On the first day of Xmas…

On the first day of Xmas, Harper Kingsley wrote for me of Darkstar transformed into a tree

Title: The Carrion Tree

Author: Harper Kingsley

Character: Kanon-Darkstar, post-Battle for Terra

The setup: After ruling a city of sycophants, a tired-of-all-the-bs Darkstar approaches Dr. Zee for the technology to jump universes. He activates the device and travels to a new Earth… And in that moment, there are an infinite number of worlds he could have gone to. And if branch-theory is a thing, a version of him has gone to a version of every world. This Darkstar has come to this world.

Darkstar ends up on an Earth with some very different plant life. Including the carrion plant that all smart humans avoid unless they want their every orifice entered.

The pleasure is great, but most people avoid carrion plants unless they want to die.

CW: consent issues due to it being an inhuman plant using aphrodisiacs as a prey attractant.

Mature.

Twitter meta-thread: https://twitter.com/HarperKingsley0/status/1341191075742924805

*—

The birds circled overhead, their screeching caws more than anything else telling him he was far from home. Their red feathers were a bright slash against the blue-blue sky. The air smelled of some foreign spice, near overpowering in its intensity.

"Well shit," Darkstar said, and sneezed. He could feel his nose beginning to run and it was such a foreign sensation that he allowed himself to enjoy it. From his reading, he figured he wouldn’t be marveling at the feeling for long.

Reaching down, he picked up a rock and crushed it between his fingers. Superstrength intact? Check.

It looked like the air-quality of this alternate universe could affect him. At least until his body adapted to it. (He hoped his body adapted to it. He was already growing annoyed with the sensation.)

He looked around at the alien scenery and wondered if even half these plants existed on his own Earth. Some of the grass and trees appeared familiar. The rest… were exotic to say the least.

He thought about flying, but felt an instinctive aversion. He wanted to experience this new Earth from the ground floor. Wanted to get a closer look at the plant life. Wanted to trudge the dirt with his own booted feet and follow that strange elusive scent that was fluttering his nose hairs and making his nerves hum.

A flush of heat went over him, but he ignored it. If the sun rose and set the same as on his Earth, then he was walking east with the breeze in his face. He could see the leaves folding and bending under its invisible force.

The air was sweet perfume. He absently swept his hand under his dripping nose and wiped it off on his pant leg.

Walking became an automatic function. It felt as though his legs were working without him, carrying him toward something amazing.

There’s something funny happening here, he thought, but it seemed distant and unimportant.

He was on another Earth, one that was somehow completely different from his own while at the same time being kind of the same. Plant-life was different, but gravity still existed and the ground was solid beneath his feet.

Continue reading On the first day of Xmas…

They said it’s your birthday, so this one’s for you

DARKSTAR GETS PWNED

dedicated to Katherine.

The video began with a vaguely annoying but unfortunately catchy tune–all jangles and bells with a background “wonk wonk” that might have been a kazoo. From the sides and corners, violet color rushed toward the center to meet in an exploding starburst, the last lingers of black screen bursting away.

Amber letters faded in to glow against the violet for a long moment–

DARKSTAR GETS PWNED

–before being replaced with: Ha ha, just kidding. The screen changed to a black background with a miniaturized screenshot of the video to come and the words: Not that this h4x01 is laughing.

The miniature video expanded to fill the screen. There was the icon of a pause button in the middle of the video screen. There was a click sound as the button depressed.

The video began to play. Starting with a closeup view of a broad shallow bowl of food.

“What is with the upside-down hat-bowls? I’ve been seeing them everywhere lately. It’s kind of… oh, sh.” The video jostled before focusing on something to the left of the person holding the camera.

An amused snort. “I don’t know what’s goin’ on, viewers, but maybe we’re about to get lucky. Let’s observe.”

The video zoomed in on a two person table currently occupied by a handsome dark haired man wearing sunglasses indoors while eating a grilled cheese sandwich–one of the cafe’s specialties. There was a half-closed laptop shoved off to the right of his placemat, the screen dark.

A stringy haired man was passing by the left-side of the table. His arm was still stretched a bit behind him to where his fingers were letting go of the USB flash drive he’d stuck into the laptop’s open USB port.

“Uh oh,” the video recorder sounded gleeful for the drama to come. “Hope I don’t have to talk to the cops.”

Then faster than the camera’s frame speed could keep up, the diner dropped his sandwich and snatched the criminal’s hand. “What are you doing?”

It was a blur interlaced with editor provided snapshots that showed the diner twisting the other man’s hand and jerking upward with enough force to snap the criminal’s forearm into a grotesque angle. “Wah!

“Oh shit,” the video recorder breathed. “A meta.”

Other than that quick shout–“Wah!“–the criminal was surprisingly quiet. He was staring at his mangled limb with white-rimmed eyes while air visibly puffed over his lips, causing the paling flesh to quiver.

The diner was still holding the criminal’s hand, glaring at him. He pulled the USB flash drive out of his laptop and held it up. “What is this?”

“I-duh-buh…”

With a cold sneer, the diner shook the criminal’s hand, eliciting a loud shriek. “Don’t piss me off. What did you do to my computer?”

