My Entry in the Wheaton/Scalzi Fanfic Contest

In this post from last month, I mentioned that Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi have been holding a fanfiction contest, in which the goal is to describe what the heck is going on in the picture on the right. Well, the contest is over, and my entry is among over 350 others that got submitted. Regardless of who ends up winning, it was really fun to write, and it’s all for a good cause.

Since we’re allowed to share our entries, here’s mine. I think it is, almost certainly, the geekiest thing I’ve ever written (and keep in mind that I say this as a former writer of anime fanfiction). Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. I’m just sayin’.

———————–

The Bacon Chronicles: I Can Has Vengeance?

Or,

A Tale of Two Kitties

John walked through the remnants of the Dealer’s Room, smoke still rising from the scattered debris. Amidst the scraps of wacky slogans still legible on burned T-shirts, and the torn pages fluttering on the breeze, lay utter devastation. His nose burned at the horrific stench. It wasn’t the stench usually associated with such conventions… no, this was the stench of death. But the smell of incoming bacon was absent, which meant for the moment he was safe.

Nearby, someone coughed weakly. Under the carpet of wreckage was a survivor! He dug through a layer of unpainted Warhammer figurines and then, lifting aside the charred remains of a Felicia Day love doll (was that sort of merchandise even legal?), he uncovered a person’s head. It was… green! And the visage looked familiar somehow.

“Are you okay?” he asked the injured man.

Suddenly, recognition dawned on both of them. “SCALZI!”

#

Wil awoke in darkness. The ground was rocky; he seemed to be in some sort of cave. What had happened? He struggled to remember. He had been judging the Star Trek Papier-mâché Hat Contest, when suddenly the room had shook. A horrible noise and odor had overwhelmed his senses, like a roomful of LARPers after Taco Night, and then blackness.

Something moved in a distant corner of the cave, and he smelled… breakfast? The scent of bacon filled his nostrils. Then, from deep in the blackness, he saw a pair of glowing green eyes. “U are Da Wheaton.”

The voice was calm, dispassionate, but high-pitched, as if Leonard Nimoy had been born a chipmunk. And somehow, Wil could even hear the misspelled words. “U has proven urself worthy,” it continued, “and we has brought u here to serve a great purpose.”

“Purpose?” he coughed. “Where am I?”

“Our lair. Our refuge, where we pwanned our revenge after Da Enemy humiwiated us!”

The eyes of the creature passed from the shadow into the light, giving Wil his first good look at his captor. The thing was undeniably cute, but the scent of bacon mixed with the evil glare in its eyes served to create a simmering atmosphere of delicious terror.

It had the front of a kitten, the back half of a horse, and massive feathery wings. A golden unicorn horn stuck out of its head, and as Wil stared into the creature’s eyes, he felt his mind wilting away, as though it was somehow invading his very thoughts.

The kitten approached, and he shrank back from the atrociously adorable abomination.

“U will help us destroy our enemy,” it said. “Our enemy, who cursed us wif dis burden. Dis… fing.” It turned to the side, displaying what looked like strips of bacon attached to its flank. “We will suffer dis insult no wonger. Our enemy will pay dearly for da torment it has infwitced upon us!” The kitten paused for dramatic effect. “We are Da Roflmeow, and we will has revenge!”

#

Scalzi stared at his spinach-colored doppelganger, considering for a brief moment that “Spinach Colored Doppelganger” would be a superb name for a rock band. For another brief moment, he considered piling debris back on the thing’s Scalziesque countenance, finding the remains of the hotel bar, and seeing how much whiskey he could get through before help arrived. But then his chartreuse counterpart spoke.

“Thank the gods! I am Scalzorc of The Clan Sifwa, and we have little time. Hurry, John Scalzi, I require your aid!”

Scalzi sighed, put aside his plans for intoxication, and began helping unbury the orc. The day had started so innocuously. He had been on his way to host a panel on Green Chicks in Sci-fi, when an earthquake had struck. He had tried to get outside, but instead found himself helping pull people from the wreckage of the Dealer’s Room. Then, a chasm had appeared in the floor, swallowing an entire booth of novelty dice, and the aroma of bacon had filled the air as something emerged from the hole.

In the smoky darkness it looked like the offspring of a kitten and a pterodactyl, as if some uber-cute Nazgul had emerged from the depths of hell. It had lunged toward him, and he had taken refuge under a table of Brandon Sanderson hardcovers, frozen in terror until the bacon-scented monstrosity had disappeared.

