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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Legend of Christmas short story 2014

The Legend of Christmas
By
Alex Jahans

When people speak of the legends of the multiverse they speak of the trinity of chaos: Bam-Kursh the Accursed, the Farsh-nuke the Mad and Gfaxxy Quluwmcy the Sane. And maybe in huddled whispers of the great mother of chaos and father of logic but no more. It is believed and widely accepted that the Elder Gods were born long before the universes and that none have been born since. Haha! They are so so wrong! Let me tell you of the God humanity created for itself, the one they call Christmas.

The Doctor stands before the console, hair raked away from his face, proud, noble, terrified. “This is one of those moments isn't it? The Darkest Day. The Blackest Night. The Moment When All Hope Is Lost.”

The Nurse laughs “Fred you're only working the night shift on Christmass Eve, don't be so melodramatic.

Doctor Fred Constantine turns away from reception and sighs “Yes I know but Christmass is special isn't it? Any other day of the year? Fine, I'll be hungover and feel like death but Christmass is the day when magic can still be felt in the early morning air and the weight of the entire world waiting in baited breath to open their presents and cards hangs over it.”

The Nurse rolls her eyes “I'm sorry Doctor, you drew the short straw, so what if you celebrtate christmass a day late.”

The Doctor looks imploringly at her “Do you have any idea how many different cultures celebrate something at christmass, it's a near universal idea that during the blackest moments in life we shirk off responsibility so we can turn to each other and say 'Well done, we are halfway out of the dark'”

The Nurse laughs and walks away.

Weeks pass and Doctor Fred Constantine gets halfway through his Christmas Eve shift relatively uneventfully. It's 4am and he goes outside for a smoke.

Further on Nurse Ann Chapel and Doctor India Fulcrum are on their fag breaks too.

Ann says between puffs “You know what I don't get is why Christmas is only one day. Half a year of build up for one day of gorging and I'm going to miss it”

India coughs from laughing “No, I couldn't deal with Christmas lasting more than one year, it's just an excuse to buy a load of crap. That's why I'm working this shift. Fuck Christmas.”

Fred fumbles with his cigarettes and lighter, trying to light it three times before at last it gave light. He took a long drag and coughed. He spots a shooting star and mutters “Here Santa, why don't I get to have Christmas, yeah? I've worked all my life to give back to people and here I am warming my lungs on fucking nicotine in the cold of Christmas morning.”

Nothing happens.

Fred laughs “Fuck Christmas, I prefer a vindaloo to Christmas dinner anyway”

Fred finishes his cigarette in silence, stamps it out on the ground and heads back inside but he slips on a back of ice and as he falls a shooting star hits him.

Fred wakes up in a white void before a fat fellow dressed in red “I believe you understand how this works, you've seen this enough times.”

Fred and the Ghost of Christmas Past take a whistle stop through history watching every festival held at the darkest part of winter.

Fred nods, understanding “Every culture has had some variation of Christmas, some great hero to celebrate who will lead them out of darkness.”

The Ghost of Christmas past pats Fred on the back “Aye, you'll do well lad. You'll know the next one by her green eyes. Now about your business.”

Fred wakes up outside the hospital and gingerly runs inside.

Doctor India is checking the vital signs of a patient when she comments to Nurse Ann. “You know every year at Christmas idiot parents get brought in because they snuck down to do the job of Father Christmas.”

Fred turns at the mention of Christmas and sees India's eyes glow green.

Doctor India adds “If only Santa Claus did exist, there'd be a lot less people needing to be tret on Christmas Eve.”

A tall fat man with a long white beard dressed all in red taps Fred on the shoulder.

Fred stares up at the man in red who looked rather like himself “Let me guess, Ghost of Christmas Future?”

The older Fred dressed as Santa Claus nodded and led Fred back outside.

Fred stared down at where his body lay after he'd slipped on the ice, blood pooling behind Fred's head. “Of course. If I'm the Ghost of Christmas Future then I need to be shown my grave.”

All those festivals celebrating all those heroes. You are beings of logic and in the multiverse logic is always made real. You cried out for a hero so here I am. said the Ghost of Christmas Future.

Fred nodded “But how do I become you?”

Spoilers! Ho! Ho! Ho!


And the Ghost of Christmass Future vanished.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My experience of autism and introversion.

Hi,
Fair warning I have not studied Aspergrer's Syndrome, autism, introversion and I have no degree in any related field to understanding people. This is not a scientific paper and I speak for noone but myself.

I have always tried to live as though I did not have autism and I genuinely don't know where I sit on the spectrum to introversion. I do know however that I lack the roadmap to social interactions most people seem to have automatically. I liken it to my not having a sense of smell. I don't perceive much of a difference but others judge me differently because I don't react as they do under certain situations and this can lead to massive misunderstandings. Unlike not having a sense of smell though, not having an instinctual sense of social ettiquette is not treated with understanding, There is no "Oh that's why? Okay I'll tell you if you smell good or bad". My mother is a trained psychiatric nurse and she uses my social disability as a reason to try and deny me agency. "Oh the reason you don't want to do what I want is because of a condition you were born with and have no control over, that means you can't make decisions properly so I'll make them for you"

People with social understanding really do not know how to deal with people with no social understanding because they can't seem to imagine what a world looks like without social understanding. That's a problem some people get with my inability to smell too "But taste is ninety percent smell?" they say as though they've caught me in a lie. "How can something so integral to understanding the world vanish and you still function?" Most people can understand the principle though. They can close their eyes to experience a world without sight, they can temporarily experience what it's like to be deaf so they can imagine what a world without smell would look like. Hell that's TV. When you lack a sense of social ettiquette though that goes far beyond anything we can reasonably extrapolate from our own experiences and imagine.

