DOOMLANDS

CHAPTER EIGHT

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CHAPTER EIGHT

THE SEARCH FOR TETSUO

 Lhandi is, understandably, upet over the death of Tetsuo. What she can’t understand, though, is why no one else is. When she confronts Danny suggesting that maybe he’s not allowing himself to grieve properly, he scoffs. “What, grieve over that drama queen? Please. He kills himself every other month.” Danny tells her they now have to once again visit his friend Mordecai the necromancer to resurrect Tetsuo from the jars of sludge he currently is. But when they reach Mordecai’s cave, they find him nervous and desperate. It seems that through some bad gambling, he owes a great deal of money to Man Grande, the rich despot of the nearby town of Big Little Grande. Moredcai will gladly resurrect Tetsuo if the Oasis crew can help him with the debt. Danny laughs and says they’ve got it under control, Jep is one of the best card players in all of the wasteland. But in a quick flash, Jep loses all of their seed money on the first hand he plays. (“They were cheating, Danny! Their cards had numbers all over them!”) This leaves them with one option: they have to eliminate the source of the debt.

 The group travels to Big Little Grande and are troubled by what they find. The entire town is covered in propaganda in praise of Man Grande (think the murals of Saddam in Iraq but tackier) including statues that put great focus on his manhood. They stop in at a local bar (“Very clean, if you like that sort of thing,” observes Danny) where they learn that they are in town for a very special time. It’s the annual Man Grande Appreciation Festival which runs for 90 days of the year. But the most special occasion, the Day of Battles, which climaxes with a one-on-one battle to the death with Man Grande himself, is set to begin soon. Lhandi asks the bar owner why he seems so excited about Man Grande when he seems to keep everyone in poverty, but the bar owner actually cannot understand her words. (“I hear words, but my brain starts to scream when I try to understand them. And so stop, please.”) Back in the street, Danny starts scheming on ways they could assassinate Man Grande: pick him off with a sniper rifle, poison his food, pour grease all over the stairs in his house. Lhandi berates him, calling his ideas cowardly for the great Danny Doom. Upon uttering his name, figures begin to move across the rooftops and in the shadows. A voice calls out, “It’s him. It’s Danny Doom!” In a blink, the gang is overwhelmed and plunged into darkness.

 They wake up in an underground bunker surrounded by a rag-tag group with political slogans lining the walls. These are rebels in the Less Grande Coalition whose sole mission is to take down Man Grande. They explain that they have heard all of the rumors and exploits of Danny Doom and want him to help. They describe all the ways Man Grande has made their lives miserable which evokes a “yeah, that sucks,” from Danny. The rebels have a plan. It’s a widely-known fact that Man Grande’s fight at the end of the Day of Battles is a farce. The person opposing him pretends to put up a fight and then eventually allows themselves to be murdered. Some twisted souls consider it a high honor. The rebels have found a way to sneak backstage at the battle and replace this year’s competitor with a fighter of their own, someone who will instead murder Man Grande. It was going to be the strongest rebel, Simon, but the greatest physical feat he’s accomplished until now is carrying three chairs at the same time when cleaning up after a meeting. They urge Danny to face Man Grande and liberate all of Big Little Grande. Danny is reluctant to say the least, but the look of hope in Lhandi’s eyes and the gurgle of Tetsuo’s jarred sludge make him give in.

 The rebels sneak Danny backstage and they find the intended combatant. He’s a weak-looking geek who seems thrilled that Man Grande is about to kill him. (“Like, his sword will be severing MY spinal cord! How cool is that?!”) Danny tries to get the geek to scram, but he refuses to give up his “blessing”. Xanthena jumps in and places the geek in a leglock which the geek is also very into. (“Yes. Yes, your powerful thighs, let them collapse my bird-like throat!”) Xanthena tells Danny to hurry up so she can get away from this creep. In the Battle Arena, Danny is in awe at the amount of people that have gathered to witness the bloodsport. He watches in disgust as workers drag away limbs and entrails from the previous fight. He tries to turn back, but iron bars drop, trapping him in the arena. He turns to see Man Grande himself in nothing but a skin-tight onesie that hasn’t even heard of the word “imagination” let alone leaving anything to it. Man Grande tosses Danny a flimsy sword and then unsheathes his gigantic one. Lhandi yells encouragement to Danny: “Just remember, he’s never had to face a real fight!” Danny retorts, “That doesn’t make his muscles not real!” The fight is much tougher than anyone expected, least of all Man Grande who urges Danny to “start to take it easy.” When Danny refuses, Man Grande slashes Danny across the chest leaving a huge wound. This flips a switch in Danny’s head and he goes BERSERK. He leaps onto Man Grande’s chest and begins using his sword like a plunger down his throat. Further insane over-the-top mutilation continues to the point that Lhandi and Jep have to beg Danny to stop. At first, the crowd is in shock. Their leader has been brutally murdered. Then, with quick realization, it becomes a “Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead” moment. The rebels rush the arena and raise Danny on their shoulders and he is cheered as a hero. Danny looks down and sees Lhandi beaming at him. He gives her his coolest cool-guy wink. A ridiculously stereotypical old-time reporter yells to Danny, “Say fella, what’s your name?” Lhandi yells, “That’s Danny fucking Doom!” Back at the Oasis, Mordecai resurrects Tetsuo who apologizes for his suicidal outburst. (“I was in my feelings.”) Danny says goodbye to the rebels and asks them what they plan to do with Big Little Grande now. They clearly hadn’t thought this out very well. It quickly turns to infighting because, you know, humanity.

Later, miles away, two prison guards flip through a newspaper and discuss Danny’s liberation of Little Big Grande. They call out to a gigantic, scar-and-tattoo-covered badass breaking rocks, asking whether or not he’s related to this Danny Doom from the newspaper. When he turns, we see not only the crazed look in his eyes, but also the name DOOM on his uniform. Suddenly, he grabs his chains and breaks them with his bare hands. When the guards fumble for their guns, he grabs them both and smashes their heads together until they’re pulp. He picks up the newspaper with his bloody hands and looks at the picture of Danny. He crumples it and strides towards the horizon.