Conflict

Conflict

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Houses:

Summary

If you were a teenager, what would you do if you were given super powers? Would use them responsibly and only in the service of others? Would you adhere to the strict protocols set out by your superior? Or… would you give that school bully a roundhouse kick to the jaw? Rocky, Nick, Amy, Marcus and Tammy are not ‘teenagers with attitude.’ They’re teenagers with 21st century mentalities. So, while protecting the world from the monster of the week is a top priority, getting that blue tick on their Twitter profiles is an just as pressing matter. Welcome to Conflict, an alternative take on the Power Rangers!
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Summary

If you were a teenager, what would you do if you were given super powers? Would use them responsibly and only in the service of others? Would you adhere to the strict protocols set out by your superior? Or… would you give that school bully a roundhouse kick to the jaw? Rocky, Nick, Amy, Marcus and Tammy are not ‘teenagers with attitude.’ They’re teenagers with 21st century mentalities. So, while protecting the world from the monster of the week is a top priority, getting that blue tick on their Twitter profiles is an just as pressing matter. Welcome to Conflict, an alternative take on the Power Rangers!

Chapter1 (v.1) - Approaching Danger #1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 31, 2017

Reads: 38

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 31, 2017

A A A

A A A

“Is this the real life...? Is this just fantasy....? Caught in a landslide. No escape from reality... Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see –” No, stop, stop. The Bohemian Rhapsody has been overused. I need an untainted, underused set of music notes. I need... Ah... Saint Barlow... Open Road... “My life, (MY life) is extraordinary bare. I fought the fear (I did) and chased the pain.  My life, doesn't need to be explained. I chose to walk the line as one. Sometimes, as I live upon my island. Cut off from emotion and its pain. Ohhhh that's when, I am tempted by the waters. The waters that I can take me far away (Gary, you truly speak to me).  So I'll just keep on walking down this open road. Hoping someone somewhere needs me (we’ll call that a stretch goal). So I'll just keep on walking down this open road. Talking to the man who knows me. Yes he knows me. The man is me.”

“That man is me.”

Contra clutched the back of the human’s neck, the thick gummy meat tickling his newly acquired palm. He took one final look at his fallen foe and tossed the carcass into the dark murky water. Onomatopoeias are a lie. When a splash is made, it does not sound like the word. Smoosh-mash. That’s the sound a skinless body makes when it is thrown into the ocean. Contra poked around his new ear canal. Magnifico.

Since his arrival on the Earth’s surface, Contra had been through a series of revelations. For one, air and it’s many variations, gentle breezes and sharp gusty winds, several scenes from television and movies suddenly making sense. So that’s why a character that exits from the water would have a towel placed around his or her shoulders. And those revelations came in droves. So the sun is truly warm. So the sky really is that far away. So clouds can be quite monstrous. Simply put, Contra was in awe, unable to believe that those images from his screen came from somewhere real, tangible, concrete, able to be touched, smelt, felt. And I thought the jump to HD was life-changing.

For several hours, Contra bobbed his head above the water, gawping at the coast of New York City, at the jealous brood of towers competing to touch the sky, angry motor vehicles demanding and receiving the bulk of the road space, obnoxious flying machines roaring through the sky, and, most marvellous of all, the million-strong cast. People. Perfectly synergized bipedal mammals criss-crossing one another at a blinding pace. They were just dots from Contra’s vantage point, stick-figures, and each of them had a story, a narrative so deep it’d take more than 7 years and a two-year final season to compile a single tale. And they never stopped. No bottle episodes. No commercial breaks. No multi-season commitments. There were no guarantees. The love interest may never become a cast member. Heated rivalries can remain unresolved. Moral ambiguity is the norm. The antagonist in one story might be the hero in another. Contra was raised by order, by conventions, by 13-episodes a season, a high-low-high pace, call backs. This, the human race, was sheer chaos. This was a never-ending game show, 7 billion participants with more entering than leaving, wins, losses and draws calculated by an infinite number of string-thin judges.

“I’m going,” Contra said over the intercom.

“Perhaps we’ll – excuse me?” said Mosaic, Contra’s straight-laced, monotone colleague. “Leave? Truly? I’d hate to call you on a disciplinary charge – unless this is an attempt at humour? If it is, no. No. You failed. Your attempts at humour are feeble and sophomoric. No humorous response.”

“YOLO.”

“Excuse me?”

