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T is for Transmogrified Theremins

by on January 10, 2014

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had teamed up with her arch-nemesis Susan to defeat the Atlantean forces invading her kingdom by hurling a snowsharknado at them. They were saved at the last minute by Catrina’s royal consort, who had turned out to be working for Atlantis all along. He magically transported the entire fleet into a snowglobe, lost somewhere in the streets of Kumquat City….

Catrina was not in the mood to chase after Cthulhu just then. The Atlantean fleet menacing Kumquat City had disappeared. She had no idea where they had got to, and she didn’t much care at the moment. What she wanted was to go back to her castle and spend some quality time with her baby twins, and then work out how to explain to them that their father was a magical Atlantean emperor in disguise. Unfortunately, she had made a bargain with Susan, and what Susan wanted to do was charge off right then to hunt down the Lovecraftian menace. Catrina resolved that she would never again cut deals with incarnations of evil; it just never worked out.

“Couldn’t it wait, just a week or so?” she pleaded.

Susan rolled her eyes. “Oh, sure, princess. Let’s just let Cthulhu roam free around the galaxy while you go change diapers or something. It’s not like the world could end or anything. Oh. Wait.”

“You don’t have to be snappish about it,” Catrina said. “I was only asking for a week. I don’t think the apocalypse could happen within a week.”

Susan was about to object that apocalypses could happen within a very short time indeed (she’d started plenty of them, she should know) when suddenly the sea outside Kumquat City began to churn. Then a massive metal prow exploded from the waves, driving up on shore in a spray of sand. Catrina and Susan stood gaping. There before them was a ship that made even the Atlantean sky-ships look like toy boats in the bathtub. It was all sleek black metal, with gleaming windows running along the sides, and mighty propellers behind. Catrina had never before seen a submarine, and she certainly wouldn’t have imagined one to look like this.

With a sharp clang, a door opened up in the beached prow, and a ramp drove out into the sand. An old man came striding down it, clad in black robes, with a long white beard. He also wore a top hat and a pair of metalwork goggles, so that he looked very much like a steampunk Dumbledore. Catrina, naturally wary, kept a tight hold on Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!) as he approached. “So who are you, then?” she demanded.

The man spoke in a weary, but still impressive baritone. “I am Madrigal, Lord-Emperor of Atlantis. I believe you married my son.”

Of all the people Catrina had expected to show up, her father-in-law was not one of them. “Oh. Yes. Erm, hello. You’re not upset you weren’t invited to the wedding, are you? I would have invited you, I spent hours over the invitations, truly, but well, I didn’t know you existed, you see. I thought your son was a completely different person; I had no idea he was really a spy for Atlantis. I’m actually a bit upset about that.”

Madrigal smiled grimly. “I’m sure you are. Well, perhaps this will put your mind at ease; you’re not actually married to him. You have no claim on the Atlantean throne whatever.”

“I beg your pardon?”

The Atlantean Emperor sighed, as if he had hoped this would be self-explanatory. “You don’t think I’d send my real son on a mission like this, do you? The real Luke is safely back at home in Atlantis. What you married was a magically created clone, Luke the Third.”

“….the Third?”

“Well, the first clone had a few minor difficulties. We had to scratch him. You understand.”

Catrina didn’t, actually. “So…Luke…the Third…isn’t a real person?”

Madrigal exploded. “I did not come here to debate the finer points of clone philosophy! I came here because the clone I sent has so clearly bungled this campaign that I’ve been forced to mop up! I had been given to understand that clone troopers were far more efficient.”

Susan, meanwhile, had been looking from one to the other in rising hilarity. Finally she couldn’t contain herself. “Well, toupee on a tribble! You married a clone! A clone who’s getting sacked, no less! Oh man. I am so glad I came with you on this.”

“You be quiet,” Catrina shot back. “Anyone who gets kicked out of Character Hell by their own minions is in no position to criticize.” Then she turned back to Madrigal. “When you say mop up….”

Madrigal’s voice went very cold. “I mean I’m going to dispose of the clone and his incompetent fleet and start over again.”

“Dispose. You mean kill.”

The Atlantean emperor shrugged. “What does it matter to you? He betrayed your trust, did he not?”

Catrina raised the Shovel of Thor. “He did, and we’re going to have a good long talk about that, and we’ll probably have to attend several sessions of marriage counseling. But still. This is my kingdom. And I’m not too keen on anyone doing murder here.”

“Do you think you can stop me?” Madrigal asked. A thin wand, adorned with what seemed a superfluity of metalwork, slid into his hand.

“I have the Shovel of Thor,” Catrina said. “You just have that. It’s not even your most powerful wand, is it? Luke has that.”

For the first time since he’d landed on the shore, Madrigal smiled. “The gopherwood wand, you mean? That was cloned too.”

“Oh,” said Catrina. And that was all she had time to say, before Madrigal’s wand sparked, and she found herself unceremoniously transformed into a theremin. Madrigal waved his wand again, and the theremin played a quick version of the theme to Doctor Who.

Susan giggled. “Bravo. I’ve been wanting to get rid of her for months. You don’t even know.”

Madrigal rounded upon her. “And now I shall be rid of you.”Β  He had, of course, just committed the classic villain mistake of announcing his murderous intentions before actually doing the deed. Susan picked up on it practically from the words “And now.” And so, by the time he got around to actually raising the wand and performing the spell that would’ve transformed her into a small snare drum known as a tabor, Susan had her laser pistols out and firing. It turned out that a well-aimed laser blast is just as good as “Expelliarmus” when you want to disarm someone of their magic wand. It flew from the surprised Madrigal’s hand…and right into Susan’s.

She didn’t waste time with saying something dramatic like, “And now, back to Atlantis!” She just did it. There was a flash and a boom of water, and suddenly Madrigal and his submarine weren’t there anymore. Then, and only then, did Susan smile. With the gopherwood wand, she had more than enough power to go after Cthulhu. She didn’t even need Catrina now. “Bye,” she said, giving the theremin a fake-friendly pat. “The sad thing is, you’re an electronic instrument now, and you’re stuck in a medieval age. No one’s gonna be able to play you, or turn you back into a person, or even know what the heck you are. Sucks to be you, doesn’t it?”Β  And with that, she used the power of the wand to transport herself away, leaving the Catrina-theremin alone and quiet on the deserted beach.

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. For other adventures of Catrina and more, go here. Thanks for reading!

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2 Comments
  1. She can’t catch a break. She marries a clone and the sort of father-in-law is nastier than the clone. You’ve got the character hardships down to a science πŸ™‚

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