[8Fold/Contest] Journal Into... #14 : All Us Zombies (HC13)

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sun Sep 26 22:30:28 PDT 2010

[8Fold/Contest] Journal Into... #14 : All Us Zombies (HC13)
Eightfold Comics Group Presents
A High Concept Adventure
JOURNEY INTO #14: All Us Zombies
By Saxon Brenton
     The diabolical Professor Longitude slammed a fist down onto a 
console, closing the blast doors and sealing the bulkheads to the 
command centre of his flying fortress against the intruder and his 
army of robots.  There!  That would hold him!
     No.  No it wouldn't, thought the diabolical Professor Longitude 
with a scowl.  He had to stop thinking like that - as though he were 
facing off against a hero.  The four colours were annoying in their 
spurious morality, but they also tended to be comfortably predictable.
     But the diabolical Professor Longitude had to get out of the 
mindset of fighting heroes if he was going to battle against... himself!
     A steel door began to glow cherry red as the metal heated up 
*very* quickly, before turning white hot and then sublimating away to 
nothingness within seconds.  Well, they were only there for show - heavy 
things decorated with huge ornamental rivets and meant to overawe 
hostages.  It was with the force field that the diabolical Professor 
Longitude planned to thwart the advance of the invaders.
     In marched several robots to take up position around the command 
centre, their weapons raised in a futile attempt to threaten the creator 
and master of the fortress.  Behind this advance force came someone 
looking pretty much identical to himself, excepting only a few slightly 
different elements to the costume of stylised-labcoat-and-short-cape 
with which to tell them apart.
     The diabolical Professor Longitude clasped his hands behind his 
back and in his best very-irritated-but-not-greatly-concerned voice 
said, "You will explain the meaning of this."
     The counterpart Professor Longitude gave him a look of cold 
disdain.  "I have come for revenge, as you knew full well I would.  Or 
did you overestimate your intelligence so much that you didn't think 
I'd be able to track you to your hiding place?"
     "You're speaking gibberish.  Talk sensibly or I'll simply destroy 
you where you stand."  And as a small show of force the diabolical 
Professor Longitude raised one of his gauntleted hands and let loose 
a force bolt that blew apart one of his doppelganger's robots.  The 
other robots returned fire - only to have their energy weapons ricochet 
off the diabolical Professor Longitude's force field, causing another 
of their number to be destroyed.
     The counterpart Professor Longitude did not seem particularly 
worried about this.  In fact, an energy beam bounced off of him as well, 
indicating that he was protected with his own force field.  Nevertheless 
he ordered, "Stop," and brought the robots' assault to a halt.  With 
that done he raised a weapon of his own, firing at the diabolical 
Professor Longitude.
     Massive sub-sonic force penetrated the force field and shook the 
diabolical Professor Longitude like a rattle.  He barely had enough time 
to adjust the inertial dampeners to compensate.  Still, he had remained 
standing in the face of his enemy.
     The counterpart pointed an accusing finger at the diabolical 
Professor Longitude and said, "You came to my Earth and dared to 
impersonate me, disrupting several of my projects in the process.  Now 
I am here to crush you and usurp your identity, adding this Earth to my 
future demesne of conquests!"
      "I did no such thing!"
      "Lies!" spat the counterpart Professor Longitude, and activated 
an ID insinuator to reduce his opponent to gibbering madness. However 
the diabolical Professor Longitude had an ESProtector to keep out any 
psychic attacks.
     Of course, it now occurred to the diabolical Professor Longitude 
that if this interloper was from a parallel Earth then he could use a 
quantum destabiliser to rip the counterpart Professor Longitude free 
from this strata of space-time and send him drifting helplessly between 
continua.  But when he tried he found that the counterpart Professor 
Longitude had taken the precaution of imbedding himself in the local 
universe by bringing his reality quotient up to parity; he wouldn't be 
budged by anything short of the space-time shredder...  Ooo, now there 
was an idea.
      The diabolical Professor Longitude just happened to have that 
delightfully destructive device on him at that very moment - and in his 
current state of adrenalin high was hyped up enough to use it without 
thought for the consequences.  He grinned with mad anticipation as he 
turned it on... and reality began to heave as it prepared to unravel.
