Saturday, September 24, 2005

We are the Champions...

J.J.: And the winner is…Qui-Gon. Nicely done Han…eh…QG…eh…I think….whatever.

In fact, very well done for all of you. That was the most impressive display by all of you yet. You should all be very proud at how you did. I know that was a very different and difficult challenge to undertake so seeing as how well you all did, I’m giving you guys a couple of extra rewards.

First off…meet Hubert. He’s your new hamster for your cooling droid. Let’s hope he fairs better than his…eh…predecessor.

Next, we have a whole case of ice cold beer for you all to relax with and enjoy.

Fluke: eh…J.J., how do we get down from here?

J.J.: Oh that...Observe…

J.J. lifts a finger and finds a small stone button at the edge of the tower that says "In Case of Emergency." With a sudden WOOSH of air, a gigantic inflatable slide swells up and forms for everyone to slide down on.

J.J.: Ta-DA!

Once again, you guys did a fantastic job! I’ll see everyone at tribal council tomorrow.

….Don’t forget to vote!!!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Dooku to Yoda: Spiffing this is not!

JJ: And…GO!!

"Tally-ho!" I called, striding into the purple light.









Feel different I do. On my head, something is. A mirror, here is. Check my head, I shall.



Top hat



Wearing Dooku’s tophat I am?! Do this will not! Cut it into tiny pieces I shall.
Too big this lightsabre is! Lift it I cannot! No time I have – beat the doofus Dooku I must.
*sets off through labyrinth of tunnels and passages, heading for the top*


*******************************************************
Daydreaming I was. Thinking of Dolly, I was. Then, into my head this image floats…

Spot of tea and biscuits, what?


Tea and biscuits! Understand it I cannot! And want to use words like ‘spiffing’ constantly I do! Affected me, the tophat must have. Get this over with quickly, I should. Then force-wedgie Dooku, I can.
*******************************************************

Tired, I am becoming. My cane, I need. Have it, I do not. Use this lightsabre, I will. Long enough, it is. Even if curved, it is. Hurry I must. Worse, this tophat syndrome is becoming. Wanting to wear suits and ties, and drink tea, I am! Not right, this is. Agree with Dooku the doofus on anything, I do not. The heat it must be. Yes, the heat…

*******************************************************

Feeling under the weather, I am, what eh? My tea I need… - wait! Drink tea I do not! And yet…so spiffing it is… - no! Fight this I must. If come out of this I do with permanent brain damage, Dooku’s fault it is. If come out of this unharmed I do, force-wedgie him anyway I will. And force him to drink coff- co- cooofffeeeeargh! Say the word I cannot! All Dooku’s fault this is!
*******************************************************

The end, that is? The end! Get out of here I can! Spiffing-argh!




Oooff!
Chaps, happened, what just did? Seeing images of Dolly Parton, why am I?

Starbucker to Dooku: This cumberbund is tight

JJ: questions?..........Go!

Fluke: (to self) Oh, man... This oughtta be a breeze! I'll be up top in no time!

Fluke rushes in... into the darkness that quickly conceals him, and the others from him... as he strides, he feels awkward: chills runs up and down the length of his spine - he hurries on...running as fast as he can toward a flickering
light at the end of the entry tunnel...


¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø,.¸¸.,ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸

...now slowing to walk at a snappy clip, he comes to a rather filthy area where a dimly lit torch hangs on the wall

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Dooku: "I say, this place could do with a tad more illumination."

Dooku, now carrying a torch, walks up a slightly inclined, tubular passage from the torch room. The interior is growing wet and and is still rather dark, resembling a cave: hanging with plant life and stalactites. His echoing footsteps
intermittently overpower the sounds of loud dripping, whistling air drafts and scampering claws.


Dooku: "*tisk* It appears that my spats will become tarnished in this foul place."

The cave ends at a hallway, that leads two directions from the cave mouth. Dooku heads to his right. He soon reaches an arch in the hall. He sees a small chamber ahead, which interrupts the hall. The chamber is brightly lit by a shaft of sunlight from high above. There are several ways out of the chamber. Dooku stops, looks it over.

Dooku: "I do despise this feeling of being lost. Let's see here... I am ultimately to be arriving at the pinnacle of this tower, so I feel it behooves me at this point to ascend. I'll just hang onto this torch, even though it smokes dreadfully."

He springs across the chamber to a set of stone stairs headed up. Once again darkness falls upon him as he climbs. After traversing the stone stairs for a few moments he comes to a tight landing. Framing the entry are a carefully strung network of dead vines, each somehow hooked into the wall, narrowing the opening even more. He lowers the torch to the floor of the landing. The landing is carpeted with bones, all on top of another, all squashed flat as cardboard. Dooku looks up to the
ceiling of the landing, which is covered in webs, then steps in - onto skeletons, which make a cracking noise under his feet. He tries not to touch the vines. The cracking and snapping beneath his feet echo throughout the room. He pauses...
listening intently... he hears shreiking in a distance, but cannot tell from what direction.


Dooku: "Curious... I should not care to dally."

He steps with more fervor around the landing. He discovers no path or hallway leading out. The shreiking grows louder.
Dooku begins to fret.


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Dooku: "Oh, dearie, I mustn't tarry!"

He begins his way around the room again, this time feeling the wall underneath the layers of old ocbwebs that envelop everything. The shreiking continues to grow.
Dooku finds near the floor in one area what he believes may be a small shut door of some sort. He holds his torch clear as he uses his free hand to sweep away some of the mess covering it.


Dooku: "Vile"

Finally, he is able to see there is a latch, and although it is somewhat stuck, he hits it solidly with the butt of his torch, and it unhooks. Sitting on the gorund and pressing his full weight with his feet against the door, it opens. The
shreiking is nearer and louder as he slips on his stomache through the door, and goes to shut it back again. As it closes, he's certain he heard rustling in the landing area he had just left... he pauses for a moment...


Dooku: "Surely I cannot be expected to continue with this challenge. My clothing is a mess. Certainly, there must be some way to complete this challenge without actually going through it completely."

