DR!: Dynamite Radical: This Is Where You Start #3

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Fri Oct 17 08:36:21 PDT 2014

Oh man. This was *real* danger. But I was a superhero! It was time to
find out what I could *really* do!

I was still holding the shiny silver umbrella, so I pointed it at the
rocket. Think protect. Protect, protect, protect! Protect, protect,

A silver light whooshed out. In my mind, I saw the top of the mountain,
now open to the sky. I covered the mountain in silver light, protecting
everything, leaving a hole at the top.

The rocket engine burst into full flame, lifting up on a thick cloud of
smoke. Thundering noise filled the cave. I couldn't see anything with my
eyes, but I felt it push against the light of my umbrella, then lift up
and off into the sky.

I let the silver light float away into the sunlight, taking the gross
and probably poisonous smoke along with it. Finally, I relaxed. Man, I
was tired. Superheroing takes a lot out of you!

I turned around and saw all of the dinosaurs staring at me. Oh! "Uh,
hi!" I gave them a li'l wave. "So... those guys kinda tried to kill us,
I think."

One of them stepped to the front. This one's armor was still gold, but
had... maybe emeralds? on the elbows and knees, and black goggles tied
onto their head with a strip of cloth. "I am Peacelord Lungripper Smith.
I think we have many things to talk about."

Smith? "Nice to meet you, Mister Smith!" I stuck my hand out.

Peacelord Lungripper Smith sniffed politely at it. "Actually, I'm

"Oh! Um, sorry." I curled the hand up next to my bow. "Me too. Heh. Um!
...talking is good!"

All of us headed back down to the shiny lab area. I followed Miss...
Mrs... I followed Peacelord Smith through a door that slid open and
closed behind us.

She sat on a sort of long bench that fit her legs and tail perfectly.
Looking around, there was another one across from it, but I just decided
to sit cross-legged on the floor.

"Well then," she said.

"Right!" I said. "Where should I start? Because I know what's going on
with me, but..."

"Let's start with a simple question: where are we?" She sniffed and
ducked her head to rub her nostrils with a claw. "The air is thin, and
colder than I expected. Rather comfortable, actually."

"Um... about the same place, I think? Unless you were under a different

She kept her head against her wing for a moment, then looked up at me.
"The mountain is worn, and green. The Artifact..." She looked at my
locket. "We threw it where none could retrieve it - in an orbit that
would not decay for millions of years. And you..."

"Yeah, um... the thing is, you're a dinosaur. Aaaaand as far as I know,
the dinosaurs kind of... died out? Sixty-five million years ago?" I
tried to give her that bright smile, but it kinda didn't want to come

"...oh, thank goodness." Her feathers ruffled and she relaxed.

"Wow, that's a lot better than I thought you were gonna take that!" said

"My people are not dead. But if the Million-Year Empire had had their
way, they would be much worse than dead."

I hmmm'ed. I leaned back on my hands, getting comfortable, and said,
"Okay, ma'am, you'd better tell me the full story!"

She dipped her head to the side, goggles sliding to the left. Was that a
smile? I decided it was! "Would that my own students were as attentive
as you. My history is stale, but let me see..."

"We are... were..." She tapped her talons on the floor. "It is difficult
to give a context. If what you say is true, then to you, I come from an
alien world. But you are a creature of civilization, and so am I. It
will have to be enough, for now."

"To begin with, my people were strong and weak. We built great
structures, made great discoveries, did great deeds. But we were
divided. There were..." Her hand clenched, grasping for words. "Tell me,
have you had false leaders? Those who say, 'Those ones over there, they
are not true people, they will only hurt you', while plotting to slice
your belly open?"

"Oh, yeah - racism and Hitler and stuff," I nodded.

"Excellent - well, no, not excellent, but it is good that you
understand. Such a person, then, led a group that would eventually
become the Million-Year Empire."

"That's a super evil name, all right." I glanced at the door. "So that
was those guys in the black armor, who tried to...?"

"Indeed," said Peacelord Smith. "And their leader. We tried to strip her
of her power by taking her name, but her followers gave her a title -
the Mentor."

