La Capitán: the End of Time miniseries

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BrianleWolfhunt
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La Capitán: the End of Time miniseries

-Good day sentinel comics fans. I am writer Brian Le Wolfhunt. Many ask for adventures of Maria Helena and never quite get the stories they want, so I provided a story from her career as the time pirate alongside her crew. In this story, La Capitán gets stranded in the end, the final wasteland that remains of earth. But how does she get there? Well it all starts with a thrilling action setpiece between her and our mighty heroes.

 

Chapter 1
Tides of Time

    Buenos dias! I am Maria Helena Teresa Fafila Servanda Jimena Mansuara Paterna Domenga Gelvira Placia Sendina Belita Eufemia Columba Gontina Aldonza Mafalda Cristina Tegrida de Falcon. I am La Capitán of the timeship, La Paradoja Magnifica! Isn’t she a beautiful vessel? She’s the first ship I ever sailed back in 16th century Spain. The galleon was flooded with chronal energies of the timestream on its voyage. Well, stream isn’t accurate. Time is more like a boundless ocean with ports allowing different access to locations and times. I have sailed that ocean for a couple decades seeking fortune and adventure. There are many times to visit and infinite timelines to explore, but today me and my crew seek a little payback. 
    I held the throwing knife in my left hand while my right held the helm. The knife still had a bit of dried blood on it, the results of an injury that my crew member, Siege-Breaker, still complained about. The woman who threw the knife lived in the early 21st century of my home timeline, and the knife tried to anchor itself to the time that it originated. It’s how I can find locations and times that I have been before. I tilted the wheel to port, following the minuscule pull of the object’s tether. It guided me along. 
    “What is ze plan, mon ami?” L’Épeiste asked. Pierre, who took the name  L’Épeiste, is a musketeer of the french variety. That meant he had a big hat and a sword and doesn’t fight with a musket all that often. I always found that rather odd. He is a better fencer than I am but doesn’t hold the same authority. 
    “The plan is to go in, charge the heroes, defeat them, and then take whatever plunder we can find. Simple really.” I explained. 
    “Can’t argue with that plan.” Battle Forged said as he sharpened his axe. As a viking, Orinn the Battle Forged is always up to combat. He settled his helmet on his head and activated the Heads Up Display on the helmet of futuristic make. He stared ahead, anticipating the coming fight.
    Up the stairs to the topdeck came Chip. Charles “Chip” Stevenson wore the outfit of those from what he called “the Royal Airforce” during what he called “The Great War.” From what he described of it this war was considerably unpleasant. He shifted his aviator’s goggles out of his eyes before speaking. “Ma’am, I am not one to question you, but are you sure that is the best plan we have right now?”
    “Chip, time travel is not an exact science.” I told him. “I can’t really make plans since I have no idea what we will be getting into. We will just have to see and improvise.”
    The Amazing Mabel, a twentieth century American circus trapeze artist, swung down from the ropes above. “Chip darling, leave the boss alone. She is doing her best. We are used to planning as we go.”
    “I know.” Chip relied. “But the old soldier in me is never comfortable with just just blindly rushing in.”
    “Maybe,” Battle-Forged began, “if you learned to enter battle with a pair of balls then you can learn courage.”
    Chip glared at Battle-Forged. “Unlike barbarians like you, I know the value of proper battle tactics. You can take your outdated little hatchet and trade it in for a useful weapon.”
    “Try and make me.” Battle-Forged retorted. “This weapon will kill you just just as well as the coward’s tool you hold to your side.”
    “Basta!” I shouted at the two of them. “Chip, man a port side cannon. Battle-Forged, a starboard cannon, and the two will you will not utter another word or I will have you both tied up and dragged behind the ship! Comprende?”
    “Ay Capitán.” They both answered in unison before leaving to follow my orders.
    Mabel watched them leave and said, “Like stubborn children, aren’t they?”
    “They are just wound up. Nerves. They can’t take their frustrations out on me so they leap down each other’s throats.”
    “How much longer until we get there?” Mabel asked.
    “Long enough that i will suggest you return to your post and get ready for battle stations.” I turned to the last person at the deck. “That goes for you to, L’Épeiste.” 
    “Oui, Capitán.” He said. He rushed down the stairs. Mabel did a theatrical little bow then started climbing the ropes to join Trueshot at the crow’s nest.
    I breathed a sigh of contentment. I always enjoyed a solitary moment, like in the old days when I was on my own in the timestream. I like my crew, but they have proven to be a lot of bother sometimes. I could compare them to the family I was born into, except I am the center of my crew’s world. They would not be here if not for me.
    Not long after that I began to feel the pull on the knife strengthen. I felt it grow to the point of near tangibility. I knew we were almost there.
    Below me, carrying a spare cannonball to the starboard cannons was Seige-Breaker. He wore his blue modified knight’s armor with his flaming spear affixed to his back. I shouted down at him. “Ahoy, Geremio!”
    Seige-Breaker turned to look at me through his thick glasses, an early gift to improve his performance. “Ahoy Capitán! What do you need?”
    “We are nearing our destination. Go bellow decks and make sure Final Breath is ready for battle.”
    Seige-Breaker saluted, dropped off his cannonball, then went bellow decks. 
    Then I felt it, the ship itself seemed to thrum with energy. It shook and bucked to the oncoming forces. The air around us seemed to become extremely dense. Colors in the timestream began to shift and change and morph into unimaginable shades and hues. Up ahead I could see the creation of a portal of purple energy. La Paradoja Magnifica picked up speed as the currents brought us towards a material plane. I shouted to the crew, “Brace yourselves mateys! we are about to make landfall!” A shout of excitement emitted from all the crew members as we passed through the portal.
    This crossing felt just like every other, even back to the first one that I ever encountered. I felt one form of energy leave my body and another form enter. My body felt like it was being crushed and stretched simultaneously. I felt the all too familiar jolt of pain move through me as every molecule of my body was forced to adapt to the form of the physical place that lays inside time. I knew all my crew members felt it too. It was horrible but it was also exhilarating. It was death and birth at the same time and these moments were as much a part of me as my right hand. I wouldn’t trade a single one of these moments for the world.