He looks around and sees he is again in the center of a hallway, but it's somehow different than before, and now he smells something retched. He heads now to his left... He stops. The shreiking he had heard before now seems closer than ever behind him. He looks, but sees nothing. He starts walking again, but stops as he hears the shreiking again. He looks, holding his torch away from his eyes... straining to make out anything that might be in the hallway behind him. He turns and continues at a greater speed. He sees more stairs some distance in front of him as he hears the shreiking again... he turns around looking once more, and sees something moving... he squints as he watches the movement and places his free hand on his lightsabre. At once, he realizes three deadly Massiffs are burrowing down the hall in his direction. His eyes grow wide and he turns and sprints towards the stairs - going up rapidly, three steps at a time. At the top of these steps, he pauses to look around, and sees what appears to be a doorway several feet from where he stands - streams of light shines in from around around it's edges. The portion of the floor he's standing on begins to rumble and shake. He hears the massiffs approaching up the stairs behind him. He darts towards the door, but as he gets closer - two more massiffs appear between him and the light of the door. He ignites his sabre and whirls it in a formal salute, then charges into them. Words are insufficient to describe the range and skill of his speed and swordplay against the now five helpless creatures as they try to attack him from all sides. His lightsaber is a humming blur of light. The creatures die quickly. He shuts down his lightsabre and steps toward the door, opening it. He sees other challengers waiting outside

Dooku: "Oh, I cannot go out now - I do believe my hair might be an unsightly muss....oh, but I must! How embarrassing."

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He steps out, and transforms...

¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø,.¸¸.,ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸¸,.ø¤º'º¤ø.,¸

...back to Fluke

FLUKE: "uh... that was freaky"

Starbucker out

Han to Fluke: A Stroke of Luck

Han: Hey, Fluke. I just want to say, good luck in the challenge today.
Fluke: Thanks, but I don't need lu- Hey! That's your line!
Han: Today, I think we all need all the luck we can get.

We lined up and J.J. shouted "Go"! And we went.

I ran through the entrance, everything tasted purple for a second and...

I went blind! Who turned out the lights? Oh, wait, I just left the blast shield down on my helmet. I lifted it up and checked out my surroundings.

Everyone else was gone. I was alone in a room with only one hallway in front of me. A sign hung over the hallway: "This way to the great egress!"

I looked behind me, and there was only a stone wall. How did I get in here? Never mind that, I had a challenge to win! I took off down the hallway.

It opened into another room, distinctly lacking in giant eagles (or whatever egresses are). It also lacked exits, but on the far wall was a giant circle filled with shimmering light, like the surface of water.

(voice): Are you the keymaster?

I spun around. Several times, actually. On the third try, I managed to face the direction the voice had come from.

Man: Your weapon is not necessary.

I noticed I had drawn my blaster...wait, blaster? It was Han's blaster, I could tell by the presence of a small mirror on the handle. Where was my lightsaber?

Fluke: Who are you?

His coke-bottle glasses and an awkward haircut screamed 'beat me up and take my lunch money!'

Man: I am the gatekeeper. Are you the keymaster?

I looked around. No one else was here.

Fluke: Uh, sure. Yup. I’m the stairmaster alright.
Man: Then, you seek the Pearl, yes?
Fluke: The pearl?
Man: No, the Pearl. She is very wise.*
Fluke: How do you know?
Man: (smiling) I'm her father.
Fluke: You're the father of Pearl. (Sigh, so close)*
Man: Yes. Step through the eye.

He gestured toward the water/circle thingy on the wall. I shrugged; what's the worst that could happen? I tried not to think about that, and stepped through. Everything tasted green for a second, and...

I was under water! No oxygen....lungs filling with water...!

Wait....I felt fine. I was breathing water...freaky. I looked around (fast becoming my favorite activity, after mambo dancing of course). It looked like some kind of nightclub, filled with shellfish and other sea dwellers. A mermaid swam up to me.

Mermaid: Welcome to Atlantis! Can I take your order?
Fluke: Uh, is Pearl here? (speaking under water felt *weird*)
Mermaid: Oh, you know Pearl? Who are you?
Fluke: I'm Fluke (I glanced at Han's blaster) I think.
Mermaid: Fluke, huh? Nice name. Pearl's the bartender. Beware though, she's kind of crabby.
Fluke: Thanks. And you are?
Mermaid: Her mother.
Fluke: (Sigh again) Too late, the moment has passed.

I worked my way through the crowd. The place was packed*. Who knew sea-folk liked to drink so much*? I got to the bar and tried to get the attention of the mermaid behind the counter.

Fluke: Pearl!
Pearl: (one glance at Fluke) Anago!
Fluke: Anago?

An eel swam up. A BIG eel. Why did it have to be eels? I hate eels. Wait, no I don't. What was I thinking of?

Anago: You called?
Pearl: Human, Anago. Sic 'em.
Fluke: Wait! Listen, Indigo, I just want-
Anago: Anago! My name is Anago.
Fluke: What? Oh, Unagi, I just want to-
Anago: A-Na-Go! C'mon, it's THREE FRACKING SYLLABLES!
Fluke: Sorry. Hamo, I just want to ask-
Anago: Hamo? Now you're just doing it on purpose.* Listen, shrimp. The time for talking is over. Now, we gotta fight.
Fluke: Fight? How...you don't have any arms! Are you going to punch me with your tail?
Anago: Don't discriminate against me! Come at me with everything you've got.

Boy was he steamed.

My friend Bruce once said to me: "Careful there, I think that blaster's charged." That was the last thing he said to me. Before that though, he also spoke about fighting: "Be...like water. Put water in a glass, it becomes the glass. Put water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle." Of course, I was surrounded by water, and I never understood that advice to begin with, and Bruce wasn't around right then anyway. So never mind.

I faked a right hook and sucker punched Angelo (or whatever his name was) square in the jaw. He dropped*. Or, sort of floated slowly downward.

