A Very Merry HBOmass - Part One
Posted By: Jillybean<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 11 December 2004, 10:34 PM
A Very Merry HBOmass
Oh - right.
Disclaimer: My fault. Entirely.
"Oh look at me . . . I'm big and fancy. I can blow things up and do really cool things."
"You have some issues I think you need to work out," Mercury shook his head, watching Jillybean sneer at the crowd gathered around Frogblast.
"Issues," she snorted. "I have more talent in my pinkie . . ."
Tuning her out, Mercury turned to the next page of the newspaper. "Wow, that looks really cool!"
"This trick here . . ."
"What's up with her?" K-Twizzy dodged a screaming Jillybean as she belted from the room. With a shrug, he entered and stole her space on the couch. "Wait - let me guess."
"Frogblast," Mercury agreed, folding his paper.
K-Twizzy looked perplexed. "Actually, I thought it was the fact she's still done no Christmas shopping."
"Nah," Mercury shrugged. "You know women. Can't focus on more than one thing. Did you see the trick on the front page of the newspaper?"
"Whaa . . .?" K-Twizzy glanced up from his Christmas list. "I thought we were talking about present shopping."
"Um, no, but that's fine."
"What are you getting for Frogblast?" K-Twizzy chewed on the end of his pencil, eyeing his notebook with some concern. "I mean, it's difficult to choose, isn't it? How can I express my feelings of awe, and gratitude . . . and some other, weird emotion that makes me feel a bit strange . . . all in one perfect gift?"
Mercury felt his temples begin to ache.
With a gust of eerie wind and snow, the main entrance to HBO opened and LBM stumbled in, slamming his weight against the door to close it again.
"Man it's cold out there!" He shivered, shaking the snow off him.
"Someone's been shopping," v-shields ash hopped up from his seat to inspect the multitude of bags LBM brought in. "Can I see?"
"No!" Slapping him away, Littlebigman manoeuvred past the crowds of Frogblast's fans and collapsed onto the sofa. "I've done my Christmas shopping!"
"Whatcha get me?" Michael M asked.
"Uh . . . well, what matters is that I've got all the important people presents." LBM grinned suddenly, fishing into a Bloomingdales bag for a small potted plant. "Like what I got Louis Wu?"
The others glanced at it.
"Should I?" Michael M prodded it and frowned. "LBM . . . it doesn't have a flower on it."
"Plants are healthy!" LBM cradled the pot in his arms. "They make your working environment nice and stuff." He brushed dust off one of the leaves.
"Plants may be healthy," Lance Corporal conceded, "but that's a weed. Where did you get it?"
"Well," LBM stood off the sofa. "I was walking down the market when suddenly, and without warning, there was this total eclipse of the sun."
"Total eclipse of the sun?" Hawaiian Pig chorused.
"Bullshit," Gold Elite retorted. "It's the middle of frickin' winter. It's snowing out. I haven't seen proper daylight in months. Total eclipse of the sun, my elite ass."
Offended, LBM sniffed and pulled the plant pot closer. "Well it got very dark and there was this strange sound, like something from another world,"
"Dadoo!" Michael M sneezed into a tissue. "Sorry, got the cold."
Glowering, LBM continued, "and when the light came back this plant was just sitting there."
"So you bought a plant nobody wanted to suck up to the boss . . ." scottisonfire glanced at the others. "Is there something I'm missing?"
"I am not sucking up to the boss!" LBM grumbled. He pulled a length of ribbon and some sellotape from his bags. "I'll show you," he muttered to himself, tying the bow around the pot. "I'll show you all!"
"Poor kid," Michael M shook his head, watching as LBM stormed off. "He tries his best."
"It's a rubber fecking plant, Michael," Mercury pinched the bridge of his nose. "And I've got this damn tune in my head . . . what's it from?"
Akba stumbled, glaring round at Littlebigman as he hurried away, throwing a "sorry" over his shoulder.
"Okay, Akba?" Frogblast asked.
"Fine, fine," stepping round another fan, Akba consulted his organizer. "And after that you've an interview with some local rag reporter . . . his name's Frankie . . . just wants your insights into Halo 2 and a brief history of your life.
"Right," Frogblast frowned, running a hand through his hair. "Will it interfere with that charity do for the Red vs Blue guys?"