    And then the moment passed as we made it through the portal. I took stock of my surroundings. It was more or less what I expected. The timeship was flying over a twenty-first century metropolitan city called Megalopolis. 
    Chip whistled from port side. “No matter how many times I see it, I never get used to these cities.”
    “One cities is much like any other.” Said Final Breath, as he had just came up from bellow the deck. Ishikawa Zenjirou Kagemune wore a fancy robe from the east, a kimono. A similarly fancy sword hung at his hip, emitting a faintly green glow. He says he is a ronin from Japan.
    Trueshot climbed down from the ropes. “To see a city this large, it makes me wonder the limits of human ingenuity.” The pale skinned amazon took a glowing arrow from her thigh quiver. As she did so, I noticed Chip secretly ogle her scantily clothed figure.
    “Focus on the job everyone.” I shouted down to everyone. I turned the helm to point the ship towards my target, the giant building in the shape of the letter F that towered over the tallest skyscrapers of the city. The timeship sailed through the air towards the monolithic building. Already the city below began to stir as people noticed the flying, steampunk galleon moving towards the Freedom Tower. Helicopters took flight and passerby began to cry out in surprise. 
    As we neared the colossal letter, I called out orders to my crew. “We will be coming along to the building’s right side. Chip, Siege-Breaker, and Final Breath, all of you man a cannon on the port side. Mabel, Trueshot, the two of you prepare for a swing boarding. L’Épeiste, Battle Forged, both of you keep your eyes up and check for hostiles.”
    The crew followed the orders as I called them. I pulled up alongside the building. My crew pointed the cannons at the buildings. I raised my hand then dropped it down, shouting “Fire broadside!” 
    There was a loud detonation and a set of cannonballs flew into the windows of the building before exploding, shattering the glass of the windows on the whole floor and the floors above and below it. When the danger of the glass was gone, Trueshot and Mabel jumped off the starboard bow while holding some ropes, swinging under the ship and flying towards the tower. They let go of the ropes at the perfect moment to launch themselves across the gap and inside. They searched the nearby area while I docked the boat alongside the building and Battle Forged lowered a bridge from the deck to the building.
    “Anyone inside?” I asked the scouts through the comms. 
    “Empty as a desert, ma’am.” Mabel answered.
    “Excelente.” I let go of the wheel and gestured to the rest of the crew. “Todos! Vamos!” I charged down the bridge.
    I entered a large, open area with office cubicles, large hallways and several entrances to training rooms, labs, and other rooms that superheroes need. “Where are they?” I wondered out loud. 
    “We kicked in their front door.” Battle Forged said. “You’d think they would show up to meet us.” No sooner than he said that did a hero show up, though not one of the ones that I was expecting. 
    Mabel suddenly buckled from an electric shock that came out of nowhere before a previously unnoticed speck grew in size next to her, punching Trueshot in the gut. This person was a pink skinned lady with knee and elbow spikes. 
    I created a portal, reached through it, and withdrew a flintlock. “Where are the Freedom 5?” I demanded to the alien hero.
    “Those friend persons are doing other things.” She answered before diving forward towards me and growing until she filled the room from floor to ceiling and reaching out to grab at me. I barely managed to dive through the opening between her thumb and index finger. L’Épeiste behind me was not so lucky. He was gripped in her large hand and squeezed. 
    Trueshot readied an explosive arrow at the alien’s hand when there was a small detonation off to one side of the large room. Suddenly Trueshot’s bow hand sprouted ice, freezing it to the bow. In surprise, Trueshot released the arrow, which barely moved to halfway down its own length before getting stuck in the ice. 
    I searched in the direction on the shot to see a one-eyed woman bearing a modern pistol in each hand. Her eyepatch made her smile seem menacing as she leveled one of her guns at me and fired. 
    Acting on instinct, I leaned to the side and fired back. Apparently both our shots missed and we both scrambled for cover. Battle Forged, ignoring the danger the guns presented, charged at the one eyed woman.  She popped up from cover long enough for his axe to nearly cleave her in two. She fell backwards and rolled away from him, and continued to fire at him when she recovered her balance. Battle Forged was hit 3 times in the chest, which sent him staggering but his futuristically enforced armor stopped the worst of the damage. 
    I took a second to take in the the fight. L’Épeiste was leaning against a wall, nursing from what appeared to be broken ribs. Trueshot was trying to thaw out her hand. Chip was trying to corner the alien behind a desk while Mabel flanked her. Siege-Breaker stood by me. I couldn’t tell where Final Breath was.
    I dropped my flintlock into a portal and withdrew a replacement gun, a laser pistol of Thorathian make. I got ready to help Battle Forged subdue the gunslinger but I was interrupted when a nearby door exploded in cold. A beam of ice flew from the door and hit Siege-Breaker, sending him sprawling. A man in a black mech suit walked grimly walked out of the room and he spoke to me from behind his opaque, blue, glass faceplate. “And here I thought this would be a boring weekend.” He grumbled before blasting another ray of cold.
    I dived, which saved me from the brunt of the attack but it still caught my leg. I felt like I had instantly gotten frostbite and I felt chills all over. I knew it would pass in a second or two so I wasted no time in shooting at him.
    The laser shot hit him in the side, spinning him a bit. It was enough to divert him from me long enough for Mabel to swoop in from nowhere, landing a hard falling stomp on the mech suit’s helmet. The man inside grunted and grabbed at her. Their fight took them away from her.
    Chip returned to me, guns pointing at the ice warrior. I demanded, “where is the alien?”
    “She disappeared.” He answered.
    “Well find her. She is going to be una problema.”
    “Yes, Capitán.” He intoned before searching the floor. 
    He needn't have bothered. From a point by his feet, the alien grew from the size of an ant to fill the room again, picking Chip up and slamming him into the ceiling. She dropped him and punched down at me. I quickly reached into a portal and grabbed a sword, cutting at her knuckled as I dodged the punch. I aimed my gun at her head but just as I fired she shrunk down to my height and grabbed both my arms. She head butted me in the face and I dropped my weapons. However, I quickly made more portals and removed a pair of knives. I stabbed her with the both of them before kicking her off of me. She stumbled away then shrank back to tiny sized again.
