One Nerdy Cupcake











{December 31, 2012}   Run With The Moon Part One

RunWithTheMoonCoverSo I had written for some of NaNoWriMo…but life had gotten in the way and I did not complete. I will continue writing this story, but I want to share with you what I wrote so far. I fully intend on going back and editing and expanding more..the problem that I had with NaNoWriMo is I felt rushed. But at the same time, I kind of needed the push. Hoping that the push happens again that I can continue writing this, as I am not done expanding on Sienna’s universe. I just have been swamped and not feeling super creative these days. Force me to be creative! So please enjoy the first half that I wrote of Run With The Moon. If you critique please be polite! 

My ears perk at the sound of cannon fire in the distance. You would think after 75 years of hearing it I would be used to it, but you can’t be too careful on a scouting mission. Upon forcing my way in, I quickly realized that this was used before I had arrived, most likely as a toilet. Pulling on my mask, I toed around the entrance, looking for any living forms. One of the benefits of being a Hybrid is having the AI doing scans while I walk. There is no heat detected outside of myself, sending a shiver down my spine. An abandoned warehouse is one thing, but when you know Humans were staying in it makes you realize they are all dead. Coming upon bodies doesn’t get any easier as you get older. Pulling my jacket in tighter and raising my gun a little higher, I proceeded to push forward. The smell of fecal matter and urine gets stronger deeper in. A gust of wind through the broken windows blow my hair into something sticky on the wall. Quickly pulling it out, I stare at the damage. No longer is it just black, there is now something red and squirming. Stifling a scream, I quickly shake off the bloodied maggots off, wishing there was time for a shower or ten. Stumbling backwards, I tripped over a box and land on something colder than I am.

Turning over I see a young Asian boy lying there, his body surrounded in ice. I bash my gun against it, trying to break through the brick, but its just too thick. I look around the warehouse for anything that could defrost him. Checking my batteries, I didn’t have much time left. I had to find batteries before I could help him. Being a lower class hybrid does have its downfalls. While I don’t need the batteries to survive, I do have a severe drop in energy, making me an easy target for the Androids and The Voice.

Another canon fires. This time its slightly closer. I peer out of one of the broken windows, seeing heat signatures rising. Not much time. The moon beats down, full tonight. I suck in as much energy as I can before running through the warehouse, searching every nook and cranny for batteries, food and water. Not that I want to trust food from a place that I am pretty positive was just a giant latrine, when you’re hungry you eat what you can find. Deep in the building I find a box of batteries, who knows if they are used or not, but I stick them in my pack. I also find dried fruits and a half full canteen, although from the smell of it that was not water in there. Zipping my pack closed with my meager findings I go to the frozen Asian boy. My batteries beep, only 10 minutes remaining. I whistle, two low notes and one high, signalling my two partners to come in. Zandra and Varien slip in, whistling the same notes back.

“Come here” I hiss to them. “I need you to help me move this” Zandra appears first, her red hair flipping with the bursts of cold air. Varien not long behind, his green eyes gleaming.

“Please tell me its food” he says quietly.

“Not quite. Unless we’re resorting to cannibalism these days.” I reply. “I found some dried fruit and a canteen half filled with wine, but thats about it. I found this guy too” I motion towards the Asian kid. “We need to get him back and defrost him.”

“Thats another mouth to feed, Sienna. How are we going to do that?” Zandra speaks a little louder than I had hoped. “I know, we need to save the world, but this is a kid.”

“I know, but he should be defrosted. What if he can help us? What if he is better at finding the food? We don’t know who he is. He could save us for all we know!” I am really quite stubborn when it comes down to it. We’ve been working together for the past 75 years, they knew if I wanted something done it will get done. Rather than fighting with me about it, they help me lift the heavy ice block. My batteries beep again. Only five minutes remaining.

“Sienna” Varien sighed “When was the last time you changed those?” He’s a Hybrid too. He was created at a different time than I, so he doesn’t need the batteries like I do. I stick my tongue out at him. “Don’t even start. You’re getting older. Your dependence on batteries is going to be greater. Are you stockpiling? Are you ready for when the Human side of you completely gives out?”

“When that happens, kill me before I become one of them” I spit venomously. It is a fear among the Hybrids that once the human side dies off that we become one of the Androids. I have never actually seen it happen, but the Human body does decay at a greater rate than the AI system. I could only imagine that we would become Zombies or a complete Android. We make it a point in our camp to take out the AI of any hybrid that dies and burn it before anything could possibly happen. The horror stories we have heard keep us safe from that danger.

Zandra grunts under the weight of the ice block. She is one of the few Humans left, and our talk makes her uncomfortable. While the average age of death for a Human is close to 300 years old, she knows she will die long before the Hybrids do. To be a pure Human is rare, and they tend to revolt against the Hybrids as well as the Androids. Zandra is different. She was born in our camp, with two Human parents who helped repair us Hybrids. Her parents are after her to find another Human to mate with to keep the Human race going. She hasn’t been thrilled with the thought of reproduction, not that I blame her. Hybrids are a different breed of Human, we don’t reproduce so much as save Humans lives by making them a Hybrid. We’ve been compared to vampires in the past, with our pale skin, dark hair and oddly colored eyes not helping the situation, but we don’t want to kill off the Humans. We want to keep them alive longer.

As we grunted along with the heavy Ice Boy, my batteries died out. Falling to my knees, I struggled to catch my breath as Varien and Zandra stopped. Varien opened my wrist up, checking my battery levels. Sighing, he pulled open my bag, finding the box of batteries.

“No.” I told him, putting my hand on his wrist. “There are people in the camp that need them more. I can survive without them. Just give me a minute.”

His eyes flashed. “You’re a bloody idiot. You might not need them to survive, but you want to bring this giant ice cube back we need you to be able to lift it. “ Forcefully grabbing my wrist, he pulled out the dead batteries to put in the new ones, throwing my whole system into shock. He knows better than this, but his anger won out. As trembled on the ground, my new batteries shocking my system back to life, Zandra scolding him for his violence.

“Stupid Droid!” she spat “She isn’t going to be any use laying on the ground in shock either! Go back to the camp and get Sebastian and Juan. They can help you move the Ice Boy while I carry her now useless ass back to the camp.” She sat next to me, stroking my hair. “You need to stop playing the hero little girl” she whispered. “He’s getting more and more frustrated every day with no actual shelter for us, and I am fearing what that will mean for the Hybrids batteries. No recharge means no protection for us. When you’re back online we’ll really scan that warehouse, maybe be able to make it liveable. This winter is going to get much worse.” Varien, Juan and Sebastian came running in then.

“Sienna…” Juan sighed “Zandra, can you help her out?” She nodded. My trembling was starting to cool down, but I still was unable to walk so she tossed me on her back. I’m not exactly lightweight, especially with the added weight of a shotgun, mask and day pack filled with supplies, but she managed it. Laying my head on her shoulder, I could hear her heart beating quickly. She was beginning to tire.

“Hey” I whispered. “Let me walk. We aren’t far” She shook her head. “There’s a full moon. I’m recharging quicker. The batteries are new. I’m fine.” I started wiggling so she was forced to drop me. Laughing, I ran. Not quickly, but I still ran, tearing off my coat and sweater to reveal the black shirt underneath, exposing my pale arms to the moon rays. Zandra stared at this burst of energy, laughing. She caught up to me, smacking me on the arm and handing me my clothes.

“Regardless of your recharging abilities, its cold. Put those on.” Half scolding, half laughing, she helped me into my sweater and jacket as the boys watched us from afar. I could see Varien’s eyes gleaming. I know he was regretful of his previous actions, but he’ll deal with that later. To shock a Hybrid could kill them. Suddenly my AI acted up, causing me to spike. Heat signatures appeared on my radar.

“Get down!” I yelled, grabbing Zandra and pushing her to the ground. Behind me, Varien is doing the same thing, dropping the Ice Boy as they hit the ground. Canon fire burst around us. Pushing Zandra, I whisper in her ear “Get out, run. Save the camp.” We were less than a mile off, with children in the area and Humans to protect. I scrambled over to Varien, motioning for Juan and Sebastian to go. Juan has a wife and kids, both him and Sebastian are full Humans. Juan nodded and ran, but Sebastian refused. Varien shoved him, yelling at him to go. While those two fought I began charging my shotgun, spinning it quickly. I’m still shaking from the shock, but I need to focus as the Androids began to charge up to our area. I fire a blast into one of their chests as I run into the depths of it, using my hip knife to take out limbs as I run through. Charging again, I fire another blast. I feel their hands grabbing at me, too warm to be Human or Hybrid. I cut quickly while spinning the shotgun to fire a few more blasts into the fray. In a distance, I must have run further than I realized, because I hear Varien shouting for me. I blast another shot into an Android chest before running towards his voice. Suddenly a cold hand grabs me from the side, before I can cut it off Sebastian grabs my wrist and stares deeply with his brown eyes.

“Ah ah girlie” he says with a smile “Varien is protecting the Ice Kid, you and I get to have some fun!” Sebastian is a sniper, his place is in the trees. Quickly navigating over to the edge of the clearing I toss him up into the trees before running forward into the slaughter. I feel whips of bullets flying past me as Android fall one by one. Shots are being fired in his direction. Androids keep grabbing at me, but I’m quicker with my knife. Not before long, a good 75 Androids lay dead at our feet. I spin the shotgun to deactivate it and slap it on my back, and stick my knife in its sheath before collapsing in a pile of Android limbs.

Thumping on my chest.

“Sienna!”

Pressure.

“Sienna!”

Weird smell…

“Sienna! Wake up Sienna!”

I open my eyes to see little Jannali sitting on my chest and bouncing. “Her eyes are open! Macaria! Her eyes are open!” She climbed down off of me, causing me to flinch. I realize that I’m tingling, like my batteries had been shocked again.

“Did I go down?” I asked, raising my hand to my head. My skin was gone and it was just Android parts showing. I put it back down. Macaria walked over with a new skin glove.

“Yes, giving Sebastian quite the scare in his sniper scope. He thought he shot you!” Macaria smiled. “We thought you were just giving Redtail a hard time.” We call Sebastian ‘Redtail’ sometimes, since he’s a sniper he prefers the trees and the hunt. He likes it though. I shook my head.

“No, Varien had shocked my system and before I could really come fully together we were attacked in the clearing.” suddenly remembering, I looked at Macaria wide eyed. “The Asian boy? Was he brought back? Have they defrosted him?”

Macaria looked almost sad when she looked at me. “Not yet, Si. Husband thought Juan, you and Juan’s family should talk about that first.”

“Why does Cathan think that? What does Juans family have to do with it?” Cathan is a doctor like Macaria is for us Androids, but he mainly helps the Humans. He has a better understanding of anatomy, while Macaria is better with being an engineer. The skin glove she made me fits better than the one before. I realized what talking to the whole family meant. “Who is sick Macaria?”

