Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Twenty Two

Here and Here

Near The Bank Of The Yalu River

The soldier was hidden but a few yards from where the blond stranger was running towards the bridge. He lifted his weapon and aimed. As his finger touched the trigger, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to find a werewolf behind him. He smiled and said something in his native tongue. He turned to aim, again and froze as the werewolf replied in Moldavian.

He quickly spun around, only to find the back of the Fuzzwolf's hand slap him. The soldier flew a few feet and hit a nearby tree. Fuzz looked down and raised an eyebrow.

"What is that you're carrying?" he asked

Dogg was running up to him, dragging a blue ribbon in her mouth. Fuzz took the ribbon and looked at it. On it, Dogg had placed his sheriff's badge and the knight's head stick pin.

"Figured it was important for you to have," Dogg replied "seeing as how we're now in over our heads."

"You could have stayed on the boat."

"I'll take my chances with you." she glanced through the grass over at the river "Seems Hotspur's been found. I've got a funny feeling that he's not going to want to turn around and head back home."

"If he did, then that isn't Hotspur, and our mission wouldn't be complete. The situation is more dangerous than we feared."

"That great evil you were talking about?"

Fuzz nodded as he placed the ribbon around his neck, "Thank you for bringing my badge."

Dogg looked up at Fuzz, "We're not going back to the boat, then?"

"We'll meet up with them in Fusang. For now, there are other matters that need attending to."

As the two headed off, Fuzz looked at Dogg

"By the way....how DID you get the badge and stickpin on the ribbon on your own?"

"Wasn't easy, trust me. But, I'm a super intelligent cat. I prevailed"

Inside Purdie's TARDIS

Purdie flipped a few switches. The screen on the wall of the console room only showed static. Koen shook his head.

"BAH!" Purdie said

"Scanner's still on the fritz?" Koen asked

Purdie pulled the lever on the console and the doors swung open. The two looked to see what was outside. Purdie gave a sigh of relief as they looked at the forest outside.

"Good," Purdie said "we're not in the castle. Still, we should be careful."

Koen began sniffing the air as they stepped out of the TARDIS and into the forest. The air was thick with smoke, no doubt from the war machines that the Fusang army was using.

"We could probably stick close to the trees and use this smoke to help hide." Koen suggested, "On the other hand, they could use the same method, too."

Purdie nodded, "Yes, quite right. Perhaps once we head far enough south, we may be safe."

Before Koen could say anything, a shot rang out. Koen spun around to see the Time Lord drop to his knees clutching his chest. He ran towards Purdie and noticed the wound. He looked up to see four Fusang soldiers emerging from the shadows of the trees nearby. Koen frowned. In a puff of smoke, he disappeared. Only to reappear over the soldiers. Driven by rage, Koen's paws tore into the throat of the first soldier. The other soldiers tried to grab Koen, but learned that the last of the Bloodtail tribe, when angered, was a force to be reckoned with. The second solder, his throat was slashed. The third, deep cut into the chest, ruptured heart. The fourth, was done quickly as Koen twisted the soldiers head, breaking his neck.

Koen looked up to find Purdie was gone, blood trail leading to the TARDIS. Then the familiar sound of the TARDIS engines started.

"NO" Koen shouted, "PURDIE!"

Koen ran, but was too late, as the TARDIS dematerialized and vanished. Without the TARDIS being present, the words of the soldiers heading his way were not translated, but Koen knew that he had better not be seen. With tears in his eyes, Koen disappeared in a puff of smoke, to search for a safe place to hide.

Inside Purdie's TARDIS

Purdie slumped over console. He could feel one of his hearts racing as the other one began to slow down.

"It's ok, Koen" Purdie said, smiling "Time Lords have a way of cheating death...."

Purdie looked around, then realized he was alone.

"Oh no...." Purdie whispered

He tried to reset the TARDIS' coordinates and return to retrieve Koen, but he fell to the ground. He now realized the reason he had seen the shadowy figure before leaving Steelhead. He was close to the end of his first life. Suddenly, Purdie's hearts stopped beating, and all was quiet, except for the hum of the TARDIS engines.

It was then, that Purdie's hands began to glow....

Near The Yalu River

"You know, you could have told Lunar and Tensai that you had planned on doing this." Dogg said as the two walked through the forest, "Of course, they'd have figured it out on their own. But they hate it when you keep secrets from them."

The werewolf looked down at the super intelligent cat, "I told Katt what I was doing."

"You did? What did she say?"

"To be careful. Oh, and I have to pick her up a souvenir." Fuzz replied, "Of course, if she wasn't busy, she'd probably have insisted on coming along. She hates it when the rest of us have all the fun."

Suddenly, Fuzz bent down and grabbed Dogg, holding her close. He looked around, sniffing the air. He then looked as five werewolves came out of the darkness, fangs bared, claws ready for the attack.

"This is where you die." one of the werewolves snarled

The Fuzzwolf merely snerked.

To Be Continued

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sometimes You're Feeling Really Depressed And Down....

And then someone hands you a notecard with this conversation

[21:41] Magdalena Kamenev: When do we not expect unfriendly lycans?
[21:41] Annechen Lowey: always good to be prepared, and make *sure* of your target, first.
[21:41] Frequency Picnic: well, at Steelhead meetings :)
[21:41] Eva Bellambi: our lands have been free of them for a time
[21:42] Magdalena Kamenev: Not that they're all unfriendly, but they do get grumpy. Almost as grumpy as Jaegers.
[21:42] Annechen Lowey: Negotiation is preferred if they be lawful.
[21:42] Hotspur Otoole: Well one of the better werewolves I know is the sherrif of my home town. :-D
[21:43] Eladrienne Laval laughs...In Steelhead they ARE the law
[21:43] TotalLunar Eclipse: *smiles*
[21:43] Emilly Orr: And he's very good at his job, that one.
[21:43] Hotspur Otoole: And rapidly becoming an old China hand, too.
[21:43] Eva Bellambi grins
[21:43] Magdalena Kamenev: Fuzzball Ortega is a werewolf?
[21:43] Eva Bellambi: Mags!!! LOL
[21:43] Emilly Orr: Oh, goodness. You didn't know?
[21:43] Hotspur Otoole: (new adventure in Fusang ready soon)
[21:43] TotalLunar Eclipse: Aye, he is. ANother reasy he is called Fuzzy.
[21:43] Kamilah Hauptmann: A cute one too.

Oh, and for the record......I really despise being called "Fuzzy"......some Blingtardians from the Mainland kept calling me that a couple of years ago....but Steelheaders call me that out of affection......I think...

Steelhead Money....

That's right, available from Franklin's mint.....Franklin was arrested for counterfeiting....we bring you Steelhead's new currency.....which'll be put in use after we take over the grid. First up, the Sheriff Ortega Dollar.

The Classic Ortega Edition, representing when the Lycan cowboy arrived in Steelhead City.

And the Sheriff Ortega 1890 Edition.
Start collecting today

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crazy Caledonians Add Some Charisma To Christmas

So, I come home, and find some Caledonians have been in my house. Tree in the corner, fireplace installed with a stocking, snowman out front, and below the mistletoe hanging over my bed, was this portrait

This is the best Charisma present ever.....I mean, this is the best Christmas present ever.

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Eighteen

(Damn, this is a long one)

Read This and then This to get caught up.

The Lead Boat On The Yalu River, Late Evening

"Never married?!?!" Angus asked, "He was such a ladies man back during the Brigade days."

Darien shrugged, "I've seen him dance with Miss Katt a couple of times at a few balls, but for the most part, Fuzz just hangs in the back, guarding the refreshments."

"Someone broke his heart," Angus guessed "I'm sure, in time, we'll learn more. Unfortunately, these things have a habit of turning up sooner or later. Like Sideman being married to six and a half women."

Darien's eyes widened, "He was married to half a woman?!?!"

"Aye, from the waist down"

Darien wasn't sure if he wanted to learn more, and was relieved when Kim Chang walked over to them with food.

"It is not much," Kim said, handing bowls to the two, "just rice. But it is good."

"Thanks, Kim" Darien said, "Have you seen Fuzz?"

"He has....how did he put it? Wolfed Out?"

Darien nodded

"He then jumped onto the shore and went into the forest." Kim looked at the bowl of rice, "Perhaps to find some meat to go with the rice."

"Wish he was here, now." Darien said, "Biggles is a nice guy, great to get along with. This Smith fellow.....too damned uppity."

"He is not happy with you being here," Kim said "he would prefer the Americans to stay out of it. He feels that you are too brash in how you do things. He feels that you would do more harm than good."

"Do ye believe that, lad?" Angus asked

Kim shook his head, "I have seen what Lieng has done. The deaths. Whatever help you can provide to stop this mad man would be welcomed, no matter how brash."

Angus smiled, "Well, it's not like we have weapons of mass destruction."

"I was working on something.." Darien began

"Shut up and eat yer rice, Darien."

"What? It's just that...."


The Forest Nearby

The Fuzzwolf sniffed the air, seeing if any humans were about. He was glad to have some time alone to reflect on what had transpired.

"Hotspur's a friend," he whispered to himself "He's in trouble. This is a dangerous area. The British and God knows who else are turning the situation into one large powder keg. Anything else? Oh yea.....I'm supposed to be resting in San Francisco, Lunar's orders. Heh, good thing I only listen to Katt, or I'd be dead from boredom. Can only beat Paladin at chess so many times."

Fuzz sniffed the air, again.Then chuckled.

"Now I know why they call you Soft Paw," he said, turning to look at the female werewolf walking into the clearing "You don't make a sound."

The female didn't respond. Fuzz noticed that she held her hand behind her back. Fuzz's eyes narrowed at her.

"What are you up to?" he asked

Her response was a jump in the air, she spun around and threw a silver dagger at Fuzz. Fuzz quickly dodged the dagger, which hit a tree behind him.

"THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" Fuzz snarled

"Nothing will stand in the way of my Master's plan." Soft Paw replied

"Master??!? What does your tribe have to say of this?"

"My tribe is made up of old fools. Some of us are looking for a new future. One our Master can provide us. And you, Fenris' Bane, stand in the way of that."

The two werewolves took battle positions as they faced each other.

"I will kill you." she said

Fuzz gave a grin, "We have a saying in Steelhead City. 'You feelin' froggy? Jump'."

And with that, she lunged towards Fuzz, fangs bared

The Dungeon In Fusang Castle

Purdie looked outside his cell to see if any guards were nearby, then walked over to the cot.

"Ok, Koen" Purdie told Koen, who was still paralyzed "this isn't going to hurt."

With the first two fingers on each hand, Purdie poked Koen in different areas of his chest. Koen was able to move, as he rolled off the cot, grasping his chest.

"OW" Koen said, "You said it wouldn't hurt."

"I'm sorry, Koen." Purdie replied, as he sat down on the cot, "I lied."

Koen got up and looked at the Time Lord. Purdie was having trouble breathing. Koen's keen hearing could hear one of Purdie's hearts beating eratic. Koen sat down next to him, very concerned.

"Are you ok, sir?" Koen asked

Purdie looked at Koen and managed a smile, "I'll be ok. We just need to get out of here."

"I heard everything after that guy paralyzed me." Koen said, looking around the cell "Who was that guy? He never said his name, did he?"

Purdie shook his head, "No, but it's evident that Lieng is not the one who's running the show here. This guy......whoever he is, is the mastermind."

