Triassic Invasion – Chapter 8, Period 6 (Period-a-Day)

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Period 6

Colonel Herreas stomped his feet over to face the person who entered the tent. “Can this wait General Dracorex?” he asked.

Nyansa and Alkeria bowed to the general. Herreas kept his arms crossed. Dracorex walked in further. A group of soldiers tried to peak in but got rejected when the tent flapped close. “Colonel Herreas,” he stated, “it’s good to see you? How is your mission going?” He raised a clawed hand. “Don’t tell me, I know the truth. You and your regiment have gone from one of our most successful dimensional outposts to bottom rung.” He stepped up to Herreas. He was markedly shorter than the colonel in size and stature. “My person on the inside has been keeping me updated on all the goings-on.”

Herreas huffed in Dracex’s face. 

Dracorex clicked his tongue. “Is that any way to speak to your superior officer,” he held up a glass vile full of a green liquid surrounded in a bone casing, “who comes bearing presents for our next generation; and you if you’re lucky.” 

“I’ve had enough of your science messing with my team. Eorapst entered our ranks with your word, and he turned out to be incompetent.”

Nyansa rose and quickly stepped between his two superiors. “Now, now, let’s hear him out.”

“You’re stalling, Nyansa,” Herreas said. 

“What is it that you brought us?” Nyansa asked Dracorex. 

Dracorex sloshed the green fluid back and forth in the vile. He walked over to the vat of eggs, unscrewed the cap, then poured four doses in. They fizzled on contact. “This will give us the ability to see as you see, and track location and evolution.” He poured a half dose into the lid and stuck it out to Herreas. Nyansa took it and downed it immediately. He shivered a little. He poured a similar amount and gave each dose to the lieutenants. They all shivered. Dracorex gave the last dose to Herreas. Herreas took the dose then smashed the lid in his palm. 

“If you are quite done, Nyansa, go!” Herreas pointed toward the tent flap. “Take a few men with you.” He looked at Dracorex. “Now you go as well. I do not need the help from a General like yourself.” He walked up to the general and huffed in his face a second time. “So, you make sure the final plans are in place after I kill this world’s hero and make it our new home.” 

Dracorex said nothing. He raised and looked in the vile. A final mini dose sat at the bottom. He put it to Herrera’s face. “Why don’t you drink this little bit. Without the cap it’ll be Hell to transport.” Herreas swipes the vile and downed it. Dracorex took out a mirror on a stand. He tapped the mirror. He got a full face of himself. He showed it to Herreas. “Swipe to change the view you want to see, tap twice to turn off.”

Alkeria squeezed between the two and stole a look into the mirror. “You are like the human iPhone creator.”

“Tell this Mr. Phone creator he has much to learn.”

“I think he’s dead now,” Nyansa said

“Those humans will wish they were so lucky to be dead before we put our plans into motion,” Dracorex said.

“Go!!” Colonel Herreas commanded.

Nyansa scurried out.

Is HBOs Watchmen Really THAT Good?

I’m kind of obsessed with Watchmen. Not in the normal way people are, thinking it’s a great book and all. Instead I see it as one of the most interesting case studies in telling a story over different mediums (I had this whole comparison on the book and movie idea that I never carried through with but sounds good).

In addition to how the story is told, the idea of continuing the narrative has also been a big idea with DC tasking Geoff Johns to try and wring out a good idea to mixed results from what I understand. Meanwhile Damon Lindelof of all people tackled it as a TV show to critical acclaim, but is it actually good?

The easy answer is kind of (I mean it’s super lucky this show came out last year. If it came out this year it would be more thruoughly critiqued). The more complicated answer is the rest of this post.

To start, the plot’s start is similar to the original graphic novel. Someone in a mask is killed by someone else in a mask. Through that event more information about how the world has changed in the 30 years since the inter dimensional squid destroyed New York. Such as Robert Redford being president, Silk Spectre being an FBI agent, and Rorschach’s vissage being used as the new version of a red-pill, alt-right, KKK group called the Kalvary. Of course there is more going on than it appears as Detective Angela Abar, code name Sister Night, is wrapped up in a conspiracy that goes back to the original Minutemen.

The first three episodes and finale do really feel as good as it could be. Focusing on a single city with small ties to the outside world is great (I still wonder what’s going on but the comic didn’t really do that, and if no one complains about that in Hunger Games which is way worse about that then it must be fine). It finds a way to really center the story on hot button issues through in universe means really well. The epitome of this is the fact cops must wear masks, have cover jobs, and never tell their families what they really do. They have the trappings of superheroes. Combine that with the 7th Kalvary, the white supremacists, and their home of Nixonville. They too wear the symbol of a hero but decide to use that to instill fear. It’s solid stuff and feels like it’s on the pulse in a natural way. The problem is that the story supports the other side.

It breaks down when comparing to the real world context, especially now. I understand that their world had a giant, 100 foot naked blue man sized difference, but the history of the police, and racial injustice doesn’t track. So, to break down how the poor white people become the target of police harassment… It’s easy to assume that in Tulsa, where the show takes place, everything was the same, in this case, racist/racially biased policing against African Americans, until Robert Redford passes the act that gives African American reperations for what happened to them. This causes racist white people to take offense to that. All of this leads to the Kalvary being formed. From that they attack all the police who protect the black people as a ploy by a senator to give the police masks for some reason in order to get into the White House. In the fallout the police get masks, and the poor whites are forced seemingly into the Nixonville trailer park. Coming out of that is the plot of this show. When the new Kalvary kills a cop the police round up the whole community in search of those breadcrumbs. They are being oppressed in the same way as African Americans are in our world. Now, this gets complicated as you add in the restriction on handguns, the fact the chief who is murdered is, in fact, a member of the Kalvary (I think. It’s not clear. He’s clearly a fan of the Klan and doesn’t actively stop the Kalvary when he could, making him culpable at the very least). This makes it seem orchestrated that they’re oppressed, but they are and the normal Joe wouldn’t know that. It doesn’t help that the show doesn’t give us information on that part of the world.

Instead, the show decides to shift focus to being more character centered with stories that flesh out the narrative in the periphery. A whole episode focusing on one of the Tulsa cops, a look at the history of Hooded Justice, the first hero, Dr Manhattan, and more all work in context of their episodes, but feel incredibly obvious where they all go. The episode on Hooded Justice in particular felt excruciating to watch because I could see immediately where it was all going and wanted it to get there. That’s not bad. It’s being true to the story, but being so narrative-savvy makes it feel worse than it actually is. However, the real problem this does is kill the pacing of the show. The first three episodes have a strong clip to them. They establish and get story done so efficiently that it feels like the show stalls out after that point only to finally pick up at the end.

