Aiden had no idea where he was. One minute he had his girlfriend cuddled against him as they dozed on a flight back to school, the next he was free falling into gigantic fields of white. His arms flailed into the air, trying to grab something to stop his fall, but nothing came to hand as he continued to plummet. The ground was racing up to meet him faster than he thought it should. He barely had time to think of flattening his body out to at least survive the fall. He just managed to turn himself over in the air and spread his arms and legs wide. He hit the soft, snow-covered ground with a muffled "FLOOMPH."
It took him a minute or two realize he wasn't dead. That cold, biting sensation in his limbs was not death creeping over him. So, he spent several very long minutes crawling out of his personal crater. His fingers were near a fire-engine red when he dug himself somewhere near the surface. He puffed out a breath and realized breathing was like letting icy daggers into his lungs to stab at will. He wrapped his hands around his body and struggled forward. Aiden frantically looked back and forth across the white landscape.Za's Vid! It would be like camouflage for her.
He might regret this in two seconds, but he took in a deep breath and cupped his hands around his mouth. "ANGEL!
He kept struggling forward and shouting her name. He didn't know if the wind was snatching his words away or carrying them to her. Either way, he had to find her. She had been on the plane beside him. She had to be here. Except here was really damn cold. Even for his heightened Mojoworlder metabolism it was getting to be too much. His breathing was getting quick and shallow as his skin got bumpy. Not quite goose bumps because he had no body hair from the neck down. A little more struggling forward and he thought he must be making progress. He was starting to feel warmer already.
His shivering was making it hard to stand. His teeth chattered together. He conserved his breath for moving forward. He hoped he had enough luck to stumble across Angel. If he had no other bit of luck this year, please just let him find her. With the two them, they could figure something out. And she could hold him until he got feeling back in the tip of his nose. He grumbled as he stumbled and fell. He was not getting where he needed fast enough. Also, his hands and arms weren't working right.
Aiden managed to struggle up to his knees. He heard a soft crunching sound coming toward him but paid it little mind. He needed to hear little bamfs
. Those are what he needed. The crunching of snow stopped right in front of him. He glanced up from trying to get his foot free to see fur-topped boots. His facial muscles might have been frozen, but he was trying to look confused. Angel didn't wear boots.
He didn't even really feel the blow that knocked him out.
When he slowly regained his senses, it was his ears that told him he was somewhere else. First, they didn't burn with a stinging cold. Second, he could hear voices. Unfamiliar ones. The way they spoke was slightly familiar, but he couldn't place the voices at all.
"What did I tell you, my little dancer?" It was a big voice. Booming at times. Dripping with menace now. "You have to wait for your prize. It will be hard to market this one as the next big thing with half of his face eaten by cold."
There was an electrical hum and a quick zark
sound. It was shortly followed by a pained grunt and the sound of boots staggering back. "You're, uhn, you're right, your magnificent fatness. F-Forgive me."
"Not now." Aiden had managed to open his eyes slightly. He saw a massive yellow blur. A part of it seemed to be waving. He closed his eyes in the hopes of getting his eyes to focus. Instead, he got the sound of metal on metal skittering toward him. "What's this? Oh, I think my new star is awake!"
The young man could keep the shiver of revulsion out of his body at how cheery that booming voice sounded. He didn't shiver long as a large hand grabbed him under the chin and hoisted him up. He was held up high enough his feet dangled off the floor. His head was turned left and right as another long-fingered hand grabbed around his waist to hold him up.
"Hmm. Matinee good looks. Get the young girl and hormonal crowd with that. Not a trace of his mother in his looks. Wonderful! Spitting image of his... of the ... well, you know, the less said about him the better. Hm. You say his girlfriend is fuzzy? With a tail? Have to dump her. She plays to the wrong demographics. Keep her off set. Maybe one of the slave girls could work. Maybe a feisty redhead? No. Good for the appearance of a fling. Not a blond. Don't want complete comparisons with his parents. The less said about Dazzler, the better. Ack! Said her name! Someone get me mouthwash! Ptui!"