Koen looked at Purdie, "And the cowboy werewolf that was mentioned. That was Sheriff Ortega, right?"

Purdie nodded, "They mentioned his tribal name. 'Fenris' Bane'."

"Tribal name....didn't know that. Course I always thought werewolves travel in packs, not tribes."

"The Lycans are more civilized than the stories give them credit for. The werewolves, werecats, wererats, werebears.....few others I can't remember them all.....anyway, they live in tribes. Much like the tribes of Natives you find north of Steelhead. There's a chief, there're scouts, warriors, and a shaman."

"Interesting. And the tribal names?"

"When a lycan is accepted into the tribe, after the rites of passage, there's a ceremony. The shaman of the tribe using the mystic mumbo jumbo jiggery diggery powers that he's born with, communicates with the spirits of the Great Chiefs Of The Past, and gives the lycan their tribal name. Fuzz was given Fenris' Bane as a tribal name."

"Bane......means curse. And Fenris......."

"During the ending days of the rule of Asgard, Fenris was a great wolf that devoured Odin, and in turn was killed by Odin's son Víðarr. I recall both Piotr and Ilyana were not happy with that tribal name. If there is a reason for that name, it hasn't surfaced yet. At any rate, we need to find Fuzz, and then find Colonel O'Toole."

Koen helped Purdie up, "You have a plan on getting out of here?"

"Oh yes." Purdie said, putting his hand in his pocket, "Guess what I have?"

Koen shrugged.

"Pockets. Great big pockets." Purdie pulled out a device and pushed a button on the device. He looked at Koen and smiled, "Bigger on the inside."

Koen suddenly heard the familiar sound of the TARDIS, and smiled as the familiar sight of the console room materialized around them.

"We teleported to the TARDIS?" Koen asked

Purdie shook his head as he walked over to the console, "It's a remote control device. I brought the TARDIS to us. The chameleon circuit has the exterior looking like the cell we're in. We'll be gone before they notice."

Outside the TARDIS

The two guards looked at where the cell was, or rather where it was supposed to be.

"What......is that?" one guard asked

"I do not know." the other replied, "But it is a very bright pink color."

The two then heard a strange sound and watched as the bright pink object disappeared, revealing an empty cell.

"It ate the two prisoners." The second guard noted

The first guard nodded.

The Forest Near The Yalu River

The lifeless body of the Chinese werewolf known as Soft Paw lay at Fuzz's feet. Fuzz bowed his head, unsure on whether to ask Lycoan to grant her passage into the Great Beyond, or to not hold her tribe responsible for her foolish actions. He looked up to see a wolf, an actual wolf not a lycan, walk from the darkness of the forest.

*I am Fenris' Bane of the Tribe of Gaia* Fuzz said in Wolf Speak

The wolf bowed her head, *Greetings. We have been told that you had arrived in these lands. Why?*

*One who is of the humans I have been sworn to protect has been taken here against his free will. I am here to bring him out of harms way* Fuzz looked at Soft Paw's lifeless body *I have since found things that have angered me*

*Oh yes. The Pact has been broken. Great dangers await you, Fenris' Bane.*

Fuzz walked towards the wolf and looked down at her, *Please tell me more*

The Lead Boat

"It's been over two hours," Nayland Smith said, looking at his pocket watch, "how do we know he hasn't been captured?"

"If he was," Darien said, "I'd feel sorry for his captors. For a werewolf, he can be a real horse's ass, sometimes."

"That is not funny" Smith said to Biggles, Angus, Feng, and Kim who were all chuckling, "These Americans have no idea how dangerous the situation is."

There was a thud behind Smith. He turned to find Fuzz standing directly behind him, looking down at him.

"Actually," the werewolf said, "the situation is far worse than you think you know."

He walked over to Kim, then looked back at Smith.

"And you were right. There is a puppet master behind all this."

He turned back towards Kim and dropped the silver dagger at Kim's feet.

"Tell me." Fuzz continued, "Are you here to save the innocents from a madman?"

Kim Chang looked at the dagger, then looked up at Fuzz, "Yes."

Fuzz smiled, having sensed Kim was telling the truth, then bowed to Kim, "Forgive me for doubting you. The she wolf you introduced to me......wasn't."

"I am sorry, Ortega." Kim said, bowing to the Fuzzwolf, "I was not aware of her true intentions."

"Well," Biggles said, smiling, "at any rate, it's good to have you back, old boy."

Fuzz looked at Smith, motioning towards Biggles, "He always this chipper?"

"You get used to it." Smith replied. "I would appreciate it, however, that if you are to help us, that you quit disappearing. This is a troubling situation, and we've gone past the frying pan and have been sitting in the fire for some time, now......"

Fuzz quickly turned his head towards the northeast. He growled, then leapt off the boat onto the shore and ran off into the woods on that side of the river.

"How does he keep his job as sheriff?" Smith asked, exasperated

Darien shrugged, "Miss Katt likes him."

Biggles looked at the area where Fuzz disappeared, "I'm more concerned about the scent he sniffed out."

"Aye," Angus added, "we best be prepared for anything."

To Be Continued

Monday, November 17, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Forteen

Continued From Here

The Dungeon of Fusang Castle

"You have a choice," Koen said as he advanced slowly. "You can give me the keys, or you can give me your heart..."

Suddenly, Koen felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck. All his muscles froze. He tried to use his magics, but found that he was unable to do so. He dropped to the floor. Standing behind Koen was another Chinese gentleman. He was tall and lean. Purdie noted that he appeared to be of high intelligence, and yet, as he looked into the eyes of the newcomer, a chill went up his spine.

"Interesting," the newcomer said, "I had thought that the Bloodtail were extinct."

He looked at the guard who was standing behind Purdie, "Quit hiding, coward. How Lieng has managed to accomplish what he's done with the imbeciles at his disposal is beyond my comprehension."

"The Neko was powerful." the guard protested

"And yet, one neural nerve pinch, and he is both unable to move and use his magicks."

The Chinese man walked up to Purdie and looked him over, "The methods you use to torture him are barbaric. Very Western in nature. There are other methods of extracting such information......"

He stopped and stared at Purdie's left chest, then his right. He looked up at Purdie, an evil smile on his face.

"Two hearts. Do not worry about the Bloodtail," he told Purdie, motioning at Koen's limp body "He will live. But you will tell me, how you come to speak the language better than a native."

Purdie let out a sigh, then looked at his captor, "A psychic link.....translates all languages....we hear....and helps us.....speak the language."

The captor smiled, "Very impressive. Why are you here?"

"To save a friend...." Purdie said "Captured.....and brought here....."

There was a puff of smoke, and another Chinese, this one appearing to be a wizened old man, appeared. He looked at the other, then dropped to his knees.

"Master, I did not know you were here." He said

The tall China man scowled at the newcomer, "Lien Bao, what is going on? I have heard rumors of a captive who escaped? Where did this prisoner come from?"

Lien Bao got up, keeping his head bowed at the tall one, "He is an old enemy of The Dragon Who Waits."

The tall one looked at Purdie, "No doubt the one you seek to rescue."

Lien Bao stepped closer to the tall one, "My Master, it is but a temporary setback. The Dragon Who Waits....."

"Lieng is a fool. Make sure this escaped prisoner is found. Now, go."

Lien Bao bowed to the tall one, then vanished in a puff of smoke.

"So...." Purdie said "H'sieh Lieng is not...... the true...... mastermind. It's you."

The tall one's response was a cold hard stare, which was interrupted by a voice from behind.


The tall one turned as three werewolves entered the dungeon.

"What is it?" the tall one asked

"Word from Kowloon," one of the werewolves responded "the outcast, Soft Paw, has joined the army of Feng. Also, three of the west have joined in, as well."

"I am not concerned of the outcast. What of the three?"

The second werewolf stepped forward, "One carries a bag of the medical profession. One is a captain of an airship. The third is dressed as a cowboy, but......."


"It is said that the cowboy is Fenris' Bane."

Once more, the tall one scowled, "Very well. Have troops ready to stop them, no matter the cost. Do what you want to the cowboy."

The werewolves bowed and left the dungeon, the tall one turned to the remaining guard and pointed at Purdie and Koen.

"Have them placed in a cell, have three mages perform a spell to prevent the Bloodtail from escaping." The tall one looked at Purdie, "We may not meet again, Two Hearts, but I'm sure you would have made an impressive adversary."

Purdie looked around then tried to shrug, "thanks?"

Feng's Camp, Kowloon

Fuzz, Nayland Smith, and Feng stood around a table, looking at the map of the area. Nearby, Dogg Food sat, listening intently. Smith pointed out key spots, and what dangers lie ahead.

"There is a British patrol boat here," Smith said, pointing at a section of the map "unable to head up river, or it's a violation of a treaty...."

"And us marching and flying to Fusang is not a violation?" Fuzz asked

Smith ignored Fuzz and continued pointing at the map, "Feng's forces will march here to Bridge Village."

"We are greatly outnumbered," Feng added "Lieng has land and sea forces that have become undefeated. And there is the Land Dragon."

Fuzz looked at Feng, then at Smith, "Land Dragon?"

Smith nodded, "It's an armored vehicle. Powerful, firing destructive weapons."

"If my army is to be victorious," Feng said "the Land Dragon must be dealt with."

"And it will be," Smith said "the sooner the Fusang forces are defeated, the sooner peace can come to these lands. Now, we must prepare to leave. It's a two days march to Bridge Village."

Smith and Feng left the tent, leaving Fuzz alone with Dogg. Fuzz looked at Dogg.

"Hear that?" he asked "Explosions. We should've brought Tensai"

Dogg jumped up on the table and looked the map over.

"There's no way that Smith guy can think that Feng can win this." she said "As Feng said, the opposition is great in numbers, and there this tank...the Land Dragon."

Fuzz nodded, "Land and sea."

Fuzz looked at the map, strumming his fingers against the table, then nodded.

Outside The Tent

The army prepared to march out for Bridge Village. Smith and Feng were briefing Biggles, Angus, and Darien on the situation. He looked up to see Fuzz walking towards the group.

"Change of plans, Smith." Fuzz said "We'll be traveling by river."

"The Fusang army patrols the river," Feng protested "the water craft that we have are not equipped for battle."

"Don't worry," Fuzz said, smiling as he looked at Biggles, Angus and Darien "we'll have the protection that we need."

To Be Continued

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Eleven

Steelhead City, Oregon

Mother Superior stood at the edge of the docks, behind her the steam powered automatron, K1, waited with her. A splashing sound was heard from below, Mother Superior looked down as a merman came to the surface.

"Well?" she asked

The merman shook his head.

"I see." Mother Superior replied, "Thank you."

As she turned to walk to leave the docks, the distant sound of the church bells began ringing. Mother Superior looked up, then looked at K1.

"I'm afraid that the SWAT team and I have duties that must be performed for one who is greater than all of Steelhead."

"I-understand." K1 replied "I-have-been-programmed-with-knowledge-of-all-religions-found-here."

Mother Superior smiled, "Good. Then, please find Mr. Eclipse and deliver two messages for me."

"I-am-here-to-serve-Steelhead." the robot replied

Outside Town Hall

TotalLunar Eclipse stood outside of the town hall, speaking with a newcomer to Steelhead, an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair that was powered by steam. He looked up to see K1 walking towards him.

