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ENTRY ___243




Captain pointed to the silver crescent moon that glowed through the blue clouds.

“WE SIMPLY MUST REJOIN THE TWENTY-SEVENTH DOCTOR ANGIE ON THE MOON!”

I ignored the ‘twenty-seventh’ comment. Sometimes it just wasn’t worth it. I did point out that traveling from the Earth to the Moon on a slowly floating bed would take an inconveniently long time. I then admitted that I wasn’t eager to suffocate drifting through the stratosphere. Captain had a solution ready for that, however, and I hastily added that I’d rather not end up with a fish-bowl super-glued to my head as “SUFFICIENT SPACE-SUIT REPLACEMENT” either.

Captain scratched zeer chin in pondering. “WE SHALL REQUIRE A SHORTCUT…”

“… to the Moon?” I finished apprehensively. This promised to ruin my day.



A chunk of drywall with a door still attached drifted by. Captain watched intently as it floated past us, rotating end over end among the cloud of weightless debris.
Zee reached deep into zeer woolly coat and pulled out a pink nub of chalk.

“What’s the chalk for?”

“THIS, MR SNIPPY, IS A MAGICAL CHALK OF LABELING!”

“Of labeling?” I echoed.

“INDEED!” Captain boomed. The sight of the chalk gave me a weird feeling, like an ominous sense of déjà vu. I tried my hardest to stuff it all back down into my subconscious. Things that I’d repressed were repressed for a reason. I didn’t need something else to deal with right now.
I stared at Captain as zee disembarked the bed and floated towards the door, slashing at it with the chalk.

Despite my best efforts, I found myself confronted by the memory I’d tried to avoid. As I watched Captain scrawl away, spelling out "S…H…O…" I found myself reliving a recollection of Captain using that same chalk to write out ‘SNIPPY’ on my forehead.

I blinked furiously and shook my head as if that would dispel the flashback. When I looked up, Captain had returned the chalk to some unseen pocket. Zee’d finished zeer new label: "SHORTCUT TO THE MOON".

I braced myself for Captain to reveal something horrible behind the door, like the lethal wasteland of the lunar surface. Zee did not. Captain simply floated back to the bed and sat on it.

“What now?” I asked.

“BE OF PATIENCE! PONDER NOT THE EXISTENTIAL DOOR! THE CHALK TAKES TIME TO AFFECTIVELY ROLEPLAY THE UNIVERSE!”

I didn’t really want to dig deeper into the chalk issue, but I knew it would bother me if I didn’t.

“Say… didn’t you use the same chalk to label me as Snippy?” I asked. “Why did even you do that? I wasn’t Snippyish enough for you?”

“I HAD TO SAVE YOUR IDENTITY SOMEHOW!” Captain replied, clapping me on the shoulder.

“How did I lose my identity exactly?” I asked.

“WELL. IT HAPPENED LIKE ZIS…” Here zee paused with a dramatic intake of breath to indicate the beginning of a story. I sighed and tried to make myself comfortable. (As comfortable as one could get floating on a bed several thousand kilometers in the air.)

“IT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO PAY ATTENTION TO SIGNS!
ONE DAY, ON A QUEST FOR SUPPLIES, MR SNIPPY WALKED INTO A CAFE’S BACK DOOR, PAYING NO ATTENTION TO THE SIGNAGE. THE SIGNAGE STATED [ NOTICE: EMPLOYEES ONLY ]."

I tried not to groan out loud. This was going to be long, and probably profoundly absurd.

“SNIPPY, NOT BEING AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SAID G-BUX COFFE SHOP ESTABLISHMENT, HAD VIOLATED THE SIGN’S RULES. THE SIGN DECIDED TO TEACH SNIPPY A LESSON BY MAKING HIM INTO AN EMPLOYEE.”

“How come I don’t remember any of this?” I interrupted.

Captain gave me a glare that was tangible even through zeer mask, and continued the story.

“THE SIGN, HAVING A MOST RADICAL INTELLIGENCE CURVE, BROKE INTO SNIPPY’S MIND SAFE AND INPLANTED THE G-COFFE SHOP EMPLOYEE’S HANDBOOK WITHIN, MAKING SNIPPY’S DEAREST MEMORIES AND DESIRES THAT OF A COFFE SHOP EMPLOYEE!

SNIPPY, NOW BELIEVING NOTHING ELSE TO BE OF VALUE, TOOK OFF HIS TOUR GUIDE COAT AND HUNG IT ON THE COAT RACK. HE THEN PUT ON A DUSTY G-BUX APRON UNIFORM AND PROCEEDED TO TURN ON THE GRILL, THE COFFE MAKER AND THE DOUGNUT BAKING MACHINE.”

