The Soap Bubble - Episode 13. The Bubblettes Strike Back

The screen darkens and the chatter of the audience dies away. Loud music fanfares the start of the start of the show, words start to scroll up from the bottom of the screen. ‘EPISODE 13 The Bubblettes Strike Back”

The darkest times are at hand for the Bubble^tm^, more and more members of the Bubble are becoming addicted to the scarlet washing up liquid , the Blackfriars are preparing their moderator army for war, their agents throughout the Bubble^tm^ continue to scour the Bubble^tm^ for areas of resistance and quietly subdue the dissent they find. The Bubblettes continue as a shady crime syndicate upsetting the balance between the many and varied groups within the Bubble^tm^, why only the other week there was a bit of a falling out over what a certain group’s initials meant!
Resistance group’s realising the dangers are becoming more secretive and going further underground, their actions discreet as they attempt to strengthen their resistance to moderator attacks and fight against the suppliers of scarlet washing up liquid. Disappearances of prolific artists continue around the Bubble^tm^, the fate of the Bubble^tm^ hangs in the balance…

The words disappear into the distance on the screen leaving a black screen, a glow of light starts to increase from the bottom of the screen as the camera pans down to show the glowing sphere of the Red Bubble, the audience cheer and the story continues…

The air is dry and stale, wind whips dust into small devils that play and battle across the remains of main street. Christina Norwood and I sat in the shade watching the golden ball of fire hanging low in the sky, I had no urge to pick up my camera despite the golden light. Christina explained that ‘ Trinity ’ was not a mainstream part of the Bubble, she explained that it was one of the
Original test images added to the Bubble when it was first created. The images had been deleted from the system but their echo’s remain, with them not being linked to any group or gallery they float behind the scenes. Recently they appear to have been located by the Old man who is using them to assist the resistance groups in their struggle.
“We have got quite a wait Andrew, you’d best sit down” Christina started to recount the story of her life in the Bubble. She claimed to be one of an ancient order called the ‘Mentors’ their role had been to assist with developing the younger talented artists within the Bubble. Her story twisted and turned, eventually she recounted the story of her last charge before she retired from the role of ‘Mentor’, it was a sad tale of a young model and would be photographer who she invested a lot of time and effort into to teach the more intricate skills and methods of her art only for her to be beguiled by the glamour, comments and danger provided by other parts of the Bubble. “She left my charge claiming artistic differences, I always remember her temper she was such a fiery young lady.” Since then the bubble has gone through lots of changes and the order of ‘Mentors’ had been outlawed by the Moderators.
As she spoke I was certain I could here music on the wind, it sounded like marching music ‘DUM DUM DUM, DUM DAH DUM, DUM DAH DUM…’ I wasn’t sure where it was coming from but it was really distracting.
“Anyway Andrew , lets here your story.” Christina sat back and lit a cigarette, exhaling a thick cloud of smoke, as the smoke twisted and curled in the shadows I got the urge to pick up my camera again. I proceeded to recount the story of all my recent escapades from episode 1 through to episode 12a and my arrival in Trinity (I urge you all to read them just in case you haven’t already, they are rather good).
We had been sat there for hours, Christina had smoked loads and at the same time my bum was going numb.
“Time to go now, the lift will be there now” and with that comment she was up and tottering into the sun. I hadn’t heard any car arrive in Trinity , as we walked down the track where Woodsac had dropped me off before he had disappeared, as we walked further down the track the sun began to fade, not set just fade as though we were entering a thin haze. The light then began to get brighter, harder and sharper, the scenery changed, the dusty desert was gone and we stood on a hill staring down on downtown, I was so close to home I could taste it. Before us stood a car, well I guess you could roughly call it a car! It was a Bubble car ! Another godawful form of transport, was someone doing this on purpose? Were these cars being used for comedy value? Did the Old man have some hand in this? I was just about to ask Christina this when I heard a powerful car getting closer. The tarmac road winding up the hill draws my eye, the speeding car screams up towards us, rounding the last bend the car screeches to a dusty halt. As the dust settles the driver is standing there in front of us, my mouth dries! It can’t be, oh god no. There in front of us stands Jo ‘No Clothes’ O’Brien .
“G’day Christina… It’s been a while!” spat ‘ No Clothes ’, her hands clenching into tight fists all the while.
“Ah Joanne , so nice to see you again”
“You finally showed yourself you stupid fool, you’re not my Mentor any more and now it’s time I showed you just how much better than you I have become! I just have to show my ass and I receive the adulation of thousands, I am the Mentor now”
I tried to take it in and look cool, I failed entirely, my jaw hung loosely open! Christina… Joanne… Jo… Mentor!
“Shall we dance my dear?” said Christina hunkering down into a fighters stance.
‘DUM DUM DUM, DUM DAH DUM, DUM DAH DUM…’ it was that music again, where was it coming from?
Both women ignored me entirely, they circled each other left then right, feinting and trying to draw each other into an error or open up a weakness. Meanwhile the coward in me reached out and grabbed me by the throat, I slowly and quietly moved over towards the scrub to hide behind something.
Christina swung and pirouetted in one fluid motion her camera was in her hand in and targeted on Jo! ‘ FLASH ’ first shot to Christina, but Jo had quick reactions before the shutter had moved she was out of the frame, flick flaking across the road she stopped and drew her own camera, “to slow old lady, time to play” hissed Jo, her camera had more range than Christina’s and she prepared a long range killer shot with the an excellent depth of field ‘ Flash ’. Christina had leapt out of the way gone into a roll and landed from a slow motion twist next to Jo, both women returned to their deadly dance occasionally the scene was lit by a bright burst of white light from the battling flashes.
Realising that this fight was going to go on for some time and was likely going to end in the death of one of the combatants I realised that simply hiding in the bushes wasn’t going to be enough, if Jo was the winner I would be next I needed to guarantee my own skin just in case. I started to creep through the scrub to get closer to the road down the hill.
Jo hissed, she had been caught a glancing blow from the last shot.
I took a risk and hunkered down behind Jo’s powerful car, believing that the steel would give me a bit better protection before I started my run down the hill. I couldn’t believe it, the engine was still running, a dastardly plan was forming in my devious mind as the battle raged. The glancing blow hadn’t slowed Jo down at all she continued unabated, sensing an opportunity she had switched to continuous shooting and now at 6 fps was peppering the area where the whiling Christina had just been. Her attention on her foe I crept up and into the drivers seat, rather than close the door and gun the engine whilst a psycho with a Canon set to kill was right outside seemed suicidal, instead I released the handbrake and allowed gravity to assist the backwards roll down the hill, 50 meters, 100 meters foot brake gently on and pray it doesn’t squeak.
Jo’s nose was now bleeding, a lucky shot from Christina had just caught her only seconds ago a spray of red droplets would have made a fantastic abstract. Christina looked across at me and smiled, did she wink! Yes she winked, just as she dropped her camera. Shit she dropped her camera, she’s wide open, a glance at Jo revealed that she too knew the game was over. I gunned the engine and in a squeal of tire smoke and a frantic twist of the wheel I was away down the hill. In the rear view mirror I saw a multiple flash from Jo and the cloaked figure of Christina drop to the floor . I wasn’t going to hang about I was certain that Jo would have finished me off too, the engine roared as I frantically fought the metal monster down the twisting road and away from the Bubblette assassin .

