Foldians of the Galaxy: Far Out!
Foldians of the Galaxy: Far Out!
By SF CJ
Prologue: The First Foldians
By Noah Buckets
So, I was just chillin’ to some tunes while I was wanderin’ through the Wheeler library. The song was “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds, 1985. I was lip-syncing the lyrics (I couldn’t sing or else the librarians would’ve been all over me) while I scanned my eyes over the books.
Won’t you come see about me?
I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby
At that same moment, this crazy thing happened. So there’s a bookshelf for the sci-fi books, which is right up against one of the walls. While browsing through the book titles, I noticed the smallest crack in the wall, right next to the shelf. The crack zigzagged and then disappeared into the narrow, shadowy space between the wall and the shelf. While reaching for one of the paperbacks that was being displayed on the top of the shelf, I knocked over another book, and it went right into that eternal abyss between the wall and the shelf.
Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving me everything inside and out and
Love’s strange so real in the dark
Dang, I said the words “wall” and “shelf” about a hundred times in that same stinkin’ paragraph. If she had seen it, my English teach would have written “REDUNDANT WORD CHOICE” all over that paragraph in red ink.
Think of the tender things that we were working on
Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby
Anyways, I tried to fish out the book from “the void,” but my hand couldn’t fit in there, so I had no choice but to pull the heavy shelf out from the wall. Eventually, it nudged out far enough so I get my arm through. I successfully found the book and returned it to its home, and was about to push the wall back into place, when I saw that the crack had opened up into a thin opening in the wall. Something was peeking out of the opening, and… well, my curiosity got the best of me. I immediately snatched the thing out. It was real dusty, so I blew on it. The blanket of dust left, revealing some scribbled words on the top of this small paper pamphlet.
“The Chronicled Misadventures of the Foldians of the Galaxy,” I read out loud.
Don’t you, forget about me
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t you, forget about me
Those exact lyrics played when I read the title of the booklet. It was almost like a sign that this was a piece of lost Wheeler history that didn’t want to be forgotten anymore.
And now, it isn’t.
Chapter 1: Rising Sun
By Doc Donovan
Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun
– The House of the Rising Sun by the Animals, 1964
“You shoot to kill, you better hit the heart. Your own words, Ramon.”
“The heart, Ramon. Don’t forget the heart. Aim for the heart, or you’ll never stop me.”
My eyes were so focused on Clint Eastwood as he defiantly walked towards several gang members. The look in his eyes… it was like fire. But his body motion was as calm and cool as a cucumber on Christmas. The bad guy, Ramon, shot him several times, over and over again. Yet, after picking himself back up, Clint kept walking. Then came the big reveal: he had been wearing a metal plate under his poncho the whole time, a plate with seven bullet marks right in front of where his heart was. Then, before you knew it, Clint had outgunned all the gang members, while saving an old man who was being tortured.
Man, he’s awesome. His scenes in the movie give me shivers. ‘Course, Clint Eastwood’s just an actor, playing “The Man with No Name.” But he does it so well.
As the film ended, I flopped off my bean bag and crawled over to the television set. After pausing the movie, I hit the rewind button, then waited till the VCR was rolled back to the beginning. I took “A Fistful of Dollars,” one of my favorite spaghetti westerns, put it back in its VCR sleeve, and slid it back into its place on the shelf.
I gave a sigh of happiness, stretched my back, and wandered back upstairs to find some grub to eat. Sometimes, I would hole myself in the basement for hours on end, having myself one western marathon after another. Sure, it was an obsession; but it was also my passion.
They say that cowboys, showdowns, and westerns are outta style nowadays, that only little kids like that kind of stuff, like watching reruns of “The Howdy Doody Show” (which actually ain’t half bad of a show in my opinion). But, I don’t know… I still love westerns. Gives me thrills.
Besides westerns, I also like superhero comics. Guess I just got a thing for tales about legendary heroes and their adventures. Anyway, as I searched through the cupboards, I found a box of “OJ’s” cereal. It’s a little funky tasting, but it’s alright. Plus, there’s a cowboy on the box cover, so that’s pretty neat.
I was about to head downstairs, when I heard a knock at the door. After shoving some cereal into my mouth, I opened the door, leaving orange cereal dust all over the handle. There waiting was my pal Matty Russell, wearing his favorite Converse sneakers and black leather jacket.
“Hey, dude,” he said as we fist-bumped.
“Howdy,” I replied.
“Ah, so you’ve been watching cowboy movies again.”
“Seeing as it was Saturday, I figured it would be a good day to have a Clint Eastwood marathon.”
“Bro, do you have, like, anything else to do with your life?”
“Um… eating OJ’s. Want some?”