“I… I’m sorry. I… It was a bad ducky. Your shit… your shit’s fucked, man. Please. I’m sorry.”

“Bad ducky?”–A violet pulse of light–“Bad ducky!”–built around the diner’s body. Pulse, pulse, pulse, pumping out more light until he appeared to be covered by a two-inch thick digital filter. His tee shirt when he stood clearly displayed the words: “The Golden Rule: Treat me good” beneath the violet light. His clothes were clearly visible, but his face–it had taken on a familiar gaussian blur.

“Darkstar!” the video recorder gasped out quietly. The video shook a moment before steadying, though the angle had changed slightly. The rims of the video recorder’s glass of water and glass of soda became visible, as did a good expanse of white tablecloth.

The standing Darkstar and the man he restrained were still fully in view. The criminal’s face had been transformed into a caricature by his absolute terror. A spreading wetness covered the crotch and thighs of his jeans. His mouth opened and closed, but only formless sounds came out. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down with his gulps for air. He stared into Darkstar’s face as though incapable of looking away.

He’s so beautiful,” the person recording the video breathed. “I can feel him. Oh God, I can feel him. He’s in my skin. My lungs. My hair. How did I ever live without this? He’s so beautiful.”

Darkstar was frowning at the man he held. “Do not fall apart on me here. What the fuck did you do to my computer? Smash and grab or just smash? Huh?” He shook the man, making him cry out before going limp. Darkstar gave him an extra shake before dropping him. “Dammit. He’s out of it.”

Darkstar sat back down and opened the laptop. The dark screen had been replaced by a revolving Laughing Man icon from the Ghost In the Shell anime. He tapped a few keys on the keyboard.

“Dammit!” Darkstar closed the laptop lid with an audible “thwick” sound.

He sat there for a long moment, then reached for his half-empty glass of soda. He chewed on the straw end twice before draining the glass in a single suck.

Darkstar stood up and reached into his back pocket for his wallet. Arrows and hearts appeared on the screen to point out the outline of his muscles. ‘MARRY ME‘ tracked across the screen quickly as he tossed money onto the table.

Darkstar tucked the laptop under his arm and strode out of the cafe, stepping on the criminal’s leg in passing. There was the sound of bone breaking. He didn’t look back.

As the camera stealthily lifted up to track Darkstar’s exit, the cafe was revealed to be half full. The patrons were staring after him in mute awe.

After he left the building, a standing waitress dropped into an available chair. She clutched the collar of her shirt with one hand. “He was in my section. I didn’t even know.”

A violet blur streaked across the sky, disappearing into the distance.

The video ended with violet words on a black screen: Where Darkstar goes the Darksters follow.

=THE END=


*

“Darkstar Gets Pwned” is part of the Darkstar the Death God stories.  Events split when the Kanon-verse Darkstar leaves his universe after the events in All That Remain.

As he left the Kanon-verse, there were many possibilities of where he could go and how he could end up. Some versions died in attempting to live and others found the wonder of being normal, but in Darkstar the Death God… things get a bit meta.

One of the events that causes Kanon-Darkstar’s story to split into Darkstar the Death God is the events of “Darkstar Gets Pwned.” Because he was recorded with his face exposed, Darkstar’s secret identity is revealed and the media does not hesitate to dig up every secret they can find out about him. Including the events in “Qu’est-ce que c’est,” which is an alternate version of the events in the canon story “Black Friday”, and is the point where Kanon-Vereint was twisted and warped until he had absolutely no hope of ever being the superhero he dreamed of.

In canon, Sandra exerted her psionic ability on Vereint multiple times before he Manifested and gained his mental safeguards. During “Black Friday,” which featured much lesser events than took place in the Kanon-verse, Sandra used her ability on Vereint to keep him from panicking.

She has wiped his mental self several times in the past.

In a cut scene from Allies & Enemies–it was deemed to be filler and I okayed the cut to shorten the manuscript length–Melissa is terrorized by seeing Sandra lost to her grief. In that moment, she doesn’t see the kindly older woman that’s been her adopted grandmother. No, she sees something twisted and dark.

One of the main differences between the canon and Kanon universe is Sandra. Depending on how she was raised, we see a different Vereint.

Even in the Variants, the mother-son/mother-daughter construct is very important in shaping their personalities. William and Simon began from the same egg and sperm yet are completely different mentally–in William’s universe his father left when he was a toddler, while Simon never met his father. Both had the same mother, though she was caught up in different circumstances and the result is William, who remembers his mother with fondness and love, and Simon, who remembers her with an ever churning mixture of love, regret, and distress.

Even the Melissa’s come with their own differences. In the Panic Pure universe, she is the prey of the Arianetta Killer (the same man that attacks Danny). In From Diamond to Coal she is William’s first Great Love, and her life was cut short by tragedy*. And in the Kanon-verse, she never received the boost in metability that canon Melissa gets (from being close to Vereint and Warrick in her formative years), but she still tries her best to be a hero–just a different one than Blue Devil.

And of course, canon Melissa is out there hurtling through the universe, contaminating every world she comes across. She is their Prometheus.

While Damian Prince cuts a swath of destruction.