sorry, some language, be warned...

Erik thought comfortingly of barrels of gunpowder the whole way through an annoying sequel-esque kaleidoscope and into, well, some place that completely defied the laws of physics. Sorta like his house. Erik felt very at home here. Accepted, loved. It must have been one of those general psychologists that Christine had so often talked about. Erik felt loved.

That is until a cannonball went shooting through the air at him. Erik reached for his lasso and started swinging it around above his head until he realized that the rope wasn't big enough to lasso the pirate ship and there was nothing that he could string it up by to strangle it. And pirate ships didn't breathe, he reminded himself, silly silly.

At the first sign of danger, Dracula morphed back into his human self. He began to plummet like a falling vampire.

If you haven't seen one, the simile is quite effective, so no complaints, and shut up.

Erik flapped his way out of the range of the cannonballs, and heard a splash down below.

There was great cheering on the deck of the pirate ship.

"Come down ye swag!" a tremendous pair of lungs bellowed up from a reddish plume on deck.

Erik tried to get a closer look, but the feather shot at him with a brace of pistols or something.

"Blast and Bellows! Odds Fish! Shiver me timbers! Arrr."

Erik hid behind some clouds.

"Hell and damnation!"

"Wait wait!"

"A Pox on Thee!"

"No wait, Mr. Hook, I'd like to talk to you."

There was a pistol shot, Erik flinched.

"OW!" hollered Dracula. Erik heard another splash followed by scraping scrambling climbing noises.

"By the Beard! Swash and Blood!"

"May the curse of my little brother be upon you!" Dracula said, for all the history buffs. Several cringed, but most people just kept reading and ignored the fact of Dracula's little brother and his lasting effects on current British Royalty. Gunshots rang out.

"Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! EEEEEEE!!"

The 'eeeeee' did not appear to be some kind of oriental curse, but rather something akin to extreme electronic terror. Erik peeked over the edge of his cloud.

A slightly anorexic looking pirate (possibly corseted?) was bending over a small short range television set with a smoking pistol clutched in one hand and a pair of rabbit ears snagged in his hook. "Damn it all to hell!" He said, shaking the rabbit ears and firing another couple of bullets into the set. "Lance Armstrong won the Tour De France!"

Dracula wobbled up to Captain Hook picking the seaweed off of his cape. "What, again?"

"Scurvy knave!"

"Erik you coward, get down here. I see you up in those clouds." Dracula growled.

Erik's happy thoughts went fluttering away and he ignominiously went crashing through the sails and ropes and landed on the deck of the pirate ship.

An improbably fat man bent over him and giggled. "Captain!" He jumped up and down and clapped his feet like a seal.

Erik turned his head sideways and watched the man. His nose jiggled, and when it did, it made an obscure rubbery noise. The names 'Frank and Ollie' became stuck in Erik's head, along with the song 'It Appears To Be A Miniscule Earth Even So' or something. It was too much to take, so Erik got up, fluffed his cravat, and strangled the fat man single handedly. The man appeared to be giggling disturbingly through the whole ordeal.

When Erik looked up and brushed his hands up he saw that everyone was looking at him with varying expressions on their face. The man with the feather smiled and fired his pistol into the corpse.

"Odds fish!" he said gaily. "To what do we owe the honor?"

Dracula slicked his hair back. "Would you like to take over the world with us?"

"How do we split the treasure?"

"Oh, you can have it all." Dracula said magnanimously, a little too magnanimously for Erik's taste. "I just want all the maidens in the world."

Captain Hook, being a MouseĀ© character and a pirate, had no clue what Dracula was talking about and readily agreed to the deal. Erik wanted all of the maidens in the world too, but he was too embarrassed to say so and he just stood glowering as the pirate ship hoisted into the air turned on its afterburners and flung itself into hyperspace in a spray of Caribbean blue.

Unfortunately, the fat man that Erik had murdered was also the navigator, as improbable as it seemed, and Captain Hook's right hand man so in no time at all, they were hopelessly lost.

"Have you seen that planet before?" Dracula asked, pointing at a large glittering shiny thing that looked very expensive to animate. A lens flare accented the planet's futuristic beauty in a pointless but determined manner.

Captain Hook was busy looking through an antiquated spyglass and adjusting it with his hook.

Erik had become bored and was biting his fingernails. He had wondered about the properties of space and why they could breathe the air in a pirate ship, and their method of propulsion, and the sparklyness around them in general, before he decided that as a Parisian from the Victorian era, he just would suspend disbelief for a while. He'd never studied astronomy anyways. Why should any of this surprise him?

"Watch out!" Dracula yelled and hauled hard to port on the boat's steering thing.

A box that looked like a cross between a lead basketball and a tortilla chip cut in front of them. The driver honked and stuck a finger out of the window.

Captain Hook huffed his shoulders, signaled to his crew and unleashed a broadside on him. The box made a wailing electronic noise and began to plummet down.

Erik did not want to ponder which way was down. It was down. That was it. None of this gravitational field business. He'd never even heard of gravitational fields, the words were popping into his head unbidden. Noise in space. Erik didn't want to go there.

"Look alive you swabs! Heave ho to port and make for yon invitin' harbor." Captain Hook said in fluent Japanese.

Dracula waited for a translation.

Erik had a manic fit, jumped to his feet, seized the wheel and steered them through a great deal of rush hour traffic to land in the middle of a godforsaken desert planet with two smeary suns and a surface temperature that rivaled Death Valley. In fact, it bore a striking resemblance to Needles California.

Captain Hook scanned the one street town and slammed his spyglass shut with gusto. "Port in a storm Matees!"

They left the crew on board the pirate ship, and with Dracula in the fearless lead, Captain Hook second, and Erik scuffing his dress shoes in the rear, headed off for the Little A-Le-Inn Motel and Bar.

On the way there, they met a British Knight of the Order of the Garter and a whiny dork. Captain Hook killed them both with a blast from his pistol. Music swelled in the distance.

Quasimodo was coincidentally sitting at a wrought iron table outside of the Bar, sipping a Merlot and eating a loaf of French bread. They decided not to disturb him.