Place: The Mortal Kombat Conquest universe, 1st and only season
Pairings: As if
A Lurk-in in Old zhou zhin 1/2
Mid afternoon in southern New Mexico is hot, dry and inclined to make elder reptiles sleepy -- or restless -- or a really bizarre combo of the two. The seaquest addict wandered in with her virtual alter ego, Tes, a 4000 year old vampire who looked little older than the addict.
"Hi, dragon. We're bored."
dragon looked at the two of them warily. "And this means?"
"We want to play," Tes said sweetly.
dragon considered this. "Uh-huh. You do realize that the SG1 crowd is likely to tar and feather us after the pizza fiasco." They nodded and looked depressed. How were they supposed to know that Domino's didn't deliver to Cheyenne Mountain? For that matter, it had been dragon's idea to tesserect in the pizzas in front of the gate that Danny boy landed in.
They snickered at the thought of delicious Daniel covered in pizza. dragon frowned at the younger of the two girls who immediately tried for angelic and failed miserably due to an unscheduled smirk. dragon sighed. Then she looked thoughtful. Tes and the seaquest addict looked hopeful.
"Yes?" they said as one.
"Well, there are a trio of somewhat serious people we have yet to annoy."
The seaquest addict frowned. "Three's off the air."
"Mod Squad the Movie's not worth it," Tes offered an opinion.
"Farscape's got more than three."
"Yeah. OK. So -- 7th Heaven?" The vampire had the grace to look abashed as the other two frowned at her.
"Dragon Ball Z!" The addict collapsed in giggles. "OK, OK. Not DBZ."
"Martial arts?" dragon hinted.
"What's she writing fan fic about these days?" Tes asked in a theatrical whisper.
The addict shrugged her shoulders. "Some old gray haired guy – Rayvac, Ray-- something." She carefully refrained from looking directly at dragon while she fought to keep from laughing. She failed and collapsed on the floor for a few moments while Tes frowned at her.
"OK. I seem to be missing something here."
"A video game? You're writing fan fic for a video game?"
dragon looked long suffering and considered duct tape. "OK. Fine. You stay here, swelter in the heat, melt if you step into the sun and I'll go introduce distance weapons to MK."
The addict sat up and her outlook brightened greatly. "Balloons? Water? Paintball? Lemme come? Please? Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease? Pretty please? I'll baby sit the klingon muppet."
"I don't need a *baby* sitter," a grumpy little voice informed the room as it entered closely followed by a scowl of klingon proportions. Technically, she really wasn't a klingon, or a muppet, although the fuzzy version of the batl'eh she carried might just have qualified her as such. She swatted her older sister and grinned ferociously. "Where ya goin'?"
"No place," the addict shot back.
"Then what's she doin' here?" the younger one returned volley, pointing at the vampire who was aspiring to be mistaken for part of the furniture.
"You can't go. You have to make sure Max doesn't follow us. Besides, you can't lurk until you're twelve."
"Because, oh mule faced one, I said so. And mommies and dragons are part of the I Say So Corp."
The mulish look quivered. She fought hard to maintain her look of belligerence. She lost. A very nice grin replaced the scowl and she agreed. Maybe she could beat the godzilla-phile at primal rage – again, she thought as she watched the other three get ready. 12, huh. Well, two more years. Yeah. She'd get to go on a lurk a year *before* *he* did! There was a great deal of satisfaction in that thought.
dragon considered loading up the cattruck and decided against it. In the environs of Toronto the cattruck was anonymous. Inside Cheyenne Mountain it had been ignored. Something told her it might just attract attention in a no horse town like Xia -- Zh -- whatever the name of the town was where her current targets resided.
They quickly inventoried the *gifts* they were taking with them, checked the loads on the supersoakers, made certain the backpack contained sufficient snacks and Coke/Dr. Pepper to get them through several gruelling hours of tormenting the objects of their obsession, and dragon thumbed the button that would take them to --
"Uh -- Mom. I don't think this is it."
The streets were crowded with oriental people -- and bicycles – and very, very official looking cops with white gloves directing the hordes of pedestrians and bicyclers and the very, very few motorized vehicles to be seen. A fight broke out suddenly, several oriental men, one largish brute of a caucasian, an elderly oriental and a petit, but very martial,young woman. The old man went down, the woman ran. Pursuit.