The ending is honestly quite good. It feels like a full culmination of everything it was building up in the background into a conclusion. It does make, not changes but, adjustments on who the real villain is that might work on rewatch, but feels very abrupt in the moment, then backfilled to make sense.

The show does that a lot. It backfills constantly. It shows scenes, then shows them in a new context with new information to have everything make sense. This is different than “clever.” “Clever,” is closer to when a story is trying too hard to make a plot complicated. It adds loops for the sake of it (like how the whole boat episode of Dracula is setup as a chess match in the characters mind, and the room she’s in, in the chess match is the number of the room her body is in). It could be argued the show does this. Instead it feels like the writers knew all along what was going on, or had it work out that way really well, that they set stuff up and paid it off. However, the intermediary sections do feel like they’re trying to be too smart for no reason, as Damon Lindelof is wont to do from time to time.

In the end it does not make any of this show bad. It is good by any conventional standards. It just loses a lot of steam, and holds stuff back from the audience for the sake of a reveal when knowing that information earlier would make more scenes interesting in the immediate.

Now here is the obligatory bashing on the name of the show. Watchmen is a terrible name because it’s not an adaption of the book (thank god). It’s a sequel. Doomsday Clock, for all its problems at least has the name of a sequel. Calling this just Watchmen feels off. To be fair if it had a subtitle people would think it was a sequel to the Zack Snyder film (possibly), but it’s immediately not that and having any kind of subtitle or colon would help distinguish this when searching online at least. At worst it’s needlessly confusing like Halloween (I mean which one did I just mention?).

This show looks at the comic so hard and wanted to honestly build off of such depressing dreck to find an honestly heart full story. That is impressive. It’s also sad that they chose not (or were not given the option) to make it 12 episodes to match the 12 issue run of the comic. The show loligags around already, adding three episodes would not be the worst. It could split the story better into episodes that can be focused just on the characters and not worry about the plot, and have episodes where it can do a whole lot of investigating and world building. This too is not a problem. It is just incredibly odd that they did 9 episodes considering the comic was 12.

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Triassic Invasion- Chapter 8, Period 5 (Period-a-Day)

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Period 5

Kyane leaned her head against the cold hospital wall, Desmond stood next to her. They crossed their arms and scowled at each other in unison. Kyane opened her mouth to say something, until a doctor rushed by with two nurses pushing a bed with a patient in it. They barked orders at each other to try and save the patient. The ordeal was underscored by the consistent beeping of a heart monitor.

 The group passed, and a sense of calm followed behind them. Every problem after a person clinging to life is meaningless. They could argue, bicker, and glare until the world ended, which was closer than Kyane wanted to admit, but it would mean less than doctors and nurses scrambling to save the patient’s life. 

“I’m sorry. This is all my fault,” Kyane said. She waited for Desmond to say something. He didn’t. “Not gonna make me feel better at all?” She chuckled at her own bad joke. 

“No, you’re right. It kind of is,” he said. He leaned and looked at her. Her hair shined in the overblow light, making her shine more. He smiled. She looked at him, he quickly tried to change his expression but was a bit too slow. “But I didn’t really help at all.” 

Kyane snickered. “No, you didn’t.” She turned and looked at him. His brown eyes glowed in a way she thought looked like the top of freshly cooked brownies, or chocolate frosting or syrup perfectly layered on a dessert in some baking show. “Though I deserved it.” Desmond’s phone buzzed. He checked it. “Another call you’re gonna blow off?” 

Desmond laughed. His teeth were perfectly straight and white. “No, it’s a text from Harry.” 

“What ahh… what did he say?” She leaned to sneak a peek at his phone. 

Desmond rubbed the top of his shaved head. “He’s askin’ if I found a date for our Baseball Formal?”

“Have you?” Kyane asked. “Or was that the date I avoided going on?”

“No. I mean yes, but no.”

Kyane leaned in further. “Did he send a picture of this mystery girl you’re taking?” 

“I didn’t say yes yet, but…” Desmond raised his phone to show a light-skinned girl with an afro. 

“She looks pretty enough for you.”

“Not the problem,” Desmond said. He turned his phone back on himself. “I ahh… I kind of… may have… no, totally slept with her friend.” Kyane punched him in the arm. “Oww!” He rubbed the arm. “That actually hurt. Like geez.”

“I work out.” Kyane pulled her sleeve up and flexed her bicep. “My grandfather is a karate sensei and he moved in and is teaching me some stuff.”

“Very cool,” Desmond said. He ogled her arm as she recovered her arm. “But… ahh, yeah. So, I don’t wanna go with her.”

“Right, right,” Kyane said. She knocked the heel of her boot against the wall. “Who do you want to go with then?”

“I mean you’re okay.”

“Just okay?”

“You are pretty absent and a jerk a lot too. Those are some massive strikes.”

“What does it drop my like score to?”

“From a ten to an eight.”

“You’re desperate. There is no way I’m a ten, or an eight. I’m like a six at best.”

“Okay you’re a four then since you’re still a jerk before, and suck at texting back.”

Kyane raises her punching hand up. “Take that back! That makes me a five at least.”

“Okay, okay!” Desmond raised his arms. “We’ll split the difference and say you’re like a seven.”

Kyane laughed. “You’re like real pushy, and stuff for a dude. Most guys are like aloof and try to be all distant and cool and stuff.”

“I’m distant and cool and stuff. I also was taught that if you want something you should do everything to get it.”

“Get it? Yeowch, that sounds gross.”

“Not like it, it, but like, do my best to get something I want.” Kyane did not seem to like that phrasing either. She scowled and cocked her eyebrow up. “Look, I like you and just want to hang out with you.”

“Even after the giant jerk I was before?’

“Yes, even after all that.”

Kyane laughed. “If I’m like a seven with being a jerk and all previous whatever you said, what does a girl have to do to be a three and below?”

Desmond looked up at the lights. He tapped the back of his head on the wall. “Not go out on a date with me even though they said yes before-ow!” He felt the solid thump of Kyane’s fist against his bicep. 

Kyane moved in front of him, crossed her arms, and blocked him from going. “Fine! We will go out this tomorrow! That’s Saturday. We can go to the mall and whatever date stuff you had planned. There, happy?”

He tried to hide his smile. “Okay you were right, you are like a 6 at best.” He shot his hands up. “Joking! Joking!” he said. “That sounds great. Just don’t make it sound like a chore or something. Not making me feel great already.”

