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Chess Funky

Frank stepped off the curb carrying a tray of coffee, looking both ways as he crossed the street and headed into the park. He stopped off at the newspaper vendor, placed a bill down and grabbed a paper, tucked it underneath his arm.

"Thanks Frank," said the vendor.

"No, thank you!" Frank returned the gratitude. He liked reading about what was happening in various parts of the world. A newspaper was a man's best friend, for it can tell him things that a dog can't.

"Catch ya tomorrow," the vendor said. 

Frank continued into the park area; he saw the table and headed for it. Angst was sitting there, her head propped up by her hands. She had been studying the board and trying to figure out a move.

"You figured it out yet?" Frank asked her as he approached. 

"Not yet," she replied with a sour taste in her mouth. At the moment she was thinking of going postal on the board and sending the playing pieces scattering like leaves in the wind.


Vending Death

"What's this?" Suki asked when she noticed the vending machine, chained to the wall.

"It's a vending machine, Suki," Mags said with a smile.

"I know that," Suki replied. "But it's cigarettes in it!"

A slight rain fell onto the platform; it was a soothing sound, a comforting sound, a sound like a lullaby that you would hear a mother make to comfort a child. Suki was fascinated with a vending machine which was dispensing smokes; she had never seen one before.

"Yeah, back in the day," Mags replied, she leaned back on the bench. "Well... today in fact."

"You mean to say that cigarette vending machines existed all over at one point?" she asked Mags. She squatted down to make out the brand names that were before each knob, noticing the bright colours.

"Yes," Mags said. She leaned back on the bench and let the rain wash her face.

"That's stupid," Suki said. "When they know how harmful they are."

"Well, considering that kind of logic," Mags said without looking up; you could hear the mirth in her voice, "maybe they should ban cars since they kill a lot of people."

"Oh," Suki retorted.

Pretty Firefight

Max dove for cover as the explosion consumed the room, barely beating being caught up in the inferno by a mere scant seconds. It singed some of the hairs on his head though, and that really got him more ticked.

He hit the ground and rolled, and came up behind a barrier. He didn't know what they were using but it was some futuristic gun that made things explode. He got out his cellphone and dialed a number with his thumb.

"Pretty," Max said.

"I am," Pretty replied. "How can I help thee, Max?"

"You still have that Willis Gun?" asked Max.

"That I do," replied Pretty.

"Can you bring it to me?" Max asked politely.

She's Got It All

Mags danced on the ledge; she was several stories up and she didn't mind it at all. She felt free and alive, Bananarama declaring that it was a Cruel Summer. She never felt more alive than when she was dancing in the crisp cool air, listening to music. They say music soothes the savage beast, and she understood that concept. 

I wish that they had this back then, she thought.

Her phone rang; she jumped from the ledge down to the rooftop and walked over to where a lawn chair and a table was set up. She got it on the third chime.

"Mags here," she said. "If there's anything I can do for you, I am your girl."


> Frank in Plureality

We, each in our own way, 
approve of the sentimentality of tears 
though  we cannot find enough moments to pin them, 
delicately, to. 
In the thunder there is always anticipation, 
maybe something of the lyrical 
in our steps as we cross the road; 
always that thrill rippling distant across our numbness 
at the act, 
although every film seeking to document our mood has shown the very same scene 
and the cars never fail to slow. 
The first drops fall 
and perhaps you wish, pace quickening, 
you were running, laughing, the rain already a storm, for shelter under an awning 
he or she running beside you, 
two others you don’t know but who you share a smile with 
as your hand moves, suddenly slow, significant, 
through you wet hair. 
We think we may have discovered the refrain 
over coffee and cigarettes. 
Maybe the rain is a part of it. 
Later one of us will be reading, another dreaming in bed, 
another will be crying, and though you may see it, days later, 
behind their smile, you’ll never know why. 
And we’ll try and remember what it was, 
the way the storyteller paused to light her cigarette, 
the way he was resting his head in his hand, 
the way our cups were filled without asking, the song on the raido. 
Or did the others even feel it? Was it when 
your thoughts returned to the awning – 
It is in front of a gas station, on a highway. 
You had stopped to buy snacks, and to flip a coin 
over whether or not to buy a map 
when the rain started. 
There will be a collection  
of notes, 
a particular arrangement, though you may return to it 
for slight changes as suits your fancy, 
with the correct voice 
to speak of you. 
It is the way the smoke  
from your cigarette changes 
that tells you before they step from the hall. 
Everything else changes in the moment they do; 
everything else had been arranged for you to be alone, 
the window open but behind you, 
the record on but finished playing, 
the five butts in the ashtray, chain-smoked, 
all to make of you and the space and silence about you 
a moment worthwhile. 
That changes even as it is observed, and the words 
it would take to make of their arrival a moment 
are so much simpler 
only so much heavier 
than any that will be spoken tonight. 
It is not that either of your smiles are forced, 
they are just too familiar and no longer reliable.


