[MV] The Super Wizard From Space #17: The Echo People, Part 1

Wil Alambre wilalambre at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 07:14:09 PDT 2011

The Dharma gecko felt consciousness eek to him, a drip-drip-drip of
awareness that eventually accumulated into awareness. He felt
unsettled. He felt unbalanced. He felt wet and sticky.

He was lying on the ground. Still at the top of the mountain
monastery. Yes, he was certain of it. There was no mistaking. He
remembered the feel of these particular stones. And the scent of that
particular moss. But he could not remember how he had came here. It
was like his mind was rattling around in his head while at the same
time trying to swell larger than his skull could contain. 

He sat up, crossed his legs, closed his eyes, and let the world drop
away. He reflexively entered into a meditative state of enlightenment.
Slowing his breathing. Clearing away the clutter of outside
everythingness. Replacing it with a calming nothingness. Then he
slipped down the enlightenment spectrum into the ultra-zen. Where his
mental state of now and nowhere became more real than the flimsy
temporariness of reality. Where he could blend together the passing
moments of solidity like morning jam on toasted bread. He remembered
his body at a better time, at a healthier time, unhurt... and as it
was then, so it was now.

Opening is eyes with a smirk, he stood up and brushed off the dust
from his robes. Or tried to. It was then he could see he was covered
in blood. As were his hands. Sticky and red. A visceral thrill
overtook him for a moment as he wondered what he had done until he
looked around the mountain top. 

All the ground, all the shrubs and and all the moss, even the remains
of the small building built here. Covered in a thin sheet of the same
red uneven mass. One entire side of the mountain was painted red. The
mist below had a new pink tinge to it for miles in every direction.

Movement caught his eye, a flopping slapping just a pace or two away.
As he got close, he could make out a fish on its side. It looked
desperate and frightened, out of its element. How had it gotten all
the way up here? Had he brought live seafood up here to eat? Upon
closer inspection, he recognized the milky stare of its eyes, the dull
faded shade of its scales, the slight radiating motion tickling the
outside of his emotional sphere. This was one of the Infinite School,
one of the great ghost shark's students. He looked like he was stuck,
his usually phantasmal frame wavering too close to a substantial

Easily fixed. Reaching into his robes, he pulled out his dull iron
gong and his little rubber mallet. He took a moment, trying to judge
the best angle to strike from, then lightly tapped the instrument. The
single note vibrated the scared fish, giving it a harmony to match its
frequency to. Within seconds, it was comfortably back in its spiritual
state, floating up into the air.

"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" it repeated with psychic bursts of
gratitude. "Did not expect to be affected. Did not think the echo
would reach this far. Got shook real."

"Hee hee hee! My marvellous skill has apparently corrected you, little
ghost! Or transparently, perhaps. Either way, you can now oblige me,
like a grateful debtor paying his due. What brings you to planet
Amity, so far from your school, and" waving a hand at the
blood-stained landscape, "what has happened to my mountain?"

The little ghost fish did a slow circle around the tall gecko, a
little confused. "Happened? Do you not know? Do you not remember?"

"Naturally not. I would not need to ask otherwise," he replied flatly.
He was kind of regretting not eating the fish.

"Oh dear. Oh no," the fish flipped upside-down, a blue-green thickness
to his  telepathic thoughts. "You tried to warn us not to use the Gong
Ago. Tried to say the music might have adverse effects."

"The Gong Ago?" he glanced over his shoulder into the valley, where
the sacred instrument should have been strung up between the two great
peaks. It was empty! Gone! Only strands of snapped ropes and the
shattered remains of the wooden bridge remained. A boiling anger
welled up as he snarled, "My sacred relic! It was irreplaceable! What
have you done, you little bait?"

The small blue shade blinked in surprise and darted a distance. Up
into the air and away from the mountain peak. But not out of range for
a master hero of the invisible monks. With a growl, he reached for the
glass beads of his necklace... and discovered they were missing.
Expended earlier when he needed ammo against the charging Rex.

Wait. That was new. A picture of a memory of a moment. 

Narrowing his eyes, he let the nothingness of tranquility make
unimportant everything but that fragment. It was ragged and shabby, a
piece of a piece of something  that was hard to focus on, but
distinct. And recent.

"You remember?" came the pastel swirl of curious thought from the
annoying spectre, drifting closer.

"Yes, but not everything," he admitted. "It's there, but broken into
pieces, a stain glass window shattered upon the cathedral floor. I
think... hm... I just need some time to put it back together."

"Then back to the balcony, I suggest. Back to the others, I suggest.
They are older. They are wiser. They can help."

"That is a good idea," he nodded. The others. Space champions visiting
Amity for the cosmic tournament. Witnessing the challenge of the Super
Wizard From Space and Sharkasaurus Rex. Who was brought here by
Geisel. And Theodor.