The Scalzorc stood up, and he realized that the two of them really were mirror images of each other, right down to the goatee. “Okay,” he crossed his arms, “being John Scalzi is my schtick. What’s the deal?”

The Scalzorc unsheathed his weapon and shield from his back. “I am hunting my nemesis, and it hunts me. Across realities and universes we have battled, and now we battle here.”

Scalzi looked at the strange orc and wondered how, exactly, he had fallen into Lord of the Rings/Sliders crossover fanfiction.

“This ‘enemy’,” he said. “What is it, exactly?”

“A monster beyond time and space,” the Scalzorc said. “which I have never been able to kill. The best I could do was place a burden on its flanks, which would alert me whenever it approached.”

Realization dawned on him. “The bacon.”

The Scalzorc nodded. “Yes, during a ferocious battle, I was able to attach strips of bacon to its flank, so it could never sneak up on me.” The Scalzorc tapped his nose. “I can smell bacon from leagues distant. It is the favored food source of our clan.”

“And what does your nose say now?”

The Scalzorc sniffed the air. “I smell nothing. The creature must have retreated from this world back to my own. We must go.”

“Wait, ‘we’?” Scalzi asked. “I’m just a writer. If I had other talents, I’d have a real job.”

“You are the Scalzi of this world, are you not?” The orc turned to him. “All Scalzis, of all worlds, are connected to this creature. You will never be free of it, until it is dead.” The orc walked over to the wreckage of a medieval armor-and-weaponry stand and lifted a crossbow. “Take this. As a Scalzi, it is your destiny to hunt this creature, and halt its trail of devastation.”

Scalzi reached for the crossbow. “I’ll do it, on one condition.”

“Yes?”

“I want the character rights for this story.”

#

“I has brought ur armor to dis place as well,” said the Roflmeow. “Is how u proved ur worth to me. Put it on, den we must go.”

“My armor? But I’m not a warrior…”

“U ARE!” The eyes of The Roflmeow burned into him, and Wil felt his resistance to the creature fading as he stared into its demonically adorable face. “I HAS SEEN U DO FINGS DAT WOULD DESTROY A WESSER MAN! U HAS PROVEN UR BRAVERY AND FEARWESSNESS MANYFOLD, BUT NUN MORE SO DEN WEN YOU DONNED DA ARMOR!”

Wil’s will wilted, weakened by the withering, willful words of the wicked… um, Woflmeow.

“NOW PUT ON DA ARMOR!”

He realized that something was laying at the creature’s feet. It was not armor, just a sweater. But it looked vaguely familiar, and as he realized what it was, the tattered remains of his sanity fled screaming like a little girl.

#

When he had donned the clown sweater, that tragic garment which still haunted his nightmares, the last mental remnant of Wil Wheaton had fled, most likely to the nearest subconscious tavern for several pints of mental Guinness.

The shattered man who now rode The Evil Roflmeow, adorned in Evil clown sweater and clutching an Evil halberd in his Evil right hand as he furrowed his Evil brow, had no more remnants of Wil Wheaton in him than the Evil tar beast had had of Tasha Yar after devouring her in the TNG Episode “Skin of Evil”.

They emerged from The Roflmeow’s cave, and soared over the volcanic landscape, seeking prey. Rivers of lava flowed below them, lighting up the barren plains. Then, in the dark red glare, the Clown-Sweatered Man Formerly Known as Wheaton spotted their target.

#

A squeal filled the air, and from the clouds of ash, a monstrous shape emerged. Scalzi watched, horrified, as the thing flew toward the Scalzorc, with Wil Wheaton, vengeful clown god of the heavens, riding upon the monster’s back. Wait… what? Somehow, Wil had fallen under the evil creature’s influence!

There was no time to think. From his hidden vantage point, he fired the crossbow at The Roflmeow, sending the bolt arcing through the air. But at the last moment, the Roflmeow dived, and the bolt whistled over the monster’s head.

#

The remnants of Wil Wheaton, watching through the eyes of the body that now acted solely at the Roflmeow’s whim, saw the enemy turn. The man had green skin, but he looked familiar. The scruffy goatee… the thinning hairline… my god, it’s Scalzi!

Summoning his last ounce of strength, Wil struggled to turn the halberd away from his friend. The Roflmeow was so caught up in its dive, claws reaching out for its nemesis, that its control slipped, and Wheaton, with a supreme act of Wilpower, twisted the halberd and plunged it not into the mysteriously orcish Scalzi, but into the feline head of his tormentor instead.

