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Barnaby Jones (Part I)

Hindu battle for BarnabyjonesBarnabyjones

I

 

He looked up at Sparky, who was now covered in crazy pink tiger stripes. He looked up on them all on that last dawn. His robots: all painted in bright chaotic colors by some of the children of this hungerless, perilous, unfathomed new world; that was whirling by now like a hurricane. He looked up and smiled.

 

He was happy they had been painted, happy they were still with him- all that were left. The ones he had had time to assign arbitrary names to. His fighting robots: built of breath; standing there as they had been all night- standing over him and looking out as he lay prone: savoring the last stillness of his night’s rest.

 

Blue smiled his electric smile. Music started on the horizon-the thunderlizard itself; a great dragon; now waking up on the last arcade day of an orb suspended in space and losing definition. The ground beneath on which Blue had alept, the air he breathed-everything- was now slowly joining a vast frenetic reaction of matter in space and time and out of it. A world beyond reckoning: lagging, fried End Net kicking its last kicks.

 

He enjoyed the first few moments waking up. When the HUD display wasn’t there in his vision and his robots remained dark and silent; when he was ahead of the main mass of the other players waking up. An intangible difference engine somewhere deciding not enough of them had awoken to activate the game again: officially beginning a new day.

 

And so this one began now: the last one. The game booted up in his pupils, signaled by the eerie cock-row of the cosmic worm-who’s music was already getting louder: coming nearer. One last, fat target: one last, little, persistently translucent arrow was now at the center of his vision. A red arrow pointing up at the red enemy: indicating the distance through all the weird neon haze of this afterworld between himself and Player one, A.K.A: Bar-c0de A.K.A: Red. The opponent he intended to finally dispatch and call to account for all the shit talk and bad behavior.

 

Barnabyjones A.K.A. Player two A.K.A Blue, got up, and looked around: his every motion followed by the unwavering gaze of his robots. The paint fonts he had opened last night for the children were still gushing forth indefinitely, as many colors as he could think of at the time. Greens, reds, yellows, blues, magentas, teals and mighty pinks spewed out of nothingness and drifted into the sky in countless liquid orbs: joining the great drift of the flux. He had lain down last night on a section of ruined freeway. The Children and the man and two women here were asleep in what was at once a bus and a house. That is, it had started as a bus but had expanded and changed with the demands of the minds inside it. Individual thoughts interfacing with the Endnet’s eldritch processor and adding new expansions instantaneously, very much like a lucid dream. The house-bus was quite a sight.

 

Barnabyjones had slept more simply than that; on an old comfortable blanket and mattress with his head on a pillow. The pillow, the blanket and the mattress were all from his youth; he had half consciously opened them using his mind’s interface with End net. They were from the bunkhouse he’d camped out in in the summer of his twelfth year. These objects had come from darkness into light, pulled from all the dark matter of the universe and shaped by Endnet’s processing power into this specific molecular structure. This had been one of countless translations of matter that had began, -some time ago- the chain reaction that was now disassembling the very structure of space-time. In the flux nothing was made or un-made and nothing mattered-soon there would be nothing but flux. But before that happened the game needed to end: if only in the minds of the players and for their sake.

 

New translucent markers and their coinciding distances appeared in his vision-Teal, Purple and orange-the other players: his allies spread out across the landscape. Teal and Purple off to the east. One player was closer than the others; he heard Orange’s approaching footsteps over the increasing volume of the thunderlizard’s music.

 

Orange’s chosen name was Sho(ur)gun(s)55, his gigantic avatar was the likeness of a completely armored samurai warrior -15 feet tall- a massive Kenabo slung across his shoulder: a ponderous behemoth capable of flattening a car in three deliberate strokes. Behind Orange his remaining minion followed: a winged minotaur, in ornate scale armor and carrying a cruel battle axe the size of a man-all marked with orange decals-just as Barnabyjones’ robots were marked in blue.

 

Barnaby’s avatar was more modest than Sho’s; his appearance was that of an average six-foot human being but of one in some kind of blue power armor. He had no helmet, hat, or hood but a head of blue hair and wide rimmed yellow glasses instead. A metallic box was fixed to his right forearm containing an energy blade ready to extend and shear through just about any material in its way. A pulse rifle was clipped onto his back next to small jet pack. On his belt three photon grenades remained in easy reach. Barnaby’s six remaining robots: Sparky, Blinker, Jules, Tanto, Quint, and John-Wayne were also six-foot on average and equipped with various armor and weaponry. Tanto and Quint were melee bots: equipped with five-foot energy blades and power-shields-they typically charged in first. John-Wayne and Jules were his sharp shooters-finding perches using jet packs and picking off targets and providing cover fire with long-range pulse rifles with long slender barrels. Sparky and Blinker were capable of teleporting short distances to flank enemies and get around obstacles: Sparky firing rapidly using dual pulse-pistols and Blinker blasting shrapnel from a heavy flak-gun. A pretty good System, Barnaby thought-in his unit design he’d opted to go with versatility-balancing his available creative breath to make sure all combat vectors were at least adequately accounted for. He preferred it this way as opposed to specializing in size or speed.

 

” ‘Sup Barnaby?” Said Sho, in his strange voice.

