By Timothy ‘Last Gasp’ Cat and Straw ‘Stick a Fork in It’ Puppy
“Has our whole relationship been a lie?” asked McEdifice, as Betsy finished recounting this backstory in the cathedral just so everybody could catch up.
“No Chiseled! I still love you its just that I’m now the most powerful demonic entity in this dimension! Our wedding vows are a sacred compact, Chiseled. You must join me as my husband and BECOME KING OF THE SPACE VAMPIRES!”
“NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” said McEdifice.
“Yes,” said another voice as a figure stepped out of the shadows. It was Simon Popwhistle! Head of the Project-Initiation Gantt Chart Oversight Enabling Team at Spindle, Spindle and Gatefold!
“You?” said McEdifice.
“I just said so, didn’t I?” said Popwhistle.
An uncomfortable silence descended over the cathedral. Commander Clench looked at his shoes.
Betsy’s ethereal voice spoke up: “I think, Popwhistle, that we are waiting for you to explain to McEdifice why you are here rather than being tortured in a Human Resources dungeon.” [more twists after the fold]
“Oh! My apologies my queen!” apologised Popwhistle apologetically, “You see, you may know me as the office supply sabotaging Head of the Project-Initiation Gantt Chart Oversight Enabling Team at Spindle, Spindle and Gatefold but in reality I am Simon Popwhistle Prince of Darkness Scion of Demonicus and Second in Line to the Throne of the Space Vampires!”
“In other words Chiseled: meet Simon, your brother-in-law.” said Betsy, “Simon, do continue, as most of this scheme was your idea.”
“Of course, dear older sister. If you could all look over to your left, I have a basic PowerPoint presentation to explain the plan.” said Popwhistle. A blue 4:3 rectangle shimmer into existance. Luminous words appeared before the assembled vampires and military personnel.
“Looking for source.
Checking RGB1 in.
Checking HDMI in.
Checking VGA1 in.
Source not found…”
“Have you turned the laptop on?” suggested Clench.
“Of course! No, wait! The damn thing shut down after loading Windows updates.” said Popwhistle frustratedly. “It should be rebooting now.” but the screen remained resolutely blue.
“Check the connection at the back.” suggested McEdifice.
Popwhistle wiggled the cable and suddenly the blue screen shifted into a familiar Windows start up screen. Across the cathedral there was a sigh – a sigh of both relief and disappointment.
“Applying updates 50 of 168…” said the screen reassuringly.
“Just hold on while the system updates. Sorry, the cathedral is the only spot with decent wi-fi.” explained Popwhistle, “It tends to wait before downloading this stuff.”
“Is that a new space helmet Chiseled?” ask Betsy, making small talk in the vacuum of social interaction caused by the wait before the start of Popwhistle’s presentation.
“No, it is the same old space helmet but I had a new texture applied after boot camp.” explained McEdifice.
“It looks nice. Very modern.”
McEdifice looked at his shoes trying to think of something to say in return.
“A bit cloudy today,” he said at last, desperately turning to the weather as the safest topic of conversation.
“The cloud cover is a permanent feature of Draculon 6 that protects the vampire population from sunlight.”
“Ah, of course. I guess it is always cloudy.”
“How have you been?”
“Oh, you know…dead.”
“Yes, of course. Sorry.”
“OK here we go!” said Popwhistle with the forced enthusiasm of the PowerPoint presenter.
Slide 1: Operation McEdifice – A Presentation by Simon Powhistle Prince of Darkness Scion of Demonicus and Second in Line to the Throne of the Space Vampires and Head of the Project-Initiation Gantt Chart Oversight Enabling Team.
“I have seen the face of evil,” murmmured Commander Clench.
“So we’ll just skip ahead past the title slide.” said Popwhistle.
Slide 2: Mission objectives.
- Neutralise McEdifice as a threat to the Space Vampires
- Provide emotional and moral support to our queen
- Control a key military asset to imporve professional development opportunities for staff
Slide 3: Mission approach
- Offer peace treaty in exchange for McEdifice
- Once we get him break the peace treaty
“You traitorous bastards!” growled Commander Clench.
“Never trust a Space Vampire!” said McEdifice.
“Do we really have to look at all these slides.” asked Besty.
“Just one more!” said Popwhistle, “then it is screenshots of the Gantt charts.”
Popwhistle read the text of the slide outloud and slowly.
“We hire a gang of thugs to harass McEdifice in his home, kill his donkey and sabotage his bicycle. Meanwhile we stage a war leading to mass troop mobilisation. Trick McEdifice into joining the space army which will get him onto planet Campus. Campus currently occupies the exact voxel of space that Earth occupied in the 1960s. We trap McEdifice on Campus by demobilising the army but ensure he doesn’t have a return flight by cancelling his ticket.
