in the Omnitrix and chose Waybig. He was about to slam that Omnitrix but Rook stopped him.
Rook: “No, Ben. That is not the right choice.”
Ben: “You saw what he did to Ed.”
Rook: “Yes, I have seen. But this is not what Edward would have wanted.”
Ben: “He is not here right now. He is dead.”
Rook: “Then do it. But keep this in mind that this won’t change anything.”
Ben: “But! But! You’re right.”
Ben came out of the building, took his car and went back home. Rook called the Plumbers to arrest Billy and then he called the Grandsmith family to tell them that Edward Grandsmith is dead.
In third place we have newcomer OV9. Now, while the basic idea was good, the execution wasn't. It felt like there was a lot missing from this story, the most prominent detail being Ben and Edward's relationship. Last we saw Edward, he only appeared once, and he was never mentioned nor hinted at after that, so I think it would've been better if there was some build-up to explain how the two became close. Other than that, there are a few grammar mistakes, but nothing too bad.
|Meanwhile in Dimension 27...
Ben is seen sitting at a table next to the Mr. Smoothie counter. He looks around then looks down at his drink. He picks it up and drinks from the straw.
Ben, finishing: Ah! Nothing like a good ol' smoothie.
Ester, joining Ben at the table: You sound like it's been a while.
Ben: It has been a while. I almost forgot how good these tasted. A little guac mixed with peanut butter. Mmm.
Ester: I'm not entirely sure what guac is but that doesn't sound like something you eat with peanut butter.
Ben: I'm surprised you know what peanut butter is. So how are things with your people?
Ester: Fine with my father in command. Seebik is still trying to get as much power as he can in the military but I can't imagine things when him in charge.
Ben: It'll probably be Too Hot to Handle.
Ester: You're making hot puns again.
Ben: Heh, sorry. Can't help it.
Ester: What about you? How are things going?
Ben: Eh. Can't complain. Being a full time Plumber has its ups and downs but at least I'm still out there saving people. And I heard on a report that someone robbed another science facility just last week, it's missing a device that releases chemicals that act as an anti-cooling agent.
Ester: I wonder who did it.
Ben: I get that you're trying to help out your dad but you can't keep stealing, Ester. And I can't keep letting it slide just because we're close.
Ester, playfully: How close?
Ben: Close enough to get a stink eye from Julie.
Ester: I'm just playing around, Ben. You need to tell your girlfriend to cool off sometimes.
Ben: Ironic choice of words there, hot stuff.
Ester smirks at Ben.
Ben, realizing what he said: (sigh) I'll just go.
Ben gets up from the table, taking his smoothie cup with him.
Ben: You should probably get out here. People don't like it when others are around here.
Ester: Makes sense. We'll talk some other time then. (seeing Ben approach the trash can) And is that really nessecary?
The scene shows Ben drop his smoothie cup into the trash can and walk away from the Mr. Smoothie counter, showing the rest of the establishment broken off and scorched, leaving blast marks all the way up to the streets. Ben then pulls a safety tape up, letting himself out of the sealed off area. He crosses the street, a car just barely hitting him. When he arrives, he looks up then down at a plaque which reads "In Memory of Rook Blonko, who gave his life to save others." Ben then reaches into his hoodie and removes an Amber Ogia from his pocket. He then places it next to the plaque and looks up at something unseen. The Omnitrix then alerts, causing Ben to look away. He then answers the alert after a short moment.
Ben, holding the Omnitrix: What is it?
Molly Gunther: You're needed. Come in as soon as possible.
Ben, holding the Omnitrix: ...On my way.
Ben then ends the call and walks away from the plaque which is seen to be underneath a golden statue of Rook Blonko which is already rusted. The scene then cuts over to the Plumber Base which is exposed to the public as a large cyclinder-shaped building with three legs supporting the structure. Ben then arrives on his hoverboard and enters through the entrance. As he walks through, various Plumbers are seen entering and leaving the building, attending to their own business and talking with others.
Plumber, passing by: Hey Ben, how's it going?
Ben, walking through: Same as ever.
