Pizza Margherita! Part 2 of 3

When darkness cover the land, pizza makes its final stand!

Pizza Margherita!
A Tale from Urbanopolis

Part 2 of 3

READ PART 1 | READ PART 3

It was now one in the morning. Smarting from the recent disaster at the Unnatural History Museum, Magical Girl Space Princess Pizza Margherita and her faithful dog Pepper had retired to the Tomato Base, their secret hideout hidden in an old pizzeria down by the docks. This abandoned restaurant had been decidedly run-down when they first found it, but Margherita had spruced up the place. However, the carpet was still full of holes and the old tables were still piled in a corner. Cockroaches occasionally crawled around the floor. The wood-fired brick pizza oven, however, was intact and pristine. It stood behind the short-order bar, where it had been in full view of the customers.

Where a stainless steel kitchen counter had formerly stood, Pepper had installed a massive supercomputer, its surface full of knobs, switches, flashing lights, and blinking screens. Running on PizzaTech, the magic that Pepper had brought to Earth from Planet Italia, this computer required no electricity: it could easily and rapidly perform the most complex calculations as long as it had a steady supply of fresh ingredients. At the moment, Pepper stood on top of the bulky machine and grated a block of mozzarella cheese into its fuel tank. Continue reading “Pizza Margherita! Part 2 of 3”

Pizza Margherita! Part 1 of 3

When killer vegetables attack, pizza bites back!

In honor of National Pizza Day, we present this three-part short story featuring the sauciest—and cheesiest!—magical girl in all of Urbanopolis: Space Princess Pizza Margherita! Enjoy this story I decided to write just now … and did!

This is an official prequel to Jake and the Dynamo!

Pizza Margherita!
A Tale from Urbanopolis

Part 1 of 3

READ PART 2 | READ PART 3

Midnight. In the midst of a sea of coldly twinkling stars, the full moon hung over Urbanopolis, and in the Sea of Serenity, the lights of the Eternal Kingdom were steady, clear, and unblinking. Down below, the citizens of man’s last city slumbered peacefully in their beds. It was a cool night, a clear night, a calm night. As the Urbanopolitans love to say, The Moon Princess is in her sailor suit, and all’s right with the world.

But hark! A crash of breaking glass! The lonely, frantic wail of an alarm! Once again, an evildoer has shattered the city’s peace—for there is no rest for the wicked.

In the lavish, velvet-carpeted lobby of the Unnatural History Museum, the night guards made their final stand. Armed only with nightsticks and conventional firearms, they stood no chance against the slavering, vicious horde that skittered through the smashed glass entryway. Foul, greenish beasts, their backs covered in rustling leaves and their insect-like limbs crackling with every twist and bend, poured in like a flood. The guards overturned tables and display cases to set up a barrier, but it did no good. The creatures swept them aside, heedless of the bullets from the guards’ pistols. They picked up screaming men who begged for their lives or called for their mothers, and threw them whole into their slavering maws. Deep in their gullets, the drowning, dying men dissolved in the monsters’ digestive vegetable juices. These monstrosities were neither animal nor mineral: they were the Salad Soldiers, carnivorous plants grown in the volcanic wilds of the Earth’s hollow core. In man’s last days, these fell creatures had ascended to the surface to claim their place as the planet’s new overlords. Continue reading “Pizza Margherita! Part 1 of 3”

‘Jake and the Dynamo’ Update

Featured image: ?

Just to let you know, in spite of my very busy schedule, I have just finished the draft of chapter 24 of Jake and the Dynamo and sent it off to my writers’ group. I’ll see about doing my first pass on it tonight.

As usual, I had twice as much material as I could actually fit in, which means I was able to end it on the cliffhanger I wanted to end on two chapters ago. Ha.

Curse This Schedule

Tomorrow I may have time to write the post I’ve been meaning to get to, but in the last few remaining minutes of my evening today, I’m going to work on Jake and the Dynamo. I’m still sorting out my new schedule, so posting will be more spotty even than my usual for now.

The image above is a mascot character I rescued (?) from a site called Kimiko Anime, a review blog that was apparently quite active for a while, but is now presumably defunct as it has not been updated since 2010. Shame to let that magical girl mascot go to waste, though.

I take no responsibility for other people’s content, but be aware that Kimiko Anime, if you choose to visit, has a note up top that it may not be suitable for minors.

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 23

The Beach Episode of Darkness: Can Marionette win a battle of wills against the enemy within her own mind?

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 23: THE BEACH EPISODE OF DARKNESS

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On the desolate slope of a craggy mountain where no snow fell and no flowers grew, a high castle of black basalt stood resilient against the biting, howling wind. Deep in the castle’s bowels, the Dark Queen, mistress of all that is base and wicked, sat upon her throne of black obsidian, tapped the six-inch stiletto heel of one of her onyx-encrusted pumps against her footstool, and read the newspaper.