“I mean it’ll make my parents think I’m like a normal person, and not like a bed burrito in training or something.”

Desmond smirked. “You’re like a natural at this sweet talk thing. You’re almost there.” He put his thumb and forefinger two or three inches apart, he couldn’t tell. “This close,” he said. 

Kyane smiled at him. “I’ll make probably make it there on the actual date then.”

Desmond returned the smile. “I can’t wait.”

Pokémon Kanto Week: Kanto Games Reviewed

In finishing my review for the Pokémon DLC “Isle of Armor”, I found that what better a way than to review the rest of the main series games! Now it would be quite a long challenge to go through and review each individual game, especially since most of the ones from the same generation are pretty much the same game. With that in mind, I am going to be focusing on each individual region for my game reviews. I will also be focusing on one region each week with various posts that are all connected to that specific region. In this case and for week 1, I will of course be reviewing the Kanto region games, giving my opinion and overall thoughts of all of the games released for this region from Pokémon Red to the Let’s Go games. I will not be reviewing the Kanto region that we see in the Johto games, that portion will be thoroughly reviewed next week when I cover Johto. Now let’s carry on to the original games released in North America, Red and Blue.

Red and Blue and Yellow

Thankfully I was born in the 90’s and lucky enough to have an older brother that wanted a Gameboy Color. I can’t exactly remember if I asked for the game or if he already had it, but I remember starting my Pokémon game journey off with Pokémon Red version. The reason I liked Red so much over Blue was simply the fact that I thought Charizard was much cooler than Blastoise. I still feel the same today (sorry Blastoise). I didn’t think much of it at the time, but one issue I have with these original games is that there really isn’t much difference between these two games unlike in all of the others where you get a version exclusive legendary. There is of course a Green version with Venusaur that was not released in North America, but again it wouldn’t have mattered all that much.

I did go back to looking into some of the version exclusive Pokemon since I couldn’t exactly remember what they were and haven’t played the games in a while, but even with the exclusives I still stand with my choice of picking Red over Blue. The biggest standouts for exclusive to only Red are Growlithe/Arcanine, Scyther and Electabuzz. This was a time though when they were just finding their footing as far as how to actually make each game unique while also having them be very similar.

I have seen several videos on the glitches or just general issues that these games had like how the psychic typing was very overpowered and overall stats issues, but personally I just don’t get into all of that. I have always been the type of player for these games where I just casually enjoy the journey and challenge of beating the champion tow in the game. I don’t do any competitive battling so I just take the games as their put in front of me and these first games really set the stage for what would become my love for the series as a whole. It is simple enough to get into for the younger age while also still being challenging and enjoyable for the older fans like myself. I think the simplicity is rather refreshing when going back to play after being used to the newer games like Let’s Go or Sword and Shield.

It’s hard to narrow down the best parts of these games because it all just works so well. I have some very fond memories of playing Red over and over and over again, not getting enough of it until generation II was finally released. I think some of my most fond memories were that of going in the Safari Zone and trying to catch all of the Pokémon in their which at times was more challenging than catching the legendary Pokémon like Mewtwo. I think the story works well without being too complicated and also has my favorite villain in Giovanni. It also has the best rival with Blue, but these original games as I said, really set the stage for what the series would become and cemented my love for the series as well as many others. Heck, not even the graphics are enough to deter me away from going back and playing it again.

I’ll touch on Yellow real quick since it’s not entirely different from Red and Blue. The biggest difference being that it seemed to fall more in line with the anime where they start you off with a Pikachu rather than allowing you to choose between the three you normally got to choose from. You do however will have an opportunity to accept each of the three starters later on in the game in the same way Ash does in the anime. It was cool to see slight updates to the game from the previous ones and for them to give us an entirely new journey while also staying very close to what we had before. It was all familiar, but giving us a different journey. You also got to have Pikachu follow you and show its emotion which was a nice change that even now we as fans want more of and are starting to get with Pokémon following us again in the Isle of Armor.

Fire Red and Leaf Green

The release of the first remakes in the series being Fire Red and Leaf Green was also the first time that I was getting to play through the Kanto region with my very own copy that I got for Christmas. Did I “accidentally” find the game hidden somewhere in my house before Christmas? Maybe. Was I extremely excited when I got to open it on Christmas day? Hell Yes. Not only did I get this game, but I also upgraded from a Gameboy Advance to a Gameboy Advance SP, the blue version. It is probably one of my most memorable moments in my Pokémon Game playing career and I will always remember it.

I was just coming off of playing Pokémon Sapphire and couldn’t have been happier to relive the memories I had of playing Pokémon Red with the updated graphics that we had for the Hoenn games. There really isn’t too much to say about these remakes that really changed my overall opinions from the original games. If I was more concerned about the stats or typing issues then I would say that these games are soooo much better, but I never worried that much about those issues so they were a bit of a non-factor. The updated graphics were definitely a plus for these games along with the addition of the post-game story. We got to visit the Sevii Islands along with being able to interact with both Johto and Hoenn Pokémon, so another plus is the expanded Pokedex this time around.  

Really I just don’t see any negatives for these games at all. Any negatives that I see for Fire Red and Leaf Green would be just personal negatives like version exclusive issues. It’s a personal negative though because every game has version exclusives and I don’t see that ever changing. It just made it hard though because most of my friends also got Fire Red so I didn’t know anyone that could get those version exclusives from Leaf Green to trade with. Another issue I have that I didn’t bring up in the original games was the inclusion of trade evolutions. I understand the thought process of wanting players to connect with each other to evolve these Pokémon like Kadabra and Machoke, but I just hated that it was the only way of evolving them. Overall though, I really do love Fire Red and Leaf Green and see them as the ultimate perfect Kanto game that we have had.

Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee

Finally, we get to the more recent release and latest remake of Red and Blue being Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee which now that I think about it are actually a remake of Pokémon Yellow. Now I didn’t actually play both, but I did end up getting Let’s Go Pikachu. I’m not actually sure if I am in the minority of my mixed feelings about this game compared to the previous ones. On one hand, it’s the first main series game on the Nintendo Switch which is a far superior console than the 3DS so of course overall it was going to look better visually along with the mechanics being heightened. While I was expecting these games to feel like a true updated version of Yellow or Fire Red, it was actually disappointing to see that the focus was more towards the younger kids.

