Friday, August 30, 2013

Frequently Seen Bolders


This was boring.

One of the easily forgotten truths of LA (the nebulous city) was that it was gigantic.  Between Santa Barbra at the northwest to say Carlsbad   in the southeast was about 200 miles. There was a lot of empty space between them but still. It was bigger and more populated then, say, Ireland. It was less green but had even more Indian restaurants (which was saying something as the Irish really loved Indian food). But of the ethnic cuisine styles available in LA, it was like 4th or 5th most popular. Which tells you something of the massiveness of LA.

It was big. Mind boggling big. As you drove, every second you find a new valley, a new suburb, a new series of small mountains - that when you drove past was still kind of in LA. Okay, maybe not quite every second, but still more frequently then you would think.

But that kind of got boring after a while.

Sarah was sitting in a car which didn't help. She sat in a car often in her job, as she was driven to various sets, but thanks to the magic of technology she could do a fair amount of work. Now she was in her other job as ‘Mazing Girl (which she didn't like to think of as a job...when she had occasional bouts of unemployment she didn't list it as such). ‘Mazing Girl could do less stuff with a laptop - well she supposedly could keep up on FBI reports and track criminal movements and such - but well she didn't.

So instead she sat. In a car. Bored. She was riding with Jamey, the fantastic Knife Girl who was driving, and because was driving got to pick out music. In this case Shakira’s latest CD. You think you know someone, but then you realize their taste in music.

"I just like how she combines American and South American pop influences."

Sarah nodded. She didn't tell her how she had worked on one of Shakira’s music videos. She had watched it when it was done to see her work, and that was about her exposure to Shakira. Listening to, she supposed, her newest album (wow had so much time past?) she wasn't overly impressed with it.

Jamey bopped along to the music.

However, they were not driving for the thrill of driving. They had a mission! Or something like it. Knife Girl had suggested a training exercise in the desert to hone the skills of the superheros of Los Angeles.

Sarah had agreed.

Knighthawk, when he heard it was knife girls idea, politely declined (it was polite for him...a very well worded email).
   
Glider had wanted to come but he had a thing.

Eagleman didn't come either, claiming that if he ever left Eaglerock. evil might come in.  He really did love that suburb, which Sarah made a point of avoiding. But God bless him.

No one could find The Flame. She came to them Indian style when she was needed. Or not needed. Or when people invoked Native American stereotypes that may or may not be offensive, it depends. (Note! The Flame wasn't actually Native American).

However, Lavender and Blizzard both had decided to come. Lavender, the ninja from north orange County, and Blizzard, who had the power to create giant jets of cold and for some reason dressed up as an orc. He once told her it made sense if you thought about it. Sarah tried not to.

They where all going to meet at Vasquez Rocks, a desert park in north LA county, which was taking forever to get to.

"Did you hear that that’s the influence of Tabio Niglas? He’s one of Venezuela’s leading musicians."

Sarah looked at Jamey. She considered her a very good friend, but she was not as versed of the subtleties of South American music. She wanted to say something but thought better of it.  She was a very good friend and all.

Thankfully they had only one more time over the horizon to go.

******

They parked outside the parking lot - partially because they both had to change into their costumes and partially because there was an entrance charge.

Thankfully, no one was around and Sarah was able to slip into her ‘Mazing Girl costume and made a point not to look at Jamey’s really amazing abs. It gave her odd thoughts.

Okay, she tried not to look at Jamey’s abs. Really tried.

There had been a point where they were in a bar like six months ago, and if things had gone differently when the guys egged them on to kiss and that night had developed differently - Sarah had thought more then once on it.

However, as she realized her life may have involved more Shakira music perhaps it was for the best. 

So shaking her head, and glad for her heterosexuality, they got ready.

The idea of the exercise was that Shakira - no wait a second - Lavender would hide in the rocks using her superior ninja skills and the other three of them would have to find her.

Sounded simple enough.

It was about half a mile to the entrance - Sarah picked up Jamey and ran to the entrance in a minute or so.

As they did Sarah looked up. The entire place was vaguely familiar.

Vasquez Rocks. Somehow or other, the name was familiar to her.

