Saturday, April 10, 2010
Spell of the Wolf (The Defenders/ TRANZ crossover)
The scene: a tarot drawing, begun after a trance session. It s participants include Clea, Doctor Strange, and Madame Blavatsky herself, who exclaims, “I could feel your presence with me, Strange! We reached the universal holographic shift into the Invisible College!”
Clea stretches, her body relaxed from the trance; she then becomes aware of her enchanted Blackberry. “I knew it would be wise to bring some form of contact with our home timeline when Stephen and I came back to continue our tour of occult American history!”
Hellcat speaks: Clea, where are you and Doc?
Clea: Back from ghost-detecting with Ben Franklin and his illuminator this morning...I believe we’re in New York, somewhere in the mid-19th century with the founder of the Theosophist movement...
Beginning to adapt to the oddness of her mystical company, Madame Blavatsky lays a tarot card, the Universe, on the table as Clea steps away to listen.
Hellcat: You must have the best long distance plan EVER! Can you offer me any energy or guidance? The mental reality around us is flipping out, and I think the physical world’s next!
Clea reaches within the perceptions of Hellcat, and directs her mind into the thoughts of the psychic Emma, who appears nearby, reading the telepathic manifestation of the sorceress. The she-wolf flees Valkyrie’s sword strikes with Dragon Fang. “Your cause is lost, anyway, Norse woman,” she spits, “because even though you’ve deposed our genetically-engineered allies, nothing can stop my champion Remus Sharptooth from completing the spell! You cannot hold the tide of the changing world BACK!!!”
“The heat, the smoke, the manual labor---it’s at the edge of what any man can bear!” thinks Corporal Dayly. “Darned if I’ m giving in though! If only all these weird impressions would cease! Childhood memories, hidden fears, thoughts of the afterlife, yearnings for home---it’s a flood! But I’m an individual! I won’t have my reality played with! The reality is that huge fire, and I’ve got to keep digging for all I’m worth, till this thing’s out and I’m back home sooty hair and all, playing drums again...!”
Strangely, his individual assertion echoes in waves throughout the Tranz-Ruptured collection of thoughts present; all around him, the embattled reservists snap back to their senses, straining to focus on the massive destruction bearing down on them all.
But at this moment, incredible headwinds shake the forest---scattering the runaway menace of the fire all over the surrounding, desert climate-dry brush, unchecked!
Even without the Tranz-Rupture, despair might echo through the hearts of the brave soldiers... American and Canadian alike, they brace against the stout winds, sweltering vapors of heat singeing their sweat-covered faces!
Mountie Blanc gains a moment’s lucidity, and calls out to his fellows: “Pull together! We’ve all got to keep on this thing! Don’t give up, you hear?”
Above him, Nighthawk observes the impressions flowing from the minds below, attempting to orient himself in flight. “Look at them---no powers to speak of, fighting this raging wildfire on nothing but guts and determination! How could I presume to inspire them, flying above the fray in my bizarre spiritual detachment?!?
And yet...I mustn’t doubt myself! Whatever’s causing this razor-sharp cut across our minds leaves us vulnerable to one another’s unfocused thoughts! Even a guy with nothing but a jet-pack and a funny suit’s got to pull his weight---even when he’s being tossed from the sky with Force Ten fury! It’s ---good Lord! It’s like some massive dragon of flame appearing above us! Am I hallucinating? But it’s no illusion! How do we fight THAT? It’s a sort of manifestation of the elements---part of this wave of transforming power! I see that’s not stopping my jade-jaw friend from leaping into the fray, though! Here’s hoping there’s something left of you besides a gamma-ray inspired crisp, big guy!”
Smoky Dean loses his radio contact, but charges in behind the brigade of reservists, barking instructions. “They fight fires differently out here than they do where I’m from down South,” he thinks. “They even SWEAR differently! Got to ask’em to clear up a few words for me...when we shut down this wildfire!”
His mouth drops open: Gnome the Troll has mobilized his battle armor, rolling on dilapidated treads, dented and damaged, passing through the burning woods to rendezvous with the lupine sorcerers...
