Bruce in Dangerland (Final Part)
As it turns out, the Terminators sniffing out your blood are four plastic models sculptured to perfection. Perfect faces, perfect gaits, perfect lithe or muscular bodies – they seem to have come from a bubble box labelled “Extremely Fragile, Pointlessly Beautiful”. No human being is born this way, unless the evil Siri had a thing for vain beauty (which you know…all evil queens have). All four of them stare at you like lazy goats: unimpressed.
“Huh. He just woke up.” The Caucasian one to the far left says. His blonde hair is shoulder long at the neck: wavy and glossy, too. If you could move closer, you are pretty sure you’d smell Olympian perm. The suit he’s wearing is adorned with yellow ascents and resting on his shoulder is metre long golden rifle. Wasn’t Apollos pictured as carrying a wooden bow instead?
“He’s injured already.” The black one to the right says with a tone that said: you are useless. If Shakazulu ever became a modern military hero, and found a way aboard the Arkship, it would be this guy. Bald hair, ripping muscles, deep tone…and a smooth face without scars. Two silver pistols hang by the sides of his waist, with a black shotgun in his left hand. Shakazulu was known to carry a spear instead.
“I’m right here.” You say, standing up, before you remember you’re buck naked and sit back down. Red faced, you stutter:
“I’m going to need some clothes.”
The leader (he’s always the biggest guy and in this case, has platinum hair) whips out a pistol from the holster and points it at you.
“Get some clothes.”
Before you can utter a word, you’re dead.
“That was quick. I expected you to last at least twelve hours, at most a day.” Siri’s voice says.
“Shut up! How am I still alive?” You shout. “Wait, I am alive, right?”
“Nope.” She says with sarcasm that can’t be beaten.
“Shut up, Aphelia.”
The coffin jerked again, but this time you were smart enough to cling to the metal rods on either side. The glass panel flung open and the pod came to an abrupt stop, but instead of tumbling out like the last time, you drop out gracefully and land on your feet. Then, you stumble backwards over an object and land face first on the floor, again.
“I’m beginning to think less and less of you, Bruce.” Aphelia says with a tired tone.
Rather than lose some steam, you decide to get some clothes on your birthday suit.
“Where do I get clothes?”
Without a word, you pick up the clothes that weren’t there a second ago. There’s a nice looking grey helmet with a one-piece glass visor stretching from the forehead to the chin. The clothes look neo-futuristic, but by the time you’re done, you question the need to tie a cloth around the left leg. Otherwise, the red chest and shoulder pieces look perfect with your sense of style. After a minute of getting ready, you stare at yourself through the reflective Kyrium pillars.
“Are you done falling in love with yourself? There’s a world outside these walls, by the way.”
“Yes, thank you, o great and wise Aphelia. Could you mercifully show worthless ‘me’ the way?” You say with a sarcastic bow.
“Yes, I will.” Aphelia responds with a seemingly happy tone.
Who knew? The robot’s “kryptonite” is flattery. Lucky for you, there’s a lot more of flattery where that comes from. The floor lights up with white animated arrows moving down beyond your sight. With a smug smile, you follow the arrows down the dim lit halls without a second thought.
Aphelia leads you to a dark, abandoned part of the Arkship. Several times, you almost come in contact with more psychotic plastic models, but Aphelia was kind enough to distract them or lead you away from them.
“How many people are on this ship?” You ask her as you approach the door.
“And how many have made it out of the ship?”
Something feels very wrong here.
“And they all passed through this abandoned door? Isn’t the exit to the Arkship meant to be – I don’t know, big?”
“Maybe. You might want to shield your eyes, Bruce.”
There is a loud and ancient clang from the door, before it slides up without a single sound. At first, the day light blinds you: the sun’s rays are like a punch to your eyes. But, as your eyes adjust, you see virgin land, plains and forests, even a mountain in the distance.
Quietly, you utter a whistle at the majesty of nature…before humans start “improving” their environment. Some hundred yards away, you see three people surrounded by a group of nine. Without guessing, you know that the three poor humans are being harassed by the nine. The RPG gamer within you is filled with righteous fury at the injustice…but you have no weapon, no ship and worst of all, your kung fu is outdated: ten years since you last practised what you learnt when you were fourteen.
“O wise Aphelia?”
“I need a gun…and a car.”
Stupid requests? Sure. But you are quite convinced that Aphelia couldn’t possibly hold a worse opinion of you than she already has.
“Get out of the Arkship and you’ll find them both waiting for you.”
Swiftly, the helmet is fitted on your head. Without hesitating, you bolt down the metal ledge that slowly extends from the ship and jump onto the rocky floor.
“To your right.” Aphelia says into your ear. There must be a speaker inside the helmet, but you don’t mind. You have found the key to making Aphelia do what you want: flattery…or so you thought. What’s waiting for you is a hover bike with no protection at all from gun shots. Frankly, you’d be a moving piñata out there.
“Don’t like the vehicle?”
“Your humble servant finds the vehicle ill-fitting for the purpose at hand. May I beg your grace to supply me with a vehicle offering more protection, lest your name be looked down upon? For I go forth under your banner.”
For an entire minute, she keeps quiet, before asking:
“Bruce, why do you sound funny?”
“Never mind. Look to your left. Does that fit?”
To your left is a sleek, white hovering coupé with four gravity plates at each corner.
“Yup, that will do!”
“There’s an automatic rifle in there. Good luck.”
You race towards the car and jump in. With a press of the glowing blue button beside the steering wheel, the engine whistles to life. Beside you, lies a white plasma rifle on the black seat. You turn off the security on the futuristic laser weapon and hold it in your left hand. Then, you floor the pedal and rocket off. Within five seconds, you’re moving at a hundred and twenty miles per hour.
The eight aggressors are caught on the hop. Your vehicle floors one, before making a stylish “180” that you learnt from video games. You charge at them the second time, firing with your rifle. Without a doubt, the power you wield puts you on par with Bruce Almighty in this scenario. This time, they return the favour. Hot rays of green laser chip off parts of your car and one melts a hole through your windscreen, but you press on. A few more shots from your rifle takes down another one and a short chase has you running over the third victim. The other five are hastily retreating, but you have no intention of letting them go scot free: you are Bruce Almighty for goodness’ sake and their fate is in your hands! Shooting at their exposed backs is almost too easy, until the remaining three have a change of mind and go “Winchester” on you. The gravity plates are the first to fail, flipping the vehicle over as the nose dips into the ground and you are thrown into the air. However, you were prepared. You jump out and somersault on the ground: surprisingly, it almost comes naturally. On your knees, you fire a few shots at them, forcing them to duck. Seizing the opportunity, you make a dash for the survivors, striking one with a drop kick like Bruce Lee. He goes down immediately. Satisfied, you turn to the remaining four. They’re the four from the Arkship. The four that just killed you quarter an hour ago. What’s worse, you discover that the visor has fallen off your helmet.
“Bruce?” The Apollos look alike asks with a voice walking the line between surprise and madness. The guy on the floor is the platinum haired leader.
Suddenly, you realise “Bruce” sounds a lot lamer without the “Lee” behind it…or the “Almighty” for that matter.