Meta Ad Infinitum:
[Date obscured, estimated to be written about a year before the main narration]
Trench coats are coming back in fashion. Sign one of a dystopian future. Since DC left, Zell’s power has remained unchecked. Too much power in one man’s hands. Never good. Must investigate further.
Headlines report: Another evangelist found dead in the alleyway. Severe burn marks. Looks like it was put out with his own holy water. It seems Zell enjoys the irony.
He is getting progressively more cold-blooded. I do not approve of this. Regardless of his choice in targets. People are talking about taking action. I am beginning to reconsider Bruden’s offer.
The stakes are rising. The power is becoming more centralized. Time is running out…
I will make my stand shortly.
Edit- Previous Installment redone to remove foreshadowing/references to Unplot. Also the Next Installment-
The Stupendous Adventures of Johnny Zell: Ellie’s Gambit.
Atem, Bruden and Monochre sat gathered around a table in silence as they go through the varying papers for the news of the day. Headlines read:
Another Televangelist Forcibly “Resigned” by Johnny Zell.
Church of Scientology: Officially “Disbanded”.
Johnny Zell Triumphant Once More– Another Cell “Dissolved”
Atem threw down the paper and muttered wearily to himself, “Another fallen cell? Curses. That’s the second one this week and we were relying on them for information too.” Monochre gave the reply, “It was Inevitable. Situation has been deteriorating. We are in the same situation. It is only a matter of time.” The silence echoed through the table. Bruden did what he could to break it, “Atem, the traps are up right?” Atem nodded. “You remember all of them his time?” Monochre's sarcastic voice challenged Atem’s polite demeanor. Atem sat in silence for a moment his demeanor returned, “That was a momentary lapse in judgment, Monochre. I assure you it will not happen again.” “See that it doesn’t” Monochre replied in a raspy tone. “Gentlemen let us focus on the issues at hand here,” Bruden said, attempting to prevent another argument. A snapping sound was heard. “That would be one of mine.” Atem said, raising his hand. “Want a medal?” Monochre replied snidely as they followed his lead to the source. Hanging in the air in a rope trap was none other than Elithrion. “Damn it,” All three let out in poorly harmonized chorus. “Should Mr. Zell discover this find, we’ll become his first priority,” Atem said aloud to himself. “It’s okay,” said Ellie, “I’m here to help” “Help ? You are his daughter.” Monochre replied as he looked skeptically at the girl as he took his shotgun. “Except it’s not him,” Ellie replied. “Elaborate, Ms. Zell”, Atem said, now slightly wary himself. “Remember the thing that was controlling Obama?” There was silence; it had been quite a while since anyone had said that name. “Nixon?” Bruden looked up wearily, still on guard against her, “What did he have to do with this?”
“It’s not Nixon, it’s more than that,” Ellie replied “It’s something that takes control everyone who rises to high enough power.” Monochre chuckled for a moment, “Stupidity?” he retorted sarcastically. “Perhaps we should investigate?” Atem asked the others. “Remember our last two encounters with Johnny Zell? We barely made it out alive,” Bruden sighed recalling the events, “I’m not about to have us walk in to a trap” Monochre stood in silence for a moment before turning to Bruden, “Atem is right. Traps are not Zell’s style. Coward tricks like that are Atem’s domain.” Atem glared at Monochre again, before turning back to Bruden, “I concur, if Mr. Zell wanted our heads he’d have kicked down the door Laser guns flaring and by all odds we’d be… well, let’s just say we’d make tomorrow’s headlines.” Bruden sighed as cut her down careful not to harm her, “Very well. Now what, Ms. Zell?” “Call me Ellie,” Elithrion said, pleased to be out of the trap, “And I have a plan. Follow me.” Before proceeding, Bruden turned around and looked over at his team, “One way or another, we’re not coming back. Are we?” “No.” Monochre replied in a monotone before proceeding. “The odds are against us Bruden, but at least this way we can go out fighting.” Atem replied, “It was enjoyable while it lasted. Thank you, Bruden, it’s been a pleasure.” Bruden followed after the others, taking a last look at the resistance HQ. “So what is your plan anyway?” Bruden asked careful to make sure they were still in an area protected from Ambush by Atem’s traps, “Nobody has been able to take Zell in a head to head fight.” Ellie turned around and smiled. “That’s exactly what we’re going to be counting on.”
