Before I start this little ficlette let me intro myself. I am Sideos. My fics usually have little symbolic themes running through them, so if you're up to it, keep an eye out for them.
I'm a big fan of Gilliam films, so expect a few degrees of surrealism, especially in this because I wanna kinda wave in a…Alice in Wonderland influences maybe...who knows?
Anyway. I'm not going to move in any one direction on this. I wanna make it so that it's hard to tell exactly what's true or not.
Is Jack really living in a dream world? Or is he just going mad? Or maybe a bit of both…
Think Donnie Darko but with the OMGWHATTHEHELL!!1! factor turned down.
So, without further ado, here's the fic.
I own nothing cept the things.
Jack Spicer hated the great outdoors. Ever since the whole Gigi incident a few years back he had developed a deep distrust of nature.
"Give me cities and civilisation any day." he muttered to himself as his Jack-Bots cut a path through the dense Chinese forest.
The ancient trees loomed up around them, as did an endless supply of bushes, vines, flowers and tonnes of other over grown, wild vegetation. Jack and his Bots were deep in the mysterious valleys of some part of China that Jack couldn't pronounce. Not that he cared where he was exactly, he just wanted to get the magical Shen Gong Wu and get out of this place. It was sweltering and the ground was muddy from last night's downpour.
He yawned. It was far too early to be doing this.
'But evil waits for no one,' He thought as he ducked under a low lying tree branch, 'Even if it means getting up at six in the morning on a weekend.'
Jack was a tall, slim, and deathly pale sixteen year old. His face was thin, with a pair of dark brown, almost deep red eyes. Around them he had put on a thick layer of black eyeliner, with the left eye having a small spike coming down. His hair was a wild shock of red, untamed and uncombed. He had two rings in his right ear, and a piercing just beneath his lower lip. He wore his usual black pants, black combat boots, black trench coat, black fingerless gloves. The only things that weren't black were his goggles, which sat on his forehead, the strange orange spiral effect printed on the yellow tinted lenses. On his back was a dull brown metallic backpack, strapped on with a pair of brown straps which clipped together in the middle of his chest.
Around him, Jacks squad of yellowy-bronze coated hovering robots sawed, shot and blew up the ancient environment, making sure that a good enough path was being made for their creator to casually walk through.
Jack didn't really care for the noise effecting the natural environment or the pollution his robots were making or whatever the hell they would do to this forest.
He was tired, sweating, annoyed at being woken by that loud Shen Gong Wu alarm and right now part of him was wondering why the hell he was out here anyway when he would probably just get beaten up by the xiaolin losers and that stupid little dragon of theirs.
He closed his eyes and pressed a thumb and forefinger against his eye lids, sighing. But, if he was going to take over the world then he supposed this was what it was going to take.
He held up his wrist, looking at a watch he made himself. Not only did this watch tell the time, it gave small radar-like screen of where the Shen Gong Wu signal was being radiated from. It also could tune into the radio, store mp3s, play videos up to an hour long, even tune into any local digital TV stations.
Jack was thinking of marketing it the moment he became eighteen, that way he would get all the expenses and not his parents. Well, first he would take out the Shen Gong Wu detector; it wasn't like he could do with any more competition.
The little red blinking dot on the small screen showed that he was getting close. He looked up, his eyes narrowing against the sun that was poking through the early morning clouds.
Jack smiled. He seemed to have got here before the monks, which was surprising as usually they got to the Wu before he did.
Of course they could just be travelling above the clouds. Jack looked back down, going back to his tired expression. The moment he got back home, he was going back to bed for another few hours. Probably put on some early morning cartoons that he could watch as well.
He chuckled to himself. 'That's one thing I got that those monk jerks don't have. A wide screen TV and two hundred channels with surround sound.'
He came up on a clearing, and his expression became serious, tense, alert. There was the Shen Gong Wu, on a tree branch that was conveniently set out like a small arm, holding the magic artifact up.
"Jack-Bots, surround the area and check for those annoying monks." The young teens' command came quick and sharp.
The robots automatically responded and Jack wasted no time in moving towards the object.
If he got this one it would be the first in months. Jack was just glad that Chase didn't go after the Wu, or Jack would never even get a look-in.
He slowed, the old sense of fear and anxiety creeping into his stomach. He looked around timidly, mostly up into the sky.
