So John Scalzi is hosting a fan-fiction contest, which you can read about over on his well-known and book-spawning blog, called Whatever. The gist of it is this: Write a bit of fanfic to go with a painting that Scalzi commissioned from artist Jeff Zugale. Let me be more clear: Write a bit of fanfic to go with a totally eye-blastingly awesome painting Scalzi commissioned depicting Scalzi as an orc and my friend Wil Wheaton, wearing his clown sweater, astride a kitten/hippogriff/unicorn thing against a backdrop of exploding volcanoes, all painted by artist Jeff Zugale.
The winning entry becomes part of a chapbook from Subterranean Press, which goes on sale as a benefit for the Lupus Foundation of America.
I don’t expect that this will be in the actual running, on account of I probably won’t submit it, but I gave myself 45 minutes or so to riff on the painting, and this is what I came up with. (And since I’ve been working in screenplay format a lot these past few months, it’s where my head’s at.) If nothing else, I hope this amuses you.
EXT. THE MOUNTAINS OF BANEDARK – NIGHT
In the distance, a pair of volcanos ERUPT, gushing forth smoking LAVA and screaming-hot GUITAR RIFFS. It’s TOTALLY METAL.
Bursting out of the mid-ground SMOKE and ASH comes a BLACK VAN emblazoned with an air-brushed image of a HALF-NAKED MAN & WOMAN battling shit like LIVING SKELETONS and probably a motherfucking DRAGON, with big spiral HORNS. The van is adorned with huge wood-and-steel SHIELDS and bristling with AXES on RACKS.
CLOSE ON THE VAN
In the front seats are TWO ORCS: ZOOGALE (driving) and SCALZEE (shotgun). Fuzzy 20-SIDED DICE hang from the rearview.
We’re not gonna make it!
We’ll make it.
SCALZEE slams a cartridge into the EIGHT TRACK PLAYER in the dash. Chanting, wordless VOCALS echo from the HI-FIDELITY STEREO SPEAKERS over pounding DRUMS and cutting, lethal GUITARS. The bass is SO FAT, sodas in the theater ripple and tremble. It’s an ORC METAL OPERA.
ZOOGALE checks the driver’s side rearview mirror.
In the mirror, something is coming. It’s a winged dot above the horizon, backlit by CHURNING MAGMA, sunlight GLINTING off SOMETHING GOLD. It’s getting closer.
A BARITONE CHORUS swells.
ZOOGALE points a thumb over his shoulder.
He knows it was us who logged in on his account and left him naked in the Valley of Darkwoe! He knows we have his gear!
In the back of the van, POULDRONS and GREAVES, a CUIRASS and WHATEVER PLATE-MAIL PANTS ARE CALLED rattle in a pile.
But that’s a flying mount! We can’t outrun that!
SCALZEE opens his door and snatches a SHIELD and an AXE off the side of the VAN.
I’ll hold him off. You get rid of this stuff as fast as you can.
SCALZEE DIVES out of the van in SLO-MO, rolling over VOLCANIC GLASS and ASH and coming to a skidding stop ON HIS FEET. Badass.
ZOOGALE pulls the passenger-side door shut, then pulls the CB HANDSET off the dash and yells into it.
WTS [Pouldrons of the Dire Owlbear] [Shit-Kickers of Infinite Skanking] [Leggings of the Whale Narwhal] PST!!!
As the VAN tears off into the distance, SCALZEE turns around in SLO-MO to face his APPROACHING FOE. He SQUINTS into the SKY, and then A TERRIBLE REALIZATION spreads across his face.
Out of the GLARE, he descends: WIL WHEATON astride his UNIKITTENGRIFF! Above the BLUE HOT PANTS that make up the underwear of all HUMANS he is dressed in gleaming multi-colored CHAINMAIL: a [SWEATER OF THE GIDDY CLOWN]! In his hand: an [AWESOMANTIUM SPEAR OF LANCING]!
SCALZEE hoists his SHIELD with his right hand, deflecting the first of WIL WHEATON’S blows! The volcanos BELCH FORTH FIRE in the background.
Where’d you get that gear?! We cleaned out your vault!
WIL WHEATON circles around, hovering on his mighty steed, reigns in his right hand, spear in his left. His eyes say “I NEVER SHOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU MY PASSWORD SO YOU COULD PLAY AS MY ALT!”
I swapped out a feat last level and forged these myself!
WIL WHEATON unleashes an encounter power, THRUST OF A THOUSAND SMITES, rolls an 18, and deals 2W+15 points of damage. Red numerals float away above SCALZEE’s head.
Ow! My hit points!
Give me my stuff or the next one will be a daily power!
SCALZEE smiles. Knowingly.
WIL WHEATON (CONT’D)
Why are you smiling knowingly?
Because I know something you don’t know. I am not left-handed!
SCALZEE throws his SHIELD away and tosses his axe into his right hand, then whips is round and round WITH A FLOURISH.
Don’t be a dick!
WIL WHEATON FLIPS off his mount, spinning through the air, and lands opposite SCALZEE.
WIL WHEATON (CONT’D)
I’m not left-handed, either!
SCALZEE and WIL WHEATON growl and CHARGE, their weapons CLASHING, teeth GRITTING, sparks FLYING, volcanos EXPLODING, guitars SCREAMING!
SMASH CUT TO:
TITLE: COMING SEPTEMBER 2010!