Plumber 2: Nice work on that mission yesterday, Ben.
Ben, walking through: Thanks.
Molly Gunther: Tennyson.
Ben stops and turns. He sees Molly in a room, next to him. Ben looks around then enters the room.
Ben: Magistra Gunther.
Molly: Please, call me Molly.
Ben: Pft. As soon as you call me Ben.
Molly: Yeah that's just not gonna happen, Tennyson.
Ben: (chuckles) I had a friend who used to always call me that.
Molly: It makes us sound like we know you which gives us the control.
Ben: Because being the overseer of all the space cops isn't enough control.
Molly: Maybe it isn't. Close the door.
Ben looks at Molly for a second then closes the door behind him.
Molly: Lock it too.
Ben, hesistantly locking the door: I'm guessing this isn't another mission.
Molly: It's one of those things.
Ben, looking at Molly: T-Things?
Molly: Y'know one of those things. The type of things that I need kept- between us.
Ben: Like a thing thing?
Ben: Because I have a girlfriend, Chief.
Molly: No, shut up. It's about the Plumbers.
Ben: Oh right. I knew that. Besides you're too old for that type of stuff anyway.
Molly: I'm 23, blockhead. Can I get back to the topic?
Ben: By all means.
Molly: The world is becoming more and more dangerous by the second. Vilgax isn't the only threat out there.
Ben: And he shouldn't be a threat anymore. After the Rooters Initative a couple of years ago, Vilgax was sent to face intergalactic trial lightyears away from Earth.
Molly: I know but people who have been following his work are still here on Earth and using his resources that we are still not able to find a stable source for. First a couple of minor incidents and now we have Chimera Gas attacks, Clown Gangs, Forever Knights, and don't get me started on those drone bom-
Ben looks down for a moment.
Molly, noticing: Sorry. He was a good man, Ben.
Molly: What I'm trying to say is we need to do better. That's why I spoke with the President and Colonel Rozum. They agreed with my proposol.
Ben: And what exactly is this proposol?
Ben: Excuse me?
Molly: You heard me.
Ben: I don't see how DNAliens is going to solve any of our problems.
Molly: Not Highbreeds. Hybrids, a combination between man and alien. The perfect secret weapon.
Ben: We already have the rookies. I don't think we need anymore especially to be used as weapons.
Molly: Not them physically but genetically. We'll use their DNA to unlock the secret behind their genetics and replicate the pattern into code. With this code, we can gain adaptive armor, adaptive weapons. The world will finally become a safer place. No more attacks on neighborhoods from alien forces.
Ben, thinking about: This type of stuff is dangerous. Trust me, I know a thing or two about messing with DNA.
Molly: The procedure has already been done on the rookies. They volunteered. I just have to get the serum to the President, personally.
Ben: Why let me know? Why not Patelliday or Magister Coronach or-
Molly: Because you're the best Plumber I know. It's not about physicility or your work performance, even though I would like to see those boost one day. It's where your heart is and it's in a good place. It's hard to find someone like that nowadays especially with everything going on. Plus you remind me of your grandfather.
Ben: Grandpa Max...
Molly: He taught me everything I know which is why I started teaching you. I saw potential in you the same way he saw it in me.
Ben: When I was younger, Grandpa Max would be in the middle of making his world famous Zandurian Goulash. He would try to train me on how to be a Plumber by using the wooden spoon as some type of blaster (laughs)
Molly: I actually wouldn't be surprised if the spoon was an actual blaster.
They both start laughing at that notion.
Ben, sighing after laughing: Yeah, Grandpa Max and I had some good times... then he retired. Lived with Aunt Vera in the retirement home a few miles away. Just wanted to try it out. Heh. I went up and visited him, went really early so I could surprise him because he would always manage to catch the drop on me back when I was a kid. I don't know how he did it but he just knew I was coming. But I had him this time. At least, that's what I thought. I got there and the door was open. He was coming out the door with Aunt Vera by his side. Right into the ambulance on a stretcher. Guess he got the drop on me after all.
Molly puts her hand on Ben's shoulder.
Molly: We'll get through this.