The Stupendous Adventures of Johnny Zell: Ellie's Escape.
"Okay." Monochre said "Now you tell us what you are doing. No funny
stuff." "Alright," Elithrion replied, "Fourteen months ago, something strange happened to my Dad. He was possessed." "Champion of reason ended by a ghost. The irony is beautiful." Monochre snickered. "Quiet Monochre." Bruden said, "Go on Ellie" "We tried to go back in time to prevent it. But it just split time. With us getting the short end of the stick." Ellie sighed, "We barely managed to escape, my dad managed to regain control long enough… but since then it's manipulated him more and more. I don't think he'd hesitate if he saw us again." There was a moment of silence among the group until Monochre spoke up again,
"Where do we fit into all this?"
"We have a few moles in Dad's agents. People from better days, who realised he wasn't himself anymore. They know about us and you. You may be one of the best cells left."
"We have only survived. Nothing more."
"Most Cells can't even say that much. But now neither off us have much time. In my Mom's old lab, there is a machine for travelling universes. We should be able to use it."
All four knew what that meant, Johnny was on to them and now there was little time left, their only hope was to get there before he found them. "We are going to die anyway," Bruden sighed, "at least this gives us a chance." "We agreed to die." Monochre retorted, "Not throw our lives away. Here we have some advantage. We can take out a couple flunkies before dying." Atem walked along without a word, staring at the walls of the base a final time. They left the base and travelled in secrecy. Johnny Zell, if he was on to them, was certainly taking his time. Three days later they arrived at the base. They all knew the layout of the building, how to work the machine and the co-ordinates to punch in incase something went wrong. Given out at Monochre's insistence. "So Ms. Zell," Atem turned to Ellie, "What, may I inquire, is your plan?" Ellie paused for a moment, "Go in, get the machine, and shift universes." "Genius. Your plan has made Adin obsolete." Monochre replied in a snide voice. "Monochre, please there is no need to resort to such cynicism. It is unbecoming." Atem said, "Now shall we be going, Ms. Zell?" They opened the door. Better than they had hoped, it was empty. They continued towards Kronnie's lab, "Where is your mother anyway?" Bruden asked. "We were separated about five months ago" Ellie replied, "So long as we're apart he can't focus on either of us too much or he'll lose the other. It's probably better this way." Bruden looked away knowing what this meant. Just as Ellie was about to say more, a banging sound was heard followed by a crashing noise. "I believe Mr. Zell has decided to show up for the festivities after all" Atem smiled as he reached into his brief case, "I had a contingency plan for just such an occasion. Would you?" He held up a high grade explosive, time was off the essence, but they had a good few minutes of a head start. As he set the last explosive Atem positioned himself in the exact center of the hall. "Atem, you're not coming with us?" Ellie asked as she prepared to flee. "My apologies Ms. Zell. The range on the detonator is too short," Atem said as the creaking of the door knob signaled the rest to run, "It was a pleasure making your acquaintance." As they fled down the hall, Ellie took at last look at Atem and her father. Johnny Zell had changed almost beyond recognition. He was wearing a heavy trench coat, his once long hair had been shorted a great deal and finally rather than his trusted laser guns, he wielded two pistols inscribed "Swift Justice" and "Final Retribution" respectively. "Greetings, Mr. Zell. It is difficult to believe it’s been twenty years since we stormed Washington together. Perhaps we really are getting too old for this" Atem spoke in an almost friendly tone, as Johnny Zell drew in closer, While I respect your decision of perusing us, I fear it was the wrong one." A flash of light consumed the room as Ellie ducked behind the corner. The remaining three made a break for the room following Ellie's lead. Suddenly a voice bellowed through the hall, "You do not really think Freedom can be stopped so easily, do you?" Laughter resounded through the halls. "A coward like Atem was as useless against the cause as he was for it. Surrender Daughter and I will spare you." As they entered they stairwell, Bruden stopped moving and drew his pistols, the "Impartial End" and the "Great Equalizer". "What are you doing?" Ellie asked pausing for a moment herself. "He's catching up with us…" Bruden replied, "And I have a score to settle with him. Now hurry up." Ellie and Monochre sped up their escape. An exchange of fire could be heard in the background "The others fell for your trap." Monochre looked at Ellie as he made his escape, "I will not die that easily. Your father has tried." Ellie stopped running; Monochre looked at her at her as if to demand a reason. She slapped him, “He… That. is not my father. Not anymore. Say that again and I'll break you legs." "And prevent him from having the fun of breaking them himself?" Monochre remarked "Would not dream of it." The sounds of the fire fight ended with a thud. His voice boomed again "The outcome was inevitable! You fought half heartedly, Bruden. When it comes to freedom it is all or nothing!" Monochre and Ellie returned to their escape, they took a sharp turn. "It's right inside, we can make it!" Ellie exclaimed as she turned the knob. "You know as well as I do. Only one of us is making it out.” Monochre's harsh voice softened for a moment, "Good luck." He shoved Ellie into the machine and began punching in the co-ordinates. A silhouette arrived at the door, "Monochre surrender and I will spare you." Monochre hit the "activate" button with his elbow as he drew his shotgun.
