Segundus et Principia

Tales from The Stream, No 2: 

Fire and Get Stoned

Cast:

Tarrique DeGuerre: Like, it’s not just me, it’s really obvious what he did there, right? Especially since he signs his name with the middle initial ‘N.’ I bet it stands for ‘Nom‘.

Jerome: Has quit smoking roughly 200 times; he brags about it every time, mostly to his cats.

Jessica Thunderhoof: Pretty good aim, for a vapid incompetent. Don’t ask to touch her antlers, it makes her uncomfortable. You’re not the first.

Pythonius Squeakmeister: Please, dear Lord, just call him P.S.

Carla DiCoco: She’s from one of the commonwealth islands, probably one of the shittier ones. You don’t leave the nice ones without good reason. Even then, it’s probably better to just change your name. Jerome told me she ended up here because she killed an ex-lover. Jessica thinks she used to be a spy. I think she’s a little too loud to be a spy.

Amelia Skies-Bane Junior: Named after his mother, who wanted a daughter. Disgraced fighter pilot, now runs a shady flight school down by the docks.

Stagalore Thunderhoof: Cult leader from the north. No relation… you racist.

A Swarm of Tiny Flying Crocodiles: Tiny flying crocodiles, a lot of them. They fly with wings, by the way, they don’t just levitate.


“Meta-Synaisthogen, the most popular drug in the Empire, and most of it is grown right in our region, out on the island of Segundus,” Jerome briefed the staff. “The Principia Island police have identified a possible drug farm, here.” He pointed at the projection screen behind him, near the delta of two rivers.

“And the police have hired us to go and extra-judicially dispose of it?” Jessica asked.

Jerome paused for a moment.

“We’re going to go out to this compound and confiscate the drugs, burn down the fields, and salt the earth. Obviously, you’ll need secured transport, both for yourselves and to get the drugs back, so I’ve hired you a pilot. Now, we know basically nothing about these people, so be on guard.”


At an airstrip just outside of town, our ‘heroes’ concerned themselves with the mission ahead.

“What kind of sandwiches did you guys bring?” P.S. asked the group.

“Brie and apple,” said Tarrique.

“Left-over steak and eggs,” answered Carla.

“So what even is this stuff, Meta-Synaisthogen?” Jessica asked the group, with no regard for the previous conversation.

Everyone stared for a moment, I’ll remind the reader that this is the most popular drug in the world, loved in its various forms by everyone from homeless people to royalty. Some people eat it, some people grow it in tiny pots on their desk to signal to their coworkers that they’re “with it”, real addicts boil it in a small pot with garlic leaves, add salt and pepper to taste, and then inject intravenously.

“Maybe you’ve only heard of it’s street names? How about Mary Smith?” Tarrique metaphorically grilled her.

“Nope.”

“Psychic Pspice?”

“Nope.”

“Manaleaf? Super S? The Devil’s Kale?”

“Nobody calls it that, surely?”

“Gangsters call it that!” He replied emphatically.

“Well whatever, what does it do?”

“It gets you high!” Tarrique responded, his voice pitched high with disbelief.

P.S. elaborated, “Everything in this universe which is alive contains mana, right?”

“Yeah, even plants, they just have less than animals, which in turn have less than people, I didn’t ask for a 4th grade science lesson.”

P.S. ignored her.

“Mana is directly connected with our consciousness, it’s created when information changes states, and fades over time. Well, in the brain, information moves through our neurons and changes forms a lot, and therefore generates a lot of mana. It works the other way too, when the mana in your brain is affected by something, like an illusion spell, then the changes in the mana state also effect the mental state.”

“Like a swarm of tiny flying crocodiles!”

“Exactly, Tarrique! Anyway, Meta-Synaisthogen emits bosons which can interfere with the mana in people’s brains. When you consume the plant, those boson-emitting particles can cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore can really mess with your brain.”

“Okay, I get all that physics-y stuff, but what does it actually do?

“It gets you high.”


About fifteen minutes late, an airplane landed on the strip. The pilot landed it in that way that great pilots don’t. It wiggled all over the place, and actually bounced up again, briefly taking flight, before coming to a stop just past the edge of the runway. The pilot, backed it up, and then taxied to our heroes.

The door unfolded into stairs, and a bearded man stumbled out. He introduced himself as Amelia Skies-Bane Junior. Everyone was too polite to ask.

“So, we doin this or what?”

“Are you okay to fly?” Jessica asked, legitimately.

“Missh deerie, I was a fighter ace back in the great war, and I shot down fifty commonwealth airplanesh with a martini in one hand and my dick in the other. Now, I shuggest you get your tight assh on this plane and don’t worry about it.”

Everyone regretted being polite.


“This is gonna be great, I smoked so much mana weed back in the academy,” P.S. elated to the others.

“Well, you aren’t going to get a chance to smoke any, you stoner fuck-up. We’re going to turn it all over to the police.” Jessica retorted.