“Anything else productive?”
“Ah, well, that would be a negative, sir.”
“Perfect. ‘Cause I don’t either,” Matty chuckled and pat my shoulder. “So… I was thinking that us two, as the unproductive trash of society, could go… somewhere.”
My eyebrow rose. “Just for kicks, or what?”
“Well, there’s this place I know, and I gotta say, it’s pretty fun…”
“Fine. Whad’ya have in mind?”
“It’s a secret ‘til we get there, ‘kay?”
“If this a prank, I’m gonna beat the livin’ day-”
“Trust me, it’s legit. Come on, we’ll bike there!”
And bike we did. Matty was riding his sleek, black-coated SE PK Ripper, while I tagged along on a rusted Raleigh Chopper I had gotten at a garage sale. We must’ve looked kinda odd together, him on his super-fast Ripper and me trying to catch up on something near-ancient. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Matty was wearing dark, stylish clothes that matched his bike. He was like a ninja. But me? Well… I was wearing a wool poncho I found in our house’s attic. I’m part-Hispanic, so my family has a few Mexican heirlooms and such. I thought the poncho looked kinda like Clint Eastwood’s, so I started wearing it everywhere, accompanied by a Yankees baseball cap and some light blue jeans.
It was like if Batman and Don Quixote like to take biking trips together.
So we headed down Drake Avenue and then turned right onto Thomas Road, which we followed all the way down to a block full of departments stores and similar buildings. However, at the end of the block, there was a tucked-away little spot that you had to enter by going around the back of the building. This place…. it was glorious.
It was a comic book store.
“Saru Super-Stories” was full of awesome junk. Tons of comics lined the cramped shelves, not just American, but Japanese, too. Andromeda Stories, Plawres Sanshiro, and Mobile Suit Gundam were among the manga comics being displayed. Also, there were two arcade machines smushed together in the far-end corner of the room. The arcade machine on the left was Galaga, which was my second favorite arcade game (my first being Wild Gunman, of course). The one on the right was a game I had never seen before. Its marquee read Polybius in big, blocky blue letters. Looked interesting… but strange, too.
I shot a smile at Matty. “Dude, if I had known we were gonna buy some comics or play these games, I would’ve grabbed some cash earlier. This place is gangbusters! ”
“Don’t worry, I’ll spot you some quarters for Galaga later,” he smirked. “Right now, though, we’ve got some important stuff to attend to.”
Matty led me over to an opening where, instead of a door, there was this beaded curtain thing… but it was made of bamboo. It had some Japanese symbols written on it too. He went through the curtain, disappearing into the contained darkness behind it.
For a moment, I hesitated. I don’t exactly know why I hesitated, but I did. Maybe it was because I was still unsure and nervous about this place that Matty refused to give me the lowdown on. This place was a mix of familiar and foreign things, and I think that played around with my subconsciousness.
Heh. Funny. Maybe, even then, as clueless as I was… maybe I knew this was going to be a turning point in my life. And, like, I’m not just saying that for dramatic effect. It’s just… nothing was quite the same after I entered through those curtains. My personality changed. I stopped being a wallflower. I stopped making my permanent residence in front of a TV screen.
But I didn’t stop eating “OJ’s.” That’ll never happen (unless they discontinue the brand, which would stink majorly). Either way, my hesitation only lasted a moment, before I followed my buddy. Yeah, I did it, for better or for worse. And honestly, I’d do it again.
The dark room was lit up with candles. There was an oval(ish)-shaped, green-surfaced poker table right smack dab in the middle of the room. Five people sat around the table. Matty took one of the two empty seats, and motioned for me to take the other. I complied, while glancing around, quickly studying the faces of all these strangers.
With that, Matty smiled, looked over to this older man, who seemed to be at least partially Asian in appearance. The wavy candle flames produced light that reflected off the man’s greasy, slicked-back dark hair. He stood up, respectfully bowed, and then begin speaking.
“Greetings, honorable guests. Welcome to my humble place of work and residence. I’d like to thank all of you for attending this very important and sacred meeting.”
“So, um, I’m just… I’m just gonna put this out there, but, like, this better not be a seance or anything, alright?” said a small Polynesian boy with long curly hair. “ ‘Cause I go to church and, heh, let me tell ya, my folks would really not want me doing that stuff.”
An African-American girl sitting next to the boy chuckled. “Afraid of ghosts, are ya?”
“Uh, heh, no. Well, I mean, not… much.”
“The dead are not usually randomly malevolent in nature.” A petite girl with messy brown hair looked up at us from under her large parka hood. Her voice had a childish yet creepy tone. “Unless the spirit has a specific grudge against you that it carried when leaving the physical realm, you’ll probably be fine.”