We then occupy the planet later. We capture McEdifice, force him into the mouth of a giant space vampire head. This will trap him in the 1960s where he will be surrounded by peace loving hippies.
space time trauma + hippies = total disassociation of self
Once he is mentally neutralised, we bring him to Draculon 6 and make him king.” said Powhistle redundantly because look, seriously, it was all there on the screen. Why read it all out again for goodness sake? Because he was an inherently evil vampire that’s why.
“I have another PowerPoint detailing the project roadblocks.” said Popwhistle.
“NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” said Betsy, then composing herself, “Maybe just speak about the briefly.”
“Well, the ticket cancelling plan went awry due to the loss of our undercover operative Chuckowitz but McEdifice was late for transfer and got himself stuck there anyway. On Campus we discovered that the secruity forces of Planet Qzrixion had an intel operation in place. However, I personally kept their main operative distracted. The plan to send McEdifice back in time was succesful but unfortunately he somehow came forward in time sooner than we expected. I assume that was due to Qzrixian interference.”
“You got that right,” said a voice as a figure stepped out of the shadows.
“Recruit Noz Feratu of the Space Army Boot Camp!” said McEdifice as the pale figure revealed himself carrying a neutron bazooka and a quantum grenade launcher.
“Wait,” said Popwhistle, “Aren’t you a vampire?”
“I’m Commodore Feratu of Qzrixian Military Intelligence actually. I’m a Qzrixian vampire, which, as you know, causes a Qzrixian to look like a very unwell human, gives us vampire like skills but leaves our Qzrixian souls intact.” explained Noz.
“Grrrrr,” said Popwhistle and all the other surrounding vampires that maybe I forgot to mention but the cathedral is full of them. “That is why we hate Qzrixians so much! Their quasi-vampire immunity is a real pain in the neck.”
“But does this mean…” said McEdifice starting to form a question.
“Yes,” said Qzrrzxxzq stepping from the sahdows carrying a massive flame-thrower and plasma rifle, “I didn’t tell you the whole truth about me, McEdifice. I am also an agent for Qzrixian Military Intelligence.”
“Use the bypass tray for labels.” said ScanScan also stepping from the shadows carrying a lazer rocket launcher and wearing a bandolier of positronic dynamite sticks.
“I knew you would never lie to me ScanScan but somehow I suspect even you are caught up in this somehow.” said McEdifice to ScanScan trustingly.
“It was I who infected the photocopier with a virus. the idea was just to monitor for signs of space vampire activity. When you ‘repaired’ the photocopier the virus accidently created sentience.” expalined Qzrrzxxzq.
“Did anybody tell the truth about anything?” asked McEdifice rhetorically.
“I’m so sorry,” said Qzrrzxxzq, “I told you what I could. I didn’t even know Commodore Noz was here until he found us earlier and replaced ScanScan’s toner cartridge.
“So what now?” asked Popwhistle, “You are heavily armed but you can’t possibly hope to defeat the number of vampires we have in this cathedral – never mind the whole planet!”
“We don’t need to,” said Qzrrzxxzq, “ScanScan used his interdimensional transport powers to place a neutrino-implosion bomb in the planet’s core. If you don’t let McEdifice go, we’ll blow up the whole planet.”
“Tehcnically blow in the whole planet,” corrected Popwhistle.
McEdifice bowed his head as if in deep thought. So at long last, it had come to this. A final opportunity to destroy the space vampires forever but at what cost? His friends, Qzrrzxxzq, ScanScan and Noz would have to give their lives for his.
“Stand down Qzrrzxxzq.” said McEdifice, quitely but firmly.
“You don’t have to do this McEdifice!” said Qzrrzxxzq.
“You are wrong, Qzrrzxxzq. Blowing up this planet would be mass murder. Even threatening to do so makes us as bad as them. And hasn’t there been enough sacrafice already? I owe this to Betsy. She is right – our marriage vows ARE sacred and she has been there for me through thick and thin. If she needs me to be the Space Vampire King then that’s what I need to do. Maybe I can use my position to sway the Space Vampire Empire towards goodness. Who knows. But I have to stand for integrity and I, Chiseled McEdifice made a promise to love and honour Betsy Darshadow come what may.”
For a moment there was silencw but then the sound of sardonic clapping echoed through the cathedral.
“Great speech,” said a figure hidden in the shadows above. With a mighty leap the figure leapt from the alcove where he had been hidden and then landed in a superhero punching the ground really cool pose.
“You made just one tiny mistake,” said the figure standing up to his full manly height. “YOU are not actually Chiseled McEdifice.”
Everybody gasped as they stared at the new, broad-shouldered figure.
“Why act so surprised? The clue was in the title all along! *I* am the real Chiseled McEdifice and I HAVE RETURNED!!!!!!!!”
[OH MY UTTERLY GOSH! Tune in next time for the very, very FINAL episode!]