"And this," Lunar told the gentleman, pointing at K1, "is one of our newest residents. Mr. K1. Artificial being created by one of our top inventors, Purdie Uggla."

"-Please-"K1 said, "-it-is-just-K1. -Lord-Lunar-I-am-afraid-I-have-some-rather-disturbing-news."

"I see." Lunar looked down at the genteman, "You will excuse me a moment."

The gentleman held up his hand, "It's quite all right. I'll wait."

Lunar walked over to K1 and looked at the robot, "Very well, what's wrong?"

"-Mother-Superior-recieved-word-from-San-Francisco. -It-appears-that-Sheriff-Ortega-Doctor-Mason-and-Dogg-Food-hired-an-airship-and-left-California."


"-It-is-believed-that-the-destination-is-China-. -Rumor-has-it-that-was-where-Colonel-Hotspur-O'Toole-was-taken-the-night-of-his-disappearance-."

Tensai Hilra walked up, having heard the conversation, "Dogg went with them? She was supposed to make sure that Fuzz stayed out of trouble, and rested like he was supposed to."

"That cat has a mind of her own, Dearest," Lunar told his wife, "Most of that is thanks to you."

Tensai smiled, "Yea, I am a genius, aren't I?"

Lunar shook his head, then looked at K1, "Thank you, K1. I'll let Lady Eva know of this. Seeing as how she's not in charge of the non-existant secret intelligence organization in Caledon, she might have some way of finding Fuzz."


"Depends on the situation in China, I suppose."


Lunar smiled, "I doubt it. He'll probably come home a hero. Thank you, K1"

Lunar and Tensai turned and headed back towards the gentleman in the wheelchair.

"-There-is-more-" K1 said, "-Regarding-Jobias-Barthelmess-"

Lunar and Tensai stopped, then turned to K1. The old man in the wheelchair looked over at K1, with interest.

"-The-authorities-from-Portland-interrogated-the-henchman-of-Jobias-Barthelmess-" K1 said as he walked closer to them, "-they-soon-learned-that-Jobias'-airship,-the-one-that-fell-into-the-sea,-had-a-submersible.-Small-steam-powered-and-only-able-to-carry-one-person-"

"And?" Lunar asked, not wanting to hear more, but knowing that it was important.


"The slippery little weasel escaped." Tensai said with a scowl.

"-Sid-Weezul-was-captured-by-Sheriff-Ortega." K1 said, "-Currently-serving-time-in-a-Steeltopian-prison."

"That's not who she meant," Lunar interrupted, "What are the possible destinations of the submersible?"

"-Accessing-" There was a few clicks and whirrs, then K1 looked at Lunar, "-North-the-submersible-would-get-as-far-as-Olympia. -South-as-far-as-Sacremento-. -West-all-known-destinations-from-Steelhead-could-not-be-reached-the-submersible-will-not-have-enough-power-"

"I see. Thank you, K1. You have been most helpful."

"-I-am-here-to-serve-Steelhead-" K1 said, tipping his hat.

As K1 left, Tensai turned towards Lunar.

"We'll need to get Fuzz back to Steelhead, if Jobias is alive....."

"Don't worry," Lunar said, "I doubt Jobias will return so soon." he gestured towards the gentleman in the wheelchair, "In the meantime, I wish you to meet a visitor to Steelhead. Professor, this is my wife, Tensai Hilra."

"A pleasure to meet you, madam," the gentleman said, "I'm Professor Treloar Parx."

The Camp Of The Progressive Army Of Heavenly Peace, Outside of Kowloon

"I'm sorry to hear of your friend's fate." Feng said, after hearing Fuzz and Darien relate the tale of Hotspur's disappearance, "If he is an enemy of H'seih Lieng, I am afraid his fate could be dire."

"I'm sure," Fuzz said, "that Lieng may not kill Hotspur outright. With what we've been hearing, this 'Dragon Who Waits'...or whatever he calls himself, may take some time. Sort of gloat over what he's accomplished. Doctor Mason and I are both familiar with men who are like that."

Feng smiled, and offered food to the group, and laying a plate of tuna down for Dogg to eat, "It is his way. I have seen many horrors carried out by him. Men, women.....even children are not safe from his evil. I dare not give you the details at this time."

"Regardless," Fuzz said "I have a duty that I must perform. One that was entrusted to me the day that I....." Fuzz glanced over at Darien "reluctantly accepted my position as sheriff."

"And that duty brings you here?" Feng asked

Fuzz nodded in response.

Feng smiled, "You are a man of honor. You do understand, that in order for you to carry out this duty, you will be coming into a fight that is not yours."

Fuzz chuckled, "The Colonel being kidnapped actually makes it a fight of Steelhead, Caledon, and various other places. There is a saying in America. 'You scratch my back, I scratch yours'. We'll help you the best that we can, although it seems you've got plenty of aid."

"As the saying in the Western World goes," Feng replied "'The more the merrier'. Finish eating, there is more to show you."

Later, the group walked out of the tent. Angus turned to his first mate.

"Mr. Sideman, return to me Lady. I'll be joinin' these gentlemen." he said

"Aye, Cap'n" Sideman said

As Sideman left, Fuzz looked at the Scottish airship captain.

"You don't have to come with us, Angus. The deal was to get us to China. I'm not asking you to go any further."

"Aye, Fuzz, I know. But, ye two can't get into trouble without me, wouldn't be fun now, would it?"

Darien nodded, "I will admit, these past few years, all the scrapes we've been involved in has been somewhat empty of something."

"Plus" Angus continued, reaching into his satchel, "I've got these"

Angus pulled out a couple bottles of whiskey. Darien smiled. Fuzz took one and looked at the label.

"Irish whiskey?" Fuzz asked

"Yer friend's name IS O'Toole, is it not?"

Fuzz smiled and handed the bottle back to Angus. Feng walked out of the tent, then motioned to the group to follow. He led them to a tent, located near a few vehicles, including small aircraft. Fuzz heard voices inside, and noted the English accent of the voices. Once inside, they were introduced to two men, both English. One appeared to be a cheerful character, dressed in an aviator outfit similar to what Fuzz and Darien have seen Zoe Connelly wear. The other gentleman was slightly more distinguished looking, he looked at Fuzz and company and gave a hmmph.*

"These gentlemen have come from England." Feng said, "Courtesy of the British Intelligence."

The cheerful aviator smiled and walked forward, extending his hand, "James Bigglesworth. But you may call me Biggles."

Darien shook Biggles hand and smiled, "Doctor Darien James Mason. These are my friends, Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega and Captain Angus GlitterRoch."

"Americans" the other gentleman replied.

"Scottish." Angus replied

"Moldavian" Fuzz added

"Mew" said Dogg

"Cat" Fuzz said, pointing at Dogg.

Biggles pointed at his companion, "Denis Nayland Smith. You'd have to forgive him, he's not overly fond of the colonies. Ortega....of course, I've heard of you, The Werewolf Sheriff. Yes, quite extraordinary stories."

Fuzz shrugged, "Most of it's nothing but a typical day for me. My youth, my time with the Capper Brigade, travels with Lady Amanda....."

"Lady Amanda?" Smith said, "You traveled with Lady Amanda Smythe?"

Fuzz nodded, "Haven't heard from her in awhile, though. Do you two gentlemen know her?"

Biggles chuckled, "She's the one who sent us here."

"The British government," Smith explained "is very concerned with what has been going on here in China. The presence of advisors from both Germany and Russia found in Northwest China. The Emperor staying inside his palace, letting the warlords fight it out amongst themselves, believing that he and his rule is safe. Warlord Feng seems to be one who fights for peace. We are hoping to assist him to turn the tide. Why are you here?"

"They are here...." Warlord Feng started

"We are here," Fuzz interrupted, "because a wrong must be made right. Darien and Angus both have experience in flying crafts. Darien has also performed magicks from time to time. As for me, well, as Biggles pointed out, I am The Werewolf Sheriff. I think we can be of assistance against Lieng."

"It's not Lieng you have to worry about" Smith muttered, as he turned to walk away from the group.

"I'm sorry," Biggles said "he believes that there is a greater evil at work. He's been on about it, even back in London. It has put a strain on his career."

"He may be on to something." Fuzz said, "You guys can't feel it? The way that the wind blows? The smell that it carries?"

"Ain't a warwulf, laddie." Angus replied "Senses ain't as keen as yers."

"Evil." Fuzz whispered

The Dungeon of Fusang Castle

Purdie's wrists hurt from being shackled and supporting his body that was hanging in the air. His hearts were beating fast. His face had seen better days. As one prison guard watched, another punched Purdie, again.

"Why are you here?" the first guard asked "And how do you come to speak Chinese so fluently."

"The TARDIS....." Purdie gasped "is powered by......the heart.....of an artificial.....black hole...."

The prison guard punched Purdie again. Purdie spat out blood.

"It was.....on the....planet Skaro that the....Master was finally.....brought to trial...."

"WAIT" the first guard called out, stopping the second from punching Purdie "We shall try a different measure."

A door opened and two more guards walked in, dragging Koen behind. They threw Koen up against a wall. The first guard turned to Purdie and smiled.

"Now," he said "tell us what we want to know.....or we torture him."

"No" Purdie whispered as the guards moved closer to Koen.

To Be Continued
*Despite the fact that these two gentlemen are not in their proper timelines that other media has them established, it is asked that the reader accept that in this particular universe, things may've gone a different route.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And Now, The OpenSpace Announcement

Linden Lab has made a new decision regarding Openspace sims. OS regions will stay at 75 bucks, but there'll be limitations to how they'll be used. Scripts, prims, avatars, etc. Hotspur's favorite sailing sims will probably be in this category.

They've introduced a new sim called Homestead. For use of low density rentals, but will also have restrictions on scripts, prims, and avatars.

January 5, 2009 – non-compliant Openspaces will transition to Homesteads and the maintenance fees will go from $75 to $95 per month. We will offer an educational discount to qualified educators on the new Homestead product. The discount amount will be the same as Private Regions, roughly 30%.

July 2009 — the maintenance fees for Homesteads will go from $95 to $125 per month

You can read more on Linden Lab's blog. That being said, the end result will be some people will wind up having to eventually pay 125 a month. But, I'm sure a good number of people followed LL's regulations on how the OS are to be used, and won't have to worry.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Nine


The Lady Dushku docked at the village with no problems. Angus' crew remained on board, while their captain, Fuzz, Darien, Dogg, and Sideman stood on the docks. Darien, fluent in Mandarin, was speaking to one of the dock workers to get more information about the situation in the country. Fuzz looked around and noticed an old woman a few feet away from him, staring at him.

"I think she likes you, Fuzz" Angus said

Fuzz secretly made an obscene gesture towards Angus. Darien walked up to the group thanking the dock worker for his help.

"You know," Darien told Fuzz "we really need to better prepare ourselves for these matters."

"That bad, huh?" Fuzz asked "Surely we're not in a hopeless situation."

"H'sieh Lieng has control of land from Fusang, all the way down to the village of Hanxian. He's wanting access to the sea. Villagers in his way, they're either tortured or made slaves. He's got some dangerous mercenaries on his side as well. He's got ahold of some weapons to help, as well. Steam tanks and such."

Fuzz nodded, "I fail to see where you'd think we're not prepared? A typical Friday night in Steelhead sounds more dangerous. What about around here?"

"This area is under the control of Progressive Army of Heavenly Peace. The man in charge here is Warlord Feng. People here love him. Might be someone we can talk to, if we can get to see him."

