The Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Fan Fiction Contest

Below was my submission to the Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Fan Fiction Contest (Summer, 2010) to benefit the Lupus Alliance of America. The purpose of the contest was to explain the strange painting dubbed "Unicorn Pegasus Kitten" shown here. That's Wheaton on the kitten, with Scalzi as a green orc. The story (2000 words) didn't win, but you might still find it a fun read. Nearly every obscure reference in the story comes from Star Trek, Wheaton, or Scalzi trivia.

The Parasitic Eggs of an Orc

By Larry Hodges

The monster came first for the soldiers, and I didn't defend them because I was no longer a soldier. Then it came for the giants, and I didn't defend them because I wasn't a giant. Then it came for the people, and I didn't defend them because I wasn't one of the people. I was an outcast living in the caves outside Burbank, waiting for that call from Hollywood that would return me to my former glory among the stars, a call that never came.

Then the monster came for Thundercat, and by that time there was no one left to defend my precious kitten. The Scalzi orc, a fiend spat out from Hell's heart, had devastated the defenseless land. But who cared about those who had abandoned me to my shadowy domain, leaving me to my blogs and computer games? How soon they forgot who helmed the Enterprise when it defended Earth from the Borg and worse.

But Thundercat's yowling was a stab to my shrunken heart. I raced to the catcave and found her whimpering in fright on the floor amongst scraps of bacon left over from her breakfast. Sunlight shown through an orc-sized hole in the wall where the mighty Scalzi had torn its way in through sheer rock. Blood poured from the wound in Thundercat's gigantic head where I realized the monster had laid its eggs directly into her brain. My poor cat! I threw my arms around her massive neck and hugged with all my might. There was nothing to be done.

Thundercat gently disengaged herself from my grasp and spread her wings. The blood from her head wound had spattered her fine brown fur and dripped from her wing feathers, and my own clothing was now streaked with red. She had been violated in a manner no sentient being should suffer. How could any creature do such a thing?

Then from outside came the roar of the Scalzi orc, a deep thunder that shook the ground as it echoed across the land. The orc had lain claim to this world, and I had done nothing.

"Will nothing awaken your wrath?" I spun about, adrenaline pumping as I launched myself toward the voice, prepared to fight the monstrous orc. But it was only Frow of the Nognilk tribe of giants. He'd stuck his head through the hole, which was far too small for him to enter. The ridges on his forehead were torn apart as if bitten. Blood dripped from his face.

"What do you want?" I asked, turning my back to him as I returned to my Volkswagen-sized pet. I rubbed her back and she began to purr.

"I have a message from Scalzi," Frow said.  

"Its message is clear," I said. "But what can I do? I'm just an out-of-work actor, hopelessly typecast."

"Its message is far beyond what you see, Wil," Frow said. "It said, 'This is only the beginning. Come play with me.' Then it did this." Frow held up his right shoulder so I could see the stump where his sword arm had once been. I looked away. "The world needs you," Frow said.

"Where was the world when I needed it?" I cried. A huge tear rolled out of Thundercat's eye. It mixed with blood on the fur of her cheek, creating a hairy, pinkish mass.

"It never left, Wil," Frow said. "You left, hiding in the shadows of geekiness. You cannot escape your past nor your future, Teen Idol."

It had been a long time since anyone had called me that. I stared at Thundercat. Her big brown eyes peered back, like two orbs in a huge tribble splashed with red wine.

"Come outside so we may talk," Frow said.

I turned and retreated to the passageway from the catcave to my cave. Thundercat followed. Only a cat can weigh a ton and still move like, well, a cat.

I wiped Thundercat clean with a towel. I stripped off my now bloody clothing and put on blue shorts and one of my old ensign shirts, burgundy red with black shoulders, with the Starfleet insignia on the left. Then I changed my mind; it was time to leave the past behind. I removed the shirt and replaced it with a simple white sweater with red shoulders. The wool rubbed against my skin, scratching an itch I didn't know was there. I grabbed my spear, two bottles of warrior brew, and led Thundercat outside.

The sunshine hurt my eyes. I had been in the shadows too long.

I handed my old mentor one of the warrior brew bottles. "Prune juice!" he cried, eyes suddenly bright. "The drink of a warrior." He downed it in one gulp as I sipped at mine. Then his eyes darkened.

"I have fought the Scalzi orc," he said, rubbing his remaining hand over the remains of his forehead ridges. He wore black and blue war paint around his eyes, but his eyebrows, nose, and lips were covered in blood. "But I would rather fight ten Balduk warriors than face this one small orc again. And yet, fight it again I must. Will you stand by me?"

Terror shot through me at what the Scalzi orc had done to Frow, knowing the same ferocity would not be so restrained when I faced it.

"It's too powerful," I said. "It single-handedly destroyed the entire region. If millions cannot stand up to it, how can I?"

"See past the numbers," Frow said. "Trust yourself."

"I can't," I cried. "I can't do it."