Molly then walks up the door, unlocks it then opens it.
Molly: He was the greatest man I ever knew. You're still our best Plumber, remember that.
Molly then leaves the office, leaving Ben there. A figure then appears in the doorway. A small knock is heard. Ben turns around and sees Julie by the door.
Ben, slightly surprised: Hi... What are you doing here?
Julie: Came to get you. Movie night, remember?
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, I remember. It's just- uh
Julie: Tough day at work?
Julie: That's why you need me. Someone to distract you from work and make your life better.
Ben: And here I thought you there to immerse me in a world of kisses and tennis lingo.
Julie: Oh really? So you like it when I use tennis phrases?
Ben: Maybe. Why?
Julie: Because I thinking we could have a match later. 15-Love.
Ben: Depends on how good movie night is.
Julie: Well, I was thinking we see the one with Jennifer Nocturne in it.
Julie: But it's romantic. What do you have in mind then?
Ben: What about that movie where the kid finds a time machine and has to stop his future self from destroying the world? Or the one where nanomachines turn into people?
Julie: Ben, I swear you watch the same movies all the time.
Ben, impersonating guy from movie: "Nanomachines, Julie. Nanomachines!"
Julie pushes Ben a little and they both laugh a bit. The scene then cuts over to Molly Gunther, carrying a briefcase into the hangar. Two Plumbers are seen leaving the hangar, making it very empty. Molly approaches her Plumber ship like two other Plumbers are seen talking in front of her, these Plumbers have black suits on.
Rooter: So yeah it just means the world to her and-
Rooter 2: No problem. I'll be there. (seeing Molly) Afternoon, Magistra.
The first rooter, slightly paniacs, sets his container on the ground and salutes.
Rooter: Magistra Gunther.
Molly, smiling: At ease, boys. You two prepping for the next mission?
Rooter: Next mission, Magistra?
Rooter 2: She means training, comrade.
Molly: Nice work, Leander. Keep it up and you might get a promotion.
Leander: With all due respect Magistra Gunthers, there's no other place I would rather be than on the Rooters.
Rooter: Well I should get going. Gotta get ready.
Molly: Ready for what, Bradley?
Bradley: My daughter's wedding is coming up, Magistra.
Molly: Oh congratulations. When's the big day?
Bradley: In a month, the second. She wanted it sooner but we insisted that she'd wait a week. It's her special day so I want to make her feel special.
Molly: Well she's been wanting to be a surgeon in Rapid City, right? I'll put in a good word for her.
Bradley: Oh thank you, Magistra.
Molly: It's nothing, consider it my wedding gift. I'll try and make it as well.
Bradley: It would be a general honor. Alright, I need to get ready before the wife throws a fit. I'll catch you two around.
Leander: Yeah, yeah, of course.
Bradley then leaves the hangar, leaving Leander with Molly.
Molly: Three kids and one of them is already getting married. Time sure flies by.
Leander: Yes, it does... Listen, Magistra. There's something I need to talk to you about.
Molly: I sorta need to head over somewhere if you don't mind.
Leander: Of course, yeah. My bad. It's just that-
Leander quickly removes a blaster from his side compartment and points it at Molly.
Leander: I need that briefcase.
Molly: Leander, what is this?
Leander: I won't ask again, Gunther.
Molly: You wouldn't shoot me. I provided for you, for your team, for this organization-
Suddenly, the door re-opens and Bradley re-enters the hangar.
Bradley: Sorry guys, I forgot my canist-
Bradley looks up and sees Leander pointing his blaster at Molly.
Leander, aiming at Molly: You should have just left, Bradley.
Leander quickly turns his arm, pulling the trigger and shooting Bradley. Bradley then falls over with a smoking hole at the center of his chestplate. Molly gasps slightly.
Leander: Now what were saying about not shooting you?
Molly: Okay. Just- Don't do anything you might regret.
Leander leans now for the briefcase, still aiming at Molly.
Leander: Oh yeah? Like what?
