It's time to decide the winner between the two writing contests (Normal and Creative).
In one corner we have Coke!
[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
and in another we have Mig!
I KILLED HER!
It was sweet. It was lovely. It put a smile on my face, a smile that has never appeared on my face before. Not once, not ever again. Sure, I've experienced happiness in my life...long ago...but this...this is different. This is exhilarating, sensational, real. A real smile. Real happiness.
I killed her!
Why did I do it? Doesn't fucking matter. I did it, the deed is done, her life has ended, I am no longer bound by the shackles of morality. I don't have to deal with the bullshit anymore; no more faking, no more hiding, no more...frowning. Hm. I'm frowning now, I'm not sure why.
Just a moment ago I was in total bliss, I was the best me I could ever hope to be. I was in the best state of mind. It was like I was looking down upon reality, like I was in a higher plane of existence. You feel like a God when you finally take a life. It's...indescribable.
HAHA, YES, I FINALLY DID IT! I murdered her ass, I ENDED HER LIFE, in every possible way imaginable. It was amazing, it was just...amazing. Damn, I feel really queasy and anxious now. I-I-I'm not really sure why, to be honest.
I did this perfectly, I did it so secretly. No one could have p-p-possibly seen it. No one, not anyone. She...she didn't expect it. No one expected it. OH, BOY! I can't...can't wait to see everyone's faces when they see it w-w-was me...! The one who ended...her life...!
I'm starting to rethink...nah, never mind, it's all bullshit. Bollocks. Who gives a damn? I don't, oh no-no sirree, I don't care at all. The deed is done, thank God, and I no longer have to deal with it anymore...except...I feel kinda...empty.
There's a black hole sucking me up inside, it's inevitable. I can't...escape it. My body feels numb. Well, I dropped the knife; my legs gave way. I must be tired. I ended her life, after all...
No. No more. Please, I'm sorry. I am so, so, sorry. I didn't mean to do it! I didn't end her life!The Devil made me! Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? I'm staring at the knife now, I picked it back up. It's really shiny, really sharp. It gets the job done, certainly. Maybe I didn't do it...I'm just caught up in this m-m-mess. Yes? No? Maybe? Dear, God, I'm in denial...
Funny...I never imagined killing anyone, but here I am, looking at the bloody corpse in front of me. It was done by...me, wasn't it? Yes! No! ME. I am special. I did it...which means...I don't have to do this anymore. I can just...end it all.
Yeah, just end it all. No more pain, no more faking, no more...anything, really. No one loves me, anyway. I killed the only one who did. Call me crazy, call me disgusting, call me whatever.
I...am...the Devil. I DID THIS EVIL ACT. I CAN NEVER BE FORGIVEN, I CAN NEVER REPENT FOR MY SINS! I CAN NEVER WALK AMONG THE POPULACE, MASKING MYSELF AS AN A MAN OF PURITY AND INNOCENCE! I AM CURSED, I AM GROTESQUE. I AM THE ONE WHO KILLED HER. I DID IT. MY PRIDE CORRUPTED MY FEEBLE MIND , AND THIS IS THE PENANCE I MUST PAY.
This is the end for me.
This is the end of my sins.
The Devil...I...killed her.
and the winner is...
I simply loved the detail in Mig's over Coke's, but both are really good.
See you guys tomorrow for the main blog by Mig!