She smiled sadly, “I’ll let you discuss it with Juan. Jannali, your mom and dad will be here soon, better wash up.” Jannali was young, but she took to engineering so quickly that Macaria couldn’t say no to her. She probably put parts in me while I was out. I’ve watched her work. She’ll be even more amazing when she’s older. Ramelan, Juan’s son, is just like Cathan, and a genius in the medical field. Its amazing to watch the two of them work. If they didn’t look like Juan and Sita mushed together in tiny form, I would have though they were Cathan and Macaria’s children. Luckily, their daughter is Zandra, and a fantastic warrior. We need fighters in our camp, along with the doctors. Zandra, Varien, Sebastian, Juan and myself are the main protectors, but our numbers are growing, with close to 50 members the five of us can’t hold off an army of Androids.

I checked all of my parts while Juan and his family filed in. Everything seemed to be functional, even if I was just a bit buzzy. They sat in front of me, like I was teaching a class.

“Whats with the formality?” We’ve known each other since before the kids were born, so its not like the behaviour made any sense.

“Its about the Ice Boy” said Sita. “We want to defrost him with you, but you need to train him.” I must have looked confused, because she rushed to continue. “Sienna, Juan isn’t doing so well.” I looked to my old friend. He looked tired, worn. He had to have been around 250 now. I can’t remember.

“Juan? What’s going on?” He looked at me with a smile.

“I’m old, Sienna.” he laughed. “I’m much older than you are. I’m either going to be made into a Hybrid or die soon, but in either case you’ll have to be the one to train the boy.”

“I have no idea how to do that.” He laughed at me.

“Thats okay. I’ll still be here. But my body grows weaker. Jannali and Ramelan need me to help them grow. I’ve got at least 50 years in me.” I hear a chuckle from behind as Cathan entered the room. His size filled up the small space, towering over us.

“He’s got more than 50, and if he’ll allow Mac to look at him he might have a few hundred” He slapped Juan on the back. “But you’re taking care of the Ice Boy” he pointed a finger at me. “You wanted a pet, now you got one.” He walked back out, with Ramelan following in close pursuit. Jannali bounded off to the side to play with more Hybrid parts. Sita and Juan looked at me seriously.

“Can you do this Sienna? Can you take care of the boy?” Sita asked, taking my hand. “We know how you feel about others, there isn’t many you trust. But we really do believe you can do this. You can take care of him, train him, make him a greater warrior than yourself. Juan did it with you, you can do it with the Boy in Ice.”

I nodded, slowly. Its hard enough for me to work regularly with Zandra and Varien, even though I have worked with them for 75 years, my trust is always guarded. Its both a blessing and a fault, since I work to not be harmed mentally or physically. But to take on another, to care for another, he looked young enough he could be my child, even if physically we looked nothing alike.

“I’ll do it” I whispered, barely able to speak. “But only if you’ll help me.”
Sita hugged me “Of course! You’re a young Hybrid, maybe he is too? We couldn’t find a date on his ice block. We don’t know who he is or how old he is.”

“It’s okay. We’ll play it by ear. Can we start the process?” I’m surprised by my eagerness. Nerves were flowing, as we walked into the center of the camp where the Ice Boy lie. I graps Sita’s hand. “What if he hates me?”

“He couldn’t hate you. Go help Juan with the machine.” The machine is a big blow dryer, essentially, that can melt a block of ice in minutes. He’ll be in shock for a few minutes, and we’ll keep his vitals checked. Most of the humans that we have are from Ice, humans who were able to freeze their bodies while their families hid them well enough until someone found them. Sometimes its people like us, others it is the Androids who murder them on the spot. To operate the machine, a Hybrid locks in their power supply (in this case, me) while another (could be Human or Hybrid) steadies the machine and watches the person in ice. Mainly to make sure we don’t roast them. Cathan will stand by with his gadgets of human medicine while Macaria stands by with any needed Hybrid supplies. My energy will flow into the machine, both from my batteries and what energy I have taken from the moon. Since I’m not at one hundred percent battery wise because of the shockwaves, I am mainly draining moon energy tonight. We’re still in a full phase, luckily, or this wouldn’t work.

“Ready?” Juan asks me, looking over. I pull off most of my clothes, leaving my bra and underwear on only, shivering with the cold. I’ll need to draw as much energy as I can tonight, even if that means freezing. I put the cables from the machine in my arm.

“As ready as I am ever going to be” I shivered.

Energy flew out of me quicker than I thought would happen. I dropped to my knees almost instantaneously, and the world started spinning. Macaria came over and pulled me back up, holding my non-connected arm up to draw directly from the moon. The pain was immense.

“Its done.” Macaria whispered in my ear “See, only a few minutes.” I must have looked at her like she was crazy because she laughed. “I suppose being in that much pain the seconds feel like hours.” As I blacked out for the second time, I saw Cathan kneeling in the pool of ice water, checking on the boy whose eyes were blinking.

Zapping feeling. I mumbled something.

“Sienna?”

Tingling. More mumbled. Eye forced open. Jannali staring at me.

“Sienna? Don’t wake up yet. We’re still fixing you.”

Major shock. I fall deep into dreams of Androids attacking the camp. I start losing the battle when the Ice Boy jumps in and rescues me. He uses a bow and arrow. My shotgun won’t charge when he puts his hand on my shoulder and smiles as an Android takes off his head in one fell swoop.

“No!” I scream and sit up straight. I look around. I’m in Macarias healing tent. I look for the Ice Boy, for any form of life. My heat signatures are still locked on Android heat, cautiously I move them down for Human and Hybrid form as well. I was alone in the tent, that was for sure. But lack of noise outside makes me wonder where everyone else is. I see small signatures around, but nothing stating anything alive. Panicked, I climb off my bed, quickly realizing I have no clothing on at all. What happened? Is Ice Boy a mass murderer? Was he an Android that was placed to kill us all? I shook that off. As far as we knew Androids cannot handle the cold like the Hybrids and Humans can, so there was no way Ice Boy could be a frozen Android.

Throwing on the first set of clothing I can find, I walk outside. Realizing it was daylight meaning the ground was heated, I wouldn’t be able to use my heat signatures for anything. I switched back to regular eyesight. The sight was a deserted camp. No forms of life, no fires, not even smoke to say there was one burning recently. I poke my head in one of the resident tents. No one home. It didn’t look abandoned though, there was clothing and bedding still there. I checked the ground for signs of struggle, but it just look like they just walked away if they did really leave. The sun burned my skin, I realized the clothing I am wearing is very thin. I borrowed one of the families long coats and hat. Being a Hybrid means we can’t handle sunlight at all. I searched to see if I could find any sunglasses, but no luck. Walking back outside, more protected, I looked around. No snow made things more difficult to track, along with the sun not being on my side made my struggle worse. I sniffed the air, hoping to find a scent of someone. Wait. That was a weird smell. Pickles? Pickles were a rare thing. It was a very old way of eating cucumbers. I followed the scent behind one of the resident tents. There, I found a small stuffed kitten with a pirate hat on. I sniffed it, it was not where the scent was coming from, but it was cute so I put it in my pocket. I continued to follow the scent. I followed it into the clearing where I had fought what seemed like decades ago, but was really only a few days. The Android parts still lay there, but I found footprints that didn’t match any of us that were there that night leading into the warehouse where I had discovered Ice Boy. I hear a crash inside. Instinctively I reach for my shotgun…which wasn’t attached to my back. Swearing at my mistake of not grabbing any weapons I continued to creep to the windows. Peering inside I see Ice Boy throwing things and kicking the piles of fecal matter. Entranced, I watch him destroy everything he touches. I hear him cursing in a language I don’t understand. Most languages disappeared when the Androids turned. This had to be old. I was so involved in watching him I didn’t hear anyone come up, when the hand touch my shoulder I grabbed the wrist and shoved as hard as I could into the chest.

“Woah, Sienna!” Varien barely had avoided my hit to the chest. I sighed in relief. Everyone wasn’t dead. “Calm down. What has you so worked up?”

“How long have I been out Varien? Where is everyone? Why were my clothes gone? Why are you out while the sun is up? You look awful.” I couldn’t stop talking. He laughed at me.

“You were out for about a week. We think your boy is still in shock, so we’ve all been monitoring him from above. His language is old, none of us understand it. He knows some of the English we speak though. His old accent is heavy, but we think he’s asking about his parents. We brought him back to the we thought maybe showing him where we found him would be the best way to maybe help him communicate with us. That obviously wasn’t the case.” He motioned towards the window. “He’s been at this for two days now. None of us bear to leave him, in case he does something stupid or will eventually reveal himself to one of us. Macaria was getting ready to wake you, maybe since it was your energy to wake him you could communicate with him. He’s a little addicting to watch though.”

“But, what is that smell?” He laughed at me again. I hate that he laughs at me so much while I’m so confused. I feel my anger rising but know that this is just his humor. I take a deep breath.

“Slow down killer.” Smirking at me. Again. “He kicked a barrel in there. It turns out it was filled with a thousand year old pickles, which surprisingly taste good. We’ve been eating them for the two days we’ve been here.”

“You’re eating something that is probably over a thousand years old?” I stare at him in disbelief. If you think I have trust issues, this man in front of me was ten times worse. Especially when it came to food. He always thought someone was going to poison his food, so no one is ever allowed to touch his food. To think that he is eating something from the old days, especially something found in a factory filled with feces was beyond amazing.

“Don’t judge me princess. I’m hungry. Our food rations are low and I didn’t scan anything bad. No bad reactions in two days. I’ll eat pickles if I so feel like it.”
I laughed, and turned back to look at Ice Boy destroying the inside of the warehouse. He spin kicked a railing pole to the stairs, knocking it straight out. “Woah” I whispered. “Can we actually have a warrior on our hands?”

“Only if you can tame that stallion dollface.” He slapped my shoulder hard. “Get in there. Talk to him. Think you can translate?”

“No, I don’t understand what he is saying right now. He could be cursing us, or he could be saying he’s an Android. I don’t have a clue.”

Varien stared thoughtfully at nothing. “Do we have any software that can translate?”

“Not unless Macaria has been hiding any on us, I don’t think so. Who is the oldest now?”

“It’s Juan, he doesn’t know the dialect at all either. I wonder if he is older than all of us.” Varien was the second oldest next to Juan then. He is the oldest Hybrid I currently know. The others I had fought alongside with had all perished in the previous harsh winter. Our numbers had dwindled last year. We really needed this warehouse, which meant stopping Ice Boy from destroying it.

I looked over at him. “Looks like I get to play mommy. Here goes nothing.”

I crept into the warehouse slowly. I felt everyone eyes on me as I approached the Ice Boy. As he raised his hand to punch something, I grabbed his arm. He looked at me wildly and swung his other arm at me. I caught it, but just in time for him to push both of his feet into my chest and kick me hard. He stood in a pose that I recognized as a very old form of martial arts, ready for me to attack again. I raised my hands as if to say there was nothing going to harm him. He continued in that stance, yelling at me something in the old language. I sighed, shaking my head.

“Any ideas?” I yelled behind me. No response. ‘Thanks guys’ I thought to myself. I stepped forward, causing him to step back. Thinking maybe he thought I was a threat, I took off the coat and hat, leaving me in a thin shirt and shorts. He laughed at the sight, probably because I felt like I was burning alive.

“Kyuketsuki!” He laughed. “Anata wa subete no kyuketsuki aru!” I stared blankly at him. This was not a language I was taught. Chinese and English were the two most common languages, along with general coding languages, but this was foreign to us. He stared at me. “You say, vampire.”