"Where have I seen this place before?"

"Ahem," said a voice behind her.

‘Mazing girl turned. To call him portly would be wrong. Wearing a 60s style star trek uniform would be correct. A very good uniform.

"This location was used in many TV Movies from the 50s to today. It’s primarily used in westerns but in many science fiction movies...including five episodes of Star Trek the original series, two episodes of Next Gen, and one episode of voyager. Also in the movie Star Trek 5. It has an alien quality to it which gives it a slightly otherworldly feel with the rock formations, but attaches it to a sense of the western and raw nature, which for shows such as star trek, was very important."

Sarah looked at the guy. For a half a second she was impressed that he knew it - sorry for his geekness - and then suddenly an over whelming shame. She should have known all that. Shame, and a tad of self loathing.

Shows like Star Trek were why she was in LA - she wouldn't do what she did except for it. The science fiction, yes, its universe - but the fact that they made a universe in part with a large pile of rocks and a lot smaller budget then she had to make a show that wasn't trying as hard.  She should respect him.

She bowed her head. "Sorry sir."

"Wow," said another voice. "’Mazing Girl!"

And Sarah realized that the most powerful superhero in the state was apologizing to a guy in a Star Trek uniform.

She looked to see a very thin Asian man wearing a blue uniform of Spock. With the ears.

And then 15 more people in 'uniform' made themselves apparent.

Followed by five Klingons, what looked to be a Romulan couple...and a Tribble? No, but it looked to be the guy from the Tirrlbe episode.

The first guy spoke up.

"I'm leading a tour."

Just then, Jamey came up over a rise.

"Talked to the ranger - they didn't see Blizzard or Lavender. Lavender’s probably hiding herself, and Blizzard...hey what’s going on?

"Greetings, Earthlings", said the guy. "My name is Captian Decker."

"The Captain from the Armageddon factor," said ‘Mazing Girl. "Or his son from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”

"Yes," said Decker. "What seems to be the problem?"

"Well, we’re supposed to have a group," said Jamey, "Doing a search and rescue training mission in the area, but one of our squad members isn't here yet."

"Oh oh," said a kid in just an adorable little uniform. "Can we help?"

Sarah expected his parents to say something but she beat em to the punch. "Sure can. You guys want to help?”

"We’re supposed to do this as a team" said Jamey.

"I've been doing this longer then you have," said Sarah. Actually, she was the only superhero in Los Angeles who she could say that to (if you didn't count Blizzard who was in OC, and thus kind of didn't count). "And in my experience, part of being a good superhero is knowing how to use the things and people around you. The rules said we were supposed to find lavender - there was nothing that said we couldn't use a team of Star Trek cos-players. Or a horse for a pitcher."

"Should we call the police?" one of the group sensibly asked. Obviously he had the worst costume of the bunch

"This is just a training exercise for fun, to get us at our super best."

Ouch, thought Sarah. Super best? And she was on a game. Ah well, recorder.

"We’ll set our phasers to stun," said fake Asian Spock.

"Or fun!" suggested a Klingon.

Everyone looked at him.

"It was a joke on SNL once," said the Klingon. "Shatner said it."

There was a pause.

"It was a quality show back then.”

Other pause.

"It still has its moments."

*********

Vasquez Rocks was, well...rocks. Lots of rocks. Really, it had a several huge piles of boulders and several square miles of smaller piles of rocks.  It was quite picturesque even for Sarah, who usually didn't care too much for desert.

However, she had business. She and knife girl stayed together scanning the rock piles for signs of a Lavender - the group stayed behind them keeping pace when they weren't distracted (this is where "Kirk fought Actor Dan Tauge playing a Klingon in Fridays Children. Fun fact: Dan Tauge later co-stared with William Shatner on the short-lived series Barbary Coast) or stoped to take tricorder reading. Okay maybe they distracted her a little. However, it turned out the Klingons were also in the Civil Air Patrol and were experts at search and rescue.

"We should establish a large radius pattern," said the male Klingon

"That’s what Kahlass the Uncounqered would do."

Sarah smiled. She was having more fun then she should as she looked around the paths. Knife girl was taking this more seriously and seemed to be ignoring the Trekkers - but that somehow made it more fun. She was all serious, and looked at times she was still in South America, fighting battles in the jungle.