    However, before I could breathe there was a creaking sound from the ceiling, where the alien smashed Chip against it. The spot in the ceiling suddenly broke and a man fell through, right on top of me. The floor beneath me inexplicably broke as well and we both fell through the floor and when we hit the floor below, the bulk of his weight landed right on my stomach.
    With the wind knocked out of me, all I could do was take in the appearance of the man who fell on me. He wore a black and yellow costume with the emblem of a die on his chest. He also wore a black domino mask. He looked very shocked at what just happened. “Oh gosh.” He said. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
    “Stupido.” I growled then stabbed at him with one of the knives. It penetrated though barely sunk in an inch. However, the jab did surprise the young man into jumping off of me. I scrambled to my feet.
    From above I heard “I’m coming down.” And then Siege-Breaker was there with us. He charged the boy in yellow, who yelled “oh jeez!” before engaging with Siege-Breaker.
    Another voice sounded from above, this time from the one eyed gun fighter. “Pete! Get out of Meredith’s lab! Don’t break anything!” There was gunfire above and more yells of alarm from my crew mates.
    I summoned a cutlass and leaped over a set of science equipment in this laboratory. I slashed at the boy, hitting him in the back. He took it in stride however and turned to grab me, then throw me into Siege-Breaker. Siege-Breaker landed flat on his back but I rolled over him as we landed and regained my feet quickly. The boy seemed pleasantly surprised that the maneuver worked but then got serious again when I leaped at him, slashing with wide, deadly cuts wherever I could land them. When he successfully dodged my 8th attack I decided to change tactic. I rushed in, clapped my off hand to the side of his head, spun and drove his head into the nearest object, which happened to be a computer monitor.
    Apparently that turned something on since the room began to hum with energy. 
    The boy kicked me off of him, picked up a crate of beakers and threw it at me. The crate hit me like a ton of bricks and knocked me onto my backside. Siege-Breaker had recovered by then and started stabbing at the boy with his flaming halberd. He nicked him a few times but the boy managed to get in close and wrestle Siege-Breaker to the ground with his superhuman strength. The boy then began to punch Siege-Breaker to try and keep him down. My crew mate didn’t have long until he was out cold.
    Then Final Breath just seemed to appear out of nothingness behind the boy and slashed him in the back with his katana. The blade didn’t go any deeper than mine did, but unlike my sword, Final Breath’s katana was coated in a fast acting poison.
    The hero in the yellow costume gasped and wretched but he had sense enough to turn and punch Final Breath right in the face, which laid him out. Siege-Breaker recovered his halberd and stabbed at the hero from the floor. The boy backed away and dived into the secure, explosion proof room in the laboratory. He slammed the door shut while Siege-Breaker got up.
    Siege_Breaker was about to attempt to open the door when I called out. “No, just leave him. Seal him inside the room.” My past experiences with this hero told me that engaging with him was very risky, even compared to most of the powerhouses of the universe. Siege-Breaker obeyed my command and used his flaming halberd to melt the locks on the door, preventing them from opening again.
    I helped Final Breath off the floor then summoned a grappling hook to get myself to the floor above, where the other heroes were doubtlessly fighting with the rest of my crew. 
    From inside the lab’s shelter, I heard the boy say, “Come on. Something’s got to work.” while he seemed to be pushing buttons at random.
    Then there was a flash of purple energy in one of the science canisters at the end of the room and a time portal opened. “Dios Mio.” I cursed. “What now?” I got a new gun and aimed it at the portal.
    When i saw what stepped through, I couldn’t believe my eyes. “You have got to be kidding me.” 
 

BrianleWolfhunt
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Joined: Jul 13, 2017

-Greeting Sentinel Comics fans. A time portal has opened up in the Freedom Tower during La Capitán's raid. Who is the newcomer to the scene, and how will they mess with La Capitán's plans? Find out in todays issue.

 

Chapter 2
La Capitán the younger

    The woman who stepped from the portal had Spanish features, a young face, a bandana over her beautiful brown hair, a sword, a gun, and a large grin.
    She was me, but roughly 15 years younger.
    “Ahoy mateys!” Young Capitán shouted. Her voice was mine but younger and more high pitched. “I seemed to have stumbled upon quite the brawl! Let me in on the action!”
    I pointed my gun at me and said “Turn back around if you know what is good for you.”
    She looked at me and recognized herself. “Are you me? Soy bonita.” She grinned. “However, there is stuff here that I want, so how about you get out of my way, Abuela.”
    I looked to the side at my crew mates. “Attack her. No mercy.”
    Siege-Breaker looked surprised. “But isn’t she you?”
    I glanced at Geremio. “I don’t care.” I looked back at Young Capitán and fired my gun.
    Young me knew the shot was coming so she opened a portal in front of her and my bullet disappeared into it. Young Capitán then closed the portal and charged me with her sword. 
    I blocked the first few strikes and struck back. She seemed to phase out of existence then appear in front of Siege-Breaker, jabbing him a few times with her sword. She then ported right over to Final Breath, stabbing him in the side. She ported again but I, expecting it, stabbed behind me. It caught Young Capitán in the arm. I turned and grabbed her just as she ported again to the floor above, taking me with her.
    We both fell to the ground. I attempted to restrain her but she kicked me right in the face and scrambled away. She retrieved a gun and shot at me while running off. The shot impacted the floor next to me. In response I summoned my own gun and fired back. My bullet grazed her shoulder. She dived around a hall corner. I got up and chased her. 
    When I rounded the corner, I saw Young Capitán dueling with L’Épeiste while Mabel and Battle Forged took cover from the cold beams the mech hero was firing. L’Épeiste slashed at her head but she ducked, turned, opened a portal and thrust her sword through it. A portal opened behind L’Épeiste and her sword came out of it, hitting L’Épeiste in the back. He cried out in pain and fell to the side. 
    Young Capitán looked back at me and took off again. I called to my crew. “Mabel! Stop her!”
    Mabel looked at young me, started in surprise, then leaped at her. She used her legs to grab Young Capitán’s and trip her up. Mabel then rolled off and aimed a kick at Young Capitán. The young pirate made a quick emergency gesture and Mabel was suddenly encased in purple energy, morphing her body into different versions of herself. She felt the anomaly and began to freak out as different versions of her fought for control over the space she occupied.