"Oh, man, but she was a really terrible mentor, right? Like if you're
assigned a fifth-grader who's your study buddy but then they spend the
entire period texting behind a magazine. The teachers can see it!
Nobody's fooled, dude!"

"...yes, she was a terrible mentor. And if she had continued to amass
political power, it would have been bad enough... but she gained a much
greater power. The Artifact."

I put my hand over my locket. "This thing..." I looked up at her, and
tilted my head. "What the heck is it?" Yeah, I know, no swearing, but!
Important stuff!

"In all honesty - we don't know. To be sure, we know its effects, but
not its history, nor its composition. But it is old - much, much older
than we are - and it was not created by any Earthly hand."

Old before humans, but *way* older than that. Old before birds, old
before cats, old before flowers... The room felt strange and cold and
big. I shook my head. Important stuff. "So what are its effects?"

"It turns you inside out."

I was quiet for a moment, then I looked down at my dress. "Aren't there
supposed to be, like, intestines and stuff?"

She made a mildly distressed clicking noise. "No, no! It brings out your
selfness - the things that are inside yourself come out into the
physical world."

"Oh! Like, your heart and your soul and stuff!"


So if it had turned me into a superhero magical girl, did that mean I
was a hero on the inside, or had I just watched too much TV? "Oh, but
jeez, I bet the Mentor's heart and soul was *messed up*."

Her nostrils flared. "Just so. For her, the Artifact's greatest power
was the ability to *stop* - to freeze people and things, fixing them in
stasis until she freed them."

"So the Million-Year Empire was going to be her freezing things for a
million years?"

"Indeed. She planned to freeze the world entire, and then pick and
choose her slaves from the unmoving cities." She ruffled her feathers
and looked into the distance. "I do not know how she planned to rule for
a million years. Perhaps she thought the Artifact would bring her
immortality. She may have been right, at that."

"Creepy! But how'd all of you end up in a mountain?"

She bounced back and forth a bit, something I recognized as the dinosaur
equivalent of laughter. (I still hadn't asked how I understood what she
was saying! IMPORTANT STUFF!) "Patience, dear. We will get there." She
straightened up, smoothing out her feathers and extending her tail.
"After the Mentor froze the great capital of our civilization, no one
could ignore her desire for power. The greatest fighters and planners
and thinkers from the four corners of the Earth were brought together as
the Defenders of the Future."

"And you're the leader! Right?" I bounced up and down.

"I am." She tilted her head in a smile. "And I lead my people against
her. At first, she had the advantage, freezing more cities, recruiting
more servants, but we discovered her weaknesses and those of her army.
We drove her back, but we could not find her base, though we searched
the world for it."

"Oh, but they had a rocket! Was it a space base?"

Her eyelids drooped half-closed. "Two years for us to figure it out, and
you got it in two seconds."

"Heehee!" I grinned. "Don't worry, I'm the best in my class at quizzes
and stuff."

"Well, that is something. Yes, it was an orbiting station, and we found
it just in time. Her engineers had been working on a device that would
allow her to freeze all of civilization in a single, dreadful blow. Our
spy in the Empire managed to abscond with it, back to our base. As you
can see, they were followed - but we had a last, desperate plan."

"Oh my gosh what *was* it!?" I was squirming in anticipation!

"To steal the Artifact."

"Aaaaah! That's so COOL!" I stood up because I was so excited. "But what

"We set up a great battle to distract the bulk of her forces, and let
her know exactly where we had hidden the device. It was a trap, of
course. I was there, and at the critical moment, I was able to put my
claw on the Artifact. But..."

"But?" I bounced on the balls of my feet.

"We had a great battle of will - hers versus mine. I was not able to
stop her-- but nor could she stop me. The world was frozen, but its
people were saved - moved two seconds outside the normal flow of time. I
wished the Artifact away, sent it into orbit 'round the planet. And then
we were frozen as well."

I clapped my hands! "Wow! You saved the world!"

She tilted her head, but her smile was sad. "Yes..."