“YOLO. You only live once. I don’t have much affection for Drake, his sounds lacking emotional substance, most his lyrical content dedicated towards his success –”

“Oh my, your words are spoken without wit! You are truly serious. SC Two, you do know I cannot oversee the Spirits on my own. SC Two, I order you to reconsider. Take your required hours of recuperation and talk to me when you have all your bearings.”  

“– and how pleased he is to have achieved it, but there is wisdom in his acronym. We only have one life and I’m not going to go on living mine without having seen the surface.”

“Excuse me? Are you telling me that you’ve been swayed by... a black wordsmith?” A sigh. “You are truly lost. I see no reason to ask you to reconsider. I will cover for you because I have a high level of intelligence. These circumstances will allow me to show my mettle. I will achieve a high appraisal rating. I will succeed and I will be rewarded with a more prosperous and lucrative position. You will fail and be recycled. You will lose. I am not dismayed by your departure. I look forward to the challenge your departure will present. On a more personal level, I feel you are a disgrace to our race. Your work is routinely inadequate. I look forward to meeting your replacement.”

“This was a courtesy call. I do not want to leave you in the lurches. Though, speaking from the heart muscle, I do not really care about the repercussions.”

“You lowly pond scum. The world will burn and you will dance in its ashes.”

Just as Contra was about to turn the intercom off, Mosaic spoke up, his voice uncharacteristically low, gloomy: “They’ll never let you win.”

Contra watched the Human Race, staying low so he wouldn’t be sighted, still surprised by how much fear there was in his colleague’s voice. If Mosaic were let loose, he’d be able to widen the Grand Canyon, have the pyramids fly (again) and club Seal Team Six to death with a sock. Yet... what defensive strategy is there for shame, guilt, sorrow, sadness, lust, and the last 10 minutes of the rom-com: expressing the Big L? We Skin Changers were built to blend in with the human race; to not fit us with emotion would be like sticking a big red flag into our back muscles. The humans, they have a particular talent for picking out those who don’t belong, and so if we Skin Changers have to feel, the best the overseers could do was train us to bottle in our human selves –  Contra paused, taking in another revelation.  The overseers’ methods were a... recipe for disaster. I am a recipe for disaster...

 

*

 

I could go back, Contra said more than once, and each time the thought became a comfort, he reminded himself what he’d gone through to get to the surface: 8 hours swimming up the ocean, his hooded poncho sodden, little else to do but ruminate on the topic of water. It can be an enemy, it can be a friend. It can be solid, it can be light. It is clean and dirty. It is life, and it is death. It is dull unless it is in the form of small particles which land on the skin of a desirable woman. The ocean is so vastly overrated, a tragedy that the majority of the planet has been swallowed up by this far-reaching mass of useless blue and grey. Oh their gods, how I hate the ocean, the seas, the dullard whales, the simple-minded sharks and those simpletons, the fish. No more. When I stare out my window, I will see Chris and Dave and Josh and Cindy. Real people. Real narratives. Yes. Yes.

In the dead of night, Contra swam to a part of the shoreline that was concealed under a series of wooden platforms, a seafront house placed above. Finally on level ground, Contra was paralyzed by the wonders above, by the masterful human craftsmanship, and below, a brand new discovery: mushy yellow dust that was soft when first made contact with and now hardening under his black scaly feet. Fascinating. Contra took a moment to breathe it all in, to reflect. I have done it. I have made bail on my commitments. I am the protagonist of a John Hughes movie. I am Ferris Wheel . Bueller And like Ferris, Contra had come to New York City, New York State, America, the epicentre of the earth, the 236-season series. The Best of Planet Earth. Mosaic regarded city-state Singapore as the most interesting spot on Earth, frequently boring Contra with the statistics (such low unemployment, immigration used to stimulate growth). Contra didn’t care about the naysayers (the ones called haters). America was where all the noteworthy television shows and movies were made. America was the place where his fantasy – ideal – worlds originated from. So, how could it be just 5% of the world? Contra – who’d confused landmass with population – chose to ignore the numbers, not view the USA as a mere 5%. As far as Contra was concerned, 95% of the world was a DVD extra.

“YOLO,” he whispered. Contra didn’t think about the years – decades – he’d be losing. Instead, he focused on the years he would be – as the clichéd Southern States character would say – livin'. “Ohh!” he growled. THIS is the first day of the rest of my life. Finally, I understand those words. Contra put his hands on his hips, his head tilted up, staring not at the myriad of stars, but at the pillars and beams, at the inventive brilliance of the human race.