The old woman walked up to Fuzz and motioning for him to follow her, speaking in her native tongue. Fuzz looked at Darien with a puzzled look.

Darien's look was also puzzling, "She says she'll take you to Kim."

Fuzz raised an eyebrow, then shrugged. Picking up Dogg, he motioned for the old woman to lead the way. She lead them down a narrow street, and pointed to a small building at the end. She then took the group inside the building and walked to a group of men, pointing at Fuzz and company. A young man left the group and walked to Fuzz, looking at Fuzz's clothing. He then pointed at the knight's head stick pin that Fuzz had put in the lapel of his coat.

"Where did you get that?" the young man asked, in perfect English

Fuzz looked at the pin, then looked at the young man, "A friend gave it to me before I left San Francisco." Fuzz then pointed at the young man "Wait, I know you. Few years back, when I was in San Francisco. You were the bellhop at the Carlton Hotel. 'Hey Boy', they called you."

The young man smiled, "Yes. You are the werewolf." he glanced at Fuzz's badge "And now you are a lawman."

Fuzz nodded, "The pin was a gift from Paladin. I guess he felt we had much in common. You're Kim the old woman was taking us to see?"

The man nodded, "My real name is Kim Chang. I have told many people about Mr. Paladin, she had thought that you were him. Have you come to help us in the situation with Fusang."

"It's a long story, but it does involve us having to go into that territory."

"Then there is someone you should meet"

A Camp Outside Of Kowloon

Fuzz, Dogg, Darien, Angus, and Sideman were led into a military camp. Kim Chang greeted some of the soldiers who walked by, he then stopped and motioned for a young woman to approach.

"Ortega," he said as the woman reached them, "this is Fa Ming. She is also known as Soft Paw of the Jiang Tribe."

Darien looked at Kim Chang, "So the Lycans are involved as well?"

"Not really. The tribes are all located more to the center of the Empire, but they are keeping an eye on these situations."

"If the situation gets dangerous, they will become involved," Fuzz said "A Lycan is a protector of the Earth. War is dangerous to Nature."

A soldier walked up to Kim Chang and whispered to him, Kim then turned to the group.

"Come," he said "he is ready to meet you."

The group was led towards the center of camp, where a large tent stood. Kim Chang led them into the tent. Standing in the middle of the tent was a regal looking Chinese man. His clothing showed him to be someone of great importance. The man looked at the group and smiled. Like Kim, his English was perfect.

"I am Warlord Feng. Welcome."

To Be Continued

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh, I Hate Getting Involved In This, But.....

Usually, with technical stuff, I turn to Tensai. She explained the OpenSpace situation, how they're supposed to be run, what alot of folks are doing instead, etc. My guess for the whole price hike was to compensate for the uses (additional processors, CPU's, etc), instead of LL going around and telling each OS owner that they have to get rid of everything (Houses, clubs, malls, etc), and only use the OS for trees or open water. In the end, nothing is set in stone, and they are looking into every possibility before the planned change, so it's possible that those OS regions that are being used as Linden Lab intended them to be used for (such as the sailing sims that Hotspur likes to visit) may not have an issue. They are also taking suggestions on the situation. And for those wondering: No, I was not sending one of my patented "Love Letters To The Lindens" in regards to this price hike announcement.

What follows, via cut and paste, is but one of the suggestions that was made in regards to this situation (for the benefit of those who haven't read the Linden Lab blog), one that Jack Linden thought to be one of the most constructive Linden Lab has read. So, sit tight and breathe. More changes may happen before January that will be in the resident's favor. Please take note, the following is only a suggestion, and not a final decision from Linden Lab.

Two classes of OpenSpace sims. There is demand for the “original” OpenSpace “void sim” application: lower primcount, very few scripts, very few avatars–just very light load, and only in areas surrounding other, full-primmed sims. There is also a clear demand for heavier use OpenSpaces–still much lower density than full-primmed sims, but posing much more demand on the backend services than does the “void sim” application. These need to be separated into two distinct products with different fee schedules; let’s call them “Void” and “Low-Density” sims.

The details of what’s a “Void” and what’s “Low-Density” should be worked out in consultation with LL Development and Operations, but I’d suggest that “Voids” could continue to run 4 per CPU and Low-Densities perhaps 3, and that new Voids would have to be attached to full-primmed sims and only available in groups of 4. For both sim classes, Development must devise ways to throttle inter-sim demands *and* demands on back-end central services and networks to keep the products viable.

Conversion without penalty. Like it or not, the “unbelievably good deal” of $75/mo OpenSpaces was a product marketing mistake. Such things happen all the time with new products, and LL really should step up and admit that this was their f*-up, not the fault of an evil empire of abusing buyers. Or don’t admit it, but act responsibly anyway: That $250 set-up fee should be credited toward whatever product to which the buyer chooses to transition now. Four OpenSpaces to one full-primmed sim: Free; any fewer: $250 credit per OpenSpace. Also free: choosing “Void” or “Low-Density” for existing OpenSpaces.

Temporary Partial Grandfathering. Everybody has to expect pricing fluctuations for new products, but nobody can plan for a 67% increase–that really is punitive, and a business breaker. So, instead: on 1/1/09, Low-Density sims ordered before 11/1/08 will be charged $100/month until 6/1/2009, when the rate will go to $125/month; new Low-Density sims ordered after 11/1/08 will go to $125 on 1/1/09 without grandfathering. Maybe fees for Voids could even nominally decrease on 1/1/09.

“Hardwired” Estate sim clustering. The idea that an Estate owner can manage their OpenSpaces as a group, so they share CPUs only with each other, has some real merit. It’s understood that inter-sim resource demands are only part of the problem: what load they pose on backend central services still has to be addressed, but LL Development and Operations need to come up with a way for Estate owners to choose CPU sharing for their OpenSpaces. Indeed, it has emerged that full-primmed sims can affect others that share their server box, even though running on a separate core, so a generalization of this could be of value to Estates who have no OpenSpaces at all.

In the end, they are listening. But, even if something like the above became Linden Lab's new policy on OpenSpace sims, you have to ask yourself if your OS sim or favorite OS sim is being used as a "void sim" or if it's being used for something more? Answer to that is simply going to Linden Lab's description of an OpenSim:

Normal regions run on their own dedicated CPU, but the Openspace regions run four per CPU; as you would expect, this limits their performance. Openspaces only ever share with other Openspaces on a server.

It is therefore important to understand what these regions are. They are provided for light use only, not for building, living in, renting as homes or use for events. As a stretch of open water for boating or a scenic wooded area they are fine, but we do not advise more serious use than this and will not respond to performance issues reported should you not use them in this way.

What's your OpenSim used for?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For Those Who Am Confused.....

Links to the current story can be found on the side, "Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang", some of the events began in "Steelhead Adventures: Silver Poison", also to the side. Hotspur has given a "For Those Who Came In Late" post for anyone not up to speed you can find it here .

To add to Hotspur's post....and to give a bit of correction:

Purdie Uggla (Hotspur misspelled it, but we get the play on words, don't we?) is, in fact, a Time Lord. He and his cousin Rasslonis were involved in the Last Great Time War (see the current season of Doctor Who for details), and were trapped in the Medusa Cascade as it was sealed behind them. Both wound up in the parallel world where our story takes place, Rasslonis in 1390 AD in Moldovia, Purdie in the late 1880's in Caledon. Rasslonis used the powers of the TARDIS to rewrite his DNA, so that he would be human (reasons unknown, but possible to hide from enemies also trapped in this world). Rasslonis married, had children, and died an old man. Fuzzball Ortega is descended from Rasslonis on his mother's side. Despite the DNA being rewritten, some Time Lord DNA managed to be handed down from generation to generation, giving the descendants the ability to heal quickly, in most cases.

Angelica Trescothick (stage name). Sister to Fuzzball Ortega. Recently revealed to be an agent of Pinkerton Intelligence, a secret branch of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Unknown how much further the involvement would be at this point. Born without the Lycan gene.

Other characters who have appeared will be discussed later, at the end of the tale. Most dealing with the Wold Newton Universe concept.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Musical Interlude....

Been under the weather, trying to get the next chapter done. Until then, enjoy this music video, which should fit in with the Lady Dushku being attacked by Iron Paw's band of air pirates.

I really love this song.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Seven

The Air Pirates Attack, Purdie and Koen Hop Into The Fire.....Bypassing The Frying Pan, And The Steelhead Adventurers Arrive At Their Destination

The Lady Dushku

The airships of the furry pirates fired onto the Lady Dushku. GlitterRoch's crew were tough, and willing to fight for their captain, unfortunately, the pirates managed to swing from their airships onto the deck. Although, the pirates proved themselves to be tougher than Angus' crew, they found themselves on the receiving end of Dogg Food's claws.

"Now THIS is more like it." Dogg exclaimed as she planted her claws into a racoon furry.

"Damn cat's got more guts than the rest of ye." Angus said as he shot a pirate trying to board his ship, "Darien, get yer carcass down below."

"Are you kidding?" the doctor asked, tightening the harnass to his steam jet pack "No way I'm letting you have all the fun."

With that, Darien activated his jet pack and flew off to one of the airships, firing on it's crew and knocking a few overboard. On the Dushku, Angus, Mr. Sideman and Dogg managed to get several pirates off the ship. A sudden tremor sounded on the deck and the three turned to see another pirate managed to make it on board.

"Iron Paw" Angus whispered

The bear furry snarled at the three and started to head towards them. He stopped when he heard one of his crewmembers yelling.

"ORTEGA!" the crewmember yelled, "ORTEGA!"

A gunshot was heard, and the crewmember fell to the ground, revealing Fuzzball a few feet behind him, holding his gun.

"Ortega" Iron Paw growled, holding his iron paw with his good paw.

"What's the matter, BoBo?" Fuzz asked as he put his gun back into the holster, "Circus found you to be useless?"

"IT'S IRON PAW!" Iron Paw yelled, knocking Sideman out of the way as he ran towards Fuzz.

"Wow," Dogg said, "first Jobias Barthelmess, now this bear. Fuzz has made some interesting friends, hasn't he?"

"Aye," Angus replied as he watched Iron Paw pick Fuzz up and throw him onto the deck, "Fuzz always had a way with people."

Iron Paw picked Fuzz up and threw him across the airship. Fuzz crashed into several crates. The bear ran towads the crate, reaching for his dagger. One of the crates flew forward and knocked the bear down. The bear looked as the werewolf stood up.

"My turn" Fuzzwolf snarled.

Fuzz lunged towards Iron Paw and the two large creatures continued their fight. Iron Paw tried to knock Fuzz over with his iron paw, but the werewolf was too quick.

Angus looked at Sideman and motioned to the pirates, "Get the rest of the crew and get these bilge rats off my ship."

"Aye, Cap'n" Sideman said, rushing off.

Angus ran to one of the telsa cannons as Darien flew in front of him, "Darien, let's take out these air ships."

"What about Fuzz?" Darien asked

"He'd rather fight the bear." Angus turned to Dogg, "Your job is to watch Fuzz. I want to know how that fight turns out."

"Good," Dogg said "that's gotten my interest up."