Hellcat breaks into a full speed sprint, pursuing Corpse Flower to where her humanoid partner stands before a vast machine, chanting. “Hate to disconnect your prayer line, Fuzzy Guy,” she declares, firing a grappling hook and swinging into the back of Remus, “but you’re going to have to drop that signal pronto!”
“Little she-cat wench!” snarls Corpse Flower. “What can a powerless creature like you accomplish but death?”
“You never know till you put your shoulder into it!” Hellcat jibes, as she wrecks the front panels of the machine with her costume’s claws. “Just call me the little engine of destruction that could!”
Suddenly, lasers from the machine begin to pin her down, as she holds herself in a plank pose just beneath their searing reach. Remus turns again and resumes, “Sulinar Vix, your servant calls upon you to now unleash the power from beyond the stars! Salvage this primitive, backwards world with transforming might! Let all the elements be called into form, to rip this reality free from its lowly moorings!”
Machine Man, using his anti-gravity units built inside his robotic frame, arrives with his hand transfigured into a high-caliber pistol; he opens fire on the laser portals, which begin to spew sparks!
“Daddy always said, ‘Aaron, you’re a real pistol!’ And thanks to him, I never leave home without my ‘hand gun’!”
“Blast you, mechanoid!” snarls Remus Sharptooth, who fires a bolt from his hand that shatters the generator next to Machine Man. The explosion rips apart the chassis of the android’s skull. Hellcat rises and charges Sharptooth, as the singed she-wolf bolts away in pain.
Meanwhile, the Valkyrie stands beside Emma Jorgenson, their hands clasped, eyes closed. “I feel your friend Clea guiding me,” says Emma, “and through my thoughts, we hear the imprisoned Vikings, Marc Kane and Prince Nicola.”
“I am without my carved rune staff,” says Marc Kane from the darkness, “but I’ve conjured a mental image of the hand molded runes created for me by our black companion, Nido. Each of us must draw forth one, to complete the spell of five runes. With their signs we may find my lost brother, who is the key to stopping this Sharptoothed One! His mixed essence makes his mind impenetrable to my probes. ”
Clea watches on, borrowing the amulet, the Eye of Agamotto, from her mentor, to pierce the astral plane of these events that lay a century and a half up the time stream from their location. Her image appears in their midst, transported to the present by the projection of the Eye.
In turn, Nicola, the Marc, Valkyrie, and Clea reach into the bag, to pull forth, on the darkened astral plane, a glowing Viking rune each. “Stephen!” Clea asks, through her mind rapport with the Master of the Mystic Arts, “how is it I that must participate in this spell? Are you not...?”
“I sense that two male presences---one, still unrevealed beyond the barrier you must cross, and three females, are necessary to complete it,” relays Doctor Strange. “I am trying to discern the manner of energy which is being conjured, so that we might combat its nature together! For the Valkyrie, however, I might lend, on this spiritual plane, a means of travel, for that great leap into the creative power of the unknown...”
With that, Valkyrie’s winged pegasus Aragorn appears beside her; she and the Marc Kane mount the flying horse, and begin to traverse the cosmic barrier towards the mental defenses of their mysterious foe.
Over the crystal ball provided after a scrambling search by Madame Blavatsky, Clea attunes this two-sided journey: her travel with Strange, crossing America’s Great Awakening period, and the perilous dive into the psychic defenses of this stranger bearing star- borne energy to accelerate the evolution of Earth---a feral sorcerer, in whom she uncovers two sides, himself...
Despite the might of the Master of Mystic Arts close at hand, her part in this spell must be undergone alone. She peers into the future, our present, augmented by the illumination of the Eye of Agamotto, yet her will alone can resolve these images, her might in its place in this spell. Meanwhile, her mentor notes the power fluctuations in chronal energy that make travelling from the mid 19th c. back to the present “imprecise” and begins to probe for the source of the Tranz-Rupture energy.
“I am rather surprised so great a change could begin to happen,” he notes, “without us having some sense of it. I wonder if it’s some outgrowth of a naturally-occurring energy?”
