Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Episode 90: Head For The Light

Xeno froze, a hot plate of simmering nachos in his hands. 

"You coming in or what?" Billy's silhouetted form stood out against his open bathrobe, and Xeno was keenly appreciative of the backlighting. Billy turned on his heel and moved back into the room, leaving Xeno in the hallway clutching his nachos.

Had he not seen me clearly? Did he think I was someone else? One look at the room he entered told the story. Empty bottles of wine. A mound of white powder on a low table. A small, wicked-looking knife stuck into the tabletop. There was even a hookah off to one side, set amidst a circle of pillows on the floor Billy was now settling himself down in front of the powder, and unsticking the knife, he gestured for Xeno to join him.

"Come have have a tootle while those cool down a bit," he squeaked in his irritatingly high-pitched voice. "Not that I'd feel a thing, mind you. I'm high as a kite. I'm higher than the fucking mooooooooooon!

Billy was caught up in a fit of giggling, knife wavering uneasily over the mountain of blow. He had started to divide out a portion when Xeno reached the table and knelt, setting the cooling platter down on the table. Billy was muttering as he shoveled little piles around the table's surface, making little snowplow noises in the back of his throat. Xeno pulled one hand slowly away from the nachos and brought it to the knife on his belt. He was surprised Billy hadn't recognized him yet. When he did, he wanted to be ready...

Suddenly, a loud alarm sounded throughout the building. Xeno and Billy both jumped up, knocking over the table and sending ground beef, refried beans and cocaine flying all over the place. Billy swore loudly and tore out of the room, robe flapping away from his body. Xeno was overcome by a wave of nauseated envy.

With Billy gone, Xeno quickly cased the room desperately for any clue as to how to get out of this situation. There were no big weapons available, and nothing presented itself to him as an exit. He would have killed for a self-destruct button - what a way to go, right? Even better would be to get someone else to do it, but...

Just then he heard a low rumbling from outside. Out on the terrace, he could just make out a low, rectangular shape. It seemed to be emitting steam. With a quick glance behind him he edged his way through the oily meats and cheeses on the floor to the double doors at the back of the room. There, surrounded by candles and bubbling away in the semidarkness was some sort of outdoor tub.  Xeno reached a hand in - the water was hot.

"Oh, you wanna hop in, baby?" Billy had appeared in the doorway. His hair was wild, and his eyes weren't pointing in the same direction. He had guacamole smeared under his nose. Whoever Billy thought he was, he obviously hadn't noticed the change. Xeno decided to play along. Quick as a flash, Xeno hopped into the tub.

"You're in for a treat, sweetheart. I'm gonna take you to to heaven and back. Move over and I'll steer-" Again, the sounds of some sort of alarm system broke the spell of the moment (if you could even call it that) and Billy tore off with a scream of anguish.

It was then that Xeno noticed the knobs.

There seemed to be an entire panel of knobs hidden just under the surface of the tub, on the inner wall facing the building. Xeno could make out dials, numbers, levers. Peering in through the roiling water, Xeno spotted a display that looked like a date, or a pair of dates. He reached out his hand, warily. Could this thing actually be...

"Well that bastard won't be going off again anytime soon!" Billy reappeared in the doorway, a fist full of still smoking wires. "Now how about you move over, toots, and let me show you what this thing can do!" Xeno froze for a moment - the state of Billy's membership making it unclear what it was he was actually talking about. Billy hopped into the tub, sidled up uncomfortably close to to Xeno and thrust his hands underwater, feeling around for the right knob.


By the time he woke up, Billy felt like Hell. The coke hadn't been the best idea. The Cantilevered Ragweed had clogged the hookah twice. And, by the feel of it, he had quite recently been punched in the face.


He looked up (as it was now apparent he was on the floor) and saw someone... an indistinct figure... twitching nervously and ready to - was that a towel he had?

"One false move and you get it again!" shrieked  a familiar voice. Damn, it was the gnome. How'd he get in here? Was he the one that had loosened a tooth? I gotta lay off the hard stuff...

"Get up! Tell me how to use this thing to get us out of here!"

Xeno was pointing to the hot tub. Billy held his hands up, stalling for time. It was then that he noticed a figure standing in the doorway. And what a figure it was...


The Goddess Iryien, accustomed as she was of late to seeing weird inside of weird inside of weird, was a little weirded out by what she found on the balcony. Xeno seemed to be holding a wet and naked Billy at bay with a towel, twisted up and ready to snap. She herself was a little out of her comfort zone, wearing just enough chain maille to cover her assets. But not one to miss an opportunity, she quickly spoke up and took control of the scene.

"Hey Billy. Why are you fooling around out here when you could be attending a goddess? Wouldn't you rather party with me?" She gave 'slinking' a shot, and slinked rather adeptly in Billy's direction. As she reached out to cup Billy's head in her hands, with her other hand behind her back she gestured to Xeno. Now Xeno had never been one for taking orders, but when it came to dealing with overly-powerful, drug-addled, priapistic imps, Xeno was glad to yield the reins.   

Xeno sidled around the tub while Iryien continued to occupy Billy's attention. As he reached the door, he suddenly felt a strange compulsion to take one of the potted plants that were strewn about the terrace inside with him. He hoisted the biggest one he could carry, and as he stepped inside he was met by the weirdest vision of the night: Ben Firenze's head, floating amidst a swirl of blue flames inside the room's fireplace.

"Ah, Xeno. What a pleasant surprise. Go ahead and bring that over here please. And lose the tree. Can't stand those things."

Xeno stood there for a moment, slack-jawed. The fireplace (with Ben in it) was pulsating, swirling with blue light. He faintly heard Iryien behind him say '...be right back with a surprise for you...' before she came in from the balcony, shuffling quickly on her high heels, holding a sloshing flowerpot filled with water. "Get that dirt in the fireplace, and hurry!" she barked, and Xeno, for once, obeyed without question. Iryien hurriedly heaved the water in after it, sending an arc of liquid right through Ben's smiling face.  Iryien then set down the flowerpot quietly and, picking up the matches that were sitting next to the hookah, she lit one and slowly set the corner of a pillow alight. She held th epillow towards Xeno as the flames started to slowly spread.

"How about a little fire, Scarecrow?" 

Just as Xeno was about to ask politely what the hell was going on, Iryien tossed the burning pillow into the fireplace. Instantly, the fireplace emitted a blinding flash of blue light, and was afterwards replaced by a swirling blue vortex. Beams of blue light shot out of the vortex and out through the doorway into the night beyond. A beam of light reached out to Xeno, and like a warm, tender tentacle, it grabbed hold of Xeno and lovingly tugged him towards the vortex.

"Don't fight it," shouted Iryien, above the growing, vortexy din. "The others are coming too!" And sure enough, floating in through the balcony doorway were Takemiya, Xoe, Madmartigan, and Kobayashi, who seemed to be embracing a Glamazon warrior in a most unmonkish way.

"There is some explaining to be done," muttered Xeno as he was sucked into the vortex and away...