As Angus fired at the airships, Darien flew to them, knocking the pirates manning telsa cannons, and used the telsa cannons to fire into each ship. Meanwhile, Fuzz and Iron Paw continued their fight. As they fought, their fighting style became more savage. Fuzz ducked as the iron paw of Iron Paw swung at him. Fuzz swiped at the bear's chest, cutting into it. Iron Paw let out a yell of pain. He lunged towards Fuzz. Fuzz grabbed Iron Paw's arm and lifted up the pirate bear. Next thing that Iron Paw knew, the Pacific Ocean was coming closer and closer to him as he fell from the height of the airship. He wasn't alone, his other crew and the remains of his airships were also in the ocean. On the Dushku, Fuzz looked at Angus.

"Keep the noise down." Fuzz said, "I'm trying to sleep."

Angus smiled as Darien landed on the deck, "Aye Fuzz. Neighbors just wanted to stop by for a visit. Won't happen, again."

"You look well rested." Darien said, taking off his helmet.

Fuzz nodded, "Time to change."

"One of these days," Darien said, "You're going to have to tell us the story about how you know Iron Paw."

Fuzz smirked, "Circus bear, supposed to be dancing, couldn't dance worth a squat. Tried to steal from the circus owner.....I bit off his paw. Want to hear more, I'll tell you later"

As Fuzz headed below, Angus shouted to his crew, "Alright, let's get a damage report. Mr. Sideman, help the good doctor tend to anyone who's injured. This is nothing compared to what we'll be getting into once we're in China."

Purdie Uggla's TARDIS

Koen grabbed onto the railing of the spiral staircase in the console room. The TARDIS shook violently as it traveled through the vortex. At the console, Purdie tried to keep the time ship steady, pushing buttons and pulling levers.

"The Oregon Sunstone isn't the perfect source of energy for the TARDIS," he said "but it did the trick, at least until I can get to the rift and recharge her properly."

"I think I'm going to be sick" Koen said

"Come now, Koen," Purdie said, with a laugh "where's your sense of adventure?"

Suddenly, the TARDIS stopped, and all was quiet.

"See," Purdie said "wasn't so bad."

He flipped a few switches on the console and looked at the scanner.

"BAH" he said, "problems with the scanner. All I know is, we're in China, and we've time traveled a few days after we left."

Koen got up and walked over to the console, "Where in China?"

Purdie shrugged, "More than likely, we may be a few miles from our intended destination of Kowloon. Well....only thing to do is to walk out and see where we are."

The two walked out of the TARDIS, which disguised itself as a statue of a Chinese warrior, and looked at their surroundings. They were in the hallway decorated with rich tapestries.

"We're in someone's home." whispered Koen

"More like a palace." Purdie whispered back

The two walked down the hallway, Purdie turned a corner, as Koen looked behind them to see if they were followed.

"Koen, hold up your hands." Purdie suggested

Koen held up his hands up to his chest level, and turned around to see what Purdie was wanting.

"No," Puride said, his hands raised up high, "raise them higher."

Koen did, as he saw that they had come face to face with armed guards, all wearing the colors of the Warlord Liang.

The Lady Dushku

The Dushku had taken to flying at a lower altitude, as they were now close to their destination. From her deck, Darien and Fuzz looked at the landscape ahead of them.

"I hope you know what you're doing." Darien said

"I never do." Fuzz replied, putting his cowboy hat on his head.

Darien looked at Fuzz, "What?!?"

Fuzz smiled, "More fun that way."

Darien pinched the bridge of his nose, "Oy Vey."

Fuzz chuckled then walked over to Dogg Food, "Think you can stick to acting like a regular house cat for the time being?"

"Oh," Dogg replied, "act dumb. Yea, I can do that. Can learn secrets of people that way."

Fuzz winked, then looked at the docks as the ship got closer.

"Here we go" he whispered

To Be Continued

Monday, October 20, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Four

In Which A Secret Of Angelica's Is Revealed, A New Source Of Energy Is Discovered In Steelhead, And The Lady Dushku Is About To Be Attacked.....And Not Quite Close To China

San Francisco, California

Angelica walked along the sidewalk, smiling and nodding as gentlemen tipped their hats to her. She stopped in front of a building and looked at the sign hanging in front of it.

She then stepped into the building. Inside, there were several desks around the place, each one had a pile of papers on one side, cases for the agents to work on. She walked to one desk in the back of the room. A small wiry man wearing large spectacles was working at the desk. He looked up and looked at Angelica, who produced a badge from her purse and showed it to the man. The man nodded towards a door on the left side of the room. Angelica walked to the door and opened it, inside the small room was a winding staircase leading down, Angelica walked down the flight of stairs and was in the offices of Pinkerton Intelligence....which much like Caledon's MI-5, doesn't exist.

A man in uniform walked up to her and motioned her down the hallway. He opened the door at the end of the hallway, and motioned for her to enter. The room was very well decorated, and very clean. Sitting behind a mahogany desk, sat an elder gentleman, very well dressed and his gray beard neatly groomed. He looked up, and then stood up to greet Angelica.

"Agent Trescothick," he said, smiling "it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Secretary of State James Blaine."

"A pleasure to meet you, sir." Angelica replied, curtseying

"Please sit." Secretary of State Blaine said, as the two sat down, Blaine looked at the papers that was on his desk "As you requested, the agency did look into matters in China. My duty to the President is foreign affairs, and what's going on in China, could cause an impact on American soil."

"Yes, Mr. Secretary. What I'm concerned about is if it's truly that dangerous. China is a very large empire. Could one warlord of a small sect cause that much trouble?"

Secretary of State Blaine smiled, "You'd think it wouldn't be. But as our own history has shown, the smallest things could lead to the largest consequences."

Angelica nodded

Secretary of State Blaine continued, "Pinkerton Intelligence have been working with agents from different agencies in gathering intelligence in the matter. Sir Edward Pearse of Caledon's MI-5 and Lady Amanda Smythe of British Intelligence have sent reports that show that this situation is grim. All agents have been pulled out of that country. At this moment, it's a powder keg, waiting to go off. Once it does, we may wind up in some World War. Those demons that flew their airships over Washington some time ago would be a cake walk next to what we may be up against."

"I understand, Mr. Secretary." Angelica said "I suppose I should let you know, my brother has gone to China, to rescue a friend who's been taken captive."

The Secretary of State nodded, a look of serious concern on his face, "I see. Well, everyone in Washington is familiar with your brother, and of Steelhead City, which we've dubbed The Crown Jewel Of The Pacific Northwest. If he's anything like the stories we've been hearing, I'm sure he'll be just fine. We cannot allow any of our agents to head into that region, even if it's to save one's brother."

Angelica nodded, "I understand, sir."

Steelhead City, Oregon

Lunar looked at the shipment of lumber that had arrived, a smile on his face. Koen sat on top of the lumber, telling Tensai the story he had heard while in Seattle.

"So the year was almost up," Koen said "all but one of the brides were married off. It had looked like those brothers were going to lose their mountain to Mr. Stempel."

"Oh that poor girl." Tensai said "I hope she finally got married."

"She's known as Biddy Stempel, now."

Tensai laughed, "The man who wanted the mountain, who tried everything to foil the plans, wound up marrying the last bride and lost the bet?"

Koen nodded, "Yea. And you thought Steelhead was strange."

"Wonderful" Lunar said, still looking at the lumber

"I know" Tensai said, "and very sweet, too."

Lunar looked at his wife, a puzzled look on his face, "How is this shipment of lumber 'very sweet'?"

Tensai looked at Koen, "He really needs to learn to start paying attention. Thought he was tired of being orbited across town."

Purdie walked up to the three, very upset. He looked at the three, walked up to one stack of lumber and kicked it. He then walked up to another stack, put his head on the lumber and shook his head.

"Something wrong, Purdie?" Lunar asked

Purdie looked up at Lunar, "She's been drained."

"WHAT??!?! Has there been a vampire attack?!?!"

Purdie looked at Lunar with a puzzled look, "What?!? No, I'm talking about the TARDIS. There's no power. Things have been so busy, I never got the chance to take it for refueling."

"Where would that be?" Tensai asked "Maybe we could get the TARDIS on an airship and...."

Purdie shook his head, "There's a rift, but it's in the 21st century. And Oolon is out and about somewhere, so I can't get a jump start from him."

"Well," Koen suggested, hopping off the lumber "Caledon has Cavorite, maybe that would help."

"Cavorite won't help. It's energy source isn't what I need to power the TARDIS....." Purdie stopped, then thought for a minute "unless......" he then looked up at Lunar, "Lunar, those mineral samples that were found in the underground mines last week."

Lunar nodded, "Oregon Sunstones."

"The biggest sample you've got, can you bring it to the TARDIS?"

"Sure, why not."

Purdie's TARDIS, a short time later

The yellow sunstone was strapped to a device, with several wires connected to it. The other end of the wires was connected to the console of the TARDIS. Koen looked at the mineral and then at Purdie, who was finishing up with the device.

"So...what did you find out about these rocks?" Koen asked

Purdie smiled, "They give off an energy signature. It's possible to use one of these sunstones to light the lighthouse on Lighthouse Island. Caledon has their floating rock for their airship industry, but we've got a new source of energy. In time, homes could get their light, warmth...well, any power from the Oregon Sunstone. But.....if it could recharge a TARDIS' power....that remains to be seen."

Purdie flipped the switch on the device. The sunstone started to glow, soon lights on the console started to flicker. Purdie laughed and jumped.

"YES!" he said "Koen, it's going to take awhile, but we'll have power soon."

Koen smiled, "And then?"

"China, of course." Purdie said, "And an adventure. NOT a word to anyone."

"I'm going to pack.....in secret." Koen said, as he headed out of the TARDIS

Purdie smiled and looked at the console. From the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a dark figure standing in the doorway leading to the TARDIS hallway. He looked up, and walked into the hallway.

"Empty." he said "Must still be affected by Hotspur's mindlink."

The Lady Dushku, Four Days From China

On the deck of the Lady Dushku, Darien was showing Angus photographs of his children. Angus looked at the photos and then at Darien.

"Ye couldn't have little'uns the old fashioned way?" he asked

Darien shrugged, "Was fun creating Qli. And I will save her."

"Aye, lad. Doesn't matter how your family came to be, they're important regardless."

Angus' first mate, Sideman, ran up to his captain, "Sir, airships spotted off the starboard bow."

"How far off, Sideman?" Angus asked, as he got up and headed towards starboard.

"Five miles off, twenty feet above." Sideman replied "Four of them. They're small airships, maybe five crewmember on each. However, the formation of the ships is familiar."

Angus looked into his spyglass and looked at the airships in the distance, "Aye, laddie. Prepare the telsa cannons. Darien, you and your assistant get below. Where's Fuzz?"

"I've been giving him some medicine to help him sleep." Darien replied, "It'll help him get his strength back, which we're going to need once we get to Fusang. What's with the airships?"

Angus looked at Darien, a very serious look on his face, "It's the airships of Iron Paw. The most dangerous pirate furry ever to fly the skies. Now, don't stand there, go below."

Iron Paw's Airship

A cat furry walked up to his captain, a large bear furry. The large bear had lost his right paw in a fight, which was replaced with a paw made of iron.

The bear looked at his crewman, "Report, Mr. Thom."

Thom sneered, "It's the Lady Dushku, Captain Iron Paw. Just an old tub, probably has nothing of value."

"Nonsense," Iron Paw growled "it has a crew. Let's volunteer them to join us."

"Aye, Captain, and the Lady Dushku?"

Iron Paw gave an evil laugh, "Let's see if she's sea worthy."