    Young me quickly looked around and saw the time ship. She grinned at the sight of La Paradoja Magnifica and ran towards it. However, Battle Forged and the ice hero were in the way.
    The ice hero, upon seeing Young Capitán, wasted no time in firing a cold blast at her. In response, she used another amount of purple chronal energy and created a space between them where time seemed to affect things strangely. The cold blast dissipated, Battle Forged collapsed and groaned, the ice hero cried out in shock and pain as his suit rusted and broke apart.
    Young Capitán didn’t even look to see the results of her actions. She just continued to run for the gangplank of the timeship. She would have made it there too if the gunslinger hero hadn’t intervened. One moment, Young Capitán was running towards my ship at a full sprint, the next, there was a loud detonation and she stood stock still as an electric round slammed into her, causing her whole body to stiffen from the electric shock and then she knelt on the ground in pain. 
    And then the consequences of Young Capitán’s chronal plane shifting made itself known as the ice man in the wrecked suit cried out in agony as lukewarm air came into contact with his impossibly cold skin and reacted, outputting a massive explosion of cold. The air seemed to solidify and any moisture that was present turned into jagged flecks of ice that flew in every direction. The area was complete chaos. I managed to avoid the worst of it, but my crew members were not so lucky. Trueshot, who tried to intercept Young Capitán, was laying on the ground, skin cracked and brittle from the moisture leaving her body and the ice particles hitting her. Battle Forged seemed to be frozen solid. In the center of the explosion, the ice man was incased in a man sized block of ice, and he was slowly coating his exposed skin with sheets of ice from within.
    I ran to Battle Forged and used a portal to grab an item from the timeship’s cargo hold. I took a magic rug from ancient Arabia and placed it over my crew mate. “Get up Orinn! I need you alive!” The fire in the rug heated the old viking up to a point where he could move again. I kept the rug wrapped around him as I pulled him up.
    The rest of my crew had finally caught up with me. Chip helped Trueshot get up and Siege-Breaker was carrying an unconscious Mabel. We continued on towards La Paradoja Magnifica, passing by the ice man as we went. He watched us from behind his temporary prison.
    We made it to the gangplank and I let my crew onto the ship first. They piled in one by one. I looked around. To my left I could see the gunslinger, who just reloaded her weapons and was getting ready to fire again. To my right, the alien lady had resumed normal size and looked ready to grow again to stop me. Behind me, the ice man broke his prison and prepared another blast. It was time to go.
    I summoned another gun and fired three quick shots, barely even bothering to properly aim at the heroes, then I retreated up the gangplank back onto the ship. I rushed to the helm while one of my crew brought the plank on board. I wasted no time moving the ship while I felt cold blasts and gunfire rain on me and my crew. In my peripheral, I could see the alien step back from the building, as if preparing to take a running leap. I was not taking any chances at this point. The last thing I needed was a giant alien on board the ship and tearing it apart. I called to my crew. “Portside cannons, Fire! Fire! Fire!” A few of my relatively unhurt crew mates scrambled to the cannons and one of them managed to fire off a single shot towards the Freedom Tower as we fled. The shot hit the building a couple floors below the one we were just on, but it was enough to rock the building and provide us that necessary time to escape. We sped off into empty air and i quickly opened a portal, draining the last of my reserves to get La Paradoja Magnifica out of the timeline. I held on to the helm tightly to maintain our course as we sailed through into the portal.
    Pain and pleasure, noise and silence, and all sorts of esoteric thoughts raced through us, almost unnoticed through our weariness. After a single moment that lasted ages we made it through and arrived outside of time.
    For a moment there was silence among us. We just took some time to breathe and collect our thoughts. Things seemed to go completely wrong too quickly. The fight was going fine, and then everything completely fell apart. I looked down at my crew. They didn’t look good. Chip and Final Breath were attending to medical duties, moving from person to person and checking their wounds. It seemed like Mabel was worst off. Whatever anomaly that Young me had wrapped her up in seemed to severely hurt her, but it was difficult to tell the extent of the damage. After her was Battle Forged, who was vigorously trying to restore feeling in his arm but had a lot of trouble moving. He was probably frostbitten in several places. L'Épeiste was dealing with a few broken ribs and a stab wound in the back. Even as he worked to help the others, Chip was also nursing a lot of nasty bruises. Siege-Breaker, Final Breath and Trueshot seemed to have been lucky enough to get out of there with only minor injuries. 
    I looked ahead of the ship and deemed it safe enough to lock the helm on its current course. I walked down to the main deck with the rest of my crew. I moved over to Mabel and knelt besides the acrobat’s form. She was breathing and moving, but not conscious. I attempted to get a feel for the energies that she endured. I got a general idea but not specifics. I did what I could, siphoning off the energies and reversing the physical and mental strain of the anomaly she endured.
    After I finished, I felt a gauntleted hand on my shoulder. “We need to have a meeting.” Siege-Breaker said.
    I sighed and turned around to face my crew. All of them were looking at me. “What is the issue?” I asked of them.
    Siege-Breaker took the lead. “This most recent excursion, I think we can all agree, was a disaster. We came in, kicked in the door, then we came out with no plunder and many wounds. Most of us nearly died in there. We are not even sure if Mabel will make it.”
    “We’ve had setbacks like this before.” I replied.
    “Oui.” L'Épeiste said. “But more than I am comfortable with.”
    “We have been lucky so far.” Chip chimed in. “We have only had cuts and scrapes and the occasional rescue. However, more and more often we are ending up in situations that have gone close to killing us or leaving us stranded in locations and times that we can’t survive.” 
    “We take too many risks.” Trueshot added. 
    I looked at my crew. “So what are you saying?”
    Siege-Breaker spoke again. “I think it is time for a change of leadership.”
    For a second I didn’t understand what he was saying. Then it hit me. I stood there, surprised and silent. “So.” I said as calmly as I could manage. “It is mutiny then.”
    Chip spoke again. “Please understand Maria, we don’t mean you any malice.”
    Final Breath spoke from the side. “It is just an analysis of costs and benefits.” 