"Stay sharp: lots of places to hide, lots of places for hostiles. Ambush; It can be quicker then you can imagine."

Yeah, somehow having a close friend not having fun was itself kind of fun. Sarah wasn't what one would call sadistic - but yeah, it was fun.

"I should have got some water in the car," said the guy in the poorer quality Star Trek uniform.

"Don't you mean your transporter beam?" asked Sarah.

"No, my car," said the guy. "And the fact that the city’s superhero is having this conversation with me is not improving my sense of reassurance in my civic government,"


"Got a point," said Knife Girl. "I once saw her throw a car over a building. I think there was a reason for it. Don't know..."

Okay, downside to having a group here. Sarah really wanted to say 'Said the professional actress', but no...she didn't.

Instead she turned and spoke. "Star Trek is fiction, but it’s the best kind, to show us a world where we can be, where our potentials are met, to explore the universe and learn from it."

"Yeah," said Thomas. "Like around here. See that rock pile? That’s where Kirk and Spock, along with Sarek...and a mental construct of George Washington...fought Kahless"

"It was an illusion of Kahless," said the Klingon man. "From your puny Earth perspective.”

Sarah paused. Huh?

"But you have a point about Star Trek. I mean you can see the freeway if you squint, but this really is the best of what we have," observed a Romulan.

"So what episode was that?" asked Sarah.

"Savage Curtain," Thomas answered.

"You do this kind of stuff a lot?" Sarah inquired. "Like, lead tours?"

"Occasionally. Vasquez Rocks is the big feature of Trek tourism.”

Sarah walked towards him. She put his hand on his shoulder.

"Very Clever."

"Yes" said lady Spock. "But you shouldn't have turned your head away from the main group.”

Sarah turned her head again.

All of the Star Trek personnel had drawn large Asian swords. Asian Spock had put her blade (and it was a girl) to knife girls throat.

She should have suspected. Star Trek cosplay ninjas.

***

It wasn't as if the Trekkers suddenly appeared in ninja outfits, but their expressions dramatically changed. They became hard – brutal; merciless. However, Sarah could see the fear which was her one ace she had left. Lavender was still wearing Spock ears as she put down her blade to walk towards her as two more ninjas replaced her on either side of her head. Knife Girl stood stock still, like a mannequin, afraid of movement.

"When facing an invulnerable foe, go for what’s vulnerable. Knife girl was wise to stay away from the group a bit, but she came in and...well. Her neck is vulnerable. And the art of infiltration is infiltration. Know your enemies weakness."

"She teaches a class at the YMCA on ninjitsu," said Tom. "It’s a lot of fun."

"I’m very active with the church," said Lavender. "And occasionally as a hero you need a small group who can pretend to be Trekies, if you ask them nicely."

"You did a good job. But it was Abraham Lincoln, not Washington who was the mental construct in Savage Curtain.

"Impressive," said the guy in the bad costume. "Yeah, I noticed that, and was worried that would give the game away."

"Well. I would give my men the simulated order to kill Knife Girl - that is unless you surrender and give victory to me. I forget how scoring works."

"I don't think we worked out scoring."

"Well, you know. Say ‘uncle’."

Sarah paused. She considered. She wondered for a second if those were real swords - if they were, then doing something stupid would be incredibly dangerous. But if they weren't... But then Sarah realized that she had to consider they were. If Knife Girl, or anyone else, was in this situation then giving up would be the sensible option. She couldn't endanger a life like this. She had lost. It was over. There was no more hope...

When a giant blast of cold flew over the rocks with a mighty "DRAW AGRO!!!!!!!"

The ninjas were startled by the blast and scattered - and Knife Girl took the opportunity to duck under the blade and swiftly kick the ninjas with swords down around her. Sarah, however, just turned and saw her savoir, her rescuer: Blizzard, standing in the sunlight with steam blowing from his wrist cannons. He was dressed as, and wearing a mask that made him look like, an orc from World of Warcraft (complete with horns), and a big damm hero.

"Lets DPS."

Okay, she swooned.