I was about to ask why when there was a big WHUMM! through the floor.
She raced out of the room, pulling down her goggles, and I was right
behind her.

"Status!" she shouted to the first dinosaur she came to.

It - she? he? I still wasn't sure - was the same one with blue feathers
from before. I thought, anyway. "It's the Negatronic War Machine! They
must have reactivated it on their way out, or something!"

"The Negatronic War Machine!?" I was floating a foot off the floor.
"That's the second-best name I've heard all day!"

"Yes, and-- wait, so what's the best name?"

"Dynamite Radicrystal!" I turned to Peacelord Smith and explained,
"That's what I've been calling The Artifact in my head."

"Okay. Coordinator Bluefeather," (oh, that was convenient) "we need to
shut it down before it can get into the base."

"Ooh! I can help!"

"Wait, you need to know how it--"

But I was already flying through the twisty corridors and out of the
mountain. I got to a little meadow just outside the forest and I gasped!
There, right before my eyes, was the only thing that could make today
any more awesome - A REALLY COOL GIANT ROBOT.

It was all black and spiky like the Million-Year Empire's armor, and
shaped sort of like a tyrannosaurus. It was stomping around and roaring,
with glowing red eyes that were looking *right at me* as I flew closer
and closer!

It had steaming breath and a big crystal in its chest and it was big and
tough and it was JUST SO COOL THAT--

And then it fell over. Just, kind of rattled and went kersplut.

I slowed down and landed in front of it. "Huh." Go me?

I turned around and it turned out there were a bunch of dinosaurs behind
me, carrying big lasers and stuff. Peacelord Smith and Coordinator
Bluefeather were out in front, but all of them were staring at me and
the robot.

"Hey guys! I think the robot was broken." I kind of poked it with my
umbrella. (Did you forget I was carrying that? Me too!)

Bluefeather stepped forward. "No... the Negatronic War Machine is nearly
unbreakable. The most powerful engine of destruction known to
civilization, fueled by negative emotion, running on the fear it causes
in any unlucky enough to have to fight one. The only tactic that works
is to remain calm and wear it down, but..."

"Oh, that makes sense. I wasn't afraid at all! Actually, this has been a
really fun day!" I spun around in midair!

"You..." Bluefeather looked up, completely baffled. "You *enthused* it
to death!"

"Yeah, guess so!" I floated down next to Peacelord Smith. "But ma'am...
I should probably give you the Artifact back. I mean, probably it's not
a good idea to keep it with someone who thinks that fighting giant
robots is the coolest thing ever, right?"

"I see now... you're a child of your race, aren't you?"

"Well, uh, yeah." I scratched the back of my head. "Pretty much just an
enthusiastic kid."

"Then..." She looked around, at the Defenders of the Future gathered
around her. "I know the courage of myself and my people. Brave souls,
good, and strong. But I cannot say for certain that any of us would have
the depth of character needed to remain uncorrupted by the sheer power
of the Artifact."

She looked at me. "But in the hands of one who leaps to help, who sees a
machine of death and thinks only of joy, of one whose first initiative,
when she sees a fight, is to bring peace..." She tilted her head. "I
cannot think of a better place."

"Oh! Well uh." I blushed. Jeez, talk about your compliments! "Well
thanks! I mean, if you need it, or anything, just give me a call!"

"That we will do, enthusiastic kid."

That gave me an idea! An idea for a superhero name! "Actually, call me -
Kid Enthusiastic!"

"As you like!"

And then I gave her my cell phone and showed her how to make a call and
told her I'd be back with books on what the world was like now. And I
asked if they had food, and they said they did, and it turned out they
had a sort of Star Trek-ish food machine. Also, I asked how I could
understand them, and she said she didn't know but it probably had to do
with the Artifact.

And then I went home!

Good thing, too, because it was almost time for dinner. I flew to the
end of the street and hid in the bushes, and after a couple minutes
figured out how to un-transform. And then I walked home.

"Hey, dad! Hey, mom! Hey, Abby!"

"Hi, Jackie! Make sure to wash your hands!"

