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It was another minute before Julio was done with the bring-home device. It was a long minute.
“Hurry up, Dr, Julio!” I said, adding: “I can smell them on the other side of the bunker!”
“DONE!” Julio yelled as I tore apart the door leading back into the building and ran inside with Julio following me. Suddenly sparks flew as Conva bullets slammed into me. I motioned for Julio to turn around. “Can’t get out that way!”
“This way!” He yelled, I turned as more sparks flew off of the armor I’d generated for my back and followed him into something that looked like a closet but turned out to be something that looked more like a hospital room. I saw symbols on medicine bottles that looked like things from Earth. The red plus sign was everywhere. The text was almost our own alphabet.
Then I heard a gurgling moan. I looked toward one of the beds and saw a wounded Conva soldier just short of the bed. It looked like I’d torn his arm off just inside of his shoulder.
“Oh, damn, Little Jacob, you really messed that dude up.”
Anxiety filled up my insides. I imagined what he felt like and I knew I could not just leave him there. “We gotta find another way out of here.”
As I looked at the windows I could see the lights dimming again.
“No no no no,” I started saying under my breath. The door Julio had barricaded with big Conva chairs and the big Conva-sized bed was now starting to shudder under gunfire.
“Do something, Super Jake!”
I was trying hard to fight the lights dimming and turned to see a large desk. I approached it, lifted it up and threw it at the windows. They shattered instantly.
I looked out and down and saw the desk rolling down the purple mountain.
I ran back to the wounded Conva and heaved him up onto my shoulder sending a good amount of his purple blood across my self-generated plates of armor. I walked over to the window and climbed up onto the sill. I reach out and above the window and jammed my right claw into the wall above the window.
“Come on! Grab onto me!” I growled. Julio looked petrified, but managed to get a grip on my other shoulder. I could see the door give way to more Conva soldiers who were shoving the furniture out of the way.
I pulled up and amazingly, I was able to pull my weight and the weight of the wounded Conva and Julio. I pulled up with my right claw and reached my left as far as it would go and then jammed it into the wall. I pulled up with my left claw and had to push the poor wounded Conva’s head against the wall to stop it from sliding off my left shoulder and then repeated this process. Just as I got my right foot claw jammed into the wall, I felt the left foot, which was still in the window begin to tingle. I assumed that was from bullets hitting it.
After a moment we were all out of the way of direct fire and heading up to the windows of the hub. I was so tall that in moments I had hauled us up to said windows. There was about six inches of concrete (?) in between each window, so I was able to jam a claw into there and hold us up.
“Almost!” I said. I could hear the Conva guy on my shoulder groaning still.
“Hang in there, buddy!” I snarled. “I’m gonna do my best to make it up to you! Almost there!”
“Ok, now what? How do we get through the windows?!” Julio yelled. I started pounding on the, what I assumed was, glass. I couldn’t get up enough strength to actually break it.
“I can’t get through–not with you guys.”
“Ohhhh, Little Jacob—behind us!” Julio said patting me on the head.
“What is it? I can’t see!”
“I think they’re Conva ships. They look like gunships to me.”
“Perfect!” I growled confidently. “Get between me and the wall!”
He did and I pulled the Conva’s one arm and slid him mostly off of my shoulder, in front of me, so he was also in between me and the wall. Then, gunfire erupted, shattering both windows.
“I can make it!” Julio yelled as he leapt from me through the window to my right. As gunfire continued to bounce off of me (thought I could feel it through my back plates), I managed to get my right foot through the broken window, where my foot claws grasped the bottom of the window frame, allowing me to pull myself and the Conva guy to the window. I was then able to pull my claw from the concrete and quickly grab onto the edge of the window frame and pull us through and back into the hub. Once I hit the ground, I was saw Julio waving me to follow him.
“This way!” He was guiding me through the Fire Escapes, but I was almost too big to fit.
Luckily I made it back to where we were. Then it hit me–I had lost track of the Accessory back when I morphed into to Super Me. “Wait! Where’s the Accessory?”
Julio turned to me and looked worried. Then he reached behind him and pulled my black draw string backpack off of his back and pulled out the Accessory. “I grabbed this when you lost it.”
“Whew!” I growled. I snatched the Accessory from him and activated it. Just as we stepped into the Fire Escape, I saw more Conva rising from the barracks. Luckily, they were gone before they spotted us.
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“You are? Oh, crap.” I could hear him say as the darkness blocked out my view completely.
The next thing I was aware of was being covered in what, I was pretty sure was alien blood. It was purple and slick and disturbing. I looked forward and saw Conva body parts everywhere. The floor was a biological debris field. I started to feel nauseous but then I realized I was still Super Me. I was big—six or seven feet tall. My skin had scales the size of poker chips. Some were shattered with bruised gray skin underneath. My fingers were elongated and thick, with my nails extended and tough—perfect claws. My hands hurt—like I’d held onto a rope too tightly while sliding down it in gym class. I turned, and looked behind me to see Julio holding a mean looking rifle, his face spattered with purple, with the white of his eyes looking up at me with great hesitation. That hesitation made me feel shame, out of control, and I felt nauseous again. I turned away from Julio and tried to vomit, letting the urge have free reign but something was literally stopping me. I stuck two of my clawed fingers down my throat and tried to encourage myself.
“Little Jacob, that won’t work,” Hu said.
“What do you mean,” I growled, completely unintentionally. Julio cleared his throat nervously. “During the fight you generated a abdominal plate that must be anchored to your skeleton in a way that is stopping you from bending enough to allowed you to—“
Before he could finish, vomit exploded out of my mouth, around fangs I only then noticed. I looked over at Julio who had managed to back out of the way of any of it splattering. He looked up at me with an awkwardly embarrassed and grossed-out face.