Back at the top of the hill Joanne stood there confused at what had happened, she’d had lots of fights like this but this was the first one that had been a close run thing, but why had Christina stopped and allowed her to win? It had taken away the sense of achievement although she could sense the positive comments piling up about her killing blow. Had she done it so the pip-squeak could get away? Well not for long, he wouldn’t. She sensed there was someone behind her, her reactions still sharp from the fight she spun and dropped back into the fighting camera stance. Standing calmly at the side of the road stood a dark figure wreathed in shadow, a flick of the wrist and she dropped the camera and fell to her knees.
The Blackfriars voice blossomed in her head “A very good fight my young student, the fight was excellent and if I am not mistaken that was the last Mentor.”
“Thank you Peter ” she whispered aware that he could crush her with a look.
“You have served the order well working with the Bubblettes. In showing your ability today I have made a decision and I am pleased to say that I am offering you a place on my personal team as a Blackfriar .”
In front of Jo was an immaculately folded friars black cloak, a little smile danced at the edges of Jo’s mouth “Just one question before we go master , Do I have to wear anything under the cloak?”
The hill was deserted, the cloak worn by Christina billowed and blew on the breeze, her corpse had also vanished.

Downtown was quiet, far quieter than it had been last time I was there, a ‘thump, thump, thump’ came again from the boot (look I’m English, okay ‘trunk’), something back there must be loose. Knowing that I had a limited time before someone reported the car as stolen I decided to ditch it quick, the first alley was a god send. Thinking more about the noise from the boot (still English) and having heard lots about No Clothes I put two and two together and came up with four, there was someone trapped back there!
Opening the boot (okay trunk) I was shocked to see to find a figure tied up and curled in the foetal position. Dear lord it was Paul Vanzella , he had been in Jo O’Briens clutches all this time! He blinked in the light cowering and expecting Jo to be towering above him, he blinked twice and I could see him thinking quick.
“I know you, your that little fella that came to my studio a while ago! The Bubblettes are looking for you. Please you gotta help me! She’ll be back for me wanting me to take more mucky photos of her! Help me, please I just want to get back to taking pictures of my kids and buildings ….” Sobs wracked his fractured body, poor guy had been through hell!
I helped him out of there, he was skin and bones and light as a feather, he had been through one hell of an ordeal. I had to get him somewhere quick, unfortunately he wasn’t dressed for downtown so it had to be somewhere close. There was a cheap Bubble hotel nearby that I knew fairly well, The owner would keep quiet if I slipped him a few Red Bubble Dollars^tm^, it was somewhere close and give Paul chance to recover.

I had lost an important chance of finding out more about the Bubble^tm^ with the death of Christina, but in finding Paul Vanzella I had a chance to find out more about what the Bubblettes were up to and found another apostle.

Having recently spoken to Mr Lucas’s ‘people’ I would like to point out that all references to certain films of a Jedi nature are purely coincidental

The Soap Bubble - Episode 13. The Bubblettes Strike Back

Drew Walker

Joined July 2007

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