Previously: After defeating terrorists and the Superadaptoid at a museum where a mystical gauntlet is, Amanda and three of the elementals are transported to the Bamfs' dimension. They escape Shagreen, the evil man-shark sorcerer and fall (literally) on Captain Colossus' ship. He tells them Pirate Kitty has been kidnapped by the rival pirate McGurk, whose ship is about to attack them. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Margali Szardos continues her quest for power and Air takes a tour of London.
Something completely different
By Fransico Araujo da Costa
The scene is so surreal that not even Salvador Dali in his greatness would have envisioned it: two pirate ships hang in theair. One is a sailboat with huge guns and shields so they don't suffer mystical attacks, commanded by an elfish creature; the other is built on a giant dragon and is commanded by a guy who can turn into steel.
Of the three elementals, only one is appreciating the view: Water. Water had been liking this sort of thing from th beginning: while Earth loved Scooby-Doo and Fire loved to see people talking in space ("one day I'll go there!"), Water appreciated Bugs Bunny and all the impossible things it would see in it. The scenario presented her a delightful outlook.
But there is no time for sight-seeing: McGurk's men are mounted on their cannons and he replaced his metal hand with a blaster. The first to charge is Water: it catapults itself to the enemy's ships and covers the head of one of them. He starts to drown, of course, and eventually passes out. Water starts to use the tactic again in others, dodging blasts of energy and, when confronted with the cutlasses of the soon-to-be-drowned who are almost decapitating their fellows, and taking effectively a few pointy ears while trying to hit it:
"At least the Thing wasn't so stupid!*"(Fantastic Four 232 again missing-the-Byrne-man Francisco)
Fire and Earth are being more effective in the overall battle: Fire is burning the sails, therefore diminishing the manoeuvring capabilities of McGurk, while Earth is using his body to cut the wires of the cannons. More than one time during the battle the words "Now you'll see you " were followed immediately by a "BOOM!"
When Amanda is attacked (have I mentioned McGurk's men had boarded Captain Colossus' ship? No? Well, the had.) by a blast from one of the pirates, Colossus steps in the way and takes the hit (it reflects and hits the shooter). Earth sees it from inside the last working cannon and feels a certain envy of Colossus for having saved her. He doesn't know the name of it yet, but he's jealous.
"Come on, Henrique! We haven't taken any pictures inside the palace."
"I don't think we can, Elaine."
"Of course we can."
Air is watching this scene. The guards stop from entering the palace, but they don't even see Air coming in. How could they, anyway? Sometimes Air wishes he would be noticed some more. He enters the palace and sees a dinner. Everybody is eating in silence. Calmly, the second Toldest of the women in the table stands up and walks away. Air is curious and starts to follow her. She takes off her skirt and underwear and sits on the toilet. Air looks at it confused.
The older woman stands up, presses a button and leaves. She closes the door and leaves Air in there. He feels suffocated: the air that surrounds him is less pure than in the rest of the places he had been in London. Every door and window is closed. He tries to pass under the door, but is unable to: hermetically shut. "They probably had it be so because of the stink" is what comes to Air's mind.
But he knows it and he fears it: he's trapped, like the last tine he was. Only now it is not an invisible force field, but a room with no escape. Even if he had ever heard the word, at that moment he would not have reason enough to realise he is claustrophobic.
After all is done and McGurk is defeated, Pirate Kitty rushes to Captain Colossus' arms. Colossus looks at McGurk and says:
"Fine. My turn now."
"Sure. Jinjav is in the cabin. You get her and I go that way for two days. Then I get you!"
Amanda looks confused at the two captains.
"What are you talking about?"
"We play kidnapping. It's hiss turn now."
Amanda gets angry that she just risked life and limb combating what she thought was a dangerous and menacing pirate ship when it was just a sick game. But you, my reader, shouldn't be that judgmental; it's a different culture and they'd probably find it very sick that we slay each other based on greed and religious fanaticism. I know I do.
After the prisoners are freed and the three elementals calmed down ("That fellow there almost swallowed me!", "Water almost hit me!" and "I'll crush them where they stand!" were heard one too many times, let me tell you), both McGurk's and Colossus' group have another fight Amanda and the three elementals refuse to take part of. After Jinjav is taken aboard and locked in the basement, McGurk's ship heads opposite.
Amanda looks at the duo, very much in love. Reminds her that when she was with Excalibur Kitty and Piotr had sour meetings and more than one time push came to shove when Colossus and Peter Wisdom, Kitty's then boyfriend, started talking. Even if it was just a "Hi, Pete." it could easily degenerate into a fight. Oh, how Moira hated it.
"So it's all a game."
"Yes. McGurk and us just each take turns at kidnapping each other and battling afterwards."
"Well, we pillaged everything in the region, so we have to wait for some time until they recover and we can start pillaging again."
"Pillaging? You're Katherine Pryde and Colossus, why would you pillage?"
"First, it's Pirate Kitty, not Kitty Pryde. Second, we're pirates and that's what we do. There you have it."
Amanda is angry at herself for thinking just because these were Kitty and Colossus they'd be as good people as they were in her dimension. She has to admit, though, she has Kitty's spunk. But Amanda cannot lose an argument just like that, she never could.