Molly then grabs Leander's blaster, points upwards and knees Leander in the head, causing him to fire the blaster, only for the shot to hit the ceiling of the hangar. Molly then twists Leander's arm but Leander strikes Molly with his other arm, throwing her onto the floor. Leander holds his arm in pain while Molly activates his watch which opens a holographic screen with Ben's image.
Leander: Oh you're gonna pay for that one.
Molly: Ben, I'm under attack, get to the hangar.
Back in the office, Ben is seen looking at his Omnitrix.
Ben: Magistra? Molly? (to Julie) I gotta go. Stay here.
Ben then runs out of the office and activates the Omnitrix. Back in the hangar, Leander is seen striking Molly in the face several times.
Leander: You have no idea how good this feels. (gets up and grabs blaster)
Molly, weakly, attempting to get up: Why...
Leander: Because we're better. We're more than just simple recon missions and we're not your group of one-offs so we can take the hit and not affect your agenda. These attacks you're complaining about, they aren't the problem, they're just happening to the wrong people.
Voice: I agree.
Leander turns his head and sees Heatblast standing before him.
Heatblast: Instead of hitting her, you should be attacking your motivational speaker.
Leander fires his blaster at Heatblast but Heatblast throws a fireball, blocking the attack.
Leander, gripping his blaster: I always wanted to put a hole in you, Tennyson.
Heatblast: Maybe you should save an extra punch for your therapist too.
Leander charges for Heatblast who amplifies his flame, causing Leander to keep back. He then grabs the briefcase and opens it, removing a sample of the serum.
Leander: If I can't beat you now, maybe I need a little boost.
Leander drinks the serum. He then grabs his head and drops to his knees. He then starts screaming as his skin becomes metallic and his eyes grow into slots. When the transformation is completed, he becomes mute and blankly stares off. He then gets up and stares at Heatblast.
Heatblast: Now you might want to go beat up your biologist.
Leander grunts and then fires a ray of radation from his eyestalks at Heatblast, firing him into a wall. Leander then approaches him. Heatblast fires a fireball at Leander but he becomes immune to the flames. Leander is about to strike Heatblast but is shot in the back and then falls over, revealing Molly with a blaster in her hands, panting for breath. Heatblast then transforms back into Ben, gets up and goes over to Molly.
Ben, helping her up: Thanks for the save. Now what the heck is going on here. Was that Leander?
Ben: I thought he was a Rooter. Why would he go rogue?
Molly: We've been compromised.
The hangar doors then burst open and more Rooters start entering. Ben and Molly then run into the next room, avoiding the incoming fire.
Molly, walking through the corridor, using his watch: Patelliday, lock down the base.
Ben: You think that'll help?
Molly: It'll buy us some time.
Meanwhile, in the lower levels, Plumbers are seen scrambling around as the base goes under lockdown. Julie is seen wondering.
Ben and Molly then enter the control room.
Molly: We should be able to send a distress signal from here plus there's a hidden escape route here. We can leave during the lockdown and get these samples somewhere safe.
Voice: Magistra Gunther.
Molly turns around and Ben looks up. Before them stands a figure walking towards them, wearing a Rooters outfit, helmet as well.
Molly: The doors are sealed. I don't know how you got in here but you're on your own. You might want to reconsider what you're about to do.
Figure: I was about to say the same thing.
The figure removes his helmet and drops it on the floor. Ben and Molly look surprised.
Rook looks at the two. He has burn marks on his face. Ben smiles and then chuckles a bit.
Ben: Rook, I- I thought you were dead but you're alive!
Rook: No, Ben. Rook Blonko died a long time ago.
Rook then removes his Rooter outfit, revealing his robotic left arm.
Ben: Rook... What- What happened to you?
Rook: I don't- remember. You were there and there was an explosion. Servantis brought me in and Kundo repaired me.
Ben: Servantis? Kundo? Aren't these rouge agents?
Molly: They must have thought they could recruit Rook to their cause if they repaired him. But Rook would never turn his back on us.
Rook: Of course, he wouldn't. But like I said-
Rook pulls out his modified Proto-Tool.
Rook: Rook Blonko died a long time ago. I'm now called Weapon 11.