"Umm," Akba flicked forward a few pages. "No, it shouldn't. I've got KOPD on standby to get you there in a hurry though."
"Good." Frogblast sighed. "I haven't had a chance to do any shopping yet . . ."
"Ah, that's okay, Frogblast." Akba smiled. "I got Pico and pile o'nades working on the Christmas cards, and Guardian and Frensa Geran are out with your shopping list. We had a small problem over how to actually spell Berconius, but I think it's been sorted out."
Grinning, Frogblast clapped a hand on Akba's shoulder. "Where would I be without you?"
"Well right now you have to be at Seventh Column so . . . "
"Thanks, Akba," Frogblast glanced at his watch. "Listen, why don't you take the rest of the day off, you've been run off your feet recently."
"But . . ."
"I'll be fine!" Frogblast assured him, heading off. "You deserve it!"
Frogblast suppressed a groan as he reached his 'Hog. "Yeah?"
"Oh my God it's actually you," the forum goer looked completely awe-struck. "My name's Pengwyn, this is Rampant Cowboy . . ."
Smiling pleasantly, Frogblast waved.
"I mean . . . we are your biggest fans!" Rampant Cowboy leaned closer. "This 'Hog is pretty cool. Any special features?"
"No . . . it's, just a 'Hog."
"What happens if I push this button?" Pengwyn asked, leaning over Frogblast to jam the big red button.
"The air-con comes on," Frogblast drawled. "Just like in a regular 'Hog."
"Wow . . . " they cooed. "Air-con!"
"Well I have to go now, I'm really busy . . ."
"Wait!" Pengwyn yelled as Rampant Cowboy coughed up Frogblast's dust. "I wanted you to sign my chest!"
"I hope you've all sorted out your Christmas lists, boys and girls," Djof's voice came over the radio.
Eyeing the transceiver, Frogblast let him continue. It was this or Hikaru's station . . .
"I for one, have bought my friends matching skull sets. If you want to see some really nice tricking, we do have Frogblast coming in after the New Year, so remember which station you want to listen to this festive season, it's . . ."
Grunting, Frogblast switched it off. "Sometimes," he told the 'Hog, "Fame isn't all it's cracked up to be."
Kyreck was standing in the cold, waiting for Frogblast to take him round the back way.
"This way we avoid the rabid fangirls, there's quite a few of them nowadays," he said, fumbling with the key.
"Let me help, you're frozen."
"Thanks," Kyreck stamped his feet while Frogblast unlocked the door. "You know Fajita? Rabid, I tell you. Hey - if you ever need someone to take them off your hands . . ."
"Yeah, you'll be there," Frogblast muttered. "Take a number."
"Well, the offer's open - WATCH IT!" Kyreck dived, tackling Frogblast to the floor. A pancake splattered the wall behind them.
"Ah, Bentllama, how are you?" Frogblast stood, brushing himself off.
"Can't complain . . ."
Louis Wu ducked under his desk. "I'm not here!"
Stuntmutt glanced at the others, raising an eyebrow.
"He's under the desk, LBM," Jillybean called. She set the newspaper down. "Has anyone noticed we only ever have the front page of the news?"
"I spend a lot of time looking for page three," Ross Mills agreed, sniffing a little.
"Ah - Mr Wu?" Littlebigman glanced around, catching sight of the almighty one under the desk. "Louis?" He dropped to his knees. "I brought your Christmas presents . . ."
"Oh -" Louis pulled himself up. "Lovely." He surveyed the drooping plant and the slightly tattered bow that was looped around the pot. "Thanks."
At this, LBM grinned from ear to ear. "Well, Merry Christmas guys!"
"Only if someone buys me a rocket launcher," Jillybean muttered resentfully.
"Isn't that . . . sweet," BOLL eyed LBM's present, sitting on Lou's desk. "You know the theory that the Flood started out as plants?"
Finn glanced up from his eggnog. "Hey . . . shouldn't I be the one to draw these conjectures?"
"Why are you lot in my office anyway?" Louis broke in.
c0ld shrugged. "It's this or the forum."
"Forum. Please," Louis snapped, brushing some unfinished One One Se7ens off his workspace.
"Come on," Stuntmutt stood. "The pub's still open."
"You're too young to drink,"
"Hah! British! You damn colonials."