Fluke: I just want to know how to get to the top of the Pillar of Doom!
Pearl: Wait, that's it?
Fluke: Yes!
Pearl: Oh. Sorry then. I thought you were someone else.
Fluke: And you just send your attack-eel after me?
Pearl: Hey! I'm under a lot of pressure right now! I said I was sorry. Do you want my help or what?
Fluke: Help! Help!
Pearl: (mollified) OK. You want to get to the top of the Pillar of Doom? Where do you think you are now?
Fluke: Um...somewhere inside the Pillar?
Pearl: Well, sort of. Let's start with an easier one: Whom do you think you are now?
Fluke: Fluke Starbucker, Founder of the New Jedi Order wannabe.
Pearl: Sure about that? Since when do you carry Han's blaster around?
Fluke: How did-
Pearl: The mirror on the handle.
Fluke: Oh. Right. Wait, you know Han?
Pearl: (wistful sigh, smile) Yeah... Anyway, why do you think you have Han's blaster?
Fluke: I...uh... Well, J.J. said that when you enter the Pillar, you turn into someone else. So I must have turned into Han.
Pearl: No. Think harder... You have Han's blaster. You're wearing Han's clothes.
Fluke: ...Han turned into me?
Pearl: Right! But...why do you have your own blast helmet?
Fluke: Uh....
Pearl: Yeah. Reality here is...fluid.
Fluke: Oh. That's deep.
Pearl: Wait 'till I get going! Your helmet is part of your identity.
Fluke: Woah. This whole thing is hard to ... understand*.
Pearl: Now, draw your weapon.

After she took my pencil away, I pulled out Han's blaster.

Pearl: Ah, now, that's Han's weapon. Concentrate on your weapon.

I looked down at the blaster in my hand, and imagined I was holding my lightsaber...for a moment I thought I could actually see it...

Pearl: Ah, so close. Anyway, that's how you can get to the top. Picture yourself being there. Can you picture it? You've got to see it in your mind! But your concentration needs work. Use a focus point: click your heels together three times saying "There's no place like the top"
Fluke: For real?
Pearl: For imaginary.
Fluke: That's pretty ridiculous.
Pearl: Fine. Stay here and get pruney, see if I care. (she turns away)

I lowered the blast shield on my helmet. I could do this. Concentrate!

Fluke: (click) There's no place like the top... (click) There's no place like the top... (click) There's no place like the top...

Everything tasted orange for a second, and...


Woah. Dizzy.

J.J.: Well, it's about time you made it.
Han: Weird. Why is my blaster filled with water?

*Bad puns I left out:
  1. Pearl of wisdom
  2. Mother of pearl
  3. Packed like sardines
  4. They drink like fish/They like getting tanked
  5. On porpoise
  6. Dropped like an anchor
  7. Hard to fathom
You're welcome.

Typho to Qui-Gon: Altered States


Altered States
Originally uploaded by Captain Typho.
“Any questions?” said JJ.

We shook our heads.

“GO!”

Blaster in hand, I barreled through the entrance of the Pillar of Doom and into a ball of purple light. One by one, the people in front of me were swallowed up...

And then I was, like, floating.

Purple is the color of, you know, royalty, and I believe that people should be free and not into ruling and being ruled, you know? But taken strictly as a color, purple is righteous.

Everyone around me was, you could say, gone. Not sure where they went. This was a downer because I wanted to keep an eye on Dooks. If anyone could find a quick way out, it would be him. Bummer.

That’s when I noticed something that blew my mind. My lightsaber was gone and I had a blaster in my hand.

Wow, like, talk about uncivilized. Who gave me a blaster, man? A joke like that is wrong on so many levels. A lightsaber is all about defense and peace. A blaster is a tool of negativity. I don’t need no weapons of destruction.

I discarded it and decided to move on out. The purple haze was all around me as I glided up a spiral staircase. The colors were groovy and swirly, like being inside one of my lava lamps.

Hey! When JJ and I remodel our place, we should one room just like this, where people can mellow out from the inside out. And eat brownies and contemplate the universe. Yeah--

Whoa.

That’s when I saw, like, a blast from the past, lurking in the shadows off of the second landing.

Xanatos!

Here? Now?

My first padawan.

My failed padawan.

Had he learned how to become one with the Living Force before he died?

“XANATOS!” I cried. He cackled and ran down the hallway and I followed.

Man, like, when am I going to learn not to fall for that? It was a trap, of course. How many times did this kid try to kill me and young Ben once he went dark side? I’ve lost count.

As I dashed down the hallway after him, a panel opened up in one of the walls and I was blasted with light. Not the cool, mellow purple light from the stairs, but an angry green light that set my poncho on fire.

That was some powerful mojo. Not cool. I love that poncho. I rolled on the floor to douse the flames, and doing so saved me from getting slimed by some toxic mess that spewed from the ceiling.

What followed was one trap after another as I chased this sorry youngling from one landing to another. You name it, it was there. Spikes coming out of the floor, false floors that broke away when you stepped on them, mirrors, gas. It was one bad video game trip, man. That’s where he went wrong. I should never have bought him that Toshy Station game system for his birthday all those years ago. Man, like, is that a tool of the Sith, or what?

I finally caught hold of Xanatos when we were on the last level of the tower. I somersaulted over his head, go in front of him, and kicked the lightsaber from his hand. I grabbed him and shook him hard.

“Let it go, dude! It’s over! We’re both dead. It’s all about peace, man. If you learned one thing from me, you should’ve learned that.”

I shook him again and he changed.

No, not his funky evil attitude. He morphed into Tahl!

Shocked, I let go and watched in horror as my old lady tumbled backwards down the stairs towards a pit of pure acid that had materialized out of nowhere. I reached out to grab her…

And I was standing on the roof of the Pillar of Doom, looking at Yoda, Qui-Gon and the others.