Ben looks out in horror at what stands in front of him.
To Be Continued...
In second place, we have Brandon. There's actually nothing wrong with this entry, I just found the next entry to be better. I have to say, I love this dimension you've crafted, Brandon.If this were a full-fledged series, I'd be totally hooked.
[Day 1: PRESS ROOM, Plumbers HQ] A 96-year old Max Tennyson, in his typical Hawaiian shirt-centric outfit, presents himself at a podium alongside a furry white ram-like humanoid in a rather formal blue suit and teal tie. Max points out into the room of just a few people— Rook Blonko is among them.
Max: Yes, err—
Max pushes into the mic, somewhat setting Braven off.
Max (chuckling): He's basically waiting to see if I kick the bucket.
One can catch Rook awkwardly shifting out of his chair before leaving the room.
Max (sarcastically): Oh, but you're thinking it! We have a, um— there's a brief pause, Max staring blankly a, um, a hold, a hold... a tether that binds us! We know what the other's thinking!
Cut to Max and Braven walking quickly down a narrow corridor as a projection of Gwen, made entirely of mana, joins them. She's older, approaching as much as she's fighting her fifties, and bearing her blue and black outfit, cloak and all (not that the color's visible here; it's an all-magenta, semi-transparent hologram of sorts). She appears to be walking, but her steps line up with another place, wherever her real body is.
Gwen: That was genuinely the most awkward thing I have ever watched. Like, I can feel the cringe from here and it's worse than any sub or dub I've ever seen.
She bows her head and, with a snap of her finger, disappears.
[CAFETERIA, Plumbers' HQ] An older Rook Blonko, black beard and more accessories to account for, sips from a juice pouch in front of an aroused salad of alien greens. Braven slides onto the bench in front of him without a meal in his hand.
Rook grabs a napkin from his tray, wipes his lips and tosses the crumpled thing right into a bucket across the room as he departs.
[Day 2: MAGISTRATUS'S OFFICE, Plumbers' HQ] Rook pushes open the grand double doors and steps into the massive home of the Magistratus. Across a long center aisle sits Max at a pristine desk. Another projection hovers over it, this time just of Gwen's head. Max waves Rook over. He hears nothing of their discussion as he gets over, as hard as he tries. By the time he stands just feet across the desk, Gwen's gone again.]
Rook simply turns around, indignant. Max calls him from across the room once more, just as he opens the door.
Max: You weren't thinking of running against me, were you?
Rook nods as he heads out. In the hall before Max's office, he watches the bustle of aliens— small, tall, wide and all— between rooms and offices but is stolen away by a narrow window just to his right. He pans the open airlessness beyond this little station out in the middle of space, paying no attention to the other lengthwise installments. No, he wants what out there isn't covered in housing or medical bays. He can almost see the old times, thirty years prior, with his old partner.
Rook: ...Remember when it was not just this quadrant? Disrupting his prettier thoughts, someone slams the door as they enter Max's room behind him. He shakes his head and stares back out, this time actually paying attention. A long ship is coming into view, one that forces him to squint and press his face against this super-durable glass before a phone call comes in from an old friend. He looks down at it, not that it's necessary when the tone is set just for him. “Ben.” It will have to wait.
Rook declines the call and enters the traffic in a rush.
[BRAVEN OXENHARDT'S OFFICE, Plumbers' HQ] A stout humanoid in black, red, and white— even her skin, or whatever her kind must have, is a paper white— sits typing away at some futuristic computer. The short double doors in front of her, nowhere near as magnificent as Max's, are already open as Rook knocks on them. The woman at the desk looks up to him.
Woman: Rook! What can I do for ya, doll? Mistah Ox isn't here, by the way.
[MAGISTRATUS'S OFFICE, Plumbers' HQ] Braven, just after he'd slammed the door on his entrance earlier.
Braven: Sorry about the noise, old chap. Beginning his slow walk down the aisle. Don't get up.
Like with Rook, Max catches a word before Braven slams the door.
Max: You might as well plan to announce at the press conference.
Braven exits. As Max lags into a slouch, Gwen's head returns.