    “And what do you expect to do?” I asked them. “None of you can open the portals. None of you can navigate the seas. None of you can properly sail the ship. None of you would even be here, in this unique position of traveling through time, if it wasn’t for me and La Paradoja Magnifica.”
    Battle Forged glared. “If it wasn’t for you and your timeship, I would still be in Jutland, blissfully ignorant of the vast extent of the world. I would not have known about the destruction of my people, the abandoning of my way of life, or how the world casts aside the old generations like last supper’s bones. I would not stare into the void every night and worry about what lurks within. And for all that, I have you to thank for.”
    “I agree.” Trueshot added. “And what is more, you yourself are the one who messed up our raid today. It was an earlier version of you who leaped in and ruined everything. It was you who stabbed Pierre, you who caused Orinn to get frozen, and who did that to Mabel.” She pointed at the unconscious acrobat. 
    I faced her. “I am not that woman. That woman died a long time ago.”
    “Don’t pretend you didn’t used to be that person.” Trueshot shot back. “Don’t pretend you didn’t knowingly do those things the first time around. You did, and you still went on that raid. You still risked our lives, and for what? Your own amusement and sense of entitled glory?”
    I summoned an energy gun and pointed it at her. “Think your words carefully before you raise your voice again.”
    I heard weapons leave sheaths and holsters as my crew reacted to my outburst. The tension rose in the air until someone else called out.
    “Ahoy niños!” Young Capitán shouted from the helm. We all turned in surprise to see young me pointing two guns at us, one of them an 18th century flintlock, the other a 21st century uzi. “If you would all be so kind as to drop your weapons, walk to the sides, and throw yourselves overboard, I would be so pleased.”
    My crew froze. My gun was on Trueshot, who hadn’t armed herself, and Chip’s guns were not up and ready. Nobody had an easy shot at the younger me. 
    L'Épeiste looked around and then dropped his sword. Chip and Final Breath followed suit. Young Capitán grinned at us and gestured to me. “Y tú, Maria.”
    I looked at Trueshot and the rest of my crew and made a choice. I spun and fired my gun at Young Capitán. She apparently failed to anticipate my action and flinched away from the gunfire. I then got to the helm the quickest way I knew how. I portaled up. I landed next to young me with a sword in my hand and a mind full of self loathing, rage, and frustration. I unleashed on her.
    She dropped her uzi in an instant, instinctually summoning her own sword to defend herself. My first volley of blows earned me the satisfaction of seeing cuts on her forearm and kneecap, but she returned just as fast. Her cutlass made a cut in my side. She pushed me back and I nearly tripped over the ship’s wheel. Young Capitán lunged at me and I sidestepped. Her sword passed into the space between the handles of the wheel. I grabbed a portion of the wheel and turned it, catching the sword and bending it out of Young Capitán’s hand. 
    Now weaponless, Young Capitán backpedaled away from my reach. She looked harried, almost on the edge of panic as the situation escaped her grasp. Then she pulled the card that I always used when I was her age and things went wrong. She fell back on chronal power. She formed a ball of purple energy in her hands and then extended it out to the ships top deck. However, I was ready. As the energies hit us, surrounding us in a large anomaly, I used my own energies as a countermeasure. Young Capitán, failing to see my response, then collapsed the spherical anomaly with us inside. Space constricted us both inside, crushing us, and then the pressure of the constricted non-space forced the energies outward, knocking us both to the ground. Young me reacted quickly, trying desperately to open some entryway to another world. I blasted her with my own energies, disrupting her attempts, forcing open a portal to a time neither of us planned for.
    I tried my best to ignore the sensations of moving through the portal so I could continue to fight my young adult self. I could barely manage to move slowly towards her while La Paradoja Magnifica sailed turbulently through the portal.
    Young Capitán was slowly picking herself up after the portal travel but I did not give her the opportunity. I placed a summoned gun against her head. “I will say this once. Get off my ship.”
    Then I heard Trueshot call to me from the Main deck. “Maria!”
    Both me and my double looked to the front of the ship. We were sailing straight in the direction a tall mountain range. I abandoned my captive and rushed to the helm, frantically turning it to starboard. La Paradoja Magnifica began to turn but now sharply enough. The timeship’s underside scraped on the top of a mountain. The impact sent my entire crew sprawling. To the port side i saw Trueshot fall over the side. Chip, thinking on his feet, jumped after her while being connected to a safety rope. 
    I tried to raise the timeship above the mountaintops but Young Capitán rushed to my side and grabbed the wheel trying to take it from me. “The ship is mine!” She yelled. We wrestled for control of the timeship, preventing it from changing course. I briefly saw Chip pulling Trueshot back onto the deck with Battle Forged’s help before we hit another rocky cliff. This one impacted even harder against the ship’s hull and I felt pieces fall off the bottom of the ship. We started going down.
    I turned and slapped Young Capitán, causing her to stagger. I yelled “Basta!” and stabbed at her with my sword. She created a portal and backed through it to avoid my sword. I just reached further and stabbed my sword into the portal. When I withdrew it, my sword had blood on it. Her portal then closed and she was nowhere in sight. I threw my sword down in disgust and returned to the wheel to try to regain control.
    La Paradoja Magnifica was unresponsive. The crash must have taken out her rudder and I could no longer steer the ship. I looked forward again just in time to witness the ship bump against a mountain and bounce off. L'Épeiste looked back at me and yelled, “Maria! Do something!”
    I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t steer the ship, nor could I stop it. The ship bounced off another mountain and Final Breath was thrown off. Nobody could get him. The fall was too far. I instinctually activated a portal where he fell and he disappeared inside. 
    Another crash broke off a section of the main deck, taking Chip and Trueshot with it. I activated another portal to catch them as well. Little by little my entire crew fell off the ship and I had to save them until it was just me and L'Épeiste left. He looked at me. “We need to go, Capitán.”
    “This is my ship. I will not leave her. Go.” I opened a portal next to him.
    L'Épeiste looked into the portal then back to me.
    “The captain goes down with her ship.” I told him.
    L'Épeiste looked at the portal again and said, “No, mon ami.” He suddenly reached over, grabbed me by the collar of my jacket and pulled us both through the portal.
