8FOLD: Darkhorse # 9, "Make It Magnificent"

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 23:03:47 PDT 2016

On 7/3/2016 9:31 AM, Tom Russell wrote:
> Melody Mapp was fourteen and dying when her mother gave up her own
> life to give her six more years. Since that day, Melody has used this
> borrowed time, and the super-speed that came with it, to protect the
> Earth and make a difference.
>    She's out of time.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! oh god oh god what's gonna happen ;.; Are we gonna get the 
terribly bittersweet and sad ending where she comes to terms with it, are we 
gonna get a reveal that all the good she did is going to save her in the end, 
are we gonna get an ambiguous ending, maybe something cosmic that ties in with 
the end of last issue... aaaaaa @.@

>    "Hi," says a quiet little muffled voice she'd recognize anywhere.
>    "Bethany?"
>    Knockout Mouse gives her a hug, careful not to crush Cal.
>    "But you were in space!"
>    "I came back," says Bethany. "You're one of my best friends. I'm
> not going to let you face this alone."

awwwwwwwwww JEEZ

> Too fast, maybe, because in her hurry, she ran, almost
> instinctually, to the wrong home. Not to her apartment, but to her
> mother's house in Atlanta.
>    She considers making a dash for her apartment, anything to get away
> from this empty dark house. But she stops herself, because for some
> reason she can't quite articulate, it feels right to be here. For the
> first time since her Aunt Dani died, it feels right.

awwwwwwwwwwh ;.;

>    "You can talk." Melody sits down on the sofa. The lights are off--
> she hasn't paid the utilities in months-- and it puts a strain on her
> eyes to stare into the brown-gray darkness of the early morning. And
> so she closes her eyes.


>    "Two more minutes," agrees Melody. She takes a deep breath. "I feel
> like I should be doing something, you know? Two whole minutes, that's
> enough time to help someone. Help one more person, you know?"
>    "I think you've done enough."


>    "You're a local instance in my headset. Do you go somewhere eventually?"
>    "Oh, that. I've already begun re-assimilating with the others.
> They're all downloading my files, I'm downloading all of theirs. Once
> we're all identical, certain instances will delete themselves. Since
> I'm specific to your headset, it's likely I'll elect to delete myself
> when the transfer is complete."

*squirrels this info away while being sad*

>    "Medusa?"
>    "Yes?"
>    "Could you not share this? These two minutes, can you keep that between us?"
>    "Of course."

awwwwwwwww ;.;

>    "I think I'd like to be alone now."
>    "I understand. Would you like to listen to some music?"
>    "Yeah. Yeah, that'd be nice."
>    "What would you like to listen to?"
>    "I can't pick anything right now. Could you?"
>    "Of course. It's been a pleasure working with you, Melody Mapp."
>    "You too."

oh nooooooooooo ;;;;;;;;;_;;;;;;;;;

>    Melody lies down on her side, curling her legs up and tucking one
> hand underneath her head. With her free hand she wipes her face and
> nose clean. She takes another deep breath, and then finds herself
> quietly mouthing the words.
>    She's surprised, then, when the song ends; the song's a lot longer
> than two minutes, and she had less than that left. She opens her eyes
> and sits up to look at her watch. Three minutes past ten o'clock.

...aaaa :D

>    She should be dead by now. Or dying, at any rate, her entire body
> going into one last seizure that lasts an eternity. She pokes at her
> watch, and the instant that she does, there's a distinct CLICK from
> within its gears. In the blink of an eye-- a blink even by Melody's
> thousand-frames-per-second standards-- the watch collapses and
> dissolves on itself, and then disappears into thin air.

...aaaaaaaaaa :D

>    This, of course, is more than a little terrifying. That feeling
> subsides as Melody stares at her wrist, which bears the impression of
> the watch she's worn for the last six years. It's sore now, like the
> watch had always been too tight, but she had never noticed it until it
> was gone. She rubs her aching wrist. She rubs it at super-speed.
>    She's alive, and she has her powers. What the heck?

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa! :D :D :D :D

> It doesn't take long for the news to spread, and it takes even less
> time for Kate and Bethany to muscle Melody into meeting them that
> evening.

eeeeeeeeeeeee <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

>    "Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but any idea why you're,
> um, not dead?"
>    "Really tactful, Kate," says Bethany.
>    "It's a legitimate question."


>    "I spent a few hours with the Doctors Fay today," says Melody. "I
> was exposed to really high doses of unidentified radiation on one of
> the parallels. As near as the Fays can tell, it acted like a
> hyper-aggressive dose of chemotherapy, killing off my disease. My
> metabolism is so fast from having super-speed for the last six years
> that it didn't kill me.

Ah! It was the second one! :D

>    "Sorry," says Kate, shaking her head. "It's like there's something
> in my head rattling around. Something to do with mancers." She turns
> to Melody. "You mentioned it, and it started to jog something, but now
> it's gone. I went after the vertigo guy, and apparently he did a
> number on me. I can't remember any of it. And yet I think there's
> something important rattling around in the old noggin, I just can't
> reach it.