How do you love? How do you make friends? How do you work with people? How do you function in society when society is by its very nature social and you have no sense of social understanding? The same way I understand a machine or physics. Philosophers have been debating the social aspects of life for millenia and I can use that to build a hard learned replacement for social understanding. Like a blind man using touch and sound and his own imagination to build a representation of the world in his head that he can navigate. The issue there though is that the philosophers that can be learned about are generally serious and important, not "Why drinking, dancing and listening to loud annoying music is enjoyable" so I pursue introverted hobbies built on facts and knowledge. There is science behind why media is good or bad. This though leads to the flipside that I and many other autistic people see opinions on fiction as objectively right or wrong as it is the only way we can function. Therefore we end up alone or with friends that greatly irritate us because disagreements are dangerous.

Ironically despite all of this, in terms of the dictionary definition of extraversion meaning gaining energy from other people, I am absolutely an extrovert. I crave social contact and kind of get high from it if it goes well. The chances of it going well considering my condition are slim though. I am at my best where is an objective well of information between us that we can talk about on end should the conversation dry up. I also need to know that debates or discussions can end well.

I know I have problems changing my opinions in discussions or debates, this is because if I didn't know what to think I wouldn't have the confidence to begin or continue the conversation. So please don't make a big deal of it or lecture me. This is how I am and yes it makes me a bit of a dick but until they come up with a way to restore my sense of social ettiquette I am doomed to make do as best I can and that means being annoying to argue with unfortunately.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

What I'm Thankful for 2014

Hi, this an american tradition and one founded in unpleasantness but that's not important because the spirit of giving thanks is something I think we could do with doing more. And if we imported Halloween why not a time of reflection and merriment too?

This year has not been pleasant for me and there were certainly some things I didn't expect but I am thankful for how the year has gone. I am thankful that my youtube has grown exponentially bigger than it used to be. I am thankful Nine Worlds Geek Fest was so awesome and I met many amazing people. I am thankful that my, rushed at the last minute, dissertation on sharkploitation films passed. I am thankful that the new kitten Ronnikin has helped my old cat Patch and bought joy to all my family. I am thankful that the time of lying and manipulation within my family is over. I am thankful that despite my fears and some close calls my family have stood by me and supported me. I am thankful that my NaNoWriMo experiment went over so well, I am thankful that Doctor Who has shown it can be progressive. I am thankful that TV shows are getting a lot better, even if I can currently just get The Flash. I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given that I cannot yet tell you about.

Most of all I am thankful for you reading this now, my friends and family and blog readers or youtube watchers. You have stood by me this year no matter how stupid or dickish I may have been. It has been my dream to get paid for my writing for so long and though this is just the beginning, within the first two or three months of having my blog monetised I have made one penny each month from the views upon my blog. My reviews and my NaNoWriMo parts or short stories. You have been reading them and it does count. It lifts my spirit to see that you care about what I write and in the coming year I hope to cater to you more.

Thank you all of you.

Alex Jahans 2014

We have to save the world but you can still relax.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Venus Trap Part 17 The Final Battle

The Venus Trap
By
Alex Jahans
Online Version
Part 17 – The Final Battle

Butterfly woke from a deep sleep completely relaxed and refreshed. She was in the hamster cage with Lucy and Iris. Lucy was wearing a suit and Iris was wearing trousers and a tshirt.

“Hey” called Butterfly “What happened?”

Lucy strode over to kneel beside Butterfly and said “I'm sorry. I had no part in it but I heard what happened. You ran forward and retrieved everyone's clothes and armour. You broke the rules and blew our cover. The Unleasher wanted to act right then but Galla decided that it would be better to lay low for a month sowing seeds of discord and training everyone how to fight.”

“Right” said Butterfly “Then what happened?”

“You really don't remember?” asked Lucy

“No” said Butterfly and the hairs standing up on the back of her neck made her realise something. She reached her left hand up to her neck and her face contorted in horror as she felt around her neck in desperation “Lucy, where's my collar?”

Lucy swallowed “The Unleasher had to make an example of you to maintain our cover. He walked you over to the donation bed and ordered that you be harvested completely. He removed one of your hearts before removing your regenerative capabilities.”

Butterfly's jaw dropped in horror “I'm – I mean – I've lived with my head being exploded, I have had hearts torn out and eaten. Regardless of whether I remember it or not. I would have felt that betrayal and slow agonising death. Christ, I want to vomit.”

“Hush” said Lucy stroking Butterfly “You're not supposed to get distressed”

“Not supposed to get distressed? I was dissected alive!” cried Butterfly.

Lucy nodded sadly “They wanted to lie to you, alter your mind and pretend something less horrific had happened. Said it would be kinder. I said that was a crock of shit and they just didn't want you to think ill of them. I threatened to sacrifice myself and Iris if they wanted to lie to you. That was sufficient leverage to make the elder gods reconsider and keep all three of us in your hamster cage ping pong ball. The Unleasher has your collar if you ever want it back.”