A Prayer Before the...


Goner felt the bullet enter his side and he knew that he was going to be in a world of pain. He fell to the floor like a bricklayer dropping bricks into a barrel. He crawled the best that he could with the one good arm, behind a short wall.

"That makes four," he said to himself.

He knew that time was short; he had been in situations like this many times but this time it felt different. This time he tasted fear.
He couldn't move his left arm since it was dangling at his side, the bone was broken from a previous wound. Bullets skittled around him, trying to break away the barrier that he was trying to hide behind.

Damn, I don't want to die just yet. There's one thing more I would like to do.

He propped himself up against the wall and reached to see if another clip had magically appeared in his jacket pocket but he knew it hadn't. He ejected the clip from the gun and saw only one bullet left. He put the clip back into the gun, using his leg.

He coughed and spat out some blood.

Damn. Game over.

Entering the Blanc Mansion

The trained pulled into the platform. Max could see this was not going to be an easy task; he saw several armed men and guard dogs on duty. For such a secret station it was well protected.

"Trap?" Akimoto asked. He took out his sword and was waiting for the signal from Max. The train was coming to a stop, and the men didn't seem to acknowledge it at all.

"I rightly don't know," said Max; he felt uneasy about this whole situation. "They seem to be on high alert but not doing anything."

"Let me take care of them," Suki said as she noticed the LEGACY logo on the security uniforms. She powered up the Godhammer.

"We wait until they move," Max cautioned. He peered out the window onto the platform again and couldn't believe their luck. 

The train came to a complete stop and the doors didn't open; the half dozen men were still standing there nonchalantly as if the car hadn't approached. The doors didn't open.

They stood by the doors waiting, but nothing occurred. 

"Bishop?" Max called forward. "What's going on?"

"Stealth mode," Bishop replied over the intercom. "You know like a ghost train, fades in and out, something much akin to that. Just say the word and we can fade in and your can do you thing."

Faux Blog

excerpt from Mingelina's Journal at Ghostbloggers:

You reduce me to cosmic tears.

That line from Alanis's song So Pure was pretty much on the mark last night. I went to TimeCrawler's; it's a nightclub suited to the Western crowd, playing the high techno dance songs and the like. A little piece of western civilization right here in Kowloon.

While there I bumped Suki. Who I hadn't seen in a long while and she introduced me to Max & Maggie. I had asked Suki what was going on, her folks don't remember her at all, and I thought I was going nuts... In our chat Suki mentioned something about time shifts, realities and coffee shops and a subway car and the like... it was maddening to comprehend, but I guess it was so "Twilight Zone". While Suki was telling me her fantastical tale, I kept my eyes on Max & Mags on the dance floor last night, they were on the floor doing their thing, dancing and then this song comes on and it all fits so perfectly.
In the video Alanis and her partner are dancing through the various styles of dance throughout the modern ages, and for some reason it seemed like Mags & Max were doing just that... sure they were in the nightclub dancing amongst the throngs of bodies on the floor. But, it seemed like they were dancing through the ages (well Maggie maybe because of her hair which seem sentient).

