DOOMLANDS

CHAPTER TEN

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 CHAPTER TEN

WILL THE REAL DANNY DOOM PLEASE SHUT UP

 Lhandi’s mind is pretty blown. The person she thought was her hero is an imposter, and the person who was her hero is a violent madman who may have just murdered her father. Danny tells Lhandi he can explain, but before he can, the Real Danny Doom begins to torture him, starting with having a frosty mug of Doomshine placed just out of his reach. Beyond cruel. Real Danny describes all of the atrocious things they did to him in the prison he ended up in. (“How many sticks do you think you could hold in your pisshole, Blake? Because they got me up to 17.”) Real Danny says he’s going to cut Fake Danny into pieces starting with his hand. Sure enough, he slices off Fake Danny’s right hand which tumbles towards Lhandi. Lucky for them, the hand still has Danny’s watch attached. Lhandi uses her foot to hit a button that sends an SOS command to the Oasis. The torture of Fake Danny continues.

 Back on the Oasis, the rest of the crew have DESTROYED the bar trying to catch the boom toad that snuck in. Jep is shooting his gun everywhere, Tetsuo is slicing up everything with his sword, and Xanthena is blasting a flamethrower indiscriminately. The toad hops around unfazed. Suddenly, the SOS beacon begins flashing in the cockpit. This sobers the three of them instantly and they finally realize what they’ve been doing. They drop their weapons, see the transmission, and figure Danny must be in trouble as the signal is nowhere near Aurion. Jep hops in the driver’s seat and tells everyone to hold on. He then asks Tetsuo for a booster seat as he can’t see over the steering wheel.

 Back in the frigate, Lhandi is trying to distract Real Danny from torturing Fake Danny. She tells him she’s thrilled to meet the real Danny Doom and that she was underwhelmed by Fake Danny when she met him. She asks Real Danny to tell her his favorite story from his adventures. Real Danny tells a disgusting story about pillaging a town and making a little boy eat his twin. Lhandi’s confused, she’d always heard heroic stories about Danny Doom. Real Danny replies, “All horseshit, that Robin Hood stuff. Although, it did make people a lot less suspecting before I buggered them over.” Real Danny returns his attention to Fake Danny and is about cut off his head when the Oasis crashes in, crushing Real Danny. Jep screams, “I can’t see shit! What’d I hit?” Xanthena and Tetsuo jump out fighting and take care of the other evil prisoners. They free Lhandi and Danny, and Danny tries to talk to Lhandi but she insists they return to Aurion immediately so she can check on her father.

 Outside the walls of Aurion, Danny once more tries to explain himself to Lhandi in private, but she cuts him short. “I have no clue who you are. This has all been a lie. I don’t know what to think.” Danny asks when she’ll be back. She says if she’s not back by sunset to leave without her. Before Danny can protest, she’s gone.

 Thankfully, Lhandi’s father survived, in no small part due to the heroic actions of Olin. (“I did a second major in life sciences, remember?”) Lhandi’s mother sings the praises of Olin and suggests not too subtly that Lhandi might reconsider rejecting his proposal. She further sweetens the pot by mentioning that one of the people that was murdered at the party was a manager at the restaurant that was Lhandi’s favorite growing up. If Lhandi wanted to take it over, her mother could arrange it. Lhandi looks out the window and sees Danny drinking by the Oasis. Jep, his beard on fire, jumps out of the Oasis’s door holding the boom toad and screaming.

Later, Danny leans against the Oasis watching the sun begin to sink in the sky. Jep, Xanthena, and Tetsuo, still unaware of Danny’s true identity, tell him they don’t think Lhandi’s coming back. As Jep puts it, “Weird thing with women. They get chained up by one escaped prisoner who shot their dad and they just lose the taste for the lifestyle.” They go back inside and let Danny watch as the last rays disappear behind the horizon. Suddenly, a voice behind calls out, “Blake.” He turns to see Lhandi, still in her Aurion garb. She asks him how he could have helped the Real Danny Doom do all the atrocious things he did. “I was young, I was stupid, I was alone. But when I saw my chance to get out, I took it, and I tried to use the notoriety of that name to do some good.” Lhandi still doesn’t know whether to trust him. “Lhandi,” Danny says, “It’s only a lie if one of us doesn’t believe it.” Lhandi is surprised. “You’re not going to tell the rest of the crew?” Danny is alarmed at this possibility. He’s spent years with these people, they trust him inherently. He makes a compromise, if she agrees to come with them, he’ll tell everyone the truth...when the time is right. Lhandi is about to respond when Jep, Xanthena, and Tetsuo appear at the Oasis’s door. They holler in joy at seeing their friend. She can’t help but smile. Her decision is made. She brushes by Danny and as she does she whispers, “When the time is right. But if you don’t do it, I will.” She goes inside with the others and Danny is left alone to consider the deal he’s just struck.

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