I was taken aback. Can he understand us? “English?” I asked.

He thought for a second. “Little.”

I pointed at him.”Name?”

“Takumi”

I pointed to myself “Sienna” He looked confused. I tried again. “My name Sienna”

“I see you in dream. You wake me from dream.” He walked over and poked my shoulder. “Real.”

“Yes, I am real. Who are you? Why are you in ice?” I tried to keep the words as small as possible, which he seemed to understand what I was saying, but he didn’t answer in English.

“Watashi no ryōshin wa yūfukudattashi, karera wa watashi ga ikinokoru tame ni shitakatta. Kōgeki wa sekai o hikitsugu taka~tsu robotto ni yotte, arimashita. Karera wa tada, sorera o sakusei shita hito-tachi no mono o kōgeki shi tsudzuketa. Watashitachiha, sorera o sakusei shi, karera wa, karera ga yatta tsukuru tame ni watashitachi o korosu tame ni nozonde ita. Karera wa wareware ga nozonde ita subete wa, wareware ga sakusei shita sekai de tasuke atta koto o rikai shite inakatta. Ryōshin wa watashi ga ikinokoru tame ni shitakatta. Karera wa totemo nagaiai, wareware wa karera ga kore made ni teishi suru ka dō ka shirimasendeshita tame ni kōgeki sa rete ita. Robotto wa kore made ni yamete shimatta nodeshou? Karera wa kore made kōgeki o teishi shimashita ka?”

“Hold on!” I put up my hands again, trying to convey surrender to him. “I don’t know what you are speaking. What language?”
“Japanese”

I racked my brain for Japanese. I heard someone yell from above “They were wiped out in 2050. This guy is old!” I stared at him wide eyed. Its been 963 years that he has been frozen.

“You’ve been frozen for 963 years? You’re at least 963 years old, how old were you when you were frozen?” He stared at me blankly. “Age?” I asked.

“Juukyuusai … um … 19 years old”

I didn’t know how to tell him. “Well, now you’re about 982 years old.” Blunt seemed to be the way to go. He continued to stare at me.

“Okay, we have to teach you English. You, Takumi. Me, Sienna. Me teacher. Yes?” He nodded. “You follow me. No more fight. Yes?” He nodded again. I put on my coat and hat and took grabbed his shoulder, leading him out the door. I heard the others of the camp start to follow me out. Cathan caught up to me, whispering to me.

“He’s human, nothing we could find that would hint otherwise. His vitals were good, although other than a few pickles he hasn’t eaten. This is the most he’s spoken. You’re going to be a great mom.”

I realized then, all of a sudden, he was only 19 years old in his head, which in theory could make me his mother. Or grandmother. Or great grandmother. Being 122 years old, I’ve been around longer than him by a long shot. Then, in true mother fashion, I decided he needed to eat something then a thousand year old pickle.

“You. Food.” I state in my caveman talk. He shakes his head. “Yes.”

“Sick” he said.

“Because you ate pickles that are who knows how old. We’ll get meat and vegetables that are fresh in you.”

“No!” He shouted, turning at me. “Sick!” He pointed at his rear end. Suddenly I understood.

“Vegetables.” I nodded at him. “Water. Vegetables. Yes.” He pouted at me, but I continued to push him to the camp. There I gave him fresh water and some of the wild mushrooms we had picked. I tried to sneak in some dried fruits but he looked at them with disgust.

He ate quickly, quietly, without mess. When he was finished he handed me his plate, and walked to the area where we defrosted him. He laid down in the exact spot where he was frozen, closed his eyes, and went to sleep. I checked his pulse, but he was alive. Cathan checked his vitals and he was fine.

“What do you think?” I asked Cathan. He just shrugged. Ramelan popped up from behind him.

“He’s probably depressed.” He said.

“What makes you think that?” I tilted my head with the question. While I was Human, I’m not anymore. I don’t quite understand all emotions anymore. It is a side effect of becoming a Hybrid.

“Well, think about it. He’s been frozen for 963 years. His friends, his family, maybe he had a normal life, all of that has to be gone by now. He’s only 19, thats only a few years older than I am. I couldn’t imagine life without you in it. I don’t even want to think of a life without my parents or Jannali. Can you imagine what life would be like if everything was ripped away from you?” He realized what he had said, quickly retracting “Thats not what I meant Si, you have to know that.”

“No, I know” I must have looked sad because Cathan put his arm around me. Life before becoming a Hybrid was much different, but I tried not to think about it. I had a family once, a husband and a daughter. The Androids ripped them away from me, almost taking my life with them. I was discovered by Juan and Macaria, who were just happening to stumble into my town in search of rescue. They rescued me instead, but since I’ve never quite recovered. It was my place of reservation against becoming Takumi’s mother figure, and getting close with others. Being one of a sad story gave me strength to take down the Androids and the demon behind the voice, but I know others that it would have broken them. I wondered if Takumi was broken because of what happened. I longed to know the language he spoke, because I wanted to connect with him. I wanted to know what happened. Straightening my back, I asked Cathan if he knew where we could find a translator, or a way we could teach Takumi to speak English like us, or I could learn Japanese like him.

“There probably isn’t such a thing anymore. He is about 982 years old. I don’t think anything like that exists unless you want to hack into the Android system” I must have given him a look, because he continued “Don’t, Sienna. It’s not worth it. Just teach the very very old fashioned way of caveman style with signals and movement. We will work through this together.”

I shook my head. “He’s going to be my adopted child, there is no way I am making you take care of him as well. Zandra is your child and your problem, Takumi will be mine. I’ll figure out a way to communicate fluently with him, even if that means hacking the Android system.”

Cathan stopped me there. “You will not hack the system, Sienna. You will not only endanger yourself, but you endanger this camp. Think of everyone here. We can’t take anymore loss. You know this as well as I do.” I hung my head. He was right, of course but I really didn’t want to accept it. To hack the Android system was suicide, and I would kill not only myself but everyone around me. I would see the Voice again, the Voice who eventually had a face, the face only I saw. I still refer to him as only the Voice, because I didn’t want to accept him for being real. For the Android that murdered the human race. Who created us Hybrids who are stuck between life and death, heaven and hell.

I was angry.

“I need to get out of here.” I turned on my heel, went into my tent and changed back into my clothes. I strapped my shotgun to my back, my knife to my hip and my pistol in my boot. I walked back out to Cathan and Ramelan staring at me. “I need to think. I’ll take out some Androids in my wake. If he wakes up, make him drink more water. He isn’t well.” I headed back towards the warehouse, but I didn’t stop there. I kept walking deeper into the forest. The heat signature warning jumped in my signals. Androids were around.

I charged my shotgun, spinning it as fast as I could. I switched to eyesight to see the metal walkers. These guys weren’t hunting, they were camping. ‘Good’ I thought to myself. ‘Now they will know what it feels like.’ Suddenly wishing I had Redtail with me to be my eyes above, I crept towards the camp. I readied my knife to take out the lookouts. I scanned above for heat signatures and read nothing. I was ready for the first lookout, taking him out with a quick knife into his skull. Searching his body, I found a grenade. ‘Almost too perfect’ pulling off the grenade. His other weapons are useless to me, I refuse to touch their technology. The second lookout was coming, and I didn’t want him to notice the first one down, so I took him down quickly. Nothing of use on him. Before any other Androids could come along, I took the grenade, pulled the pin and threw it as hard as I could to the opposite side of the camp. As it exploded, I watched the Androids pull on their skins as quickly as they could. Creeping behind them as they rushed towards the explosion, I took out three from behind, stabbing them in their motherboard skulls. It wasn’t long before I was noticed, and shots went flying. I didn’t fully grasp how many were around me as everything happened so fast, a shot here, a stab there, a grabbing hand, a slice. I threw kicks and cuts as deeply as I could while the lot barreled down on me. Gasping for air as I fought as hard as I could, the number were just too great. One grabbed my ankle, pulling me down. I fired a shot straight into the air, hoping a clearing would happen, but they came down so quickly it was like it was never even fired. Their hands grabbed at my limbs, pulling and tugging. ‘I am done. I just killed myself and Takumi.’ I thought.

“STOP.”

The Voice. Everything froze, including myself. I felt my wires freeze in terror. I did a quick scan to know I was not as harmed as I thought I was. I feared what was to come next. The Androids then stood straight, awaiting the next orders.

“By scan, I am aware this is the war criminal known only as Sienna. She is wanted alive in my presence. Bring her to me alive and well, full of her parts. I want to scan her personally.”

‘Scan me personally?’ I thought ‘War criminal? What?’ So much of what just said didn’t make any sense at all.

The Androids seized me, holding all of my limbs, holding my shotgun, taking my knife and pistol. I was helpless in a sea of Androids with no one knowing where I was. I was ready to give up when I hear a shot fired in the distance. I hear an Android fall. Another shot, another fallen Android. One by one they start falling, until I hear a yell.

“Get down Sienna!” Instinctively, I curl into a ball, wrenching away from the Androids who seem to emote surprise. I drop hard onto the ground, where bodies fly over me. I see a machete swing and an Android head fall in front of me. I see my shotgun drop, which I instinctively grab and hug to my chest. My knife, my pistol, all fall in front of me. I hug them all, unable to correct myself to help the ones who saved me. Blasts heard all around me. The Androids, silently falling around me even though we scream as we fight. The Androids are just silent as they fall. They are silent as they take orders. They are silent as they are doing as they are told. They are The Voice’s soldiers, and nothing more. They aren’t given enough thought to process even further than that. It seemed poetic that the snow began to fall then, as silent as the Androids, who didn’t fight back because The Voice never told them to. They just died, still as stone, as the Humans and Hybrids came to rescue the War Criminal known as Sienna.
I didn’t know what to do, or how to react. I just lay there, hugging my weapons, hoping that someone would eventually wake me from the nightmare I have been living for the past 75 years.

Suddenly all movement stopped. I felt nothing in the air move except for the snow falling softly to the ground. I hear crunching over my head, and a shake on my shoulder. A strong, unfamiliar accent shakes me and says “Sienna?”

I began crying. There are no words to describe the rush of emotions I felt as that young Asian boy named Takumi shook me and said my name. I pulled him close to me, hugging him harder than I ever hugged anything since I became a Hybrid. This is what I needed. I needed him. I needed this life.

I don’t think the kid knew how to react to this Hybrid holding onto him so tightly. I haven’t had true emotions in the 75 years I had been Hybrid. This was my first real human emotion in so long, and I didn’t know what to do either. We were soon surrounded by the others of the camp, Zandra eventually pulling us apart, Varien taking my weapons. Sebastian picked me up, cradling me lightly as they took me back to the camp where Macaria put a needle in my human side, putting me to sleep.

I awoke a few days later, with Takumi holding my hand and asleep by the bedside. Jannali looked over from her workbench and smiled.

“You’re awake! We thought we were going to lose you. You really broke down back there.” She came over and checked my vitals, running through my battery system. “You didn’t lose any parts and your scans are coming out clean.”
“Well, that’s good. How did you all know where to find me?” I was going to try and get up, but I didn’t want to wake Takumi.