How did I get up here?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Qui-Gon to Han : Han's Odyssey

The late Qui-Gon Jinn stood before the great tower. Fear etched his ethereal face.
He turned to the diminutive Jawa, Jawajuice.
"Uh, JJ, man," he said, "like, we turn into someone else, right? So does that mean that someone else is us?"
JJ shook his head and sighed. "...is us.." he mumbled under his breath. "Yes, Qui, someone else becomes you."
"Then, like, they, like, know what we are thinking about and stuff?" The Force ghost looked nervous.
"Are you worried about your solid-gold brownie recipe?"
Qui-Gon's spectral eyes went wide and he slowly nodded. "Yes. Yes. The brownies. That's it."
The other contestants entered the glowing tower gate. However, Qui-Gon hesitated. "...Uh... I think we left the hamster on fire. I'll just go and put it out." He turned and started floating away.
"Qui-Gon Jinn!" JJ shouted.
The ghost stopped and turned, his head hanging.
JawaJuice pulled out a Ghostbusters Ghost Trap, holding the hanging box up for the deceased man to see.
With a burst of speed, the spectre flew for the door. "I'm going... Captain Bringdown..."
* * * *
It took a moment for his eyes to adjust. He was literally surrounded by himself. Hundreds and hundreds of visions of Han Solo filled the room. His eyes widened and he surveyed the situation.
"Mirrors," he said, almost inaudibly. "My greatest weakness."
He carefully stepped in the direction of one of the images. Looking it up and down, he adjusted his holster and vest and ran a deft hand through his hair.
"Damn sexy."
Something is wrong, he thought. "This looks too long. My face is thinner. As you can't improve upon perfection..."
He stepped right, to the next mirror, This one was comically off, making the man look dwarven and plump. He chuckled to himself and moved on right again. This mirror curved, making his reflection crescent shaped. The next stretched his image out, making him look ridiculously long and sinewy.
On and on he went, wrapping around in what he felt to be a rectangle, as he had to turn at corners. Each image was not as he remembered. Some were very close, others were comically askew.
Finally, he reached one that was a perfect match. "That's right!" He laughed, triumphantly, then ran his hands over his cheeks. "I'll need a shave after I get out of this."
He reached out and touched the mirror. It gave way, the image rippling like water. Han nodded, pulling his hand away. He checked himself one last time, doing some quick adjustments, before stepping through.

Han ound himself in a room lit by torches in sconces. The walls, floor, and low hanging ceiling were wet, dark stone. The room lacked furniture. From the flickering light, Han could make out a tan-coloured shape in the corner. It was too dark to see what the item was, but it rose and fell, as if it were breathing.
Han took the torch nearest him. He took a moment and checked his items, unlatching his blaster strap.
"Greetings, traveler."
The voice caught the man off guard and his eyes leapt to the figure in the corner. He held his torch up, the darkness fading before him.
Sitting with long furred legs stretched out at her side, there was a sphinexu. Han recognised the shape of her body. More than half of her was that of a nexu, mottled fur with four muscular paws. At the chest, she became that of a beautiful humanoid female. Her shoulders broke into, what looked to be, krayt draigon wings. Her head of hair was dark and to the length of her shoulders.
Han stared. She was unclothed. He had merely glanced at the rest of her form, but found himself returning to her lack of coverings. Most of her body was covered in soft tawny fur, but her very human chest revealed two noticeable exceptions.
Her voice was smooth and nearly a purr. "Wish you passage through the lair of the Sphinexu?"
Han uttered a low laugh, his eyes set on her chest.
She looked at him critically. "Hey, buster," she said, clicking her claws together on her right paw, "Eyes up here."
He ripped his gaze away and met her yellow eyes. "That's right, darlin'. I need to get to the top of this tower but quick. Maybe you can help me out. I'll scratch your back..." His eyes drifted downward again. "You scratch mine."
"To pass, you must answer me this riddle." She noticed his gaze. "And stop looking at my chest. Right now."
He looked up again. "A riddle? Ha!" Han laughed, resting his hand on his hip and running his other through his hair. "Bring it on, sweetheart. I'm a master thinker."
She looked nonplussed, giving a small scoff. "All right. You look at me, I look back. Your right hand raises. I my left. You speak, but I in vain. Tell me, o great mind, of what do I speak."
His eyes slipped back to gaze at her chest.
"You know what? If you don't stop looking at my chest, I'm just going to have to kill you." Her rodent-like tail swatted the ground.
Han laughed. "You can't kill me. It's in my contract."
The sphinexu smiled, procuring a parchment from a shelf near her head at the wall. "This contract?" She unfolded the paper, revealing the very contract that Han had meant. She began to read. "... 'as the contestant is protected from most fatal accidents, accept for those inflicted by Hutts, Banthas, strange cursed idols, Toydarians, Jawas, Snyvrens, spiders, hamsters, Sarlacc, Gorgonzola, swoops, sand surfing, cooling droids, scurriers, and Sphinexus. If said contestant is killed in such a way, this contestant's body will be cremated at Big Bob's Cremation and Pottery Barn.'" Smiling, she licked at her first right claw. "At least you'll be in a nice urn."
Han's face fell. He gave a nod and a short grunt, tightening his grasp on his torch. His hand grazed over his left pocket. He reached in, pulling out his pocket hand-held mirror. Flipping it open, he gave himself a quick glance over. Slowly, he began to turn the mirror to reflect the image of the creatures chest back to his sight.
She glared for a moment. "You are smarter than I took you for."
He snapped to attention, looking her in the eye. "Huh?"
"The mirror," she said, her voice flat, "The answer was a mirror."
Han blinked. He drew in a deep breath and smiled. "That's right, darlin'. I told ya' that you can't rival ol' Han's intellect. Like a steel trap." He tapped at his head, looking down at her chest again.
She uttered a growl. "You got it right! Just go!" She pointed to an open door just beyond her perch.
Han smiled, winked, shot her with his hand mimicking a gun and stepped past and through the exit.