“Who invited the basket case?” asked another girl, who was Caucasian, blonde, and looked like a high school cheerleader. She eyed the small, mysterious brunette, who immediately pulled her hood over her face and slunk down, now hiding under the table.
“Now, now, there is no need for arguing and insults,” said the older man. “I will not allow such dishonorable talk in this place.” He turned his attention to the curly-haired boy. “No, we shall not be summoning any spirits. I have all invited you here for a special reason. Even as you look around, making prejudgments about everyone else who sits at this table, I can assure you that none of you are here by random. Although very few of you know who me, I happen to know all of you. I doubt that any of you are much for introductions, so I shall take it upon myself to familiarize you with those seated around this venerated table.”
He waved his left arm towards Matty. “To begin, this is Matthias Russell and his friend Doc Donovan.” Matty’s face lit up with a huge grin that spread across his face. The blonde girl giggled.
“Next to them sits Janice Jones,” the man said, moving his arm towards the big African-American girl.
“Yinz can call me J.J.!” she said, clasping the right hands of both Matty and myself with only her large right hand, shaking them hard. Matty kept his brilliant grin, but I pulled back my hand, slightly intimidated by this loudmouthed, outgoing person. She laughed, “Me and my family just moved straight outta Pittsburgh!”
The man then pulled his left arm to his side, and motioned to the blondie on his right side with his right arm. “This is Christine Barkley.”
“Pretty name for a pretty face,” Matty said with a smirk. Christine giggled again. Everyone rolled their eyes.
A voice spoke from beneath the table. “I’m gonna puke. Go get a room.”
“Miss Sylvia Michaels, I would suggest you’d do your best to contain your vomit, as I have just recently cleaned the floor. There is a restroom here, however, if you so need it.”
The “basket case” peeked out from underneath the table. Christine spoke up. “Like, sorry for being rude, uh, Sylvia.” Sylvia just shrugged and got back in her seat.
The man finally gestured to the curly-haired kid. “This young gentleman is Anthony D. Strockson.”
“I mean, I’m not that young. As a matter of fact, I’ll be sixteen at the end of the month.”
Janice smirked. “You look like a twelve-year-old.”
“Well, uh, my father says I’ll be at least five feet and eight inches by the time I’m eighteen.”
Our Japanese host interrupted. “And I, my friends, am Haruto Saru, the owner of this establishment. You may refer to me as Harry, if you wish.”
I finally said something. “Pardon me, Harry, but would you mind telling us what we’re all here for? You see, Matty here seemed real excited about it, and he dragged me along with him.”
“That, Doc, is because I commissioned him to retrieve you. Indeed, Matthias-san is the only one of you who has a clue about what this meeting is about. You will have to forgive me for drawing this out so long. I have always been a big fan of suspense and theatrics. However, I shall waste your time no more.” Harry walked over to another table and returned, bringing forth a silver plate that held tea cups as well as paper bowls filled with some kind of dessert. “This is anmitsu. It is similar to a parfait. As I pour the tea for all of you, I shall tell you a story that will explain all.”
Matty whispered in my ear. “Ain’t this cool, man? Harry’s the best.”
I nodded silently, then turned my attention to Mister Saru as he spoke.
“A long time ago, a man emigrated from his Japanese homeland to find a new life this country. He settled in New York, in this very town of Madison. He was a quick learner, and before long, he could easily speak English fluently. Eventually, he found himself work at a local school… one that I think you are all familiar with… Kirby High School.
“He taught a Japanese history and culture class that could be taken as an elective, and it soon became a very popular class due to the teacher’s unique and clever style of helping his students learn. But the thing the students loved most in his class was when he taught them how to make a special kind of Japanese art called… origami.
“These kids had never seen such expert folding, such craftsmanship, such beauty. The students went crazy, making origami all the time out of notebook paper, and showing their friends how to make origami. Before long, the craze spread like a wildfire throughout the school. Everyone was making origami animals and plants. Soon enough, Wheeler Academy, the school of which you are all currently enrolled in, caught whiff of it, and it infected that school, too.”
“Wait, so like, all you guys go to Wheeler, too?! Say what?!” gasped Christine.
Saru ignored her. “Funny enough, that man, who went by the name Mr. Yang, soon realized he had escaped one war, only to become involved in another war… the Kirby-Wheeler rivalry. This made him very sad, seeing such hatred between schools. He thought it was all his fault because of his origami-folding, even though the whole inter-school ordeal was pretty much inevitable. He soon left the school for unknown reasons, and was never heard of again. Until now, that is.”