“The grenade” Jannali said matter of factly. “When we heard the grenade go off the warriors knew you had done something stupid. Now we know they were right. You want to tell me what happened?”

“Not really, Jay” I said, stiffening. “Don’t take this personally, but you’re a bit young. I think I’m going to talk to your mother though.”

She laughed “She’ll tell me eventually you know.”

I stuck my tongue out at her. “That’s not the point, the point is I need to talk to a human mother, emphasis on mother, Jay, about this. I don’t know what happened but I fear I might endanger the camp if this goes on.”

She sighed, defeated. “Okay. I’ll let her know you’re up. She might be with child again, Cathan is checking her out.”

“Good” I said with a smile. “That means you won’t be the bratty baby anymore!”

Jannali scowled at me. “I’m not a bratty baby! I’m just the youngest. Don’t mess with the one who fixes you!” She stuck her tongue out at me, spun on her heel and walked away. I laughed to myself, she knew I wasn’t serious, but it is always fun to make her angry. My clothes and weapons were sitting on the side table, but I eyed Takumi still fast asleep and holding my hand. I was able to slip my fingers away, quickly changing and strapping on my weapons. I did a quick scan to see if there was anyone else in here with us, but we were alone. I walked outside of the tent to where it seemed as if the entire camp was awaiting me. Juan came up and hugged me tightly. Overwhelmed by the emotions that the camp was emitting, I pushed him away.

“What is going on?” I asked. He had tears in his eyes. People were crying. But they were smiling. I didn’t understand.

“You broke through. You became human again.” Juan smiled. “We’re happy for you.”

“I’m not! What am I supposed to do with this? I have my job to do. I need to continue to fight.” This is what the big deal was? That I broke down? I didn’t understand.

“You can still fight and have emotions Si” Juan pulled me to sit down next to him. The rest of the camp followed. ‘What is this, story time?’ I thought to myself.

“Sienna, think about it. As a human, I fight constantly. I fight for what I want to protect. What did you fight for before you and Takumi shared energy? You fought to protect us, who saved you so long ago. You fought to win your family back, who have passed. What has changed? You still have your passion to fight. Takumi is just now the one that you have a specific fight for. Your fight is because you shared your energy, because you need him. Its like adopting a child. Its like how we adopted you as one of our own. You don’t remember this because it’s been so long. You’ve been a blessing to us, you’ve brought us through some hard times. You can still fight, you won’t have a choice to. You just have more responsibility now. You need that responsibility. You need that anchor, that need. You can’t run off anymore like that. I know, you’re frustrated that you cannot speak with the one you shared with. But its like with a baby. Babies don’t know to speak right away. Its done by being taught. You are going to teach that boy how to speak, and fight, and learn how to live in this world. Its like a brand new baby. He’s so young.”

Juan’s speech had me reeling. I wasn’t ready for this. I felt more conflicted than ever. I didn’t know if I should bend to this Human side, or pull myself back into the Hybrid Warrior I knew.  Before I could even respond, Sita came up beside me and held me close.

“Its okay to feel human” she said, stroking my hair. This was too much. I stood up abruptly.

“Guys, I appreciate what you are saying, but this is all really new and really weird to me. I don’t like the fact I broke down on the field. I don’t like that I gave up. I hate even more that I was willing to die for nothing. For my anger. For my frustrations. I couldn’t see past what had happened so long ago, I couldn’t see past that I now have a child that I didn’t ask for. I just want to fight, get to The Voice, destroy him and be done with surviving to live. I want to live a real life. If I have to have a child like I do now, I want him to be in a safe world. One where we don’t have the threat of Androids. One where we don’t have to scavenge for food and shelter from day to day. Where we know we can survive the winter or the rain season. This life isn’t fit for reproduction and new life. What we need to do is defeat The Voice and we can move on from there. Let’s plan this. Let’s do this. Let’s move on.”

The silence was deafening around me in the camp. Everyone was looking at me like I was crazy. ‘This is the goal, right?’ I thought to myself. ‘I thought the goal was to eventually bring the humans back to this world. To rule over the Androids once again. To not be ruled by technology. Am I wrong? Why are they looking at me like that? I don’t understand.’

Zandra stood slowly and held my hand. Hair whipping in the wind, shoulders broad and confident, she turned me to face her. “You are crazy, little girl. But I will stand by you in this crazy endevour you have. But you need to teach him what you can, because we are going to need his Kung Fu Crazy Brain to work with us.” She hugged me close. I knew if anyone was to talk me in or out of this planning period, Zandra would have been the one to do it. To know she has my back made thinking about this that much easier.

Sita sat next to Juan, shaking her head. “We all can’t be part of that mission Sienna. You’ll have to create your own team to infiltrate the Android headquarters. We have kids, I’m with child..” the crowd gasped and she nodded, holding her hands up. “Those of us who need to stay will stay. But you’re right Sienna. We can’t keep going on a day to day. We need to bring life back into the world, not life created by machine.” She turned to address the crowd. “It will only be a small team, most of us will stay. It will require those of us who are not at the front of the line to become front of the line. Our roles are going to change.”

I turned to reassure her. “It will only be myself, Takumi, Zandra and if anyone volunteers. I don’t want a group bigger than 6. We’ll move in stealth, even if that means moving during the day. We will plan everything as much as we can before we even leave this campsite. Juan, I want to talk to you about cleaning out the warehouse and moving everyone in there. I feel it in my bones that this weather is about to turn bad, and we can’t have another winter like last. What weapons do we have spare so that I can train Takumi?”

Mica, our weapons creator, spoke up from the back. “No new weapons, Sienna. But I have some old ones. And the ancient set of bow and arrows we’ve been carrying.” I flashed back to my dream of Takumi dying for me with the bow and arrow. I shook my head.

“Is there another shotgun like mine? I know I can teach him that. I don’t know the bow and arrow.”  Mica shook his head.

“Not like yours. There is one with the old time ammo, that isn’t made anymore. If you can figure out how to make ammunition we can equip him with that. The only energy weapon we have is some pistols that aren’t great, but they’ll work. I can try and create some new weapons if we have the time.”

“Take the time you need Mica. We have a lot of planning to do, and a lot of preparing so we don’t leave the place in shambles. When you are able to create something let me know. Try and keep with the shotguns and rifles, I want to take extras with me as well. We’re going to need the extras I think.”
“Make another sniper for me too” Sebastian spoke up from the back.

“Macaria, you’re going to have to stockpile some batteries for her and a bunch of chargers for me.” Varien stood next to Sebastian. I smiled at the thought that Redtail and Varien would be joining us. I knew Juan wouldn’t join us, especially if Sita is with child. I felt a tug at my hand.

“Sienna?” Takumi was tugging at my hand. For a 19 year old he looked so young, so small. I hugged him.

“I am going to teach you so much in so little time.” I turned around. “We have space for one more. We can do it with us five, but I would prefer to have at least one more.”

No one moved. I couldn’t be surprised. It was basically a suicide mission. But our lives needed to be improved. Takumi held onto my arm. Sebastian and Varien joined us up front. The five of us stood there. I almost felt like we were a superhero team. The crowd started to applaud. My confidence grew. ‘We can do this’ I thought to myself. ‘We have a very good shot of doing this.’

Later that night, while Macaria continued her monitoring of my system, Zandra came to see me. She kissed her mother hello and came over to my table. Takumi was playing with some wires on the ground next to me, making new sparks. He would mutter something in his language now and then, I think he was trying to create something new. Zandra sat next to me, looking at me.

“So what is the plan girl?” Leave it to her for business right away.

“We need to get prints into the Android headquarters. Where they are now too, because The Voice might have moved since we infiltrated last time. I’m going to start speaking with Takumi, just straight speaking to him in English, and maybe hopefully he’ll pick up words and he can start figuring things out. He’s smart, he’s already messing with the electronics here. Have you talked with Mica?”

“Since we cleared that camp of Androids we’re going to have to find a new one. Talking with Juan, we’re going to have a mess to clean up with the warehouse but everyone will pitch in, it shouldn’t be too bad. We’re going to need to make more masks, which will keep Mica slightly occupied for now, but he said our weapons are the priority. He said he might have a few tricks up his sleeves for the ‘lady who likes to blow stuff up.’ Since I can only assume that is you, I think you’re going to get some new shiny shotguns.”

I smiled. “Fantastic. I can teach Takumi on my current one. That one hasn’t failed me the past year, I’m glad Mica has time to get creative now. How is Redtail and Varien doing?”

“They’re more nervous about you, the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional and draining for you. They’re probably going to send you for battle a few more times before they’ll be more comfortable in your state”
I sighed. “I can’t blame them, and Mac here won’t let me leave until I am shiny and brand new. I am going to talk to Sita tomorrow as well.”

Zandra smiled. “Good, she can help you with being a mom. I will help as much as I can okay? I’m going to hunt, the moon is high tonight, I’ll take Varien with me.”

“I’m glad you’re not going alone. Varien is a good hunting partner too. If you see any of the medicinal berries that Macaria likes will you get some please? I’m sure I used up a lot of them and I would love to be able to present her with some.”

“Of course, don’t worry. Take care of yourself girl.” She patted my shoulder and got up. “Takumi?” He looked at her, she pointed at herself. “Zandra. Friend.” He smiled and nodded, then went back to his electronics. She looked back at me “I’m serious girl. Take care of yourself.”

I nodded at her. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to play hero for a little while. I have someone to take care of, and an entire army to overthrow.” As she left the tent, I laid back down in my bed. Before I could close my eyes, Sebastian stood over me.

“Hey moonshine” his eyes sparkled. “Got a sec?”

I sat up. “What’s up Redtail? Zandra just left.”

He smiled. “Yeah I saw the redhead leave. Girl talk? You two talking about the boys?”

Rolling my eyes, I replied “Oh yeah, all you sexy boys. You gonna tell me what’s up? Macaria is going to yell if I’m up much longer.”

“Oh, I’ll sweet talk her.” He said with a laugh. “Actually I’m here to ask a favor. When you start teaching your boy the shotgun, can you teach me too? I can take out anything with a sniper rifle, but I think cross training is something key here.” I must have looked surprised, because he continued. “C’mon girl. We’re taking on an entire Android army, plus The Voice. You’re still the only person to take on The Voice and survive. What does he look like anyway?”

I shook my head. “I don’t talk about that, you know it. But I’ll help you, as long as you never bring that up again.”

He smiled, with a laugh. “I know, I figured I might as well ask before you can beat me up again. Thanks for the help metalhead.” Before I could protest that nickname he walked out of the tent.



{June 28, 2012}   Alternates: Part 3 & 4

Due to my lack of posting updates (but I’ve been writing it!) I’m giving you a double dose of Alternates today. If you  need to catch up, Part One and Part Two are both available. The same rules still apply, I welcome criticism as long as you are constructive in it. Wheaton’s law folks. Thanks for your patience!

Part 3

Beaten and bloody, I faced a new sort of torture. They had captured our Pack. Their hands on their heads, each of the Mutts were trotted out in front of me. Their tearful eyes begged me to help them, as each of their lives were taken from them while I watched. The younger ones were killed quickly, with a blow to the head. The older they got, the more they were tortured. Knives, burns, being shot in places that wouldn’t fatally kill you at first. Fight as I might, the Alts had me pinned. But nothing could have prepared me for the end.

