Hello, this is one of my newer stories from ff.net. It's not really all that developed, but it's an idea I had for a time that I really wanted to get started on. Hopefully I'll be able to add more onto it soon.
So backstory time. A couple years back I found this phenomenal online comic titled Erma. I suppose you could describe it as the daughter of a ghost and a normal man going about everyday life, but it’s so much more than that. If you can’t already tell, I’m a fan of the comic and highly recommend it.
But back to how the idea for this story came about. Among other things, the comic’s creator is apparently a fan of Mortal Kombat, having done a sketch featuring the titular character of their comic along with Mileena before making a more finished and polished piece. Upon seeing this, myself and others couldn’t help but notice that the two characters seemed to fit well together, although that just maybe the skill of the artist, and thus this story.
But enough about that, let’s get to the story!
Disclaimer: Mileena and Mortal Kombat is owned by Netherrealm Studios, Erma and all associated characters is the creation of, and owned by Brandon J. Santiago.
“Oh yeah, take that!” Sam Williams yelled as he pulled off a combo. Like many men in their late twenties, the saggy haired blonde, glasses wearing man enjoyed the occasional videogame. And while this particularly one was a few years old, there was still a thriving community surrounding it, leading to many online matches to be enjoyed.
Hearing her husband across the house, his wife Emiko called out, “Why are you playing that old game? I thought you said the sequel was announced the other day.”
“That’s why,” Sam began to explain as he dodged an attack, “I’ve got to keep my skills sharp for when the next round of kombat begins.” The game he was currently dominating being Mortal Kombat X. While there were some narrative choices he was critical of, the curse of being an author and always finding something in the story he could have done better, Sam could admit it was a solid game that gave him plenty of enjoyment. While not at a pro player level, the man still had a fair amount of skill with each of the fighters. Recently he’d been favoring Mileena, using her Ethereal variation to dodge projectiles and bait opponents into combs.
A few moments later, Emiko walked into the room, stopping behind the couch as she said, “Well finish this up quickly then, dinner’s ready.” She then turned towards the stairs and yelled, “Erma, come down for dinner!”
What occurred next was not an uncommon sight as a young girl with extremely pale skin, long black hair, and wearing a white dress literally crawled out of the tv. What was unexpected was the second figure being pulled out alongside the child.
As the family of three observed their unexpected guest. Although slightly pale, she appeared to have a healthy tan when compared to the Williams women. The family also saw that the young woman’s vest and pants were a tad loose fitting, a mask covering the bottom half of her face. As the yellow eyed guest looked around in confusion, she demanded, “Where am I?” but her confusion became even greater as she noticed her voice was higher than she remembered. Shen then also noticed the state of her clothes and asked, “How have I become younger?”
Thinking aloud as he rubbed his chin, Sam mumbled, “Hmm, the game has only been out a few years, maybe her actual age was subtracted from her true age.”
While neither his wife or daughter seemed to have heard him, his guest was another story. “What was that, flesh bag?”
Not entirely sure of the situation, but not wanting to be the cause of a catastrophe, Sam tried to play it off, “Nothing, just talking to myself to try and figure things out.” That seemed to be the wrong answer. In a fluid motion, the young woman whipped her hand forward. Sam recognized it as the motion used in the game whenever she threw her sai, but when the weapon did not materialize, he once more voiced his thoughts aloud as he said, “And it seems like you actually have to obey the laws of physics now.” Once more, the man unintentionally said the wrong thing as his surprised guest literally lunged at the man, intending great harm once she landed on her target.
Only to be suspended in midair. A quick look revealed Emiko, her black sclera eyes holding a glare, using her long black hair to restrain the younger woman. Another look revealed just how much Erma looked like her mother, causing the restrained woman to release a small shudder at the prospect of fighting two beings of such power.
Easily seeing how the situation was deteriorating, Sam attempted to defuse the situation. Placing himself between his wife and his would be attacking, he held up his hands as he stated, “I think everyone here is jumping to conclusions. My family and I are just about sit down for dinner. Why don’t you join us and we can attempt to sort out this mess?”