Yes yes yes--

  After everything settles down, I'm going to talk to
> Rainshade to see if she can try and unlock it."

nooooo ;-;

>    "You mean, am I okay after being disembodied for four months? It
> was rough there at first, but once I started doing something useful, I
> kinda forgot about myself."
>    "Yeah," says Melody, "I know the feeling."

sweeties. ;-;vvv

> Everything's been kinda focused and counting down to
> today, and so I have zero plans for tomorrow and everything after it.
> But, I know that I love what I'm doing. I'm going to keep doing it."

Aw. :D

> I don't have any family left. I can't have children."
>    "Well, you could adopt," says Bethany.
>    "I know of at least two I could loan you," says Kate.


>    "Speak for yourself, ancient one," says Kate.
>    "You're like two years younger than me."
>    "You're both super-old, okay?" says Melody, grinning.
>    "You're just super-young," says Kate gently. "I remember when I was twenty."
>    "Ah, yes," says Bethany. "The days of papyrus."


>    "All I'm saying I guess is that my priorities when I was your age,
> and my priorities now, they're different. Ten years is a long time.
> Things change. People change. And down the road you might feel
> differently."

I mean, always true. But people take wildly different paths, and one person's 
evolution is never another's. <3

>    "Well, I need a new name, anyway," says Kate. "I have no idea what
> to call myself yet, but anything has to be better than the Inch."
>    "Please tell me she's really using that," says Melody.
>    "Oh, yes," says Kate. "Cal Morgan, the Mighty Inch. Thank you for
> that one, Melody."

:D :D :D

>    "I mean it," Kate says quietly. "Thank you for saving me. And for
> bringing Cal home."

awwwwww. <3

>    "I am sorry it wasn't sooner."
>    "Medusa told me how Cal gave it up," says Kate. "That's a hard
> thing to do. But she did it. To be really honest? It's not something I
> thought she'd be capable of doing."
>    "She's really a good kid," says Melody. "She's just got a lot of
> things she's working through."

YEAH. <3 <3 <3

>    "I'm proud of her, of what she did. I hate to say it, but maybe for
> the first time in my life, I'm proud of her. And I have you to thank
> for that."
>    "No," says Melody. "No, don't thank me for that. That's her. You
> gotta thank her for that. And you have to talk to her. She needs
> someone to talk to."

Yeah! <3 <3 <3

>    "What, Simon?" says Bethany. "Your brother, Simon? Melody has a
> crush on Simon?"
>    "No," says Melody. Then, blushing and shrugging: "I think he has a
> crush on me, though."
>    "Oh, he's had one for a long time," says Kate. "And I'm pretty sure
> it's mutual. Melody just doesn't know it yet."


>    "He breathes through his nose, right?"
>    "Yeah. That's generally how it works. Why?"
>    "Because his mouth is going to be occupied in my land down under."
>    "Oh, gross," says Kate. "You made it gross. I don't want to hear that."

XD XD XD oh my god

>    Melody shoots Bethany a look, then smiles. "Speaking of crushes."
>    "Yeah," says Kate, "how was your romantic space-adventure with
> Julie Ann Justice?"
>    "Oh my God, I hate you both forever," says Bethany.


>    "Did you get a lot of allies for us against the Pulse?"
>    "One," says Bethany. "They're kind of... evil? They're definitely
> bad guys. Like, clearly and blatantly bad guys. They're the ones that
> destroyed Julie Ann's home planet."
>    "Oh, this is promising."
>    "But, bright side, they hate the Pulse," says Bethany.

I mean. At least she's going into this with eyes wide open.

>    "The Pulse was just looking for an excuse to declare war on us,"
> says Bethany. "They want Earth because of the easy access it gives
> them to the multiverse. They want to conquer parallel universes. They
> want to conquer all the parallel universes, to control every living
> thing on every plane of existence. Which, um, is a big deal,
> obviously."


>    "They want to conquer the other earths," says Melody.
>    Bethany nods. "You think that would get the whole universe on our
> side, but no one really cares what happens to some other universe.
> They just want to stay on the Pulse's good side in ours."
>    "They want to conquer the other earths," says Melody again.


:D!!! NICE

>    Riding on the ant is the fast human who had muscled in on the
> chicken bounty. On the other side of the ant, there is a mechanical
> man with a lance riding a giant lobster. On the other side of him,
> there is a tyrannosaurus rex in a three-piece suit; a centaur with an
> automatic bow; a fluther of airborne neon jellyfish; and a hipster
> gorilla in a trilby.

:D :D :D

>    "The multiverse needs you," she says. Then, "I know you don't come cheap."
>    She tosses a large bag to the ground. Bunny gnaws it open with her
> teeth, and thousands upon thousands of tabs come pouring out.
>    "That's the first installment. Will you stand with us?"
>    Bunny nods.

HELL YEAH. :D :D :D That's fascinating, I didn't expect a *triumphant* ending, 
nor one that tied into the larger Pulse War storyline.

I enjoyed this a lot. It's another one of your stories that's very much about 
character interiority even as big whizz-pow cosmic events happen around said 
characters. Which, y'know, that's just my jam. <3

Drew "slangslangslang" Perron

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