The door slammed shut behind him and the sound of something locking echoed in the chamber Han had entered. He still held the small mirror fast and in the other hand was his torch. Glancing upward, he noted an open door.
The room was shorter than the last one. Han's torch was the only source of light, reflecting only a short distance in front of him. Through the flickering light, the room was lined with pillars. Every corner remained dark.
Han took a few steps, ignoring the darkness that wrapped around him. Small red eyes appeared in the corner to the far right of him. Another set then glowed to his left. Two more pierced the blackness, leaving a set in every corner.
"Who's there?" he called, the light wavered as his hand shook.
A beautiful hum swam through the darkness to his ears. The other corners joined the harmonising.
Han felt the vocalisations flow through him, slowing his thought. The sound was that of peace. He stopped, closed his eyes, and absorbed the lilt.
A scurrying broke him from his trance. The clicking of claws closed in and he began to feel warmth on every side. He knew what he was facing. He had learned about the Snyvrens when he was a young boy. They were hideous creatures, resembling Snyvvians, with pushed in noses and stumpy teeth. Their bodies were that of a humanoid, lightly furred, with large grotesque warts protruding in places. The Snyvrens had glowing red eyes with night vision, able to see through the darkest caves. The most important note about the creatures was that, as being far too hideous to find a mate of their own kind, and as there are no males of their species, the females hunted to draw in potential mates with song. They would hide themselves in darkened areas and ambush an unsuspecting male with a hypnotic melody. Once the male was under their spell, the chosen sister would take him. From there, she would get him to sign a prenuptual agreement, consent to a big wedding where all her friends would be invited, and condemn him to be the father of many, many little Snyvrens until he would die of old age and despair.
The song continued, as the sisters inched closer.
"Sing Sweet Home Geonosis!" He called to the glowing eyes.
The melody broke and was replaced by murmuring.
"Come on," Han said, successfully hiding his fear, sweat beading on his forehead. "At least do the chorus. It runs five times a day on the radio!"
The red eyes darted back and forth and more murmuring followed. The voices began to harmonise again. "Sweet Home Geonosis" the voices began. The pitch was on, but the song did not adapt well to the choral effect.
Han held the torch closer, mimicking a microphone. He chimed in, inching nearer and nearer the open door.
"They're makin' a droid for you. Sweet Home Geonosis..."
Han sang garishly, waving his hands and 'playing air guitar,' while still keeping a close hold on his torch. The Snyvrens watched intently, but sang as well. He was mere inches from the door before the four caught on to his ploy and leapt for him.
He was a split-second faster than the leaping daemons, dashing through the open door, and slamming it shut behind him.
With a smile, he sang, "Sweet Home Geonosis, Home to Ol' Count Dooku..."