      And then the heaving stopped, and a new voice said, "That was 
particularly foolish of you, you know.  If I hadn't came armed with a 
reality rectifier to block the more bizarre reality distorting gizmos 
you have in your arsenal, you would have killed us all and destroyed a 
large chunk of the planet."
      That voice!  He had no idea who it was specifically, but the very 
tone of it!  Only one type of person used that combination of stentorian 
tone and self-satisfied smugness!  A hero!
      And there he was, standing arms akimbo on the other side of the 
command centre!
      "I am Doctor Longitude!" he announced.  "And I have arranged for 
you two to be here so that I can deal with you," and here he cracked 
his knuckles meaningfully, "as you both so richly deserve."
     "You dare to try to trick us into a war against each other!?" 
demanded the counterpart Professor Longitude.
     "How dare you even use that name!" snarled the diabolical Professor 
     "Oh, I dare!  I am your son, come back in time to wipe clean the 
reputation of my evil father!" declaimed Doctor Longitude.
     "Then I will ensure that wear protection when entertaining myself 
with my concubines," said the diabolical Professor Longitude.
     "Your clonal son, raised in an alternate future of the antimatter 
universe!" added Doctor Longitude through gritted teeth.
     "A little more interesting," conceded the black cape, "but not 
enough to dissuade me from using retro-emptive birth control."  
However through all this the diabolical Professor Longitude was thinking 
fast.  Much as it galled him, he really didn't have the resources to 
fight both of these intruders.  Perhaps he could make a brief alliance 
with his other-dimensional counterpart... and then stab him in the back 
after the mutual threat was dealt with!  Bwahahahaha!
     No, wait.  It was the four colours who always fell for that trick.  
A black cape would expect treachery.  Maybe he could throw his counter-
part off guard and lull him into a false sense of security by... 
honouring an agreement to help one another?
     Uhm, no.  Reasoning like that only reinforced the old adage that 
logic merely let you be wrong with authority.  And anyway: Eww.  The 
very notion was more than a bit icky, truth be told.
     There were several tense seconds of three way standoff.  Neither 
iteration of Professor Longitude would make the first move.  Both of 
them wanted to hold back, let the other take the lead, and thereby 
weaken both himself and Doctor Longitude enough to be finished off with 
a coup de grace.  Doctor Longitude, meanwhile, was girding himself and 
waiting to see from which front the first attack would come.
     Then the counterpart Professor Longitude suddenly went, "Bah!" and 
whipped out an atomic refractor - a cunning little laser based 
disintegrator gun that worked by sending the outer electrons of its 
victims careening into other atomic orbits.  He fired at Doctor 
Longitude - fruitlessly, since the four colour had been anticipating 
some type of manoeuvre along those lines.
     Doctor Longitude ducked and rolled, and using a hand held laser 
pistol decorated in retro-pulp fashion fired what seemed to be random 
shots at the robots.  Confusion reigned for a minute or perhaps two as 
the four colour danced about the command centre, occasionally blowing 
up the counterpart Professor Longitude's robots but generally making a 
hyperkinetic nuisance of himself.
     "You cannot win, you know," yelled the diabolical Professor 
Longitude over the tumult.  "The analytical cognition software of my 
sub-meson  electronic brain computer has already hacked into and taken 
control of my counterpart's robots," he crowed, "and now all of his 
reserve forces are heading here at my orders.  You will be crushed, 
miserable insect!"
     And sure enough, even more robots were entering the command 
centre - some through the original melted hole, others through the 
other undamaged doors that were even now opening to allow them entry.  
The counterpart Professor Longitude looked briefly startled, then 
checked the control device built into the wristlet before throwing the 
diabolical Professor Longitude a dirty glare.
     "Yeah yeah," went Doctor Longitude as he bounded over the head of 
one of the robots, using it as a type of spring board.  He almost seemed 
to be enjoying this.  He certainly didn't seem to be intimidated by the 
situation.  "And you know, *Dad*," he said, making that last word a 
thing of scorn, "I might actually be impressed by that if I were 
planning on fighting them all.  But you know, I'm only interested in 
being a distraction."
