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B is for Blasters (And Brothers and Bears, Oh My)

by on July 1, 2013

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine, protected by the magical Happy Accitent from the dolphins of DERP, had just recovered Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!) but couldn’t quite get it to work for her. Then she listened with her heart, and suddenly understood….

“I’ve got to make a heroic sacrifice!” exclaimed Catrina, her voice echoing around the plastic folds of the Happy Accitent, as the fire from the dolphins’ blaster rifles ricocheted outside.

‘You gotta what?” Krystelle said.

“It’s easy,” Catrina said. “The Shovel doesn’t think I’m worthy, right? Okay then. I’ll lower the Happy Accitent and let the dolphins shoot me, thus my Heroic Sacrifice will create a diversion so you can get away. I might get knocked over for a second or two, maybe even lie on the point of death, but then Mlrning will see I’m worthy and boom! Problem solved! I get happily resurrected, save the world, and everyone’s happy!”

Krystelle rolled her eyes. “Isn’t the point of a Heroic Sacrifice that you’re not expectin’ to come back? If you know you’re gettin’ resurrected, kinda makes it less heroic, yeah?”

“Shush,” said Catrina, lowering her voice. “I know that, and you know that, but the derphins (giggle) out there don’t know that. From their point of view it’s a total Heroic Sacrifice. Also my author owes me one; he’s killed me off without meaning enough times, he owes me a nice meaningful death.”

Krystelle sighed, and tapped her communicator to let Connecticut Smith know that she needed to be beamed out. Catrina assumed her battle position, readying her Sporksaber and trying to brace herself for the inevitable impact of blaster rifle bolts. “Okay, shoulder angel, lower the Happy Accitent.”

The shoulder angel looked worried. When it had recommended that Catrina listen to her heart, it hadn’t quite expected that Catrina’s heart would suggest this. “Um, is this what you want? What you really really want?” it queried nervously, not wishing to blunder.

“Will you stop quoting the Spice Girls and lower the blasted tent?” Catrina snapped. The shoulder angel looked very hurt, and Catrina almost apologized, but then she remembered that technically the shoulder angel was only a physical manifestation of her own conscience, and it wouldn’t make much sense to apologize to herself. Catrina magnanimously forgave herself, as the shoulder angel, sniffling a bit, unfurled the Happy Accitent. Krystelle was yelling something in the background, something about Abramsian physics and “what do ya mean you can’t beam us out?” and using dreadful language, but Catrina paid it no heed. She stepped forward to face the surprised dolphins and dramatically lowered her Sporksaber. “Okay!” she announced, letting her voice waver just a bit for effect. “You’ve got me! I surrender! Cease your wearying badinage and blast me away with your horrid energy rifles! I regret that I have but one life to give for my Shmirmingard!”

The dolphins seemed unmoved by her speech, and they didn’t blast her either. They seemed to be looking quizzically behind her. Catrina glanced back, and found herself staring at the last person she wanted to see. “Edmund?” she gasped. “Where did you come from?”

Her diabolical brother didn’t even reply. He could have; his minions had a whole speech prepared, complete with a flannelgraph for illustrative purposes, about how his triumph was inevitable, how he’d manipulated her into destroying the world, how he had been waiting for far too long to have his revenge, blah, blah, blah. But Edmund had been studying the example of his predecessor, Susan, the last ruler of Character Hell, and he’d learned that overly bellicose evil monologues weren’t in fashion any more. So instead he simply fired his own plasma blaster at her.  The bolt would’ve knocked her clean off the raft and into the roiling ocean before she had time to scream, but then suddenly Catrina’s shoulder angel flew in the way, taking the full force of the blast. It squeaked in pain as it fluttered about in agonized circles, before dropping to the surface of the small raft. Its tiny halo flickered, and a smell of burnt wing filled the air.

Catrina fell to her knees beside her microscopic conscience, her eyes suddenly filled with tears. “You…you shouldn’t have done it…” she said, and now her voice had a quite genuine quaver. “I was horrid to you, and-”

The shoulder angel weakly waved her off. “I only wanted to help…” it said in its thin little voice. “I wish I could’ve helped more….should’ve brought…flash…cards…”

“You helped fine,” Catrina bravely assured her, taking the tiny angel in her hands. “You really did. And you’re not going away, you hear me? You’ll be alright, you’ll see…”

The dolphins of DERP were all sobbing in the background; Krystelle helpfully passed around tissues. “At least…” the shoulder angel gasped, “I got to help….one…last….”