“Dude, what the heck are ya talking about?” asked J.J. “Sure, I know about the origami superhero junk that goes on at the schools, but why are trying to get us involved in it?”
“Because I know a good group of people when I see them… a group of people who aren’t afraid to bend some rules to do what is ultimately the best for everyone.”
“Um, pardon me, um, sir, but, like, uh, what are you specifically implying?” stuttered Anthony.
“I am asking that you would join me on a quest to find find Mr. Yang’s final will and testament. Rumor has it that he went on to be a very successful businessman, and that he has a very expensive collection of folded-paper art that was created by origami artists from around the world… the kind of art that belongs in a museum. But we’ve got to start working quickly. There are other people who want to take the collection for their own monetary gain. I believe, however, that Mr. Yang wanted to donate the collection as well as a portion of his fortune to both Kirby and Wheeler, in hopes to bring them together by helping to fund more programs that can benefit and enrich all the students. So, with all that said… are you in, or out?”
We all sat in silence for a moment. Anthony kept fidgeting in his chair while Christine messed with her hair. Sylvia and J.J. were motionless and silent. I looked to Matty.
“Do you really think this is something worth doing, Matty?” I asked.
He flashed me a grin. “I don’t think so… I know so.”
I nodded. “Then I’m in.”
Anthony spoke up. “I don’t, um, have many friends, per say, so, like, um, I think this would be… pretty… pretty cool.”
“So the pipsqueak, cowboy, and Mr. Moxy are doing this thing.” J.J. gave a thumbs-up. “Count me in then.”
“Well… I guess it could be, like, sorta fun,” Christine said while eyeing Matty. “Hey, Sylvia, what do you think?”
Sylvia shrugged. “I got nothing better to do.”
Christine smirked. “Guess we’re all doing this then.”
A smile crept across Harry Saru’s face. He clapped his hands together and bowed in gratitude. “Thank you, friends. So, with all of us as witnesses to this great moment in the history of Madison, we join together to become one, a fellowship of treasure-seekers, with the goal of recovering Mr. Yang’s will and create peace between Kirby High School and Wheeler Academy. From henceforward, we shall be known as the ‘Foldians of the Galaxy!’”
Anthony raised his eyebrow. “The What-ians of the Galaxy?”
Chapter 2: Christine Makes My Dreams Come True
By Matthias Russell
What I want, you’ve got
And it might be hard to handle
But like the flame that burns the candle
The candle feeds the flame, yeah yeah
What I’ve got’s full stock of thoughts and dreams that scatter
You pull them all together
And how, I can’t explain
Oh yeah, well well you
You make my dreams come true
Well well you, oh yeah
You make my dreams come true
– You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates, 1981
Just thought I’d write down some stuff that’s been boggling around in my head ‘cause it’s been the best day ever. So, there’s this girl named Christine Barkley. She’s just the best. I mean, she’s seriously got everything going for her: good grades, a position on the Wheeler cheerleading squad, and tons of friends.
Oh, and she’s mega-hot, too. And she has a great personality… always so kind and prone to laugh. It seems like she’s the one person at Wheeler who really has the whole world in her hand. So much stuff revolves around “What’s Christine doing?” and “What does Christine think about that?” But she isn’t really a jerk about it. I mean, not much. If anything, she doesn’t really like being near weirdos, but, you know, gotta keep up appearances in front of the top-tier high school superstars. It’s peer pressure, ya know? So, I don’t blame her.
Now, I’m not really what you’d call high-ranking on the cruel, unforgiving social ladder of high school. I’m on the medium level, maybe slightly higher. However, pretty much everyone likes me. Sometimes, the jocks invite me over to their table so I can make them laugh their heads off. I guess I just have that kind of personality, whether for better or for worse.
So, on that note, I figured I had something of a shot with Christine, considering I was likeable enough to make her want me as well as get on the good side of her friends. I mean, last night, at Harry’s place, I flat-out flirted with her, and she totally girl-giggled. She’s probably used to that kind of stuff, but the important thing is that I’ve got my foot in the door.
I’ve been hanging out a lot with Doc recently, ever since the whole meeting thing at Harry’s place. It’s totally tubular. I mean, sure, it’s a geek-fest, but I have a partiality to geek stuff. And everyone else there was totally rad, too. Oh, speaking of which, I better write down what’s going on with this Foldians business, in case… well, I don’t know… maybe if this journal entry gets put into a group project thingy or something? Sort of like a collective journal, or memoir, or whatever. A file full of… uh, chapters? Stories? Incidents? Cases? A case file? Heh, case file… I doubt that’s even a thing.
Coming (Maybe) Soon… Chapter 3: The Foldians ‘R’ Good Enough