Nothing moved, only a small wind through the treetops, a few birds chirping. Somewhere in the forest the sound of a monkey howling could be heard.
"No monks detected, sir." The computerised voice of one of his Bots came from behind him. The confirmation comforted Jack.
"The weather up there must be bad if they're so late." Jack said with a growing grin.
He walked swiftly towards the object, and, with a final look around. He gleefully took the Wu in hand.
He fisted the air in triumph. "Yes! Another win for Jack Spicer evil genius!"
He turned onto one of his robots, stuck out his tongue and made his fist into a devil horn's sign.
The expressionless robot opened a small compartment and some confetti accompanied by an overblown guitar solo sound came out.
With his mood infinitely lifted he grinned again and looked at the new found item. The Shen Gong Wu was…unusual looking for a Wu. Most Shen Gong Wu were of deep blues, browns, reds, gold's. This was…black and white. It was shaped like an eye, except where the pupil would be there was just a hole. It was pretty flat, only a dip where the white in the eye would usually be, the metal outline was black.
Something about the Wu was creeping Jack out slightly, like the pupil-less eye was looking at him, staring unblinkingly into his mind.
For a second, the wind died down. Sounds became almost tinned and far away. Jack felt…strange. Like the world was almost melting away. For a moment, nothing was real. Everything seemed to brighten, shine with its own internal light. The ground beneath him blurred and the dewy grass began to melt into one hazy green mass.
The cry brought Jack crashing back into the world. So much so that he actually snapped his head up and staggered back, dizzy. He looked around, things where still swimming slightly, but they soon slid back into focus. Things lost there shine, and Jack could feel the world around him again.
Sounds crashed back in around him, like they had just been on pause, most notably the all too familiar sound of a dragon landing a few feet away from him.
Jack hazily collected himself, and tried to look mean and threatening as he possibly could after that rather odd experience.
The monks jumped off the green dragon as he shrank back into his small form.
Omi, the only one who hadn't grown an inch in years, pointed a finger at Jack. "You will surrender that Shen Gong Wu before we make you surrender it for us!"
The Chinese monk was barley bigger then an eleven year old. He had a big round bald head with nine dots on his forehead and dark brown eyes. He wore the same traditional red monk robes, with the black laced cuffs and belt. His pants were black, as were his monk shoes and he had white socks.
Behind him was the tall, heavily built form of Clay. The teen had a classically chiselled western look about his face, and he had small, but bright blue eyes and blond hair that came over one eye. He was wearing his dark blue denim pants, cowboy boots, blue shirt, red paisley neckerchief and brown cowboy hat.
"Can we get this over with? I'm not used to getting up so early." Raimundo's tired, yawing voice reminded Jack how early in the morning it really was.
Raimundo stood at the side of Omi, scratching his back. He had thick brown hair and a pair of jade green eyes. His skin was slightly tanned and he was well built, but about an inch smaller then Jack. He was wearing a t-shirt with green for the sleeves and white for the body with an orange shirt underneath. He had on a pair of brown baggy pants and a pair of sneakers on his feet.
Jack inwardly sneered at Rai. If the guy was in high school, he'd be one of those popular sport jock types that Jack despised.
Standing to his side Kimiko rolled her eyes. Kimiko was the only girl in the team. She was slim and Japanese and had jet black hair, tied into two pony tails, and light blue eyes. She was wearing a pair of stylish brown boots, flared blue jeans and sleeveless top with a thick black line running over her mid-drift and a light red line running over and under it. She had light eyeliner on and bright pink lipstick.
She looked at Raimundo in a mock glare. "Yea, well we could have got here earlier if we didn't have to make that stop."
Rai shrugged and smiled. "Hey, I really needed to go."
Jack hated Kimiko as well. An infinity ago Jack thought he had a crush on her, but that had long faded into hate. If she was in high school, she'd be the preppy cheerleader girlfriend of one of those sport jock types, probably Raimundo's. Jack wasn't sure about Omi or Clay, but he had spotted the looks Kimiko gave to Rai when she though no one important was watching.
The now much smaller dragon, Dojo, jumped in front of the team. "Yea, well, it doesn't matter now, we're here, so let's get that Shen Gong Wu."
Jack snarled and held the Wu away from the others. "Hey, I got here first, finders keepers."
Dojo's yellow eyes fell on the Wu and he gasped in surprised. The monks noticed that and Omi quickly asked. "What is it?"