“And Kitty?” asked Butterfly.

Lucy's face darkened “Kitty, Galla, Emilia and Bernice are harvested daily. Mariam and the Queen are allowed out of being harvested because they are guards.”

Butterfly grimaced “And it's been a month.”

“Yeah” said Lucy “Oh and my severed leg grew into another clone of me. Emilia's taking care of her and has named her Artemis. She's also been harvested. Look do you want to have a shower?”

Butterfly nodded and followed Lucy out one of the tubes.

Iris watched them go and spoke into her Logicio ear piece “The Butterfly has taken the bait. Repeat, the Butterfly has taken the bait. Unleasher, we are go for assembly. Repeat we are go for assembly.”

***

Butterfly and Lucy returned to find Iris giggling.

Butterfly approached Iris “Hey girl, ever fancied a threesome?”

Lucy burst out laughing.

Iris spoke into her bluetooth. “We are go for drop”

***

Lucy, Butterfly and Iris appeared before Galla and the Unleasher.

“I'm sorry” said the Unleasher

“We're both sorry” said Galla “But you are an asset and now you are ready for war.”

“Look around you” said Iris

General Galbion, Diamonte, Judith, Lily, Galbion's Right Hand woman, Olaf Gamalzes, Emilia Auditorie the SALFy, Bernice the mutite shark, Greta the cyborg shark, Kitty, The Queen, The Hooded Justice, Flitzy, the orcs, the fairies, the plasticlones, the valkyries, the Asylum Seekers and the victims of the pit, they all stood, fully healed and recovered, armed to the teeth waiting for orders.

Galla said “This is why I did that to you. To give you an army with which to defeat the Bam-Kursh and end the suffering.”

“Freeing you as a consequence” said Butterfly

“Naturally” said Galla

“Is this what it is to be a weapon Farsh-nuke?” asked Butterfly

The Unleasher shrugged “I grew from a heart when the Bam-Kursh tried to kill me so long ago remember?”

Butterfly nodded “And how do we get out of the pit?”

“Fly” said Galla “We will follow”

Butterfly nodded.

Lucy kissed her on the cheek “Fly well and maybe we'll meet again.”

Butterfly swallowed remover her plasma rifle from a pocket and flew.

Butterfly flew up out of the pit and down to the front door of the Bam-Kursh's tower without being noticed or noticing anything odd. When she touched the ground though all hell broke loose...

***
Galla and the Unleasher appeared either side of Butterfly, Quantum Oscillators aimed and working away at the door. Lucy and Greta appeared either side of Butterfly, guarding Galla and the Unleasher. Iris and the Hooded Justice protected their sides.

General Galbion and half the orcs, Plasticlones Asylum Seekers and victims of the pit appeared guarding the road to the right.

Diamonte and the other half of the orcs, Plasticlones Asylum Seekers and victims of the pit appeared guarding the road to the left.

Olaf led a group comprising Galbion's Right Hand woman, Judith, 2 weresharks and a fairy as they mowed down down the enemy behind their battle lines.

Emilia led Artemis the Queen, 2 weresharks and a fairy as they took out fighters behind enemy lines to the left.

Lily, Kitty and Bernice controlled the battlefield by listening into intelligence gained through blood control and using calculated attacks to thin out the enemy in areas of weakness and bunch them up where they could be most easily killed.

Flitzy maintained ultimate authority over the fairies and managed how many fairies were allocated to any specific task at a given time. Be it replenishing the ammo and health of the allies, using shock and awe to distract and confuse the enemies or focusing fire in a specific area to save a unit under heavy fire.

Butterfly cast shield spells to protect and buff her friends but between shield spells a lucky shot exploded Iris's head and the Hooded Justice staggered back, injured.

Shunk!

The door opened.

Vwoorp!

The Cowboy and 50 Architects of Chaos appeared.

The Cowboy cried “Get the Bam-Kursh!” and turned to shoot at the enemy behind him.

The Unleasher picked Butterfly up and carried her inside.

Galla followed and shut the door behind them.

***

Inside the tower was a spiral stair case leading up and down.

The Unleasher started heading up

Galla said “We go down.”

“Why?” asked Butterfly “The Bam-Kursh is at the top of the tower.”

Galla nodded “And the Unleasher will provide a satisfactory distraction but we can't hope to beat him until I have met the other Galla and freed myself. Now go downstairs.”

Butterfly sighed and headed downstairs followed by Galla.

“I really hope I don't have to kill you” said Butterfly sadly.

“Likewise” said Galla.

At the bottom they found a short skinny dark skinned woman.

“Hello” she said “I am Galla Placidia, Regent for Emperor Valentian the third. Would someone please explain to me what the hell is going on?”

Galla said “Ever had strange dreams or nightmares, felt that your thoughts or actions were not your own, that you can remember things you have never done. I chose you Galla as I chose this woman here to be my Butterfly. My soul lies shattered across all the women I have bought to this plane of existence and now I shall rise.”

The Regent of Rome said “Yes. Yes, I see now. What must we do?”

Galla kissed the Regent of Rome on the lips playfully then pulled back to say “How else is a god born?”

Butterfly asked nervously “Why did you bring me along here?”

