Vol. 104: Those responsible for the subtitles have been sacked.
Around Elysium 12 there was a soft, gentle hum and whirl of several computers, view screens, and Psion Orb recorders powering up. The contents of the hard drive provided by the Xerxes came into view for the entire multiverse.
There was an obvious video file that they meant for the Multiversal Senate to view first but the senate had decided to view it last for various reasons. Instead they would look at what other files and information were stored on the drive first. They were, in a word, bored, with what they found.
The drive contained copious files of all kinds, almost all of them worthless. Obsolete star charts for universes long since absorbed by the Oblivion. Massive volumes were dedicated to what they considered literature and music. The first consisting of what seemed to mostly be dream logs, and the latter being a cacophony and clicks, what sounded like glass shattering, and high-pitched screaming.
Slightly more interesting was a mass of files which recounted their various “war victories.” Many gave shocking, often gory accounts, of the complete genocide of various races (many unheard of and undiscovered races!) which they “absorbed” into their collective. But they became quite hard to read for any period of time not only because of their sanguinary nature, but huge swaths of each account were dedicated to boasting by the Xerxes about their invincible armies and their incredible power and perfection. All in all, quite nauseating.
This went on for several days. The senate and the multiverse as a whole found it all quite perplexing. Each group of files seemed more bizarre and more useless than the last. Why they had bothered to send any of this was mind boggling. Finally, about 4 days in there was a call by many senators to simply watch the video presentation. The rest of the files on the drive could be studied later for whatever they were worth. This motion quickly passed, and it was decided after a short recess they would gather to see what information the video could provide them.
So it was that in short order the main senate floor of Elysium 12 filled once again. And once everyone was settled the Animus Captain strode forward and pressed a button to start the video…
What followed would be considered by historians to be the most bizarre diplomatic presentation of all time anywhere in the multiverse.
The scene opened to a stark immaculate looking altar, perhaps? The room appeared to be made of smooth reddish orange stone. Two massive white tapestries hung on either side of the altar, each with a fine gold trim and a large unknown golden symbol in its center. Below each tapestry large braziers burned with bright red flames. The raised area the alter stood on was made of an almost bloodred stone with massive black spots throughout. Also very smooth and highly polished.
For an absurdly long time the video simply framed this area. Many thought the video was perhaps paused. There were calls by many to fast forward, but they didn’t, for fear they would miss some sound or small detail. This went on for nearly 30 minutes.
Finally, a sound. It sounded like doors opening and closing. Those seated in the senate and viewing from their homes and cities VIA Psion Orb leaned forward in anticipation. From the left, rolling in was a large yellowish and orange Xerxes. Its appearance caused several people to gasp. It was covered in hairy legs, and mouths and eyes of all kinds, seemingly peppered all over its body haphazardly. From the right their floated in a tentacled Xerxes. It was a bright teal color and had a ring of eyes and mouths that simply circled its body symmetrically.
They met in the center of the screen and simply stared at the camara for a very uncomfortable amount of time. Then they spoke. The voices of the Xerxes sound like crystals ringing. Quite beautiful actually, but of course, unintelligible. But at the bottom of the screen subtitles appeared in ML (Multiversal Language: a common language spoke by most of the multiverse)
“Greeting lesser races! I am Kryxflixtx! (Pronouced: Crix-fick-tis) And this is my associate, Pckxly (Pronounced: Picks-lee) !” the orange one bellowed in deep crystalline tones.
“No sir…” Pckxly said looking exacerbated. “We went over this. You can’t call them- “
Then static. And then the shot of the empty altar again. Around the senate confused glances shot around the room. And then sound again. Doors opening and closing and from each side, once again entered Kryxflixtx and Pckxly. Another long pause after which one of Pckxly’s tentacles could be seen slowly moving over and poke Kryxflixtx. Kryxflixtx gave a short-startled sound and then said, “Oh! yes…”
Kryxflixtx: Greetings my… fellow occupants of the Multiverse! I am Kryxflixtx! And this is my associate Pckxly!
Pckxly: We hope you have found the information we have provided and our gift suitable!
Kryxflixtx: Yes! Suitable!
<Pause. Again Pckxly seems to nudge Kryxflixtx.>
Kryxflixtx: Oh! Yes! We now come to you DEMANDING-!
Pckxly: No, Kryxflixtx… *sigh*
Kryxflixtx: We now come to you <rolling all of his eyes with a look of disgust> ASKING you to hear our plea!
Pckxly: The Dark Dwarves have turned all their forces towards us! We are being destroyed! At this rate we expect that the Dark Dwarves will completely eradicate our people!
Kryxflixtx: As such we will now allow you the SUPEREME HONOR to serve us as-!
Pckxly: No… *deep sigh*
<Shot starts again but to the empty altar. Off screen however we can here Kryxflixtx and Pckxly and perhaps a few other Xerxes talking. Shockingly the subtitles continued showing their every word>
Kryxflixtx: Equals?! Are you insane!
Pckxly: Sir we literally practiced this for weeks…
Kryxflixtx: We are the Xerxes! All shall bow before our-!
Pckxly: Hey is that camera on?!