I felt a strange tingling in my head. Half-forgotten fragments coalesced in my mind. This was a dream I’d had. Captain was describing a dream of mine.

“SNIPPY’S FIRST CUSTOMER OF THE DAY WAS A TRAFFIC LIGHT! SNIPPY SMILED AT THE CUSTOMER AS WAS DEMANDED BY THE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK THAT WAS NOW DRIVING HIS BRAIN. “WELCOME TO G-BUX! I LOVE YOU!” SNIPPY GREETED, AS PER TRADITION.”

Now that zee was talking, it was all coming back in a disjointed rush. I couldn’t hear Captain at all anymore; zeer words had faded out to a distant buzzing. I could remember standing there, twitching as my brain was hijacked. A perfect customer-ready smile had spread across my face as my consciousness was subverted by new directive and protocols.

As I’d readied myself for my first customer, a creature resembling a traffic light had crawled through the doorway, dragging itself on spindly mechanical legs. Inside my head half of my brain recoiled in terror, while the other half, the new half, remained perfectly calm and asked,

“What’ll it be today, madam?”

The traffic light didn’t reply. It flashed its red light on and off in an impossibly fast pattern. Somehow the new part of my brain understood.

"Quadruple frappuccino."

My shaking legs took me to the coffee machine as the traffic light impatiently scratched at the counter with rusty metal claws. The horrible scraping of metal on metal filled the air, making hairs stand up on the back of my neck as I cheerfully prepared the foamy beverage. Half of my brain reeled in confusion.

Why did the traffic light cross the street? Because it wanted coffee?

How do traffic lights even drink things?
I glanced at the traffic light. It didn't have a mouth.

The new part of my brain controlled my arms and poked at the buttons of the coffee-maker to produce a quadruple frappuccino. It came out looking more like dirty motor oil, but it was the best the machine could do.

"Hurry it up! My date is almost here!"
The traffic light flashed at me, scraping deep furrows into the countertop and fidgeting.
"You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find an open coffee shop this morning!"

“There you are madam,” I said, depositing the drink into the monster’s articulated metal hands, minding the sharp tips of the claws.

A cold sweat broke out on my brow and my eye started twitching as my brain was torn between the animal urge to panic and run and the equally powerful urge to provide an ideal customer experience.

The traffic light attempted to sit on a chair that was far too small for it. The corroded and burned chair screamed in dying agony as the weight of the traffic light settled on it. The legs buckled.

A ghoulish, skeletal hand appeared in the broken doorway, gripping the edge of the doorframe. The distinctive static-filled hiss of a Dead Zone wraith followed. Half of me panicked. I tried to react, to run, but my legs would not move. An uncontrollable force stretched my smile wide and made me say, “Welcome to G-Bux! I love you!”

My heart raced and I felt dizzy. Was I going to have a stroke or something? Distantly I decided that anything was possible right now.

“aH, cHARLES. yOU’RE A BARRISTA NOW? rUNNING AROUND WITH tHAT LADY PURSE TRYING TO HIDE FROM ME WAS JUST TOO hARD?”

The noise coming out of wraith’s gaping, rusty mouth sounded like screeching brakes, like an abattoir, like an orchestra of tortured violins. I attempted to recoil in terror, but instead said—

“What’ll it be, sir?”

“i WILL TaKE a LaRGE”—

“—Do you mean Grandissimo size?” I cheerfully corrected him. The new part of my mind knew how very important it was to communicate clearly with customers.

The wraith cleared his throat, clearly embarrassed by his inferior knowledge.
“eR—YES—i WILL TAKE A GraNDISSIMO SIZE CHiLLED COFFEE, AND A DONUT WITH PiNK SPRINKLES!”

I cheerfully prepared the order, noting that the donut printing machine and coffee maker were still not functioning up to company standards. It didn’t worry me; as long as I did my best the G-Directorate would handle the rest.
I handed a partially melted G-Bux cup filled with a mysterious oily substance and a scorched black doughnut with a single pink sprinkle to the wraith, who wailed a ghastly, discordant response at me.

“tHANKS A BUNCH, cHARLES!”

The wraith cheerfully drifted back towards the dining area where the traffic light waited.

“aND HOW ARE YOU, mATILDA DEAR?”

"Hi, Dixon! My day is { 82.45% GREEN } now that you're here!" The traffic light shyly blinked back.

Even though part of me was nearly incoherent with terror and confusion, another, foreign part was charmed by their blossoming love.

