Friday, March 9, 2012

The Impossible 5 Chapter 9

Chapter 1 can be found here:
Chapter 2 can be found here:
Chapter 3 can be found here:
Chapter 4 can be found here:

The Impossible Five and Token Woman all looked at each other after Wallbreaker’s revelation, trying to be discrete about it, being at a library terminal.

“Well, of course, Wallbreaker,” said O’Canada. “Dead is dead.  Always has been, always will be.”

“Mac…” (since they were wearing civilian clothes, Wallbreaker used O’Canada’s real first name) “…you’re a good friend, don’t get me wrong, but like most superheroes, you have a bit of a blind spot about death.  Everyone comes back in our world, everyone. Think about it.”

Crack Heroine said, “He’s not talking right.  Maybe he’s under some sort of mind control.”

“No, hear him out,” said Token Woman. “I’m not sure why, but he normally hides his intelligence, like I used to. This is the real him. But let’s take this outside so we don’t bug the other computer uses and so we can let our favourite horse in on this.”

They walked outside and brought Helltrotter up to speed.  Helltrotter was smoking a cigar that Rita made him put out.

Wallbreaker said, “Just before the Master Plotter sent us to Earth-X32B, thus starting us on this quest through different worlds, we were at the funeral for the Blazer. How many times had we been to his funeral before?”

“Well, okay, a few,” said O’Canada, “but he was good at cheating death. We kept underestimating his ability to escape certain death.”

“And how many times did be not cheat death, but we found a way to revive him anyway.”

O’Canada frowned. “Two.  But…”

“And has any of us here never died and come back?”

“I haven’t!” said the Glowing Man.

“Well, that’s right, you haven’t” said Wallbreaker. “But the rest of us have died at least once.  Heck, we believed Helltrotter here was dead until we found him in the old west.  So that’s six out of seven. Not counting the Missile, who’s died on this mission and I assure you will be back, or most of our friends and enemies and even the occasional bystander.  Think about all the people whose funerals you’ve attended and then returned.”

“I don’t usually get to attend funerals,” said Helltrotter.

“You’re absolutely right,” said Wallbreaker, “You’re a horse and you therefore aren’t allowed at a lot of funerals. It’s unfair.  In terms of returns from the dead, things are if anything overly fair.”

“Oh come on,” said Rita Con. “It’s just amazing luck. When our number’s up, it’ll be up.”

Token Woman said, “You of all people should know that’s not true.”


“You change origins more often than the Missile changes his underwear. How many times has your origin started to change during this mission alone?  Some force is playing us like chess pieces. If Wallbreaker thinks that the force might have less control over our destinies here, we should take that seriously.”

O’Canada said, “You know what? This is all irrelevant. We’re heroes, and whether it’s true or enough, we’ve always believed we could die on our missions permanently.  So let’s focus on the mission and we can figure out the rules of death when we get back.” 
Wallbreaker silently felt chagrined.  O’Canada’s point was fair. If you never knew you couldn’t die, why worry about it now?

O’Canada paused and added, “And Wallbreaker, if you really have been holding back your intelligence, don’t.  We need everyone’s best input to complete this mission.  Any thoughts on how to find this rod?”

Rita said, “It’s probably mystical. We should try the occult section of this library or, failing that, hit the book stores, especially the used ones.”

Wallbreaker added, “We should also check out the comic shops. If we really are comic book characters here, maybe the latest issue of our adventures will tell us where to proceed?”

The Crack Heroine said, “We should also lose the horse for now.”

“What?!?” exclaimed Helltrotter. 

“Sorry, dude.  The whole thing about use being performers will only take us so far if you keep yacking. And I’ve been looking around and I think the only horses are the ones who draw carriages.”

Helltrotter signed. “If this is anything like our world, there should be a park nearby called Beacon Hill Park. It should have some of the dull-headed horses. I’ll wait for you there.”

O’Canada said, “Okay, let’s check for occult books, and then check the phone book for book stores and comic shops.  We best not be giving any more money to the panhandlers if we’re going to be buying books and comics.  Our debit and credit cards won’t be valid here. And we’d best buy stuff if it’s really useful. Remember, technically speaking, even though our money’s real, if there’s any subtle differences on this world, it might be deemed counterfeit.”

They didn’t find anything useful at the library so they checked the phone book.  Fortunately, a particularly large used book store was very close by to the library, Russell Books.

They also found that there were three comic shops all on the same side of the same block.  Clearly this world was itself not immune to odd coincidences.

Token Woman, pointing that out, said, “If we really are fictional characters, this may be sign that this isn’t the real world either, if such a thing even exists.”

“Yes, very suspicious,” agreed Wallbreaker.  “If only we had more time, it would bear investigating.”

But before going to the comic shops, it was time to go to the book store, which was much closer.

Russell Books proved to be bigger than they had anticipated. The main area was pretty much a normal store size, but there was an outside staircase to a separate section.  O’Canada, Wallbreaker, and Token Woman checked out the lower level while Rita Con, the Crack Heroine, and the Glowing Man visited the upper section.

The former three found someone to ask about the occult section and it proved to be on that floor.  They focussed on books that were illustrated. No luck.  On a whim, Token Woman decided to check the local section. There had to be a reason that they were in Victoria.  She found a book on local lore and brought it over to the others.  “We might be in luck. It seems to be built into the structure of the entrance to Chinatown. That means that no bad guys have it.”

O’Canada looked closer.  “Maybe. Maybe not.   This book is from 1988. Still it’s worth investigating.”

Token Woman put the book back and they went upstairs and grabbed the others. Before heading back down they got directions to Chinatown from another staff member to Chinatown.

“It’s just past the comic shops,” said O’Canada. “Probably can’t hurt to visit them on the way.”

Crack Heroine said, “Yo, Glowing Man, the book store people are starting to look at us strangely.  Maybe because your fake face is starting to melt.”

“Sorry,” said the Glowing Man.  “Uh,” he said to the staff and customers looking their way. “it’s just a skin condition. Nothing to worry about.”

On the way down the stairs he removed his fake face and replaced it with a new one.

They walked to the comic shops. They split into groups of two, with Wallbreaker and Token Woman taking the middle one, Legends, the store that was more centred on non-superhero comics than the others.  Even so, when they entered, they still found plenty of superhero stuff. It was unlikely that the presence of the “indie” stuff would hurt their chances of finding what they were looking for.

They found last month’s issue, which ended with them leaving the Old West.  The comic was related Teen Plus. Not surprising, given the revelation that the Glowing Man’s activities there had led to him becoming O’Canada’s ancestor (O’Canada was paired with Rita Con for that reason. It would be quite some time before he was comfortable around the Glowing Man again!)

Wallbreaker asked the person at the cashier if the latest issue was out.

“Sorry. It was supposed to be out this week but it was delayed. It should be here next Wednesday.”

Token Woman found some back issues of Previews magazine and found some cover art in one of them for the next issue, plus a blurb.

“Oh no,” she whispered.

“What’s wrong?” Wallbreaker asked.

She showed him what she’d found.  The cover clearly showed the entrance to a Chinatown, probably the one here.  The Impossible Five’s evil counterparts were standing over their fallen forms.  According to the Previews blurb, “The final battle to the Master Plotter’s Cross-Dimensional Plot brings another death!”

Coming up next: the final battle! And then the following week, an epilogue that changes everything. 

If you want to read more adventures of the surviving heroes, let me know in the next couple weeks.  If there’s demand for more material, I’ll be happy to explore the new status quo afterwards.

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