The Regent of Rome stared at Butterfly and smiled.

Galla said “I need energy to perform this ritual. I need life force. You have it in abundance and that will leave me free to take out the Bam-Kursh”

Butterfly nodded slowly “And since I am no one's pet after what you did there is no socio-cultural stigma to this. And I suppose there are worse ways to have your life energy drained.”

***

The Unleasher had been stripped and her hand and legs were cuffed together behind her back to let her hang from a crane as a pinata. The Bam-Kursh was slashing at her with his sword cane.

“I just think we can murder bad guys.” said the Unleasher.

The Bam-Kursh laughed “The innocent and the good are much more fun to torture, to feel their joy and idealism obliterated by pain!”

Whack!

The Unleasher flinched “I'll let you possess me just please let them live.”

Galla strode in her eyes green. With a wave of her hand the chains holding the Unleasher to the crane melted away and Unleasher was pulled to her right hand.

“Nice pinata, I might have to have a swing myself some time.” said Galla.

The Bam-Kursh glared at her “How dare you? The Farsh-nuke is my property, he sold herself to me!”

Galla cackled “You really don't remember me do you Bam-Kursh well maybe this will jog your memory.”

Galla held her open hand before her and started squeezing thin air “Shut up”

The Bam-Kursh started suffocating “Mummy!”

Galla grinned “Who keeps the monsters from your space? Mother. Who tells the bad guys to behave? Mother. Who makes you do the unpleasant things for the greater good? Mother. I'm back Bam-Kursh and I have had enough of your games. Go! To! Your! Body!”

The spirit of the Bam-Kursh fled Flavia Galla and she collapsed.

“Go see to Butterfly” said Galla and she chased after the spirit of the Bam-Kursh.

The Unleasher pulled on her clothes and headed downstairs where the blissed out Regent of Romew and Butterfly stripped her again.

***

When Butterfly the Unleasher and the regent of Rome finally opened the doors it was a blood bath.

The Cowboy, Lucy and Greta were both shot up and bleeding heavily. The Hooded Justice and Iris were dead.

The right flank were all but dead. Galbion and her Right Hand woman had been vaporised. Judith lay dying as a fairy saw to her, Olaf was fine since she was a wereshark and had played conservatively when she needed to.

The left flank was equally demolished. Diamonte's head had exploded and Emilia and Artmeis had ultimately died protecting the Queen who was being seen to by a fairy.

Lily and Bernice died but Kitty survived just and was being seen to by a group of fairies.

Flitzy landed on Butterfly's shoulder “I saved some of them, well their memories and a sample of their dna. You will have to extract them from me. I am not long for this world.”

Butterfly nodded and mind melded with Flitzy then with a last gasp Flitzy died in her arms.

Butterfly broke down crying.

The Unleasher hugged her and tried to pretend that everything would be alright but she felt hollow inside too.

Thunk!

Gfaxxy Quluwmcy stepped out of a rocket and said “We will take you to our ship and give you somewhere to live while you grieve. We will also clear up this mess.”

Galla strode up “Good. That's the Bam-Kursh dealt with. May I join you?”

The Unleasher stepped between Galla and Butterfly “I don't care if it is not my right, I don't care if you are more powerful than me. I care a great deal for this woman and all you have done is cause her pain. No more.”

Galla chuckled “Farsh-nuke, really?”

The Unleasher lifted Galla up by the collar. “I have murdered the ones I love, I have eaten people and I have crushed their souls into dirt. I have more blood on my hands than you will ever know and you make me sick. Cut the crap or I will end you!”

Galla asked Butterfly “Is she serious?”

Butterfly nodded “She killed me remember?”

Galla swallowed “Okay maybe I should look at modifying my ego but please don't kill me, I can be an asset in the war.”

Lucy laughed “Gfaxxy take us away”

***

The next two days were spent recovering from the final battle. Olaf, Kitty, The Cowboy, The Queen, Lucy, Greta and Butterfly grew close as they shared their stories of the battle and commiserated. The Regent of Rome drank with them as she shared her tale of the saga. The Unleasher and Galla spent those two days having very heated discussions in the bar.

By the third day the Unleasher went over to speak to the others and was soon singing karaoke and playing poker with the others.

On the morning of the fourth Butterfly went over to the Unleasher at breakfast and said “I know why you're here, shall we try it?”

The Unleasher nodded and they started working away in the hologram suite.

A month later the Unleasher led everyone into the suite for the grand reveal.

They pulled away the curtain and everyone marvelled at three women in glorified refrigerators.

“Presenting the Hooded Justice, Iris Timeweaver and Emilia Auditorie.” said the Unleasher.

The Queen asked “Can I get an Emilia for my country? She's very skilled.”

The Unleasher nodded.

Lucy asked “And if I wanted an Iris for reasons of my own.”

Galla entered, cheeks red, tearing up and hugged the Unleasher and Butterfly.

The next day Gfaxxy approached Galla and said “Look we need to go, nothing against you just this whole war thing. So can we sort stuff out.”

Galla nodded and then she got the Regent of Rome, Lucy and Butterfly in a room with her “So who wants me?”

The Regent of Rome said “I could use your power.”

Lucy nodded in agreement “I can't run everything and I don't have experience of it so this Galla Placidia will aid me in my mission.”

