NaNo 2017 Lego Thing Part 4 and 5
“I think NaNoWriMo is fundamentally stupid in a huge number of ways,” typed Alex into his computer.
“Why is that?” typed his friend on the screen. “Are you just saying that because you’re a day behind?”
“Yes and no,” typed Alex. “I mean, first of all, I already realize that I sound like a quitter…but what does that even mean? It seems like a large percentage of NaNo participants don’t actually make it to the end. I’ve made it to the end a couple of times…but it never made me feel amazing. Well I mean, the first time it felt pretty good, but after that it has done almost nothing for me.”
“I see,” typed his friend. “Maybe you just don’t like the discipline of it?”
“I don’t think it’s that,” said Alex. “I think the discipline is the only good part of it. If you’re someone who doesn’t have a daily writing habit, and you want to get one, NaNo is exceptional at that. The public accountability and the sheer madness of it all forces you to actually try and acquire a new, creative habit. But here’s the thing: I’ve already got that. I already write every day. And everything else about the system is horrible.”
“Are you just writing this random essay in the middle of your weird fanfic book just so you can pad the word count out and try to catch back up?”
“I absolutely am!,” said Alex. Aloud. The whole of Beanland looked over at him for just a brief moment before turning back to their various screens. Even Selena did one of her trademark blinks. Then Alex remembered to type the things he wanted to say to his friend.
“I absolutely am!,” typed Alex. “I’m not even that far behind and I’m totally capable of catching up…but to what end? What’s the point of writing this random and kind of terrible novel? I’ve already proven to myself that I can write every day, and I already normally write daily content that I think is better than this story. I’d rather be using this time for that content, instead of continuing to chip away at this weird Lego thing.”
“And yet, here you still are.”
“And yet, here I still am,” typed Alex after staring at his blinking cursor for a while. “Hmm. Maybe I need to mix things up a bit. One of the best parts of the Lego Universe is that it’s like an animated movie: literally anything can happen and it’ll be okay. And since I’m writing weird fanfic, I can totally pull in other franchises if I want to. Okay. I’ve got this. I think the Space Laser Gun needs an inordinately long backstory.”
Long ago, deep in the fires of Lego Mount Doom, there lived a hobbit.
No no no, that’s not right.
Long ago, deep in the fires of Lego Mount Doom, there lived a creaky old Lego Wizard named Leviro. He made is home in a small cave, heated by the ever-churning lava of the mountain. He was largely unaware of the evil power that the mountain would someday unleash on the surrounding lands.
He hadn’t grown up with a family, but rather, he’d been built by a curious young child in a Lego store, who had seen their bins of loose lego parts and thought it would be fun to try building a minifig. She chose a body with a brown cloak, and then thought she’d better make it a wizard, so she found a head with a long white beard attached. It was then that her mother called her out of the store, and the child tossed the figure aside. It took a weird bounce off the side of the minifig bins, flew through the air, and landed inside the large Lego Lord of the Rings Display in the center of the store.
And so the Wizard came to life, in a manner of speaking. An employee found him that night when cleaning up to shut the place down, and rather than putting his parts back in the bins, decided that he fit in well with the scene. And so he got a little home on the side of Mount Doom.
It was then that the Wizard began to plot his revenge and his escape…by making himself comfortable inside the side of the mountain. One day, while hanging a portrait he had painted on the side of his cave, a brick fell off the wall, revealing a whole chamber inside the mountain beyond. The Wizard carefully removed the bricks that made up the main wall of home, and was stunned at how large the chamber was. A long bridge passed out over the rumbling plastic lava at the base of the mountain, and there were three plinths at the end with three glowing weapons atop them.
The Wizard crossed the bridge, and came upon the Staff, the Sword, and the Space Laser Gun, each one gleaming in the—
“Okay hold on a minute,” typed Alex’s friend across his screen. “The space laser gun is *inside* Mount Doom?”