Valkyrie’s body falls into a trance, as her mind soars aboard Aragorn into the darkness, seeking the mind of the lost Viking. “My brother’s link to us,” says the Marc Kane, “is also threaded with the Slay Box...it’s the key to this transformation of reality.”
“There is no light, nor clue to where we go,” says Valkyrie.
“Each of us ---you, Nicola my prince, your friend, myself and, at some hidden fifth point, my brother---hold one of the five runes that complete this spell.”
“I cannot understand or evaluate what it is here we do,” says the Valkyrie.
“That is part of the flow you must undertake; let go, observe not with eyes, but intuition, as unseen forces are here at work,” says Marc Kane. Valkyrie nods, and says, “I sense truth in you.”
“I am merging with the essence of Nicola Dragonvayne,” replies the Marc Kane. “His mind is receptive to the properties of the spell created by your friend. He embodies the light that must come, and I live on through that light. But as I reach for my rune in this spell, I see a darkening of the light---a reverse of the torch---and therein lies my part. I do not know if my relationship with my brother must die; I will live for this time, empty. But within the sign of the Darkening Light, I sense a solitary hope to deciphering the nature of this struggle. And if we fall, then the Earth will continue its rapid change, spurred by the energies summoned by this star-born sorceror. “
“ If that is humankind’s fate, then who shall live on?” asks Valkyrie.
“Some...some shall live on,” says the Marc Kane, as her image begins to merge with flame that yet does not burn Valkyrie or her steed. “And all will find their peace, their completed selves, somewhere in the stars, amidst dimensions as yet undreamt..., however much we might put our shoulders to move heaven, we can only serve what is timely to their process.”
The apparition of Nicola appears as a body in flame, as Valkyrie hears Clea’s voice: “This being provides a host for the Flames of Faltine, which shall illumine your way...prepare yourself; may this spell harness our strengths, and know though we fight alone, ultimately we journey towards Union.” Within her, the joy of light is reversed; yet because she is courageous, she holds her will firm, knowing she cannot fail.
As the tsunami of each man’s essence floods the mind of those around him, the fire fighting effort falls crippled once more in the light of day men call reality. Striding forth as the earth begins to shake beneath his dusty treads, the armored form of Gnoll the Trome obeys a summons from his liege lord Sharptooth.
“There lies the warrior woman,” he says, “participating in the last gasp of this world to stand back from its rightful place in the cosmos. Wake up, woman! Gnoll the Trome has fallen upon you! I will fight for the glory of Corpse Flower, and serve my purpose well!”
With his cannonball arm, Gnoll takes aim at the head of the entranced Valkyrie, when a lumbering mechanical sound not his own overtakes his Trome ears. He turns his helmeted head from its poise above the smoking furnace of his wheezing chest, and his steam valve releases vapors as though in alarm. Pvt. Holt has commandeered his tank for an unauthorized rescue. “Took me forever to drive over here,” he thinks, “but the least I can do is make like the cavalry and drive right over this ugly sucker! Time to bring a shipment of some pain with Uncle Sam’s overweight delivery truck here!” With a rebel yell, he relentlessly drives up onto the armored form, which begins to erupt in a variety of systems failures. “Hope this is some help, dollface,” Holt says, knowing the Valkyrie is beyond his hearing. “I can’t even begin to grasp what kind of fight you’re in, but you saved my life and I’m totally hung up on you...and in lieu of understanding anything, that will have to be my guide! Rough day for you, buddy...”
Emma Jorgenson watches all of this in disbelief. “At least there was no personal harm threatening me,” she thinks, “as I am here only as an astral projection. Yet...the telepathic noise of these minds pouring in without resolution wearies me; my physical body is nearly exhausted. I must reach into my connection with the ghosts and the Valkyrie...Prince Nicola, now that I’ve met you, and your noble love, I wish only I could do more for you...in fact, so I dream...”
With the last wisps of her conscious presence, she merges, through Dream, with her unconscious intent. Prince Nicola senses her before the mind’s eye, projecting forth into the unseen barriers before them which guard the spell of the wolf. Again and again she repeats: “you have the secret words to unlock your true self...you have the secret words to unlock your true self....secret...words...”