After thoroughly securing the door he had just left, and finishing the rousing chorus of Sweet Home Geonosis, Han Solo took in his newest environment. The room was the narrowest of those he had visited. It was of the familiar simple stone, with torches in sconces. One thing that Han had noticed was that the room had no echo. His boots made a faint clicking sound, but nothing else could be heard. Han felt nearly claustrophobic from the low hanging ceiling.
The room was filled with stone statues. As Han investigated each, he saw that there were ones that seemed years old. The people wore dated uniforms and held obsolete objects. Others were newer, as the chisel of the stonework was fresher and the lines crisper. There were several Postal carriers, male and female, human and other races. There were two pizza deliverers, both holding stone pizza boxes. There was a Mon Calamarian doctor, with a stethoscope around his neck and a doctors bag in his hand. There was a young looking Zabarak paper delivery boy. There was a human Encyclopaedia Galactica salesman. All had a look of shock or fear etched into their stone faces.
Han felt a trickle of fear as he looked to the closed door. Above the primitive stone door was a tarnished metal sign. He held his torch up and shed light onto the letters. "Mitzi," it read in juvenile bubbled letters.
His eyes went wide. He knew who this Mitzi was. He knew of the fate of all the statues in this place. Mitzi was a Gorgonzola. Gorgonzola were feared beasts in the galaxy. They had the power to vanquish the mightiest Jedi or the fiercest Rancor. With a glance, a Gorgonzola could instantly freeze her opponent, turning them, forever, into a block of stone. They resembled a mix of Twi'Lek and Thisspiasian. The bodies were that of a thick scaled snake, the chest rising to be like that of a Twi'Lek. They had two arms and their heads were covered in tendril-like lekku. Their colour was most often green. Complete reports of the monsters were sketchy at best, as many of the investigators were turned to stone.
After Han Solo's phenomenal success with the Kessel Run, he had developed a strong fan base, mostly females aged 14 to 175. Mitzi was Han Solo's biggest fan. When Han traveled to Mos Eisley and checked his PO Box, there would always be hundreds of letters awaiting him from the young one. He had read the first letter, and was kind enough to send a response in the form of an autographed glossy 8 by 10. Once that happened, she took it upon herself to pen him another letter every single day. Han was once pulled aside by Postmaster General Thrawn and told to tell the girl to stop writing, as many of his postal carriers never returned.
Mitzi told Han all about her species, but even armed with this knowledge, he was terrified. He had no choice but to face her. Behind him he left a pack of angered Snyvrens and a Sphinexu that he imagined to be drawing up a sexual harrassment lawsuit as he stood thinking.
He racked his brain. He recalled the weaknesses of the species and like a ship jumping to light speed, he concocted an idea. He returned his torch to an open sconce. Smiling, he felt his pockets. He pulled out his light shade glasses and slipped them on. From his back pocket, he removed his mirror and flipped it open.
Sliding the glasses on, his image was cool and calm in the mirror. One screw up, he thought, and I'm fine art that couldn't possibly do the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. He suddenly wondered what JawaJuice would do if Han were turned to stone. He envisioned a monument displayed in downtown Coruscant. "A monument to cunning and pure beauty." He winked at himself in the mirror, though the glasses masked the gesture, and braced himself for the worst.
He knocked on the stone slab door. He heard nothing, but fixed his eyes on the reflection in his mirror, which was turned in such a way to observe the door.
There was a scraping of stone and the room was open. A hideous face appeared in Han's mirror. Mitzi was ugly. Her face was that of a humanoid female. However, her teeth were elongated into spiky fangs, wired together with metallic braces. Her skin was mottled reddish green and scaled, some areas looking swollen and spotted with acne. Her yellow slit eyes were magnified by a gaudy pair of brown plastic rimmed glasses. She wore a t-shirt bearing Han's face. Her eyes went even larger with surprise. "Captain Solo?"
Han had to play it cool, though the fear was like a flock of mynock swarming in his belly. He continued to look at her in the mirror. Flashing a fake gaudy smile, he clicked his tongue at her, shooting her with his free finger. "The one and only, darlin'."
He quickly surveyed the room from the reflection in the mirror. It was a pink nightmare. The oversized bed was dressed in pink ruffles. A fluffy pink shag rug lined the floor. The other furniture, a desk, a dresser, and a small end table, were all shades of pink. A pink fluffy lamp illuminated the room. The walls were draped in posters, many of Solo himself. It was a room that one would mistake for that of an average teenage girl, with the glaring exception of the terrified stone figures, frozen in the corners.
Her squeal startled him and grated his frazzled nerves, like the sound of glass scraping together. She clapped her talon tipped hands rapidly. "Oh. My. Gawd! No-one will ever believe this!"
Han smiled, holding his eyes shut as she slithered nearer. "I am pretty unbelievable." He braced himself and began unfolding the most important part of his plan. "You know what? This would be a great photo op. Me and you. You and me. Mitzi and Han."
She swooned a bit, throwing an over-dramatic arm to her forehead. "Mitzi and Han! You, are, like, so much better than the other losers that I've dated." She gestured to the rightmost corner. There were about a half dozen statues, all in states of fear and shock. Han threw a glance that way, careful to not look at the monster before him. He recognised the nearest and most visible stone figure.
Fear gripped the hero. The statue was of the great pilot Solon'Ha, a dashing young rebel Zabarak. He had gone into the annuls of history when his ship Indiana took out two star destroyers in the battle of i'Ron. It took all of Han's resolve to avoid showing the fear that threatened to overwhelm him.
The young Gorgonzola snatched a small pink metallic item off her desk. "I got this wizard new camera phone. Oh wow, listen to my ringtone..." she said, fumbling with the small device in her large clawed hands. In an instant it began to play an electronic chirping version of Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
Han swallowed a sigh. Listening to this beast play music on her mobile, standing in the repulsive lair of pinkness, he fought to not look the monster in the eye and end it all right there. He thought of the credits. Not just the credits, but a Sith load of credits awaited him at the end of his adventures. For the money and undoubted fame, he pressed on.
He flawlessly faked a smile, eyes still fixed on the mirror. "That is really great." There was more of a sarcastic bite in that statement than he had meant to bleed through. "Ready for that picture, Mitz?"
She looked star-struck again. "Oh my Gawd! You, like, totally know my nickname! I love you so much, you don't even know!"
"Oh, I bet I do. I make sure to read every one of your letters." Han swallowed a gag. "You have the best handwriting."
Mitzi gushed, "I know, it's so cute and I make sure to dot every 'i' and 'j' with a heart. It's just how I, like, totally express myself, you know?"
Han looked at himself in the mirror, overacting his motions. "You want to check your hair? Just so everything is perfect?"
Mitzi nodded, her lekku gently tapping her scaled skin. "You are so awesome! BFF!"
Han bit his tongue. Hard. "BFF!" he chimed in, mimicking her tone. He clenched his eyes shut, handing her the mirror.
"Love your shades, BTW. " She snatched it and gazed at herself.
Her screams were drowned out by the grinding of stone.
The room was utterly still. The Gorgonzola had fallen prey to her own power. The species only weakness was one of Han's greatest strengths, his knowledge of mirrors.
Han exhaled a long sigh and shivered for a moment. He had come close to becoming a permanent resident of this pink nightmare. He reached out to take his mirror for the still monster's hands. It was attached as part of the stone statue. For a moment, he looked forlorn. "With every great success, there are sacrifices made."
He turned away. After opening the next door, he found himself in a tall chamber. The ceiling was twice his height, but the room itself was narrow, with just enough room for Han to stretch out both arms. A grand ascending staircase rose up, lighted by more torches.
He jogged up the stairs which seemed to go on forever. His calves burned and sweat dripped from his nose. He slowed his pace and soon came upon a simple wooden door with a metal ring as the handle. At the top, he took a moment to catch his breath and wipe away the sweat that stung his eyes.
"If this isn't it, I swear..." He tugged the ring and the door swung open, revealing a blinding violet light. He stumbled through.
* * * *
It was a moment before Qui-Gon Jinn adjusted to the sudden change of location. Less than a minute ago he was elsewhere, and then... He surveyed the new view. He could see the vast desert before him. The sky was illuminated by the powdery light of thousands of stars.
He was at the top! With a glance, he saw that no-one else was around. Had he won?
"Qui?"
The tiny jawa voice snapped Qui-Gon's attention back.
Jawajuice looked over his compatriot skeptically. "Guess you're the big winner." He looked surreptitiously around and slipped a hand into a fold of his robe. He pulled out a wrapped brownie and handed it out to the ghost beside him. "There you go, buddy. Good job. Now get me down from here."

From Yoda to Typho [Rejected title: Oh What a Feeling, Typhoda!]

Listening to JJ blather on about the challenge we were. "Those who step inside literally become someone else,,," Blah, blah, blah. Wasting time we were. So in I went.

In through the purple light I walked. In a big chamber I found myself. Through the darkness, several different passageways appeared. Then, very strange I started to feel. Very dizzy...

*******

I clutched my head as I struggled to regain my bearings. I felt as if I were stuck on some speeding merry-go-around gone wildly out of control. I couldn't be sure, but I had the impression I was lying on the floor.

When my head finally stopped spinning, I opened my good eye and took a look around me. It took a while for my eye to adjust to the light, what little light there was. Sunlight faintly illuminated part of the room, while torches flickered against the wall across from me, revealing a number of darkened doorways. I realized I was in the opening chamber of the Pillar of Doom.