The enthusiastic wails of the wraith were answered eagerly by the flashing of the traffic light, creating a surreal, solitary discotheque. As I brought them a couple of complimentary crunchy bars coated in a thick, fuzzy coat of mold, I caught sight of Pilot leaning against the doorway, breathing heavily.

“THERE YOU ARE!” Pilot extolled. “I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU ALL MORNING AND HERE YOU BEES ALL ALONGS, PLAYIN’ IN THE COFFE SHOPPE!”

I stared at Pilot, hoping for rescue. I tried to shout for help but instead I only said,
“Welcome to G-Bux! I love you!”

Pilot crossed his arms, clearly unconvinced.

Get me out here, you idiot, part of my mind pleaded him. Tape me to the couch, feed me to a whale. Whatever you want. Just make this stop!

“NO, YOU DON’T! I AM NOT FALLING FOR YOUR DECEPTIVE LIES OF ADMIRATIONS, YOU PINE-APPLE APPRECIATOR!”

My fake smile didn’t budge. I waited for Pilot to order a drink while contemplating how I could signal to him that I needed rescue?
Pilot fidgeted, clearly unnerved by me just standing there, staring blankly at him.

“COME ON, YOU SLUG!” Pilot grabbed my G-Bux apron, trying to yank me over the counter. “CAPTAIN NEEDS US TO GO ON A QUEST FOR THE TRUE”—

“Sir, please don’t mishandle me, or I will be forced to call district 49 security!” I yelped, flailing at Pilot. His grip tightened ominously and my stomach dropped. I knew that I was pushing some of Pilot’s buttons in a dangerous way, but I couldn’t stop. At least the monsters complied with my coffee shop directives—

Pilot grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me hard. My head snapped back and forth until I was about to pass out.
Distantly I was aware of him reprimanding me furiously, demanding that I abandon my job immediately and join him.

The G-Bux handbook in my brain guided my hand to the panic button under the counter. A silent alarm coursed through the district. Behind Pilot, I glimpsed Matilda and Dixon. They paid our tussle no mind, as they were occupied by a passionate make-out session.
I tried to wriggle away from Pilot, planting a hand on his mask and pushing away.

“HALP! I NEED AN ADULT!” He cried hysterically, and suddenly it seemed he’d lost patience. With no apparent effort, he lifted me by the front of my apron and threw me across the café. I crashed into the massive, circular G-Bux logo on the wall, which featured a mermaid seductively hugging the letter G.

The mermaid landed gracefully on the floor in a cloud of ash and dust. For a few seconds it precariously balanced itself, nearly falling on Pilot and I and then started to roll across the uneven, slanted floor of the café, crashing through tables and chairs, showering us in imitation-wood splinters.

The café employee installed in my head recoiled in horror.

“Nooooooooo! What have you done?! Anything but this! Not our sacred mascot! Come back!” I wailed, seized by implanted passions. I began chasing after the escaping logo in an insane attempt to stop it. The Mermaid plowed through the partially-intact glass front of the café and rolled outside.

“G-DIRECTORATE PROPERTY DAMAGED DETECTED!” Announced a security drone spiraling down from above, passing its blinding searchlights through the gaping hole in the front of the café.

“COME OUTSIDE WITH YOUR HANDS UP! YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY!”

“COME ON, SNIPPERS! PUT ON YOUR BORING COAT AND MAKE HASTE! THE PIGS ARE HERE FOR OUR CRIMES OF BACON!” Pilot draped my fire-proof tour-guide jacket over my shoulders as I stared up at the drone.

“IMPERSONATION OF DIRECTORATE G-BUX EMPLOYEE DETECTED!  THEFT OF EMPLOYEE PROPERTY DETECTED! ILLEGAL COFFE DISPENSION DETECTED,” intoned the security drone.

“I called you!” I shouted at the drone. “He is the insubordinate customer! I only work here!”

“YOU ARE NOT A REAL BARRISTA! PROVIDE YOUR LICENSE FOR A SCAN OR FACE REDTRIBUTION!” Demanded the drone. The employee’s handbook in my brain couldn’t help me. I had the dedication, knowledge and skill set to be an amazing barista, but I had no physical license. Panic set in.

“Crap.” I said, the barista-Charles and the real Charles in sync at last. Pilot pulled me down and to the side as the drone opened fire. Bullets and ion beams punched through the walls of the café, adding to the destruction caused by the mermaid. The cacophony finally turned the attention of the amorous couple back to us. The traffic light sprung to her spidery legs, towering over us.

“YOU SHALL NOT TOUCH THE BEST BARISTA IN THE CITY!” She blinked, staring down the drone. Dixon floated besides her, their jagged claws interlaced.