Thom laughed, and gave the order to the rest of the crew on the other ships. Soon, the airships started heading towards the Lady Dushku.

To Be Continued

Friday, October 17, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang

As Sheriff Ortega dealt with the ordeal of the attempt on his life, Hotspur O'Toole was taken hostage by the henchmen of Jobias Barthelmess. Taken to a warehouse in New Babbage, Hotspur was handed over to Lien Bao of the Dark Ocean Society and the servant to The Dragon Who Waits, The Warlord of Fusang, Lieng. From there, Hotspur found himself on a frieghter heading towards China.

After Ortega had defeated his nemesis, he had discovered that Sid Weezul, a weasely individual with a reputation to be up to no good, had been in Steelhead City on the night of Hotspur's disappearance. Confronting Weezul in New Babbage, Sheriff Ortega learned of Hotspur's predicament.

Steelhead City, Oregon

The tension in Steelhead City had subsided rather quickly. The sheriff was no longer in danger, Jobias Barthelmess was defeated, with the possibility of never being seen again, and his henchmen had all been captured and were on their way to Salem to await trial. Life in Steelhead was getting back to normal.

At the train station, Koen sat on the bench with a disappointed look on his face. Purdie walked up to him and saw the disappointment.

"What's wrong?" Purdie asked

Koen looked up at Purdie, "When you asked me to assist you in an important matter, I thought it was to be another adventure, not getting lumber."

Purdie smiled and sat next to the young Neko, "This is important. Lunar has great plans for Steelhead's growth and needs the lumber. I've agreed to assist him on this matter."

Koen merely shrugged.

"Koen," Purdie continued "life or death adventures are pretty exhilerating, but, there's nothing wrong with doing an honest days work."

"I know....why are we going to Seattle, anyway?"

"Because the lumber that comes from Stempel's Lumber is the best in the Pacific Northwest." Purdie replied "The trees grow tall and strong on Bridal Veil Mountain, they are perfect for a builder such as Lunar."

"Ok.....maybe there'll be an adventure when we get back."

Purdie gave it some thought, then shrugged, "Maybe."

"Although, I wish I could've gone with Dad to San Francisco."

"He has gone with Fuzz and Angelica to help Fuzz. Turns out he's not fully recovered, his transformation to the wolf and back still leaves him a bit out of breath. And Tensai sent her cat, Dogg, to make sure that none of them go on any adventures."

The Dining Area of The Carlton Hotel, San Francisco, California

"I'm so bored. When are we going to go on an adventure?" Dogg Food asked Darien.

Darien looked up from the newspaper he was reading and glanced at the super intelligent cat. "Fuzz is supposed to be resting, you know that. Is this some trick of yours to see if there's something planned? I can assure you, there's not."

"No trick. I know Fuzz. There's an adventure planned, and I want in. I don't always take orders from Tensai."

Darien glanced across the room at Fuzz, who was playing chess with another gentleman "Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it appears that's the most excitement we'll be seeing today."

Across the room, Fuzz studied the chess board as he continued his conversation with the gentleman. His chess opponent was a distinguished looking gentleman who lived in the hotel. Extremely intelligent, with a knight's head stick pin sticking in the dark silk of his cravat.

"So," Fuzz said, moving a chess piece "Fusang has taken over other sections of China?"

The gentleman nodded as he moved a chess piece, "Appears he wants access to the sea. It's very dangerous in that area of the world, and you want to head in there."

Fuzz nodded, not looking up from the chess board.

The gentleman shook his head, "I wouldn't go there even if you tripled my normal fee."

Fuzz chuckled, "A thousand dollars a job is pretty steep. But, at least you get your job done."

Angelica walked in, as she walked closer to the table, the gentleman stood up and greeted her. Angelica looked at her brother.

"Southside of the docks." she said

Fuzz nodded, "Almost done."

He moved his final piece.


The gentleman looked at move and laughed, "You've gotten better, Ortega."

Fuzz motioned at the gentleman, "I learned from the best."

The gentleman extended his hand and shook Fuzz's "Good luck, my friend. I hope you find your friend before it's too late."

"So do I." Fuzz replied "It was good to see you, again, Paladin."

Fuzz got up and looked at his sister, who was looking at Darien and Dogg across the room.

"When are we going to tell them?" she asked

"I thought we'd spring it on them, later." he replied "Did you find him?"

"No. But there's a pub near the docks. He's probably there."

"I wouldn't doubt it." Fuzz walked over to Darien and Dogg, "Come on, we're going for a walk."

"Oh yea," Dogg said sarcastically "that's very exciting.

The Drunken Mermaid Tavern

The four walked into the tavern and looked around the place. It was filled with drunken sailors who were drinking, having arm wrestling matches, or trying to stand up. Darien looked around the place and was about suggest that it wasn't in Fuzz's best interest to be here, when a voice from the past caught his ear. Fuzz smiled and walked towards the sound of that voice. The four walked closer to the bar and found a Scotsman with green hair bragging to fellow sailors.

"And The Lady Dushku," the Scotsman said "is the best airship ye'd find in these parts."

"The Lady Dushku?" Fuzz asked "You mean that termite infested flying junkheap at the airdock? Looks like it's not even fit to carry mules across the river, even if it's captained by a jack ass."

The Scotsman became enraged. Angelica and Dogg both looked around, worried that a fight was to be started.


The Scotsman laughed and hugged Fuzz, "It's DAMN good to see you again, Fuzz."

"Same here, Angus" Fuzz replied

"Why you insulting me lady of the air?"

"It's fun." Fuzz said, winking, he then motioned towards Angelica "Might I introduce my sister, Angelica Daniella Contessa Ortegavich, better known as Angelica Trescothick. Sis, Captain Angus GlitterRoch, the finest airship captain from the Capper Brigade."

"Ye found her?" Angus asked "That's wonderful."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Captain" Angelica said

Angus held up his hand, "Please, lass, call me Angus."

Fuzz pointed down at Dogg, "And Dogg Food, intelligent cat from the far future"

"How do you do sir." Dogg said

"Pleased to make yer acquaintence." Angus said, then looked at Fuzz "Cat's name is Dogg?"

"Her owner has a warped mind." Fuzz replied

"Ooooo, one of our kind." Angus smiled, then looked at Darien "Is that?"

"Ayup." Fuzz replied

Angus laughed and hugged Darien, then looked at the doctor, "So, the booger finally left ye?"

"Yea," Darien replied "Good to see you, Angus."

Angus studied Darien's face, "Afraid he left something terrible though. What's that on yer face?" he asked pointing at Darien's mustache.

"That's my mustache." Darien replied

"Ugliest lookin' thing I ever seen."

Darien smiled, "Have you looked in the mirror lately?"

Angus laughed, then motioned for the bar. "Come, let's all have a drink. Fuzz, you buying?"

"Absolutely," Fuzz replied "with Darien's money."

"Which can be found in Angus' pocket." Darien added

Angus smiled, "Great" quickly the smile faded, "Wait...."

A short time later, the group were sitting at a table as Angus heard about Fuzz's latest adventure.

"So," Darien finished "Fuzz is here for some rest and relaxation......I think."

Fuzz shook his head.

"I knew it." Dogg said "We're going on an adventure."

"Angus," Fuzz said "we need an airship."

"Ye need an airship, mine's at your disposal," Angus said, "But, Fuzz, she's a cargo air ship. Ye can get a passenger ship, it's best suited for ye."

"Where I need to go, the passenger ships aren't going there." Fuzz said

Angus leaned back in his chair, "What's yer destination?" he asked, as he started drinking his whiskey.

"Fusang, China."

Angus spit his whiskey out and leaned forward, "ARE YE MAD? DO YE HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT'S HAPPENIN' THERE?"

Fuzz nodded

Angus tried to remain calm, "The only people who would dare enter that area are crazy people, who are ne'er right in the head."

"Like us?"

"Aye.......alrighty Fuzz, why do ye need to go there."

Fuzz looked at Darien, then at Angus. "A friend of ours, Hotspur O'Toole, was captured by the Dark Ocean Society. The Warlord of Fusang is an old enemy of his. I'm going to rescue him."

"On yer own?"

"No." Fuzz replied, "Darien's going with me."

This time, it was Darien who spit out his whiskey.

Angus looked at Fuzz, "Overwhelming odds. Little chance of success. Sounds like our type of adventure. Very well, Fuzz, the Lady Dushku is at yer service."

The Lady Dushku, A Short Time Later

Angelica hugged her brother as preperations were being made for departure.

"I want you to be careful." she said "It's bad enough that we almost lost you once, already."

Fuzz smiled, "I'll be ok. Besides, I've got protection from the best."


Fuzz shook his head and pointed at Dogg.

Angelica smiled, then reached into her purse and pulled out a knight's head stick pin. "Mr. Paladin asked me to give this to you. He says it's not for luck, rather a symbol. 'A knight without armor' he called you. He also said the knight was the most versatile on the board."

Fuzz nodded, "It can move in eight different directions. It can go over obstacles. It's moves are always unexpected."

Angelica smiled, again, then turned to leave. She stopped and looked at the cat.

"I'll keep an eye on him" Dogg replied

Angelica nodded, then looked around, "Might want to keep an eye on Darien, while you're at it."

As Angelica left the ship, Angus walked on deck and called out to his crew.


And soon, the airship was on it's way.

Two hours later, Fuzz was on deck looking at the stars. Darien walked next to him and looked out, as well.

"Think Hotspur's still alive?" Darien asked

"I.....hope so." Fuzz replied

Suddenly, a sharp pain pierced Fuzz's mind. He grabbed his head and fell onto the deck.

"FUZZ!" Darien shouted

Suddenly, Fuzz saw images in his mind. A holding cell of a frieghter. He felt the lashes of the whip on the back. The image of an ancient Chinese man standing in the room.

"ANGUS!" Darien yelled as the Captain ran towards them, "TURN THIS SHIP AROUND!"

Fuzz grabbed Darien by the collar and looked at Angus, "No" he said

"Fuzz." Darien said, "You're not well. We need to get you to a hospital."

Fuzz got up and leaned over the railing. "I........saw....Hotspur."

Darien and Angus looked at Fuzz. Both were unsure of what to say or do.

The Train To Seattle, At That Same Moment.

Koen ran towards Purdie, who was laying on the floor of the passenger car. The other passengers were unsure of what to do. Koen helped Purdie up and into his bunk. He opened the window to allow some air in.

"Are you ok, sir." Koen asked

"Hotspur" Purdie whispered


Purdie looked at Koen, "I saw Hotspur.......we need to get this deal in Seattle settled quickly. I'm afraid that Colonel O'Toole is in worse danger than Fuzz predicted."

To Be Continued

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Wold Newton Universe

On December 13, 1795, a meteorite fell from the sky and landed in Wold Newton, East Riding Yorkshire. Breadth was twenty eight inches, length was thirty six inches, and it's weight was fifty-six pounds. This is historical fact.

Science Fiction author, Philip Jose Farmer, suggested that the meteor was radioactive. Two passing coaches were in the vicinity and the radiation caused genetic mutations in the people inside the coaches. Many of their descendants were thus endowed with extremely high intelligence and strength, as well as an exceptional capacity and drive to perform good, or, as the case may be, evil deeds. The descendants included Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Doc Savage, one of his assistants, Monk Mayfair, The Shadow, G8, Phileas Fogg, Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Fu Manchu, The Avenger, The Spider, Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlow, Travis McGee, among others. Thus, The Wold Newton Family came to be.