How did I get here so fast? The last thing I remembered, I was with the rest of the group just outside the front entrance. Then the midget monkey rushed on in and... Oh, God.

Anyway, I knew I couldn't keep lying there, so I forced myself to stand up, then lost my lunch all over the floor. I staggered over to the far wall, grabbed one of the torches, chose one of the passageways, and ducked inside. There was no time to think about it, and I didn't feel like standing there trying to decide which doorway looked the most inviting.

As soon as I got inside, I backed up against a wall and slowly slid down until I was sitting once again on that cold, hard floor. The thick soupy fog in my head needed to clear if I was going to go anywhere. Gradually, I started to feel a dull pain – something was poking me in the side. I reached around and pulled out an object that apparently had been hanging on my belt. It was a lightsaber! As hard as I could, I threw the friggin’ thing against the wall, listening to it bounce around the hallway.

Oh my Gods, I thought, how could I do something so stupid? It was stupid - they must have named this place "Pillar of Doom" for a reason. The natives on this planet aren't known to exaggerate. And here I had thrown away the only weapon I had, since apparently the blaster JJ had given me didn’t make it through the transformation. And that's not like me. I don't take foolish risks, and I don't turn down weapons, especially when I might be in danger.

But I just couldn't stand the idea of receiving any more help from the Jedi. Even if it was just by accepting one of their weapons. I’ve had more than enough of their “assistance”, and I don’t need it – not to protect Amidala, and certainly not to protect myself. When are the Senator and the other head honchos on Naboo going to understand that? Don't get me wrong, I've don't have anything against the Jedi themselves. I've seen what they can do. I'd much rather have them on my side than have to face one down. Yet, lately, whenever there’s a major threat on the Senator’s life, the Naboo officials run straight to those Jedi, like I'm some rookie who can't even do his own job. I can do my friggin' job. I've managed to keep Amidala alive all this time, even though she's often so reckless it makes me think she has some kind of death wish. How many more years do I have to spend doing that before I get the respect I deserve?

What’s most annoying is how the Senator will never back me up whenever I have a disagreement with the Jedi. Sure, she trusts me every day to keep her alive, but along comes a Jedi Knight, or even a Padawan, and my opinion means squat to her. I've even had to play second-fiddle to that Skywalker punk. Enough is enough!

What was most hurtful was to see her do it to my uncle, Captain Panaka, during that whole mess with the Trade Federation. My uncle had kept Amidala alive, as well as the king before her, and the queen before him. But as soon as Jinn came into the picture, Panaka was treated like some part-time rent-a-cop. We never discussed it, but I’m sure that’s part of the reason he chose to retire. Sometimes I wonder why I stick around myself. But I keep reminding myself that by protecting the Senator I serve Naboo. I guess that’s all the reason I need.

But today, at this moment, I was completely my own man. No suicidal senator to protect, no ridiculous bureaucrats to tell me how to do my job, just me against… whatever was waiting for me in this gods-forsaken Pillar. I promised myself that when I got through this challenge, no one would say I had done it with anybody's help – not from the Jedi, not from anyone. Even if it meant I would have to do it unarmed.

My head had cleared, so I slowly stood up and looked down the hallway, peering into the darkness for some clue about what was in store for me. But it wasn’t working. I couldn’t see more than a few meters ahead.

I cautiously stepped into the darkness and quickly reached a narrow staircase. About every five steps, a hole would appear in either wall where the staircase would branch off in another direction. This place almost resembled a beehive with all of its different catacombs. I knew I had to keep going up, so decided to go straight ahead as far as I could without taking one of the branching staircases. That didn’t last very long as I very quickly came up against a blind wall. So I went back down until I reached the nearest hole, and took another staircase. It turned out that I would have to do that a lot. Go up 15 steps, hit a wall, go back down 5 steps, take another staircase, go up 10 steps another wall, go down 5 steps… you get the picture.

It had gone on like this for what seemed like forever when I finally reached a kind of landing. I was getting pretty winded, so I paused to catch my breath. That was a mistake. Before I knew what hit me, a ponka hound knocked me on my back. I found myself lying on the ground with this beast on my chest, lunging for my throat. Instinctively, I put my arm up, only to feel his teeth rip through the flesh of it. I screamed in pain. Struggling to keep my senses, I propped my foot against the hound’s gut and pushed as hard as I could. That only knocked the animal away for a second before it lunged for me again. But this time I was ready. As soon as he lunged, I jabbed my thumbs as deep into his eye sockets as they would go. I gasped as the huge creature fell on me, thinking that I hadn’t hurt it. Then, I realized it wasn’t moving.

I rolled it off of me, and sat up to look at my arm. There were wounds and big nasty-looking bite marks. They didn’t appear to be too deep, but they hurt badly. I tore off part of my sleeve to use as a bandage, hoping the bleeding would stop sooner rather than later.

The producers told us that if we get injured, we're supposed to stay where we were until help arrived. But I didn't want help. I didn't need help. I was going to finish this on my own. So I started off again, up, down, up, down. I’m in really good shape, but this was brutal. My legs were getting sorer with each step.

I came to another landing. I stopped next to one of the torches hanging on the wall to look at my arm. It had stopped bleeding, but it still hurt. I knew I had to keep going, so I ignored the pain and started back up the steps when suddenly I tripped on something – something big. What would be lying on the floor in here? I thought.

My question was soon answered as something quickly wrapped itself around by legs and then my torso until I found myself face to face with a durbinian constrictor serpent. My arms were still free, so I grabbed it right below the head. It responded by squeezing me – hard. All the wind rushed out of me until I could hardly breathe. I did the only thing I could, I dug my fingers into its “neck” and pressed into it with all my strength. It hissed loudly, then squeezed even harder. It felt like I was being crushed by a giant vise. Blood rushed to my head and stayed there, making it feel like it would burst. I felt and heard one of my own ribs crack. All the time, I kept squeezing the serpent’s neck, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it up much longer. Somehow, it was starting to wrap itself around my arms now. With no oxygen reaching my brain, I started to get light-headed, like I was about to pass out. Suddenly, I heard another crack, but it didn’t come from me. The serpent’s neck finally crushed in my hands and its head fell limp.