    We fell through to the other side. I fell on top of my crew mate in the sand. I pushed up and slapped L'Épeiste. “Insubordinate little worm!” I yelled, then I looked up. I could see the flying wreckage of La Paradoja Magnifica. it ricocheted off another mountain before sailing out of sight. I expected to hear the ship crash headlong into a jagged peak but there was nothing. Me and L'Épeiste waited for the inevitable sound of the crash. We never heard it. After a few minutes I felt it, some kind of break in my chest. I felt light headed and purple energy started seeping from my body. I fell to my knees, too stuck in the sensations to hear L'Épeiste’s shouts of alarm. I barely had enough presence of mind to register the enormous emotional and physical pain. It was like nothing I had ever felt. It was like a piece of my soul was being ripped out of my body. I felt every inch it but I was still detached from it somehow. I knelt there, wallowing in my pain and grief while my head froze in that moment.
    It felt like an eternity before my mind began to come back together. I began to feel the pain more. It wasn’t that the pain increased, but it simply became more relevant in my mind. I could feel sensations in my hands and feet again. I blinked and realized that I had cried. I vaguely heard Pierre’s voice next to me, trying to get my attention. I slowly turned my head to look at him.
    “Maria? Can you hear me?” The musketeer asked.
    I struggled to string words together. “Where… are we?”
    “We are in the Final Wasteland, Maria.” L'Épeiste answered with half relief and half fear.
    I looked around and saw that he was right. The surroundings that we had landed was indeed the Final Wasteland. It was the end of time.

BrianleWolfhunt
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-Greetings Sentinels fan, and what a predicament Maria Helena got into this time. After a long fight with herself, La Capitán and her crew find themselves stranded in the Final Wasteland, the future earth filled with desolation and monsters. Will she reunite with the crew and return to the timeship? Read on.

 

Chapter 3
The Final Wasteland

    The air was stale. That was hardest thing to get used to. It felt like the air never moved. Everything was eerily quiet. There were vast expanses of sand and rock, stopped every now and then by the occasional silent forest. As far as I could tell, nothing existed out here.
    Of course, that was a fiction. There were living creatures all over the place, but they were either not around or they were very quiet. 
    I sat in the tiny hovel that L'Épeiste made for me. It was rough and small but it kept the cold out. It only had space for the bundle of leaves and dirt that I used for a bed as well as a tiny fireplace. I had been in this place for a while. I couldn’t tell how long. I wasn’t sure what had happened to me.
    L’Éeiste walked into the hovel. He had discarded his musketeer’s jacket in favor of an undershirt. His attire was dirty and rumpled, a far cry from the immaculate look he always wore. He carried an animal the size of a dog, some form of lizard by the looks of it. He placed it on the floor. “Voilà. Le dîner.” He said matter-of-factly before he began to gather sticks to start a fire. 
    “How long has it been Pierre?” I asked him.
    “About four days, Maria.”
    “And still no sign of the crew?”
    “I am afraid not.”
    “They have to be somewhere nearby. The instinctual portals I made wouldn’t have the substance to make them go far.”
    “Oui. I worry about them. This place isn’t hospitable to us.”
    I sat there and thought for a while. I stared into the fire. The same thoughts that plagued my mind the past few days returned. What do I do now? I don’t dare use any more time energy, nor can we stay here. I need to somehow find my crew, find the ship, then fix it, all the while staying out of the way of the many predators of this land and surviving the harsh conditions. 
    I was in the middle of eating part of the lizard’s hindquarters when I decided on the next part of the plan. “Pierre, I think it is time to make some kind of signal for the rest of the crew.”
    L’Épeiste looked at me. “How do we do that Maria?”
    I gestured in the direction of the mountains. “Pick a mountain. Get to the top. Light signal fires. Our crew should see it and be able to get to us in a few days.”
    Pierre mulled it over. “And what if zis signal attracts hunters?”
    “Then we deal with them and stand our ground.”
    He shook his head. “Are you sure? Getting there is one thing but holding out for days while we wait for the crew? Do you think we can even do that?”
    “At this point, la pregunta isn’t ‘can we do it?’, it’s ‘what else can we do?’. There isn’t an easy way of finding the crew. This is the best option we have.”
    Pierre paused and took a breath, preparing himself for his next words. “And if I were to disagree with you? What if I left you behind to go my own way?”
    I sighed. I was expecting this, but I still hoped I wouldn’t have to face this. I dropped the demeanor of the captain. I looked Pierre in the eyes. “Pierre, I’m not asking this of you as tu Capitán. I ask it as ton ami. I know you need me in order to leave this timeline, but I do not think I can do it without you. I can’t do it without the crew. I need you all. And I feel guilty for all of this. I feel guilty for taking you from your blissful ignorance. I feel guilty for all the damage I have done when I was young. I feel guilty for the events that led us here, stranded in a hostile time. We may all die here and it would be all my fault.” I looked away from Pierre, into the fire. “I’m sorry Pierre. I’m sorry Charles, Mabel, Orinn, Ishikawa, Khutulan, and Geremio. I did not mean for any of this to happen.” I closed my eyes and shivered, despite the warmth of the mounting flames. 
    There was a long pause before I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see Pierre smiling down at me. “All you needed to say was ‘please’.” He knelt next to me. “This might have been a long time coming.” He drew his sword and held in sideways in his hands. “I, Pierre Le Vignierz, also known as L’Épeiste, do hereby offer my loyalty, fealty, and friendship to Maria Helena Teresa Fafila Servanda Jimena Mansuara Paterna Domenga Gelvira Placia Sendina Belita Eufemia Columba Gontina Aldonza Mafalda Cristina Tegrida de Falcon. If you would have me, the I am your man until the end of time.” 
    I was stunned. I had never received on oath of fealty, not even from my own crew. This was more than I ever expected from them. I stood and gently took the sword from his grasp. “I, Maria Helena, do hereby accept your oath.” I touched his sword to his shoulders. “Rise Pierre, as my vassal and confidant.” Pierre rose to his feet and accepted his sword back.
    He looked me in the eyes and said, “Sleep well tonight mi Capitán. We have a long climb tomorrow.”
    After a long and restful night, the two of us began hiking. L’Épeiste led the way with me following behind. It was strange, spending so much time walking. After the first few hours I realized how exhausting it could be. I had been sailing for decades and I was not used to walking these sorts of distances. 