The last person they brought out was Dylan. He was barely conscious, probably struggling to save the rest of the Pack. I thought back through the Alt and Human history that Opa had taught us. I couldn’t remember what had made the Alts so hostile towards the Humans. I didn’t know what made them hate the Mutts so much. But these moments were frozen in time in my head. These were the moments that turned me against the Alts.

Dylan was placed in a chair in front of me. He was slapped awake, his eyes barely alive. His multicolored eyes that I couldn’t feel anymore. Dylan, my brother, my best friend. Dylan, who didn’t make a sound as a knife was dragged from his scalp to his chin. A single tear didn’t fall from my brothers face as deep cuts were made around his body. I couldn’t say the same for myself, as I screamed, cried and tried to fight my way to him. But there were too many Alts, no matter how many I broke through, they just overpowered me. I couldn’t even tell if he was alive anymore, there was so much blood. It was everywhere. There was blood dripping everywhere. All of us who had suffered, all of the Mutts in my Pack that died, all of the Alts I had managed to kill or harm, all of our blood mixing together on the floor. There was a large whack to the back of my skull, bringing me to the floor. I remember thinking how strange it was that all of our blood was right there, but there was so much hatred still around me.

I woke up in a sterile white room. Across from me, I could see Dylan. He was still in the chair, bleeding everywhere.  Realizing I was no longer bound, I ran towards him with what little strength I had, but halfway across the room I was flung back into the wall. Screaming in frustration, I walked slowly towards the center, this time dragging my hand along the wall until I felt the slight vibration. There was a current, probably electric in between Dylan and myself. This proved they were going to make Dylan into a show for me. He shuffled slightly in his chair, and I sighed in relief, glad to know he was still alive. I could still rescue him somehow. Before I could say anything to him, two Alts came in the room. One sneered at me, with teeth that resembled shark teeth. The other roughly shoved Dylan’s chair forward, closer to the current. Horrified she was going to shove him in, I stupidly ran to stop them, flinging myself back into the wall. Laughing, the two Alts watched as I crawled back to the center, this time much more weary of the divide. Paying closer attention, I could actually see the currents keeping me from helping my brother.

They said something to each other in their own language, the female Alt laughed, drawing a serrated knife from her belt. The male looked at me, his eyes piercing through to my very soul. He bared his teeth in a wicked grin. “You’re going to love this.” He says, “This Mutt dies by your hands. You’ll be so happy to put him out of his misery.” Laughing again, the female took the knife and sliced down Dylans arm. Screaming, I fling myself into the current again, trying to wake him up from this misery. Just praying that he’ll wake up. I know he has feeling, I know he can feel what they are doing.

“Fight back!” I scream at him “Fight them! Dylan, I need you to fight!” he stirs slightly at the sound of my voice. I continue to yell, “Dylan please! We need to fight for our brothers and sisters! Dylan please wake up!” The Alts continue to grin as the female continues to cut into my brother. The male stared me down with those alien eyes. “You’re a fighter. If you’re lucky she’ll save you.” The female hissed at him “Do not mention her. Do not talk to the Mutt. She will be lucky to give death to this one before we kill her ourselves.”

I wondered who they are talking about. Before I have time to react, the currents are gone and the Alts swiftly leave the room. Dylan is sliced all down his arms and legs. There is a slice across his throat, but it doesn’t look deep. I run to him, I try to hold his hand but screams out in pain. It is the first sound he has made since I’ve woken up. “Dylan” I try to touch his face “Dylan, please wake up. Please wake up. We can fight them together. Dylan.” I plead with him. “Please. I’ll do anything. Don’t you dare die on me. Don’t you dare.” His eyes open. His double colored eyes stare up at me, blinking rapidly.

“Kill me.”

I looked in his eyes with horror. Tears sprang to my eyes. This is what he truly wanted. He really wanted me to kill him.

“Don’t make them right. They are just cuts. We can cure you. Please..” my voice trailed off. We both knew that he couldn’t heal from those gashes. I couldn’t even see his skin anymore. There was just blood. So much pooled beneath him. I kissed his forehead.

“Some escaped. Save them” he whispered. I nodded, grasping his head.

“I love you brother” The snap was fast. His body sagged in the chair. I collapsed in his pool of blood, sobbing.

Time passed. I have no idea how much. I just knew I had to get ready. The guards will return. They will see him dead, and I would be next. I did a quick assessment of my injuries. Nothing I couldn’t handle. Not exactly one hundred percent, but close enough. I knew the guards carried at least blades. Hopefully some sort of projectile. I have no idea where I am. An Alt holding area, but where? Am I far from the hideout? I looked down, realizing how horrifying I must look, covered in my brothers blood.

Wearily standing, I pushed on the area where the Alts had come from. Something was a door there right? They didn’t just materialize. Or did they? I didn’t know much about them. I was really beat up when they came in. Pushing on the white walls, I could smell the copper blood on me. It made me want to vomit everywhere, but I knew I had to get out.

I must have pushed the right panel, because a keypad dropped open. The pad didn’t look like any language we were taught, so I just started randomly pushing the buttons, my thought process “Some sort of combination should work, right?”. I wasn’t wrong, but it wasn’t the reaction I was expecting. After mashing a certain set of numbers, the pad started sparking. The lights went out, and the pad stopped working.

“Shit!”

I started banging on where I thought the door would be. The emotional turmoil of the days past caught up with me, and I started screaming. The loss of my mother, my packs, my brother all balled up inside me were let out as I beat against those white walls. Sobbing, I sank to my knees, ready to admit defeat. The smell of blood mixed with my tears..it was too much to bear. Sobbing and vomiting, I just let loose on the pristine white floor. I must have blacked out, because the next thing I remember was being tied to a chair. I wasn’t in my clothes anymore, just a white robe. Surrounding me was my hair, covering the floor. If I didn’t look like a human before, I certainly didn’t then. I laughed softly to myself, wondering what could possibly happen next.

Part 4

There is a common misconception that events like this make a person stronger. I feel this is untrue, as at this very moment I feel at my weakest. I don’t feel that I am strong, I don’t feel as if I am vulnerable. I feel as though all I can do now is give up. My brothers and sister that survived, I can only hope continue to do so. We were all trained the same way, just they were younger than I. They have the same fight that I do, unfortunately, I just got caught. To this day, I have the demons inside that make me wonder if surviving this was worth it. To tell the story of the Alternates, the Mutts and the Humans. I can’t say if I am a stronger person than what I was when this started, when I began the War Against The Alternates. I can tell you my skin is riddled with scars, I can tell you I’m still as physically trained as I was when I lost my mother. I’m not strong. I just survive.

I was sitting there, giggling to myself when two Alts came in the room. I honestly can’t tell you if they were the same ones or not, but they seemed to be baffled by my laughing. Their bright blue eyes stared at me with curiosity.

“You won’t be laughing long” One grinned with their shark like smile. Interestingly enough, I never noticed the red tips on their teeth. I wondered slightly if I had that, or maybe he had just eaten a steak. I don’t think my mind was entirely there at this point.

“Why did you cut my hair?” I asked, simply. I continued laughing.

“For the tests” The other whispered. She stared at me, feeling like she touched my soul. Her glass eyes were stone cold. Apparently, she didn’t find my predicament very funny. I just kept laughing. I hear this was moments of hysteria. I didn’t particularly care, I just wanted them to kill me and get it done with. The male ran his head over my freshly shaven head.

“You’re different” he said. “We want to know why.”

“I’m a Mutt” I told him proudly. “A very well-trained Mutt.”

“No…not that.” The female whispered. I wondered if she ever spoke higher than that. “Your brain. It is different.”

“Yes, well I’m still a Mutt. A cross between a Human and Alternate? The things you keep executing for being alive? Any of this ringing any bells?”

The male hit me across the back of the head, hard. I spit blood out. The floor was clean…well, it was until I spit the blood on it. “Where is my brother?” I asked.

“Wherever your version of hell resides” The male grinned maniacally. Before I could respond, the female injected something into my neck. Searing pain spread through my body, burning, itching in my blood. I screamed, no longer able to laugh about the torture that was coming onto me. I almost blacked out, but before I could the pain abruptly stopped. I looked at my captors, tears streaming down my face.

“You will stay quiet until we talk to you” the female hissed in my ear. “You’ll keep facing that pain otherwise.”

I nodded, not wanting to feel the burning sensation again. Which I suppose was stupid, knowing who I was dealing with the pain returned within minutes.

“Sorry” the female hissed again “But we need to know.”

“Know what?!” I cried out “I don’t know what you are talking about? How do you even know I am different?!”

“We know” the male grumbled, seemingly unhappy that I was continued to be tortured. “You’re different.”

“Thank you for the clarification” I glared at him. The feeling was gone in my feet. A blessing maybe. “But if you could stop with the burning pain..”

“We need to know if you’re one of us.” he crossed his arm, and walked over. “You have the specks. You’re not a Mutt, or Human, or Alternate. What are you?”

Another injection. “I’m a Mutt!” I screamed, “I will always be a Mutt!”

I wish I could tell you what happened next, but apparently the female did not like my answer since she hit me hard enough to black out.

When I came to, I have no idea when. It could have been an hour, it could have been days. I still had no hair, the blood I had spit out was gone and no one was in the room with me. My arms and legs were still bound to the chair, and I could hear my stomach rumbling loudly.

“Don’t suppose you plan on feeding your prisoner…” I mumbled to myself. I tugged on the restraints, seeing if there was anyway to break free. No such luck. I tried rocking the chair, maybe if I could crush my hand I could get it out, but the chair was bolted down. There was no winning in this fight. So I sat and thought about my predicament.

I thought about what the Alts who had injected me had said. I have the specks. What are the specks? Can I get rid of them? Have I always had them? How long will I be here? How long had I been here already? Is the members of the Pack that escaped, are they still alive?

Before I could really think about it, my eyes exploded.



I don’t regret what I do, I regret what I don’t do.

It’s been an interesting week.

When I first went into recovery post surgery I said I was going to do a blog a day, which would include the story I’m writing called Alternates.

I realized later that this is unrealistic, as I have a lot of projects going on top of this, along with trying to find a job with a steady paycheck for post recovery. Especially after the last announcement made to me about the gorram tumors.

The last bit of information sunk me pretty hard into a pretty bad depression. Like, I was depressed already, but I went back into the “what the fuck am I doing” mode, that made me question even living. Which is horrible, no one should ever have to feel that way.

Here’s the weird thing that happened though.

My brother gave me Microsoft points and downloaded Minecraft for me. I didn’t think anything of it because why would I care about a game that is literally Legos, when I have Legos AND Lego games? I had also sworn it off because, and this actually happened, my best friend almost missed her wedding BECAUSE OF MINECRAFT. These things alone made me go “oh heeeellll to the fuck no I’m not playing this”

But now its on 360, so my excuse of not playing it because it was a PC game was nulled. Then, since my brother bought it for me, I couldn’t say I can’t afford it anymore. He told me to hop on and he would teach me how to play.