"Hokay!" I did that thing. We were having barbecue seitan sandwiches
with sweet potato fries. Have I mentioned my parents are big ol'
hippies? Because they are, and it's pretty great. (Of course, I've never
had parents that aren't hippies. Maybe that's even better?)

"So did you hear?" asked Dad. "We've got our own volcano! Apparently,
one of the mountains to the east let off some smoke today."

"That's pretty cool!" I laughed. Then I realized, oh, that was probably
the rocket! I wondered if anyone realized. Was there some kind of
government space radar that could see it?

"Interesting," said Mom. "I didn't think the Appalachians had any
seismic activity."

"Well, it's probably not actually a volcano," said Dad. "Maybe it was a
pocket of trapped gas, or a geyser."

My little sister swallowed and said, "Maybe it was an ancient monster
who was trapped in the mountain breaking out!"

"Oh Abby! That's completely impossible right!" I giggled nervously.
Actually, I'm not sure why I was keeping it a secret. Too much TV? I
dunno. Are you supposed to trust your family with stuff like this?

"I believe that five impossible things are before breakfast!" said Abby.

"Well, it's dinner now, so don't worry about it," said Mom.

And then we all chowed down.

After dinner, I went up to my room, and I thought. The Artifact - the
Dynamite Radicrystal, she said I could keep it so I was keeping that
name - if it had fallen out of orbit, why wasn't it going faster? Why
didn't it burn with the heat of reentry, or the cold of space?

Dinosaurs... I'd been thinking about dinosaurs, and then dinosaurs

I remembered the guy who had shown up. He said that the world would be
open... open to things that had already been there, part of the world
that we just couldn't see? Or to... new things?

I needed to talk to someone about this. I made a decision!

I opened up the laptop I got "for school" and started writing. I wrote
down everything that had happened after I headed home - the weird
feeling, the time-travel guy, the crystal, the superpowers, the
dinosaurs, and the giant robot. Even the most ridiculous, unbelievable
parts! The most factual facts I could think of! Then I put it all in an
email and typed in the addresses of the four people in the world I
wanted to talk to the most! Maya! Colin! Destiny! Elijah!

Then I took a deep breath and looked around. No time-travelling creepy
guys. But opening the box had been easy - spilling my guts was making me
way more nervous. What if my best friends didn't believe me? What if
they thought I had been stupid? Getting in fights and opening strange
boxes! It was risky! What if they thought my costume was dumb!?

But! I trusted them! They were my best friends for a reason, and that
reason was *awesome*!

I hit send! ...and then fell backwards onto the bed. "Haha, whee~" Well,
they probably weren't going to get back to me tonight, so--

Ping! went the laptop. T'was an instant message from Destiny! "THAT'S SO
COOL!" in all caps! AWESOME!

I went to type in a reply, but before my fingers could hit the keys,
another window popped up! It was Elijah, saying "What? Really?
Seriously? Wow!"

And then Maya said "Holy crap, girl! You're awesome!"

And then Colin said "That's amazing! What were the dinosaurs like?"

And I was FILLED WITH HAPPINESS. No matter what happened, no matter how
weird things got, my friends were going to be by my side.

My life was radical.

Author's Notes: And that's wraps!

As you can probably tell, the different dinosaur factions were inspired by 
Transformers (with Bluefeather and his unnamed counterpart especially being 
Cheetor and Dinobot). There's also a significant hint of the Silurians from 
Doctor Who, with the paleontological problems fixed. Doctor Who also 
influenced Kid Enthusiastic's costume - it was strongly influenced by the 
Sixth Doctor's coat of many colors. And she also takes influence from Sailor 
Moon, as well as Captain Marvel and the many, many transforming kid heroes.

And remember, you can buy the story with INCREDIBLY WONDERFUL COVER over 
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/this-is-where-you-start or 
or https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id914705668 !

Eventually, I'm going to come out with collected versions that'll be available 
in paperback (I already have a cover!), but that's several stories away. I 
also plan to open up the universe for others to write in, but first, I'm going 
to come out with a sourcebook that'll open things up a bit!

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, lots of plans.

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