Theodor. Yes, that was the little ghost's name. Like a puzzle, the
edges were quicker to reassemble than the centre. But it was coming

He led them into the small building at the peak, in which there was a
set of spiral stairs leading into the monastery. Though the ghost fish
could simply have drifted through the stone and walls, it was polite
enough to follow the gecko down the many, many steps. They passed
hallways and rooms as they descended, inside which the feng shui had
obviously suffered. Tables and chairs shifted, tapestries at
aesthetically unpleasing angles. The sounds wave that the fish
described must have shook throughout the entire mountain.

As they descended they started to hear violent sounds. Booming and
yelling and crunching sounds. Hopping down at a faster rate, they
eventually emerged in a circular hall constructed entirely of white
marble and white diamonds, its impossibly large fractal floorspace
filled with thousands of fighting monks.

It seemed to be more like hundreds upon hundreds of smaller,
individual fights rather than a single concentrated battle, but there
was distinctly two sides. One was more defensive, trying to outlast
their opponents, while the other was more aggressive, trying to
overwhelm instead. And both groups of monks were striking with the
measured practice of space-kung-fu, the infra-zen based martial art
only taught here by the Dharma family.

One pitched battle came particularly close, the defensive monk
successfully wearing down his faltering foe. The gecko snarled and
made a leap onto the wall, sticking to it with his adhesive toe pads.
With the speed of decades of practice, he scrambled along the wall
toward the fight. When the conservative combatant was distracted, the
gecko wrapped his tail around the puny man's neck and slammed him
face-first into the wall. Then, just for the hell of it, he slammed
him against the wall a few more times.

The remaining monk immediately took the chance to catch his breath. As
he stood there, panting, the gecko eventually dropped to the floor and
approached cautiously. "Explain this!" he demanded.

"An invasion, my most honoured master," said the panting monk as
respectfully as he could between coughs and pants. "It occurred when
the Gong Ago's magnificent music echoed through our humble monastery.
Every man shook with the sound... and was inexplicably duplicated!"

"All the monks? A double?" asked Theodor.

"No. Not a double. More like an opposite," said the monk with obvious

The gecko's memories tumbled together at a faster pace. A debate on a
bridge with the super wizard. A pleading to not use the treasured Gong
Ago. The possibility of consequences. Damn his hide, they should have
foreseen this. The gong's sound can reverberate through every plane of
existence. It must have echoed off a unknown dimensional barrier...
mirroring not only the tone but also the inhabitants of the mountain!

All of them...?

"To the balcony, Theodor," he said with a growing urgency. "We have to
get to the others."

"What of us, illustrious master?" asked the monk.

"No surrender. No mercy," was the reply. "They are everything we are
not. One will never be compatible with the other. Fight on!" The monk
slammed his fists together and bowed respectfully, but the gecko and
the ghost fish were already racing down the corridor. 

He remembered everything now. The pieces had all fit together, forming
a clean and clear image. He had to reach the balcony. To see for
himself. How far had the echo reached? 

Just before they reached the balcony, they came across golden liquid
form of Queen Buzz. Naturally she would be in here, not wanting to be
out in the open. Despite the fact she was here as a transmission only,
a holographic projection composed of nanomachine honey, she was still
lurking in the back.

"Majesty! Something terrible has happened..." started Theodor before
she cut him off with the glare of royal command. Her usually impassive
expression melted into a suspicious glare.

Raising a hand, she pointed right at the gecko and demanded, "Theodor
Ghoszt Fish, who isz this?"

Theodor dropped an inch or two, a shimmering ripple of grey confusion
spreading from his psychic centre. "Oh no. More amnesia. This is..."

"No, thisz isz not," she cut off. "Hisz head isz bare. A coszmic crown
doesz not szo easzily abandon itsz perch."

The ghost fish turned in surprise.

"Hee hee hee. I'm afraid so," admitted the gecko with a malicious
smile. "I remember now, the stained glass window put together to
reveal a picture reversed. I'm not the master hero who invited you to
Amity and faced off the beast Rex atop the mountain. I am his echo.

"My name is Andy Dharma, master villain of the Invisible Monks."



A little trivia, just for the hell of it :) The "Brody Dharma" name came 
about as a mix of wanting a character named "Brody" for the shark storyline,
 and as a reference to Bodhidharma. His father, "Buddy Dharma", is a 
reference to Buddha, naturally, and the first of their line, "Sidney Dharma", 
come from a Buddha's name, Siddhattha. Our new fellow, "Andy Dharma", comes 
from adharma.

As you notice, our protagonist, the super wizard himself, is not featured in 
this issue. He's barely even mentioned. This is because he may or may not be 
appearing in other RACC imprints as part of the current High Concept Challenge. 

Wil Alambre, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wilalambre

More information about the racc mailing list