It’s so simple. There is nothing in this game that would hook me. I kept telling myself that. Until 6 hours later, when I found out I had been playing for 6 STRAIGHT HOURS. WHAT THE FUCK?! WHERE DID MY TIME GO?!

I did this multiple times in a row. Being on bedrest, you really don’t do MUCH. I mean, I’m still writing stuff for the webseries (which premieres tomorrow, OMG) and working on Alternates (which, I promise, Part 3 will go up soon. I just keep rewriting it because I haven’t liked it) and physical therapy, which wears me out more than I care to admit. I played some Gears of War, some Arkham City, finished the second run of Borderlands. But I didn’t have a focus.

For some reason, Minecraft provided me with focus. It sets off my OCD in a way that would be constructed into my usual running around like a madwoman (or as Trin puts it, VIKINGSAMURAININJAWORKER) but because I physically cannot do that right now, it put my brain down and was like “Hey, calm the fuck down right now. Just because you can’t do it at this second doesn’t mean you can’t do it later. Stop trying to kill yourself and accept this.”

I have to remember that sometimes. I know that I had set myself up when I kept reminding myself that I had gone through this before. I forgot how long it took me to where I was before the second break, but I’ll be okay. I know recovery isn’t nearly as bad as it should be, but I hate not being able to do anything. By August I’ll be fine and being super ninja fighter at Star Wars Celebration and PAX Prime (possibly Gen Con as well, we’ll see) but this couple of months where I’m not allowed to do anything does sink in.

Are you on Minecraft 360? Or just on 360 and want a new friend? My GT is BakaNaki and I’m on a lot. I am not (sadly) playing Diablo III because I have a laptop that tried to explode from just thinking about it.

Now I’m worn out from the past few days. Physically being up and about is quite tiring after being in bed for 3 weeks. 🙂



{May 8, 2012}   Alternates: Part 2

This is the next part of the story Alternates. To understand what is going on, please read Part One. Please feel free to leave comments, but please be constructive in criticism.

Before Mam and the other Saviors were taken from us, I had only fought an Alt once. We mainly stayed underground, we were content there. But like most 13 year old girls, I had wanted to disobey and explore the world above. It turned out to be an almost fatal mistake right away. I was untrained. I didn’t know what I was seeing. The only times I was above ground, I was escorted by Mam, and it was just for errands. Humans and Alts both lived above ground, so Mam had a home where she had built us our underground home. I had the blue diamond contacts in, I thought I would be safe.

Can I tell you something? At 13, no matter what species you are, you’re wrong. Listen to your elders, because they are right, you’re wrong. I was not safe. By my wandering, I had not only put myself in danger, but I put Mam in danger of being found out for hording Mutts, which is punishable by death. I put the other Mutts in danger. Because I was 13, and I didn’t want to be locked up anymore.

I decided to go on the rooftops. I put 3 knives on me, one in my boot, and one in each back pocket. Because we never cut our hair, I had it pulled up into a ponytail. I thought it was silly to even bring the knives, but who knew what adventures I would find out there? Just before sunrise, Mam was asleep. I crept to the opening we used to go on our errands I opened the latch and pulled myself out of the underground. Even just entering the house without Mam was exhilarating.  Checking the windows, I looked to see if anyone was around. Seeing that the coast was clear, I dashed out the front door, across the street to the alleyway between the grocery store and an abandoned building. I saw a ladder on the side of the abandoned building, so I quickly scrambled up to the roof, ducking down, waiting for Mam to come out guns blazing.

She didn’t.

I waited what felt like hours before moving. I hopped from rooftop to rooftop, amazed at the things I could see. Everything looked so small! Everyone was so tiny! Then I ran into him.

There was an Alt on guard at the roof of a store. I didn’t understand why he was there, but since I had the contact in, I smiled politely. Gruffly, he asked “What are you doing up here?”  “Just wandering around!” I replied, with my best smile and big eyes. At that moment, I knew something was wrong. Not only was he looking at me…he was looking through me. Alarmed, I started to back away, but before I could move quickly enough he jumped, landing on top of me.

“Mutt!” He screamed, “Your fake eyes do nothing for me! Do you think we are stupid? Do you think we are powerless to you? Do you think you are better than me?”

“No! No! No!” I sobbed, trying to reach for my blade. He felt me struggling, because he pulled out his gun, holding it to my head. Before I knew it, his head exploded and I was being pulled to my feet. Mam’s white hair hit me in the face. She looked me in the eyes.

“Rissa! Rissa can you hear me? Rissa! I need you to run! Run, Rissa!” She shoved me in the opposite direction, but I couldn’t leave her behind. 2 more Alts came and the sound of the gunfire. Before I knew it, my knives were flying, landing directly in their chests. I ran and grabbed them, realizing their blood is not red like ours. Their blood runs black. I stood there for a second, staring at the chaos that I created, when Mam grabbed my arm. We ran, faster than we ever ran before, back to the grocery store, where we stayed until way past dark. Mam didn’t speak to me the entire time we were there. I spent my time counting calorie labels on cans.  She didn’t say anything when it was time to leave, she just grabbed my arm and dragged me back to the underground. The first thing she did was slap me square across the face. That hurt more than the Alt that tackled me.

“Do you know why you’re escorted everywhere? Do you? I know where it is safe for you. Alts can see past your contacts, your fake skin. Think, Rissa. Think really hard. Do you ever see Alt’s whose name I don’t know? Do you ever go to someplace where it is not full of humans? I’m trying to protect you! There are Alts everywhere. Alts can see under you. They can read your mind Rissa! Alts can control us. We got lucky today. This is why the Alts have taken over the Humans. They can read and manipulate who they are. I’ve been lucky. Your mother, was lucky. You are lucky to have this place Rissa, and you almost threw it all away. What if someone had seen us? You would have given not only our pack away, but the Opa and Pinky’s pack too!” She was so angry she didn’t look at me the entire time she spoke. I sobbed quietly to myself, giving her a minute before speaking.

“Mam..I didn’t…”

“No, Rissa, you didn’t. You didn’t think. You thought you knew it all, thought you could be safe with your little knives. You’re lucky Dylan saw you leave. I’m lucky Dylan saw you leave.” She slammed her hand against the wall. “Do you know how much I wish I could just let you go up there? How I wish the Mutts could be one of them? I want you to know who your mother is. I want you to live with a family. I want you to be able to have a family. But Rissa, you can’t right now. You can’t leave. I need you to help me take care of our ever growing family here. Can you do that?” Tears streamed down my eyes as she put her hand on my cheek.

“Of course I can Mam. I promise I will always take care of this family.”

I kept that promise. The seven years I remained in the underground with the Pack I trained and studied harder than anyone else. Dylan, one of the other Mutts who was rescued around the same time I was, tried to keep up. He was good, but he was always a step behind. He was an Alt Mutt like me, although his skin was a deep forest green and hair that was bright yellow. His eyes were two different colors, one a deep chocolate brown, the other a light blue. I told him one time that he could hypnotize the Alts with his strange eyes. He laughed, his deep, rumbling laugh that shook the cavern. For someone who was a few months younger than me, he always seemed older. He never took well to sparring or shooting, but excelled in education. He was great with Pinky, always able to keep her talking about religion.

If we weren’t fearing for our lives, we probably could have fallen in love.

When the Saviors were taken, Dylan had to pull me away from the door to the common area. I wanted so badly to save them. I resented him for taking me away, even if it was logical to care for the other Mutts. We couldn’t teach them, like Mam, Pinky and Opa, but we could keep them safe. The Human Mutts were easy to pass off to other families, who were willing and able. That still had left us with about 40 Mutts that the three Saviors had left us to take care of. With no income, no food, no water and no place to stay. We feared staying in our underground cavern. The few nights we had no choice to stay down there, we set up a watch system so that at least one person was awake at each hour. During the darkest hours I would venture outside, creeping from building to building, trying to find a safe camp. I found one abandoned building, which I stayed in overnight to see if Alts or Humans came by. It seemed safe, so we moved there.

It took about 3 days, but we were raided. It turns out our house was being watched, which meant someone saw me find the old building. Smoke bombs and gunfire poured in from all directions. Dylan moved the younger Mutts out as I stayed behind to fight. When we moved, I packed in a way that kept me heavily armed at all times. I used the two guns I had strapped to my back first. I fired into the smoke, just hoping that something will show. Their eyes are reflective, I was just waiting for a clue. Unfortunately, I was given far more than a clue. 10 Alts appeared, all armed. I should have turned and ran, but wanting to protect my family I charged them, firing wildly. They took me down easily, easily manipulating the guns out of my hands, bringing me to my knees. All the sparring in the world couldn’t have trained me for what happened next…

Part 3 will be up in a few days, I’ve already started work on it. Please feel free to leave constructive crit!



With Borderlands 2 and Aliens: Colonial Marines on their way, Gearbox Chief Creative Champion Mikey Neumann is a busy guy. Even with these two major projects, he has been writing a novel called The Returners, Part One made recently available on eBook through Amazon, or on his website bozpublishing.com. Neumann regularly tweets the progress of the novel, which he describes as “almost crowd-sourcing the editing process”.

The Returners is a fast paced science fiction work of art. The story begins following Alex Heaton and Chloe Freimont, a seemingly normal young couple, until a sudden gunfight sends them running. It turns out Alex and Chloe aren’t who they claim to be, and they have been found out. Alex is actually Alexander the Great, while Chloe is Joan of Arc, and they are among a group of Returners who have returned for a second life. Packed with historical references, fantastic action sequences and great humor, Neumann brings to life characters most don’t think of outside of their history class.

With everything going at such a quick pace, there are points where it seems a little rushed. There are some mind boggling bits towards the end of Part One (which, for obvious reasons I cannot tell you, but you’ll understand when you read it) but in knowing that is only the first part of an ongoing series, I’m able to brush it off. Its fairly well rounded, although some of the characters, from my point of view of Janey, need more of a backstory with the Returners. You find out rather quickly that she had grown up with one of the characters, but at the same time, not knowing can add to it. Its a double edge sword when you play too much with the history of characters, given that the Returners are originally someone else, you really can’t mess around too much.

Something to keep in mind when reading this is that it is Part One. I read it during the development (so, I was impatiently  waiting for each chapter) so if there are questions, know that there is plenty of time for questions to be answered. The story is solid, not held down with a lot of details. I tend to become bored quickly with stories that are heavily detailed, but with The Returners I never felt that need to skip over sections because of pointless details.

I really enjoyed what I have read so far of The Returners, and I’m eagerly awaiting Season Two!

Given his busy schedule, I didn’t want to bother Mr. Neumann too much with interview questions, but I did get the chance to ask him a couple regarding the novel.

Where did you come up with the concept of The Returners?

As the beginning of the book can attest, I was walking down Sunset Boulevard back to my hotel in Hollywood. We were doing recording for Aliens: Colonial Marines and I had a random idea for a short story I would write in my free time while I was out there. Halfway through the short, I realized I had just taken on a second novel. It seemed far too large of an idea to try and cram into something that small.

Fifteen chapters later, that still feels like a solid decision. I’m loving playing around in this universe.