Max: What do you think of my age, Gwendolyn?
Just outside Max's office, we find Braven as he's just left, running straight into an arms-crossed Rook.
Braven: Good, I was just about to come see you.
[PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Rows upon rows of reporters chat with each other like it was a preschool cafeteria. But when the lights go out, so too does the volume. Gwen's full body projection reappears before as it approaches the podium.
Gwen: Light-ish day for you all: Magistratus Tennyson and Braven Oxenhardt for you all regarding the upcoming elections and then Ben 10,000 on... (squinting, eyes moving back and forth, then sighing) the, err, incident in the Pisciss Sector yesterday morning. She disappears as the lights return with Max and Braven suddenly at the podium. Max points to the same seat his staff member was sitting in the practice run yesterday.
Max: Yes, we'll start with you, err, Judi.
Judi, a giraffe-rhino mix of sorts, stands at her seat with a watch recording every word and converting to text.
Judi: Thank you, Magistratus. This one's for Braven, though. At a one-way mirror, we can see the woman from earlier pumping her fist proudly. We gotta know, with elections coming up: are you going to run again, or just leave the Magistratus to run unopposed?
This time, though, Braven and the entire room are taken aback by the line. The woman in the back room, accompanied by a couple other nameless staff members, don't enjoy the line too much either. Even Gwen manifests, shaking her head in her palm. Max isn't sure how to respond.
Braven: Well, now, careful there, Mr. Magistratus; that's a very serious statement you have there.
Max is speechless, a scowl the room's clued. Gwen reappears at the podium, swiftly knocking out the lights.
Gwen (panicking): Okay, Ben 10,000 then.
The old wooden stage creaks before the room's seen again, barring Gwen. Ben 10,000 has taken the stage, with Kevin sitting in the background relaxing.
Ben (leaning on the podium, chin in his palm, lazily): Okay, I know we have a lot of questions about why one of the moons of Pisciss kinda blew up, so we'll just start with those. He swings his finger and finally points to a random corner of the room. Someone, unsure of if they were even picked, stands up in the back, Ben nodding them up. Yeah?
As if Ben couldn't be more bored, he drops his face straight onto the podium before standing upright and transforming into a simple lion alien— one that looks almost entirely like a regular one from Earth, just with all-blue fur and walking on two.
Blue Lion Alien: Any further questions? He points to Judi. Judi?
[MAGISTRATUS'S OFFICE, Plumbers' HQ] Magister Patelliday barges into the room where several of Max's assistants are working together with him on reelection. When he reaches the desk, he points to the door.
Patelliday: Everyone, out; I need to speak with Max. Everyone scurries out of the room as Patelliday taps his foot and looks at his desk. With everyone gone, he keeps looking. Gwen, you can show yourself; I already know you listen in on everything that goes on here without needing a hologram.
Gwen's head appears over his desk.
Gwen: Okay, one: It's not a hologram, it's a mana-based intangible construct that reproduces my form and emotions at any chosen place; two: no, I don't have to be visible, it's just a formality. I'm not always listening either.
Patelliday practically slaps his face with it this time.
[APARTMENT 221B, Housing Station 22] A scaly lizard-esque (sans the tail) woman's passed out on her couch in front of a TV set to some late night news station, already reporting on Braven Oxenhardt's campaign. Her phone's on a coffee table adjacent, and its buzzing rattles her onto the floor. She gets up and grabs it, hastily picking up after reading the caller ID: “Patelliday.” She salutes, even though, it's not a video call, something she rectifies after greeting.
Lizard Woman: Yes, Magister Patelliday?
[ROOM 302, Medical Bay A7-Niner] Patelliday's scaly friend has donned a doctor's coat, and in spite of her state of duress and clear sleeplessness, turns on the lights in a large room layered with advanced medical technology. After clearing a bed in the center, she opens a door opposite the side she entered, letting in Patelliday and Max.
Lizard Woman (eager, softly): I suppose this is our special patient.
