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The Summer of Discontent

Part 4: The Myth

June 20, 2011

The Dragon King of Vietnam Is Back - Or Is He?

Correspondent: Bill Blau

What Has Gone Before: There's a Plan to defeat the next great winter by moving the Earth back to its old orbit.

As their part of The Plan, U.S. Government agents Rolling Thunder, Swordhand, and Rad Man have gone to the Mekong Delta of Vietnam to infiltrate a ship of The Trillions and find their command location. In their way were South Vietnam rebels, commanded by a powerful superhuman who claims to be Lac Long Quan, the original Dragon King of Vietnam. The agents were captured. They've been prisoners for over a month now. ( )

During the captivity, other U.S. agents have carried out other parts of The Plan. ( ) Now, it all depends on what happens next in Vietnam.

June 14:

Lac Long Quan, the ancient and restored Dragon King of Vietnam, asked his chancellor. "Something is still missing! Where is the artifact?"

"My lord, which one? You have so many now."

"The one that's missing, you idiot!"

"We still have not located the one that was lost in 1911."

"What do you know of it?"

"We know Americans will gain it sometime this year. We believe they gained it six days ago."

"Why did it not come here the way I summoned?"

"It was destined for the city of New York in December. You were mighty to even divert it to June. But the place is still New York."

"Very well. Summon the American prisoners."

Meanwhile, the prisoners each had a bowl of rice, the size of a fist. It was their daily ration. Rad Man said, "Maaan. Rice again?"

Their guard gloated, "No, today you have something special!" a guard outside the door handed him a plate. "We broiled this fish!" The plate had only fish bones on it.

Swordhand rolled his eyes. Rolling Thunder said, "Better than nothing."

"Thank you, Americans. But first, Lac Long Quan want to see you! Now! Leave rice behind!"

Rad Man stuffed his rice in his mouth. The others shrugged, each took a big bite, then left their bowls behind.

Soon they stood before the Dragon King in his throne room. He commanded, "Tell me what you know of 1911."

Their commander was a black woman. She spat out, "Rolling Thunder. Swordhand. Rad Man. That's our IDs. That's all you get from us. You know that, mother%^&#er."

"Oh, please. Your minds are already open to me. All I ever need do is state my command. But I see you know next to nothing of 1911. Very well... I will release that one to send your government a message." He pointed at Rad Man. "You will tell them to bring me the 1911 artifact."

Rad Man said, "Que? Tu eres loco?"

"You already know your language barrier is transparent to me. I require you simply give them that message. Those who know more than you, will know how to respond."

"Fine. But one problem. I stay with my team."

"Very well. Your team is dead. Only you remain to carry out their mission."

Swordhand said, "What you mean, dead?" His energy blades extended from his hands.

"American swordsman. You challenge me in my throne room. Your life is forfeit." The Dragon King drew his own swords.

The two swordsmen erupted into a flurry of action. Swordhand looked for an opening, but all he could do was parry. Rad Man and Rolling Thunder looked for a chance with their own energy powers, weak as they were, but the Dragon King left them none. In less than a minute it was over. Swordhand was dead.

Rolling Thunder was almost crying. She said, "... Rad Man. Go. And bring back hell."

June 20:

The U.S. helicopter landed in Saigon. U.S. fighter planes flew air superiority. The rebels were allowing the helicopter anyway, but the mission was that important.

U.S. forces escorted Rad Man with three trade unionists from the helicopter. One was middle-aged white male, one middle-aged white female, one young Asian female.

They went to the throne room. The Dragon King was there, with his American captives for exchange. He spoke to the Asian female. "You have the artifact?"

"I do, Dogfish King."

"You will not call me that!" The Dragon King turned to command his guards.

"This says I will!" Before he could speak, the Asian visitor held her amulet up. "The true Dragon King of Vietnam sliced your Demon Dogfish ancestor into three pieces, and cast its corpse into the sea! You are descended from whatever fertilized its floating eggs!"

One of the Dragon King's advisers stepped forward. "We did that." He morphed - into an underwater human, a Subhuman. "Dragon King, you are of our kingdom. You know that already. You always preferred below the waves. The amulet means nothing."

"Then why does the amulet have power still?" The Asian woman held it up still, and addressed the entire room. "Believe in the ancestor of the nation! Lac Long Quan, the Dragon King! Believe that that isn't him! How could it be?"

Rad Man spoke aside to Rolling Thunder, "What's an amulet got to do with anything?"

"Some magic treasure hunt crap, the way things work."

Another adviser came out - a Westerner. "Sir King, it's time to take ownership of this problem." He pointed toward the Asian woman.

Rad Man said, "%$#@ that! She right! If you all-powerful, you'd be in Hanoi by now!"

A diplomat led the U.S. mission. The Dragon King said to him, "Silence your yapping dog."

The diplomat fussed, but Rad Man continued. "Que problemo? Vietnam Army plus an aircraft carrier too much for you, 'cause you can never intimidate them all in one place? I bet I can finish you off right now!"

Rad Man tried to raise his arms. But he couldn't move! The adviser said, "As a visitor, you may not challenge the King in this room."

Rolling Thunder says, "%$#@ that!" She was a prisoner, not an adviser. She tackled the Dragon King.

He threw her off easily. But then Rad Man cut loose. And the Asian woman shouted, "Challenge is alive! Behold the fate of your Dogfish King!"

Rolling Thunder was near powerless. She waited for the Dragon King to call down lightning. Or summon crocodiles. Or something. But he didn't!

Marine escorts moved in. The two advisers hurried away, as the King was subdued. He must have lost his power somehow! But there were more important things to worry about.

Rolling Thunder staggered right past the ranking diplomat, and asked his Marine guard captain: "We're past deadline for The Plan. You really need us still?"