“Sure, why not?,” typed Alex. “I could have gotten even crazier. Have you ever been to a Lego store? They have pretty much every set imaginable there, and of course, they’re all sold at full retail price because discounts are for people who…who go to other stores! They even still have a bunch of the old pre-Disney movies Lego Pirates stuff. I always liked the Lego Pirates setting the best.” Alex took a sip of his mocha. “I should probably include the Pirate setting into the story at some point.”
“How did you end up getting a day behind?”
“I had to go to a birthday party,” said Alex. “And see, that’s the thing. November is a totally stupid time of year for a big crazy novel writing contest to occur. It’s a really busy time of year, what with all the holidays and random weather. I guess that any time of year can be busy depending on whose life we’re talking about, but it feels like they just stuck with the arbitrary time of year they originally chose and never gave it much thought.”
“That’s a good point!”
“Plus, what even is a novel these days? 50,000 words is pretty short for a typical novel, unless we’re talking about some of the self-published romance novels available online. That’s a whole huge market and many of those are down in the 50,000 word range. But even though it’s short for a novel, it’s still a good word count to help people establish a daily writing routine. It should be called Daily Writing O Wri Mo. Or something.
A booming voice called out to the wizard. It was the evil energy that would one day coalesce together and become Lego Sauron, whenever the employees at the Lego Store got around to putting the rest of the set together.
“Hello Plastic Wizard!,” said the booming voice. “Gaze ye upon the mighty weapons of indiscriminate power! No mere mortal can hold or wield these weapons, so if ye consider yourself unworthy, then you have one chance to turn back now. Otherwise, you may tempt fate by selecting one of them to wield! But be warned! If ye be not worthy, then ye will be blasted apart into plastic bits and melt slowly inside the plastic lava below us, yar har har.”
“It seems like Sauron is talking an awful lot like a movie pirate,” typed Alex’s friend.
“This is what I get for talking with you about Pirates. I’m not going to change it I think it is good. It’s NaNoWriMo! There’s no time to correct mistakes, however large!”
“The three weapons be as follows!,” echoed the voice through the large chamber. “First, the staff of the Sorcerer! This powerful staff will grant you the ability to cast any spell! The second is the Sword Narsil! It will one day be wielded by my enemies to kill me, at least in a certain other timeline, muahahaha. You’d better not pick that one or I’ll cast you into the flames myself! The final one is the Space Laser Gun. I…I don’t actually know what that’s doing here. It’s from a different Lego set that’s full of little people in space suits that have to fight with aliens and mine moon rocks or whatever, so it has little bearing on this world.”
“I see!,” shouted the Wizard. “A most interesting selection of artifacts, and since I am a powerful wizard, I think I am *more* than capable of holding one of these mighty weapons.”
“Hahaha, good!,” boomed the voice. “You have enthusiasm! Perhaps one day you would make for a good soldier of darkness. Now, since you are a wizard, the Staff of the Sorcerer is clearly the one that you should—“
“I’ll take the Space Laser Gun!,” shouted the Wizard, holding his hands aloft over his head.
If the voice of eventual-Sauron had had eyes, he would have blinked them. “Wait, what? Are you sure? That’s—“
“Oho yes!,” said the Wizard. “I’m quite sure! I have listened carefully to your descriptions of these items, and the Space Laser Gun is the clear winner. It hails from a mysterious realm, like me, and I imagine I could blast aliens with it myself. That sounds fun!”
The booming voice sighed. “Very well, strange little wizard man. Step forward and claim your prize, and may it serve you well in the future.”
The wizard bounded forward to the plinth on the right, and climbed up to claim his prize. He picked up the Space Laser Gun, which fit perfectly into his claw hand, clicking into place. He pointed it at the sword, and, almost without warning, a blast of blue energy shot forward and shattered the sword into a million plastic pieces which fell into the lava.
“Hahahaha,” shouted the booming voice. “Yes! You have done me a great service today Wizard! For that I have decided not to cast you into the lava.”
“Wait a minute,” said the Wizard, furrowing his sizable brow. “I thought that as long as I was worthy, I wouldn’t get cast into the fires?”