I know that all of the Pokémon games in general are kids games, but these especially felt more kid like and I wasn’t a huge fan. The catching mechanic was also changed in a way that was closer to that of the mobile game Pokémon Go and less like the traditional way. I am not a fan of this at all and felt that typical style of catching Pokémon being a major miss for this game. The other big issue is that they replace the rival Blue with Trace who just doesn’t compare to Blue at all. Outside of these issues though, the games really do hold up as good updates on the Kanto region, but tend to feel a little too easy and not challenging enough for myself.

On the other hand though, this was technically in generation VII so we got the inclusion of mega evolution, Alola forms, and the introduction of Meltan if you had Pokémon Go on your phone. Unfortunatley though, even with this game being in generation VII and having hundreds of new Pokémon available, it limits you to only Kanto Pokémon outside of Meltan and the Alola forms. There were some cool new mechanics like riding Pokémon or even having a Co-op mode,  but they felt more gimmicky than actually useful. There also wasn’t any kind of post-game which in this modern age of coming as far as we have in the Pokémon games, makes this game feel somewhat hollow and incomplete. Overall, I am just mixed about how I feel about these games when they could have done the remakes justice and fell more in line with Sword and Shield. Because of the decisions they made, Let’s Go stands as being my least favorite of the Kanto games.


To wrap up my overall opinions of the Kanto games, I just want to reiterate that I love the Kanto region for all of my fond memories. These games set up what we have come to know and love for the series as a whole and have gone through changes from Red to Fire Red to Let’s Go. Fire Red stands as being my favorite of the three different generation versions, but all of them have aspects that someone will like or dislike. These aren’t my favorite games in the whole series, but they will probably stay in my mind as being the most cemented in my memory.

Looking towards the future though I think it would be great for a future game, maybe Sword and Shield, to use the Kanto region as a DLC of some kind to allow us to travel and explore the region with the graphics introduced in Sword and Shield. I would love to see the region to come back in play in the future, but it needs to be paired up with something else. A “Let’s Go Johto” or a remake again of Gold and Silver would bring us back to Kanto and that would also be ideal, but I feel that where we are right now with Pokémon games, the Kanto region as we see it in Red, or Let’s Go Pikachu is just too simplistic to stand as its own remake and I think it’s very evident in Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu.

That does bring to a close my overall thoughts of the Kanto games that have been released thus far and also kicks off Kanto week where I go in depth with various things relating to the Kanto region. There are a lot of great things to look forward to like my team that I typically use and even my ranking of favorite and least favorite Pokémon among other things so stay tuned!

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Triassic Invasion – Chapter 8, Period 4 (Period-a-Day)

(If any of our fans would like to draw a better logo we would be happy to accept fan art or pay!

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Period 4

Colonel Herreas sat in his tent with legs and arms crossed. His lieutenants sat facing him, except for Nyansa, who leaned against a bone pillar. Herreas huffed. His hot air blew the dirt around his bedding. He tapped his bicep impatiently. “For someone as weak as this Deious human, he has been able to take out too many of our men with ease.”

“Indeed,” agreed Nyansa.

“If it weren’t for that damn barrier stress I would go over again and finish what I started by taking his corpse, ripping it to pieces, and using the bones as toothpicks after eating the torso.” 

The lieutenants said nothing. A raptor ran into the tent. “Colonel, Colonel,” he said. Nyansa moved to meet him. 

“There is no need to talk to him,” Nyansa said. “I’m your commanding officer.”

The raptor saluted. “Sir!” he said. “I would like a request to evolve to a new stage, sir!”

“Why is that?” Nyansa asked. He slithered his tail with intrigue. Herreas looked on with an unamused stare. “Did you kill the Deious?”

“No sir,” the raptor said. 

Nyansa turned back to the colonel. “Leave us then and go form a new party to send and kill him,” he said. 

“But sir,” the raptor added, “I have reinforced our portal to send a lieutenant and kill him.”

Nyansa turned back around. “You feel it should be you then.” 

The raptor nodded. 

“Have you fought Deious before?” Nyansa asked. 

The raptor nodded again. 

“But you have returned, and Deious is not dead,” Nyansa said. He approached the raptor. He hunched forward and scanned the raptor. “This means you either ran away, or was defeated and tossed back, not granted the release of death.” 

The raptor swallowed, hard. 

Nyansa stepped behind the raptor so the young soldier could see the people he wanted to join with his evolution. “You want to join us but have not done anything worth such accomplishment.” Nyansa began massaging the raptor. His hands moved up the raptors back and toward the shoulders. “Thank you for such valuable information.” He moved toward the neck. “But we do not need your services anymore.” He graves the head and twists it around, quickly. A snap was followed by death. 

“Very interesting,” Herreas said. “Who should go take care of this problem then?” He rose and stomped over to the corpse. He raised it and chucked it into the vat of eggs. It disintegrated and dissolved into the eggs. “Maybe we should fight for the chance.”

“That doesn’t seem like a good idea,” Nyansa said. “We shouldn’t do that.”

“Why not?” Alkeria asked.

“Deious is killing our kind and dwindling our numbers. Taking our own strongest out seems like crippling ourselves.”

“Good point,” Herreas said. “You will go then.” Herreas places his hand on Nyansa’s shoulder. 

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m more brains than brawn.”

“I’ll go,” Alkeria said, followed by a raised arm. Orange fur ran up his arms. 

Herreas shook his head. “You have sat back, given orders, and failed multiple times.” His hand moved from shoulder to neck. “Think of it as paying the price for your failures.” He squeezed Nyansa’s neck. 

Nyansa began to cough and wheeze heavily. “Sir!” Herreas dropped him to the ground. 

“You will leave soon,” Herreas said. 

“You should wait,” a voice from the front of the tent said. Herreas looked and saw a homo-ischian with an armored cranium with spikes along the forehead, going to the back. He wore a long robe, with his tail dragging out of the back

Triassic Invasion – Chapter 8, Period 3 (Period-a-Day)

(If any of our fans would like to draw a better logo we would be happy to accept fan art or pay!

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Period 3

The moon was high in the sky and cast a long shadow over Shaotoro’s face. “Why did you give her the night off?” Jerry jabbed his finger in Shaotoro’s face. Shaotoro just stared blankly back. He hesitated in slapping his desk. His displeasure still resonated around the office.

Shaotoro waited a moment. “She’s a teenager,” he said.

“I know that, but she’s also the only way to stop the UDCs from taking over our world.” Jerry walked over to his wall of memories and examined each photo. 

“You can sign up for the army at 18 here,” Shaotoro said. “She’s not that old. She shouldn’t be doing this, but she wants to.” He paused. “And, like you said, she is the only one who can do it.”

He turned back toward Shaotoro. “Then why did you give her a break?” he asked more calmly. 