“wE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEeN ABLE TO HAVE oUR LOVELY FIRST DaTE IF IT HADN’T BeEN FOR HIM! sHOVE OFF, YOU mETALLIC mOSQUITO!” Dixon wailed at the drone.

“DO NOT OBSTRUCT JUSTICE!” The drone commanded as Pilot and I cowered beneath the monsters.

Together they leapt at the drone, hacking and slashing and screeching. The drone flailed around, trying to dislodge them. It dragged them deeper into the building, firing its weapons blindly. Pilot hauled me out of the café just before it collapsed over the drone and café’s last customers.

The stress of losing my workplace proved too much for my scrambled, hijacked brain. I fainted into the rubble.

When I opened my eyes, the dust had settled. Slowly I stood up, a single tear tracking down my face under my mask.

“AT ATTENTION, SNIPSTERS!” I turned groggily towards the sound of Captain’s voice.

“Welcome to… G-Bux…” I muttered, swaying on my feet.

“NONE OF YOUR CAFÉ-PEDDLING NONSENSE,” Captain told me. Zee had then grabbed me by the chin with one hand and with the other, began to write in chalk on my forehead.

“…ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING, SNIPPERS?” Captain asked, drawing me back into the present. I nodded, emerging from the surreal flashback. I hadn’t really heard most of Captain’s version, but that was okay. Zee’d unburied my memory, and that was good enough.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “I get it now.”

Now, sitting on the floating mattress, I began to question much of what I’d believed about my relationship with Captain and Pilot. There had been many instances in which Captain had “labeled” me with the chalk. I’d always scrubbed it off angrily whenever I awoke and saw it, never imagining what was really happening.

I’d always assumed that I was the smart one, the sane one. I found the food and water and respirator cartridges. I reminded Pilot to sleep where wasteland abominations wouldn’t find and eat him, even though he was such a pain most of the time. I compensated for Captain’s lack of fear of death.

It sure had seemed like I’d always done all the hard work of keeping us alive. Now it appeared survival was even more complicated than I’d realized.

I glanced over at Captain, who sat serene and unconcerned, waiting without doubt or fear for our passage to the Moon.

“Thanks,” I said.



“YOU ARE MOST WELCOME,” zee told me. “A GOOD MINION DESERVES STORYTIME EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE!”



Credits


Hugs and love to all our DELICIOUS PATRONS

Art Director:

Vitaly S Alexius

Studio Cat:

Nikkita

Story Editor:

Kaitlin Gossett

How this episode was made:



11th August 2016

Tagged in Captain Snippy Traffic Light Wraith Door Chalk
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50 Comments:
 
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sergeant

20 M
1 year ago #9516187        
2

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this was (once again) a GREAT comic, with beautiful visuals, nice scenes, and nicely drawn characters.
as for snippy's joyrnals/snippy's story on how he got his memories back, that was touching, it was funny, sad, strange and beautiful.
i loved it that snippy eventually said ''thank you'' to captain for saving him from the G-BUX memory alteration system, and that he had restored snippy's normal brain functions.

such a nice story!

keep up the great work guys, you rock!

PS: i saw that now you are referring to captain as a ''zee'' , and the word ''zee'' stands for he/she/it. clever idea! ;)



Aryllia

23 F
1 year ago #9550441        
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"Things that I’d repressed were repressed for a reason"

I'm going to remember this if I ever go to therapy I think :D
Also

“Welcome to G-Bux! I love you!”
Pilot crossed his arms, clearly unconvinced.
“NO, YOU DON’T!”

I ship it.



1 year ago #9520121        
1

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What's the likelihood that they end up in the Directorate Tower?



1 year ago #9516530        
1

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How did the door hack The Unconnectable's brain ?

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hajlakan

18 M
1 year ago #9516168        
1

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This comic is criminally underrated



1 year ago #9515832        
1

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Probably the best journal I have read! 10/10 would read again! :)



1 year ago #9515512        
1

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!!!yes!!! a new update!!!
?is this the first time the captain has been referred to as zee/zeer?or is that just me

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2 months ago #9685048        
0

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Eeeeeeeee! Warm squishy feels at the conclusion of this fine installment! Snippy is finally starting to get it! Big happy Captain smiles make me want to bake the whole world fresh hot cookies.



Kesva

14 M
1 year ago #9526053        
0

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3rd panel would be a quite extravagant wallpaper, how would a boob like me go about obtaining this image in the highest of qualities?

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1 year ago #9523304        
0

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I spot a snowflake.

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