(Mingelina Edit Note: I had something here but when I reviewed it was all jumbled text)

Now, that I have the time to think about it, I must of imagined Suki at the club last night. I really don't know if she exists at all, or just a product of my imagination?

> Chantelle in Plureality

Driving Me Crazy

"Yello Chump!" Max said as he slid into the passenger seat of the car.

"Hardy har har," Trump said from the back seat; he was sitting there licking his paws, "Maybe you should go on the road with that one!"

"Now boys," Mags said. "Lets be civil just this once okay?"

Mags pulled onto the street, as Max leaned back in the seat. A song was playing on the oldies station, and it was setting the tone for the ride.

A Day at the Track

"You again?" Danny Leung said as he spotted the spiky-haired avenger.

Max turned and saw Danny approach him; he flashed him a toothy smile and stuck out a hand. It had been a few months since he and Danny took in a hostile activity.

"Long time no see," Max said as Danny took his arm and gave it a friendly shake, as well as a hug and a slap on the back.

"Is there going to be trouble here?" Danny asked, glancing around the race-track. He had come to have a day at the races. "I'm on my own time."

"Was in town and thought I'd take in some track activity," Max replied. He was waiting in line for the ticket; he was placing a huge bet on a horse called Dreamer's United.

Suki was sipping a cola as she approached Max. She looked up at Danny and nodded at him.

"What's the scoop?" Max asked Suki.

"I told the horses it was my birthday," she said. "And that I was planning on betting on Dreamer's United."

Danny couldn't tell if she was joking or not; ever since the incident in the Golden Taurus he wasn't sure about what reality is or was anymore. But ever since that day he always wore his pieces; just in case trouble was brewing.

"Suki!" Max scolded her. "How many times I have I warned you not to be doing things to sway the natural balance of right or wrong?"

Suki gave him a wink and slurped the soda.

The Long Ride Back

Max watched as the city changed subtly; the shift was gradual and it didn't really change all that much. He did notice a few more skyscrapers in the distance.

He was battered, bruised and was really sore. Wrapped in bandages, the wounds had stopped bleeding as soon as he had boarded the car. The conductor of the car, Bishop, had looked worried until he had seen them coming down the stairs towards the train.

The LEGACY building, which should have stood 33 stories tall, wasn't there at all. And that had brought a smile to his face. 

"How you like me now," Max said towards the space where the building should have been standing.

Akimoto was sitting in the back, asleep in an upright position; it was a much deserved rest. While Suki moved around the car trying to keep herself up; she was really tired but she was still full of nervous energy.

Now Max sat with his foot up on the seat, a cigarette dangling from his finger tips. Which drew a few looks from other passengers aboard the car. He paid them no mind; he was, after all, their unofficial saviour who had rescued their way of life more than once.

This is why I do this, he thought.


> Debashis in Plureality

They were sitting together - one on a computer, the other readjusting the living room. 

"What the hell was that?" 

"It wasn't about hell." 

"Well, it sure scared the hell out of me!!!" 

It felt like a painful rush. More of a surprise, really. Kind of when you're just sitting and a bright piece of lightning sparks the sky and it sorts of hurts your eyes and forces you awake from some kind of "state". But, different from some bolt of lightning, this was FELT by both of them, nothing seen, nothing heard, but FELT. Conjointly. Simultaneously. Concurrently. It came from the inside, and yet from the outside. It was only a short moment that lasted an eternity. And then it was gone. It was, at once, exciting and shocking and painful. 

"Ah, you're scared of everything." 

"Well, if you saw it too, then....Hey! Why didn't you get scared?!" 

"I did, for a bit....but it's over now." 

"So, what was it?" 

They both thought about this. What was it, indeed? What was IT? What WAS it? Was IT going to come back? Some random cosmic string fragment that passed through them both? Did it rupture some romantic (and stupid) version of "stability" within them? If they both had felt it, but neither could see it, was it even real? 