“You were a soldier,” Shaotoro said. He pointed to the wall of photos. “You messed around, relaxed, and took breaks all the time. Even while on deployment.”

Jerry looked at a picture of his old army friends. His hair was not so gray, and his skin was much tanner. He sat at the far side of a card table. Two more guys sat on the other side. They were smiling. They were indeed happy and taking a break. “Yes, but we had other people to do our job while we weren’t.”

“I’ll do it then. If I’m training my granddaughter, I might as well see what she is up against.” He stood up, straightened himself up, then said, “Besides, she deserves the same relaxation.”

Kyane rocketed out of the seat. The back knocked against the wall behind her. “What did you say?” she asked. 

“I asked what took you so long to get here,” Desmond said. “What are you doing that is more important than seeing an injured friend?” 

“I know what you said! I got here as soon as I could. We don’t all have the luxury of doing whatever we want whenever.” 

“Ah huh. Sure” Desmond said. His phone rang. He ignored it for the third time. 

“I do care!” Kyane said. “More than you’d probably know.”

“What?” Desmond said. He moved from his stoic crossed arms to Jamie’s bedside, inches from Kyane’s face. “What does that mean? 

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Jamie said. “She’s here and that’s all that matters.” 

“I mean god forbid you give something up for someone else! You haven’t cared about us at all!” Desmond said. “You flaked out on our extra-curricular, you were distant after those things attacked up, and you’re distant now.”

“Just ‘cause I’m busy doesn’t mean I don’t care or don’t want to do something.”

Desmond’s phone rang again. He ignored it and stuffed it back in his pocket. He didn’t respond for a second. 

“Who keeps calling?” Jamie asked.

“Huh?” Kyane asked

“I assumed it was Kyane calling you, and you being upset with her, so you refused to answer, but she is here and still the phone has called twice. Who is it?”

“I should be busy too,” Desmond said. “I should be too stuck in my own whatever to be here! But no!” He took out the phone and tossed it onto the bed. “Because of me you’re in this situation.”

“It’s not your fault,” Jamie said 

“Also doesn’t answer who is calling.”

Desmond shot her a look. “It’s my coach! It’s practice. I have skipped practice every day since Jamie was attacked! Okay! Happy!? Harry could cover a little, but I gave something up to see him. Not you!” 

Kyane kept herself from balling her fists and let the anger go through her. “I am doing personal stuff right now.” Her teeth were tightly gritted. “We all like to process stuff differently.”

Jamie stared at his computer screen. The VIN numbers aligned and turned green, until a number didn’t match. The whole number turned red and buzzed. The process repeated. “You’re trying to one-up each other,” he said.

“What?!” the two said in unison.

Jamie cocked his head. “You both are fighting about coming to see me, but you’re trying to outdo each other on how much you care.”

“I’m not that competitive,” Kyane said. “He’s mister hyper-competitive.” She pointed a thumb to Desmond. 

Desmond pivoted his eyebrow. “Ahh, I just like playing, and am good at it.”

“If you like playing, why are you not going to practice?”

“Because I need to be here to see Jamie!” 

“I’m fine,” Jamie said. 

“He seems fine,” Kyane said.

“I am,” Jamie said.

“It doesn’t mean he doesn’t need someone by his side.”

Jamie picked up Desmond’s phone. He weighed the case in his hand and tapped it against the desk in front of his a few times.

“I wanted to be.”

Jamie moved his hand to the side of the bed and clicked the nurse call button along the side. 

“Doesn’t matter what you want, it’s what you do.”

“I can’t tell you what I d-“

Jamie smacked the phone against the table as hard as he could. It came with an echoed thump. “Shut up!” 

They both froze and looked at each other and back at Jamie. The silence was followed by a knock at the door, and the nurse walked in. He was a balding man in his late 40s with a nice watch on his left wrist, and some rubber bands on his right. “Hey, don’t want to disturb you. Okay I kind of do because we have been getting a noise complaint, and it’s time for me to check on the patient. Privacy, and quiet would be helpful.”

“Okay,” Desmond said. He took his phone back. A text message signal lit up. He checked it and put it in his pocket. 

“Fine,” Kyane said. She straightened up and walked to the door. Desmond followed. “I’ll be out here if you need anything.”

“I’ll be out here if you actually want something.”

Jamie waved. “I’ll be fine.”

The Vast of Night is Retro (a Review)

This COVID-19 new normal has really changed up so much. One of those is the increase in on-demand movies. Movies that were supposed to go to theaters but now are streamed to us. This is good for many who never liked going to the theater but I find it difficult to prioritize. This movie is a prime example. I wanted to watch it but it’s hard to make room when I also am watching different shows to also write about. Ether way I finally carved out time now.

This Amazon Prime original movie fashions itself as a 50s era science fiction TV serial episode, a la The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone, and follows a radio DJ, Everett, and high school student Fay on the night of the first high school basketball game of the season in New Mexico. During the radio broadcast Fay hears and strange signal. Using her connections as a switch board operator and Everett’s audience as a night time radio host they piece together the mystery of what’s going on just as strange objects begin to appear in the sky.

The film has a really great sense of style, geography, and snappy character writing. The film feels authentic at many points to its origins as a TV episode of the era but updated in some key ways. One of those being the dialogue. It’s all very snappy, quick, and has a strong rhythm that allows for the characters to feel like they have a strong chemistry and history that extends before the movie begins. It’s also used well to establish who they are as people.

Additionally, the smooth use of tracking shots, pans, stills, subtle use of quick cut editing, and sparce shaky cam gives the movie this strong flow and the town of Cayuga a strong geography. The constant walking allows the audience to create a strong mental map that helps build the scale of the movie out.

The issues this movie has arises from how simple and conversation heavy it is. There are many scenes that are static shots of a character talking, or listening to a story, that as compelling as it might be feels like it is wasting the medium of film. That, on top of the heavy use of sound creates an interesting narrative but is hard to sell when the camera is fixated on a character’s reactions or lack-thereof. None of this is really bad, but feels more like it’s trying to be an old radio serial or podcast.

The one choice that flat out does not work are the random and constant shifts to showing the framing device. The screen will change to look like a 50s era TV monitor for periods of time. It might be trying to reinforce the time period, but it often ends up making the style feel cheap in the high contrast colors.

The ending is also very open and not nearly as character driven as many of the shows they are looking at. Twilight Zone in particular was usually more about a character’s reaction to the scenario they found themselves in and the effects of that on them as a person over just weird events that happen to them. This makes it feel off, but doesn’t take away from how compelling the mystery was before that.