Butterfly nodded “They need someone like you. They need an ultimate pragmatist. Galla I and the Unleasher just want to travel and help people.”

The elder god known as mother moved into the regent of Rome and said “Then it is agreed, we make preparations to leave.”

***

Galla, Butterfly, Kitty, Olaf and the Unleasher took 2 clones of Iris, 2 clones of Emilia, 1 clone of the Hooded Justice, and the Queen.

Gfaxxy, The Elder God Galla, Lucy, Greta and the Cowboy took a clone of Emilia and the Hooded Justice with them and the cloning boothes.

As they were about to leave and the elder god Galla on Gfaxxy's ship was gathering up everybody for the move back to their respective times and places she felt something odd and pulled it aboard. Amy materialised “Hi guys, what did I miss?”

Lucy started laughing.

***

Butterfly and the Unleasher's ship dropped off one of the clones of Iris back in her old life then they dropped off the Queen with one of the Emilia clones and stopped by Woking.

They found out Campuss had fallen to her death when Woking had vanished and Galla was heart broken until Mariam invited Sandra round and shut the door of the spaceship before she could leave.

“It's bigger on the inside” said Sandra

“Yes it is” said Galla “Now allow me to introduce my friends. Gal with wings there is Butterfly. The one in back is the Hooded Justice or Mariam. The one who looks a bit like a boulder is Olaf Gamalzes. The shadowy figure in the cosplay is Emilia Auditorie, a resistence fighter from a far future parallel universe and the women reclining on the sofa are Kitty and Iris. We are the Venusian Cavalry. Now answer me one simple question: All of reality, every universe there ever was, every star, every planet, every time, where do you want to start?”

Sandra swallowed and made her answer.


The door that wasn't there before was no longer there again. The Venusian Cavalry were off on another adventure.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Venus Trap Part 16 The Pit

The Venus Trap
By
Alex Jahans

Online Version
Part 16 – The Pit


Butterfly stirred from her slumber. She remembered the bolt of pain as a dart pierced her neck. She remembered an assassin telling her to enter the pit so they could rescue Lucy and then another bolt of pain as she was tranquillized and so her memory grew spotty.

She remembered the outnumbering solders swarming and stripping them. The muted cries and threats from her peers as weapons were taken away. She remembered the bite as tight metal handcuffs were secured around her wrists and ankles, the rattling of chains as her hands and feet were yoked together behind her back. She felt the shift of gravity as a crane was used to lift her up into the air and down into the pit.

She remembered the screaming and heat as they approached the bottom of the pit and the overwhelming smell of blood and rot. She remembered soldiers unloading her and her friends and carrying them like cargo to a rubbish chute set in a thick concrete wall. She remembered landing on what felt like glass and being carried. Then she blacked out.

Butterfly woke up to find herself wearing a crude leather skirt and tshirt. Her peers were similarly dressed, even the Queen. They were in a deep cavern open to sunlight. The floor was covered in a centimetre of sand or dust. A tall thick set woman with warts, scars and signs of fungal infection was watching over them. She held a big stick that culminated in and end covered in what looked like human teeth.

“Where are we?” asked Butterfly

The woman laughed “You are kidding me?”

Butterfly groaned and started stretching “So we're in the pit?”

The woman nodded “Let me guess? Outsiders? You clubbed together to visit Rome and end this shit? You made it through the gladiatorial trials and made a play for the big tower? And now? Pahahaha! You're so screwed?”

Butterfly sighed “So what do we do?”

The woman thought for a moment then said “Well now you have clothes and are awake to really feel the pain you get to go forward and donate your skin, bones and hair to other poor unfortunates who end up down here. Then you get to have a nice rest as you heal before you perform your duty to extract donations from other poor unfortunates and if you're really lucky and don't rapidly replace your lost bones and skin you are tortured and slowly carved away at to provide food for the other inmates and alternate with torturing your friends. And if you're really lucky and make others feel extreme pain without ruining their effectiveness as torturers you may get a big stick and the right to help run this pain machine.”

The colour drained from Butterfly's face, she hadn't thought anything could be worse than the conspiracy she helped dismantle but this was it. She vomited.

A short woman with a false leg made from someone's thigh bone walked forward flanked by two tall body builders who each had an arm missing.

The tall woman Butterfly had been speaking to spoke with the short woman. After a moment the short woman walked over to Butterfly.

Butterfly got to her feet and saluted “You want me to make my donation, sir!”

The short woman laughed bitterly “What limb do you want to donate?”

Butterfly answered “Take my left leg”

The short woman nodded and the grunts with missing arms escorted butterfly over to bench made from skin stretched over bones.

Butterfly laid in the bed.

A short ginger woman gave Butterfly a sad smile as she listed to the other short woman's instructions.

“I'm sorry” said the ginger woman and she carved into Butterfly's flesh without anaesthetic, using knifes made by sharpening bone.

The ginger woman exposed the bones of Butterfly's leg and cauterised any bleeding by virtue of bone heated over fire then she carefully cut the tendons connecting her leg bones to her pelvis and foot before she removed the leg bones. She carefully placed the leg bones to one side before slicing off Butterfly's left foot, setting that aside and severing the meat of Butterfly's left leg from her arse. The meat was set aside and Butterfly's wounds were cauterised then the ginger woman removed the skin from her arms and carefully removed her teeth one by one, cauterising wounds as she went until at last Butterfly had her hair cut.