As his guest seemed to contemplate this, Emiko whispered to her husband, “Just what are you doing?”
“Just trust me on this one.” Sam tried to reassure his wife, his daughter shifting her attention between her parents and the stranger from the television.
Finally after a few moments the entangled girl huffed before saying, “Fine.”
“Alright.” Sam replied simply, nodding to his wife to let their guest go. Emiko huffed herself before releasing her captive, the young woman falling onto the floor rather hard.
As he heard the young woman begin to grumble under her breath, Sam acted to defuse another conflict before it could begin. Despite already knowing the answer, he stated, “I don’t think we were ever introduced. I’m Sam Williams, and this is my wife Emiko and our daughter Erma. And you are?”
His guest once more glared at Sam, although this time with a bit less hostility, as she replied, “Mileena, the rightful empress of Outworld.”
While his wife and daughter were confused about the title, Sam was well verse in the lore of the games and saw it coming. As he nodded his head once again, he once noticed the state of his guest’s clothes and asked, “And would the queen like to borrow some better fitting clothes?”
To say that the dinner was tense would be an understatement. With everyone seated at the round table, Mileena, now dressed in one of Emiko’s old shirts and her pants held up with one of Sam’s spare belts, stared down at the meal of mashed potatoes and chicken. While she didn’t think her hosts had poisoned her food, having served themselves from the same platter, the ruler in exile never enjoyed revealing her face. Well that wasn’t completely true, after all she loved putting the fear in her enemies.
Yet that left her at a crossroads, the Tarkatan hybrid did not know what to make of these strange people. The mother and the daughter obviously held great power, obviously not as much as her but close. Meanwhile the man kept calm during their initial encounter, even defusing the situation with much more finesse and much faster than any others she could think of. Even after she had attempted to attack him, rather than respond in kind he offered her kindness.
These thoughts were broken when Emiko rather pointedly stated, “The food tastes better if you actually eat it.” To punctuate the statement, the woman ate a bite of chicken, a small glare still on her face.
“Dear.” Sam began, only to have Mileena cut him off.
“No she’s right. You gave me food, it’s only right that I eat it.” Mileena neutrally stated before reaching up to her mask. With a practiced move, the young woman pulled her mask down in one swift motion. As expected, a she heard a fork clink against a plate when she revealed her face. While she believed many could consider her beautiful, Mileena knew now one would pursue her due to the several large, curved fangs that jutted out of her cheeks, the angry scar tissue surrounding her mouth not helping matters either. While she hide it well, at least to herself Mileena could admit she was very self-conscious about her face. How could she not when compared to her perfect “twin” Kitana? She supposed that’s why she allowed the traitor Reiko to get close to her and willfully stayed blind to his manipulations.
As she began to eat, Mileena took note of how the family now looked at her. Sam continued eating as if he expected this. Emiko quickly picked her fork back up and continued eating, although her glare was now replaced with a look Mileena didn’t recognize. Erma just continued to look at her, prompting Mileena to ask the girl, “Have something to say?”
Rather than respond, Erma closed her mouth before smiling widely, revealing a set of teeth just as sharp as Mileena’s. This caused the young woman to raise an eyebrow, having sworn the child had normal teeth like her parents. Rather than comment further on it, Mileena surprised herself as she reached across the table to ruffle the girl’s hair, commenting, “Nice trick, brat.” As she went back to eating her own food, Mileena swallowed before turning her attention back Sam and Emiko and asked, “So how are you two going to fix this?”
“To be honest, we’re not sure.” Sam admitted. “I don’t pretend to understand how my wife and daughter are able to do what they do.”
Mileena nodded at that before focusing her gaze at Emiko and asked, “And you?”
“I grew up in a rather…rural area.” Emiko confessed, “I’m still learning how my abilities, and by extension my those of my daughter’s, affect modern conveniences.”