For several minutes, she read in regal silence. Then, at last, she slowly and with great dignity lowered the paper to her lap.

“Darn it!” she shouted. “I can’t take it anymore! Somebody bring me a lamp! A lamp with one of those full-spectrum daylight bulbs! And cute cartoon characters on the lampshade! And make sure it’s an incandescent or an LED bulb, too, not that other kind! I don’t need mercury poisoning to go with the bad eyes!” Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 23”

J&tD Update

Featured image: “magical girl yellow” by SY-97Satellites

I just wrote the last word of the rough draft of chapter 23 of Jake and the Dynamo. It really didn’t want to “go” for a while until I figured out which scenes were missing. It also ended up being forty-four pages long, which makes this beach episode the longest chapter of the novel so far.

I’ll see how soon I can get it out. Probably this week.

Jake and the Dynamo Fan Art #2

Featured image: “Sukeban Tsubasa vs. the Demoniac” by Roffles Lowell.

CODENAME: Magical Girl Sukeban Tsubasa
ALTER EGO: Unknown
FAMILIAR: Kobe the tanuki.
CURRENT AGE: 15
THREAT LEVEL COMPETENCY: 2.4
MAGITECH: Gadgetry

When a spacefaring alien decided to upgrade to the latest model of mecha power suit, he gave his old model to a teenage human girl because he knew he could write it off as a tax-deductible donation. Thus, Magical Girl Sukeban Tsubasa was born.

Tsubasa’s identity is unknown. She has been seen primarily in New Beijing, though her name suggests Japanese origin. Her bizarre accent, however, is unidentified. As a brand new magical girl, Tsubasa recently made waves when she single-handedly and in a single evening cleared New Beijing of both zombies and robot dinosaurs from space. Although her threat level competency is modest, a formidable arsenal suggests that it is likely to rise rapidly.

Tsubasa’s power suit may not look like much, but it uses truncated superstrings to store a vast array of weaponry inside a pocket dimension, which Tsubasa can access through her bracelets. To assist her, the suit comes with a self-aware instruction manual that by sheer coincidence resembles a Japanese raccoon dog.

The full range of her weapons is unknown. However, it has been confirmed that the suit has a built-in antigrav unit that allows her to fly and hover. Astonishingly, she recently used a nanoprobe cannon to perform an exorcism, an ability not typically observed in magical girls who receive their powers from extraterrestrial rather than spiritual sources.

According to her own statement, she has, quote, “more guns dan a Navarrone rummage sale.” Experts are still debating what this means.

Although she has only been a magical girl for a few days, Tsubasa already has an avid fan following, primarily because of the way she boasts of scandalous behavior. Dubbed the “bad girl of magical girls,” Tsubasa claims to engage regularly in what she calls “bad stuff,” including such un-magical-girl-like behavior as smoking, drinking, vandalism, and hanging out with boys. She has not yet been observed in male company, but insists that she has several boyfriends.

Her most shocking act to date is challenging Magical Girl Pretty Dynamo to single combat. Pretty Dynamo is currently the highest-rated magical girl in Urbanopolis, with a threat competency rating of 9.0. However, critics and magical girl experts point out that Dynamo’s arsenal of electrical weapons is highly specialized. This makes her ideal for taking down large kaiju (and thus achieving a high rating), but can hinder her when facing other threats. Tsubasa has already demonstrated that she is considerably more versatile.

Tsubasa’s fans have petitioned the Threat Assessment Board to raise Tsubasa’s rating to 9.1 if she successfully overcomes Dynamo in a match. However, some experts warn that adjusting a girl’s rating when she fights other magical girls could set a dangerous precedent, as it might encourage more intra-sororal battles in the magical girl community and thereby focus the girls’ attention on competing for ratings rather than their true task, which is defeating the monsters bent on mankind’s destruction.

Jake and the Dynamo on the Periodic Table

I’m working on the next chapter of Jake and the Dynamo, which I promise will be a beach episode, and I thought I ought to give the story as it presently stands a check to make sure it’s on track.

By which I mean, on track to include every element in the Periodic Table of Awesoments, which is the goal for this, and indeed every, story.

Let’s see how we’re doing.