Butterfly was left to writhe in agony as Kitty, Galla and Mariam watched while the resources gained from her were ferried around to be made use of. Then Butterfly was carried over to a left dusty healing corner.

***

Butterfly woke up to find a tall beautiful dark skinned woman stroking her hair. “Hey honey, are awake?”

Butterfly tried to speak before giving up and nodding

The beautiful woman introduced herself “My name is Iris and this is the healing corner.”

Butterfly wrote a message in the dust with her finger “Why are you naked?”

Iris laughed “Good question! I was left for dead in the gladiatorial arena so I didn't have to make a donation. The Unleasher says that as a result of that its not fair that I wear clothes but it's okay she gave me a pill and now I don't feel the cold. She said I am to take special care of you and give you lots of cuddles and strokes as you are a kitten in human form, is that right?”

Butterfly nodded and wrote in the dust “Can I see her?”

Iris squeezed Butterfly “No silly, she's very busy but I can see if I can get a message to her if you'd like?”

Butterfly nodded.

Iris called out “Lucy, get the Unleasher to come over here please darling?”

Butterfly groaned and then she felt something stroking her left arm. She turned to see Galla who had donated her left arm.

Mariam was dragged over, she'd donated her right leg.

Kitty had donated her left arm.

The Queen had donated her left leg.

Flitzy had donated her legs.

Olaf had donated her right arm.

Emilia had donated her left leg.

Bernice had donated her left leg.

They all cried in despair, especially the shape shifters who had the double whammy of being mutilated and having their souls scarred so they were locked in these bodies. Flitzy could no longer feel her connection to the magic force that pervades reality and felt as though this truly was hell.

Lucy came over accompanied by the Unleasher.

Butterfly stared into the Unleasher's eyes and saw the man she'd last spoken to over a video feed on a septagonoid ship “Help me, Farsh-nuke” she wrote.

***

Butterfly and the Unleasher are suddenly standing, restored to perfect health, in a chilled room lined with pressurized gas canisters linked up with valves and piping to racks of computing.

“What is this place?” asks Butterfly

The Unleasher answers “Something you need to see

William Dickson Wright pauses for a moment, quietly drinking in the atmosphere. “Impressive.”

William walks to a computer terminal and starts waving his Quantum Oscillator about, scanning things. He lets out a little bit of the gas to test and where it leaks, reality itself dissolves into a black void. William licks this tiny speck of nothingness.

William says “Shit, this could actually work.”

The Farsh-nuke says “That’s bad.”

William says “Let me just check something.”

William focuses on the tip of his finger, turning it green then he uses the Quantum Oscillator to blast a scraping of his illogicity into the void. The void grows larger.

Butterfly asks “Why is William talking to himself?”

The Unleasher says “He's talking to me, to the Farsh-nuke within himself. Notice the flickering of green in his eyes when the Farsh-nuke takes over.”

The Farsh-nuke says “Shit.”

Butterfly says “Oh yeah I see now

William says “I am sorry Lucy.”

The Farsh-nuke says “That could obliterate everything.”

William says “It would solve the problem, the final problem. I could solve it.”

The Farsh-nuke says “Everything would cease to exist, to never have existed, time will be undone, everyone unborn.”

William says “I could do it, me. I could finally get something right for once.”

The Farsh-nuke says “No this is wrong, this is so wrong. This is the closest there has ever been or ever will be to evil.”

William says “But it won’t ever have been.”

The Farsh-nuke says “Lucy will die.”

William says “She will cease to exist. That’s different.”

The Farsh-nuke says “This can’t happen. I will not allow it to happen. I am many many horrific things but I can not let you do this, William.”

The Farsh-nuke plunges his hand into William’s chest and pulls out his heart. William laughs.

William says “I am a wereshark. I don’t need -”

The Farsh-nuke flashes with anger then picks up a glass vial containing close to pure logic.

The Farsh-nuke says “If I smash this glass at our feet, we’ll dissolve, you and I. We’ll die together.”

William says “You can’t.”

The Farsh-nuke says “I can.”

William says “Then do it.”

The Farsh-nuke says “Alright I will.”

The hand holding the vial utterly fails to budge.

William says “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”

The Farsh-nuke says “But that’s impossible! Absolutely impossible!”

William says “That’s the problem with evil monsters? Always so naive about the clich├ęs they are invoking.”

The Farsh-nuke says “I am the great Farsh-nuke! The ever watchful spirit of chaos! It’s my job to protect the nothingness! This cannot be!”

William says “I know right? And my little dog too? She totally didn’t trounce your powers of possession did she? You must have known? I told you, she got it from me.”

The Farsh-nuke says “No. No, that’s too unbearable to think about.”

William says “That you’ve been living with me at my discretion? I know right? Isn’t it just the greatest? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to come up with the final solution.”

William lowers the hand holding the vial and starts agitating it with his Quantum Oscillator.

The scene vanishes and switches to a younger Butterfly running down a corridor, she finds a septagonoid and cries “Quick, take me hostage! William is in your bomb room right now! He will wipe you all out unless you send him a video message right now, saying that you’ll kill me if he doesn’t stop plotting to save the multiverse and wipe out the Septagonoids!”