“So in other words neither of you understand how I got here,” Mileena summarized as she used her fork to push her last bit of chicken around her plate, “or how I can get home. Or why I’m now a teenager?”
“No,” Sam confessed, “but you’re free to stay in our guest room while we try to figure this out.” From the look Emiko shot her husband it was clear this hadn’t previously been discussed.
Not having any place else to stay, nor the energy to conquer this realm this late, Mileena just shrugged her shoulders as she ate the rest of her dinner, tuning out the rest of the conversation.
It was well into the night as Mileena crept down the stairs wearing her pajamas, a borrowed tank top and flannels. While she accepted that she was stuck in this strange version of Earthrealm, she was determined to find out as much information as possible. Making her way back into the living room, she easily found a laptop sitting on the coffee table, recognizing the device from the brief invasion of Earthrealm. She was in luck as the computer turned on without a sound, her luck held when she wasn’t asked for a password.
“Alright, now how to I use this?” Mileena asked herself. With some experimentation she realized she could move the curser around the screen with the part that felt smoother and needed to pressed down on the edge of it to select something. After opening a few programs, she happened upon one that looked like a circle made of red, yellow, and green sections surrounding a smaller blue circle.
The teen quickly realized she’d open something called the internet, having heard the term years ago. If she remembered correctly, nearly anything could be found through this sorcery. Curious to see if someone important had already learned of her being here, Mileena typed her own name in the search bar. Needless to say, the young woman was surprised when her name along with several pictures of her usual self and a short description appeared on screen.
“Player and occasional boss character from the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games?” Mileena read aloud, the words having little meaning to her. Although she did recognize two. “Mortal Kombat, I heard Sam say that to Emiko when I grabbed the pajamas.” Mileena thought aloud as she added the words to the search bar, nearly hitting enter before realizing she’d forgotten something. After adding the X, the teen clicked on one of the first search results, which turned out to be a video titled “Mortal Kombat X: All Mileena Moments”.
As the video quickly loaded and began to play, Mileena recognized the scene, ‘This is when I ambushed that snake, I wonder what became of the amulet? I set it down after making it back to my tent, but then I felt a pull and ending up here.’ As her fight against the false emperor played, she couldn’t help but wince, remembering the pain. When shown the beginnings of the traitor’s rule, she couldn’t help but growl in anger.
When the scene showed the traitor D'vorah and the daughter of the fool, Mileena raised an eyebrow. She certainly didn’t remember this, was she being gifted a vision of the future? The vision quickly turned into a nightmare as it showed her being bested by the Kytinn before being executed in a rather gruesome manner for the amusement of Kotal Kahn. As her dying screams played over the speaker, Mileena didn’t realize she’d begun crying, numb to everything around her.
In her state, Mileena wasn’t aware of someone else entering the living room until the laptop was gently closed. Coming back to reality, Mileena saw Sam slowly sit down in the chair across from her and say, “So, you found out.” It wasn’t a question but a statement.
Still trying to process everything, Mileena asked, “You knew?” When Sam nodded his head, Mileena looked down as she clenched her hands, stating, “I’m not real.” She heard Sam stand back up and walk towards her. She saw his feet in the corner of her eye before feeling a sharp pain on her arm. “Ow!” As she backed away from Sam and rubber her arm, Mileena demanded, “Why did you pinch me!”
Instead of answering, Sam asked, “How could you feel that?”
“Because it hurt!” Mileena instantly replied, getting ready to tear his throat out.
“But if you aren’t real, how could you feel anything?” Sam challenged.
Mileena opened her mouth to reply, but found she didn’t have a retort. Folding her arms across herself, the teen threw herself further back against the couch, slouching as she said, “Fine, I’m real. It doesn’t change the fact I’m from a game and fated to die.”
“Not necessarily.” Sam said, earning him a confused look. Rather than explain, Sam turned on the TV along with the game console. It was only as the game was loading that Sam spoke again, “I checked on this before we ate. Do you know anything about the Many-Worlds Theory? An infinite number of universes, with great and minuet difference between them.”
