|Jan Casteel and the Icon of Inscrutability
Author: nayolo PM
The galaxy is full of strange and powerful artifacts. Jan stumbles onto the search for the greatest one of all-the Icon. It's an object as old as the universe itself, an object not subject to the laws of space and time. Will he find it? Before he does, his journey may change him into something not quite human. It's a pulp sci-fi picaresque adventure novel, or something.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Humor - Chapters: 15 - Words: 16,393 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 02-07-13 - Published: 01-16-13 - id: 3092688
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Jan wandered through the halls of whatever the place was called, to hell with it, Jan didn't remember and couldn't bother to check. Eventually, he came across Uncle Jerry's, which was a rather out-of-place looking establishment with gaudy colors and neon lights. It had one of those wavy arm inflatable things outside, which was painted to resemble a tawdry-looking clown with a goofy hat.
Jan wandered in cautiously (brushing past a family with two young children), and immediately encountered a waiter dressed in a red, white and blue spandex costume. The guy put on this enormous, fake shit-eating grin. "Hi, welcome to Uncle Jerry's Bar and Grill, home of the Beer Pizza! Our specials tonight are haggis and hot dogs, and the side of the day is our Souper Soup! Get it? Because the word 'super' begins with the syllable 'sup,' which sounds identical to the differently-spelled 'soup,' so conflating the two implies that our soup is super while delivering a wholesome pun that's fun for the whole family! See, it's quite a punny name. Ah, did you see what I did there? See, 'pun' rhymes with 'fun,' so it's a delight to swap the two out in order to suggest that the pun is indeed funny!"
Jan just nodded and smiled. "I'm supposed to meet somebody here."
"Ah, you must be Mister Casteel! Come right in!" He directed Jan through the room, doing this silly march-step the whole way (he probably would have been fired for not doing so).
"Hello Ms. Carter! Someone to see you!" he said cheerfully. He pointed to a small table set for two.
That was when he saw her.
She was stunning… stunning a guy with a taser, to be precise. The man slumped to the floor, and she calmly rose to her feet, taking great care not to tread on him. Her black jumpsuit looked as though it had been through a lot more combat than this little encounter, but it was thankfully free of blood, at least. Her short, red hair (dyed?) was about the same color as blood, though, and Jan felt rather uncomfortable just looking at it. Mostly just because it looked horrendously fake, but he still didn't like being reminded of blood and other such things.
"Hello Jan," she said. "You may call me Danielle Carter, although I will also accept 'Lady,' 'Ma'am,' and 'Holy shit, put the gun down!'" She then blew her taser's barrel, despite the fact that those things don't even emit smoke, anyway.
"Nice to meet you, Danielle," said Jan, who was still more focused on the unconscious body on the floor than the attractive one in front of him. "Ah, would you mind telling me what that was for?"
"He looked suspicious," she said. "If he's innocent, he'll be cool with it. After all, I'm just keeping the place safe. And a lady can't be too careful around here." She magnetized the weapon and attached it to her belt, where it competed for room with a pickaxe, a pistol, a miniature chainsaw, and an oversized shotgun.
"All right, so why do you want to be in my crew?"
"Because you need protection, and I need money. You've been exploring for a while, so chances are you've been sold into slavery at least twice, and probably gotten Space AIDS. I am an adept bodyguard, a good pilot, a decent engineer, an amateur physicist, and a master in seven languages (four of which are no longer with us). In short, if you had to pick just one crewman, I should be it, because of my wide range of skills."
"That's great," said Jan, "Because after I got sold into slavery, I lost all my cash, and right now I can only afford to pay one crewman."
"Am I hired?" said Danielle. One of her hands was twitching next to her pistol, and Jan suddenly became quite nervous.
"Why yes, of course you are," said Jan. "I'll have the computer print up a contract."
"Oh that's great!" said Danielle, radiant smile on her face, as she drew several weapons and fired them into the air. The ceiling didn't break, but it did begin to smolder a bit.
The waiter stopped by. "I do trust you are having fun tonight, sir and ma'am! Are there any happetizers I can get you? See, it's like an appetizer that makes you happy. Or maybe a funtrée? It's like a fun entrée, or a tray of fun! It's two puns for the price of one! Hohoho!"
Jan looked across at Danielle. "Any chance he looks suspicious, too?"
"He's just doing his job. But if he gets the order wrong…" She smirked and mimed a gunshot. "Pow!"
If the waiter saw this, he seemed to ignore it, because his stupid smile only grew wider. "Well, I'll just leave you two lovebirds alone! That's the magic of Uncle Jerry's good old-fashioned Bar and Grill! Hope you two have a splendid time, and remember, we do weddings!"
He walked away, looking smug as all hell about what a great, great job he was doing as a waiter. Danielle rolled her eyes as much as it was possible to do so. "Why in the worlds do you come here?" said Jan.
Danielle shrugged. "The food's nice."