How did you choose who would come back as a Returner? Do you have a favorite? Do you connect with any on a personal level?

I connect with all of them on different levels. I’m extremely careful about who and how I choose which returners will appear in the book. From a high level, I try to imagine what kind of archetype will serve the story the best. From there, I take some of those archetypal ideas and research for a similar historical figure. The last step is layering and plotting out their second upbringing and how that has affected them as a person–this is the step that creates a fully-fleshed out three-dimensional character.

As or favorites, thirteen year-old Albert Einsten is the most fun to write. I love how frustrated he is that all his existing knowledge is floating around in his head and he has no way to unlock it other than growing up again.

I think it would be interesting seeing The Returners done as a graphic novel, would that be something you would consider?

I haven’t begun to think about doing the story in different mediums. Especially not one where my audience would shrink my moving into it. Not that I have anything against graphic novels, but I’d like to grow my audience in a meaningful way if it’s going to start jumping around.

Having said all that, I am pretty sure that the story would work best as a television show. We’re in the golden age of TV right now and who wouldn’t want to get in on that?

Will you continue updating the story in the same manner that you did with Part 1?

Yes. All new chapters will be up for free on the website. This will not be changing anytime in the future.

I hope that people appreciate how the story is being delivered and invest in the eBook versions so I can make enough money to keep the site up and running, pay my editor, and so on.

Outside of The Returners, what do you recommend people should be reading?

I’ve been bouncing around and trying to find a novel (or series) that really grabs my attention. I can say without pause that 50 Shades of Grey was definitely not that novel. Heh.

Okay, for real. Ready Player One is my favorite novel of the last few years, easily. If you haven’t read that, you should get your brain checked and then dive in (provided your brain check cleared your for non-strenuous excitement of the Ernie Cline variety.)

The Mirage was a clever alt-history book I enjoyed.

Tweets by Simon Pegg.

The back of a box of Kix.

Those are all worth reading.

Check out The Returners, now in eBook format on Amazon, or on bozpublishing.com. You can also follow Mikey Neumann on Twitter for updates on the novel @mikeyface



Doctor Who Matt Smith Eleventh DoctorI’ve been getting some interesting feedback on Twitter about my lack of loving the season finale of Doctor Who. If you haven’t watched it yet, you might want to skip past this upcoming section.

~~Spoilers, Sweetie~~

I didn’t say I didn’t LIKE the finale. I did, I thought it was a good story. But there was soooo much build up this season, leading to the death of the Doctor. I’m aware that there would be a clear up situation, that obviously the Doctor can’t die. But it felt too neat…too tidy. I love the Silence. I think they were the first thing to shake me to the core since “Blink” and the Weeping Angels. How can you fight something you can’t remember? The eye drives were just…so easy to me.

I have an issue with romance in science fiction though too I’ve realized. Donna Nobel was my favorite companion. Why?Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith Alex Kingston River Song She had no interest in the Doctor. I love having Craig work with the Doctor. There’s no romantic wibbly wobbley. Rose? She was my second favorite…if there wasn’t that “romance” issue I probably would have said she is my favorite. I didn’t care for Martha because all she wanted was in the Doctors pants. I enjoy Amy and Rory, but it’s always about their relationship it seems. River…I love River Song. I think she has one of the most interesting stories. I don’t care for the the romance side of it. I just don’t. You can call me heartless, whatever, but the thing is I just don’t want the romance to mix in with my aliens and explosions. I had the same issue with Firefly, and BSG…it’s not just Doctor Who. I don’t like romance in science fiction.

Anyway. I’m not a fan of the Teselecta though either. That tracks back to my long standing issues with government, but mainly the prediction of crimes. I had this issue with Minority Report, and I haven’t watched Person of Interest yet but from the sounds of it I will there too. I overthink, I don’t hide that fact, but to predict a crime that hasn’t happened, before investigation and everything else, to just arrest or kill someone before the crime is committed just BOTHERS me. Now, with the Teselecta this refers to the episode “Lets Kill Hitler” when River first regenerates into…well River. But when it came to the season finale, it just felt like an easy way out. With the whole time stopping London crashing together into one giant wibbley wobbley timey wimey ball, you really could have done something like the split dimension Doctor…even though it was done with the Tenth Doctor, it really seemed more…I don’t know, interesting, to do.

The thing is, this finale didn’t leave me hanging on the edge of my seat going UGH WHY WON’T YOU START SOONER THAN NEXT FALL. I mean, I’m doing that regardless, but I’m not sitting wondering how the Doctor is alive. We know the Doctor is alive. I was pissed because my cable company cut out in the last 10 minutes of the show, but the thing is I didn’t need the last 5 minutes. It should have ended with the world exploding kiss…and leave us hanging for next season. But that’s just me.

~~Hello Sweetie~~

So, in non-Doctor Who related things, I’ve been doing a lot of work with ScienceFiction.com, which means you should be reading my stuff there! There is a LOT of great writers and articles, and we all appreciate comments and feedback. I recently read and reviewed Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans and interviewed author Dr. Robert Lewis Smith. There is a lot of comic book reviews with the DC52 out now, plus all the fall shows are starting. You can keep a look out for American Horror Story and Once Upon a Time recaps from me, and more book reviews as well! You can check out the site here, you can check out my writer information page here.

I’m currently debating writing an article on here about dealing with mental illness. With the two “Your Questions” articles I did I realized a lot of people had a lot of questions, so I think I might lump everything together and write one long article on it. As usual, since I’m pretty sporadic about writing on here, you can always follow me on Twitter at @1nerdycupcake. If you want to ask me personally about anything and you don’t want to Tweet or Comment, please feel free to email me at OneNerdyCupcake@gmail.com

Oh, and one last thing. I will be working at New York Comic Con, I will be in NYC from October 12-17. If you want to meet up, send me a tweet or an email!



So here is Round 2 of “Your Questions!” I am still taking ideas on what I should call this. Anyway, next week the blog post will be the covers from the DC52 that have been released and some opinions. If you have any questions for “Your Questions!” please feel free to Tweet them at me at @1nerdycupcake or email me at onenerdycupcake@gmail.com.

You’ve talked about how awkward you are, what is your most awkward moment?- Aurora

Heh. I just am awkward. I don’t know if I have a most awkward moment…I’ve been embarrassed quite a bit just from being recognized, and that’s always awkward to me (that isn’t to discourage people from not coming up to me and saying Hi and talking to me by any means, I’m just not always sure if you’re nice and not going to stab me in the face or mean and going to stab me in the face. I’m not a fan of being stabbed in the face.) Just this morning I had the awkward fun time on the train of being in a car full of gay men and then 2 priests came on board. Then to make the moment more awkward I was standing in between them and the song “Three” by Britney Spears came on. For those of you unaware, that song is about Three-somes. Awkward.

How do you take your tea? A simple tea bag or an elaborate brew with complex flavor? And the follow up of what is the nerdiest tea you have ever seen, read about, or tried?- Chris

The tea I’m dying to try is the Rainbow Sherbet Black Tea from 52teas.com. I love love love Rainbow Sherbet.

As for how I take my tea it depends on the time of day. In the morning I get an iced tea from Argo Tea, usually something with Hibiscus or Pomegranate.  During the day I’ll drink green tea with honey, and before trying to make myself sleep at night I have “Sleepytime” tea with honey.

Nerdiest tea that you’ll catch me drinking I guess would be the Japanese Green Ginger from Argo. I’ll get random cravings for it. It’s got a little kick but its pretty airy…more complex than my usual stuff.

What made you realize you were a nerd? – Ahdji

I guess I’ve always known? I was obsessed as a kid with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then came The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I was made fun of a LOT for that too. Comic books came in around middle school, and in my family we all knew Star Wars from birth. I was just bred to be a nerd from the beginning. I think the most it came out is when the Lord of the Rings series came out and I geekgasmed.  I had (have?) Lord of the Rings evverrryythhiiinnnggg (disappointed that I haven’t been able to go to the screenings that have been going on recently too.)  Nerd is a pretty broad term…and it just fits me pretty well.

Is it weird to be a girl nerd?- Matt

No…should it be? There are plenty of us out there, and more are rising to fame. See: Felicia Day, Olivia Munn…

What is your strangest encounter at a convention?- Ryan

Probably at the first con I ever went to, when I was 16, I went to Anime Central (which is an obviously Anime convention in the Chicago area) (also in realizing this I can’t believe this was 10 years ago) I found out what “Glomp” means. Just as a beginning to this story, at 25 (almost 26) I’m still made fun of for just how awkward I am socially, so at 16 this is much MUCH worse. Plus, my amount of socializing was just screaming obscenities at video games, DDR competitions and being that quiet girl at rock concerts who strangely enough keeps going into mosh pits.

Long story short, apparently I was targeted to be a part of massive glomp by three big guys that I didn’t know. Let me tell you, when three big guys that you don’t know “glomp” you, and you don’t know what that is…that counts as a pretty surreal and strange experience.

Also if you don’t know someone don’t glomp them. Really, it’s terrifying.

Who is your favorite author? – Kongit

Chuck Palahniuk. He’s most famous for Fight Club but if you go into his other books they are really just incredible to me. One of my all time favorite books (that I can just keep reading again and again) is Invisible Monsters. I love crazy twisted stories. I recommend him to everybody.

Other than him the obvious answer to Tolkien.

Do you have an issue with webcomics? – A few different readers

No, not at all. In fact I support them, and I read a few daily and even more weekly. I think this question came about because of what I said with the DC52 and not liking how they are charging for their digital comics the same price as their print. Look, I understand charging like 99 cents or whatever with DC. Hell I think some of the webcomic artists can get away with that too. But to charge 2.99 per issue is crazy to me, especially since people will pay for both. Us poor people can’t do that.

How are you REALLY OKAY with the DC52?? – Brian

I like retelling of stories! I also like that maybe I won’t have to play catch up for 9 million years, which is what it feels like I’m doing right now.

Okay, let me back track that.

I don’t ALWAYS like retelling of stories. Hollywood remakes, piss me off. For the most part, anyway.  Covers of songs I’m usually okay with just because I like seeing how else they can be done. It’s the same thing with the DC52…I’m curious what they are going to bring to the table.

Why do you only blog once a week? – Jim

I’m lazy. Plain and simple. I also can’t always think of a topic. I lucked out with this “Your Questions!” thing working out (please keep sending questions…) because it automatically gives me a topic every other week. Between writing for comedy, writing for here, writing because my brain is overflowing and that’s stuff that doesn’t pertain to the blog, I don’t always have good topic ideas or ones worth reading.

If its on here I really want it to be something worth reading (which is why it takes me so long to write them out as well.) “Your Questions!” is my way of letting you guys ask me what you want to know, what topics I can later on go into with more detail and more opinion. It’s a way of getting you more involved in what you want seen here.

Will you ever go more into video games? – Kayla

Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have the patience for video games, and they are really good at building my anxiety up. I do what I can but its mostly games I can just play leisurely, and not have to sit and play for hours and hours on end to get the story. This is probably where my obsession with Mario Brothers comes in…

That’s all folks! Again, please feel free to tweet or email me any questions, and there will be a new blog post up next week! Have a good weekend everybody!