Contra snorted. You can try to make them feel small; you can show them a picture of a dot and tell them that’s the sum of their worries, and what will they do? Contra flicked his wrist. “I got bill payments.” Their worries and concerns, they are bigger than a super massive black hole. These creatures, they couldn’t possibly have a universal perspective, because as far as they are concerned, the centre of all existence is inside their pant pocket. Contra made a metallic croaking sound, his happy sigh. And the amount of time I can spend here is indeterminate. What a wonderful word: indeterminate. So full of promise.

“For goodness sake!”

His reverie shattered, Contra turned to his left and saw a tall set of legs speeding down a plank staircase, saw a suit jacket flung into the sand, and watched as – ohtheirgod, ohtheirgod, ohtheirgod – a real breathing human man came towards him. The man got close, and in the moonlight, Contra caught a look at his obscenely handsome features: sculpted cheekbones, symmetrical green eyes, a quiff of brown hair dangling over a well-shaped forehead.

“Who the bloody hell are you?” he asked.

Contra lowered his head, grunted, thrown off by the man’s genteel English accent. Jesus in a dramatic situation, have I landed on the other side of the Atlantic? No, I’ve seen this skyline before. This is New York City, New York State. Hmm perchance did I end up in the decoy city of Toronto–?”

Excuse me!?” The English man pinched his nose, wiped away the scent emanating from Contra’s poncho. “Bloody hell! Have you been swimming in sewage? You smell ghastly!”

Contra kept his head down, tried to move past the English man, but he wasn’t allowed to leave. The swaying English man blocked Contra’s path, attempted to squint through the stranger’s hood.

“Hold on just a minute: it’s a quarter past two in the morning and you’re coming out of the flipping ocean.” He put his hands on his hips.” You mind explaining yourself? What? Is something the matter? Excuse me? I am talking to you.” The English man rolled his shirt sleeves up. “Ordinarily I’d...” He lost his train of thought, blinked rapidly, shook his head, regained his composure. “Do you... do you know who I am? Do you? I’m David Lewisham. David bloody Lewisham.” David chuckled. “I’m a rock star! I’m... I’m a legend.” He took off his rings, placed them in his trouser pockets. “Do you understand our issue? You’re trespassing on my property. You think this bit of sand is yours? No, it really isn’t. You see, mate, everything from this end of the line to way, way out there,” he pointed towards the end of the beach, “is mine, yes? I’m renting that spot up there – it’s where I bring my women. Actual flesh and blood women, ever been with one of those? Yes? Yes – excuse me!? I am talking to you.” He put his dukes up. “Do we have to settle it like this?” David tilted to the right, nearly tripped over his own feet, burped, and wiped his mouth. “You need to go. Truly. You don’t belong here. You seem to have a skin disorder and it is rather off-putting. You looked charred.” David burped again. “Excuse me... Bloody hell, have you understood a single word I’ve said? Bloody foreigner. Go. Vamos. Go.”

Contra was lost in the contradictions. This is not private property. I have never heard a hit tune from David Lewisham, and why is he so up my rectum?

“Come on them; let’s have ya!” David took a 1920’s boxer pose, fists outstretched, legs placed far out. David tried to suppress his grin and failed.

Ah. Contra may have lacked the required muscles to laugh, but he was not a humourless creature. I see what this is; he is attempting off-brand comedy. So, perhaps this man could be forgiven, his rudeness just mistranslated jolliness.

“Oi!” In an instant, David turned hostile, slapped Contra, and then instantly stepped back. “Bloody hell!” he said as he tried to rub the scales off his hands. “Who the bloody hell are you?” David shoved Contra. The stranger didn’t budge. “Tell me, who are you?” A shove. “Huh, who are you?” Another ineffective shove. “Who are you? Who are you? Who the bloody –”

Contra’s coal-black hand wrapped around David’s throat, lifted him off his feet, and effortlessly slammed him into the sand. Contra sank to his knees, his thick fingers pushing into David’s moisturized skin. “You ask me who I am?” Contra’s robotic voice drained the colour from David’s face. “You ask a complete stranger such a deep, profound question and expect an instant answer?” With his free hand, Contra peeled back his hood. Contra could feel his throat quiver, the whites of his eyes big enough to light the ocean. “Do you know who you are?” He squeezed, the bones cracked, and just before David’s vision faded, he saw Contra’s version of a smile, a thin straight line extending at both ends. “To me, you are a fortuitous bag of skin.”


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