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Conversations with Lizards

by on July 9, 2016

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had escaped from her alien lizard captors and run off to rescue her -arch-nemesis Susan as well, accidentally igniting the Turbolift Revolution in the process. Little knowing that she had just upended galactic politics, she now races to Susan’s cell on the alien lizard spaceship….

“Honestly?” Princess Catrina said, as she pounded down the corridor. “After a year of silence, that’s all the recap I get? My old readers have already moved on, and any new readers will be hopelessly lost. You could’ve done a lengthier recap, maybe an entire post explaining my backstory, but no. Of course not. Oh, the indignities inflicted on me by my author. It never ends!”

She might have gone on for some time about this, but at that moment she spun round a corner and came within sight of Susan’s cell. Catrina had traveled about in time a bit, but she was still not completely up to speed on all the nuances of a space-faring age. Her idea of a cell was still medieval: a dark and clammy chamber with a tiny barred window and a bucket in the corner for necessaries. Susan’s cell was bright and clean, with soft lights and a cot that had a reasonably fluffy blanket. Even more surprising, it didn’t appear to have a door. Catrina could see right into it. Sure enough, there was Susan, sitting angrily on her cot and scowling. “Hello there!” Catrina said, waving.

“YOU!” Susan shrieked in fury. Susan had been going through a rough period. It was still earlier in her personal timeline; she hadn’t yet become the mistress of Character Hell that Catrina had come to know and hate. She only just recently turned evil, and was still dealing with the realization that she was a made-up story character. Susan was not, alas, handling this well. She had decided to blame it all on Catrina. “It’s all your fault!” she raged.

“Can we discuss my responsibility later?” Catrina said, who had some uneasiness on that subject. “I’m trying to break you out of there.”

Susan ought to have responded gratefully to this offer of liberation. Instead, she responded with a torrent of unprintable words. Catrina had rarely heard such vile or inventive language. She wasn’t even sure that some of Susan’s suggestions were anatomically possible. Catrina hesitated for a moment, wondering if perhaps she should reconsider setting Susan free.

Her hesitation cost her. All at once she heard the tramp of marching feet. A squad of alien lizard soldiers stormed into the room behind her. “Right, you!” the squad leader shouted. “Surrender, or we’ll fire!”

“Together, or one at a time?” Catrina asked.

“What?” the squad leader said. He was used to prisoners demanding their freedom, or else beginning for their lives. Prisoners didn’t usually inquire about tactics.

“Well,” Catrina said, “There’s, let me see, one two, six of you, and you’re all carrying laser rifles. As my author observed, I’m not familiar with these space things, but those rifles are fairly powerful, correct?”

“They’re plasma, D9-17s, capable of reducing solid padamantium-steel allows to molten slag, and any living creature (such as yourself) to drifting ash!” The squad leader had recently read the manual on the weapon, and enjoyed its vivid language.

“Any one of them will do that?” Catrina pressed.


“You’ve got six. All that plasma firepower won’t just disintegrate me; you’ll probably vaporize Susan too. And maybe even yourselves. This room isn’t all that big, you know.”

“Ah,” the squad leader said. “Well, then we’ll fire one at a time!”

“Good idea!” Catrina agreed. “Except I’m virtually unarmed. I’m only carrying this perfectly harmless and absolutely ordinary shovel. So which one of you boys-”

“Girls,” one of the lizards said.

Catrina blinked.”All of you?”

“No, just me.”

“Oh,” Catrina said. “I didn’t realize. What’s your name?”

The lizard said a combination of syllables, with a bit of hissing. “I see,” said Catrina. “Pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise,” said the lizard.

“Now that we’re friends, how do you feel about laser-rifling me to death?” Catrina asked. “Seems a bit uncivilized.”

The lizard soldier hesitated. “Well…”

“I’ll do it!” said the squad leader irately. “Unless you drop that shovel right now!”

“This?” Catrina said. “This entirely harmless gardening tool? Do you really need for me to set it down in order to surrender?”

The squad leader was getting more and more frustrated. This wasn’t going smoothly at all. He liked things to go smooth. “Fine!” he snapped. “Keep the shovel! Only surrender right now, or-”

“Actually, you should’ve made me drop it,” Catrina said. “This isn’t really an ordinary shovel? This is Mlrning. The Shovel of Thor.”

There was a blinding white flash. A second later, all of the alien lizard guards were frozen in solid ice. Catrina smiled. She always enjoyed that part. Then she heard Susan yelling something else unprintable behind her. The moment was ruined. “Guess I’d better rescue you after all,” Catrina said reluctantly. She still didn’t see a door, but assumed that something invisible must be keeping Susan in the cell, otherwise she would’ve walked out herself. Catrina swung the Shovel of Thor in the general direction of Susan. Something crackled angrily in the air, flashed, then broke up in sparks. Susan leaped up from her cot.

“I’m free!” she shouted, somewhat obviously. “And now I’m gonna-”

An alarm shrilled over their heads. “Whatever it is, now is really not the time!” Catrina observed. “I’m going to try and find a way off this ship. Are you coming with, or not?”

Susan howled a last insult and dashed off down the corridor. Catrina shrugged. “There’s just no being friends with some people.”  Having delivered that depressing moral to the still-frozen lizard soldiers, she ran off down a different corridor, with some regret. It might have been interesting, being friends with an alien lizard of her own gender. She probably wouldn’t have that chance again. Such, alas, was life, Catrina reflected.

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




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  1. Hilarious! Brilliant job with the breaking the fourth wall bits.

    It’s amazing how easy it is to confuse these mobs of bad guys by asking the simplest of questions. Although having ancient god-level weapons in hand is a good strategy too.

    Another very fun read!

    • Thanks! Having ancient god-level weapons is always a solid background strategy. 🙂

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