{June 8, 2011}   Your Questions!

So for a while now I’ve been stating I would do an “Ask the Nerd Girl” type article, but as things would have it a lot of the questions sent in (via Twitter or Email) were personal mixed with nerd things. So I’m just calling it “Your Questions!” until I can think of a better name. I’m going to be answering both types of questions, and do the best I can to answer them to liking. J Luckily for all of you, I have no shame and don’t mind answering the personal ones. The first question I’m answering is the most popular one, which if you follow our Twitter feeds (@1nerdycupcake and @RoundTableNerds) its kind of obvious as to why.

What is the deal with you and @RoundTableNerds?

Once upon a time I was writing on this site as a blog to get me through Battlestar Galactica. Basically to keep me on track with it, voice my opinion through each episode, basically make me watch it. I won’t lie to you, I like Sci-Fi movies, but I’ve never really watched the TV shows. It’s only become more recent that you’ll see me watching that genre. Chris found me through the power of search engines on WordPress (actually, that’s just an assumption as to how he found me) and we started talking from there. Eventually I volunteered to help write for his site, Nerds of the Round Table (which I still suck at doing because he is more on the ball then I am when it comes to the entertainment releases of things.) and I’ve written a few articles for him. We also have mad rivalry when it comes to football because he is a Green Bay Packers fan, and myself being a Chicago-land resident and a lifetime Bears fan… well, lets just say we butt heads once football season comes around. The general having a lot of the same interests keeps us talking pretty regularly. Also he likes to bitch at me since I’m slow with TV shows. He’s also my Twitter pimp, since a lot of my followers come from him doing Follow Fridays with my name on it.

Basically, if I ever become popular it’s his fault. For reals though, his site is updated far more regularly (and with better writing quality) then mine ever is (especially with him being on the ball and all) and you should use him as a better nerd source.

I’ve followed you from your articles and public speaking about Bi-Polar Disorder, Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It has been a while since you’ve spoken out about it, and I’m just curious as to why you’ve stopped being vocal. – Tara

First off, that is super sweet to follow me all of this way! I’m very flattered that anyone would follow me that long, and I really appreciate it.

I stopped being vocal about my brain matters because people asked me to is essentially what it boils down to. During my later articles and speaking events I spoke how I refuse medication and treatment for what I refer to as the “crazies” part of my brain. Pharmaceutical companies and the like don’t like that. Also, to me it’s not needed, but I won’t deny that some people do. I guess people started listening to a point where they would go off of their medication or stop therapy and bad things would happen. This is not good for everybody, and while I had tried to get that point across, it would still do more harm then good.

My feelings towards medication and therapy remain the same though; I feel if you are a case like me you can help yourself more than someone or something telling you how to feel can. I also believe you can put your “label” to work; I use my OCD towards my work and my hobbies. It’s a matter of not letting the label control you and you doing what needs to be done to keep yourself happy.

If someone were to approach me about writing or speaking again I would do it in a heartbeat. I want to help and be there for those with cases like mine. I like to hear the stories of people worse than mine who have overcome the labels. I learned a lot, and would like to continue learning more.  I just have to wait for lightning to strike on that deal.

You write a lot about how you are reading DC; do you ever read Marvel or other labels? – Common Question

It’s actually only pretty recently did I start reading DC, within the past two years or so. Before I was always a Marvel reader. I actually fell out of the comic ring for a long time because I honestly just couldn’t afford it anymore.

I read pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I have a couple of friends in the comic business and they’ve been the ones guiding me through the current DC Universe, starting with Green Lantern: Rebirth. I am reading Flash: Rebirth right now and starting on Flashpoint.

I still follow X-Men and Spiderman pretty regularly.  I just haven’t been crazy about the Marvel Universe as of late, and just fallen out of pattern.

I just really enjoy comics, and whenever I can afford to keep up I do. I don’t have a preference DC vs. Marvel, because I feel they are two different entities and two different types of comics. Other labels are included; I really just enjoy reading comics regardless of label.

Yes, this also is in regards to webcomics. I love webcomics, and I read them daily. The three specific ones I read on a daily basis is Questionable Content, Girls with Slingshots and Something Positive. Weekly I read Hijinks Ensue, Sam and Fuzzy, Punch and Pie, Three Word Phrase, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Wasted Talent, Shortpacked! and MegaTokyo. I’m sure there is even more I can list here but this article is long enough as it is J

Are you a gamer at all? – John

Not so much anymore. I’ve never been good with video games, because I either get bored or frustrated. I’ve played DnD. Every now and then you’ll catch me on Xbox Live playing Left for Dead or Call of Duty, even on rare occasion Saints Row. I have a Wii system which I usually am just playing classic games like Mario Brothers or Kirby. I do have Epic Mickey (which was, in fact, epic) and the newer Mario games as well (I still have my obsession with Mario even though I don’t play as much) but yeah…I really don’t play as much as I could or should.

Also, there is a Kinect in the house, and with some of the announcements from E3, I think it will be put to more use.  So there’s a good chance there will be more gaming reviews going up on Nerds of the Round Table.

Have you ever considered doing a podcast? – Matt

Yes and no. I’ve been approached about doing one with someone, which I would consider doing more than doing one on my own. I just don’t think I’m interesting enough on my own (and self sufficient enough to remain on schedule, as you can tell with how regularly I update this blog here.)

So if someone wants to do a podcast with me, awesome. I don’t have any equipment or even the knowledge how to do one. Otherwise I’ll just enjoy them on my own.

What made you stop dating? What is your rule that you refer to? – Diana

The rule is “If you want to date me, you have to ask.” Every single relationship I have been in I have been the one doing the asking. I have always been the one to initiate everything. I’ve never been romanced or wooed. For once, I would like that to happen. Also, I apparently cannot pick out my own boyfriends for the life of me considering how each relationship has ended (badly).  Just once I’d like to receive the flowers instead of being the one who gives them. True fact: I have yet to be in a romantic relationship where there is actual romance involved, and I feel this needs to change.

I know I’m a tomboy and hyperactive, I speak my mind and I have no shame or filter. I’m not a supermodel and I never will be. But at the core I’m a good person and loyal to a fault. From what I’ve learned from dating, I’m not what guy’s want. I’m okay with that, I’m okay with not dating. I’ve not so much stopped so much as I’m not being asked.

Why did your professor tell you that you are “too artsy for art school”? –Chris

Art school is about teaching you the rules of art. Being who I am, I don’t like rules or boundaries when it comes to creativity and wouldn’t follow them.  I eventually dropped out because I felt stifled and unjustified.

I think three pages of questions is enough, don’t you? Keep sending them in, personal or nerd related I don’t mind. You can ask on Twitter at @1nerdycupcake or email me at onenerdycupcake@gmail.com. I’ll try to keep answering them as they come in, I actually have about 20 more questions that I could answer and I’ll just save them for next time!



First off, a big congratulatory shout out to Nerds of the Round Table, who have hit the top 100 comic bloggers by Technorati! Check it out here:  http://technorati.com/blogs/directory/entertainment/comics/page-5/

Chris has been awesome about putting up with my lack of postings on his site recently too, which my next post will be an anime one since I just finished D. Gray-Man and might as well review it for him. I’ll get that out eventually. You know, because I’m awesome. Also, he’s been my Twitter Pimp!

This weekend I will be at Anime Central (or ACen) in Chicago on Saturday. Look for the French Maid with (more than likely) Purple Hair. Its not based out of any anime, but its a pretty last minute trip and I don’t have the time to build a new costume by then. I’ll be there Saturday, probably around 1. If you want to meet up, shoot me a message or a comment and I’ll arrange something 🙂

As I mentioned previously, I did finally finish D. Gray-Man. I’ll have a full review of it on Nerds of the Round Table, but let me just say that this is an anime worth checking out, and its relatively short with only 103 episodes.

I finished reading The Postman. I started writing a review and then my work computer ate it. I also then went to Nebraska. Please read this as my list of excuses as to why I don’t have any posts up for the past couple of weeks.

I also finished reading Dead Reckoning, which is the latest in the True Blood book series. Season 4 starts soon, which I’m super excited about.

I am currently reading This I Believe, which is a collection of essays  of personal philosophies. I will be attempting to write my own version of the essays, which is proving to be harder than I thought it would be.  You can read them as well at http://www.thisibelieve.org

Television wise How I Met Your Mother had their season finale this week, tonight is The Big Bang Theory’s season finale. I’m not crazy about the direction TBBT is taking just because I personally can’t stand Leonard when he is in a relationship, but I’m curious to see how it goes tonight.

Okay, that is it for my quick update. Again, please feel free to contact me via here or email if you would like to meet up at ACen, and I will hopefully have a real post for you soon.



I’m trying to work on a blog post here guys, I haven’t forgotten about you. I don’t have much in the way of nerd burger stuff to talk about right now; I’m really slacking on my shows again, and my comic reading. Here is a brief update though…

  1. I finished How I Met Your Mother, and have started watching Castle. I’m 4 episodes in and really enjoying it, even if Netflix decided it didn’t want to like me and send me no disc 2 and then two copies of disc 2 and then a scratched beyond all belief copy of disc 1. Actually, I think I could only watch 3 of the episodes because of this; I had to send it back since episode 4 would not play (angry face). Did I miss anything by not seeing episode 4?
  2. I’ve started watching anime again. I’ve been wrangled in to help with cosplay costumes for a few friends for ACen, or Anime Central, which is a huge anime convention that happens in my area. I’ve watched through Season1 Part 1 of D.Gray-Man, a few episodes of Spice and Wolf, started watching Read or Die (which I need to get the full series for) and rewatching Gantz, which is one of my absolute favorites.
  3. I picked up the Showcase Green Lantern book 1. It is SO CHEESY. I think I’ve just been spoiled by reading the Rebirth series that Geoff Johns had created, that I’m just not used to the Hal that was so involved with Carole. Hilarity when it shouldn’t be.
  4. I’m reading more webcomics! For those of you unaware, I am a huge lover of Questionable Content, Something Positive, Girls with Slingshots, DAR!, Queen of Wands, Punch & Pie, Sam &Fuzzy and Octopus Pie.  I have recently started reading Hijinks Ensue, Bucko (which is Erika Moen’s new comic post DAR!), re-reading Shortpacked! (I had started reading it at my old job, but then things got all wonky so I haven’t kept up and trying to fix that now). What are webcomics you read?

I’m looking for book suggestions as well. I’m a poor person, so please realize I need to be able to find these books in second hand stores, or libraries for whenever I get a library card for the one closest to work.

A little shameless self plug here: The next three weekends I am running three 5ks for various causes. This first one is the Wrigley Run, which is for Voices for Illinois Children and Preventing Child Abuse in America. The second one is for Stride, which is a part of Campus Life, a local youth group that I volunteer for. The third one is for Y-Me, a breast cancer research society.  I’m going to be putting up websites soon to help sponsor these runs, because they are all very close to me. If you have any money that can be donated, I’m asking that you do.

I will also be participating in the Warrior Dash on June 18th and 19th. We haven’t chosen which day yet. That one isn’t for a charity, but I think if I can get a big enough group together we can be sponsored. If you are interested in running the Dash with us, please let me know.



et cetera