Empire on Ice #26: The Empire on Ice Skaters
The Cocoa No-No Caper, Part 1
Also posted at CuriousTale.org!
Editor's Note: Here I'm trying my hand at a Power-Rangers-style comic book show. I'm not big on comic books, but I know the tropes, and this was actually a friggin' frakton of fun to write. "The Cocoa No-No Caper" will run for at least three weeks, and if it goes well then I imagine it will return with new episodes in the Empire on Ice slot from time to time.
This week! It's the continuing adventures of Joshalonia's favorite cerebral superheroes, the Empire on Ice Skaters. They're a band of justice-seeking do-gooders who solve their problems through ice skating and brilliance. But will they meet their match once and for all against the insane machinations of Doctor Silence von Kablooey?! Read and find out, in The Cocoa No-No Caper, Part 1.
[Snow falls gently upon a white winter landscape. A children's choir hums softly off-screen, setting a serene and hallowed mood. The camera eventually finds a frozen lake, where a group of people are blithely ice skating. Two of them begin to skate alongside each other. They're wearing colorful winter clothes: Gregor is in a pastel green and mint white striped scarf and a heavy yellow coat, while Galavar is wearing a long, blue and white parka with puffy red boots.]
Gregor: The holidays are over. The trees are untrimmed, the wrapping paper is all recycled. The icy grip of winter is at its peak, and every flake of freshly fallen snow is somebody's lost struggle with a New Year's Resolution. It's a quiet time, a thinking time, and the cold air clears my head. What does this season mean to you, Galavar?
Galavar: To me the passing of the holidays is the beginning of grace. No longer are we excused from mustering goodwill for our own reasons. The mantle of decency has passed from society as a whole onto each of us individually. It is a time for us to show our potential.
[A third skater joins alongside them. It is DeLatia, wearing a rich red and black sweater on top of a white one underneath, and a black skirt on top of heavy red pants.]
DeLatia: I agree, but for me it's about self-improvement more than anything else. People make New Year's Resolutions because they know their lives aren't perfect and they want to become better people and have better circumstances.
Gregor: But their resolutions usually fail. And what is that, ultimately? What is the use?
DeLatia: They don't fail for lack of good intent. Their methods and execution fall short, but the idea is a good one, and this year I resolve to stop crushing Grieve Black's spirit when we play poker.
Gregor: Why? You have so much fun doing that.
DeLatia: Variety, Gregor, is the spice of life. When he finally wins, it'll snap his mind.
Galavar: She's right about that.
DeLatia: That's why we're the Empire on Ice Skaters, after all, a group of mild-mannered, ice skating superheroes dedicated to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.
Gregor: Verdant? Isn't everything white right now?
Galavar: More importantly, isn't that tagline from the MacArthur Foundation?
DeLatia: Ideas have no true owner.
Galavar: But trademarks do. I mean, did you check?
DeLatia: Oh, Galavar. Live dangerously!
[She pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels, downs a couple of slugs, and speeds off ahead of them.]
DeLatia: Watch this!
[She executes a perfect triple mambo.]
Gregor: Not all mild-mannered, I guess. But you can't fault her for living where her convictions lie.
Galavar: I'm just thinking about all that money we had to pay out of court to Best Western last year for using the word "seniority"?
Gregor: That's a trademark?
Gregor: That's worse than "Super Bowl."
Galavar: Shh! The NFL is everywhere.
[Jemis skates up alongside the two of them. He's wearing a fanciful black and green anorak, and very tall black boots.]
Jemis: The notion that some business with more money than smarts can buy up everyday words and phrases and then just eradicate them from the public discourse in every commercial avenue, that's plainly ludicrous. Maybe this is a job for the Empire on Ice Skaters.
Gregor: Do you suppose?
Jemis: Year in and year out, our lawful vocabulary is shrinking, and for what? To justify some dumbshit lawyer's salary in some company's bloated legal department? I heard you all talking about the meaning of the season. To me winter is a raw season, a red season, a time for reckonings and restitution. It's a time to tear away the weak and useless, and thrive. If we don't make 2015 into the year we want to see, somebody else will make it into their year instead. I say this year the Skaters wage war against frivolous intellectual property claims.
[Celeste skates up and joins them. She is looking very happy, as usual, and her winter gear is reminiscent of a lavender-tinted cupcake.]
Galavar: What does the winter season mean to you, Celeste?
Celeste: It means getting plenty of hearty outdoor exercise, doing lots of hard work to get ahead for the spring, and having a new opportunity to do good deeds wherever I go. It means saving stranded kittens, helping old people cross the street, practicing good dental hygiene, volunteering at the local soup kitchen, and marching against pollution!
Gregor: That's a bit…cliché, isn't it?
[Suddenly, a gigantic face appears in the sky above the lake. It is JAASH, the patron deity of Greater Joshalonia.]
Jaash: EMPIRE ON ICE SKATERS!
Jaash: I AM SORRY TO INTERRUPT YOUR WHOLESOME RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY, SKATERS. I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR YOU TO SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW.
Galavar: Nevertheless, duty calls! How can we serve thee?
Jaash: IT LOOKS LIKE YOUR ARCHNEMESIS DOCTOR SILENCE VON KABLOOEY IS UP TO HER TRICKS AGAIN.
DeLatia: Ugh, it's always Silence.
Galavar: What is she up to this time?
Jaash: SILENCE HAS STOLEN ALL THE VALENTINE'S DAY CANDY IN JOSHALONIA. YOU MUST STOP HER EVIL PLAN OR OUR NEXT COMMERCIALLY AGREED UPON PUBLIC HOLIDAY WILL BE MET WITH CONFECTIONARY RUIN!
Gregor: [Aside to Galavar.] Do you ever think to yourself that we might be in the wrong band of superheroes? [He notices Celeste.] Most of us, anyway?
Jaash: EMPIRE ON ICE SKATERS, ASSEMBLE!
[Each Skater gets their own intro set against a radical swirling background.]
Galavar: Philosophical introspection leveraged for judicious leadership in the face of situational uncertainty!
Gregor: Logical deduction applied in a rational and comprehensive manner to real-world observation!
DeLatia: Courageous behavior carried out on behalf of and in accordance with ethically tenable conviction!
Jemis: Accurate identification of and productive criticism against societal, personal, and environmental injustice!
Celeste: Giving puppies their shots on time and then treating them afterward to make them feel better 'cause they're such cute scuffy-wuffies!
Galavar: By our powers combined, we are—
All: The Empire on Ice Skaters!!!
Galavar: To Doctor von Kablooey's Tower of Treachery! Away!
NARRATOR: Will our fleet-footed friends stop the fudge-filching fiend Silence in her chocolate moose tracks and vindicate Valentine's Day, or will they find themselves mostly melting under the calorific calentures of her criminal confectionary caper?! Either way, it's sure to be a Cocoa No-No of a time! Tune in next week to the Empire on Ice Skaters: Same Imperial time! Same Imperial channel!
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!