Frow shook his head, and even Thundercat stared with disapproval. "When the time comes, you will. You will." Frow turned to leave.

"Wait," I said, frightened at what I was about to do. I looked into the giant almond eyes of Thundercat, and knew we had to do it. "I will stand with you."

Frow turned back. "You must do more that that. Look what this orc did to me, a giant! It did far worse to others of my kind--there are few of us left. Only you can face it, Wil. Thundercat can help, and I will do what I can, but I am getting old, and this is not an old man's war. The brunt of the attack must come from you and your mighty spear."

I bowed my head at my old friend. "I will do what I can."

Like a giant teddy bear, he hugged me, burying his face in my chest. When he pulled back there were tears in his eyes. I glanced down; the blood and war paint from his massive face had left an eerie clown-like impression on the front of my no-longer pristine white sweater. I would wear his imprint with honor.

But what is honor if one cannot overcome one's adversaries, and leaves the world in jeopardy?

"You once said that questions are the beginning of wisdom, the mark of a true warrior," I said. "And so I ask this question. What chance do we have against this Scalzi orc?"

Frow bowed his head. "Kobayashi Maru."


The three of us peered over the walls of the volcano the Scalzi orc now called home. The orc munched on what appeared to be Frow's arm, its fangs tearing off strips of flesh like a phaser through wet tissue paper. It was green with pointy ears; it must have Vulcan blood in it. Or more likely Romulan.

"We must put aside our fears before we attack," Frow said.

"I thought there was nothing that could frighten a warrior," I said.

"Only fools have no fear," Frow said. He held his sword in his remaining left hand, which trembled slightly. "You have taught me what I needed to know to be a geek. And I have taught you what you need to know to be a warrior. Make me proud." Then, on his hands and knees, he quietly circled about to the far side of the volcano, seeming to take forever. Then he leaped to his feet.

"Are you a warrior or an Alverian dung beetle?" he cried as he charged into the volcano. As planned, I stayed where I was on the other side, feeling rather guilty.

The Scalzi orc tossed aside the remains of the huge arm as it looked up, then raised its axe. "I hungered for the rest of your flesh," it cried, "and behold, you return! Your arm is stringy and tasteless; I look forward to the more juicy parts." It charged at Frow.

The two collided, like a sumo wrestler and a small child. The sumo wrestler--Frow--bounced back like a superball while the orc barely broke its stride. There was a horrible crack as Frow slammed against the wall on the far side of the volcano and lay still, his neck at an impossible angle. I must face that?

Thundercat pawed at the ground. There was no time to mourn; I leaped onto her back, she spread her wings, and we soared into the volcano. Hot volcano air singed us as we shot toward our target, its back to us, its attention on the still Frow. I held out my spear to skewer the orc, and could almost hear the words of Obi-wan to trust my feelings to aim it true. But that was from a movie; this was real.

But my aim was true. The spear would hit dead center on the orc's back. Victory would be ours.  

The impact was like jousting a neutronium wall as the spear hit the immovable and impenetrable orc, yanking me off Thundercat. My right leg snapped in agonizing pain as I hit the rocky ground.

Scalzi turned. "Ah, Mr. Wheaton, I presume? You've come to play!" A toothy Cheshire grin crossed its face. "You've even brought my egg case! Soon they will hatch--dozens of them, with the shortest gestation period in the natural world--and then they will breed, Scalzi orcs will rule the world, and I will be the unopposed president. And that's one ugly sweater."

As I glanced down at my clown-faced sweater, the orc slashed at me with its axe. I barely jumped back in time, dragging my broken leg, trying and failing to ignore the pain. Then Thundercat flew by, and with an awkward one-legged jump, I scrambled onto her back. Perhaps we could make our escape from this hot pit of death, and live out our lives in the quiet shadows where no orc could find us. What else could we do? My spear would not penetrate orc flesh.

But no; I could not leave. I was a warrior. I had to try, even if my most powerful spear thrusts were mere tickles to the orc. Maybe it would die laughing.  

Then a cracking sound came from Thundercat's head. A sharp, spiraled point came out of her forehead. It extended outward like the horn of a unicorn.

"Ah," exclaimed Scalzi, "my larvae are hatching! Feast your eyes on the baby tooth of an orc, the hardest substance in the universe, as it tears free from its host! Soon they will feast on your pet's brain . . . and yours!"

Thundercat yowled in pain and fear as we flew about over Scalzi's head. I tossed aside the useless spear and grabbed Thundercat by the hair on the top of her head. "Dive!" I screamed, and aimed her head and the horn downward.

Thundercat dove like a hawk from Hell. Scalzi's eyes widened as it held up its shield. The orc tooth hit dead center.

It went straight through the shield, through the heart of the orc behind, and into the rock floor, and didn't stop until Thundercat's head was jammed against the shield and body of Scalzi, pinned like a butterfly.

Scalzi and I locked eyes for a moment, two warriors at the end of battle. "Raise my children well," it whispered. Then it grinned, closed its eyes, and died.