"Plan's gone into overtime, ma'am. Let me check status... Orlando, fail. Denver, fail. Vojvodina, fail. You're on. We're your support."

"Then let's move. Rad Man, we're go!"

A medic moved in. "Sir, I have to say for the record this one needs hospitalization after captivity."

Rolling Thunder said, "%$#@ that." And Rad Man says, "We need her. She's got a month more local knowledge."

Rolling Thunder was even weaker than when the Dragon King defeated them. But now they'd won. That gave her strength.

The Trillions starship of the Mekong Delta was waiting. At its doorway a guardian said, "You are not here from our allies."

The Asian trade unionist had come along. She raised her amulet and said, "This gives us the right of entry! The right of the true Dragon King of Vietnam!"

"We do not recognize that."

But two Marine soldiers were with them. One said, "Try these!" He held the downed Dragon King's own amulets.

... "You may pass."

As they entered the door, the Asian woman followed. Rolling Thunder turned and asked, "You been in here before?"

"No, ma'am."

"You know what it's like in here?"

"No, ma'am."

"Then this is where you stop. Guards, she's not with us." The Marines and The Trillions both heard.

So they went into a spaceship, one mile tall. Two miles, counting the part siloed underground. The others looked around. Rolling Thunder said, "Direct us to your engineering controls."

"Yes, New Dragon King."

As they moved through, the forces of the United States were dwarfed by the vaulting chambers of the starship. Rad Man was silent. Rolling Thunder said quietly to the Marine with the keys, "You know what to do?"

He whispered, "Oorah, ma'am. Got the download stuff with me."

"$#!+. This ain't no movie. How you gonna interface with these alien computers?"

"Ma'am, we been doin' that for years. Not long past when they landed. Now we get that on a master ship."

The engineers of The Trillions were working in the control room. They looked curiously at the intruders for two seconds, then went back to work. The U.S. party quietly found one unoccupied computer station. The Marine with the computer plugged a cable in. Five minutes later, he quietly said, "Got it!"

Rolling Thunder whispered, "Go go go!"

He said, "Uploaded already!"

But at the chamber door, two of The Trillions guardian class were there. The one in front had six arms, and skin like burnt ground beef. He said, "Violators!"

Rad Man said, "I been so waiting for this." He shot his energy powers at them. They blinked. But it didn't move them.

Rolling Thunder said, "Let's roll!" She powered up and bulled right through them. Rad Man and the two others ran after.

Rolling Thunder knew they weren't leaving the way they came in. She headed for the rocket surface and yelled, "Burn a hole!"

Rad Man focused his power. A hole opened, barely wide enough for a human body.

The Trillions were chasing. Rad Man said, "Go! I hold them off!" Rolling Thunder knew she had to lead the way out; she was the only one there who could fly. The Marine Specialist jumped out behind her with his computer, and hung on for his life.

Rolling Thunder yelled back in. "Corpsman! You next!"

The Marine yelled back. "No, ma'am. I'm on protection duty now." A very surprised Rad Man came flying through the hole - like he'd been thrown!

Two bodies were weighing Rolling Thunder down. But she still said, "Now, Corpsman! Go go go!"

Rad Man looked back in. He said sadly, "He not coming."

"Then we go in and drag his sorry ass home!"

"No, ma'am. He's ground beef now."

"Oh, dammit!" Rolling Thunder cried all the way back to the ground.

Afterward, Rad Man asked Rolling Thunder, "$#!+, what you think that amulet was all about?"

"You tell me. Who was that woman who brought it?"

"No lo se. But all the way here, she act like she just step out of a time machine."

"Like, from 1911?"

"Yeah! That's it!"

"Makes more sense now. Some kind of faith thing. She wasn't around for the Communists, so she knew the old story. And people in the room believed it. Even the Dragon King did. That's the important thing."

One Marine broke in. "My dad told me, Vietnamese had amulets for lots of stuff. Lots of them were in the name of their real king. Lac Long Quan. The Commies must have taken away lots of the old amulets. This fake king must have tracked down all the other ones he could find. Except this old one. It just made the difference."

The State Department envoy was listening. He just said, "Whatever", and went away. But Rolling Thunder said, "Thanks for the intel, Sergeant."

Rad Man said, "The Plan is go now. They just been waiting on us. We finally done the job."

"Thanks. But it never gets any easier."

See Our Next Story:

THE STRIKE! The Summer of Discontent, CONCLUDED!

Author's Notes:

Shit! Waah!

I do have disposable characters: two hundred or so from the archives. And I can always make more. But they will not sell their lives cheaply. I hope I made the disposition of Swordhand and the nameless Marine both mean something.

I often get concepts which demand to be included in stories. The artifact from 1911 is one such. Its story is not even started. Look for it in December.

The new Army of the Republic of Viet Nam is another such concept. I figured, given the current political turmoil of the Superhuman World 2011, why not.

This story is my response to Rec.Arts.Comics.Creative High Concept Challenge, "Mythrepresented". Thanks to the ARVN, I needed Vietnam for this challenge. Reportedly, Lac Long Quan the Dragon King is extremely well-known if you ask the people of Vietnam. (Lac = name of nation, Long = Dragon, Quan = King. - and other sites confirmed.) I will therefore claim the story of Lac Long Quan as a "well-known" myth for High Concept Challenge.

Crusher Joe Corrigan (should the U.S. Vice-President be mentioned in this story) is a character created by Joe Fucile. All other characters in this fiction are copyright 2011, Eiler Technical Enterprises. All this year's stories are online at

Various characters in this fiction may have been created by various people. These are noted in credits where already claimed. But absent claims from these people, all characters in this fiction and the phrase "Superhuman World 2011" are copyright © 2011 - present by Eiler Technical Enterprises.