Its halo light flickered rapidly, and then went out. Its little wings stopped fluttering. “No,” Catrina said, blinking hard, “no, this isn’t the last time, you’ll help out again, you will….”

But then she realized that the shoulder angel couldn’t hear her any more. In the distance, a sad little violin began to play the saddest little song. Tears poured down Catrina’s face, not the movie kind of tears where just one little teardrop slides dramatically down one’s cheek; no, Catrina was really crying, which meant her face was getting all red and blotchy, and her nose was dribbling. But she didn’t care. She hadn’t wanted this to happen. She’d meant for a Heroic Sacrifice, but it was supposed to be her. Not her shoulder angel.

And then Mlrning began to glow, a blue-white light emanating from its blade. A shock of power ran down Catrina’s arm, and her black hair stood all on end. Edmund started to fire the blaster again, but Mlrning moved in Catrina’s hand, and a sudden flurry of snowballs burst down from the heavens and smacked her bilious brother clean off the raft and into the sea.

She knew at once what had happened. Her shoulder angel was a part of her. So when her shoulder angel had thrown herself into the blaster bolt’s path, in a sense Catrina herself had done it, so Catrina had made the Heroic Sacrifice after all. Only…she hadn’t meant for it to happen like this.  And as that thought crossed her mind, she knew what she had to do. Of course, there were actually about fifty things she had to do, such as restoring the world and reversing Ragnarok, getting back to Perry and defeating Edmund’s army, retrieving her reputation after being convicted of murder of an alien blob, and there were even several things she didn’t know she had to do, such as turning Perry back from being a bear. But there was one absolute Thing She Had to Do. She had to get her shoulder angel back.

Catrina held up Mlrning towards the sky. She’d heard that Thor’s various garden implements could help him fly; she assumed Mlrning worked the same way as well.  “Mlrning,” she demanded. “Fly me to heaven!”

“But…” Krystelle the rogue elf replied. “Ya can’t fly with a shovel! That’s impossible!”

“As the great U.S. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis once said,” Catrina quoted, “‘There are many men now living who were in the habit of using the age-old expression: ‘It is as impossible as flying.’ The discoveries in physical science, the triumphs in invention, attest the value of the process of trial and error. In large measure, these advances have been due to experimentation! Now, granted, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about Mlrning, the Shovel of Thor, but even so. I have the Shovel, I know what I need to do, and I’m going to experiment!”

The Shovel crackled with power, and Catrina abruptly shot up and away into the rainswept sky.

Krystelle, meanwhile, found herself alone on the raft, surrounded by unhappy derphins, and then Edmund came spluttering out of the ocean and climbed back on the raft, and he was very mad indeed, using frightful language and swearing that “by Beelzebub, he’d get them, he’d get them all!”  Unfortunately, in the process of being blown off the raft before, Edmund had inadvertently dropped his plasma blaster. Krystelle, not having much patience for irate bad guys, had quickly picked it up, and promptly shot him with it. He tumbled right back into the sea. Before the dolphins could make any more trouble, Connecticut Smith in his spaceship above finally convinced his pilot that they could really beam the rogue elf away without hurting the plot, and so Krystelle teleported happily away from there, leaving the upset derphins to bother about the abandoned raft.

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. To visit my author page where you can buy copies of Nuclear Family and Catrina in Space, both of which feature Catrina in starring roles, go here. And speaking of B-words, it happens to be my birthday. How coincidental. 😀

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  1. Happy belated birthday, to the idiot who got a frickin Spice Girls song stuck in my head 🙂 I felt like clapping my hands and shouting ‘I DO believe in shoulder angels, I DO believe in them!’ I have a few days before GoT Book 5 gets delivered, so I’m gonna start Catrina in Space tomorrow- very much looking forward to it…

    • Thank you. 🙂 I should mention, for some inexplicable reason, there’s sort of a tradition of that Spice Girls song being in Catrina stories. It’s in her second major story arc finale, it’s in this one, and it’s actually referenced in Catrina in Space. Something to anticipate when you start. 😛
      I haven’t read GoT book five yet; after the Red Wedding, I decided to hold off on the series until he finishes them. With all the emotional manipulation he’s put us through, I demand a proper ending. Even if everyone dies and the last page is Danaerys getting burned to a crisp by her own dragons, at least it’s an ending.

  2. I have that Spice Girls song in my head, too. Grrr! I kind of like that her brother got knocked around a bit. Hope that shovel gets Catrina to heaven!

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