    Everything was quiet. Neither me or Pierre ever dared to speak. It was if the land itself was listening closely, searching for the slightest of sounds. I distinctly heard every footstep, every broken twig, and the rustling of the leaves in the wind.
    It was this distinct silence that warned us of an unwelcome presence. A slight crack in the woods ahead of us. When we heard it, we both froze. Through the brush and rocks ahead there came another crack. Me and my friend crept closer and as silently as we could and opened up the bushes and peered through.
    In short bowshot away from us came the source of the sounds. A big creature was hunched over another of the lizard animals that we ate last night. The cracking sounds seemed to be coming from the beast breaking the bones of its prey as it feasted on it. The hunter creature was this tall and lean humanoid shaped creature, except for the head. The head appeared rodent-like. It had beady eyes and a long snout with prominent front teeth, chipped and worn with use. It continued its feast, oblivious to our presence. 
    L’Épeiste looked to me. He mouthed the words, “Now what?”
    I looked around. There were plenty of trees and other sorts of cover. I turned back to L’Épeiste. I pointed at myself and made a subdued explosion gesture. Then I pointed at him, made a circle motion, then a stabbing motion. L’Épeiste nodded, acknowledging my plan to distract him while he sneaks around. He moved out of the bushes and to the side. I waited for a count of forty before I started to shake the bush. The creature heard the sound and turned its head to stare in my direction. I stopped and waited. The rat beast walked towards me. It would have seen me already, but its rat eyes might not yet be able to see me. I eased out of the bush. The rat beast hissed and crouched, eyeing me warily. 
    “Luchame, rata!” I barked at it. It recoiled slightly from my shout before it growled and charged at me. It swung its claws at me and I scooted to the side. It turned to face me and I raised my boot to kick it right it its nose. It backed away, clawed at its snout, then glowered at me. It raised its clawed hands up to slash them down on my face. I stepped in, raised my arms and caught the rat beast’s arms at the wrists. It growled at me and gave a scratchy roar right into my face. I felt spittle hit my cheek as it roared. It got ready for a burst of furious movement when a shaft of sharp metal sprouted from the back of the beast’s mouth, ending a couple of inches away from my face. L’Épeiste’s rapier sat there for a second while the beast gurgled weakly. The musketeer then withdrew his blade and the creature fell to the side, dead.
    I wiped the rat spittle off my cheek. “That was a full diez segundos. What took you so long?” 
    Pierre shrugged. “I was curious what you would do. You normally grab a weapon from elsewhere.”
    I shook my head. “I don’t dare do that. With La Paradoja Magnifica gone, I don’t know if I can use the chronal energies. I haven’t tried since the crash.”
    L’Épeiste nodded. “I see. Still, that was a very nice kick. Mabel teach you that one?”
    “Ishikawa actually. He taught me a few things about unarmed combat.” I nodded at the path. “Lets move. I imagine the noise may draw more of them here. I’d rather be long gone.” We continues up the mountain.
    As we moved, the mountain inevitably got steeper. What was a leisurely ramp soon became nearly precipitous. Our progress slowed. Our feet ached. The sun seemed to be in different places in the sky every few seconds. More than once either L’Épeiste or myself nearly fell, either to the threat of loss of progress or loss of life.
    There was also evidence of more creatures on these mountains. I found different forms of droppings and we ran across a few corpses of different animals. A few of the lizards, some rat beasts, and a few other creatures we had yet to identify. It soon became clear to us that there were more dangerous monsters around.
    It had gotten dark enough to force us to stop climbing. We found a mostly flat rocky area to set up camp. We didn’t dare light a fire as it may pinpoint our spot to whatever creature lives here.
    My troubled sleep ended in the middle of the night. I heard footsteps somewhere nearby. I looked to the side. L’Épeiste was still asleep in his makeshift bed. I looked around slowly. All I could see were trees and rocks. The footsteps sounded again. They sounded heavy but careful, like whatever was making them was large but was perfectly capable of moving quietly. I stared in its direction. I reached over and picked up L’Épeiste’s rapier and drew it silently from its leather sheath. I waited, not wanting to provoke the creature by activating the energy stored in the blade. In the trees I could see some shadowy form. It was difficult to make out but it was large. I could see its eyes though. They reflected the faint moonlight, making them the only part of it I could see clearly. 
    I pointed the sword at it. “Get back.” I told it. The creature seemed unimpressed. It pushed a bush to the side. I activated the energy sword. The blade suddenly lit up with light and gave off a slight hum. The creature retreated behind the bushes, hiding away from the glow. I growled and stepped forward. “Back!” I snarled. The creature stepped away from me. There was silence for a while, then the creature backed out of sight and went away. I stood there longer, waiting for the creature to come back. When it became clear that it left, I finally deactivated the energy sword, placed it back in its sheath, and sat on my bed again. 
    However, i couldn’t sleep. Now I was paranoid. I kept the sword close and sat there.
    Some time later the sun came up. I could see it through a gap in the trees. Our vantage point gave me a good view of the wasteland. The rising sun lost its meaning when the landscape seemed just as dead during the day as it did in the night. It didn’t bring the promise of a new day nor did it evoke a new beginning. It just seemed like a reset, like time will forever just loop over and over.
    L’Épeiste woke up when the sun crested the horizon. He rolled over and saw me. “How long have you been up?” He asked.
    “As far as I know, all night.” I set his sword next to him.
    “Merde, Capitán. You should have woken me if you were going to take a watch.”
    “I couldn’t sleep anyway. Now get up. We should have a quick meal and then we are going to continue.”
    “Maria, you shouldn’t exhaust yourself. That won’t help any of us.”
    I tossed him a tiny ration bag that we always carried for emergencies like this. “No point in arguing about this. I wanted to protect us and I did. Hopefully we will find more of the crew and we can set up a watch schedule. Until then, I won’t be able to sleep well.”
    L’Épeiste looked worried but he didn’t pursue the issue any further. We ate in silence before returning to our hike. The trail continued to get steeper as we climbed up. The trees became less frequent, replaced by rocks. It also got colder and dryer as we moved up. With fewer trees, wind became more apparent and cut through my jacket. Dust and flecks of snow drifted towards us from the top of the mountain, as if the trek was not unpleasant enough. All the while I was looking over my shoulder, expecting a monster to pounce on us at any moment.