Within the void of inner space, beside the embodied Flames of Faltine Valkyrie sees the Dragon of the Elemental Fire, suspended before her; without certainty of direction, nevertheless she evades him on Aragorn, soaring beyond the creature, on into the unknown. Then there is a brilliant light of blinding intensity...and now, the Valkyrie, lit in ethereal glow, the composite flame of the integrated soul, and Aragorn of white feathers and flowing mane, fly without hesitation towards what appears to be a gigantic wolf’s head. There is a guttural, rumbling sound that stretches out into a senses piercing roar, and the flame vanishes into the all consuming maw before it.
The Marc’s darkened “torch” rune reveals a tall figure, standing in silhouette only before the bright burning behemoth.
He levitates over to a figure standing in an indigo aura; beneath them---though here, “up” and “down” are only a perceptive relationship---and she senses they are both out of time and space, as much as she has become...
Holt emerges from his tank, driven without orders into the steaming Trome’s armor. The effects of the Tranz Rupture make standing---much less driving a tank---difficult. His vision of the smoking wilderness around him intersperses with the inner selves of his fellow man. He fights for the freedom to think clearly for himself.
“We can’t handle each other’s thoughts being shoved into each other---like cleaning up a room by shoving everythin into a pile and stuffing it into the dumpster! Inner lives are being shoved into each other’s inner lives! I don’t think it was meant to be like this---it’s like a disorganized way of putting everyone together, way ahead of the evolutionary curve or something! There’s too much fear still bonded to people...their minds don’t have space! We need some kind of cosmic release valve; there’s pressure from all of the things people hang onto!"
SMASH CONCLUSION of "The Defenders" is next: Free of the Fallen World!
Additional dialog written for this part:
Fire trucks blare into the camp, where Hillie films the rushing fire fighters and soldiers. Torn by the need to do something, flooded with the emotions and inner thoughts of those around him, he desperately tries to document the strange situation. Yet no camera can record---and first hand accounts can only hint at---the sensation of minds, swept and mingled with one another.
Oakie plants an I.V. into Corporal Dayly’s arm with grim determination. “This lesion that causes my head pains nearly cripples me,” he thinks, “but in the past hour it’s subsided just enough...I’m glad I have skills to help, though I’m more of an animal doc than a physician...”
Hillie: I hardly know what to do to help...I can only observe...
Oakie: I don’t know how to document what we’re going through, man...Maybe we’re all meant to be cosmically aware---but they don’t know how to do it on earth; as a society, we try between friends to share our thoughts and feelings...for all the anger and anxiety, and all the joys and daydreams and hopes we contain, that seem so strange in their purest forms...you recognize how much people want off the planet! Or at least, to come and go freely!
Hillie: If it wasn’t for our imaginations, we could never bear to be trapped in life together!
Because maybe love is all you need...but we’re stuck with so much more...
Oakie: Yeah: that makes us so much less. And you know harmony on Earth isn’t even the ultimate expression of what we really are...though we might have it...if we’re free to touch the endless dimensions...and not trapped by one another...used to make limits and imprison ourselves. Just keep your camera rolling...the end of the world’s just one possibility...I’m going to take another pulse, and wipe another brow...
Hillie: Why aren’t we ready...are we just not developed to have that level of consciousness? If we tell ourselves we’re ready...how do we handle the touch of minds of those who are not?
Oakie: Hand me those hemostats, would you?
Dayly: Maybe what holds us back is being unable, or deciding not to embrace the paths of Imagination...
Oakie:...hmmm...and being unprepared to see the open imaginings of others, good or ill... afraid to match visions, feel genius and bliss without comparing ourselves as better, or less, or clinging to rules that say what reality is...besides the golden rule!
Dayly: if we could really accept that...we’d have true liberty...instead of madness...if that’s not too optimistic to say!
Oakie: Until humankind can harness the energy to follow our imaginations to any place or time we can feel...our opened minds could tear the world apart!
Hillie: At least that’s some kind of vision...if only we’d had that perspective...before the rupture came...between our minds...to our souls, maybe...