M.O.P.S. in Space
By Douglas E. Gogerty
The Mystic Order of Pumpkin Slayers is just like any other group of people. Well, people who would frequent a comic book convention anyway. MOPS, as they prefer to be called, is made up of four individuals. They are the four that slew the first pumpkins.
The group consists of Victor Viking, Tommy Templar, Angus MacScot, and Kelly O'Kern. These are not their real names. Their names have been changed to protect them from great embarrassment. After all, would you like people saying that you frequented comic book conventions?
Naturally, they are warriors of various cultures. While Kelly O'Kern may dress like some sort of priest, he is actually a Kern. That is, he dresses like a 16th century Irish foot soldier. His clothing, just so happens, looks like a papal garment. But rest assured, he'll tell you in an Irish accent that he is a 16th century Irish foot soldier if you ask him.
Angus MacScot is your run of the mill Scottish warrior. Apart from the fact that he wears glasses and is bald, he is just like Mel Gibson in that movie. Oh, and he does not take the opportunity to paint himself blue, so that is also a difference. Further, he does not have a Scottish accent via Australia. This also sets them apart. Okay, they are nothing alike. I admit it. He is just an ordinary man in a skirt -- er -- kilt.
Tommy Templar is a Templar Knight -- hence the name. The fact that he is not French or Catholic should not deter you from accepting him as a member of the Knights Templar. He does like weapons and armor -- especially weapons. He has mail, a great helm, a shield, and a number of swords that would make any knight jealous. Thus, this allows him to call himself a Templar. If you wish to argue the point, you would have to speak with Henry V (a sword.)
Victor Viking is a name given in irony. What warrior do you assign a slight, timid rocket scientist? Naturally, you assign him one of the most ruthless warrior races ever to grace the earth. He would not choose one himself -- he had to be assigned one. A person who cannot swim and faints at the sight of blood would make a wonderful seafaring warrior -- am I right?
The group would gather each autumn and rid the world from a few evil hordes of pumpkins. Their motto is "Death to pumpkins and all large vegetables!" They naturally dress this up in bastardized Latin. The motto Morte de cucurbita pepo et alia vegetablis grandis gives them an air of respectability even though they are just a group of yahoos who go around chopping up pumpkins with swords and various other medieval weapons.
On this particular occasion, they had all gathered -- in costume -- at a greater Twin Cities Comic and Gaming Festival. You might think that four grown men in Renaissance Faire regalia would stand out in a crowd. They did not in this crowd. How do you stand out from various Klingons and other Star Trek characters? If someone in a Princess Leia slave girl outfit walks by, is anyone really going to notice a man dressed like Jesus carrying a sword? Excuse me, I meant dressed like a 16th Century Irish foot soldier.
No, they blended in perfectly with this particular crowd. They had purchased booth space in an attempt to garner interest in a movie project. The script for M.O.P.S. the Movie had been written, and they were looking for funding to get the movie made. A director, actors, and anyone with any film making expertise would be a good start as well.
As you might expect, they had drawn absolutely no interest in their project. They were crazy to think anyone would be interested. It was the last day of the event, and they decided to pack it in. Instead of being 'vendors', they would be simple attendees. In this way, they could grab some free stuff. Perhaps they would even meet the four or five single women at the event.
They could have dressed in normal clothes -- well -- normal clothes for regular people. Instead, they wandered the convention floor in full costume. According to Victor, "they were taking the pitch to the people." It was either label it that or admit defeat. Thus, the rest went along with this suggestion.
It should be noted that while each of them had a weapon, these implements were fastened to their accoutrements to make them unusable. For instance, those with swords had them "peace knotted" with cable ties to their scabbards in such a way that they could not be drawn. In this way, the members of MOPS could wander the convention floor wielding dangerous implements.
Tommy Templar had his sword and main gauche zip tied to their respective scabbards. The convention people attached his dagger to his belt. His secondary boot knife was secured to his boot. They would not let him bring in his war hammer or axe, and this upset him. However, he brought in an unfettered pocketknife if trouble should arise.
The quartet wandered the convention floor gawking at the "geeks" and visiting the booths. They had as much luck wandering the floor as they did at their booth. However, they were accumulating some free convention swag. Thus, they felt like they were accomplishing something.
After making a lap around the convention floor, they noticed a peculiar booth. There was a table pushed against the wall with its sign pointing toward the wall. Next to the table was a six-foot octopod.
The creature stuffed two legs into a pair of ordinary blue jeans. The jeans were tight and fit rather oddly as if they were tentacles stuffed into a pair of jeans. He had a pair of unusually small, red canvas, high-top basketball shoes. He wore a plain blue t-shirt. Two tentacles used the armholes, two came out the shirt's neck, and two exited out the bottom. This creature's mouth and eyes appeared in the gap between the shirt and pants.
Intrigued by this creature, the MOPS members approached the booth.
"Excuse me; you know that the show is this way..." Angus MacScott stated pointing to the convention floor.
"Leave me," replied the creature with a voice that none of the members could localize.
"That is quite a costume," Kelly O'Kern said ignoring the threat.
"Listen to my words," boomed the voice although no one but the MOPS members seemed to hear. "In one minute, you would not wish to be here."
"What happens in one minute?" asked Victor Viking.
"It would take more than a minute to explain, so be gone!" the booming voice explained.
"If there is going to be trouble, we would like to know," Tommy Templar explained.
"Come on," begged Victor pulling at the other members. "We should leave him alone. He obviously doesn't want us around."
"What does that have to do with anything?" asked Tommy.
"Yeah, we're here dressed like dorks," added Angus. "What makes you think that we have any sense at all?"
"You guys may not have any sense, but I do," insisted Victor.
"You weigh 120 pounds and are wearing 75 pounds of gear, and you're trying to tell us you have sense?" asked Kelly.
"I'm willing to leave this squidman alone," added Victor.
"Octopi have 8 legs, and squid have 10 -- er -- said Mr. Marine Biologist," Kelly retorted.
"Okay Mr. Smartguy -- Octopusman," Victor said strongly.
"What makes you think our friend here is a man?" asked Tommy.
"The deep voice -- for starters," replied Victor.
"Did you just try to check and see if he had a package?" asked Tommy.
"See, you just called him a he!" Victor responded triumphantly.
"Take your discussion elsewhere! I really mean it!" boomed the voice impatiently.
"You're a guy right?" asked Victor.
"Really? You cannot tell?" the voice asked with a slight amount of dejectedness.
"Well, you *are* in an octopod costume," replied Kelly.
"Costume?" started the voice when a blinding white light enveloped the five of them.
Suddenly, the table was no longer facing the wall. It was in the corner of a room filled with other octopods of various colors and modes of dress. The comic convention was gone, and they were in very strange place. Well -- to be honest -- it was only slightly stranger.