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Oh Brave New World, That Has Katrina In It

by on May 17, 2012

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, there’d been a pretty sizable explosion of sporky power that had sent our heroines (plus the new villain) off on their own little subplots somewhere in the eddies of space-time. Eddies as in little pools, not an actual person named Eddie, because that would be silly. And there isn’t an Eddie in this story anyway, there’s mainly Ermingard, Catrina, and the new nemesis on the block, Katrina, who probably landed in the worst place of all, and so that’s where our story picks up…

A cold wind howled across the desolate land. It whistled mournfully through the ruins of shattered buildings, occasionally knocking a bit of rubble loose to shatter on the ground. The wind would’ve batted a tumbleweed across the ground to illustrate how much of a forsaken dump this place really was, but the whole area was in fact so woebegone that even the tumbleweeds had packed up and moved to more hospitable climes (not that there were terribly many of those). The wind, instead, busied itself in blowing on the antennae of a lone cockroach that skittered across the rubble. That lasted for about an hour, until the cockroach suffered a fit of ennui, realized how pointless its existence was, and died in protest. The wind frittered about with the corpse for another hour or so, while nothing much happened. Then, all at once, something oddly bright and colorful came on the scene, and the wind practically rushed to it out of sheer joy.

Katrina didn’t much like the wind smacking her in the face and ruffling her blond hair, but then, she didn’t much like anything about the country she now found herself in. She had assumed that this was some sort of dystopia film, something like 1984, but dystopias tended to have rather more people than this. Granted, they weren’t necessarily happy people (unless you were in one of those dystopias where everyone’s forced to be happy because they’re all drugged out on soma or mind-controlled or whatnot), maybe they’re depressed people or people fleeing from zombies or people who’ve just discovered they’re clones of other people, but still, they were people. Katrina had been walking for five days, and she hadn’t seen a single person. Not one. She hadn’t seen any animals either, or working technology, or anything other than bits of rubble. Katrina was beginning to get a very bad feeling about this. She stifled it, though, telling herself relentlessly that she really was in a dystopia, she just hadn’t quite got to it yet.

“Maybe they’re all hiding underground!” she suggested aloud, as she walked past the remains of the late lamented cockroach. Katrina had taken to monologuing, which ordinarily is something the villain should never do, but Katrina had started doing it out of sheer boredom. “Right. That must be it. This is one of those stories where they’re all underground because the above-ground world went smash. Or maybe they’re on another planet, or flying around in a big ship somewhere, and they’ve left behind their robots to tidy up for them. It’s got to be one of those. Right? Of course right. I mean, what’s the point of me being the antagonist if there’s no one around to antagonize?”  It was at this moment that Katrina noticed that the land wasn’t quite flat anymore. It rose before her, forming a high ridge lined with the skeletal fragments of dead trees. Beyond it, she heard a steady, sullen roar, that she quickly identified as the ocean. “All right!” Katrina exclaimed. “Finally! The big reveal, when I find out just what sort of dystopia this is! I do hope it’s the one with the soma, because a happy dystopia’s just gotta be more fun then the depressing ones and….oh crap. Oh crap. 

She said this because she had just run to the top of the ridge, and seen what lay beyond. Between her and the cold waves of the ocean pounding constantly against the shore rose a tall figure holding something dramatically aloft. Its metal had rusted with age, and it was half-buried in the sand, not to mention there was an equally rusted metal hulk of a spaceship that had smacked against its front. But Katrina knew what it was well enough, because she’d seen that face a thousand times before. Specifically, in the mirror, and on movie posters, and trailers, and the mashups of her trailer with other trailers, and the pre-release action figures which came with the McDonald’s Happy Meals. It was her own face. She dropped, stunned, to her knees, gaping at the statue of her own form rising above her, still clutching a spork in its ancient hand. “You maniacs!” she exclaimed. “You put me in a post-apocalyptic world! Darn you! Darn you all to heck!”