"Maybe we felt nothing?" This was asked more as a hopeful way of trying to deny it ever happened. Denial? Forget? Let it go? But how? They could minimize what happened, make it go away, make it small, or they could "talk" about it. Who truly cares? 

"We gotta talk about this!!!" 

"Let it go. It was just a moment kind of thing." 

"But, I'm still jolted." 

"Isn't that the name of some kind of energy drink? 

"You're not taking me seriously." 

"You're taking yourself too seriously." 

"But we BOTH felt it." 

"Big deal." Big deal. Well it was, indeed, big. But in a small way. 

"I really need you to listen to me." 

"Can I do it while rolling my eyes?" 

So they talked about whatever had happened. They talked about the feeling, the experience, the jolt , the idea that they both "felt" it. Was it some kind of religious thing? Something metaphysical? Something about energy? Whatever it was, they agreed that it was huge, that it passed through them. They could only refer to it as a bolt of lightning that was inside them both and left them instantly. 

"Maybe existing means more than you and me." 

"Maybe being means more than existing." 

"Well, one of us has gotta move that couch, there's some big-ass dust bunnies that we gotta clean up." 

"Ok, let's kill the dust bunnies."


Funeral of a Friend

"We'll find them," Maggie said, breaking into Max's train of thought. He had just dropped a handful of dirt onto the casket and was remembering a time on the subway that had brought a hint of a smile to his lips and water to his eyes.

Max looked from the hole in the ground to Maggie; tears stung his eyes like a foreign substance. He could see that she was taking this harder than he had thought.

"We'll hunt every last one of them," Maggie went on in a very cold and distant voice. She stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. She didn't look at the casket in the ground, just the headstone.

"And what are we going to do when we find them?" Max asked. This was a side of Maggie that Max rarely saw; a look of determination, hatred and murderous intent burning in her eyes. At the moment she was like a mother bear who had lost a cub and she was going to get violent.

"Exterminate each and every one of them," Maggie said; her eyes were cold as a lunar sea. "First we'll make them pay."

"I'm in," Frank said. "We knew what we were getting into in this secret war, that there would be casualties. This one hits close to home."

"Count me in too," Goner added. He stepped forward and picked up a handful of dirt and dropped it onto the casket.

"Let's do this," Angst said morosely. She stepped away from the open grave and faced the gang.

Maggie was about to say something but Max's cellphone went off and she glanced to him. Max fished his phone out of his pocket and answered it before the second chime could kick in.

"Yes," was all he said into the phone.

They stood there and watched Max on the phone. They knew it was a vital call; who else calls during a time like this.

"Okay, just give us time to get ready," he said into the phone. And then flipped it shut and turned to his compatriots. "That was the Professor. He got a lead on the Architects' assassins."

Eating the Friday

Frank sat at a table reading a novel. He was behind in his reading of a series of books from an author that he admired, and this downtime was what he needed to catch up. Some quiet time, some coffee. 

His cup of coffee steaming before him, ordered a few minutes previous from the waitress. Goner was drumming his fingers on the table; he was bored and it showed. He didn't know what he wanted to do, and it was getting to him.

"Go to the movies," Frank told him, hoping the suggestion would embed in Goner's brain.

Goner thought about it for a few seconds before answering, the suggestion disappearing into the night like a cheap magician, "Nah."

Frank flipped the page of the novel and sighed. It was going to be one of those evenings.

"Any word from Max?" Goner asked. "He's been gone for a good long time."

Frank ignored the question. He was sure that he had answered that one about an hour earlier.

"Is Maggie showing up here?" Goner asked, his fingers were drumming out a beat. It was starting to grate on Frank's nerves.

"I really don't know," Frank stated. "Think of it as a night off, go and do something constructive with your free time."

Goner glanced around the coffee shop; he really didn't know what to do. It had been steady going for the past three months and now the past three days had been quiet.

"You know a man gets conditioned to certain things," Goner told Frank.

Frank put the book down and looked up at Goner. "Don't make me have to shoot you, Goner."