There was a hot minute there when Cloverfield was going to be the answer to creating a label for low budget, high quality written, science fiction stories. Then it ended up that only one of those films was actually good and quickly evaporated (remember that one they just pooped onto Netflix years ago?). However this film and its framing device as being part of Paradox Theater could be the new answer to that idea. This film has the chops to start it off as a pretty good, if rough first attempt. Thank goodness the acting, set design, and style help save the weak writing in places.

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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Triassic Invasion – Chapter 8, Period 2 (Period-a-Day)

(If any of our fans would like to draw a better logo we would be happy to accept fan art or pay!

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

If you enjoyed this: like, comment, and follow us here, and on Facebook & Twitter at Tower City Media! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Tower City Media and Submit to the suggestion box:!)

Period 2

Jamie clicked the remote by his hospital bed. He rose the back of the bed into a relaxed sitting position. He removed his dinner tray from his bed and traded it for the laptop Desmond brought in. “You don’t have to do this,” he said. He laid the laptop on the desk and powered it on. 

Desmond took the rocking chair next to Jamie. The room was larger than Jamie’s bedroom, with a bathroom along the far wall, mounted TV across from the bed, and large windows looking out on the street below. Desmond picked up the spoon and scooped pudding out of the small plastic cup it came in. “Nah man,” he said with the glob of food in his mouth “I’m addicted to this place’s dessert.” He scooped out another spoonful. “Plus, I need to get the DL on everything you learned while on the other side now that the green team is gone. How is your story holding up?” His phone rang. He checked it and ignored it. 

Jamie checked his laptop for any damages. “I mean the military I assume knows the truth since I was saved by them, but my parents and nurses, and I assume everyone at school thinks it was a mugging that went bad.” He paused. “Plus, I just don’t want you to get all harangued for seeing me instead of the team.” He grabbed his phone that was left by his bedside when he woke up and plugged it into the computer.  

“That’s what I told everyone. Having Harry know the truth and stuff helped give me some truth to what I said. And I wouldn’t worry too much about that, they won’t mess with me!” Desmond said confidently. “Is that what harangued means?”

“Sure, close.” Jamie nodded toward the laptop. Desmond walked the chair over. Jamie pulled up a video of Dieous hopping into the back of the black van. 

“So Dieous does work with the military!” Desmond said. He tapped the cup onto the desk dramatically. 

“We already knew that. I think.” Throbbing pain took over, making him rub his head. “I can’t. Too much to remember much. It would help if Harry was here.” 

“It’s all good dude,” Desmond said. “He’s busy covering for us anyway so that works. Did you get any more info on who the plate belongs to in the military or government or whatever?”

Jamie tapped on the keyboard. A white square highlighted over a box and zoomed in to reveal the VIN number. “I just need to run this,” he said. He copied the number and put it onto a webpage, hit the search button, then leaned back. “It’ll be a while.”

“I have time,” Desmond said. He put the pudding down and went for the leftover rice and veggies on Jamie’s dinner plate. “I already worked out.” His phone rang again. He quickly checked it and ignored it.

The sounds of city nightlife invaded the room with honking, sirens, and yelling. 

“Thanks,” Jamie said after the sirens passed. “You’re a good friend if… I… -If you can call me that anyway.” 

Desmond leaned over and tapped his shoulder. He shook his hand out after and went back to shoveling rice into his mouth. “We are. More than Kyane, anyway.” He took out his phone and checked the messages from her again for what felt like the millionth time since he asked her out. 

Jamie scanned Desmond’s face. “Why are you interested in her?” he asked. “Most people ignore me, so I ignore them.” He paused and watched the progress bar increase. “She was nice to me once. That was good.”

“I just like her, dude. She’s like really cute,” Desmond said without thinking. An infectious smile spread across his face. “Her voice is soothing and is also really sassy and not in the way the cheerleaders are.”

Jamie shrugged. “If you say so,” he said. 

“Cheerleaders are more stuck up. Well some of them are, most maybe. Anyway, they are like stuck up, she’s the opposite. She’s like a hard-edged, with a heart inside.” 

“She’s like a Cadbury Creme Egg,” Jamie said. 

“I guess. Or well I thought she did. She has been like totally MIA.” He checked his phone again, and regretted it so went back to eating. 

“We did-Did-All see-all see some stuff. She’s just differ-different.”

“I guess. But being with people helps and stuff. Going solo doesn’t.” He looked and saw Jamie looking out the window. “At least when you’re on a team if you lose you lose together and grow.” His words didn’t seem to reach. He scrapped the last of the rice out of the bowl and dropped it back on the plate. “I’m hungry. Can we call the nurse and get more desert?”  

They laughed. 

There was a knock on the door. “What’s so funny?” the familiar female voice asked. The two looked to see Kyane standing in the doorway. She wore a pink sweater, with black jeans, boots, and her hair down except for two strands braided around her cranium. 

“What are you doing here?” Desmond asked. 

“Take a seat,” Jamie said. “I think Desmond would give up his.” 

Desmond shook his head at Jamie subtly, then reluctantly relinquished his seat. They sidestepped each other. Desmond treasured the moment her perfume tickling his nostrils. Kyane sat down, then placed her hand over Jamie’s hand. “How are you feeling? I heard you were mugged or something.”

“I got beat up and almost killed and made it out alive. Not many people can say that.”

Kyane gave a knowing laugh. “You’re right on that one. How did you get out of that situation? Did they just leave you?’

“I wouldn’t ask that,” Desmond said. His arms were crossed, and he leaned against the window. The city’s neon lights streaked across his face. 

“Why not?!”  Kyane asked. She turned to Jamie. “Why not?” 

“I don’t remember all that much.” He rubbed his head again. “I got attacked by a big guy in a suit, like the one who attacked the school, passed over, got hit with some weird gas and was out of it after that.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Kyane said. She moved her hand over his arm and ran her fingers through his hair. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

Desmond snickered. “You glad? Yeah right. That’s why it took you three days to come visit him!” His voice was slathered in sarcasm. “What was so important that you couldn’t come to see him the second you could?”

5 Ways to Improve Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of those shows that feels like the perfect conflagration elined into a giant bolt of lightning in a bottle that not even its sequel series could recapture. That makes the news of another live action retelling feel odd. It’s impossible to improve on a show that is just so tight and strong.

But, if it must be done then let’s brainstorm some ways to make the show better!