“Sorry…” I growled. Apparently, at that moment I was incapable of speaking without growling.
Definitely bringing a towel next time,” Hu said, quickly adding: “We’ve got to get outside to take the readings your sister wanted.”
“I don’t think they were for my sister…” I started clearing my throat, hoping that it would
somehow get rid of the growl a bit.
“Yeah, I just wish I could stop growling! It’s really annoying!”
“It’s OK but let’s do the science stuff and get out of here!”
Jill had given us two devices to use in the FED. One was to take general readings on the spot and the other we were to leave powered on and in active mode so it would take readings until we come back for it.
From the barracks we were able to find an exit out onto the purple mountain. As I stepped outside, a blast of wind hit me in the face and if I hadn’t known better, I’d be sure I was on the side of a mountain back on Earth. Well, my Earth. Not this weird purple-tinted planet. I stepped forward and felt the purple grass between my toes. Yep, my shoes were shredded.
“Good. They have dirt here,” Julio said from his knees digging a hole for the leave-behind device by the wall.
“Why don’t you morph back to normal?”
“Oh yeah, right. Well say the word and I will say the words to help you wind back down.”
“Yeah, don’t do that yet.”
Julio was already using the bring-home device to gather data.
“That’s for Dr. Green by the way.”
“The data we’re getting with those devices, man. It’s not for my sister.”
“Oh yeah—the doctor whose name can’t be mentioned.”
“No. No one will say it for me.”
“Ask her. She’ll say it for you. I bet she misses hearing it.”
“Is that your surprised growl? It’s true—I went to school for it and everything.”
“Now you sound surprised in yourself.” He smiled with pride. I tried to smile myself but based on Julio’s reaction to it, I was not successful. “Sorry—did that not look like a smile?”
“Uh, no. Might want to practice that in front of a mirror a bit before you try again.”
“Doctor Julio, huh? That’s kinda cool.”
“Almost done with the bring-home device.”
I nodded and looked out over the slope and the purple ocean and the purple city. I felt that wind again and couldn’t help but take a deep breath. As I did I got such a high off of it. It was like every cell in my body took a huge hit off of an oxygen joint.
“So much oxygen in this atmosphere,” I said.
“I guess I can.” I inhaled again and I could tell the air had been changed slightly. I tried to focus on what was different. What had been added to it? I inhaled again and the difference scent was stronger. “Hey Hu, we may need to go.”
I suddenly recognized what the change was—I had a flash of a scent I’d smelled on that Conva ship. “They’re coming!”
Here it is! Video of the first passengered run of our #LegoRollerCoaster!! Narration by: @SierraRein #RollerCoaster by @Lego assembled by @PeteNicholls_
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Here comes #timelapse #LegorollerCoaster build video #3! We are SO close to finished!! Stay tuned for the big #Lego #RollerCoaster finish!
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The next time I saw Jill, I couldn’t help but think of her differently–not in a bad way. She wasn’t suddenly a victim. Well, not in the way most people think of being a victim. We’re all victims of our own lives, aren’t we? Some things we choose in life and other things choose us. I suppose if Jill had been a “good girl” and not gone up on the roof, nothing would have happened to her. But then, if she had stayed in her room all those times she had gone up to the roof or creeped around the basement or if we hadn’t gotten curious about Julio’s business and snuck in, she would have been miserable with her life. We had nothing else to do but get into trouble. When Julio came along in our lives, it was the best thing that could have happened to us. We had a place to stay out of trouble. A place that was pretty safe, the vast majority of the time. It was also away from the constant strife of our parents. It was so much good for us. Who knows how much worse it would have been for both of us without Julio in our lives.
So, when I say I saw Jill differently after that, it was out of understanding. That she is the way she is because of many different things happening to her. But that night, that hunt for the lady in yellow and the violence it led her into the hands of… that shaped her as much as anything in her life, I think. Suddenly, all of the things I was “putting up with” as far as her behavior went, seemed like much less of a big deal to me. I saw her less as my annoying, aloof, disconnected sister and more like a layered adult human being–a sovereign being, as Dr. Green described all people. In turn, that helped me view all people more like that. Sure, my instinct to judge people as this or that still kick in every once in a while when I’m tired, or drunk, or under pressure, but most of the time, I can take that step back and remember that it’s very possible that every person I see on the street might have a night like that one Jill had in their own past.
That next time I saw her I wanted to talk to her about everything. I wanted to be warm with her. I wanted to be open with her. I wanted to be close with her. Like we had been when we were kids–hiding from our parents, hiding from our troubles, and just relying on each other for our own strength.
I did give her a hug. A big one. It was pretty awkward because we were having a meeting in the kitchen over some food Jim had 3-D printed (don’t ask, it was pretty gross) and we were talking about the plan. I knew I couldn’t expect her to be warm to me back but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from being warm to her.
The nice thing about that hug–the really nice thing about that hug–was that she hugged me back just as hard as I was hugging her and when I let go, she held on for a few seconds more.
Sure, as I pulled away there wasn’t so much as a smile on her face or a twinkle in her eye, but that hug…
“Alright, Jacob. Have a seat,”. she said, all business.
Here comes #TimeLapse #LegoRollerCoaster #Lego #BuildVideo #2! You can’t see it but @SierraRein got to build the mechanism that pulls the cars up the hill (jealous). If you look on the far right, you can see my staging ground where I build multiple components before I install ’em
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