The top 10 for March 2019:
- The Easter Eggs You Missed in ‘Hereditary’
- Deinstitutionalized: The Power of Relationships
- FilmExodus Movie Madness Tournament Round 2: Greatest Sports Movie Edition
- Audrey Hepburn and Maggie McNamara: A History
- Howard Hughes and Pop Culture: How One Man Affected The Portrayal of OCD
- FilmExodus Movie Madness Tournament: Greatest Sports Movie Edition
- Deinstitutionalized: The Mythical Madhouse
- The Results Are In! Find Out the Winners of the 1st Annual FilmExodus Awards!
- The Orville, Doom Patrol, a pinch of Star Wars
- ‘Captain Marvel’ (2019) Review
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
PREVIOUSLY: PROLOGUE I, PROLOGUE II, CHAPTER I, CHAPTER II, CHAPTER III, CHAPTER IV, CHAPTER V, CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII: ARRIVAL
EXODUS HEADQUARTERS – DETROIT
OCTOBER 21, 2018 – 1115 HOURS
“Sorry, who?” Alvarez asked.
The Exiles of the Cosmos looked around at each other and smirked.
“Apologies, human.” The man decked in Han Solo garb said. “We thought that entrance would have been enough.”
“We’re space travellers.” The three-faced woman said. “My name is TripleS, I am from the planet of Scifansy.”
“Greetings, earthlings.” The humanoid robot beeped. “I am Larry.” The robot sparked and powered off. The man slapped Larry’s back and he beeped back to life. “Version 3.”
“He’s got a few screws loose.” The man said. He held out his hand to Dhalgren. “I’m the captain of the ship. Jack Reynolds.”
“Agent Dhalgren, 0SCAR.” Dhalgren said. He pointed at Alvarez, Karlston, Monsoon, and Soups and introduced them.
“A pleasure to meet you all.” Jack said. “My other two companions are Blank Stare and Schizo.”
“Why do they call him Schizo?” Monsoon asked.
The frog-like alien turned to Monsoon and his body twitched like an electric current. It stabilized and Schizo exhaled.
“Try not to work him up.” Jack said. “He’s a regular blackhat.”
“Paralleling through space and time has brought us to your Earth seeking your guidance and wisdom.” Blank Stare said. The cat’s eyes may have been glazed over, but his voice was as smooth as Morgan Freeman’s.
“Alright,” Karlston said. “Let’s backtrack a bit. You all call yourselves the Exiles of the Cosmos. You came in that ship which crash landed on our recently discovered compound. You are here, why?”
“For help,” Jack said. He pulled out a small technological device and tapped its surface. A holographic display of Peter Stracciatella pixelated off the screen. “You just killed this individual?”
“Yeah,” Alvarez said. “He was masquerading as the Director.”
Jack flicked his device and the display vanished. He pocketed it. “You’re the first Earth to eradicate this duplication.”
Monsoon perked up. “Duplication? You mean clone.”
“Yes and no.” TripleS said. “I believe your Earth refers to them as doppelgangers.”
“There are infinite versions of some individuals roaming the galaxy,” Jack explained. “Your version, named Peter Stracciatella, is the first one to die by alternate means.”
Dhalgren sighed. “Why do I feel like I’m not going to get my vacation time approved?”
“Petro Strombonini, the doppelganger from our Earth, is threatening genocide.” Jack said. “No one we have searched for have managed to overthrow their P.S. We need you.”
Dhalgren looked at Alvarez and Karlston. He frowned. Alvarez shrugged. Karlston nodded.
“We’ll help you.” Karlston said.
Jack smiled. “Thank you. Our ship might need repaired.”
“Already on it.” Monsoon said brushing past Jack. “I’m been wanting to get inside that baby since it crashed.”
Soups followed Monsoon into the ship. He called back to them, “Can you tell Kemosabe to bring out a blowtorch!”