And then something even worse caught her eye. She scrambled up from her knees and ran around behind the statute, and now her green eyes flashed in irritation. Amidst the rust and the occasional weed growing off the back of the statue’s head, she could make out the lines of her birthmark. Only it was shaped like Newfoundland, not North Korea.  It is important to remember at this point that Katrina was still laboring under the delusion that she was the genuine article, the original Catrina, who had merely decided to turn evil and spell her name differently. She had no idea that she wasn’t the real Catrina, that the real Catrina was a ghost in another time period. So Katrina could perhaps be forgiven for being upset. It was bad enough to find a statue of oneself buried in the sand of a post-apocalyptic world. Getting her birthmark wrong was adding insult to injury.

Katrina seriously considered registering a complaint, except there didn’t seem to be anyone around to complain to. So, instead, she marched up to the statue, ignited her Sporksaber, and attempted to use it to correct the birthmark. Katrina was as artistically gifted as her alter ego, however, with the sad result that the birthmark ended up looking more like a bloated grapefruit than like a recognizable country, let alone Newfoundland. Katrina gave up at last, and decided to poke around the spaceship that seemed to be growing out of the statue’s front. She kicked open the side door and marched in, the green light of her Sporksaber flaring in the darkness. Katrina made her way to what she assumed was the bridge, and stabbed at a few of the buttons, but nothing worked. Katrina slumped disconsolately in the cobwebby remains of the captain’s chair, noting as she did that it seemed a bit shorter than the usual. She wondered if the spaceship was designed for humans, or another species. Either way, it had evidently been abandoned ages ago, which meant she wasn’t going to get to fly it around and rain terror from the skies. “I’ll never be a proper villain,” she bemoaned. “How am I supposed to threaten to destroy the world when someone else has already done it?”

In the end, there was nothing to do but to search the wreck for any supplies that might have survived (there weren’t any), and move on. As Katrina made her rather perfunctory search, she happened to notice a little gold plate mounted on the bridge. It was covered in dust, like everything else, but when she swept the dust off with her hand she found that she could make out the name of the wrecked and forsaken ship. It read simply, S.S. Dangling Participle, KM-1131B.

The emotional impact of the revelation was totally lost on Katrina, who instead, gave a violent sneeze. She slashed the nameplate to bits in retaliation, and then stormed out of the useless ship to see if she could find some sign of life in the post-apocalyptic wasteland out there. She was very much surprised when she did, or she would have been, except that the sign came in the form of a tranquilizer dart right in her spleen, which knocked her out so fast she didn’t even have time to exclaim, “Ow! There’s a tranquilizer dart in my spleen! What the photon?” The Sporksaber fell from her fingers, and she collapsed on the sand beneath her statue. It wasn’t exactly her best day ever.

What peril has Katrina gotten herself into now? Is it monkeys? Some terrifying space monkeys that maybe got loose, to quote Mal Reynolds from Firefly? Who knows? The next episode should clear that up, unless it doesn’t. In the meantime, this is the part where the obligatory request for you to subscribe comes in, and the equally obligatory link to Catrina in Space, which I’m given to understand is now available on the British version of Amazon as well. I’ve always thought Catrina had a bit of a British accent, hopefully like Fenchurch in “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish”, except Catrina’s never flown in her life, except that one time when her continuity was being mucked about with by Susan, which happens far too much for her liking. Anyway. Thanks for reading!

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  1. Not stopping by to read… rather stopping by to say you got an award:

    Enjoy 🙂

  2. “Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, there’d been a pretty sizable explosion of sporky power – ”
    Cool line! Super unique!

  3. This made me splutter with laughter: “The wind, instead, busied itself in blowing on the antennae of a lone cockroach that skittered across the rubble.”

    I must read on quick smart so as to find out what peril she has got herself into! But it’s always the spleen, isn’t it?

    If these stories were compiled into a book of their own, I would have plenty of quotes to add to GoodReads and “like”, or whatever you do to quotes on GoodReads (I can’t remember if it’s “like” or something else, but I HAVE done it before!)

    • Yes, always the spleen. Lol.
      I’ve actually been thinking of making compilations of Catrina stories. 🙂 I’m not sure what you do with quotes on Goodreads either, except copy and paste them into Facebook statuses.

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