JE: The Hermetic Garbage of Jenny Everywhere Act III, part II
mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 6 10:09:57 PST 2022
[Note: in the version of this story posted on Tumblr, there were a
couple of font tricks I can't really replicate in this version. The
Archondroids used monospace font, while Glendalf's spell was written in
Lucille and colored pink.]
Beneath the sign adorned by a heraldic image of (naturally) a red lion,
she saw another that said: GOOD LODGING FOR TRAVELERS. "I... think I
remember this now," she said.
"I think I might too," said Glendalf. "Shall we go?"
"Sounds good to me," said Jenny, and opened the door.
She was struck by the smell of delicious food, the sound of laughter and
arguments. The place was a true dive, but it had life and joy in it that
immediately lifted their weary spirits.
There were many inns and restaurants that called themselves the Red
Lion, but there was only one true Red Lion Inn. The Red Lion Inn was one
of the great disreputable interstitial bars and taverns of the
hypercosmos, shifting its location across time and space to avoid the
attention of the powers that be such as ARCHONET. A maze of hidden
tunnels and exits in the basement led to many dimensions. Here came
heroes seeking quests, criminals on the run from the law, queer people
seeking hookups, and anyone looking for a place to stay. The Bartender
had set the rule that anyone could stay at the Inn for free as long as
they needed, and in return she could call in one favor from them at any
time in their life.
The bouncer, was an enormous alligator-man who wore sunglasses, jeans
and a pink crop-topped tshirt of a simply drawn Sanrio alligator with
"BIG CHALLENGES" written on it. "Jenny!" he shouted. "What brings ya
around these parts?" He spoke in a wildly exaggerated, cartoonish
old-timey Brooklyn accent.
"Just the usual, Lockjaw. Got caught up in an Adventure and now I could
use a break." The alligator-man ushered them into the bar and Jenny
staggered in bar, supporting Glendalf on her shoulder. They took a seat
before the bar.
Looking around the bar, she saw a huge variety of people--cyborg
soldiers and supermen, elves and orcs, witches and detectives, gods and
demons, and some who just looked like regular people and may even have been.
She saw Anansi chatting up Osiris in the corner. Tieresias was having an
elaborate discussion about magic and transness with Morgan Le Fay. The
Whore of Babylon was advertising her services to Irene Adler. Achilles
was having an arm-wrestling match with Gilgamesh, and Loki was taking bets.
"Y'know," said a husky voice from beside Jenny, "I heard Achilles was
getting into pro wrestling. But he quit."
"Why?" said Jenny.
"Because they wanted him to do a heel turn."
"Ow!" said Jenny. "Why are you like this?"
"You've made worse puns, believe me," said the Bartender.
Jenny looked up and met the blue eyes of the woman with glossy auburn
hair, who stood tall in a plaid shirt and jeans. Her biceps were adorned
with tattoos of the various divine and demonic powers she'd made pacts with.
"Hi, Mary," said Jenny.
"Hiya, Jenny. So are you just stopping in to stop in or are you looking
"Well first of all," said Jenny, "I'll have a raspberry beer, and a
mimosa for my friend here." She indicated Glendalf, slumped on the bar
and resting his chin on his hands.
"Looks like he's already three sheets to the wind," said the Bartender.
"Things are bad out there."
"They sure are. Does he have a problem?"
"The Wild Hunt's on his tail."
"Shit," said the Bartender. "He shouldn't be here. He's a marked man.
Nothing I can do for him. Your man's a Jonah."
"Well, I'm not staying here without him," said Jenny. She crossed her arms.
The Bartender looked him over carefully as she mixed the drinks. She
could no longer tranform or take the power of the gods, but she still
had the Wisdom of Solomon.
"I can't help him," she said. "But maybe someone else here can."
Amid all the different patrons of the bar, Jenny saw a figure sitting at
a table alone, hunched down and staring into her drink.
"Be careful around that one," said the Bartender. "She's trouble. Got
into a fight with Skadi last week. It was ugly. Damn near wrecked the
"I know her," said Jenny.
The woman was tall, muscular, her majestic silver hair raked up into an
enormous ponytail. As was so often the case, she wore an outfit that
left little to the imagination, in this case cut-off jean shorts and a
ripped t-shirt that just said "TRANS RAGE." On her forehead she bore a
tattoo of a red star. Even here and now, she radiated strength and
power. She was beautiful in the way a mountain was beautiful.