“Let’s get inside and discuss a game plan.” Karlston said.
EXODUS HEADQUARTERS – BREAKOUT ROOM
OCTOBER 21, 2018 – 1145 HOURS
The Exiles of the Cosmos were fascinated with the simple technology Earth had on hand. None of the EXODUS agents had the heart to tell them what a simple piece of fruit looked like.
“So stimulating and delicious.” TripleS said biting into a nectarine.
“Your world truly is more evolved than we imagined.” Jack said tasting a grape.
“Yeah, fruit is good for you.” Dhalgren said. “Now the part that interests me is where you’re going to be taking us. Cause frankly I have no interest in going to a galaxy a long, long time ago or meeting John Carter on Mars.”
Jack popped another grape into his mouth and answered the question. “Great question Dhal, can I call you Dhal?”
“Dhal, our ship was damaged making the final breach into your universe. If your two techies with the cool glasses —seriously, where can I buy a monocle around here — can get our ship back in working order, we’ll breach back to our universe and go from there.”
“Go from there?” Dhalgren said. “Do elaborate.”
“Universe M16-17,” Larry V3 said. “Home.”
Dhalgren burst a grape in his fist. The answers were not pleasing him.
Karlston cut in. “I think Dhalgren wants a bit more of the specifics of this mission. Like how exactly will we communicate with EXODUS if we’re in another universe?”
“You won’t.” TripleS said. “It will be a leap of faith.”
“Leap of faith.” Alvarez said. “With a bunch of… extraterrestrials?”
“We actually prefer the term ‘aliens.’ It suits us.” Jack said.
“Sorry,” Kemosabe said. “Can I cut in? Who thinks this is going to be authorized?”
Dhalgren raised his hands in disbelief. “Authorized?! Stracciatella is the one that has been authorizing our missions for the last however long. We don’t really have a proper voice of authority right now. We’re really winging it.”
“Well, maybe that should change.” Kemosabe said. “Maybe we need to find the Director.”
“I should go take a look at the flashdrive.” Alvarez said. “See if I can get the footage off of it.”
“Go,” Karlston said. “Dhalgren and I will finish things here.”
Alvarez nodded. Kemosabe and he left the room. Dhalgren turned back to Jack.
“We’re going to need some form of life insurance, just in case you all turn out to be working for your Peter.”
Jack nodded and pulled out a set of dog tags. He handed them to Dhalgren.
“As long as you have those dog tags, if I kill you, I die too.” Jack said.
Dhalgren shrugged and pocketed the tags. “Works for me.”
“I’m sorry, and what do I get?” Karlston asked.
Jack patted Karlston on the shoulder. “Sorry Red, I only got one set.”
Jack whistled and the Exiles of the Cosmos gathered and walked out of the room. Dhalgren pulled out the dog tags and bit into the metal.
“I think this is solid silver.” Dhalgren said.
“No one’s called me Red since high school.” Karlston said.
Dhalgren slapped him on the back. “Ah, you’ll get over it, snowflake.”
Karlston laughed. “I’m sure I will, Dhalface.”
Karlston walked out of the room leaving Dhalgren to stare after him.
“We are not making that a thing!” Dhalgren shouted after him.
EXODUS HEADQUARTERS – THE DIRECTOR’S OFFICE
OCTOBER 21, 2018 – 2200 HOURS
Karlston pulled the blinds shut and turned to the room full of 0SCAR agents and EXODUS staff. They were packed in there like sardines, but business had to be discussed away from prying eyes like the Exiles of the Cosmos.
“If anyone is against Dhalgren, Alvarez, and I going with the Exiles of the Cosmos, speak now.” Karlston said.
“Yeah,” Newman said. “I find it really suspicious that they showed up right after we killed Petey the Slasher.”
The room nodded in agreement.
“Frankly, I thought I was on some of Monsoon’s Vodquil when I first saw that frog-thing.” Naff said. “I thought aliens only existed in movies.”