“I may have heard some mad ramblings years ago, but what does that have to do with me?” Mileena questioned, still very much confused by the man.
“Well you’re out here, and she’s still in the game.” Really Mileena shouldn’t have been surprised to see an exact copy of her displayed on screen, even down to the markings on her arms. To further prove his point, Sam selected the digital Mileena and was presented with even more options. One lacked the markings and carried a pair of sai on her back, the other forwent the mask. While Mileena tried to put everything together, the man explained, “See, there’s multiple Mileenas. You being out here hasn’t changed anything in the game, so it’s possible you’re from a place where your fate isn’t so definite.”
Although feeling slightly better, Mileena still pointed out, “It doesn’t change the fact I’m from some fictional place.”
Sam actually chuckled as he said, “You know I actually talked to a comic book artist who said he didn’t create his characters, to him it felt more like recording someone’s life. He was the first person I heard the many worlds theory from, he hypothesized that some of the stories we create are possible because one universe touches another, and some people are able to ‘feel’ the events that occur in the neighboring universe.”
Mileena snorted at this, commenting, “That sounds like something from a cheesy theater show.”
Sam took the comment with a smile, “It’s just a theory, my family is proof enough not everything always makes sense.” He then turned off the game and television as he reclaimed the laptop. As he closed many of the programs, Sam concluded by saying, “Look what I’m getting at is that if you choose to go back it’s possible your home isn’t a fictional place, that you’re not fated to die or you can use what you learn to avoid that fate.”
While the talk was certainly comforting, Mileena pointed out an interesting word choice, “If?” she asked.
Looking up from his laptop, Sam asked, “In your old world, were you happy?”
“I am the rightful ruler of my realm and empire!” Mileena shot back, a hint of pride in her voice.
“Were you happy?” Sam repeated. When Mileena didn’t reply, he pressed further, “I’ve played those games for years and know the story inside and out. You were created to fill a purpose, pushed into a role that you, and forced into exile. But all that is in the past. Now, you’re a teenage, you get to choose what you want to do.” The man shifted his attention back to the laptop and began rapidly typing something as he finished, “I’m not telling you what path to choose, but I do suggest giving this some consideration while everyone tries to figure things out.”
Although she was sure he didn’t see it, Mileena nodded at the man’s words before heading back up the stairs. Still hearing Sam typing away, she paused and asked, “Are you not going to go back upstairs.”
Not looking up from his computer, Sam explained, “I had a mild case of insomnia as a kid, after some events it got worse. I tried taking some sleeping pills for it, but those things gave me night terrors. Now I just live with it and get some work done rather than wake up my wife and have her worry over me.”
Again, Mileena nodded at the answer and began to go back upstairs, but paused as another thought entered her head. “Sam, about the stories being the lives of people in other universes thing, do you ever think your life is like mine, a tale to entertain someone in another world?”
The man chuckled at this when he replied, “I’d feel sorry for whoever got stuck transcribing my life, I’m sure my daughter’s life would make for a better story.”
Despite going to bed so late, Mileena found that she was the first one up. Also surprising was just how good she’d slept, even if she slept on the floor. After so long on the run, the bed felt too soft, although the blanket was the warmest she’d had in a long times and the pillow was simply magnificent.
As she wondered through the house, the hybrid noticed the living room empty, meaning Sam had eventually gotten to sleep last night. Still not sure what she was going to do, the teen found herself in the kitchen just as her stomach made itself known. Opening the fridge, Mileena was tempted to grab some meat for herself, but then had another thought. Pulling a few choice items out, she then went to the pantry and did the same. Placing her selections on the counter, the house guest attempted to picture what she needed to do, not having much experience in cooking. Luckily she noticed a few packages had instructions on them.