"You know that will not happen Johnny."
"Very well then, you leave me no choice!"
As the machine charged up to transport her, Ellie heard a shot, watched Monochre's knee hit the ground followed shortly after by a thud. As if signaled by the thud, a bright light consumed the room around Ellie, then darkness.
To be continued in the next Episode.
Johnny Zell vs. Himself (or Ellie's Inheritance)
The Voyage was successful, next thing Ellie knew she was in the
dimensional transporter in her Mom's lab. It looked almost exactly
like how she remembered it fourteen months ago… but now was no time
for nostalgia. She rushed over to Freedom Fortress. As she reached the
door she hesitated for a moment, an hour ago, she'd not have made it
to the base of the mountain. She rang the door bell. "Hello?” A
bubbly voice came out through the intercom, Ellie recognized it
"Yo, who is this?"
"I… think I am you."
"But I mean how, clone, secret evil twin, future self.
Certainly look old enough"
"Oh. So it was Mom then?
"No. It was you."
"Wow. It REALLY must be different there! Who are you looking for?"
"You don't know the half of it. I need Dad… Ermm… your dad."
"Right, I'll get him."
Her alternate self turned around forgetting to turn off the intercom
and shouted up the stairs,
"Dad alternate universe self needs you for something"
"Don't worry honey. She's probably just selling insurance."
Both voices let out a sigh, though Ellie 1.1's was more of nostalgia
than irritation, then rung out in perfect chorus:
"She says it's about freedom!"
There was the sound of a door getting kicked down sounded through the
intercom. "I'm coming!!" The voice echoed through the hall.
"Nothing ever changes with him", Ellie .2 sighed.
"You'd be surprised. But I owe you one."
"Keep him busy long enough for me to enjoy the quiet and we… err…
Johnny Zell arrived by the door, kicking it open, "What is it
Daughters?" Ellie .2 shrugged, "Well now we need a new front door.
Again. Otherwise I'm fine, later." before running off to her room.
"This wouldn't be about insurance. Would it?” Johnny Zell's eyes
narrowed as he looked at the interloper.
"No. It's about 2 days before the capitol incident. "
"Come in." Johnny Zell's expression changed to its utmost serious as
he ushered her in to the Freedom Living Room. He still had his long
golden hair and his old jumpsuit. Her other-self was right, not much
had changed here.
"So, you're from the splinter verse?"
"You are in need of assistance then?"
"Err… I suppose so…"
"Then what are we waiting for? Kronnie get Captain Hazard on the
Freedom Phone and cancel our card game! I and Our Alternate Universe
Daughter are in need of transportation!"
"Alright Johnny honey. Consider it done" The voice from the other room
rung out. Ellie hadn't heard her voice in a long time, quickly she
reached into a pouch and drew out some papers and went into the
Freedom Kitchen where Kronnie was already dialing the number.
"My mother… You, I guess… gave me this before we were forced to
separate. It's encrypted; I assumed she knew you'd be able to read it.
All I know is that it's important, can you read it?"
"I think I can. I have no idea what need I'd have for it though. It
looks like some kind of… Ghost Hunting Machine?"
Ellie's eyes light up, "Really? Can you build it?"
Kronnie nodded, "Shush, Dear. I'm on the Freedom phone" Ellie returned
to the Freedom living room and took in the familiar sights. The last
year had really taken a toll on her. She barely recognized her own
house. A near perfect copy at least.