Win Scott Eckert coined the term Wold Newton Universe, which takes Farmer's concept a bit further. Other fictional characters, who were not descended from the passengers in Wold Newton, also existed in this universe, and crossovers were possible. Basically, any character from literary fiction, including film, television, comic books, graphic novels, and video games, could all be in the same universe. A Star Trek novel, "Ishmael", did a similar concept, not only crossing over with a few television westerns, but also cameo's by Han Solo, Starbuck and Apollo (from the original Battlestar Galactica story), the fourth Doctor and mention of the second Doctor from Doctor Who.

Steelhead Adventures will be taking a cue from that concept and bring different characters into the stories. Already, residents of Second Life have made themselves a part of a cross over universe, linking themselves to either actual people or people from fiction. Hotspur O'Toole's contribution to the upcoming story will have several characters. There'll also be some mentioned in The Ortega Chronicles and The Blog Of Uggla portions of the story. Mind you, the intention is not to cram every character we can think of and ruin the story in the process, but it might make reading the stories that much more fun.

We'll see.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Steelhead Adventures.....How This All Started.....(From The Typist)

Caledon's Relay For Life of '07 started it all. There had been some roleplaying involved during the fundraising, and some of the fine citizens took up the task of roleplaying......well, maybe not villains, but in some cases Ne'er Do Well's and in others, picking a fight with another resident(s). So, I thought, "Why should these people be the bad guys, after already establishing themselves as upstanding citizens? Why not have someone as the villain, and only the villain?" And then, Jobias came on to the scene (shortly after, Doctor Obolensky appeared, and eventually Malegatto Alter.....if rumors of her being evil are true).

At first, he was to be a werewolf hunter. Trying to find the right look was tough. After finding a skin of Anthony Ainley as The Master (from the Doctor Who run during the 80's), and a few outfits from Sir Edward's store, not to mention deciding on Ortega's origins and home, it all changed to Jobias Barthelmess being a specist, if it's not human, it has no rights.

From the time he was first introduced, it was the intention on making him someone everyone would love to hate. During a confrontation with Hotspur at a Caledon event, Jobias had said something about Sheriff Ortega being paranoid and that Steelhead should reconsider their decision on having hired him. If a lynch mob was possible in Second Life, it would've happened that night.

Unfortunately, Real Life intervened and the Jobias storyline fell by the wayside. By the time he returned to the Grid, not many people remembered the man. What better way to drive a man insane than to have him be forgotten.

So, the idea for Gaslamp Adventures (something that's still in the works) gave way to Steelhead Adventures, and this blog (and if photos were possible, I would've taken them and posted). In most cases, each chapter was written in less than thirty minutes, and the majority of the plot was done as the chapters were written.

Of the original idea that was supposed to have happened in world, last year:

Sheriff Ortega being shot and taken someplace safe. The original idea was to have Fuzz escape via his airship, crash in Caledon, and a few Caledonians hide him there.

Jobias searching for Fuzz, wandering all over the known lands.

The showdown, which originally was supposed to be Hotspur challenging Jobias (Hotspur and I had discussed this at length last year). The TARDIS appearing at the last minute was also to happen (only I was going to ask Oolon, since I hadn't established Purdie as either my cousin, or a Time Lord at the time).

The whole thing went into the blog (although for a while, there was silver bullets on my front porch in world, the scarecrow did go missing, and there was a mention of the crime during Steelhead town meetings, just to tie into the story). The hardest thing for me to write was in the Blog of Uggla, where Purdie was having visions of a dark future.....not like that was going to happen, mind you.

The biggest change, was the epilogue. Originally, it was to take place in Steelhead City in the year 2008, the old Steelhead is now a theme park/memorial. Lunar and Tensai are still around (Elves are immortal, and Tensai's story.....well, she'll need to tell that for herself), and speaking with Fuzzball's great granddaughter. Seems everyone's favorite werewolf lived well into the 1950's, and is fondly remembered to this day. It ended with Purdie taking Fuzz (thanks in part to the Mason family's time traveling screwing the space-time continuum, Fuzz was able to know his own future) to the museum, and showing him a portrait of the "Steelhead Four" (Katt, Lunar, Tensai, and Fuzz) and of the bright future the four of them would bring. The story ended with Purdie taking to the Steelhead Saloon (now a themed restaurant in 2008) to treat him to a Fuzz Burger.

Somehow, I came up with the idea of instead having it end with a cliffhanger ending, setting up for a new Steelhead Adventure, and doing a sort of follow up to Hotspur's unfinished Journey To Fusang storyline. And that's where we are now.....after my computer is out of the shop and a few emails with Hotspur, Steelhead Adventures continues (this time, with photos, and better plotted, instead of more or less at the last minute).

And as for Jobias.......he'll be back. Still mentally unstable or not, that remains to be seen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: The Grand Finale With A Cliffhanger Ending....wha'?!?

Steelhead City Town Hall, Later That Evening

The meeting room was a buzz with the recent events of the night, Angelica being threatened and Tensai being defeated. All were shocked and dismayed by the news.

"SHOCKED" yelled Riven Homewood

"And Dismayed" added Annechen Lowey

The citizens continued to ramble on angrily. Behind the podium, Lunar tried to calm the citizens down. Finally, exasperated he looked at his sister and motioned towards the crowd. Christine stood up, and without raising her voice above her normal tone, said:

"Be quiet"

And the citizens all went quiet and looked at Lunar.

"Thank you," Lunar said, while at the same time wondering how Fuzz managed the weekly town meetings "Now, Yes, Jobias DID threaten Angelica and yes, he DID manage to defeat Tensai in a battle of the HUD's."

"How?" Hawc DeCosta asked "There's no way anyone could defeat Tensai. She's got the most powerful talisman around."

"With the Sheriff being a close second." Mother Superior pointed out

"Well, yea" Hawc continued, "and you see how useful THAT was....."

Hawc quickly became quiet as Angelica stood up and turned towards him. Hawc knew that if looks could kill, he would be dead twenty times over.

"I'm gonna sit down and shut up." Hawc said, sitting down. He leaned towards his wife and whispered, "Why didn't you stop me?"

"You're on your own, Dear." CeAire replied

"As I was saying," Lunar continued, "he defeated Tensai, but didn't finish the job, perhaps to search for Fuzz and finish what was started. She's fine. Resting in our home. For now, I must insist that none of you approach Jobias Barthelmess. He is a very dangerous man, no telling what....."

Lunar stopped mid-sentence as he looked up at the doorway to the meeting room. Jobias Barthelmess was standing there, cleaning his monocle. The citizens turned to see Jobias, then started talking amongst themselves in a low whisper.

"Fear." Jobias said, placing the monocle back over his eye. "I can sense it in this room."

He walked into the room and headed towards the front.

"I haven't sensed this much fear since I was ruler of Moldavia. Of course, that damned werewolf interfered, but he's not here now, is he? Where is he, Mayor Eclipse? Dead?"

Kattryn Severine stood up and glared at Jobias, "Leave, Mr. Barthelmess. You are not welcomed in my town."

"I have unfinished business." Jobias sneered "Your Sheriff, as you like to call him, and I. Bring him to me. I defeated Miss Hilra. I can defeat any of you with just a snap of my fingers. I will burn your town to the ground if you do not bring him to me."

Jobias turned to find Darien standing next to him, holding two white gloves in one hand. With the gloves, Darien slapped Jobias in the face.

"You like to think that you're better than the rest of us," Darien said, "I think it's time you prove it."

Jobias rubbed the side of his face and sneered, "What did you have in mind, Clone?"

Darien stood firm, "For the honor of Miss Katt, for the honor of Steelhead City, and for the honor of my friend, Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega, I challenge you to a gunfight. No HUDs, no cheats. Just you, a man, and me, a clone of a man, and you think clone's are also inferior to you, time you proved it."

Jobias tipped his hat at Darien, "One hour, in front of the hotel, 'Doctor'."

After Jobias left the room, all was silent. Everyone stared at Darien. It was Katt who finally broke the silence.

"Darien, what are you doing?" she asked

"What?" Darien asked, "We've had gunfights in Steelhead before. And I held my own against many a bad guy back when I was sheriff."

Katt shook her head, "When you were sheriff, you were possessed by Bloodwing. How do you know you'll be able to defeat him?"

"He will NOT burn down Steelhead. And he's not going to hurt Fuzz. I'd rather die than to see either of that happen."

Angelica walked up and took Darien by the arm, "There's a six shooter in Fuzz's office."

Slowly the citizens started to leave the room. Lunar walked up to Katt.

"It will be ok, Katt" Lunar said "Steelhead always prevails."

Katt smiled and looked up at the Moon Elf, "I'd be much happier once my sheriff is back in Steelhead."

Town Hall Foyer

Purdie walked into town hall as the citizens were walking out. He had seen Jobias leave and knew that it wasn't good. Lady Christine whispered to Purdie about what was going to happen. As she walked away, boB Ballyhoo stumbled towards Purdie and put his arm around him.

"December 12, 1845" boB said, then he drunkenly stumbled away

"What was that all about?" Riven asked Purdie

"You know boB" Purdie replied, a blank expression on his face

"I don't think any of us truly know boB" Riven said, walking away

Purdie looked around, then walked towards a corner of the foyer where a grandfather clock stood. He stepped into the grandfather clock, then there was the familiar sound of Purdie's time cabinet engine and the clock disappeared.

The Street In Front Of Steelhead Hotel, One Hour Later

On both sides of the streets, the citizens of Steelhead City stood, waiting for the upcoming gunfight. On one end of the street, Darien Mason stood. It had been awhile since he had worn a holster, it was a strange feeling. On the other end of the street, Jobias Barthelmess handed his talisman to one of his henchman. He, too, was wearing a holster. The pistol had a pearl handle. Darien saw the handle, even from the distance he was standing, and turned to Angelica.

"I couldn't get a gun with a fancy handle?" he asked

Angelica shrugged, "The hell difference does it make? It shoots bullets, doesn't it?"

Jobias called out to Darien, "As you can see, 'Doctor', I have no HUD talisman. Shall we get this over with?"

"Jobias" Lunar called out, "we don't have to do this. You can leave if you'd like. We won't even tell SteelCobra about this, you wont' lose your citizenship to Steeltopia nor your ambassadorship."

"Stifle it, Elf" Jobias sneered "The clone challenged me."

Darien motioned for Lunar to step back, "It's ok, Lunar."

Lunar stepped back. The clock on the clock tower of the hotel struck the top of the hour, and started to chime the hour. Darien and Jobias took their positions and put their hands closer to their weapons. As each chime sounded, the tension grew more and more. Finally, both men drew their weapons. A shot was fired. Darien fell to the ground, grasping his shoulder as blood started coming out. A couple of the citizens started towards Darien to help, only to be stopped by a gunshot.

"I BELIEVE" Jobias yelled, aiming the gun at Darien "THAT A GUNFIGHT MEANS 'TO THE DEATH'."

Darien eyes grew wide. Suddenly, the familiar sound of a TARDIS grew louder and louder. Behind Darien, a blue box, with the words "Police Box" on the top appeared. Jobias looked in disbelief. The doors to the police box opened and Purdie stepped out. He looked at Jobias and smiled.