    We reached what seemed to be a sheer wall of rock. I looked up to the top and deduced that we could get over it if one of us gave the other a boost. I turned to L’Épeiste. “You want to go first?” I asked him.
    “Oui. I’ll go.” I knelt and held out my arms. L’Épeiste placed his foot in my hand and jumped up. I raised my hands as he jumped and he was propelled to the top of the wall and he strained as he pulled himself up. I watched him vanish over the wall. He stood up and shook his arms. “That wasn’t too bad.” He turned to look at me. “Now, jump up to grab my hand and…” He looked behind me. “Maria! Look out!”
    I spun around and saw a large creature reach out and grab me, slamming me against the stone wall. Then it picked me up and tossed me away as if I weighed nothing. I hit the ground hard. I picked myself up a bit and looked at the monster that threw me as easily as a discus. The creature was some giant white ape with huge feet and long arms. It had the same eyes as the creature I saw last night. I could recognize a yeti when I saw one, but a giant hostile gorilla was not something I was prepared to fight. It roared and charged at me, raising its arms to smash down on my body. I rolled to the side to avoid the strike, got on my knees, and jumped into a roll to gain some distance. The yeti swung a long arm at me and I ducked to avoid it. It launched another punch at me and I avoided it again. I saw an opening and managed to step in, raise my fist, and smash it into the yeti’s jaw. Its head moved about a quarter inch from the blow. My fist felt like I just punched a tree. “owwwww”. I groaned, stumbling back.
    The yeti grabbed me by the neck with one of its huge hands. I choked as it cut off my air supply. It lifted me off my feet and put my face on the level with its eyes. It stared at me, as if it wanted to sadistically look me in the eyes when it crushed my head.
    There was a loud bang and something impacted the yeti’s head. It recoiled and dropped me. I took a gasp of air and shuffled away from the creature instinctively. I looked back, and at the top of the wall stood L’Épeiste and a familiar man in a leather aviator’s jacket.
    “Chip!” I cried out.
    “Get over here Capitán!” He called back.
    I ran in his direction but the ground trembled from the yeti’s stomping run and I stumbled. I felt the yeti behind me, trying to finish me off when I saw a person run in my direction, jump, and kick with both feet into the ape. The dazed yeti was knocked back and, to my surprise, Mabel picked herself off the ground, turned and helped me up. “Captain shouldn’t be on the ground. Let’s move.” She told me. I didn’t stop to think about the situation. I just ran for it.
    We reached the wall and L’Épeiste reached down. I jumped and caught his hand and he pulled me up. Mabel didn’t bother with help. She simply ran up the wall and caught the edge. The yeti beneath us pounded the rock wall, shaking the earth. It jumped and grabbed the edge of the wall. Me and the crew backed up as the yeti raised its head over the wall to chase after us. It glared at us, displaying broken skin at the forehead where Chip’s bullet bounced off of it. It heaved itself up but before it could get a good footing on the edge, an arrow buzzed from behind us, whistling in the space between us and the beast before slamming directly in the yeti’s left eye. The yeti let go of the edge with one hand to clutch at the tiny arrow shaft.
    I turned to see Trueshot, bow in hand. She yelled “Finish it!” before grabbing another arrow. L’Épeiste ran in and stabbed his rapier into the yeti’s other eye before activating the energy sword, searing the inside of the yeti’s skull. The beast cried out in extraordinary pain and flailed with its free hand, hitting L’Épeiste in the leg and tripping him up. The yeti stopped flailing and pulled itself the rest of the way up.
    I could see panic on the faces of Chip and Mabel. The giant white gorilla had just had both of its eyes put out and yet it would not die. Then I had a thought. If the yeti had similar anatomy to a human, then the forehead would be tough, but…
    I turned to Chip and held out a hand. “Gun.” I commanded. He gave me one of his guns without question. I took it and turned to Mabel, holding out the gun. “Side of the skull.” I told her. She looked at me in confusion then seemed to get it and took the gun. 
    The Amazing Mabel ran towards the yeti, who was still flailing around trying to get L’Épeiste. Mabel ran to its side, sliding under a swinging arm. She then jumped onto the yeti’s back, grabbing onto its fur. She climbed up to the monster’s neck, clinging tightly to avoid getting flung. She then took the gun, set it against the yeti’s skull, above the ear, and fired. 
    The yeti’s head jerked forward and it dropped to the ground. The beast landed with a thud and Mabel rolled off over its shoulder before looking back at the beast. We waited, half expecting the dead creature to rise again. It took a full minute before we began to relax. 
    Chip faced me and L’Épeiste. “You are alive? Thank the lord. We were starting to wonder if we would find any of us.”
    I looked at him, Trueshot, and Mabel. “I’m glad you are alive as well.” I turned my attention to Mabel. “You recovered?
    She nodded. “Thanks to Chip. Khutulan found us yesterday. We were hoping to find the rest of us.”
    “Something we must return to.” Trueshot said. “I am glad to see that you are alive, Maria. However, we need to make a signal fire to bring the others here.” 
    L’Épeiste looked up. “That’s what we were going to do.”
    Trueshot nodded. “Glad someone had a good idea.”
    “La Capitán came up with the plan.”
    Trueshot looked at me. “Right.” She turned and walked away, continuing up the mountain.
    I looked at my other crew members. “Is she alright?”
    “Give her time, darling.” Mabel reassured. “She’s just overtired.”
    “No.” I corrected her. “She is angry at me. I will need to talk to her.” I turned to Mabel. “Still, I am glad you are alright. How did you recover?”
    Mable shrugged. “Chip looked after me. It wasn’t all that serious.”
    I raised an eyebrow at her, not believing her calm remark. I made a note to talk with her as well.
    “Lets go.” Chip said. “The summit isn’t far. We already set up a camp there and gathered up some firewood.”
    My crew walked off towards the summit. I turned back to the dead body of the yeti, lifted its head, and pulled the arrow out of its eye. “Was it worth it, amigo?” I taunted it before joining my crew to finish the climb.