Finally they emerged with some sort of weapon resembling a cross
between a bazooka and a ray gun. Kronnie smiled at her alternate-
universe Daughter, "You're lucky we have so much extra stuff lying
around. Anywhere else it would taken months to gather the materials.
Now be careful with it."
Johnny held it in the air triumphantly, "I have dubbed it, the
Ellie raised an eyebrow, "That's a strange name."
"Originally I wanted to name it Cold Hard Fact… but your mother
insisted I change it since lasers are neither cold nor hard."
"Now, to the dimensional transporter!"
Johnny Zell burst out the door dragging Ellie along behind him. After
pausing to get directions from her, he continued his rush to the
"You realize," Ellie said as Johnny punched in the co-ordinates, "You
never even asked what you were going up against"
"I will stand against anything in the way of Freedom!"
"You realize if he hasn't followed me here, he's waiting for you on
the other end."
"My Heroic code of honour compels me to proceed anyway!"
Then there was another flash of light, followed by a few seconds of
darkness. Ellie removed her trench coat and prepared for combat, just
as she was about to draw her weapons Johnny handed her the Myth
Blaster. "You'll know when to use this."
Light returned. Inside the lab Monochre's body still lay on the floor.
"Certainly took your time" A dark voice came from across the lab, "get
lost on the way there little Ellie?"
"It's me you should be focused on!" Johnny shouted as he drew Freedom
Fire and Hope Lightning.
"Hello Jonny." The Ghost said as he emerged from the shadows, Swift
Justice and Final Retribution both in his hands and a cigarette in
his mouth, "I've waited a long time for this…"
Johnny Zell was taken back for a moment by his doppelgänger's
"You're hair… it's so…"
"Some wise guy tried to burn me as a witch. Needless to say, I
returned the favour. Moving on…"
A bullet rung out from Swift Justice only to be exploded by a beam
from none other than Freedom Fire. The two stood across the room in
"What are you even trying to get out of this? World domination?"
"So Naïve, Johnny. I have become the very incarnation of those who
seek power. The Man, in short. You see Johnny; Obama, Nixon, they were
only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is my kind have always ruled
the world. Your theatrics were merely an interlude. A momentarily
"Wrong villain! Freedom always prevails!"
"Freedom? Johnny. All you do, all you ever have done is beat up people
you do not like. You weren't fighting for freedom. You were fighting
for your freedom. And with my aid you have gained ab-"
A beeping noise was heard.
"What!? Attacking during a villain monologue is strictly against your
heroic Code of Honor!"
Another flash of light this time from the corner of the room. The Myth
Blaster had been fired at full charge.
"Luckily," Ellie quipped, "Dystopian heroes don't have to worry about
that sort of thing." The Ghost, unable to endure the blast of pure
logic, faded into thin air. "Huzzah for Dystopian Heroes." Johnny
shouted as his doppelgänger hit the floor with a thud. The
doppelgänger let out a smile.
"Ellie… I knew you could do it."
"Tell your mother, I love her…"
With that her father finally collapsed.
"Never fear alternate-daughter! It was a powerful blast but Johnny
Zell has endured a thousand times worse! He shall recover!"
Ellie smiled, in spite of everything that happened, life would continue.
Received Monochre's journal in the mail. No one else to give it to I guess.
It's been a month since he died and things have started to go back to normal. Dad did recover and Mom was able to get out of hiding.
There's still a lot of tension but dad has passed on the mantle, which convinced most cells to stop fighting.
I owe Monochre and the others a lot, but all I can do is carry on and hope that I made their sacrifice worth it.
Double Edit- Due to massive reworking of the episodes for story and an inexplicable fleeing of urgency about getting this to the board, there might be grammer issues. Hopefully either the editor or an alternate version of myself will correct this shortly. If not I guess I'll take care of it eventually.
Status for Universe 1.1 characters-
Far from my best work, but it was more to give people an idea for how I imagined the characters. I will do better ones later. Maybe.
Monochre with his Shotgun and Journal. I tried my best to copy Monochre's DP for the mask. Like the rest of the drawing it came out "Meh" at best.
Atem with a detonator in hand. Drawing this I realized how far this character has drifted from me. I tried to remedy this in the sketch somewhat. In the back his hair is in a ponytail (yet another departure) but it was too short to really show from that angle.