“Sure, they look weird.” Karlston said. “But I do believe they need our help. EXODUS was formed to act against threats like this. If we can’t come together in a time of need, then we’re no better than Deadline or Variety.”
“I think the fact the Director is missing is something we should be focusing on.” Crawley said.
“Actually,” Karlston said. “Alvarez managed to pull the footage off of the flashdrive. It’s still encrypted, but the tech department has sent it over to our friends at MovieMatrix to descramble it.”
“That doesn’t help us get the Director back.” Crawley said.
“We need to split up.” Dhalgren said from the sidelines. “Alvarez, Karlston, and I are going with the space travellers. But we do need to put together a team to track down the Director. Newman, you’re probably the fourth most experienced 0SCAR agent in our ranks. You pick and choose your team.”
Dhalgren continued. “Fellows, Josh, Manuel, and ‘Iron Peace’ are still in holding cells. Grill them for information about Petey and see you can’t get a lead. The rest of you I’m sure have tasks you were assigned before this all went to fecking hell. We can’t let our personal issues drive us away from protecting film.”
Everyone nodded. Karlston smiled. “Well said, Dhalface.”
Dhalgren gritted his teeth and forced a smile. “Thanks, Red.”
EXODUS HEADQUARTERS – DETROIT
OCTOBER 25, 2018 – 0900 HOURS
Dhalgren, Alvarez, and Karlston stood in front of the Exiles of the Cosmos’s ship. They were decked out on new ‘space garb’ (as Monsoon put it) that made them look like they had just walked off the set of an eighties science-fiction film.
“I look like an idiot.” Dhalgren said.
Karlston stared at himself in the ship’s reflective panels. “I look like Poe Dameron.”
“You all look gorgeous.” Monsoon yapped. He handed each of them a wallet.
“Thanks, but I already have one.” Dhalgren said.
Monsoon fake chuckled and slapped Dhalgren against the head. “This wallet is packed with essentials that will assist you, including radio comms for your three. I don’t know if it’ll cross universes to contact us, but at least you three will be able to communicate.”
Dhalgren rubbed his head. “Thanks, Monsoon.”
Monsoon adjusted his monocle. “You’re welcome.”
Jack poked his head out of the ship. “Are you three coming or what?”
The three agents turned and saw Splendy walking towards them, dressed in skin-tight spandex, complete with a cape.
“What do you think you’re doing here?” Karlston asked.
“I’ve read every comic book ever released.” Splendy said. “Everything from Eternals and New Gods to Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars. I’m the knowledge you need.”
Karlston started to object but Dhalgren said, “Bring him. I don’t care anymore. I just want to take a vacation.” Dhalgren boarded the ship.
Karlston sighed. “Fine.” He said to Splendy. “But take off that damn cape.”
Splendy unlatched the cape and followed Karlston and Alvarez into the ship. The panels closed and it hovered off the ground.
Inside, Dhalgren, Alvarez, and Splendy sat behind TripleS, Schizo, and Blank Stare. Larry V3 was upfront beside Jack behind the panels. Karlston walked over to them as they finished their systems check.
“This baby is humming like new.” Jack said. “You’ll have to thank your monocle friend for me.”
“Cap,” Larry V3 said. “I’m picking up a beacon coming straight for us.”
Jack looked at the radar and cursed under his breath in an alien language. “We’re going to have to breach ASAP.”
“Beacon?” Karlson asked. “You mean a missile?”
“Strap in.” Jack said. “Brenda’s about to breach.”
Jack flipped a switch and slammed the thrusters forward. The shop rocketed off into the sky. Jack cranked the controls and the ship twisted to the left narrowly avoiding a huge missile that blasted past them. Karlston looked out the window as the missile struck the EXODUS compound and blasted it to pieces.
Before Karlston could even comprehend what had happened, the ship breached and disappeared from the Earth’s atmosphere.