1. Bacon: Jake has it for breakfast most every morning.
4. Explosion: Obviously.
6. Beer: Jake’s parents allow him one beer when they order out for pizza.
10. Sniper: Briefly mentioned when Jake and Dynamo meet some military personnel.
13. Boobs: This is … well, this is a magical girl story.
15. Coffee: Mentioned repeatedly.
17. Zombies: Not only zombies, but zombies who appear during an invasion of robot dinosaurs from space, and I’d like to think that putting those together even makes sense, kind of.
24. Minigun: Appears in the very first chapter.
26. Kung Fu: Or at least cartoon-fu.
28. Helicopter: Mentioned several times.
31. Space: Tesla the lightning bug is a former space pilot.
36. Vampires: Briefly mentioned, and at least one magical girl is a vampire huntress as well as a metal idol.
39. Sword: As wielded by Lady Paladin Andalusia.
41. Nunchucks: This might be a stretch since she hasn’t appeared on the page yet, but Nunchuk Nun wields nunchuks.
45. Moon Jumps: Assuming this means making huge leaps rather than literally jumping on the moon, this is the preferred mode of travel for the ground-bound magical girls.
46. Mecha: Possibly a stretch, but I believe the Robosaurs count.
47. Internet: Matilda the witch-seer hacks into Magical Girl Grease Pencil Marionette using this.
48. Hyperspace: The villains travel to and from the city in something called “the stream.” Also, alien civilizations clearly have FTL.
49. Lightning: Pretty Dynamo’s Thunder Bolt attack is “lightning in a can.”
50. Fire: Not just fire, but the very fire of hell, which the city has weaponized thanks to a spacetime-ripping portal gun.
53. Robots: A magical girl robot, even.
57. Dinosaurs: Robot dinosaurs from space, even.
59. Dragon: Briefly mentioned.
74. Battle Axe: The preferred weapon of Chai Square, the tea-sipping statistical troll.
76. Rayguns: Sukeban Tsubasa includes them in her formidable arsenal. In fact, she will later probably fill out a lot of the weapon categories.
77. Video Games: I think we got that covered in the more recent chapters.
78. Teleport: The villains’ preferred method of travel.
78. Computers: Including a magical gynoid. Also, there are two element 78s, probably because the computer teleported. Or something.
80. Time Travel: They have faster-than-light travel, which necessarily means time travel.
83. Storms: In addition to opening portals to hell, creating zombies, and talking smack about your mom, the demoniac conjures a thunderstorm.
85. Aliens: Many of the familiars, including Tesla, are aliens.
89. Mustache: Jake shaves the fuzz off his upper lip in the morning, so he briefly has a mustache of sorts.
92. Skulls: Even better, Voodoo Queen Natasha wears skulls for a bra.
93. Scars: Jake is unreasonably concerned about Dana getting one of these.
99. Holograms:
 Including Marionette’s simulated familiar.
107. Fortress: The Dark Queen’s castle counts. Arguably, so does all of Urbanopolis.
114. Metal: Assuming this means the music, both Dana and Ralph are fans of monster metal, especially Lady/Killer and Magical Girl Metal Huntress Van Halensing.
115. Magnets: Pretty Dynamo’s Thunder Bolts, being supercharged, are powerfully magnetic.
116. My Money: What Jake has, briefly, until he pays to feed Pretty Dynamo.

Hm. Well, that’s thirty-nine elements. Pretty good so far, I think, though it’s rather shocking that we’ve had no tanks, grenades, or proximity mines. This should be easy to rectify. And I believe we’re on track to include (82) black holes, (51) liquor, (15) chocolate, (18) assassin, (25) sonic booms, (98) guitar solo, and of course (9) pirates. Magical girls’ familiars will likely fill out several of the animal-related elements.

Jake and the Dynamo Fan Art

In this image by Roffles Lowell, Magical Girl Pretty Dynamo broods as she flies high over the city she is doomed to protect. She contemplates the implacable foes bent on humanity’s destruction. She contemplates what nefarious mastermind may be behind the latest wave of monster attacks. She contemplates how she’s pretty sure she saw Jake making eyes at Sword Seamstress, so she is really going to give him what-for when she gets home. Just see if she doesn’t. Jake is such a big jerk. Boys really suck. Totally.

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 22

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 22: FATED

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For reasons unclear to him, Jake didn’t want to go home.

After he left the arcade, he wandered around Juban. He watched the people bustling in and out of the shops, watering their lawns, pushing their children in baby strollers. At times, a curve in the road would wind around the shoulder of a hill, where he could look down over the rooftops toward the deep city. He saw stretches of rubble. Columns of smoke rose into the sky and spread into anvils as they reached some change in the atmosphere. Helicopters hovered around the tall skyscrapers in the financial district. The howitzers atop the towers pointed upwards, their barrels silent but vigilant. A submarine sat in port in the distant bay, presumably restocking before returning to the endless patrol of the watery western perimeter where the ocean gun turrets squatted atop their massive concrete pylons. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 22”