 

“Oh you know…not too much.” It was the same “not too much” he’d escaped all that time ago and into End net-unwillingly entering the last game in the universe because of boredom. “You?” These were habitual absurd questions. People shook their head and muttered about the way these gamers talked.

 

“Same…this feels like the last one- it has to be: the unit count is so low.” Sho remarked, the deep longing and exasperation easily discernable in his amplified thirteen year old voice-so odd emerging from the orange cavern of his great helmet.

 

“One way or the other buddy-it’s him or us…that bastard.” The sound of the music rose to a proximate crescendo, Barnaby and Sho looked up as the Lizard approached in the sky. It was colossal and serpentine, its swaying head travelling kilometres in each side-to-side undulation: a wicked grin set in it’s grotesque visage: not fully reptilian, avian, mammalian, Ichthyic or human-but all of these, all at once. Music emerged from it, through every pour of its being. The songs and the serpent were now two of the only things that showed no signs of loosing definition in the flux. Someone always recognized a song.

 

Barnaby remembered this one: “ha! I know this one!”

 

“What Language is this?” Asked Sho.

 

“It’s English! It’s Jimmy Cliff.” The Lyrics weren’t entirely sympathetic, but hell thought Barnaby, it’s such a good song.

 

It was too: Well, they tell me of a pie up in the sky
Waiting for me when I die

 

Sho, being a young German and employing a small arsenal of translation and voice endware to expediate communication with the other players-was slightly abashed. The game had players from all over. Though Sho’s communications with the other players were filtered for him into his native language external factors like the dragon’s music.

 

But between the day you’re born and when you die
They never seem to hear even your cry

 

 

“you know what man-it’s all shit and for nothing but…I feel pretty good today.”

 

The worm’s great belly was now writhing above tem in the sky. Electric chromatophores making every part of the creature’s skin part of a shimmering visualization of its own music. Every cell of it a mind enclosed in music the one music-the one and only soundtrack. They were the ones who had kissed the worm-who out of the flux were in it: people and their children, birds, cats, dogsmicecowselephantssealsorangutangsfungusflowersflytraps cuttlefish and narhwals- and all dancing without bodies as one colossal, monster of energy. The ones who got it. Barnaby thought.

 

So as sure as the sun will shine
I’m gonna get my share now, what’s mine

 

 

He could picture in his own esoteric mind: Dionysus, Brahma, Krishna, Galadriel, Manwe, Yavanna, Shiva, Loki, Ishtar, Odin, Buddha, Jesus, Yoda, Obi-wan, Dumbledore and old Gandalf … all just chilling out and smoking shisha on that thing’s forehead as it tore through the universe, the wise in the right haven for the wise. He felt like Sho was still scared. Barnaby never brought it up himself but he knew as much as Sho did about what was going to happen after this game was over, and deep within himself he knew there was no going back.

 

And then the harder they come
The harder they fall, one and all

 

 

-but somehow, going forward seemed so damn good anyway. He looked at Sparky in his pink tiger stripes, Blinker’s green and yellow polka-dots, Jules a terrible purplish finger painted mess (the product of a collective of all the youngest of the children encamped nearby in the house-van), Tanto and his solitary red-star, Quint painted with crude animals and John-Wayne spattered in white and gold. He’d assigned one robot to each child-Jules being the unlucky, toddler swarmed exception.

 

Barnabyjones approached the yellow font: still erupting indefinitely into space, and touched it-gathering yellow paint on his foremost fingertips. He looked at Sho as he painted a crude yellow sun on his own chest.

 

“One last decal, my man.”

 

Sho chuckled softly and cupped his hand over the white font, the paint slithering, slopping and slapping upward into Sho’s open palm and all over his fingers. The Orange giant stuck his painted hand to his face leaving a white hand-centered- on his faceplate. He put his finger in the gold font and painted a golden circle in the white hand’s palm.

 

Ooh, the harder they come
The harder they fall, one and all

 

“Yeah Barnaby. Let’s do this.”

 

Barnabyjones ignited his jet pack and shot up fifty feet in the air-and hovered there. “Right! Robots! Let’s finish this! Link in gentle-bots!” he commanded maniacally, grinning maniacally-a wild and joyful sun rising inside him. His Robots sounded off:

 

“Sparky active.”

Well, the oppressors are trying to keep me down

 

“Blinker active.”

 

Trying to drive me underground

 

“Jules active.”

 

And they think that they have got the battle won

 

“Tanto active.”

 

I say forgive them Lord, they know not what they’ve done

 

“John-Wayne active.”

 

Cause, as sure as the sun will shine
I’m gonna get my share now, what’s mine

 

 

“Quinn-the-eskimo active.”

 

And then the harder they come
The harder they fall, one and all

 

As they sounded off and linked in, each robot activated a new location marker in his vision. When all six markers showed as “active” Barnabyjones gave the order: “Aggressive Advance!” Tanto and Quint set off dead on target, Sparky and Blinker spreading out on their wings, while John-Wayne and Jules took to the sky with Barnaby- their robot lenses forward, following his gaze. Sho and his minotaur let out mighty bellows and joined the charge. In Barnabyjones’ vision: the distance on the red target marker began to dial down.