She was Octobriana.
Octobriana. Sometimes known as Nadezhda Pacenikov, the Spirit of the
October Revolution, hero of the Soviet Union. Some said she came from an
utopian Communist civilization in the far future to help guide us there.
Some said was the daughter of a family of godlike beings that ruled an
ancient empire, but was cast out when she turned against them and slew
her own kin. Some said she was manifested psychically from the will of
the proletariat itself. All these things were probably true somewhere.
Exiled from the country she loved when the reigns of power changed
hands, she wandered the world fighting oppressors and exploiters of all
kinds, the anti-James Bond. Some called her a terrorist. Some called her
a liberator. Jenny called her a friend.
Jenny sat down on the table by Octobriana, who didn't notice at first.
She slouched down with her elbow on the table and rested her face on her
palm. "Hi Nadia," she said. There were few who had earned the right to
call her that name.
Octobriana blinked, slowly surfacing from the deep sea she had been lost
in. "...Jenny?" she said.
"Yep! That sure is me."
"I... God, I thought I'd never see you again." Octobriana's eyes were
filled with longing and loneliness. "This doesn't feel real, seeing you
again," she said. "Nothing feels real anymore. Sometimes I fear I am
still in the Tower of Zirma, tormented by visions of what was and what
can never be."
"Well, it's real, and I'm here." Jenny smiled at her. She reached out to
touch her hand, but Octobriana quickly pulled it back.
"Octobriana! Fancy meeting you here," said Glendalf, restored by the
revivifying influence of the mimosa. He pulled up a chair beside them.
"Glendalf? You're here too?" said Octobriana. "Now there's another face
I never expected to see again."
"I have a way of cropping up where I'm never expected, you know," said
Glendalf. Octobriana laughed a little bit, and seemed more at ease; that
was such a characteristic thing for him to say that he had to be real.
Jenny, Glendalf and Octobriana had once been teammates in the League of
Liberation, a branch of the Sixth International. A secret organization
that battled evil and oppression all over the world. It had been formed
to fight the Sixth Column, a cult that worshipped the fascist space god
Stardust the Super-Wizard. The League of Liberation was the Sixth
International's frontline cadre of seasoned adventurers and
super-champions: the Magician from Mars, Butterfly, Ace Harlem,
Trashman, Madam Fatal and many more. Throughout the 1960s, the Sixth
International had grown in power and strength, but by the end of the
1970s it was all but gone. Occasional attempts to start a Seventh
International had largely gone nowhere.
"It's good we found you," said Glendalf. "You see, Jenny and I both need
"I hope you're not trying to drag me off on some adventure," said
Octobriana. "I told you, I'm done with that."
"OK," said Jenny. "Do you just want to sit here, stare into your drink
and do nothing for the rest of your life?"
"Yes," said Octobriana.
Jenny sighed. "Look. I know that--I know things are hard, with the way
it all ended. I know we all blamed ourselves for, that, and it's hard to
"Trashman," said Glendalf.
They all looked at each other and said nothing. "He was a deeply
frustrating man," said Glendalf after a while. "It was a shame a man
with so much leather had to be so desperately heterosexual. And yet--"
"Sometimes I still have dreams about his death."
In 1968, the team had finally defeated Stardust the Super-Wizard, but
Trashman had lost his life in the battle. He'd been hard to work with
sometimes, and Jenny, Glendalf and Octobriana had all frequently gotten
into arguments with him. But he'd been the true believer in the Sixth
International's cause. When he'd died, it was the beginning of the end.
Without his motivating energy, and with the original enemy the team was
formed to fight now gone, they'd lost their sense of purpose and drifted
apart, going the way of the Companions of the Black Star before them.
"I remember," said Octobriana. "And that's exactly why I don't want to
make that mistake again. Whatever you need, I can't help you."
"Look, the Wild Hunt's on Glendalf's tail," said Jenny. "You're the only
one who can stop them. The Wonder Machine--"
"The Wonder Machine is broken. No one knows how to repair it."
"The Magician from Mars does."
"And no one knows where they are. They left without telling us anything.
