The Mephitis

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choco loni 1/14/2022 11:58pm

the mirrors. the captain's mind. the droste fever. it was all coming back.

my memory stick.

i'd completely forgotten about my memory stick. not since i'd thrown it at @Captain Pirate's head at the height his fever.

it had been in my pocket the entire time.

i loaded it up and aimed for the pinnacle of the spiral. the origin. why were we here again? a relapse of the droste?

i pulled the trigger without thinking. it was more like remembering i pulled the trigger than actually doing it.

the bullet had already been fired.

the bullet had always been fired.

the memory stick hurtled towards the point of the sprial above us. heading closer, heading closer, deeper and deeper into entwined mirror memories of us all.

where did they end?

Doctor Argosa 11/21/2021 11:29pm

The light opened my mind like a hall of mirrors, and I could see myself in all reflections.

"Doctor are you getting this? this? this? this?" the Captain asked. Our reality frame was stuttering, due to the buffering.

My own hall of mirrors stretched before me, most recent moments first, followed by earlier moments, then the earlier moments to those moments, on and on and on, all neatly filed like folders in a filing cabinet. From one perspective it seemed like it must go on for millions of miles, but from another perspective you could see how they were coiled, like movie film, then telescoped out, like a snail's shell, into a kind of cone or paty hat.

"Yep, it's all pretty clear from up here. here. here. here," said the Captain.

"What is it they are looking for, I wonder. wonder. wonder. wonder," I said.

"Perhaps they're looking for the point. point. point. point," said the Captain, pointing his finger at the very pinnacle of the spiral above us. The eye of the storm.

@choco loni was already taking aim.

Captain Pirate II 10/1/2021 11:04pm

"So, it's mighty dark in here..."

Nobody on the crew says a word. We're only lit up by the lights in the control panels.

"I suppose we still can't turn around... @Doctor Argosa?"

The Doctor mumbles something about magnetic bean rays. Also that the large doors that opened to pull us inside the spaceship have just closed.

"Now it's EXTRA dark in here."

Nobody replies.

"Isn't there supposed to be a beam of light or something when you're abducted? Not some big dark garage."

And suddenly, there WAS light. From everywhere. The brightest most intense light I had ever seen.

"Ow! That's bright!"

choco loni 8/18/2021 11:04pm

i had never been near a bullet so large.

the entire saucer was a bullet. i could tell. i know bullets. i sense them. i have a connection. they are sentient, and seek pairing, and companionship. they have a job, and someone to do it for.

whose bullet was this? and what had they sent it to do?

the saucer loomed above us, humming with a green magnetic throb.

the mountain spread beneath us, draped in snow.

the sky blue sky hung behind it all.

a wide door slid open in the saucer above us.

nothing but darkness inside. but immediately i felt the pull.

"Captain, it's pulling us in," said the ensign.

"Fly away!" the captain told him.

but there was no flying away.

this bullet was winning, and i wanted it to win.

Doctor Argosa 7/5/2021 10:23pm

"Yes, absolutely. To the top! Onwards! Towards the caldera!"

After rescuing us in the nick of time, there was some confusion on board The Mephitis as to our next step.

"We've come this far, and look--the Ice Zephyrs are turning away! This is obviously the safest direction."

Looking back down the snowy slopes, the wardens of the Ice Hotels had given up the chase. Their pet Ice Zephyrs had been called back, and their security forces had stopped short of the slippery end of the ice bridge.

Following his near-death experience, the Captain was even more indecisive than usual.

"Well... I dunno..."

The top of Mt. Skell loomed above us. The rim of the caldera beckoned.

"Seems like we've got a clear path if we want to turn around and run," the Captain continued. "Maybe the Paranormal Skyways Authority will cut us a little slack if we don't push it..."

@choco loni looked at me in askance. We both had business at the top of that mountain.

"Uh... sirs?" It was the ensign at the helm. "The situation is developing. Look!"

Out of the caldera, a huge metallic saucer was emerging. It quickly filled the sky above the mountain -- a metallic green dome throbbing light at its base. The air filled with a magnetic hum.

Captain Pirate II 5/21/2021 11:40pm

"I was thinking that ice suite was the coldest place I'd ever been," I said, my huffing out steam. "But no, this ice bridge is now the coldest place I've ever been."

@choco loni's Mind Bullet had certainly done a job, blasting out an entire wall of our ice room, then creating this huge arching ice bridge toward the top of Mr. Skell. Like an ice rainbow, leaping up into the snowy heights, blue sky all around, and cold.


And slippery too.

"@Doctor Argosa, can you tell me we have a plan?"

The Doctor's even more steamy than me, but he isn't slipping as much. What kind of shoes is he wearing?

"My tuning fork astrolabe says my lost Thunder Devil is in this direction. That the Mind Bullet created the bridge in this direction can not be a coincidence."

"Well it's farther away than it looks. I'm sure they're sending 'ice guards' or something after us soon. How far do you think we'll get?"

"Apparently not very. Look, the bridge ends just up ahead!"

Good thing the Doctor was paying attention. It was hard to see where the translucent ice arch suddenly ended and empty air began. And it was a very long drop to the rocks and snow below.