1: Expand on why bending developed: The series gives many reasons for how each bending style developed. In a less fantastical show I would call them myths, but as the show is it’s believable that bending came from the moon, or badgers, or dragons (I know Korra expands on this in a different way, ancient spirits and all). That makes sense with the show. What is never explained or expounded upon is why each nation only gets benders related to their nation. Some of it makes evolutionary sense. You live surrounded by water then developing the ability to bend water makes sense. Same if you surrounded by earth. This breaks down with places like the Fire Nation. The First Nation is essentially Japan, an island. Then wouldn’t it make sense they would develop water or earth bending in kind, or considering even less is told about the Air Nomads that breaks down as well. This could all make sense in the fantastical sense of keeping balance with the spirits and nature, but wouldn’t it make sense that bending develops all over to keep nature in an even greater balance.

Hey, did you get that, that was all spectualation? My point. Avatar is praised for its soft magic system, but treating bending like skin pigment or cultural heritage muddies the waters of the point the show is trying to make.

2: Connect more with the past: The Avatar is a spiritual leader that spans hundreds if not thousands of years, going all the way back to the creation of the four nations. It’s an intrinsic part of the show’s history and lore. It’s a shame that the series only ever focuses on the two most previous Avatar’s Kyoshi and Roku. They work fine in execution, but the show is missing out on important history and context.

The show realizes this at the end when Aang talks to past Avatars for advice, but it could have played a role earlier on. It could have been way more impactful if Aang got advice on big moments from past lives throughout the series. Like given the importance of control after seeing his air temple in ruin by a past air bending Avatar, pairing that with Katara calming him down would connect that emotion to his new life thus adding extra weight and history.

In addition, it’s strange that we only see the two temples for the respective Avatars. That too could be expounded on through the fact the Fire Nation destroyed them. This adds a sense of how dire the threat is, and their goals, complete conquest of the world and its history.

3: Dig into the Fire Lord: Out of all the fan favorite characters no one thinks Fire Lord Ozai is one of them. He is literally a glorified boss fight with a good actor propping him up. That has it make perfect sense then to expand on his motivations (hey remember how in Promare the Burnish literally need to burn and grow to survive, that’s a free idea to use). This could be tricky. Out of the myriad of reasons that is the one that sticks out to me is sympathizing a fascist (you don’t want the Thanos problem again).

A solution to that is to pair him against a character everyone loves, his big (in age and gut) brother Iroh. Iroh feels like such a different character and different person than any Fire Nation person encountered. Some of this comes from the loss of his son in war, but he was clearly more open, fun-loving, and free spirited than his brother before then. In retrospect it must feel like a giant missed opportunity that the writers never got to have any conversations between the brothers to set up what the family dynamic was like and possibly even inform why Ozai feels the burning need to finish conquering the world.

4: Setup the Final Choice: One of the biggest cop-outs the show has is how Aang skirts the need to kill the Fire Lord. It is the question Aang spends the most time contemplating, and actually talks to more past lives to do so (already taking one of my suggests), but it’s resolved through magic (yes everything in the show is magic, but specifically magic even in this universe). This ends up making the reveal Aang removing his bending feel cheap. Hence, the easy solution is to make that a power the Avatar already had, but takes more skill, training, spirit, and balance than anything else.

Part of Aang’s whole character arc is finding the balance in himself to help find the balance to save the world. Therefore, shouldn’t his reward for doing that be the ability to do something incredibly difficult? This does not have to be set up from seen one, but fitting into the show as it is now it should be revealed when he talks to the Guru/Swami guy. In that conversation it should come out why Aang holds back and then presented as a solution. It makes both of his arcs clear moving forward, and feels all that more satisfying when he does win.

5: Remember the show was goofy: It’s easy to forget this is a kids show for 10 year olds. It’s got strong action, themes of corruption, fascism, spirituality, tough choices made in wars, and problems with being complacent in life. Those themes are not usually found in children’s shows, but it’s often presented in a shallow way, and wrapped around the fact they have silly animals, broad comedic moments, a sense of wit, and sense of fun and enjoyment in their surroundings.

The point, though I have not seen the live action movie all the way through, all the clips I have seen have been incredibly dower and serious. The show can be that way sometimes, but that is not most of the show. Remember that the episode right before the finale was a fourth wall breaking play about how dumb the series is. Another example is the fan favorite “Tales of Ba Sing Se.” it has incredibly emotional stories of Iroh, but also fun moments like Aang making a giant zoo, or Sokka being secretly amazing at haikus. So, just as the Avatar preaches balance in the elements and society, the show needs a balance of fun and levity in order for the moments of gravity to truly be felt.

The problem with all of these suggestions is in execution. Look at BvS as an example of all the right ideas for a story twisted into the worst possible version of it. A series could make all of these changes, execute them in the worst way and end up making a worse show in comparison. However, these can at least be ideas to be kept in mind when crafting a great version of this experience considering the many creators and writers tried to copy their success with this show and failed to one extent or another.

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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Triassic Invasion – Chapter 8, Period 1 (Period-a-Day)

(If any of our fans would like to draw a better logo we would be happy to accept fan art or pay!

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

If you enjoyed this: like, comment, and follow us here, and on Facebook & Twitter at Tower City Media! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Tower City Media and Submit to the suggestion box:!)

Class 8 – Norian Nocturne

Period 1

Dieous and Shaotoro jumped from tin roof to tin roof through the dilapidated warehouses of Tower City. The environment around them indicated it was a used loading dock. Dieous trailed far behind her master with each successive jump. Kyane’s body felt heavy even in the supported and protected suit of armor. Her breathing was contrite, and her body trembled. 

    Kyane’s mind drifted to coming out of the rubble following Herreas’s total beatdown of her. Once she regained any courage and movement, she used the bracelets and belt to absorb the destroyed suit. It repaired itself over the next few days. She couldn’t talk to D13 during that time. He was hibernating. Hiding. Recovering. She felt alone. 

    “We can stop now, Kyane,” D13 said. “You are pushing yourself too much as it is.” His robotic voice felt more human in that moment than anyone else. She felt like she rediscovered an old scent that sent her back to her childhood. 

    “I can’t stop now. Every one of them that gets through…” her voice evaporated from her and she imagined the cement wall that was the colonel approach and then promptly stomped her into the dirt. “I just can’t let them gain any ground,” she said.

    Shaotoro landed on the roof of a loading dock. He checked his phone and said, “This is the location. Hurry up!” 

Dieous bound over and tore a hole in the roofing. The two crept down onto large girders along the ceiling. Below was an electrical green crack hovering above the ground. Shaotoro sat down on the girder. Dieous knelt and scanned the area. The crack stretched into a portal and three velociraptor UDCs crept slowly out, like molasses. Kyane let out a sigh of relief, and stopped shaking, even though only D13 knew it.