"Anna Mao Wong?" dragon wondered aloud? She looked around. Oh, there it was. Yep. That was Anna Mao Wong, and there was the film crew and why were they in Hong Kong during the filming of Enter the Dragon? She thought plaintively. She shook the oversized remote looking thing in her hand and reviewed the coordinates. Oh, yah. Square root of one, not square root of two. She flashed a sheepish grin at Tes and the seaquest addict, reentered the corrected coordinates and thumbed the control again.
"Who dares!" boomed a very loud voice not too far away from the trio. Their heads snapped around to face the source.
"Here we go again."
"Mooooooooooooommmmmmmmm!" came the multi-syllabic complaint of the seaquest addict as she scrabbled at her belt for her own version of the tesserect dragon carried. She grabbed for Tes with her free hand and hit the switch. It wasn't until they arrived at the safe, bolt hole destination that she realized that 1) tes hadn't grabbed dragon and 2)she had no idea what the coordinates were that dragon had used so that she could go rescue her.
She leaned back against one of the curved metal ribs of the very large submersible and slid down it. Tes blinked at her. A very nice bottle nosed dolphin swam lazily past in a plexiglass tube, swam back, laughed at the two of them and swam off again. The seaquest addict buried her head in her hands. Now just how was she going to explain leaving dragon in Shao Kahn's throne room?
dragon, brain numb, knees trying valiantly to jelly and fingers incapable of even fumbling at the buttons of her tesserect, stared at Shao Kahn and wondered just how she was going to explain this. Oh, of course. After all, this wasn't RL, this was a lurk!
dragon nudged the frozen part of her brain that dealt with virtual shaping configurations and shifted into her virtual configuration.
Shao Kahn, now both bewildered and pissed off, faced a thirty foot long, gleaming black and silver chinese style dragon who sat coiled at the foot of the stairs to his throne and still managed to stare him in the face with huge, gleaming black centered, silver eyes. He grabbed for his sword and swung. dragon caught the blade in one gracefully taloned front paw/hand. Grinning she licked him with the end of her long graceful >tongue and folded out, sword still gripped in paw.
Shao Kahn bellowed.
dragon became aware of air whistling around her as she descended toward the planetary surface. Yipe! Wings! Where! Somewhere -- dragon's already frazzled psyche tried frantically to figure out how to flap wings that oriental dragons don't actually have, unlike their somewhat more conventionally arrayed European cousins.
At the last possible moment, she remembered to "just do it" and did, leveling off and gaining altitude just before smacking into the side of one of the towers that poked up out of the town below her. She would have wiped her sweat soaked brow, but it seemed to be a little unwieldy to do so while carrying a sword in one paw and trying to remember to throw herself at the ground and miss at the same time. She came to rest, somewhat untidily, just outside the walls of the city and swiftly shifted back to the more conventional, rotund human dragon before anyone tripped over her.
She looked around the area and realized that she was looking at a stone walled city of about a thousand years prior to her own existance. Which would have been fine, except that spike heeled boots, overly well filled blue jeans, a Chinook BookShop t-shirt (Readin' Rots the Mind) and a back pack of the more modern sort, were not exactly au courant. She rummaged in the back pack finding: M&Ms, Cokes, a pack of gum, a pack of bubble gum (she unwrapped a piece and popped it in her mouth), a two shot derringer (unloaded), a package of glitter gel, two pairs of shredded tights, half a rawhide bone, three packages of embroidery floss, broken scissors, a locked diary and a bag of scrunched potatoe chips.
On the absolute bottom was a really wadded up, wrinkled t-tunic from some previous SCA jaunt. Unwadding it unenthusiastically she was surprised that it shook out relatively unwrinkled. (hey, this is *not* RL) With a sigh of relief, dragon slipped it on over the t-shirt, dumped the rest of the goodies back in the backpack, unzipped a side pocket and discovered that two of the mini-entertecs (powered waterguns) were still there and loaded. With a grin, she walked into the city.