No one's heard from them in decades."
"I can find them," said Jenny. "I really can. Just give me a bit. And
then, I can fix the Wonder Machine and find the Legendary Time Crystal
and save the hypercosmos from collapsing..."
"The legendary what now?" said Octobriana.
"Ah, that was something that was supposed to be important earlier that I
kind of forgot about," said Jenny. "But I think I need it, and if we
have the Wonder Machine and the Magician we can find it. So how about that?"
Octobriana shook her head.
"Look," said Jenny, "we can't undo Trashman's death. But we can make up
for it by making sure we don't lose another comrade from the old days.
How about that?"
Octobriana looked deep into her eyes and pondered. She was about to
speak. But at that moment, the choice was taken out of her hands.
The music stopped. The motorik beat of Hawkwind's Space Ritual, which
had been chugging along in the background, came to a halt. A cold
"Shit," said the voice of Tieresias from nearby. "The cops are here." At
this, everyone stood up as one and mobbed their way to the back of the
bar, heading to the entrance to the tunnels.
"I see," said Octobriana. She stood up, proud and tall. "Then I will
"No," said the Bartender. She'd strode from behind the bar as soon as
she could, no doubt familiar with the kind of trouble Octobriana could
create. "They're Archondroids. Even you'd never be able to take them. I
can't shift the inn in time--you have to head to the tunnels"
Jenny's face flushed with rage and guilt. She'd have to have words with
her mother if she ever got back to Redoubt.
"I can, and I will," said Octobriana, clenching her fists and her jaw.
"No, you don't understand," said the Bartender. "It's not like it used
to be. In the old days if they caught us they'd just shake us down, take
the fine and arrest a few of us. It's been different ever since the
Collapse. Now, ARCHONET really wants us gone."
"If they want me, they can have me," said Octobriana, "and we'll see
who's left standing."
"Let me handle this," said Glendalf. "In the words of the immortal
Hollywood Montrose, there's two things I love to do: fight and kiss
boys. But this isn't the time for either of them." His staff glowed with
a bright pink light. [Sleep], he recited.
Octobriana's eyes snapped shut and she fell on the floor. Glendalf put
his arms around her and tried to pull her up, but she was quite heavy
and a full head taller than him. "Ah," he said. "I should have thought
"Let me handle this," said Jenny. "We used to do this all the time when
we went out drinking." She put Octobriana's other arm on her shoulder
and lifted her off the floor.
But it was too late. She heard a harsh, mechanical voice ringing out:
YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR EXACERBATING THE DISRUPTION OF AN UNSTABLE
STATE OF SPACETIME. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE.
The gleaming Archondroids burst through the door, scattering splinters
of wood before them. Flanking them were power-armored human soldiers,
jackbooted nobodies hopped up on borrowed power. Typical fascists. They
had a sickly eager gleam in their eyes. The people still left in the
bar, even the gods, mages and myths, were frozen in fear. So, too, was
Jenny, pulled back from the desire for heroism and adventure that had
been slowly rising within her into the helplessness of the convenience
So this was it, thought Jenny. Her quest had come to an end. The best
she could hope for was to get her mother to bail her out, and maybe
Glendalf and Octobriana too. She'd never be able to find the Legendary
Time Crystal, never be able to save Glendalf from the Wild Hunt--
"Wait. Hold on," whispered Jenny. "If we've got two different implacable
forces of destruction on our heels, then maybe--"
"Maybe we can use them against each other," said Glendalf. "Capital idea!"
Jenny put her fingers to her lips and whistled on a frequency only those
of Faerie could hear. She heard the roar of the Wild Hunt in the distance.
The Archondroids stopped their implacable march and turned their heads
around. Some of the power-armored soldiers whipped around and pointed
their guns there, while others kept their eyes on the bar or swayed back
The Riders of the Wild Hunt burst into the room, shattering what was
left of the wall. They cackled and chittered to themselves. EMERGENCY,
EMERGENCY shouted the Archondroids. The Riders struck them, and a battle
began, the walls of the bar flashing with the cold light of the
Archondroids' energy blasts and the flickering hot light of the burning
And Jenny and Glendalf, holding Octobriana as best they could, staggered
to the entrance to the tunnels.
END OF ACT III
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