A few false starts and a half hour later and Mileena flipped the last pancake onto its plate. It was at this time that Emiko, Erma, and an exhausted Sam walked past the kitchen and discovered what the teen did. While Sam went to fix coffee and Erma took her place at the table, Emiko gestured to the four plates of pancakes and bacon and asked, “What is this?”
“Breakfast.” Mileena explained as she grabbed two of the plates. Setting one down in front of Erma, she elaborated, “If I’m stuck here for an extended period of time, I figured we should at least attempt to get along. You made dinner last night, so I made breakfast this morning.” While grabbing a plate herself, Emiko kept a cautious eye on the teen for the first few bites. The food was surprisingly good, even if the woman was still unsure about her houseguest. Once Sam had a cup of coffee poured and collected his own plate, Emiko tried to open up the conversation only for Mileena to speak up first, “I thought about what was said last night. I still don’t understand how I got here, or why I’m here. I also understand that none of you fully understand the situation either, or how to reverse it. With that said, maybe I should take advantage of this opportunity.”
Confused, Emiko asked, “Mileena, just what are you saying?”
Taking a glance at Sam, and seeing a knowing smile, Mileena breathed out before saying, “I’m saying that maybe I shouldn’t go back.” Explaining further, the teen said, “I had nearly everything in my old life before it was stolen from me, but even then I wasn’t happy.” Now came the part she was uncertain of, “I know what might await me should I return home, so maybe I’m here to find my own happiness, if you’ll let me stay.”
Mileena didn’t bother looking at Sam or Erma, she had a feeling they would be welcoming of her. Instead she focused her attention on Emiko. Surprisingly the woman actually gave Mileena a soft smile as she said, “Of course you are welcome to stay. Although,” the woman gave a quick glance at the hybrid’s borrowed pajamas as she finished, “if you plan on staying you’re going to need something more than borrowed clothes.”
It was a few hours after breakfast. Erma had left shortly after to someplace called school. After that Emiko asked Mileena to put on her borrowed clothes before having her joining her in the family minivan. From there it was a bit of a drive to what Emiko called a mall. From there Mileena was shown, more accurately dragged, to several stores to browse the clothing selection. Mileena was actually surprised she found some odds and ends at each store, but was utterly confused when Emiko handed the store keepers a piece of plastic, but was given the card back, before they could take the clothes.
Still, there were a few hiccups. Mileena wanted to get a pair of boots that reminded her of an old pair. Emiko, however, instantly vetoed the idea, saying it wasn't an image a girl her age should have. Then there was the hair salon. While Mileena appreciated having her nails trimmed and her messy bob trimmed into something more presentable, she could have done without the snide comments. It had been very tempting to grab a pair of scissors to show just how well she could look after herself, but a look from Emiko reminded Mileena to behave.
As Already carrying several large bags, Mileena asked, “Surely this is enough clothes?”
“Nearly,” Emiko said as she pulled a list out of her purse. As she crossed off another item, the ghost woman said, “we need to get a few more stops, although I suppose we could save getting paint and decorations for another day.” She then turned to Mileena and asked, “I don’t mean to pry, but how did you get your scars?”
“They’ve just been with me every since I was made, probably just the result of Shang Tsung’s sloppy execution to ensure I had Tarkatan features.” Mileena explained, not understanding how this was relevant.
Emiko nodded as she began digging around in her purse. Mileena openly gawked as the woman’s entire arm disappeared in the sack as she asked, “So they’re not from an iron weapon?” When Mileena shook her head no, Emiko seemed to find what she was looking for, pulling her arm back up and holding a ceramic container no bigger than some of the make up mirrors she’d seen earlier. Tossing the container to the teen, the woman explained, “I’ve had that cream for a number of years now, it should help heal the scars a bit more.”
Mileena just nodded dumbly as she placed the cream in one of the bags. Finding her voice, she asked, “So if the stuff for the room is for another day, are we done? My feet are getting tired.”
“Almost.” Emiko said as she stopped in front of a particular store. “This should be the last stop we need to make.”