Aiden finally opened his eyes and wished fervently he could recoil. He was trapped in the grasp of the largest sack of eggshell yellow skin he had ever seen. A massive roil of fat sitting on a spider-legged chair. Those bright, yellow eyes stared into his and the Mojoworlder wanted to run.
"Blue eyes! Wonderful. Just have to work on making them piercing, m'boy. People follow leaders with piercing blue eyes more readily. Though not as light as... his. More your mother's. Mm. Too bad. Spiral! Fix that in your Body Shoppe[tm]
! Maybe give one fake glow... wait. Too much! Leave his eyes in his head for now. But if they pop out while filming," the massive creature shook Aiden a bit. "Well, give him something better. Eyes like yours maybe. That might drive 'em crazy. Except take the wild, murderous look out. Charlie Manson never made good TV and neither will you."
"Gurk," was about Aiden could manage to get out. The hand on his jaw had shifted to his neck. He tried to reach up to pry the fingers off.
"Needs elocution lessons. Not very verbose. We can build up to that." The creature dropped Aiden to the floor. "Gets on his knees nicely. As he should. I am Mojo III: Return of the King. Cheers. Applause. You're too dumb not to know the protocols, boy."
One of the spider-like legs reached out from the chair and poked Aiden in the chest. If he hadn't rolled with the blow, the Mojoworlder would have been sure his chest would have been pierced. He fell back to the floor and looked at the other person in the room. White hair spilled out from under her helmet, two arms folded in front of her chest, two others in the air as the four-fingered hands picked invisible things out of the air, and the final two arms down to have her hands on her hips. Aiden felt the color drain from his entire body and puddle in his shoes.
"Poor baby has just figured out he's in hell," Spiral commented with a sneer.
Mojo III clapped his hands together. "Good. Good! I have just the role for him."
The floor under Aiden opened up and left him nowhere to grab to stop him from falling. He yelped and plummeted.
Aiden weaved. He was wearing his fatigues from the movie, but he wasn't on the beach. Instead, he had a red-faced Mojo craning his massive head toward him.
"Are you an idiot?
How hard is it to not get stabbed by a bayonet and stab the enemy with one? At least your wounds are in different places so Spiral gets something interesting each time she has to piece you back together!" The large despot started to pace and gesticulate in the air. "I'm going to have to edit this like crazy. I never believed Valeria when she said she picked such an idiot to teach her AI, but you're out to prove yourself on that one."
The blond Mojoworlder blinked. Where...? What? Valeria wouldn't say that about him. They were friends. She encouraged him to keep teaching Zip. This... what the heck was the bloat talking about? How would he even know about her?
Mojo seemed to have noticed the dumbfounded look on Aiden's face. He stopped his pacing and turned to the... spined star. "Did you think you were even in the same realm as her? She's leagues smarter than you. She's a genius and you're... you. Once her little automaton is smarter than you, she'll drop you like a rock. The girl dropped her brother out of her life! What makes you think you're any better than him?"
Aiden's body shook slightly after being slammed to the floor. He groaned softly and lay still for the moment. Maybe if he didn't move...
A booted toe rammed into his side and broke ribs. He groaned and tried to roll away to curl up. He didn't get far as a boot heel dug into his shoulder.
"Think any of them will come for you, you little worm? What friends do you think you have? The blond chick who wraps herself into her own problems? Or she'd stop wearing those black hoods for a moment? Sure, she makes nice popcorn for those movie nights, but why should she care you're gone? She'll sit next to a window and pine for the hairball's pimp to come home."
There was the sound of massive fingers snapped. "I know! The princess! The princess will come for him! You know, the one he just handed over to the bad guys? Since he was too weak to help. She'll come, Spiral! Prepare the colored livery!"
There was a snort. Spiral had to be the one standing with a foot pressing into his shoulder. "Maybe his 'Little John?' The one who thought Robin Hood was so important that when he got hurt, not one call was made between the Merry Men. Didn't Robin find out because his sister left to go take care Gimpy John? And no apologies made. No mention of how important you aren't."
Her boot heel pressed in harder. Aiden closed his eyes tight and willed the two crazy people to go. To leave him alone.
"They'll come for me," he whispered. "They'll be here for me." It was a mantra
Mojo cackled.( Things only got worseCollapse )