Over the next several hours, we see Max undergo physical and mental duress, speaking before microphones and wearing strange alien headphones; running across the room, on the ceiling, and on walls with special boots; and finally laying flat on the sole seat in the room. She makes her conclusion.
Max: Are we done then?
[Day 3: PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Braven stands aside Rook at the podium before another crowded room.
Braven: And I would like to really thank Rook Blonko for his personal endorsement of me. After I decided to run, I remembered that my name still leaves a bad taste in some people's mouths. But I have changed, and my friend Rook here agrees to the point that he'd put his neck out to let you guys know that I can be your next Magistratus. The Plumbers need a change of face, for the sake of Max Tennyson; I can offer that.
[Day 4: PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Max stands alone at the podium.
Max: I will not back out or back down. Don't listen to Braven Oxenhardt; I am as healthy as can... be.
[Day 5: PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Braven's running the show again, alone this time.
Braven: I respect the Magistratus, but I know this man too well— I know he's a proud man. I want to see someone other than him say he's in good health, that his well-being isn't at risk because of his position. I think it's fair to have us all request a detailed examination from his personal doctor about his state.
[Day 6: PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Patelliday is at the podium this time, Maxwell seated attentively behind him.
Patelliday: Yes, about that... see, the Magistratus has been privately seeing a doctor other than those provided here at Delta Coma's HQ. So it may take time for us to get the word out from her, but I promise you, we will let you know as soon as possible.
[APARTMENT 221B, Housing Station 22] Dr. Lazarus is watching Patelliday on the news, with a holographic cut-out of Max overlayed. She coughs out her drink in her gaping response to realizing just who Max is before receiving a call from Patelliday just after he leaves the podium.
Dr. Lazarus: Sir, you didn't tell me we were working with the Magistratus?
[PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] In the corridor beyond, Patelliday sighs as the call ends, only to pick it back up again for another.
Patelliday: Yelrah... I need to speak to Mr. Oxenhardt.
[Day 7: INTERROGATION ROOM 51, Plumbers' HQ] Behind a one-way mirror, Patelliday watches into a poorly lit room where Dr. Lazarus, dolled up with her hair not in shambles for once, in a white overcoat, red dress partly visible underneath, is seated upright across a four-meter floating table from Braven Oxenhardt, poorly kempt and slouching. The room is and has been silent for a while, but the doctor knows how to break the ice.
Dr. Lazarus: Doctor Liz Lazarus. You know why I'm here: Magistratus Maxwell Tennyson presents signs of early stage dementia. Lazarus can hear thumping on the other end of the mirror, clearly that of a crying Patelliday. You can almost feel the “why have you forsaken meeeee!” Laughing at her own joke but then miming some kind of zipper over her mouth. But back to the topic at hand. Mr. Oxenhardt, I know you're a good man— I know how good of a man you are— and I don't want you to base the entire race on the Magistratus's condition. This just looks ugly on you. Besides, looking where he rates mentally, I believe it'll be years before he needs to retire— so many so that it just doesn't make any sense. Yeah, I'll give the papers what they want and tell them he has dementia, but I'll also explain the facts: he's fine to work right now and for a good while. I have no idea what kind of incredible diet allows him to live like this at such an age, but he's doing it and doing it well. You have to let him— eyes up, Mr. Oxenhardt— you have to let him be.
She walks to the door, and with it partly ajar, Braven's already there above her fighting to keep it closed. She lets go.
Braven: Lass, I promise to stop publicizing this, but for his own sake, I will not stop running for this exact reason.
She easily throws the door open, knocking Braven off his balance.
[Day 29: PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Gwen's projection stands before Max in the corridor before the press room.
Gwen: Are you ready?
Max shakes his head as he turns around and heads out to the podium. Gwen appears over there, dimming the light and introing him. The lights flicker back on to welcome him.
In the back room, Gwen's construct stands with Lazarus and the woman on Max's staff, all questioning why he's paused.
Gwen (attempting for under her breath): He hasn't taken his pills...
[ROOM 302, Medical Bay A7-Niner] Max is being rushed on a floating bed through the medical bay and into the room. Gwen and Patelliday slide him very easily into place on the chair as Lazarus launches all the equipment in the room.