The Septagonoid says “Is your name Lucy?”

“Yes” says the younger Butterfly.

The Septagonoid clarifies “Sister Lucille Badass?”

The younger Butterfly says “That’s me.”

The Septagonoid says “Whatever you say maam, just please don’t kill me.”

The scene shifts back to show William in the chilled room.

William holds up a vial. He cries out jubilantly “I’ve done it! In this vial lies the answer to the oldest equation, the first equation, the equation that must never ever be solved! All I need do is break the glass of this vial and a chain reaction will begin. Time will be undone. Logic and illogicity will flatten out into a matt black void of silence. The classist view of nothingness will become actual canon for evermore!”

A buzzer sounds and a video feed of the younger Butterfly and the Septagonoid is projected onto a wall.

The Septagonoid says “Listen Mister William Dickson Wright Farsh-nuke sir! If you do not stop trying to save the multiverse and wiping us out then I will eradicate your good lady friend here!”

“Oh, really?” says William

The Septagonoid says “Indeed Sir! I will give her the most painful death, sir! Unless that is you stop trying to wipe us out so we can solve the final equation!”

William laughs. “I really don’t take well to threats!”

William blows illogicity into the solution in the vial. “Shame really to ruin such a fine solution but the fuckers asked for it.”

William smashes the vial on the ground then Tara materialises around him before hurriedly dematerialising.

The scene ends and Butterfly and the Unleasher are left to stand in a green void.

The Unleasher hugs Butterfly “You saved all of us. I owe you so very very much.”

Butterfly nuzzles the Unleasher “I've missed you so much you know and it's only been a month and a half since I left you. I'm all yours if you want me.”

The Unleasher pulled back “I won't lie I want to and I am still very protective of you but no I am the Unleasher now. I gifted myself to the Bam-Kursh to end our feud and the bloodshed. At least that's what was supposed to happen. I'm not fit to care for myself let alone another but we will talk properly. I won't lie it will probably mean more pain for you in the long term but I need my Lucy fit and well.”

Butterfly nodded “I understand, heal my friends too won't you?”

The Unleasher sighed “I can't make any promises. I can just about free your souls from the restrictions placed upon you by the Bam-Kursh but I can't regrow your skin and bones for you.”

Butterfly nodded “I trust you

The Unleasher grinned and kissed Butterfly on the forehead.

Butterfly woke up back in the pit. The Unleasher was leaning over her.

“Hush” said the Unleasher as she closed Butterfly's eyelids and laid the palm of her right hand on Butterfly's chest “Sleep and recover. I will wake you when we can chat.”

***

Butterfly woke after the deepest most pleasant sleep she had had in a long time. She yawned and stretched and realised her leg had regrown. She also realized her teeth were back.

Galla said “What did you give her to let us be so healed?”

Mariam and Emilia groaned.

Bernice said “Any of you feel like helping your other friends?”

Flitzy said “Meesa have a make whole spell, I shall heal the humans.”

Kitty said “Whatever you did, I'm glad you did it.”

Galla said more seriously “Butterfly what the hell did you give her?”

Butterfly said “I was her pet before I was yours. Plus I did save the multiverse.”

Galla said “I'm not letting you go Butterfly. It's great that you've met up with you're old owner but you're mine now.”

Lucy bounded over wearing a bikini “Hey Butterfly and Galla, you're better now. That's awesome. I tell you this Unleasher woman she is the best owner ever. Iris doesn't even realise she's her pet because the Unleasher brings her under so quickly Iris just thinks she falls asleep in her arms.”

Galla said “Oh yeah I noticed her yesterday. I thought I killed her.”

Lucy and Butterfly stared at Galla.

Galla shrugged “I had to get through the gladiatorial competition and she had a knife so I made her slit her own throat.”

Lucy said “Your owner is scary”

Butterfly laughed.

Iris woke up from her position beside Butterfly “Hey you're awake and healed? The Unleasher must really like you.

Butterfly asked “Iris, how would you like to join us? We're plotting rebellion and revolution.”

Iris said “I'd love to but I'd want some clothes before I started shanking guards”

Butterfly nodded “Lucy could you fetch the Unleasher please?”

Lucy nodded and bounded away.

Galla asked “Do you have anybody to miss you at home Iris?”

Iris stared at Galla

Butterfly said “My friend means, well I'm her pet and Lucy's pet and well she thinks you would make a good pet.”

Iris looked confused “I'm a journalist who can time travel, I am not a pet.”

Galla said “No but you would be a very valuable asset.”

The Unleasher appeared behind Iris “She's going to go back home to her family in central city and all of this will be but an unpleasant memory.”

Butterfly stared at the Unleasher, she knew that stance, it was the same William adopted when strange men had offered to buy her off William, it was a very protective and dominant posture.

Galla said “If you want Iris to not get involved I suggest you send her to help the other injured.”

The Unleasher caught the threat and nodded for Iris to go.

Butterfly said “Farsh-nuke meet the elder god behind this Venus Trap, otherwise known as Galla Placidia”

The Unleasher said “How annoyed would you be if I murdered her?”

Galla glared at the Unleasher “The Farsh-nuke as I live and breathe, I wondered when you'd turn up. I rather assumed you'd be a man.”

The Unleasher smiled “Do you really want to do this?”

