Monday, September 15, 2008

043: Land Captain's Lament

Should Charleston go celebrate?
Yes: 6 votes
No: 2 votes
Charleston decided to go to the celebration, if only to get some free food. Living on the streets, even for such a short time, had shown him the importance of never passing up a free meal. Jimmy Swift instructed Charleston to follow him, though Jimmy immediately got into a car and left him standing in front of the courthouse. He stood there, watching the car drive away, when another car pulled up. The window rolled down, and Land Captain told Charleston to get in.

After a few moments, it became clear that Land Captain was doing the speed limit. This baffled Charleston.

"Since I joined the Astounding Superhero Syndicate, I've had to limit the use of Ishmael's speed to times of emergency. They're also working on getting me situated in my secret identity."

"You have a secret identity?" asked Charleston.

"You don't think I was born with a captain's hat and a love of justice, do you?"

"What is it?"

"I trust you, Charleston, so I'll tell you."

Land Captain did so, and Charleston nodded. It was a normal sounding name, but had a certain rightness to it. After a few moments of somewhat awkward silence, Charleston decided to ask a big question.

"Land Captain, do you remember when that picture of us was taken? The one Swift showed you."

"I assumed someone was trying to pull a fast one. Is it real?"

"No, of course not."

The pair drove on, gradually closing in on Swift's car. Ishmael was deftly dodging obstacles, and another thought struck Charleston.

"Does Ishmael remember that picture?" he said.

"Well, it's a fake, isn't it?" replied Land Captain.

"Well, yes, but if we can find out more about the picture, perhaps we can track down who took it?"

"Ah, we can't do that. Ishmael and I thought that telling the Superhero Syndicate that he's a sentient car was a bad idea."

More silence. Charleston leaned over and whispered "we need to talk" into Ishmael's air vent. As the low-speed chase continued, something became increasingly apparent. Either Jimmy Swift was half-heartedly trying to lose them, or he had no idea where he was going. Lacking any way of communicating with him, Land Captain and Charleston chose to simply continue following him. In fact, they followed him right to the airport where he and five other people exited the car. It had obviously been cramped, and judging from the droopiness of one passenger, not a very pleasant ride. Charleston turned to Land Captain.

"Pull in front of them dramatically," said Charleston.

Land Captain nodded, and did so, swerving to a stop in front of the sextet. Land Captain then emerged from his car with a stylized step while Charleston merely opened the door.

Player One, the droopy passenger, looked at Land Captain with a bemused expression. "You totally stole that from Speed Racer."

"It's homage," said Land Captain, leaning against Ishmael.

Player One shrugged as Jimmy Swift, Clarence Claybourne, Father Graves, Anderson Smith, and Morrey Roberts stopped around him. Morrey, suffering from motion blindness, ran into Clarence who took no notice.

"I thought we were supposed to be doing some sort of celebration, Mister Swift," said Charleston, walking around Ishmael.

"You did?" said Jimmy, adjusting his tie, "You did. Well, yeah, we're going to celebrate here. At the airport. On a plane. With hookers and blow?" Jimmy turned to Anderson hopefully, who grimly shook his head. "Okay, no hookers and no blow. Plenty of booze, though. You like booze, don't you?"

"Not really," said Charleston.

"I don't either," said Land Captain.

Swift turned to him belligerently and looked him up and down, "You're the guy. The lying superhero guy. No one invited you, sailor boy, so why don't you pack up your tights and drive off into the ocean or whatever it is you do?"

"Yeah. Go sodomize some other sailors, you salty seaman," said Father Graves.

Land Captain looked at him, mouth agape. Charleston was about to say something comforting, but Land Captain raised a single hand. He looked at Charleston, eyes brimming with tears, "It's all right, Charleston. I know when I'm not wanted. I'll find some way to get a hold of you once you get settled in. It shouldn't be too hard. It's time I should be shoving off, anyway. Liana is probably worried about me, and I have some superhero duties to perform up north."

"Give my regards to Liana," said Charleston as Land Captain closed Ishmael's door.

"Give mine to Edolie," said Land Captain, as he drove off.

This remark confused Charleston, but there were more important things at hand. He remembered why he had been arrested in the first place: he was looking for Anderson Smith who was now right here in front of him.

Or, at least, he had been. Anderson and his group were boarding a private jet. Charleston ran after them, but as he did so, his bionic leg began to malfunction. He had to get on that plane in order to talk to Anderson Smith, which would somehow ease all his troubles. He would also punch Jimmy Swift in the face as soon as he could manage.

He had seconds to decide a course of action: he could continue running, hopefully catching the plane before it left and his leg gave out entirely. He could try to shout to them over the din of the airport, hoping that they would wait for him to board. The third option was an elaborate plan that suddenly spawned into Charleston's head, which was to somehow delay all flights at once, allowing him to easily catch the flight.

What to do, what to do...
Which should Charleston choose?
-CHOICE A: Continue running towards the plane
-CHOICE B: Try to get them to wait for him
-CHOICE C: An elaborate third option which would somehow stop all planes from taking off, allowing him to easily get on the plane.

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