Max (uncharacteristically irritable): I'm okay, let me go.
Max lays flat and lets Lazarus go. Within a half hour, she's got her results.
Max (plainly): Gwen, can you wait outside?
He looks at her, squinting but blankly. He very slowly closes his eyes, twitching as he does so. His head drops and very quickly it's in his palms. She becomes solid; she makes a physical presence just to hug him before dashing out of the room, looking back after she's out the door. Inside, Max looks up with a wet face.
Dr. Lazarus: Sir... I can't let you run again. Those pills you've been taking... those over-the-counter things you never told me about, that have been keeping your body working so well, are too vital; you miss one day and your mind could deteriorate as it would over the course of 20 years... in a day. You need to be within arm's length at all times in case you miss it, but most importantly, you cannot miss it ever again.
Patelliday nods as he heads for the door. He calls for her out of earshot, but as he comes back in, he looks to Max with a smile.
Patelliday: Ben is also not an option.
Max chokes a snicker here.
[PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Ben is coming from the podium to the back room where he's to trade off with Braven. The latter gets up as the former sits, but not without engaging each other.
Braven: I really do hope for the best from your father— eh, grandfather, my mistake; I regularly work with people whose fathers I'm familiar with.
[EXECUTIVE LOUNGE, Plumbers' HQ] Rook pays close attention to the projection of Braven making a mockery of himself— and by extension, his endorser. He's tapped on the shoulder by one of Gwen's mana constructs that gestures him to follow her.
[MAGISTRATUS'S OFFICE, Plumbers' HQ] Gwen's construct disappears after getting Rook into the room. He closes the door behind him and walks up to Max's desk, flanked there by Dr. Lazarus, Gwen, Ben, and Patelliday. Gwen's presence isn't as a construct... again, she's actually here.
Max (desolate): I'm... glad you could make it.
Rook nods before heading out the door.
Ben: “Seal his fate?” Melodramatic much? Dr. Lazarus (shrugging): Eh.
Just beyond the room, Rook catches another projection of Braven, still talking at the podium. He just wildly shakes his head and stomps over to the press room.
[PRESS ROOM, Plumbers' HQ] Braven's wrapped up his segment and walked into the back room as everyone's departing, just to get away from him. Among them, the former Magistrata sneaks away.
Braven: Magistrata, is that you?
She turns around and puts on the worst of fake grins— more grimace than anything.
Magistrata (a high-brow formal, English accent): Braven. Hello.
Braven walks away.
Magistrata: Safe travels, Oxenhardt.
Gwen appears at the podium, forgetting to dim the lights as she speaks to the few reporters that haven't left yet.
Gwen: We have Rook Blonko, special case here.
She disappears, as Rook braves the podium alone for the first time.
Rook (in spite of the small crowd, he still darts among them cowardly): I regret endorsing Braven Oxenhardt, I want to start with that. Hands raise about the light room. He points awkwardly to Judi. Sorry, I only know her name— Judi?
A plump Necrofriggian in the back of the room stands up.
Necrofriggian (scratchy voice): Cyanne Walsh of Frozen ExtraNews. So you're running for Magistratus?
[Day 88: PARTY DECK, Plumbers' HQ] An assortment of powerful aliens have gathered to inaugurate the next Magistratus. Ben and Rook are chatting.
Ben: You got me again...
We pan up to Dr. Animo adjacent Ben's flaunting hands.
Dr. Animo (desolate): Finally retiring, Maxwell? This place won't be the same without you.
Max sees Liz across the way and salutes Rook on his way over.
Liz: So you didn't tell him?
Max simply stares over at Rook from here.
Also available here
In first place we have none other than Coke, whose entry is probably twice as long as the other two entries combined. A story about a mentally diminishing Max, Coke's entry truly stays true to the theme and does a very good job at it. Oh, and there was a nice tie-in at te end. Also, am I the only one who got a Zootopia vibe from all the animal-like characters?
All in all, all three of your entries were fun to read. Congratulations and great job to all of you for participating in the contest. See you next time!