Galla smiled “Oh I would love to.”

Mariam said “Galla, please don't kill the woman who has let us have our teeth back.”

Galla grimaced “Dammit! My host won't let me make a move towards you.”

The Unleasher chuckled “Yeah, it is a bitch when they assert agency over their own body isn't it?”

Galla turned and kissed Mariam “Fuck me, you beautiful woman.”

Butterfly asked “Do you know her?

The Unleasher shrugged “It's been a long time since I was an elder god out in the wild, I might not remember. Anyway how about you, you good?”

Butterfly nodded “So what happened to you, to make you into a woman?”

The Unleasher lay down beside the Butterfly “The Unleasher was a real woman. A resistance fighter for the Sylph Allied Liberation Front, she built a very clever bomb to make me feel what it was to be a woman.”

“And now you're running hell?” said Butterfly.

The Unleasher raised her eyebrow “How did you know?”

“Well for starters you have access to sylph pills to turn Iris but more importantly this is an economy that farms and exploits women as resources. If anybody else was running a torture system then they'd get hot coals, a rake and maybe some chains but otherwise they'd be left to rot. This system as crude and cruel as it is gives people clothes and weapons and soap and other things that can be made from harvesting women.” said Butterfly.

The Unleasher nodded and lay back in the dust, staring into space. “The Bam-Kursh said he knew I would try to overthrow her if I wasn't kept busy so she licked me up in this pet and said I could get access to basic food and resources if I tortured any women he sent down here. The less resources I ask of him, the better resources I can get and the more women scream and suffer, the more of a free hand I am given”

Butterfly sighed “The man who founded the conspiracy to eat sylphs for the supposed good of all becomes the woman responsible of running hell for the actual good of all.”

The Unleasher nodded “No greater torture for me than that.”

Butterfly squeezed the Unleasher's hand “Hey this place is clean, the women are clothed and you are slowly militarising the place. It's a success.”

The Unleasher said without emotion “If your plan doesn't work I'm going to have to farm you and your friends. We need the resources and you need to suffer.”

Butterfly rolled over and hugged the Unleasher “It's alright, we'll get out of here.”

The Unleasher broke down in tears “I really don't want to harvest from Iris. I just want one person to make it through this place without being tortured.”

Butterfly nuzzled the Unleasher “You know the other Lucy is a me from another universe where she got turned into a sylph by the Great Farsh-nuke?”

The Unleasher nodded “The weight that's on that woman's shoulders, I don't know how she can bare it.”

Butterfly couldn't think of anything else to say so she just hugged the Unleasher until the tears went away.

Galla spoke up “I know where to find our clothes.”

The Unleasher stared at her “Where?”

Galla shut her eyes for a moment and said “They're in the soldier enclosure, they can be thrown down the rubbish chute at any time. I just need to give the word.”

“Okay” said the Unleasher “How?”

Galla shrugged “It's the Venus Trap. My soul scattered throughout the multiverse. That's what bought you all here, I'm trying to rebuild myself. Fortunately while I was off the grid the other parts of my soul that were large enough worked to help us. Now how are we going to do this? I think we should send Butterfly.”

“No, I'll go” said the Unleasher

“Do you normally collect the rubbish? If you don't then you risk ruining everything. Butterfly is a known adversary of the Bam-Kursh so there's plausible deniability and she's a wereshark and a fairy so she can stand to make the mission.” said Galla.

“I am not letting you put her in danger” said the Unleasher

“Give the word” said Butterfly and she started running

Galla glared at the Unleasher

The Unleasher grumbled “Give the word”

Butterfly ran across the pit, hurdling the sick or the fallen and dodging guards that lashed out with their sticks. She made it to the bottom of the chute and found the bundle of clothes laving atop a large metal catch area that had been covered in teeth. She grabbed the clothes and ran back.

Galla and the Unleasher were screaming at each other when Butterfly returned.

Butterfly handed over the clothes “Would you two stop tearing into one another I got it done and once we're ready I think you'll find we can be more than a match for the Bam-Kursh.”

“See, I told you” said Galla

The Unleasher glared at Galla “Fine”

“Fine, what?” asked Butterfly.

The Unleasher took the clothes from Butterfly and handed them to Iris “Go hide these somewhere safe.

Butterfly stared at the Unleasher “What is it? What were you arguing about?”

“Whether our cover is worth so much” whispered the Unleasher then she grabbed Butterfly's arm and took her over to the short ginger woman.

The ginger woman said “Unleasher, you don't normally take people to make their donations?”

The Unleasher shook her head and swallowed before taking a deep breath and yelling “Silence rabble!”

The chatter and the screams stopped.

The Unleasher cried “You all know me! You all know how much I help you and look after you!? Well this is what happens when you try to escape! Sister Lucille Danse of the Sylph Liberation Front you are to be harvested of all your organs and bones and skin while still alive without pain relief! Your regeneration has been stopped and you shall suffer a slow and lingering death for the benefit of all!”

Butterfly cried out in shock and pain as the Unleasher walked away and the ginger woman laid her onto the operation table.

The Unleasher walked back to Galla and Butterfly's friends and said “There is nothing you can say that will be a patch on how I feel about myself right now.”

The Unleasher slumped against the wall of the pit and sobbed into Butterfly's still beating heart.