“I lied,” said the booming voice. “I am the spirit of evil, and I live inside an evil fire mountain. I wouldn’t be particularly good at my job if I didn’t cast heroes who come into this room into the fire!”
“I am no hero!,” shouted the Wizard.
“Haha, I know!,” shouted the voice. “You have just destroyed the one thing that could have saved this land, and I thank you. Hold still, and I will transport you to a faraway place where you might discover great riches.”
A column of plastic rock shot out of the ground and catapulted the wizard high up into the air. He flew out of the Lord of the Rings display, bounced a few times on the edges of various tables, and landed directly on top of a pirate ship.
“It didn’t take as long for you to get to the pirate ship as I thought it would,” typed Alex’s friend.
“Yes, well, I was still thinking about pirates, and I am trying to make the Space Laser Gun go on a ridiculous adventure before it ends up in the hands of the clown. This is some great word count going on here! By NaNoWriMo standards, I’m achieving wonderful success. But by storytelling standards, this is a total disaster.”
“What do you mean?,” typed Alex’s friend.
“Well, I set up all of these plot threads and so far none of them have really gone anywhere. And now, I’m just following the story of the laser gun. Truth be told, I never actually decided where any of those other threads were going. I don’t know if Chase and Frank are going to succeed in their quest to fight the weird bank robbing clowns and find Catwoman. I don’t know what Natalia and Ellie are going to do in the story, exactly, and I’m not sure where Selena is even going…since as Frank and Chase don’t know, she’s not even with the clowns in the first place.”
“It all does sound like a bit of a mess.”
“Doesn’t it? And now I’m even further in the weeds because about a third of this book is a fake conversation about me and a fake friend.”
“I resent being called fake.”
“This whole thing is spiraling out of control, because that’s what *happens* when you ask someone to write 1700 words a day, no matter what, without thought or pretext, solely on a desperate quest to fill up bars and make numbers bigger. It’s a good intellectual exercise, and a good challenge overall I guess, but again I ask you, fake and unnamed internet friend…to what end???”
The Lego Pirates on the Lego Pirate ship were rather displeased at the sudden arrival of a Wizard armed with a laser gun. Up until that moment, they had been about to land on a nearby island and finally dig up their buried treasure.
“Arrrrr!,” said the Lego Pirate captain in his best movie-pirate voice. “Avast! What ye be doin’ here ye Wizardly fellow? This be arrr pirate ship, and ye cannot just be landin’ on it without our permission!”
“Attention!,” shouted the Wizard. “I will be taking this vessel from you, and any various loots contained herein!”
The pirates all looked at each other and laughed a hearty group laugh. They all drew forth their plastic cutlasses.
“I don’t think ye be doin’ that at all, lad,” said the Lego Pirate Captain. “Now, ye see that plank over there? Either ye be walkin’ it into the shark infested waters below, or ye be our new digger what gets the treasure out of the sand on yonder island.”
The Wizard looked over his shoulder and noticed the island. It was a small, dinky thing, with one lone Lego Palm Tree sticking out of the center of it. There also appeared to be a monkey holding a banana, and a big red X upon the ground.
“Why…er….why haven’t you dug the treasure out of the island yet? It seems simple enough!”
The pirate captain nodded. “Aye, that it does, but there be a curse upon that island, and we all be afraid o’ digging the treasure out. For 1 long year we’ve been set sail here next to it, its presence forever tauntin’ us with its promise of riches.”
“Frank,” said Chase, “I still don’t see why we need to come to the library before we tried to find the criminal clowns.”
“Because,” said Frank. “Without Ellie and her magical crime compupers, there’s no one on the other end of the phone thingy telling us where to go.”
“But we already know the last place that the clowns were seen!,” shouted an exasperated Chase. “We should be starting our investigation there! I don’t even know why I let you drag me over here. Heck, I didn’t even know that Lego City *had* a library. It’s almost like my actions are entirely guided by an invisible and unseen hand of destiny.”