The guards at the gate eyed the rotund, oddly garbed dragon and decided that with all the ninjas, wizards, invaders and assorted riff raff running around, one more would not strain the fabric of reality too badly. dragon wasted an hour or so doing the tourist thing at the market place. It occurred to her as she sat down to give the local cuisine a try that she was missing something. Oh, yeah. Seaquest addict. Tes. They could wait.
"What do you mean you saw a dragon?" Rayden asked laughing. The trio in front of him looked really serious about this. "Dragon's are mythological."
"So are gods," Siro pointed out.
"All right. Tell me what you saw." He was still smiling derisively as he sat down to listen.
"Succinct, but not very descriptive."
Taja gave him a look. "Ok. 30 feet long. Black scales. Silver hilight. Flying. Over the city."
Kung Lao frowned thoughtfully. "No. No pearl," he answered seriously. "And it was big and silver edged with black scales and -- it looked like it landed outside the city."
"So where is it?" Rayden asked.
"You tell us," Taja shot back.
Rayden laughed, his gaze traveling over the trio who faced him. They were serious. "All right. I will go see if I can find your "dragon". There aren't any dragons. Not here."
The Thunder God turned back from the doorway. "Yes, Kung Lao."
"Are there dragons anywhere?"
Their eyes met. Rayden's smile faded. "Yes," he said slowly. "But there is very little chance that one of them has come here. Especially since it's been a little while since you spotted it and there's no destruction going on."
"That's a relief?"
Rayden and Taja both glared at Siro.
Rayden left. He went looking for dragon. Luckily, dragon was lurking over to the trading post by this time and he missed her completely. But then, he *was* looking for something thirty feet long with scales, not five and a half feet tall with black and silver hair.
dragon recalibrated, folded out of the street and into -- OK, this was apparently Taja's bedroom, not Siro's. That was OK. She reached into the backpack and -- realized that the one she wanted was attached to the seaquest addict who wasn't here. Now where the heck -- oh, yeah. Quickly she hit the secondary setting, popped silently into the submersible, laughed back at the dolphin and set off for the probable location of the addict and her alter ego. She heard the arguement before she saw it. Pushing open the door to Lucas' quarters, she whistled.
Well, she actually stuck finger and thumb in her mouth appropriately and made a really odd, wet sort of sound that bore absolutely no resemblence to the piercing whistle it was supposed to produce. The seaquest addict looked around in time to see dragon wiping her fingers off on her tunic with a disgusted look.
"Where have you been!!!!" the girl demanded.
dragon tried her best to look innocent. Due to the catastrophic failure of this ploy, Tes and Lucas could both figure out why the addict couldn't manage it either. "Well, Shao Kahn's throne room -- ugh." She gave an elaborate shudder. "And wandering around the marketplace near Ryland Imports. I've got the coordinates down now. D'you still have – the stuff?" she ended with a theatrically suggestive waggle of her eyebrows. She ignored the smothered laughs of Lucas and Tes.
Rini laughed. "Yes."
"Good. Let's go. Oh, here. This one doesn't seem to have a lot of useful stuff in it. Give me the other one."
"Uh --no. That's OK. I'll carry it," the addict objected as dragon reached for the backpack and thumbed the control at the same time.
dragon gave her daughter one of *those* looks as they folded in to Taja's room. She let go of the strap.
They neatly planted water balloons, filled, in strategic areas, snagged shirts from each of the inhabitants and left before the trio could find them. Then they found a nice safe, uninhabited shack in which to continue their dastardly work before finishing up their handiwork a couple of hours later.
"Hey, I think it looks really nice," the addict complimented dragon as they replaced the shirts they'd borrowed. "Adds -- color --" she burbled and choked back a laugh. They listened for signs that any of the three were coming up stairs. Nothing.
"I found a really good place to eat. We'll finish up after they go to bed."
"Coming. It had better have -- liquids," the vampire advised. She was feeling a little peckish.
Night fell. Dinner was consumed and cleared away. Rayden reported that there was no sign of any dragon in the vicinity. They went to bed.
Siro frowned in his sleep. There were funny little whispery noises in the house. He shifted, not quite waking. Kung Lao, restless in his dreams, awoke and looked around his room. Nothing. He swung out of bed, crossed the room to his door and looked out onto the landing. Silence. Brooding silence. Expectant silence. But silence nonetheless. He ran his hand through his hair, decided he'd been dreaming and went back to bed. Taja grumbled in her sleep, pulled the pillow over her head and dreamed of stealing dragon hordes.
dragon and company settled down in really good hiding places to wait and watch.