And I couldn't stop sliding. Slowly, but continuously.

"Doctor? Uh, CL? A hand here?"

"Down captain! Spread out! Like this!"

"Uh, that's not really helping doctor... I'm still moving! Form a... a human chain or something!"

"We can't! We'll all go down!"

I look up at choco loni and the doctor.

"Really guys? Like this?"

I'm slipping closer and closer to the edge. Where did I get all this inertia?

Then, the most glorious, abrasive noise I've ever heard shatters the cold air.


It's the air horns on The Mephitis as it rises up to the edge of the bridge.

choco loni 4/9/2021 11:23pm

the mind bullet

part of my bullet practice is to know my bullets intimately. and by practice, i mean my discipline. my bullet path. knowing each bullet by feel, being able to select and chamber and fire and retrieve bullets with my eyes closed...

the mind bullet

i practice with eyes shut. i practice with blindflolds, and in dark caves, and underwater. one must know their bullets with such intimacy that they are a part of you...

the mind bullet

through time, this becomes more than metaphor. i know the feel of each one between my fingers to the point where mere memory and real sensation are one. i know the elation they feel as they shoot from the barrel. I know their joy of the hunt. i know their warm reckoning as they return to the gun.

the mind bullet

and here, though my bullets have been taken from my and my body searched, they can not take away from me my bullet practice. my ammunition goes beyond this physical world. there is one more hidden away, one they can not take from me.

the mind bullet

i let my mind bullet fly.

Doctor Argosa 2/25/2021 11:16pm

Well that was a chilly reception if there ever was one.

While no doubt the science here is spectacular and far exceeds anything I've seen, the diplomatic skills and manners of the denizens of Mt. Skell could use a great deal of work. No beverages offered, and none accepted (though the Captain has been quite bare faced in his attempts to add them to our coffee distribution network).

They deny any knowledge of my errant Thunder Devil, or of @choco loni's poor lost bullets. And after what could be deemed more of an interrogation than a discussion, we find ourselves captive in a cell made of ice! Well, while it is a rather well apportioned suite with separate bedrooms, bathrooms, a jacuzzi, and a view of the city, it is in fact constructed entirely of ice. And we are not allowed to leave.

But I just know that Māui, my stray Thunder Devil, is near by. Not just because of the gut feelings a parent has for a child, but also because I am able now to triangulate his whereabouts through my tuning fork astrolabe. He resides somewhere in the direction of the caldera of this extinct volcano. Could the lost bullets be there with him? And how could we break these luxurious ice shackles that bind us?

(That is of course a metaphor, as we are not actually wearing ice shackles.)

Captain Pirate II 1/13/2021 11:25pm

"That's funny. The damage doesn't look as bad from out here," I said, trying to cheer @choco loni up. She was still nursing one of her big bullets back to health, tools sprawled out across the deck.

But it was true. The Ice Zephyrs hadn't been gouging holes in the hull. They'd just been scraping it with their ice blade wings for purchase on the rivets and bands. Once they grappled on, they effectively gained control of the ship, and have been driving us straight for that snow capped volcano. Mt. Skell. There it was, looming massively before us.

"What? Oh, my spyglass. Excellent, uh, ensign, is it? What's your name?"

I forgot it immediately, of course. I'm terrible with names.

"Oooooo! Ow!!! Ice cream headache!!!!"

That eyepiece was mighty cold. I breathed on it a bit.

Mt. Skell. I'd seen images of it on a stereograph, but we always knew those images were doctored. How else would they have put in the little flying saucers, and hairy man bodies? So seeing it in person was really something. It was so... big... and white... and, well, I can't really tell what I'm looking at.

"Captain," said @choco loni.

"What?" I turned.

She pointed up ahead. WOW how did that get there? The spyglass was magnifying things so much, and I guess we were closer than I thought. There, nestled in a valley halfway up the mountain, was a city of magnificent spires. Towers like great white shards, carved from frost. The Ice Zephyrs threaded us through the enormous structures, to a landing field with a mooring post.

And next to the mooring post, a small group of people, bundled in great fur robes.

Guess it was time to meet the welcoming committee.

"Anybody interested in a bottle of iced khalua and cofee?" I called down.

No? No takers?

choco loni 11/30/2020 11:51pm

arktika! sibir! rossiya!

i fired my ice breaker bullets off the port bow, chasing the ice zephyrs into the night. horrid creatures, ice zephyrs. grinding, interlocking jaws made of crystal, shrieking wings of razor sharp shards of frozen death. but they know enough to run from an Ice Breaker. Or three.

fzzzzzzwrrr... fzzzzzzwrr... fzzzzzzwrrrrrr....

it's sibir, spiraling back to the deck to land with a plop at my feet. something's the matter with his fins, they've been shredded.


rossiya lands hard on the deck, breaking a plank. she's been sliced nearly in half, her delicate mechanisms spilling out on the floor.


rossiya shoots past us, out of control, heading for the surface.

three of the best trained ice breakers i've ever known. chewed up and spit back at me.

"looks like you're up, yamal," i let her know as i gently slide her into the chamber. "guess it's gonna be a hot one tonight!"

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