Sarah turned and punched a Trekie...or a thug...or a ninja. Well, she punched a Romulan and that was something ‘Mazing Girl hadn't done before. The ninjas were grouping up as Blizzard started to shoot the cold canisters out of his wrists guns, taking cover behind a rock as the ninjas pulled out their phasers - which she saw were clever containers for throwing stars. Knife Girl had found a rock for cover as well, and lavender was going after her - no doubt to engage in some epic martial arts fight. Which Sarah could watch, or she could be useful and deal with the ninja trekies. It was a shame when she had to miss the epic ninja battle, but well. two large very ferocious Klingons were coming at her with real batelah, God bless them, and she had to fight them Trekie style. In the middle of Vasquez rocks.

Okay, yeah: Sarah could have had a nerd-gasm

But Sarah turned to tom...he had a sword. He looked nervous though. Sarah usually didn't have compunctions about beating up thugs - but this was a training exercise and...

He slashed the sword across her shoulder.

It shattered.

It was weird with swords and her. Because of how her body was setup, cutting weapons were the least effect weapon imaginable against her. Ahh, well. Life.

Sarah picked up Tom and tossed him into the Klingon’s knees. They all fell over.

Blizzard, she abstractly knew, was an act. That underneath his weird lines was a fairly smart tactical mind. He did the weird-nerd-barbarian act to frighten people. In a serious world, the silly could be outright terrifying. Just ask the Joker...as played by Cesar Romero. Humans are so bottled up, so tied in that we become frightened if someone unleashes the color underneath the grey world. However, Sarah felt very secure with herself right now - and wanted to let her inner-geek flag. "So does anyone have a primitive gun made of metal and gunpowder?"

There was silence as the ninjas sought cover from Blizzards continued assault.

"Oh no, there’s a forcefield preventing me from directly effecting you," said Sarah.

"Will you fucking stop with the Star Trek jokes?" demanded Knife Girl.

"Yeah," agreed Lavender.

"Keep em up!!" said blizzard "There like buffs to me."

A ninja star hit blizzard’s cannon arm...it exploded.

"He’s a bull in a fucking china shop," said Lavender, going back to do a sword versus two knife battle against Knife Girl. "I have to deal with him on a daily basis.”

Lavender smiled, after a second, at Blizzard though. "Ahh, you’re a great guy."

As a ninja army ran out of their canyon and moved to attack him.

The mighty orc roared, and pulled out a battleaxe.

Sarah smiled - but turned to watch Lavender knock Knife Girl off the rock pile.

Sarah ran at super speed and caught her. She caught her in mid air. However, as she did, knife Girl looked up at Sarah and smiled. And she looked back. And they both laughed. They both laughed loudly. Star trek ninjas...

Sarah felt close to someone, a connection to someone, and realized that leaning in to kiss her would be phenomenally bad idea. Just incredibly terrible - on a number of levels. Knife Girl was almost married. Both of them were straight. But the sense of sharing something with someone did fill her with the desire. Less for any sex but the idea of love. But she shook her head and kept it platonic.

Thank you heterosexuality.

Sarah then turned her head to see Lavender fly at her screaming with a ninja blade aimed towards the back of Knife Girl’s head.

Sarah turned, put Knife Girl, down and set up a might drop kick at Lavenders head.

And missed by a couple of inches.

However, Lavender landed on the ground and sold it anyway.

"Oh! You got me!" said Lavender. "You win"

"What the hell is going on here?" a voice demanded.

Everyone stoped what they were doing and looked up.

It was a park ranger.

"We were doing a training exercise," said Knife Girl.

"Were you shooting a...”

"An experimental liquid nitrogen gun," said Blizzard.

"This is a national historic monument!" declared the ranger. "Show some respect!!!”

"We’re sorry," apologies Knife Girl.

"Sorry isn't going to make things better.”

"Hey! Look behind you!" said Thomas, "It’s a gorn!"

"What?" the park ranger turned to see.

Sarah grabbed knife girl and jumped away. The ninjas all somehow vanished into the rocks.

The ranger turned back. "What?"

Blizzard stood silently.

"Um...I think I’m going to log off from this instance.

And started to run away fast.