The Waiting Game

Pretty George stood in the rain, waiting. Like some rock'n'roll god once sang, the waiting is the hardest part. He glanced up at his watch and could see that it was 1 minute past the scheduled meeting.

A grimace appeared on his face, which was rare since he was always in a jovial mood. That meant that one of two things had happened, and the first was impossible since there was no way in hell that someone would not show up.

Once you make a call to Pretty, the wheels are set. 

To make matters worse, some thugs appeared from down the street and saw him standing there with the duffel bag. Pretty George looked up into the night sky and whispered, "You're not going to do this to me now are you?"

He glanced down the street and all his years of dealing and combat training told him that they were going to cause some serious trouble. 

"I guess you made that random encounter roll," he chuckled as he reached inside his long coat and pulled out a squarish device, much akin to a Rubik's cube.

> Connor in Plureality

The bones in Connor’s hand broke into a thousand tiny fragments.  

“Jesus,” Richmond said, “you’re actually a spy… A real motherfucking spy.”  

Connor blacked out then came to, his hand burning like a sun.  

“Fuck are you surprised Rich,” he wheezed, “You’re a fucking terrorist.”  

He blacked out again and Richmond splashed water on his face. “I shouldn’t have broke your hand like that… Fuck, I’ll never get you out of here with you all fucked up like that. I wanted to shoot you… Is that strange? That the first reaction I had was that I wanted to shoot you?”  

Connor gritted his teeth and shifted his body on the floor of the hotel room. “It makes sense to me. Shit you really busted it up.”  

“I need to clean up some of this blood, it’s making me nauseous. Drink this.” He poured Connor some vodka. “Then why didn’t you see it coming?”  

“Fuck Rich, you’re still my friend. I guess I hoped-” He pushed himself into sitting against the couch, shaking, taking the glass, and they both heard the knock at the door. They looked at each other and they knew the look, after years of sitting beside each other in boardrooms making business deals, years of sitting beside each other in bars trying to pick up women, they said to each other with the look that things were about to get very complicated.  

Richmond sighed. “How much do you know?”  


Catch a Falling Star - Wuxia Remix

Max leapt from the building, twirling around in the air and pulling the triggers. Both guns blazing as gravity took hold and pulled him down. Bullets flying at their targets, striking their mark and sending a few mooks to the gate beyond the Netherworld.

The summoning gate was opening on the rooftop and it was going to take more than all the planning in the world for this to work out right. Because if there was miscalculation his body would be hamburger on the sidewalk below, and the world would belong to a demonic lord. 

And that's not going to happen, he thought.

He kept firing, sending bullets along their merry way. It was doing the job, keeping the mooks at bay, making sure they couldn't get a shot off at him. He continued his plummet, the ground calling to him like a mother waiting for a child.

With the last of the bullets spent, he ejected the cartridges, letting go of the guns, and it seemed everything was standing in one spot except it was still falling. He grabbed two more clips from his webbing, to slap into the guns. As soon as the last cartridge slipped into the gun, he felt a tug on his leg.

Maggie was hanging on the side of the building, she snagged his leg and flung him sideways. 

"Love you," Maggie said to him. 

"I love me too," Max said with a smile, as he flew away from Maggie.

"I knew I shouldn't have caught you, smart ass!" Maggie flashed him a smile. "Go get 'em Tiger!"

Frank grabbed him next and started to fling him upwards with all his strength.

"Are you putting on weight?" Frank asked him.

"Screw you," Max told him as he soared away.

"Nah, Maggie might get jealous!" Frank chided.

Max used the Chi to help propel him as well, for he was like one of the bullets being fired outwards. He was sailing upwards, heading back to the roof that he just dropped off, in a move that would be totally unexpected. He did a double-take as Suki was runnng up the side of the building, matching his speed.

"You think you are going to do this without me, eh?" Suki asked.