Taking a glance at the front displays, Mileena questioned, “Undergarments? I never bothered with them before. What makes these so special compared to the ones in the other stores?”
“Not much.” Emiko admitted, “A lot pricier, but I like the fit better. Besides, they sell swimwear and workout outfits as well.”
With great reluctance, the teen followed the older woman into the store. At seeing excessive lace on one bra, and the limited amount of material for one set of underwear, she commented, “Some of this doesn’t seem practical.”
“Sometimes it’s just about showing someone special a good time.” Emiko explained as she steered the pair towards the more modest section of the store.
“Have plenty of experience in that?” Mileena asked with a hidden smirk.
Rather than be embarrassed, Emiko challenged, “Do you really want to know the answer to that?”
Mileena quickly shook her head no. As she began browsing the selection, she couldn’t help but notice the prices. It finally hit her that buying an entire wardrobe for a teenage girl wasn’t going to be cheap. With this realization, the teen couldn’t help but wonder what Sam’s job was that allowed him and Emiko to splurge so much.
Back at the Williams’ house, Sam had taken the laptop back upstairs to the master bedroom. He supposed it was a little cruel to leave it out in the open, having guessed what Mileena would ultimately do. Still, it was probably for the best that the conversation took place as soon as possible to allow Mileena to quickly adjust to a place where she didn’t have to fight for her life on a daily basis.
As he was reviewing his latest manuscript before printing it and sending it to the publisher, his cellphone rang. A quick glance revealed a number Sam immediately recognized. Hoping this wasn’t about his daughter, he answered, “Hello Principal Phibes, what can I do for you today?”
“Hello Mr. Williams,” the man on the other end of the line began, “my secretary said you’d called earlier about an exchange student?”
“That is correct.” Sam replied. While Blairwood was generally accepting of many strange things, an exchange student was the most logical thing he could think of to explain Mileena’s existence.
“Well that seems to be the problem as our records indicate we did not accept any exchange students this year.” The principal explained.
“Oh, I see. I think there was a slight miscommunication between me and your secretary.” Sam replied as he quickly thought of a new explanation, “I’m not talking about a child my daughter’s age, Mileena is actually a teenager. Somehow, someone at her school placed my address on her paperwork. As the school already bought the tickets for the return flight, thus leaving Mileena stranded here for the scholastic year without any instruction. I was hoping maybe you could contact the administration of the high school and explain the situation.”
“My, that does sound tragic.” Principal Phibes agreed. “Well I’ll go ahead and make some calls and see if we can’t work something out for the young girl. Take care now Mr. Williams, I’ll call you back if I have something.”
“Thank you Principal Phibes.” Sam recalled as he hung up. Getting back to work, Sam questioned himself if his daughter’s principal was extremely gullible, or manipulating things for his own agenda. Still, if they had the same end goal, Sam couldn’t be bothered too much in either scenario. Hopefully Mileena would be like Erma and enjoy her first day of school.
So a little over 9 pages. Not my longest opening chapter, but certainly a good start.
I hope everyone’s enjoyed the start of my extremely niche story. To be completely honest, I’m not expecting that many views for this tale. I recognize that the number of people who are fans of both series is extremely small. Heck, so far in my journey around the internet I’ve only been able to find one Erma fanfic. Still, I had a lot of fun putting this first chapter together, and I thank everyone for checking it out. I’m definitely going to add some more onto this, and my other stories, when I’ve got a bit more free time, but please feel free to let me know what you think of the story thus far.
Anyone who follows my other fanfics knows this is the part where I have a few questions to foreshadow the coming plot, but I really don’t have any. This is the first story in a long time that I’m writing that I don’t have an overall plan as to what’s going to happen. There’s definitely a few things I’m going to attempt to adapt, but I’ve also got some ideas for Mileena’s own adventures. I hoped everyone enjoyed this first outing and will stay tuned for more of Mileena’s Tale.
But for now, I’m acw28 saying, "until next update."