"Somebody wishes to speak with you." Purdie said

The doors to the police box opened and a very healthy (and very pissed off) Fuzzball Ortega stepped out.

"You threatened my sister" Fuzz snapped

All of Steelhead cheered at the sight of Fuzz's return. Jobias started to stomp around then yelled at Fuzz.

"HOW?!?!" he screamed "I SHOT YOU"

"Ok, now he confessed" Angelica told Lunar

"Yea, well, you did. And the silver was in my blood stream. Fortunately, Purdie installed a sort of perception filter in my pocketwatch, causing your aim to be slightly off." Fuzz replied

"You couldn't heal that fast" Jobias said through gritted teeth.

"It wasn't fast." Fuzz said "I spent six long months in pain." he looked at Purdie, "How long was I gone?"

"By Steelhead's count about a week, week and a half" Purdie replied

"WHERE DID YOU GO?" Jobias yelled out

Fuzz smiled, "The one place you'd never find me."

As Lunar helped Darien up, Darien asked, "Where was that?"

Purdie smiled, "Ambertown 1845, before the flood."

Darien looked over at boB and then at Fuzz, "Old Doc Caruthers took care of you?"

Fuzz nodded, "His sister had married a Lycan, he knew what to do. However, with all the magic and highly advanced medicine that would be at my disposal, it still takes awhile for the poison to get out of my system." Fuzz looked at Jobias "I did this stupid charade to prove that you were a sick man, Jobias. The doctor's at Devil's Crag prison sent me a letter detailing it. You suffer from extreme paranoia, you're delusional, and you're shizophrenic."

"Kill him," Jobias muttered, he then turned to his left as if talking to someone, "I will. Be quiet."

"There's no way," Fuzz continued, "That you would be able to do all the things you threatened to do. The citizens of Steelhead City are too strong to allow that to happen. Now, come with me, we're going to get you some help."

"BOSS" the henchman called out as he tossed the talisman to Jobias.

Jobias quickly put on the HUD and held up his hands in front of him. They started to glow red.

"While you were away, Ortegavich," Jobias said, "I defeated the Undefeated Miss Hilra and.....what?"

The citizens all hoo'd as Tensai walked around the corner and stood by Fuzz. Jobias shot a fireball from his hand, which smashed against a force field put up by Tensai.

"My turn." Tensai said with an evil grin.

A yellow beam suddenly shot from her fingertips, hitting Jobias in the chest. His HUD quickly caught on fire.

"I DEFEATED YOU" Jobias screamed

"ACTING" Tensai called out triumphantly

Lunar and Katt each walked on the street and stood by Tensai and Fuzz.

"You really think defeating Tensai is that easy?" Lunar said "It was all part of the plan Purdie set up. Tensai was never hurt. You saw her fall, then went about your business, never bothering to check to see if she was hurt. Then all we had to do was wait, you wouldn't have killed Darien, she was waiting."

Jobias pointed at Fuzz, "But I did shoot you?"

Fuzz nodded, "You even walked up on my porch to see if you needed to finish the job. Before I passed out, I could smell your mistletoe cologne. Fortunately, someone started running towards the house. You ran off so as to not be discovered."

"Mister Barthelmess" Katt said sternly, "I want you out of my town, NOW"

Jobias sneered and pointed his gun at Katt. Fuzz quickly drew his gun. With one shot, he managed to knock the gun out of Jobias' hand. With a second shot, the gun was knocked further back.

"It's over, Jobias" Fuzz said, putting his gun back in his holster.

Jobias laughed maniacly, "I don't think so, Sheriff"

A lightening bolt smashed down onto the streets. The citizens all started scattering. Fuzz looked up to see three airships hovering overhead, each armed with Telsa cannons. The cannons fired around the street. Jobias pulled out a knife and grabbed a citizen that was running by. Holding her arm behind her back, he pointed theknife at her neck.

"BACK OFF" he called out

"CHRISTINE" Lunar yelled

Jobias looked to see that he had, indeed, taken the Duchess of Argyle as a hostage, "Oh good, maybe the Duke would be willing to pay for your ransom."

The telsa cannons fired in front of Fuzz, Tensai, Lunar and Katt, preventing them from getting closer. From the middle airship, a lift came down. Jobias, Christine, and the henchman got on the lift and headed up towards the ship. The airship turned and started heading towards sea.

Fuzz turned to the other three, "Lunar, you and Katt get the SWAT Team and get the citizens to safety. Tensai, you think you can take down those two ships?"

"Does a fat dog like to fart?" Tensai asked as she started to hover in the air.

Fuzz took off his holster and handed it to Lunar. "I'll get her back, I promise."

Tensai's beam hit one of the ships. Fuzz took the chance and ran towards the docks, as he did he transformed into the werewolf. He leaped and started climbing up the side of Avalance, Sputnik, and Lightfoot. Reaching the top, he judged the distance of the airship and leaped.

The Airship

"You know, Your Grace" Jobias said, "I'm not that bad of a person. Really, I'm not. It's all Cornelius' fault."

Christine blinked and looked at Jobias with a puzzled look, "Who?"

"Cornelius, this furry I went to grade school with. Always having to be better than us. Always getting the better grades. I was human, the teacher should've recognized the superior intellect there."

Christine nodded, "Uh huh"

She looked over the side of the airship and noticed that they were just over Lighthouse Island.

"But, dont' worry," Jobias continued "All will be right. We'll go to New Babbage. I could take over there."

"I don't think so" Fuzzwolf snarled as he climbed onto the deck.

Three henchman ran towards Fuzz, trying to subdue him. Fuzz threw each one off the ship, one by one. each landed on a tree on Lighthouse Island.

Jobias looked at Fuzz, "So now what, wolf? Kill me?"

Fuzz took Christine by the hand and led her away from Jobias, "No" he replied, "I'm not like you, Jobias. I don't kill that which is different. It is not the way I am, it is not the way Steelhead City is, it's not the way Caledon is. None of us are like that. Except you. What we do is learn from that which is different."

Jobias laughed as he headed towards the stern, "What you failed to learn, Lycan. Is not to let me stand so damned close to the Telsa cannon"

Jobias grabbed the cannon, spun it around and fired. Fuzz grabbed Christine and jumped out of the way of the lightening bolt, which hit the bow of the ship, and the engine of the ship. The engine exploded and flames went up fast.

"Ok" Fuzzwolf said, "That was stupid."

"Next time, go for the bad guy, don't worry about me." Christine said

"Give me a break, I just got back"

Fuzz got up and extended his paw towards Jobias, "Jobias, come on. You'll be killed if you stay here."

Jobias pointed the cannon at Fuzz and glared at the werewolf. Another explosion sounded from below and some of the deck started to fall in. Fuzz grabbed Christine and headed towards the port side of the airship.

"Fuzz," Christine said, "We're over the ocean, now."

"Trust me." Fuzz said.

Jobias watched through the flames as Fuzz jumped off the ship. Christine screamed as the fell towards the water. Suddenly, a humpback whale surfaced and the two landed on it's back.

"Now," Fuzz said, pointing at the whale "can your 'Dear Edward' top my deputy?"

Christine laughed and hugged the lycan. The happiness was cut short as the airship exploded. The three watched as the wreckage crashed into the sea.

Christine looked at Fuzz, "What about the other two ships?"

"Two airships.....against Tensai" Fuzz replied

"Those poor men on those airships"

Fuzz looked at the whale, "Take us home, Sushi."

The Steelhead Hotel Ballroom

It was a time for celebration, no matter how late it was. All of Steelhead was in the ballroom, and some late arrivals from Caledon had come out, as well. Fuzz was telling all about his time in Ambertown.

"And Doc Caruthers" Fuzz told the group, "had help from a young guy by the name of Robert Ballyhoo."

"That explains alot." Darien said, his arm in a sling

"You were going to take a stand against Jobias?" Fuzz asked Darien.

Darien nodded. Fuzz held out his hand, as Darien took it to shake it, Fuzz pulled him closer and gave him a quick hug.

"Thank you" he said, then pulled a small cup out of his pocket, "By the way, the Sisters found this in Jobias' office. I'm presuming it was that mystical cup that demon was supposed to have."

Darien smiled as he took the cup, "There are members of my family who would be very happy to see this."

Over by the concession table, Purdie walked up towards Koen and smiled.

"Koen," Purdie said, "I want to thank you for all the help."

Koen shrugged, "No problem, sir. My family still in trouble over the time traveling?"

Purdie shook his head, "The continuum is back in order. I'm sure things are safe now. And besides, it's a party. Grab yourself a nice young girl and have some fun."

Koen smiled and ran off. Purdie looked to see Fuzz and Angelica walking towards him.

"You know she's going to kill us?" Purdie asked pointing at Angelica.

"She may kill you," Fuzz said, "I've already got a safe card in place."

"He wired Mama." Angelica said, smiling.

Purdie chuckled, then took a serious tone, "Jobias?"

Fuzz shrugged, "Sushi and a few of the aquatic residents searched the wreckage. No sign of him. He may've been dragged out to sea. But, we've got plenty of prisoners as it is. All his henchmen are in jail."

The three turned as Willard started squeaking real loud on the table, upset that his cell is now occupied.

"Oh shush and eat a cheese ball" Angelica said, she turned to Fuzz "So, all's well that ends well."

"No." Fuzz said, "When this whole mess started, the SWAT team had to check off all visitors who came into and left Steelhead City. Naturally, coming in on an abassador ship, Jobias had the diplomatic immunity and didn't have to check in."

"What are you getting at?" Purdie asked

"The night Hotspur disappeared, Sid Weezul came into Steelhead and left the same night."


A Deserted Warehouse, New Babbage

Sid Weezul looked at the bars of silver in the room. He grinned greedily at the fortune he could make, especially now that word of Jobias Barthelmess' demise had reached Babbage. His dreams of Caledon real estate was cut short by a banging on the door. Cautiously, Sid walked up to the door and opened it slightly to where he could see who was knocking. However, the door was forced open by the visitor. Sid looked up at the newcomer and laughed nervously.

"Sheriff Ortega" he said, "It's nice to see you. I heard you were in bad shape and..."

Sid glanced at the bars of silver and turned back towards Fuzz.

"You know," he said, "I came in here and saw all that silver and thought to myself, 'Hey, self, I betcha that's the stolen silver from that Steeltopian shipment.' So, there it is, you can take it back to Steel......" Fuzz grabbed him by the neck "OH BOY I'M IN TROUBLE"


"W..w...who? I don't know who you're talking about"

Fuzzball's eyes started to glow read and he let out a vicious growl.

"OK! OK!" Sid screamed, as the front of his pants became soiled "I'll tell you. He's been taken to some city."

"What city?"

"Celeste City, I think"

Fuzz let go of Sid and looked at the ne'er do well. "Celestial City?"

"Yea, that's it."

The local Babbage constables came running into the warehouse with Purdie and Angelica. Purdie pointed to the silver bars.

"And THERE's the Steeltopia silver shipment" he said

The constables took Sid into custody and led him out. Angelica walked over to her brother and noticed the worried look on his face.

"Brother," she asked "where's Hotspur?"

"He's been taken prisoner," Fuzz replied, "by the Dark Ocean Society."

Purdie looked at the siblings, "Dark Ocean Society?"

"He's being taken to Fusang, China. There the warlord of Fusang, Lord Lieng, is going to torture him, and eventually kill him."

The End
Coming Soon: Steelhead Adventures: Return To Fusang