Cradling his head in his hands, Louis wondered if they'd left any coffee in the office . . . but of course not.
Miguel Chavez pushed through the crowd in the bar, laden down with drinks.
"Oooookies - Tequila, that's me," he set the tray balancing perilously on the edge of their small table. "Bitter?"
"Mine," Stuntmutt paused from his artistic demonstrations to accept his pint.
"Uh - half pint, Guinness?"
"Ooh, mine," Jilly lunged across the table.
"Are you sure you're a chick?" Ross Mills demanded.
Ross held up his hand.
"Eh -" Mig held up the next bottle in his hand. "Kroaniehfe . . . err, Kroaneyaf . . . BOLL - I presume this is yours. That leaves the mulled wine for Finn and the beers for Mnemsis and c0ld."
Casually hiding the tray behind a stool, Miguel found himself a seat. "What is this we're watching?" He nodded to the TV in the corner.
c0ld grimaced. "A new vid. Devin Olsin. I like his stuff . . . but you-know-who's showing us all up."
"Ah, say no more," Miguel held up his hands.
"Please don't," Jillybean added.
"Not looking after George this year?" Ross Mills asked her, playing with his little cocktail umbrella.
"Shishka got visitation rights. God knows how."
"Sanity probably helped." Mnemsis reached for Stuntmutt's finished drawing. "Is that a turkey?"
Stuntmutt did a double take of his masterpiece. "It's a Jackal . . ."
Mnemsis' eyes widened. "Oh. I see it now."
"Look!" Stuntmutt pointed. "There's the little beak . . . ah feck it. So George is lording it up with the Bungie folk this Christmas? Lucky him." Stuntmutt grinned slyly. "I guess he'll get to meet Frogblast."
"I've met him," Jillybean retorted defensively.
"Dreamy," BOLL agreed. "I mean . . . he would be. If I were Jillybean."
"He's actually really nice," c0ld finished his beer. "Fame doesn't go to his head," he added, elbowing Jilly in the ribs.
"It doesn't go to her head either," Mig pointed out.
"She don't got any!" Finn chimed in, before he returned to sipping his mulled wine in the corner, firelight flickering over his features.
Warbow chapped on the door to Lou's office, peeking his head around the frame.
"Hmm?" Louis swivelled in his chair, looking relieved to see that it was only Warbow there. "Hey, Warbow, what is it?"
"We're going to meet the guys down the pub . . . do you want to come?"
"I've got a lot of work to finish," Wu smiled. "But thanks anyway."
"Okay." Warbow was about to close the door, when he caught sight of the plant. "What in the name of the Forerunner is that?"
Louis prodded one of the leaves with his pen. "LBM gave it to me."
"Lucky you. Well. You know where we'll be." Warbow closed the door.
With a deep sigh, Louis Wu looked around his office. All of a sudden he had a craving for a light, cheap, Mexican beer.
"What else are you going to do at Christmas?" he asked the plant. It did not reply.
"This has been one hell of a year," Lou muttered as he stuffed the unfiled emails into his 'to-do' tray. "We've had bees, fan fiction . . . and you don't even want to know about the Halo 2 leak . . ." he stopped mid-sentence. "I'm talking to a plant." Shaking his head, Louis shut his computer off and went to rinse his coffee mug out.
"I guess you need a drink too," he said to the plant, dubiously assessing its condition. Filling the mug up, he went to dribble water over its dead leaves. "Yeah, it's given me nothing but heartache and hurt. I mean . . . I've been begging them sweetly, down on my knees. Oh please, play nicely for me."
The mug slipped from his fingers, shattering on the desk.
"Oh . . . gah!" Reaching for the shards of pottery, he cut himself. "Oww . . ."
"What do they want from me?" he said to the plant, nursing his finger. "Blood?" Shaking the last droplets of water from his hands into the soil, Louis headed for the door.
"Feed me . . ."
"Feed me . . ."
Turning, Louis eyed the plant.
"Feed me, Krelborn, feed me now!"
"Who you calling Krelborn!" Louis shook his head and went for the door again.
A long tendril slammed it shut.
"You grew fast . . ." Louis approached the plant.
The overlarge venus flytrap licked its lips. "Because if you feed me, Seymour-"
"If you feed me, Louis, I can grow up big and strong." The plant wrapped a friendly tentacle over Lou's shoulders.