Birdsong. dragon cracked an eye and looked around the rafters. OK. None of the pesky little bug snipers in the area. She could go back to -- yipe! OK, maybe finding a more comfortable perch was not such a good idea.
"Taja!!!!!!!!" Wow. Siro could turn Taja into more syllables than it actually had.
"What?" came the irrascible reply as the red head stuck her head out into the hallway. Her eyes widened at the wadded up piece of cloth Siro was shaking under her nose. It was -- colorful. "Hold on." She ducked back, grabbed her shirt and pulled it on, almost out the door before she had it fully over her head, and definitely before she discovered that Siro wasn't the only bird of paradise in the place.
The look on Taja's face as she focussed on her own shirt told Siro he was barking at the wrong girl. She pulled the hem of the shirt out so she could get a really good look. Her mouth was open like a fish gasping for water, then she looked up at Siro, her eyes wide. Her gaze fell on the wad of fabric in his fist. She reached out cautiously and took the fabric. Yep. It was one of Siro's long sleeved shirts, gloriously tie dyed. Taja felt the laughter bubbling up before she could do anything about it.
"You think this is funny?" Siro demanded, trying to keep the frown, but her laughter was infectious. Taja was soon laughing so hard she was leaning against the wall to stay upright. Siro couldn't help grinning at her.
Taja tried to catch her breath. "Kung -- Kung Lao," she finally got out.
Siro's face was a study as he considered Kung Lao's usually neutral tunics. His grin broadened. This he *had* to see. He knocked at Kung Lao's door.
"Just - a - minute." The words were quite oddly, deliberately spaced.
"Let me guess --"
Taja gave up and collapsed onto the floor.
Kung Lao opened the door. His tunic hung from his hand. Oh, yeah. Red, yellow, blue, purple and green splashed looking concentric circles all over it. dragon shook with silent laughter and held on for dear life. If she fell out of the rafters --
The sound of motorized waterguns came from the kitchen. dragon looked around. She quickly thumbed the controls of her tesserect. Howling with laughter she hit the floor at the trailer. Tes and the addict followed, equally convulsed. The last thing they'd seen was the usually impeccable Rayden stalking out of the kitchen. They'd thought the phospherescent paint in the waterguns was a wonderful idea when added to the tie dyedtunics. They really hadn't counted on Rayden paying an early morning call.
Taja knew she shouldn't laugh. She knew it was going to cause trouble. She stuffed the hem of her shirt in her mouth and howled into it. Tears were beginning to stream down her face. She hadn't laughed so hard in she didn't know when and Rayden glaring at her did not help, not at all. Siro decided to intervene. He scooped the nearly hysterically laughing thief into his arms, stepped into her room and gently deposited her back on her bed.
"I'd stay here for a bit."
Taja nodded her understanding, biting her lower lip to gain some control.
Kung Lao, sans tunic, had gone downstairs to investigate the dripping, bright pink, yellow and green besmirched thunder god. His lips kept twitching as he kept a tight rein on his sense of humor. Actually, he'd nearly forgotten his sense of humor and was nearly appalled that he was finding Rayden's plight amusing.
Rayden gave him a curious look. "Not getting dressed?"
The young man's lips twitched again. Now Rayden was curious.
"Try this." Siro tossed both his shirt and Kung Lao's tunic down to the god. He had found his sleeveless tunic, not particularly clean, but serviceable, and put it on. He came down stairs with an amused look on his face. He looked the thunder god up and down. "Interesting."
Rayden laughed. "All right. Who's idea was this?"
The two men shrugged their shoulders. They didn't know. Rayden frowned. It was disturbing that someone could have gotten in and done this without their knowing.
"Maybe the dragon did it," Siro suggested.
Taja, who had settled down a little, closed her door and leaned against it giggling. OK. Not yet. She splashed cold water on her face and went to stand in the window to cool down.
