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And When She Was Bad

by on May 20, 2013

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine’s evil brother, Edmund, current ruler of Character Hell, had just turned up at the Castle Shmirmingard, threatening to bomb it and her newly born children behind it to pieces unless Catrina gave him Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!). Catrina promised she would get it, and so, with Edmund’s help, she transported back to the 21st century to link up with Krystelle the rogue elf (and her dwarven boyfriend Smudge) in order to retrieve the Shovel. Roll film!

Catrina materialized on the smooth gleaming primary walkway of Evelyn Spaceport. It was still as neat and tidy as she remembered it. Even the neon signs remained as subtle and non-blinding as before. Unfortunately, the walkway was lacking something else she remembered: her friends. She didn’t see Krystelle or Smudge or even Thrud anywhere. “Having a problem, are we?” Edmund snarked beside her.

“No,” said Catrina, who had just spotted a familiar-looking puce apricot vendor across the way. “No problem at all. Excuse me for a moment, will you?”

“Oh my,” Edmund said, “You’re not going to do some sort of horrible interrogation to that nice apricot vendor, are you?”

Catrina’s left hand drifted to the hilt of her Sporksaber. “Wouldn’t think of it. I’m just going to have a chat, that’s all. A nice, friendly, chat.” She started towards the distant vendor. Edmund thought about egging her on, doing some sort of “use your hate!” routine, but he decided against it. He’d never quite seen the wisdom of egging the good guys on in order to turn them evil. More often then not, the good guys didn’t need the help. And in their efforts to help, the bad guys often made the good guys realize the path down which they were turning, whereupon the good guys would come brink from the brink and pursue a career of abnegation and heroism. Edmund didn’t want to take that risk. Catrina could turn to the dark side quite well on her own, thank you. She was practically half there already.

The apricot vendor was about to close for the evening; he had already finished recording the last of the day’s sales, and was prepared to close up his stall. He eyed one of the boxes of apricots, and sighed tiredly. He’d never wanted to be an apricot vendor, really. He’d always wanted to be…a lumberjack. Back on his home planet, leaping from tree to alien tree: the Kyrk, the Sorn, the mighty Rillainian pine. He was just about to break into song when he noticed someone approaching. “Er, sorry, but we’re closing up right now, miss-” And then he recognized her.

Now, the last time he had seen Catrina, she had been nine months pregnant and on the verge of going into labor then and there. Now, she wasn’t pregnant any more. What she was, was angry. Everything about her spoke of fury, from the way her hand clenched her crackling red Sporksaber, to the strands of black hair frizzing away from her head like little black bolts of lightning, to the glare in her piercing green eyes. Perhaps worst of all, though he didn’t know her well enough to notice it, was that she wasn’t smiling. She usually had a coy half-smile that started slow and spread across her face when she was about to do battle. Not today.

“Where’s my friends?” Catrina asked quietly.

“Friends. Yes. Well. They’ve, ah, gone. And may I say I do apologize about the thing with, ah, the apricots I gave you, I had no idea they would-”

Her Sporksaber flashed down into one of the boxes. Apricots ignited in a spray of plasma, and flames licked across the table. Catrina still wasn’t smiling. “Perhaps I wasn’t clear. Let me start again. I don’t care about what you did before. It’s irrelevant. I want to know where my friends have gone. If you do not tell me, I will take this Sporksaber and insert it into places you really do not want it inserted into. So you had better start talking.”

The apricot vendor talked. He didn’t have too much to say, unfortunately. He had seen Krystelle and Smudge get confronted by Utgarda-Loki and Edmund. Then he’d seen a man in a cheap fedora throwing a Frisbee around, and next minute the man, the elf, and the dwarf had all been teleported away.  Catrina took in the news, her face blank. “So…” she said, as if to herself. “Thrud said she’d made arrangements for us to meet someone who could take us to the shovel. That person must have been the one who rescued Krystelle and Smudge. I don’t know who the contact is. Thrud knew that, but she’s gone back to Asgard. I do know where the shovel is. It’s in Asgard. So, I should go there. If I link up with Krystelle and Smudge along the way, so much the better. Problem. In this time period, I’m technically a fugitive from justice. So. How do I get into Asgard without being arrested by some sort of galactic constable?”

As it happened, the apricot vendor had a few unofficial smuggling contacts of his own (the apricot business was a lot more cutthroat than one might think). “Um, if I might suggest, I-”

Catrina didn’t zap him with the Sporksaber. What she did was slug him so hard that he went flying backward into one of his own apricot barrels. “Your help,” she snarled, “I do not need.” Then she stormed out, without so much as a backward glance. This was a pity; had she accepted the apricot vendor’s help, she might have avoided a good deal of inconvenience and aggravation later on.  At any rate, she proceeded to make a very poor lifestyle choice. “Edmund. You teleported yourself to Asgard once.”

“To be accurate, it’s really more like apparating, as it’s more about magical abilities then scientific prin-”

“Edmund?” she interrupted, raising her hand (the one that didn’t have the Sporksaber in it). “I don’t care. I’m only speaking to you because I need your help. Back to the issue. However you did it, you got yourself into Asgard before. Can you do it again?”

“Not directly, no…” Edmund said. “That time I was acting in my official capacity as prosecutor in your impending trial. Besides which, that was the first time; no one else had dared teleport straight into Asgard. They’ve set wards round to make sure that doesn’t happen again, you can bet on it.”

“Right, no direct approach. Do you know other ways in?”

Catrina’s brother smiled. “Several. I’m the Prince of all Character Hell, after all. But, given that, none of the ways I know are particularly pleasant. You sure you want to go this route? Your friends are probably going a different way.”

“But they’re not here. You are. I want to get to Asgard; you can get me there. It’s in your interest as much as mine to help me get Mlrning. I’m only being practical.”

Edmund was tempted to reply, “Of course you are”, and say some other reassuring things, but he thought that might be a bit over the top. This had to be handled so very delicately. So he only said, “Well, then, follow me,” and started down the walkway. Catrina followed him without hesitation. Behind her, the smoke from the apricots she’d ignited curled away into the spaceport sky.

This has been Episode 74 of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. To get a copy of Catrina in Space, her first novel adventure, go here. As always, thanks for reading!

 

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2 Comments
  1. I think Catrina likes to live life the hard way 🙂 Well, I hope she finds her friends, anyway!

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