“That’s how I feel!,” said Frank. “I imagine that the hand is sort of slimy and green, like a comfy piece of carpet that got wet!”
Chase blinked a couple of times. “Er. Yes.”
Frank had a large book open on the table in front of himself. It was called “The Legend of the Laser Gun.”
His eyes were excited at the words and pictures contained within. “Didn’t you say that the clowns had a space laser?”
“I…I think so?,” said Chase. “I can’t remember if I said that or not, as it was a few pages ago and I’m too lazy to go back and check. But that seems like something I might have said, since it was in the report of the deputies who fought the clowns at the airport.”
“Right!,” said Frank. “Well I thought we should know where the laser gun came from before we ran off to fight with it!”
“We’re not…we’re not fighting the gun, Frank. We need to find Catwoman. For some reason. She’s a dignitary. Look, I just do what the chief tells me to do even though he has a ridiculous mustache and I think he always smells like delicious donut frosting.”
“Oooh, I love donuts! And I love Pirates! I’m going to finish this story before I go with you!”
“Batman is alone. He stalks the night. Like a silent predator of Darkness. He seeks only to find this mysterious Catwoman, who is definitely not someone he’s ever known or liked or dated, or anything like that.”
Batman adjusted the radar screen inside the Batmobile. He was careening through the night, crashing into various food carts with reckless abandon.
“Batman doesn’t care if he knocks over unopened food carts, for he is also a rich industrialist and can afford to rebuild the entire city ten times over. Note to self: remind Alfred to pay for these food carts so I can keep knocking them over.”
Selena Kyle stopped the cab. She stepped out of the car and looked over both shoulders for any sign of either the clown gang or any police. Relieved to find the street mostly empty, she looked up at the old Ace Chemicals building in front of the car. The sign was worn down, its bricks long since assembled in a slightly dilapidated order. She took a deep breath and stepped inside.
She twirled around quickly in the lobby of the old chemical plant, and became Catwoman, legendary hero and also occasional stealer of various things. She readied herself. She was convinced that the Joker would be here. Sure, she’d heard that he was still operating out of Lego Gotham and not Lego City, but you had to be ready for him no matter what. Who else would send gangs of clowns out there armed with stolen laser guns?
Corner after corner, room after room…Catwoman found absolutely nothing. Dark old dusty bricks and machinery that hadn’t been turned on in ages…but no sign of a criminal layer or a laughing maniacal genius.
Then, she heard a low booming laugh. The smoke began to swirl around and it eventually came together…into Lego Sauron. “Hahaha, hello Catwoman.”
“H…hello strange pointy-helmeted Lego man that I don’t know?”
“My name is Sauron, Dark Lord of something or other and bringer of chaos to the world of Middle-Earth. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?”
Sauron’s shoulders slumped. “Are you serious? You’ve never heard of Middle-Earth? It’s only like, the biggest fantasy setting out there.”
“I’m not one for comic books,” said Catwoman. “I don’t even read the ones I’m in. I fur-ind them positively boring, to be honest. Who has time for entertainment when you’re a world-renowned thief and occasional hero…and also sometimes a villain?”
“It’s not a comic book!,” yelled tiny plastic Sauron. “Well I mean, there are probably comic books now…but it started as a regular book with words and things. And only a couple of pictures. It’s very important and good!”
“I’m…I’m sure it is,” said Catwoman. “Now what do you want? Why did you call me here?”
“We are living in the greatest of timelines,” said Sauron. “Thanks to an innocent child and a clueless wizard, I am alive!”
“Aren’t you probably one of those villains who returns all the time anyway?”
Sauron paused and raised an eyebrow under his helmet. Does Sauron even have a face? I don’t actually know. “Y…yes. But still! You and I and a handful of other shall be…unstoppable!”
It was at this moment that Lego Batman crashed the Batmobile straight into the front of the old Ace chemicals building, sending bricks flying everywhere and completely knocking both Catwoman and Sauron to pieces.
Inside the Batmobile, Batman raised both his claw hands into the air. “Oh yes,” he shouted. “That was so cool!”