"And why do you only kidnap the girls?"
"We don't. McGurk was our hostage last time and Jinjav destroyed part of the ship. Lockheed has been our temporary replacement, but we're building a new one."
Resigned that she cannot impose her system of morals to this couple, they try to at least rest some time. Hey, where else could they go? Through the conversation with the couple Amanda finds a lot of stuff out: Jinjav once fell in love with Nightcrawler, they play poker poorly ("Kurt loves the game, but he sucks at it." "Who's Kurt?" "Never mind."), their ship used to cross the seas until they met McGurk and that Shagreen bought his city in the sky only recently. Seems the former owners couldn't keep it running because of the costs and all.
After some four more hours, give or take one, of some more weird small talk on the deck, it gets somewhat weirder (yes, it can get weirder): a female version of Nightcrawler, about 20 foot tall, showing all of its black skin says:
"I am the Scarlet Bamf. Where is the new sorcerer?"
A dozen fingers coming from several members of the ship's crew point at Amanda.
"Come with me."
That is not a request. The Scarlet Bamf goes toward Amanda, grabs her by the hair and teleports away. On the deck one can only smell the brimstone after the sound of "bamf" (why do you think that's their name?).
After Earth stops breaking random ship parts, Kitty says:
"That's a new one. Shagreen must be at it again."
"Should we ask McGurk to help us recover her, Katya?"
"Yes. Let's just go his way that we'll catch him in about "
"NO! We're rescuing her now or I'm not made of earth!"
"Now, we have more chances if we "
Kitty and Colossus give the three some completely reasonable arguments not to rush to save Amanda: need of a plan and strength in numbers being the best of them, but you just can't reason with three elemental beings from another dimension. Kitty finally agrees to let them take a lifeboat (or would that be life-spaceship?) and point them the direction of Shagreen's city in the sky.
They get on board and start the engines. In no time they'll be at Shagreen's city, fighting warthog-rhinos and all that.
Back at the same palace in Earth we were in before the before related mishap, a middle-age man with big ears steps away from the table.
"Excuse me for a moment, dear relatives."
God, how horrible was that. If he didn't have to go to the bathroom to use the toilet, he would probably use it to puke. When he enters the same bathroom he sees the messy state it is. It looks like there was a hurricane in the toilet. He shakes his head and mumbles:
"Oh mother, will you ever learn?"
On Shagreen's floating city, the master of all that floats there starts to do what every other before has done: telling the
antagonist their master plan. Fortunately for him, that will not b his downfall.
"SSSSSSSee, with the power of the Namelesssssssssss' Bouquet and your capacity to channel it, I'll be able to rule thisssssss dimenssssssssion."
"Isn't this dimension just a few cities and two bands of pirates? You could easily rule it with those two monsters there."
If Amanda's hands weren't bound ("What is this stuff? It's oozy.") she would have pointed to the Dark Bamf and the Scarlet Bamf, both quite simply making out human teenager style.
"What issssss the fun of that?"
"Isn't it about power? And just why is it that the Dark Bamf is red and the Scarlet Bamf is black."
"No, no. You do not undersssssssstand it. I have to use you and the Namelesssssssssss' Bouquet to "
He doesn't have time to finish his sentence. The elementals have arrived and not all of the warthogs dressed as Vikings would be enough to stop them. Earth is being particularly aggressive to get to Amanda, smashing the guards by makinghis hand a giant fist, sending rock-hard shards of his body to wound them and more nasty stuff.
"Bamfsssss! Attack them!"
The Scarlet Bamf goes for Water as Earth runs in the direction of the Dark Bumf. The trading of blows continue, but Fire does the smartest thing any of the four have done so far (the stupidest being our choice, dear reader) by sneaking up to Amanda and starting to burn her shackles. Oddly enough, just as soon as it approaches its 'hand', the shackles themselves free Amanda. Seems old Shagreen is still using the outdated prison-monster sensitive to fire, I guess.
Amanda rushes to Shagreen and grabs his bouquet.
"What? You cannot do that. That is SSSSShagreen's power source! Guardsssss!"
Why do these types always scream (never talk, always scream) about themselves in the third person? I don't know and neither does Amanda, but she'll soon find out: Shagreen is coming her way and the elementals have a new set of flunkies to deal with, alongside the two Bamfs.
Back on Earth (the planet, not the elemental), inside the museum where Amanda and the elementals fought the Superadaptoid*, Margali Szardos looks around. She is alone. (last issue new-reader-friendly Francisco)
She walks up to the same vase Amanda did, almost mimicking completely her daughter's steps. She comes to it and starts to read the inscriptions:
"Ryap fuoe ewou vsor ew fgwreho dsfnoe " and it happens again. Only this time Amanda and the three are shot out instead of sucked in. They are all battle-ready and Amanda yells:
Just a split second before Margali performs the disappearing trick again, thinking "How useless".
As for the Bamfs and Shagreen, don't worry: Kitty, Colossus, McGurk and Kinjav have just arrived and are explaining to him right now that, "No, the newcomer was not part of the game".
To be continued ..