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O is for Omnibabies

by on November 19, 2013

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, things were looking even worse than usual for our heroine. Her kingdom had been invaded by a magical Atlantean fleet of sky-ships, her prince consort had turned out to be an unwitting Atlantean spy, and a meteor was falling from the heavens to wipe out everything. We resume our story as the meteor continues its descent….

Tamalyn Marmoset, daughter of Catrina, hadn’t quite got a handle on things yet. This was perfectly understandable, as she had only just been born. She was vaguely aware that she had been in a nice warm place before coming out into a world of bright lights and people making “Awwww” and other sentimental noises at her. She was also aware that she had gotten used to the lights eventually, and that the world outside had a lot of lovely sensations, food and warmth and occasionally a bit of music. Not to mention naps.

Tamalyn had just been enjoying another lovely nap when she had been snatched from her cradle by the Atlantean admiral Lucia. Tamalyn attempted to express her displeasure at this by squalling loudly and making gestures with her small fists, but Admiral Lucia apparently couldn’t speak Baby and wouldn’t put her down. Tamalyn, for her part, couldn’t speak English, and so she didn’t follow a bit of the dialogue between Admiral Lucia, and her mother.  She kept on squalling until Lucia finally put her back down in her crib. Even then, Tamalyn was very much put out. She couldn’t possibly resume her nap now, after she had been so rudely disturbed. She was about to demand that she be fed, or played with, or something, when she saw the light of the descending meteor, shining brightly through the nursery window as it plunged towards Earth.

Tamalyn was a baby, not an astronomer. She didn’t know what a meteor was. Neither, as it happened, did her brother Timothy, who hadn’t been awakened by the Atlantean invasion and had slept through the whole affair so far. But Tamalyn did sense, in her small fashion, that the bright shiny thing was not a good bright shiny thing. And so, she stretched out her hand towards it and waved imperiously, in the supreme babyish confidence that it would stop.

Had she been an ordinary child, nothing would have happened. The meteor would’ve fallen and wiped out all of Shmirmingard in a titanic explosion.  But Tamalyn was not an ordinary baby. She had inherited the genes of her mother Catrina, who had died and gotten resurrected so many times that she had lost count, who had wielded the Red Sporksaber, who had discovered Mlrning, the Shovel of Thor, who had twice transformed herself into a newt, and gotten better. She had also inherited a bit from Perry, who had been under a magical Atlantean enchantment for a good part of his life. All those magical genes combined in Tamalyn and Timothy, and if they weren’t quite the Wonder Twins, and they didn’t have Gleek the space money, they were awfully close.   That explained why there was a sudden flash of yellow light, and a sudden shining dome of magical energy shimmered into being around the castle Shmirmingard. The meteor struck hard, and banked off the shining dome like the world’s biggest pool ball, ricocheting away into the atmosphere from whence it came. Shrmingard had been saved.

Tamalyn didn’t know what she’d done, and neither did anyone else. The dome faded away, passing into legend and song and eventually a TV miniseries several centuries later. Catrina, meanwhile, was as astonished as anyone else, and almost a little disappointed. She had been going for a tragic heroic breakdown, whereupon the meteor would dispatch her to Character Heaven, and she would live happily forever after. She had thought a meteor impact would be an appropriate way to end her saga, and a fairly smashing ending at that. But, it seemed, she had to go on again. “Well…” she said. “What shall I do now?”

Admiral Lucia was relieved that the meteor had gone away as well. Her part of the story had only just begun, and it would be a pity for it to end so soon. “Surrender,” she said to Catrina. “That’s what you’ll do. As I said before, I have transporter mages locked on-”

“Yes,” said Catrina, “but you’re not holding my twins anymore, are you? And, if I may say, that was an exceptionally bad move. Using my babies as bargaining chips. Very poor form.”

It was then that Lucia made an even worse move than before. She was still standing fairly close to the cradles where Tamalyn and Timothy lay, and she thought she might just be able to grab them again quickly and have her mages teleport her back to the ship. The invasion could still go on!  She reached for Tamalyn. But she had underestimated Catrina. The princess threw herself bodily at the Atlantean invader with all the fury of a storm unleashed. Admiral Lucia wasn’t all that good at martial arts; most of the Atlantean forces had grown dependent on magic, and had let their physical fighting abilities go to an alarming degree. Even if she had been, Catrina wasn’t fighting according to any style or form recognizable. She snap-kicked and punched and thwacked Lucia’s head into the floor and generally went after her like a kitten going after a string. Lucia quickly decided that discretion was the better part of valor. She had her teleporter mages locked on her; with a frantic thought of a magical phrase, she vanished away, back to her flagship. Once there, she dashed off to the infirmary. These people were insane. Absolutely insane. She had to contact her superiors immediately. Shmirmingard wasn’t worth the effort.

Meanwhile, Catrina found herself on the floor with no one left to pummel. She leaped upright, and discovered that Lucia had abandoned the other ten or so soldiers that had arrived with her. The Atlanteans stared open-mouthed at her. Catrina smiled coldly, and raised the Shovel of Thor. “Right,” she said, very calm, “Who’s next then, please?”

One of the soldiers attempted to throw a magic plasma bolt at her. Catrina swatted it away with the shovel as easily as she might have swatted away a fly. The plasma bolt ricocheted backward and knocked the soldier headlong into a small collection of stuffed animals. “Oh, dear,” Catrina said. “You’ve upset the animals. Tamalyn is very fond of those. Especially the bear. The bear that you appear to be lying on. I do hope you haven’t damaged it. If you have, I shall be very upset. You would not like me when I’m upset.”

The soldiers wondered, if Catrina hadn’t been upset before now, just what had she been. They immediately decided to take the prudent course and surrender. Catrina had them swiftly bundled off to the castle cells. She would question them later, since they probably possessed a good deal of valuable intelligence that she would need to use against the Atlantean fleet. For the moment, however, she needed to take a moment alone with her twins. If everything else had gone to smithereens, at least she had them. For once, Atlanteans and meteors and treacherous prince-consorts aside, all was right with her world.

This has been another episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here.  For my Amazon page where you can buy a collection of the first year of Catrina stories, go here. And, as always, thanks for reading.


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  1. This may be my single favorite visual I’ve ever gotten for your writing: The meteor struck hard, and banked off the shining dome like the world’s biggest pool ball, ricocheting away into the atmosphere from whence it came.
    Like, it’s so perfect that it makes me angry that I can’t draw because it would make such a great comic panel…

    • My drawing abilities are limited to stick figures and the Batman logo, so I feel your pain. But I am glad you liked the visual. I’ve always liked meteor stories for some reason, and I wanted a good way to describe it. 🙂

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