< Shot opens to Kryxflixtx and Pckxly again center frame. Kryxflixtx looks pissed and has a very sour look. It should be noted that discerning the “mood” of any Xerxes is at best a guess. They don’t have faces like other races. Luckily, their eyes are quite expressive. Nevertheless…>
<Pckxly pokes Kryxflixtx again but much harder, almost like a punch>
Kryxflixtx: Oh! Um. Yes! As such we have come to…
< Kryxflixtx looks at Pckxly who looks back at him nervously twirling his two front tentacles in a way that could be interpreted as, “Go on!” Pckxly glances at the camera flashing a nervous smile and begins to say quietly “aaaassss…”>
Kryxflixtx: Ask! Yes ask… you all to help us.
<Pckxly continues to look at Kryxflixtx for a moment as if expecting him to say something else but then speaks himself.>
Pckxly: We meet the criteria to ask for entrance into the Multiversal Senate! We also are feeling the pinch of the Oblivion and the sting of the Dark Dwarf empire!
Kryxflixtx: So now you will lay down your lives for us as we-!
Pckxly: No! Son of a-!
Kryxflixtx: Now we are… asking… that you… <shudders with disgust> JOIN us in combating our mutual enemy.
Pckxly: We realize that we have been enemies in the past, but we are willing to change!
Kryxflixtx: Willing to change?! < Kryxflixtx launches himself at Pckxly in what looks like a tackling attack>
<Shot starts again with both center frame, but 2 of Pckxly’s tentacles are now bandaged. A long pause. Kryxflixtx looks almost as if he is drifting into sleep when Pckxly punches him hard in the side with a tentacle.>
Kryxflixtx: OH! Yes! We want to… apologize… <one of Kryxflixtx’s mouths throws up behind him after saying the word. Pckxly simply looks at it, frowns and sighs as Kryxflixtx continues> for the…crimes of our past.
Pckxly: We also offer to share our technology, and we have more to offer. We will free any prisoners we still possess-
Kryxflixtx: Free our prisoners?!! < Kryxflixtx launches another tackling attack at Pckxly. We here Pckxly let off a sharp squeal.>
<Shot opens again to them center frame but now two more of Pckxly’s tentacles are bandaged and he has a large bandage actively dripping blood under one eye. A smear of blood is on the floor and the vomit is also still there>
Kryxflixtx: I did not agree to this!
Off camera: Sir we are recording.
Kryxflixtx: I don’t give a f-!
<Both center frame. Kryxflixtx is fuming. He looks like he could kill. Pckxly floats nervously next to him, all of his eyes trained on Kryxflixtx>
Pckxly: We will be freeing all of our prisoners-
< Kryxflixtx screams and runs towards the camera tackling it. Commotion can be heard. Kryxflixtx seems to be destroying the camera>
Off camera: Maybe we can get him a snack to calm him down?
<Shot opens to the empty room with the small blood smear and vomit still on the floor. From stage left we see an extremely large cow in a red collar wearing a large cowbell stumble in. This shot goes on for a very long, uncomfortable time. The cow simply stands stage left and chews its cud, doe eyed. After a very long time we see Kryxflixtx jump in from stage left tackling the cow and crushing it in a blur of legs and mouths. A swath of cow blood and guts slide across the stage as Kryxflixtx devours the cow alive with his many massive mouths. Blood sprays across the lens of the camera. The gigantic white tapestries hanging behind the alter are now also splattered with blood. We can hear the cow dying painfully. For whatever reason the entire act is recorded and never breaks away. For nearly 20 minutes we watch as Kryxflixtx eats the entire cow, bones and all. When he is done, he releases a massive belch of green smoke. Kryxflixtx rolls back to center stage looking quite content. All of his mouths smack contently. He is covered in blood.>
Kryxflixtx: OK… Let’s finish this shit… < Kryxflixtx releases another loud belch and the cowbell falls out of one of his mouths>
<the once immaculate stage is now a nightmare. Cow’s blood and viscera cover everything and half of the cow’s rib cage lays casually just to their right. Kryxflixtx and Pckxly are again center stage. It looks like some crude attempt has been made to cleanup Kryxflixtx, but he is still quite bloody.>
<Another uncomfortably long pause. Pckxly produces a small dagger from some orifice and rapidly stabs Kryxflixtx 3 times in the side and then hides the dagger behind his back>
Kryxflixtx: OW! OH! OK yes! We will… free all of our prisoners… and provide an exchange of technology, magic, and psionics.
Pckxly: *sigh*… AAAAaaannnnndddd… <again rolling his tentacles as if to say, “Go on”>
Kryxflixtx: … aaaaannnnnndddd… OH! Yes AND! We have something else! Something else you want! Yes! We possess what you desire! BOW BEFORE THE XERXES! WE-!
Pckxly: No! By the 11 hells! You-!
Kryxflixtx: We have something else! Something we…want… you to have!
Pckxly: Not just something you want! Someone you want!
This piqued the interest of the people watching. Again, many leaned forward interested to hear who this someone would be.
Kryxflixtx: Behold! We have the one you call Braunon!
A terrible and frightening hiss arose from the vampires around Elysium 12 as they heard the name of their long lost and glorious leader. Their ire intensified as they saw walking in from stage right Braunon! He had a Xerxes fused to his chest and he looked emaciated and diminished, but there was no doubt about it. It was Braunon! The legendary vampiric leader lived! And the Xerxes presentation just became much more interesting!
About the Illustrations: Here we have a wizard casting a spell, a robot from the Technorganic Empire, and some random doodles. As a bonus we have a crazy doodle page 😊