It took a long time to untangle myself. As I did, I could feel the blood slowly return to various parts of my body, bringing with it sensation, then ultimately pain. And every time I would breathe, it felt like someone was sticking a knife in my side where my rib had cracked.

I got up and kept moving. It was really, really hard. Every step, every movement was a struggle. Then an argument started itself in my head.

I should Just let them come get me. There's cameras hidden all over. They can see me, how much trouble I'm in. They'll send help.

No! I don't need any help! I can do this!

How many more creatures are there here? I can't fight anymore. I won't survive another fight.

I bet all the Jedi make it out of here on their own.

That was enough for me.

One step at a time. Up. Come on, Typho. Keep going. Keep going. I would have to pause every few steps to spit out some blood, then tell myself again, keep going. It wasn't long until I found myself on a rather long staircase. Usually, I couldn’t go more than 20 steps without hitting a wall, but I realized I must have gone up about 80 since being attacked by the serpent.

Soon, I could see another landing up ahead. And there, standing at the top of the stairs waiting for me was a wampa ice creature, growling furiously.

“No!” I yelled, “I’ve been through enough! I’ve done enough!”

In a blind rage, drawing the last bit of strength I had, I ran up the last few stairs and jumped up on the beast, grabbing the fur around its head and throwing my legs around it. I didn’t have any strength to fight it, but that wasn't my plan. I leaned back, managing to through the wampa off balance. We both fell down, wrapped against each other, rolling down the long staircase I had just climbed with the little strength I had left. When I rolled on top of the beast, I could feel its claws digging in my back. When I was on the bottom, I could feel each stone step pound against my spine, as well as the crushing weight of the creature on top of me. At one point, I somehow managed to stay on top as we slid the rest of the way down the staircase. Finally we got to the bottom. And there, I fully expected to die. But when we had stopped sliding, I could see that the wampa was motionless. It must have struck its head on one of the steps.

Everything hurt now - my back, my arm, my side, my legs, my head, every joint, every muscle. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to stand up. It hurt to sit down. It hurt to touch anything. It hurt to keep my eyes open. Still, I wanted to go on. I needed to do this myself. So I lay there, trying to find the power to get up, or just move. But it just wasn't in me.

Then I looked up.

There, at the top of the staircase, where the wampa had stood, was something beautiful. It was faint, but it was there – a small beacon of sunlight falling softly from somewhere just above the landing. I smiled, then I started to cry, then I started to laugh. But I only laughed once. It hurt too much to do anymore.

I gathered strength I didn’t have and forced myself up on my knees. Slowly, I pushed through the pain and fatigue and crawled to the staircase. Then I crawled up the first step, then the second. I kept going until I got back up to the landing. Once there, I turned and looked to the direction of the light. There it was, a door leading to the outside. The sight made me weep like a baby. I staggered to my feet and limped out the door. I could see the hippie ghost out there, but it didn’t matter. I was alive and on my own two feet. And Jedi or not, I knew I was probably the only contestant to make it up here without a weapon. No could take that away from…

********************

… Oooh, my head. Suddenly, on the roof of this place I was. Standing over me, Qui-Gon was.

“That was, like, way out there man. Like, I never saw anything like that before, you all changing and stuff. One minute you’re Typho, and like, the next you’re… Hey, you don’t look so hot, man. You look like you got yourself beat up pretty bad.”

“The way I feel that is. Seen my lightsaber have you?”

Monday, September 19, 2005

Challenge #9 The Pillar of Doom

Welcome Survivors. Today we have an unusual challenge ahead for you.











Today we are at the Pillar of Doom. An ancient tower carved by a long forgotten race here on Tatooine standing nearly five hundred feet tall. Inside is a labyrinth of twisted corridors and stairs. The Pillar itself is one big maze. Your challenge is to travel up the pillar and be the first one to find and reach the top.

Unfortunately, you are going to need your weapons for this, because there are many strange and deadly creatures lurking at every corner and every dead end. Lightsabers are okay, but remember, no using the force as it is too much of an advantage.

Oh, and Typho, If you want, you can exchange out your weapon for this blaster. I'’m not sure how you'd be able to carry up an Ion cannon through that...

This will be an exceptionally grueling challenge, but there is one more very unusual thing about this ancient tower...

Those who step inside literally become someone else for the duration of their stay. This means, for example, if Fluke walked in the pillar he may suddenly become say...Yoda or Dooku, with all their skills and strange speech mannerisms. You will, in a sense, become another of your tribe mates until you reach the top, where once you leave the pillar, will revert back to your self.

So that's it. Any Questions?

Then...go.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Master Yoda: Ode to Herb the Hamster

Friends, doofuses, contestants, your ears lend me. To praise Herb the Hamster I come not, but to cook him up (Maybe add some barbecue sauce and a little pepper I will).

To know Herb, to love him was. Know Herb I did not, so care less that he is dead I could not. However, gathered with us today many of Herb's little hamster friends and relatives are. Their grief and immense sorrow we share. Perhaps offer our comfort to them after the conclusion of these services the rest of us can. After that, join Herb in my solar-powered crock pot they will.

Composed a poem for this occasion I have. Like this it goes.

Ode to Herb the Hamster

Herb, Oh Herb
The gift of cool air you gave
To us, in our humble cave
Running on your little wheel
So comfy you made us feel

Herb, Oh Herb
Giving you were, yes, a lot
Ask anything you did not
Because unselfish you were
And so content in your fur

Herb, Oh Herb
To feed you we forgot
So in you go to my pot
So very good will you taste
No parts of you will we waste

Herb, Oh Herb

The services that concludes. Join us at my crock pot for graveside services, any one who wants a piece of Herb may.