Rayden gestured. His robes were again presentable. He walked over to the door and opened it. He really had intended to use the door the way mortals did. Unfortunately, the door was booby trapped with silly string containers which now covered the thunder god in flexible plastic string. Rayden just stood there. He took a deep breath and released it. The string stopped. Rayden vanished out from under the decorations leaving a pile of stuff in the doorway.
Kung Lao and Siro exchanged looks that said "Not me". Then again. Who?
They whirled to face -- a small black puppy who was ferociously barking at a bowl that had fallen on the floor. They studied it cautiously. Taja came downstairs with a bouncy step, saw the pup and scooped it up into her arms before they could say anything.
"Oh, how cute." The puppy sniffed at her and then panted at her with its full approval.
"Yark!" it yarked.
The two men exchanged looks that said "who knew?". Apparently, it was a puppy. Great.
"Yes?" dragon responded, stowing away the backpacks for future lurks.
"Uhm. I -- uh --"
Something about the long drawn out "uhs" finally brought dragon's gaze to rest on the seaquest addict. "Yes?"
"Well -- I can't find __"
"No. No. No. No, Max is here," she rushed to assure her mother. Max, the infinitely beautiful, mind numbingly dumb cat had more than once proven detrimental to the success of dragon's lurks. "No. Max is definitely here," she assured her.
"Well -- uh -- Ican'tfindZed."
"You do realized that *he's* gonna be annoyed."
"Oh, yeah. Sooooo -- I'll just go find him."
dragon looked at her eldest. "We'll go. Hopefully, he's just with Lucas."
"Yeah. That'll work."
No, Zed the nearly solid black mutt pup was *not* with Lucas. That left -- well, Shao Kahn's throne room and the expanses of the city in which Kung Lao and friends lived. dragon was not a happy camper. She and the addict folded silently into the night outside Ryland Imports.
The sounds of a happy puppy could be heard. The sounds of Siro asking if the pup ever shut up could be heard. Taja's response could be heard. dragon looked long suffering, tiptoed over to the door and pushed it open. Oh, good. They hadn't locked up for the night.
"Zed," she called softly. Inside, the pup was silent as he looked around for the source of the familiar voice. "Zed?" Just a little louder. Kung Lao looked around as the pup tore for the door. He saw the door was ajar. It opened a little further for the pup to slide through. Kung Lao charged the door and whipped it open.
He wasn't expecting the middle height, round, bespectacled woman he suddenly faced. Her startled look over the puppy told him she wasn't exactly planning this meeting either.
"Oh -- uh -- hi. Sorry about Zed. Bye." She was gone. No twinkle, no eye hurting, whirling vortices, just gone.
Kung Lao closed the door. He was aware of Taja and Siro watching him. He turned to face them. "Dog's owner. She came to get him." He frowned at the table behind the other two. "Those things -- they're gone."
While the trio were occupied with the dog's disappearing owner, Tes and the addict had retrieved the entertecs .
Tes and the seaquest addict neatly cleaned and put away the water guns while waiting for dragon to fix dinner. They wandered into the kitchen to find the klingon muppet making toast while the godzilla-phile was dancing victory dances around her and whooping something about ruling the world.
The k-m shrugged her shoulders. "I dunno. Haven't seen her."
Tes and the seaquest addict exchanged glances. "Zed?"
"Around here somewhere. Probalby asleep." She frowned. "Pro-ba-bly asleep," she corrected herself serioiusly, then cracked up laughing.
"We have a problem."
It was still dark. Odd. Early evening in New Mexico in summer it was daylight until really late. Zed squirmed. She put him down and adjusted her glasses. She looked up and down the street. It seemed really built up for -- wait a minute. The tallest thing in town was the bank tower and both of the buildings she could see were at least that tall. She tried to decipher the sign over the doorway to her left. C -- E -- R --- AAaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!! Nooooooooooooo! Not CERK!!!!!! She fumbled the tesserect and dropped it. Zed found it, picked it up and shook it.
"No. Zed, no. Please. Give that to mommy -- Now Zed!" dragon's voice got increasingly more strident as she gave chase down the street after Zed and the tesserect.
The door to the building opened and closed. A tall, elegant, if a little pale, man stood for a moment taking in the night air. If he heard the dragon chasing the dog he paid it no mind. With a soft whoosh, he rose into the night air.