Dojo pointed a claw towards the Wu. "That's the Third Eye of Zheng!"
Raimundo giggled at the name but was quickly shut up when Kimiko smacked the back of his head.
Dojo continued irregardless. "The Third Eye of Zheng is a very mysterious Wu. No ones really sure what it does, but it was once used on the first emperor of China, which is why it's named after him."
Kimiko tilted her head slightly and frowned at Dojo thoughtfully. "Wasn't he the one that went insane?"
Dojo nodded, "Yep. He died after trying to shoot invisible sea monsters on a shore somewhere, poor guy. Although, many say it was the balls of mercury he used to eat that drove him coo-coo. So we really don't know if it was the Wu or not."
Jack looked back at the eye with renewed interest, grinning madly. "So this thing drives people nuts? GREAT!"
Jack immediately turned it on the others and shouted its name, "Third Eye of Zheng!"
The middle of the Wu glowed a strange milky white before shooting a beam forward at the team.
The monks quickly dived out the path of the blast, and the others that were fired in their direction by a manically laughing Spicer.
Amidst his laughing Jack yelled out the phrase he'd been shouting for years. "Jack-Bots! Attack!"
The monks quickly adapted to the fight, after all, they had been doing this for years. It didn't take long for the Bots to be destroyed. Jack knew this would happen. He also knew that it was the better idea to cut and run.
He quickly darted into the forest as the last Jack-Bot hit the muddy, wet floor in a burning pile of metal.
He could hide in the forest and then use his heli-bot backpack to get home once he'd thrown off the others.
As Jack ran he heard the others shout his name behind him. They'd be after him and they wouldn't give up until they had the Wu. The teen knew he didn't have long until they caught up with him. He needed shelter fast.
His breathing became laboured as he pressed on faster. He held the Wu close to his chest and smashed his way through the undergrowth.
His heart beat painfully against his chest, his legs started to burn and his feet hurt. But he couldn't stop.
The shouting of the monks was getting closer. They'd be on him any second now.
Suddenly, his foot hit a small rock that was sticking jaggedly out the ground. Jack had been running so fast he hadn't seen it coming.
He fell, painfully, hitting the muddy floor with a hard smack. The Wu fell from his hands and plopped onto the floor ahead of him.
Jack looked up, not caring that he was now covered in mud, dead leaves and other forest debris.
"There he is!" Raimundo's shout came from the trees behind him.
Jack panicked and quickly crawled across the floor to grab the Wu. He turned onto his back and held the Wu out in front of him, pointing into the trees. With the cold metal of the Shen Gong Wu in his hands, Jack felt slightly better.
The monks dropped in a line a few feet from him.
"Look at him, on the ground like the darn snake he is." Clay growled in his southern accent drawl.
The monks glared hatefully down at Spicer and Jack sneered evilly back at them. "Come any closer and I'll drive you to the loony bin."
Raimundo stepped forward. "Hand it over, Jack, and we may spare you from a beating."
Jack grinned defiantly, even though inside he was shaking. "No."
Rai darted forward, but before he got to his enemy Jack shouted. "Third Eye of Zheng!"
Raimundo was too far in his strike to stop, and his eyes widened in fear as the centre of the Wu glowed that eerie milky white.
But the blast didn't come. Instead, it went the opposite way. Directly into Jack.
The teen was blasted across the floor, directly into a great oak that stood a few feet from him. A sickening crack was heard as some of Jacks bones were broken and the tree buckled and shook from the impact.
Rai stopped his strike where Jack Spicer used to be and looked up with a mixture of shock, amusement, and perhaps some concern at the small curled form of Jack at the base of the tree.
The others also sheared Raimundo's expressions. Omi was the first to speak out. "Is Jack ok?"
Clay grinned and put his hands on his hips. "Well if he aint it's his own fault, the fool held the Wu the wrong way around and all."
Kimiko didn't smile. "Come on guys, he's not moving, this could be serious."
Raimundo turned on the others. "Are you crazy? That's Jack Spicer! He's our enemy!"
Omi nodded. "Yes, but he is not an enemy like Chase Young or Wuya"
This small sentence seemed to sum up the groups' collective feelings about Jack and together they walked towards him, rolling him over onto his side, after of course they took the Shen Gong Wu from his hand.