Rain Game

Thunder rumbled, signaling a storm was approaching. Goner sat in the coffee shop sipping some tea. He hated coffee, and sitting in a coffee house sipping tea was an ironic gesture on his part. Besides, the waitress' here at Good Times, Good Tomes were kind of cute.

Goner drummed his fingers on the table; it was a habit he had developed as a kid and he constantly did it unconsciously. It was an annoying habit but it did help out work out some of the stress.

His cellphone chimed and he answered it.

"Rain game," was all the feminine voice said and the line went dead.

Goner sipped the rest of his tea. He slide a crisp $5 bill onto the table and then made his way to the door.

"Righteous," he whispered after a huge smile consumed his lips.


The rain fell; it was a warm rain and the city needed a good cleansing after the past few days of humid weather. Max, Maggie, Frank, Goner, Aqua, Suki, Dex, Wraith, Angst and Lucy were down in park at the courts playing a game of basketball and it felt good.

"You are going down, Cube," Frank said to Max, guarding him. "Nothing gets past this wall!"

"You wish," Max chided. Frank was matching his moves; Max passed the ball to Angst. 

Angst took the ball and deeked passed Goner, who fell for the feint, and she made it to the net. She was in the air, soaring like Jordan to the post, with ball in hand ready for the dunk.

Dexter had jumped up and knocked the ball out of her hand, and it bounced to Wraith who danced up the court.

"Don't make me hurt you," Angst told Dexter as she landed.

"Ahhh, you need a towel?" Dex chided her.


Running around like children in a sprinkler, passing the ball, interfering galore and constantly distracting each other, all in the name of the game. The banter, the taunts were there, and it felt like it was a group of old friends gathering for a reunion.


Mags yawned and stretched as she walked down the hallway of the space station. Her slippers soft against the white tiled floor. Heading to the kitchen for some coffee, essential after waking from cryo.

She passed by the window to a zero-g room; Callan was floating upside-down in a lotus position. 

She passed by one of the oxygen-factories; Tatterdemalion was staring at the different plants.

She passed by a data station; the Professor was hunched over a keypad. There was a poster for the movie 'Kill Bill' displayed on one screen and a screenshot from 'The Walking Dead' featuring Michonne on another. Maggie stared at the pictures of the women and their swords.

"Um, Professor? What have you been up to?"


Tactical Strategy

"Enigma dancing," Max said into the headset; he was moving along the upper tier looking down into the crowd in the food court, trying to locate the target or targets. Time was ticking away towards a dangerous liaison.

"Rhythm movement is the groove," replied Mags; she was sitting in the food court, sipping on a frosty drink. Her eyes scanning the packages and parcels of each pedestrian as they went by. She leaned forward and tapped Angst on the shoulder and pointed to the man in the red hat.

Angst dropped the magazine she was scanning onto the table and turned to see the fellow walking; he was carrying a large parcel underneath his arms.

"Whose party is this at?" Angst looked up and spotted Max; she nodded to him.

Max stopped and waited. He glanced down at his chronometer and sucked in air between his teeth. They were going to cut this one very close indeed.

"The nurse was outside standing watching," Mags said as she stood up. She could see that the situation was going to get much worse. Angst followed her lead, and stayed close, acting the daughter role.

"Whose father?" Max asked. He stopped at the railing and peered down; it was a 30 foot drop and he was prepared to take it if necessary.

"Underneath the moon we danced like children," said Maggie as she headed to the Lunar Looks Clothing store. She had her frosty drink in her hand and she made like she was heading for the garbage bins, Angst in tow.

"That should learned them," Angst stepped behind Maggie; she was pulling out the Uzi. She knew that time was of the essence here. Any second chaos was going to be born, and many lives would be claimed in the resulting conflict.

"Give me liberty," Max said; he saw Mags and Angst by the bins and he shuffled sideways about 10 feet until Angst nodded. He heard the whine of his clock: time was do or die.

"The heart knows what the mind doesn't," Mags said; she didn't want to do this here and now, but the enemy liked to use tactics such as these. So if a few lives had to be lost to save billions it was worth the risk.