     "A distraction?"
     "For the shutdown of your flying cities' engines.  Which should be 
happening right about... now."
     There was a sudden absence of the almost noiseless thrum of the 
fortress' generators.  Under normal circumstances it was barely 
noticeable at all, a subliminal sensation that wasn't noticed until it 
was gone.  But now it *was* gone.  And replaced almost immediately by 
the vertigo-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach sensation of falling as the sky 
fortress began to drop.
     The counterpart Professor Longitude teleported out almost 
immediately.  Whether it was directly back to his own universe or simply 
back to an established transdimensional portal the diabolical Professor 
Longitude had no idea.  At the same time Doctor Longitude gave him a 
smug look and a 'be seeing you' salute before vanishing himself.
     Unfortunately the diabolical Professor Longitude didn't have the 
option to teleport out just at that moment, and instead raced across 
the command centre to an escape pod.  He jumped in, was fired out a 
launch tube, and as the pod flitted away he watched his sky fortress 
fall majestically and then crash with a melodramatic explosion in the 
South Pacific.
     Doctor Longitude arrived back at his home base and went to report 
to his grandfather.  Yes, his grandfather.  The villainous and long-
you've-actually-seen-the-body Silver Age Professor Longitude.  Doctor 
Longitude stood to attention.  "Everything went as you expected."  Unlike 
the energetic demeanour he had shown when facing the diabolical Professor 
Longitude, the younger man was now more passive, almost emotionless.
     "Yes, I watched the confrontation on the transluminal interocitor 
you created," said the Silver Age Professor Longitude.  "Very well, we 
will proceed as planned.  I will call you when I get information of 
what his next move is.  Then we will harass him again."
     "Yes, sir," said Doctor Longitude.  Then, "Sir?  May I ask a 
question?  Why are you doing this?"
     The Silver Age Professor Longitude raised an eyebrow in surprise.  
It was more self-volition than he was used to from the clone.  Usually 
the creature simply followed orders, and only faked having a personality 
when it was off on a mission.  Nevertheless it was a sensible question.
     "My offspring carries the genetic condition for mad science, and 
has an active expression of it that is extreme.  Now, it's bad enough 
that my legacy as a criminal mastermind is being frittered away by an 
obsessive madman who thinks that building a device to turn the moon 
into green cheese is a productive use of his time.  But more importantly, 
I expect that at some point he will become an active threat to the 
entire planet."
     "He is already classified as a threat to the planet," Doctor 
Longitude pointed out.
     "True, but he is a threat currently held in check by his own 
compulsion to play games with the four colours.  However at some point 
I expect his mad genius will reach a plateau where playing games no 
longer interests him, and he will destroy the world with one of his 
creations before they can intervene.  And probably do so by accident.
     "And that is why I had you cloned, Doctor..."
     (and here it must be noted parenthetically that Doctor Longitude is 
the younger man's full name, rather than a nom de guerre as with his 
parent and grandparent)
     "...since you have the genetic disposition for mad science that I 
lack.  I will plan a campaign against him.  You will supply the mad 
science technology to counter his inventions.  Together we will harass 
him - and then when he at his weakest, I will destroy him."  The Silver 
Age Professor Longitude smiled at the thought.  "Put him down like a 
rabid dog."
     All characters created by me.  The diabolical Professor Longitude 
previously appeared in _Jolt City Adventures_ #1.  His kinfolk and 
counterpart are all new.
Author's notes:
     Written for the thirteenth High Concept Challenge: A Legacy 
     I sat up until after midnight and into the morning of the 26th to 
get this ready for posting just under the deadline of the 25th USA time, 
and then discovered the date extension.  So I took an extra day to do 
some polishing.  Nevertheless the end bit still seems info-dumpy and 
rushed.  Sorry.
Saxon Brenton   University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au     saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
The world will not end in 2012.  The reason is simple: 2013 will be the 
50th anniversary of _Doctor Who_.   

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