"Jack?" Kimiko asked softly, but loudly. "Jack? Can you hear me?"
Jack opened his eyes wearily. Someone was echoing his name…it was a girl…Kimiko. But he wasn't in the forest anymore. He looked around, his eyes widening at what he saw.
It was like he could still see the forest, but it was painted over his eyes. Behind it he could see…white. Padded dull white walls…and a cut out of a door. He saw the shadow of a tall figure looking down on him through a pair of glasses that shone with the same inner white light that he saw before.
Another voice echoed into his ears, but this one seemed…closer. It was the deep voice of a man and he sounded rather excited.
"Wait…look…he's reacting! Jack? Jack! Oh no…we're losing him…"
He closed his eyes shut and shook his head. The man's voice echoed away to nothing.
When he opened them again he saw semi-concerned monks looking down on him.
Kimiko raised an eyebrow as Jack groaned at the immense, yet somewhat familiar pain in his ribs and head.
"Hey, you ok?" Her voice sounded disdainful, like she didn't really care what the answer was.
Jack just nodded and held his ribcage tight. He'd probably have to take it easy for a few weeks now, even with the help of the one or two healing potions that he'd picked up from Wuya when she worked with him.
'I knew it was too early for this.' He thought, too winded and in pain to say his thought aloud. He closed his eyes and grimaced as sharp, dagger-like jabs of pain ripped through him.
"Well," Omi said happily, "Now we know you aren't dead, we'll be taking the Wu and be punching the dirty path."
Clay chuckled. "I think that's 'hitting the dusty trail' little buddy."
The monks walked of having no qualms about leaving Jack Spicer in agonizing pain in the middle of a random forest in deep China.
For about ten minutes after the monks left Jack lay curled up on the floor, too weak to even activate his hover-pack.
Eventually however he pulled himself upright to his feet and, breathing slowly and heavily, he activated his pack and started the slow journey home.
"OW! Hey, watch it will you?" Jack growled at the Med-Bot that was currently wrapping a large white bandage around Jacks chest.
The teenager was sitting on a cold table without his top on letting one of his Med-Bots repair some of the damage that the blast, combined with the tree, had given him. He had got in a while back and had taken a hot, soothing shower before painfully making his way to the Med-Bot for treatment.
"Sorry, sir." It responded in that cold emotionless way that robots often do. Jack generally preferred the company of his metallic creations to real people. They didn't call him names or laugh at his failures. They supported him unquestioningly, treated him with respect and were ready to die at his command. Something that was rare amongst the free-thinking.
Jack sighed as the Bot wrapped the last of the bandage around him and moved back to let him go. Jack picked up his red top with the cut-off sleeves and put it on. He winced slightly as his ribs moved when he pulled the top down.
He hopped carefully off table and walked slowly over to his couch, easing himself down, trying to limit the pain.
The dull throb of his ribs reminded him that once again, he had lost. He wasn't sure if it was the painkillers or the continues loop of defeat getting to him, but he felt so tired and worn out that he didn't even feel like preparing to get the monks back.
'Maybe I should just pack all this evil in and do something constructive with my life…' He thought blankly.
He let his head fall back and he looked up, letting a small weary smile grace his lips. '…Naaa. Where would be the fun in that?'
He sighed, tensing at the pain it caused in his chest. His mind drifted to the incident. He couldn't believe he was stupid enough to hit himself with his own Wu.
Well, at least the whole 'power to drive you insane' thing didn't seem to be true. He wasn't climbing the walls chasing leprechauns or anything like that.
Suddenly however, his mind brought up the image he had seen when he had been coming round. The white padded walls, the shadow and the voice of that man.
Jack's eyes narrowed. What was that?
He shrugged with his eyebrows. "Probably just the concussion," He decided to himself.
His hand reached down the side of the couch for the remote. Pulling it out and brushing some fluff from it he smiled and switched his TV on.
"I think I deserve some cartoons."
Like that, eh?
Well, there's some more in de can. And believe me, Jacks in for one hell of a ride.
So, the Wu is named after the actual first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (personal name of Zheng) who did indeed go mad and did indeed shoot invisible sea monsters in a lake.
Anyway, you guys may want to run his name into wikipedia, because he's gonna be mentioned again here, him and his would-be assassin Zhang Liang.
The fic's name is after a Door's song, Break On Through.
R&R if you please.