“More raptors,” Dieous mumbled. “How many is that tonight?” 

“Fourteen,” D13 And Shaotoro said in unison. 

“Colonel Brick Wall has been making good on his threat I guess,” Dieous said.

“Indeed,” D13 said. “These three would make 35 since he said it three days ago.”

“I’m surprised it’s not one of his lieutenants,” Shaotoro said. 

“This is weird that you two can hear each other,” Dieous said. “But I guess they can’t because of whatever that raptor Jerry has in custody told him. I don’t know.”

D13 ran through his database and brought up a video from inside the interview room of the raptor chained to the interrogation table while Jerry leaned against the two-way glass. “That kid doesn’t remember much,” Jerry said, “so you better get talking or I’ll make sure you lose all those nice privileges Dieous granted you for helping!” He marched over to the table and struck it with his palms. He straightened up his suit. “So, I’d talk if I were you.”

“Gotta love his people person skills,” Kyane said. 

“I’m sure your scientists got some of it,” the raptor began, “but, our Earth is on a separate plane of existence than yours, like a room split by a wall. We can break down the wall and pass through, but too much passing can damage the wall and collapse it.” 

Jerry took the seat across from the raptor. “I’m surprised you worried about that. I’m sure you would want that to happen. You could all come through at once.” 

“Oh no, no, no,” the raptor said. His tail rapidly ticked back and forth. “It’s not a sledgehammer to a wall. More like an earthquake that both worlds will fall into and get destroyed by the pressure to make them equal.”

Jerry leaned forward, intrigued. “So how do you do it then? Create those portals to go through and not cause total destruction.” 

“I’m not the person who figured it out, but what I do know is that they use our energy to break the wall and sets a power limit. If that limit is stretched too much and too often, like a lieutenant and his twelve soldiers, or our colonel, high-lieutenant, and two humans; the barrier gets too worn down, and…” he made a snapping noise and acted like he broke twigs or pencils or something. 

The video feed cut off. The raptors finished emerging from the portal and examined the room around them. Only stray cardboard and wooden boxes remained from the building’s past life. 

“Did you get that?” D13 asked. 

“Was that play-by-play good grandpa?” Dieous asked.

“I got the main points.” He crossed his legs and arms. “But I would like to see some actual action.” He nodded toward the three UDCs. 

“I’m on it,” Dieous said. He leaped off the girder and slammed onto the concrete floor below. The raptors swiveled their head toward the collision. “Hello fellas, I think comic con is next week.”

“Actually, the Tower City Hero Convention is June 12-14,” D13 said. He flashed a pamphlet of some clip art superheroes around the convention’s logo in the middle of the HUD, blocking a raptor’s charging body. 

“Can’t see, can’t see!” Kyane said. D13 deleted the pamphlet in time for her to get a face full of fangs.

Dieous raised her arms. The raptor’s teeth bit into the black metal and shattered. She grabbed its neck and tossed it at the raptor behind her. Both raptors rolled into a pile of boxes. Dieous spun and kicked the third raptor in the gut, then followed up with a knee to the jaw. The raptor fell to the ground, then destabilized into a green wave. The remaining two raptors charged and dropped her to the ground. 

Dieous tried to stand up, only for the raptors to strike and slash her back, keeping her down. Black metal rained off the back and sprinkled the ground. She balled his fist and jerked her arm backward into one of the raptor’s shins. She heard a crack and a fall. She quickly rose, sending the last raptor flying back. The raptor with the broken shin slashed. Shee avoided the hits, then knocked him on the head with a roundhouse kick. He destabilized like his partner into a green wave. 

Dieous spun around toward the final raptor. It charged at her. “No wonder you’re the foot soldiers.” She sidestepped the raptor, then stuck her foot out. The raptor couldn’t slow down and collided with his foot. The raptor bounced and hobbled for a solid ten seconds only to be chopped to the back of the neck. It collapsed to the floor. 

A text message from Desmond box popped up on the HUD. “Desmond has sent you another text message. Would you like to read it?” D13 asked. 

Dieous dusted herself off. She then grabbed the raptor by its neck and tail, then heaved it back into the portal. “I can’t,” Kyane said. “I’m too busy.” The portal blasted out electricity, squished and sprung out like a rubber ball, then popped back to its normal crack shape. “Tag this one, send the location to Jerry’s team and point me in the next direction.” 

Shaotoro stood up. “Wait,” he said. He blindly jumped off the girder. “Catch me.” He dropped like a rock; his loose clothes flapped on the way down. Dieous shuffles side-to-side with her arms out. Shaotoro fell right into them. Dieous put him down. Shaotoro massaged his back. “Not doing that again.”

“Okay. Well, time to head to the next location,” Dieous said. She walked toward the exit.

“I said to wait,” Shaotoro said.

“What!?” Dieous demanded

“Have you gone to see that friend you rescued yet? Or texted that other friend back?”

“What are you talking about? I’ve been busy,” Dieous said. 

“Ah huh,” Shaotoro said. He ran his fingers through his beard. “D13, how many times has Kyane ignored her friends’ text messages?” 

“21 times as of now,” D13 said.

“Thanks for backing me up, Die. You really know how to look out for your teammate,” Kyane said. 

Shaotoro stepped up to Dieous and rested his hand on his cold metal chest. “I give you the weekend off. Go see them. They are worried,” he said. “Or do I have to beat you up one-handed again?”

Dieous aligned his gems. The gems glowed and flashed a bright blue light. When the light faded Kayne stood in his place in a white tank top, black leggings, and Van sneakers. A thin veil of sweat sat on her body. “I can’t look at them right now,” Kyane said. She couldn’t look at her grandfather either. She settled for the floor. 

“Why can’t you, magosume?” 

“Because I failed them and they hate me and stuff now for totally abandoning them like I did,” Kyane said. She tried to kick the dust around her, but it didn’t work. “It’s better if I just, like, keep my distance for them. They don’t like me. I don’t like them.”

“That’s not true. You would not be doing this if you did not like them, or care about them in some form.”

Kyane didn’t have a response to that. She paced around the empty loading bay. She snapped her fingers. “What about Jerry and his team, and stuff? I’m a military employee. I’m on active duty.”

“Don’t worry about him. I’ll take care of him. You are a teenager and need to do regular teenage activities.” He hugged his granddaughter. “But, maybe take a shower first.”

Kyane backed away and wiped her brow. She looked at her hand. Her face portrayed how nasty she was. “Definitely,” she said.