"You eat . . . blood?" Wrinkling his nose, Louis peeled the tendril off his shoulder and headed back for the door.
"I'll make it worth your while . . ." the plant cooed.
"No! Bug off!"
"Hmmph!" Tendrils swiftly wrapped around Lou's ankles and pulled sharply. "Feed me, Louis, feed me all night long . . ."
"Ew!" Hanging upside down, Louis still managed to look disgusted. "Look, I'd like to help, I really would. But you're a plant, an inanimate object!"
Swinging Louis against the wall, the plant glowered. "Does this look inanimate to you, punk! If I can talk, and I can walk . . ."
"So far you've done no walking . . ."
"Shut up!" Drumming its remaining tendrils off the floor, the plant shook Louis a little.
"Listen, it's Christmas . . . people are going to start missing me . . ."
The tendrils stopped, slinking back to Louis. "Really?"
"Well - yeah . . ."
"The guy sure looks like plantfood to me . . ." it mused.
"Hmm? Oh, nothing, nothing." The plant drew the door open. "Now . . . go fetch . . ."
Blackstar scanned the forum one last time, there were only a few people left, with everyone else heading off to their homes . . . or more likely the pub for the night. He hoped Warbow had put his round in for him, though it was more likely that Warbow had taken the extra drink for himself.
"Blackstar, is that you there?"
"Lou! Hi, I thought you weren't coming." Grinning, Blackstar headed over to him. "Glad you changed your mind."
"Yeah . . . changed my mind," Louis grimaced, his leg jerking as if something had wrapped around his ankle and was pulling.
Curious, Blackstar peered around Lou's shoulder. "Something back there?"
"No, no," Louis grunted. "Eh - yes, actually - could you help me with something?"
"Sure . . ." Blackstar glanced into the shadows. "Why is the hallway to your office so dark?"
"No reason . . . this way, now."
"Oh, dear God . . ." Lietlives hung his head in shame as BOLL and Jillybean made a beeline for the Karaoke. "I don't know those people, is that clear?"
"Too clear," Dizzy downed a vodka shot. "Hey . . . whose was that?"
"Mine!" KP made a swipe at him.
"Settle down, kneeless wonder," Jaxx warned. "Hey - do you know who I met today?"
"Whom, fine lady?" Stuntmutt asked, leaning in a very sultry manner over the sticky table top.
"Em . . ." leaning backwards, Jaxx continued, "Frogblast. I thought he'd be stuck up, but he's actually really nice."
"Yes, well, I gave him a few pointers you know," Stuntmutt straightened up, waving vaguely at the bartender. "In fact, one might say he was my apprentish. Apprentish. App-"
"He was doing a charity Christmas do at Red vs Blue," Jaxx sighed, smiling wistfully. "He's really quite sensitive."
"I taught him that." Stuntmutt pushed off the table to his feet. Swaying, he headed for the bar.
KP shook his head. "Yeah, he's a good guy, Jaxx. I think Fajita's got a crush on him actually."
"What makes you say that?" Jaxx asked.
"She's female," Dizzy grumbled.
"Woah there," Mnemsis made a dive to catch Stuntmutt.
"I'm fine, I'm fine . . ." Stuntmutt brushed him off, elbowing a stranger in the process.
"Sorry, mate," Mnemsis told the large Quake player. "Great engine, really groundbreaking. We'll be on our way now . . . Stuntmutt, maybe it's time we took you home."
"Ahhh you lousy piece of plot," Stuntmutt leered over Mnemsis' shoulder. "I oughtta-"
"That's right, this way," Mnemsis tried to catch Mig's eye as he headed for the door.
"Everything okay?" Miguel Chavez ducked round to the other side of Stuntmutt to help take some of the weight off Mnemsis' shoulders. "Oof. Say it with me Stuntmutt, mince pies are not a food group."
"Oh my God - guys!" The saloon doors burst open as Goatrope dived in. He doubled over, panting.
Dropping Stuntmutt, Mig and Mnemsis went to his side. "Goatrope?" Mig had a hand on his shoulder. "What's wrong?"
"Oh my God, nothing's happened to Frogblast, has it?!" Jaxx leapt to her feet, clutching her glass.
"What?" Goatrope frowned. "No, not that I know of. It's HBO - it's been . . . taken over!"
To Be Continued . . .