babbling plasma; a troika city story, chapter 2

before you hit play (the audiobook is only available on my substack, or read chapter 2 or go back and read and/or listen to chapter 1)

i want to mention something first…

my friend Bolt-Neck Opossum (featured on the blog before: we wrote 36 graveyard encounters and i reviewed one of their zines) has new zine live on Kickstarter right now.

you should totally check it out! (click)

it’s called Spectacle and it’s a new science-fantasy gladiatorial setting for Troika!

it’s for fans of Jack Kirby and Junji Ito’s Hellstar Remina, and weirder comic tropes.

it looks sick as fuck.

please consider backing it, if you can.

i’d like to write an adventure set in Spectacle.

i hope you enjoy the story and my original background music (which you can listen to on my substack)

The Necromancer texted The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer that they would change clothes and then exercise.

They put on an oversized white tank top and long wide-legged shorts.

They took a photo of the exercise machine and sent it to The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer. 

"Bout to hit it," the Necromancer added to the text message. 

They spent an hour binge-eating and throwing up.

The Necromancer poured a tall boy into a water bottle.

The Necromancer sat on the exercise bike and placed the water bottle into the bottle slot.

"This bitch," a spider said, shaking its head.

When the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer returned, the Necromancer still rode the exercise bike.

"Good shit," the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer said, waving their fist a little, like 'Hell yeah, man.'

He was holding a plastic bag with a smiley face on it.

The Necromancer took off their headphones and said, "What?"

"I brought you something," the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer pulled a burrito out from the bag, unwrapped the tinfoil a little at one end and held out the burrito for the Necromancer to bite.

"Fub yeah," said the Necromancer with their mouth full. 

The spiders watched, waiting for some of the burrito's filling to fall onto the floor.

The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer sat on the incline bench, "I heard they unearthed another retrieval pod."

"Oh yeah?" the Necromancer wanted another bite of the burrito. They thought the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer looked really good today. The Necromancer eyed the burrito in the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer's hands and thought, "Choke me, Daddy." The Necromancer reminded themself to keep their distance. They thought their breath and sweat must smell like cheap beer.

"Yeah, traffic was fucking terrible."

The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer laid back on the incline bench as tears began to fall sideways.

Two weeks had passed since the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer last visited their father in jail.

They wanted to ask the Necromancer to come with them to visit their father but couldn't.

"Calm facial expression," the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer thought. 

The Necromancer hopped off the exercise bike, "Lemme shower real quick and we can check it out and go to Barnes & Noble if you want."


The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer put the burrito in the fridge.

They showered together.

They saw the retrieval pod in the center of town.

The Necromancer said it was roasted like a brazen bull.

They went to Barnes & Nobel.

In Barnes & Nobel, the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer walked to different areas thinking, "Where are they? They disappeared."

The Necromancer picked up five large Moleskin notebooks and hid them in their dusty robes.

The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer saw The Necromancer on the second floor.

"Let's go," The Necromancer said, walking toward them.

They walked holding hands to the bus stop.

A low-floating ghost was at the bus stop.

"What happened to you?" asked The Necromancer.

"Brain asphyxiation," the ghost said, wiping its nose.

"Sorry. Now I feel really shitty."

"Here, have at it," the ghost held out a water bottle to them, "it's gin."

"I'm a Necromancer," said the Necromancer, who took a drink and passed the water bottle to Telak the Swordbringer.

The ghost felt confused and a little dizzy as they stared at the Necromancer.

"Are you worried that I'm lying to you?"

"a little; if you lied to me, please tell me"

"Where are you buried?"

"I don't remember."

The ghost reached for the water bottle filled with gin, "Death is like you're listening to this really shitty song repeatedly. It sounds like a moth's ass rubbing against your brain."

"I know."

"Let's see you spend five years in my shoes," the ghost finished the gin in the water bottle. 

"Okay, then I'll join you in death."

The Necromancer spends 3 points of stamina and casts Torpor.

"I'm sorry I accused you of lying."

"It's ok."

Telak the Swordbringer starts playing a game on their cellphone, music on loud.

"Can you put my soul in a robot or something?" asked the ghost.

The Necromancer laughed.

"I don't know."

They talk for about thirty minutes.

The ghost gets the feeling of missing someone like the Necromancer, and when the bus arrives, the three of them step into it holding hands.

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