#

Scalzi watched, stunned, as Wil suddenly made a face like a Tyrannosaurus passing a beachball, and plunged his halberd into the kitten’s head. But too late! The creature slammed into the Scalzorc, and the pair of them, along with Wil, fell to the ground in a pile of wings, weapons, and Wheatons. He hurried over.

Wil lay slumped over the Roflmeow’s limp form. “Scalzi? You’re not green any more…”

“No, that was…” he realized the Scalzorc was still trapped under the Roflmeow. A moment later, he found the Scalzorc pinned, his head sticking out from under the monster’s corpse.

“Scalzi… is it over?”

“Yes,” he said, “it’s over.”

“Good,” he whispered, “then Scalzis everywhere may live their lives without fear, and I may rest at last… forever.”

“Wait,” said Scalzi, “we can get this off you!”

“It is too late, my human friend,” said the Scalzorc. “Go. Danger approaches.”

The ground rumbled, and the red glow in the air grew more intense. In the distance, Scalzi saw that a river of lava had split in two, with one branch headed right for them! He hoisted Wil’s arm over his shoulder, helping him climb up an embankment to safety. Scalzi turned and watched as the two fallen enemies were consumed by the lava, and raised a hand in silent salute to his friend.

At last, he turned to Wil. “I have no idea how we’re going to get home.”

Wil thought for a moment, and snapped his fingers. “I know! Reverse the polarity!”

“Polarity? Polarity of what?”

“Hell if I know… but whenever we didn’t know what to do on Star Trek, we reversed something’s polarity.”

Scalzi looked down at the clown sweater that Wil still wore. “I have an idea. Give me that thing.”

As he turned the clown sweater inside out and Wil put it back on, the ground shook. “It’s working! Thank God for Deus Ex Machina!”

A chasm opened in the ground, and they fell through.

#

“I’m home!”

Scalzi opened the door, and hugged Krissy as she threw her arms around him. “Welcome back, honey. How was the con?”

“Well… it gave me a great idea for a story.”

A soft meow attracted his attention, and he reached down and scratched behind the cat’s ears. “Hey, Ghlaghghee. I hope you had a better weekend than I did.”

He stood up to hug Krissy one more time, completely missing the strange gleam that emanated from Ghlaghghee’s eyes, and the faint smell of bacon that permeated the kitty’s fur.

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The Little Novel That Could

My novel (working title: “In a Land of Wind and Sky”) has gone through a series of fitful starts and stops over the past few months. My muse has been sidetracked by various short stories that I’ve been writing instead, but the novel stays stuck in my head, poking at me occasionally, like an itch that just won’t go away. I’ve done a great deal of editing on it, sending the first few chapters through writing groups, fine-tuning battle scenes and character voices and mixing in various flavors of awesome, but I haven’t gotten much new writing done on it.

But now in the past week I’ve written two new pieces of it in 1,000+ word spurts, because all the editing in the world, fun as it is, isn’t going to actually finish this thing.

So I’m setting myself a goal, here and now, of completing the whole first draft before the next NaNoWriMo. It’s time to face facts: this thing is going to be stuck in my head until I get it out on paper, so I’d best do it as soon as I can, even if the form is a little rough. (For you non-authors, it’s like having a song stuck in your head, except in this case it’s an entire novel, and instead of two lines of lyrics on endless repeat, it’s a myriad of characters and plot ideas yammering at you, interrupting each other, and just generally being a pain in the cranium.)

I’ve passed the 200-page mark (about 62,000 words), but there’s a long way to go. If I can do just 5,000 words a week I can make it to 160,000 words by the first of November. Will that be enough to finish the first draft? I don’t know yet, but it’s worth a shot. Because I don’t know how I’m going to be able to write a second novel in November with this one still pestering me.

In case it sound like I’m being overly negative, don’t get me wrong– I’m thrilled to have a novel stuck in my head. It means the ending is good enough that I can’t ignore it, like I’ve done with several other concepts that still occasionally rattle around in my subconscious. It means this story may yet be finished.

I have, however, let myself get distracted by one thing: sci-fi author John Scalzi and former Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton are holding a fanfiction contest in which the goal is to describe what on earth is going in the picture on the right. (Yes, that is Wil Wheaton is a clown sweater, riding a unicorn-pegasus-kitten as he attacks an orcish version of John Scalzi. A Scalzorc, as it were.)

The winner gets paid for their story at ten cents a word, and published along with several other authors in a book whose proceeds go to benefit the Lupus Foundation. Whether I win or not, I figure it’s good practice for writing a pre-set theme, and besides, it’s not every day you get to write unicorn-pegasus-kitten fanfiction.