“Well, Jerome did tell us to burn the fields down, I’m just saying that maybe we could do it slowly, over the course of a couple months.”

“How did you even become a wizard?”

“Have you seen the world we live in? Nobody could understand that shit without getting high first. Who do you think I was smoking with? It was my thesis adviser!”

“What was your thesis on?” Carla attempted to defuse the situation.

“The effect of altered consciousness on mana patterning and magical control.”

“So your research was just to get high?” Jessica recovered.

“Get high and shoot fireballs.”


They were still arguing when the plane landed.

“Alright, get your shit together, we’re in the AO,” Carla demanded. “Here’s the plan. During our recon pass, while you two were fighting like children, Tarrique and I got a pretty good look at the compound. The front entrance is heavily guarded, and we won’t be able to take out those guards without alerting the others, so I think we should sneak through the fields, find their storage room, stuff as much MS as we can into these duffel bags, then set the fields on fire on our way out. Any concerns?”

“Isn’t it risky to walk through the fields? Won’t it interfere with our focus?” Jessica concerned.

“I’d rather it be a little illusion magic than a bullet.”


There was no sign that Amelia’s irregular flight path was anything but a a pleasure cruise. Segundus is a strange island, it’s legally part of Principia, but the government doesn’t police it very well. Because of that, people can just go out there and build on the land. This has made it popular among the extremely wealthy, who want a country manor, but don’t want to pay property tax, as well as drug lords, or new religious movements, who don’t want to be disturbed by the establishment. It seems strange that there’s a place where drug lords and robber barons can live in harmony, but here something unites them: squatting.

The gang crept through the ‘grass’ like a well-oiled snake.

“Fuck, I’m hungry.”

“Good thing I brought a brie and apple sandwich.”

“Shut up, you’ll blow our cover.”

“Whatever, nobody will hear us over how loud this weed is.”

Jessica giggled, “That doesn’t even make sense.”

“Seriously, be quiet, I think we’re getting close to the hou—”

Carla pushed aside some stalks and saw that she was suddenly in the back yard of the house, and there was roughly twenty figures in hooded robes having a barbecue. They all stared at her, and the guards aimed their guns. She surrendered.

Tarrique exited the ‘grass’, asking “Getting close to the what?”, and then put his hands up.


The gang was handcuffed and knelt down next to the brazier where the strange people had been cooking a feast. One of the hooded figures approached them. He removed his hood, which was inexplicably hiding a pair of antlers. He was a deer-kin, with a strong, masculine face.

“Who are you, to sneak into our sanctum, during the Cremation Ceremony? Who are you, to interrupt our communion unto the five Lords?”

It turns out this particular group of crackpots was both a new religious movement and a drug farming operation.

“Oh, that explains those crazy banners we saw from the air!” Tarrique conferred with Carla.

“SILENCE! Are you agents of The Great Adversary, come to destroy our way of life? Or are you agents of the illegitimate, so-called empire, come to take our holy shrub away from us?”

Carla tried to lie, “We’re just tourists, from Segundus Town! We crashed our plane and we were just looking for help, and—”

P.S. interrupted her, “Just tourists carrying military hardware who happened to be traveling with a wizard? What a shitty lie, Carla. Here’s the real truth, we are pilgrims who came out here to join your cult!”

“How DARE you! We are not a cult! We are the devoted chosen people of the five Lords of reality! The Lord of language place a curse upon your tongue you-y-you… blasphemer!”

The cult leader went on a rant for another couple minutes, laying curses on P.S. various body parts in the name of each of his five Lords. “The Lord of Sky remove the air from your lungs” he would say, but these curses were lost on Pythonius, not only because he had no idea who the five Lords were. Pythonius focused instead on casting a spell on his bonds. He started to feel them soften. He shot Tarrique a short nod, and Tarrique nodded back.

Tarrique stood up, and the cult leader yelled “What are you doing?” Tarrique literally grilled him. As the zealous deer-kin writhed around in agony, Pythonius burst through his bonds, and with his hands free was able to magically unlock the others’. Carla rushed the cultist who had confiscated her pistols, wrestling with him and shooting him in the stomach.

Jessica gave the cultist holding her rifle a roundhouse kick. She wears horse shoes on missions, so he didn’t stand back up. She shot another in the head with the bullet that was in the chamber. Tarrique threw another cultist into the fire, and as she ran into the field, her blazing cape spread the flames to another two cultists, who ran into the fields. The remaining guards and cultists were distracted by the suddenly conflagrating Meta-Synaisthogen.

“Damn it, I wanted to burn that down.”

Carla signaled for the others to run into the house. Tarrique blasted two guards on the way in and defended the door while the others looked for the storage room.

Tarrique removed the brie and apple sandwich from his bag and started to munch on it, holding his trench gun in his other enormous hand. A guard ran out from around the corner but saw this display of chutzpah and decided to go help put out the fields instead.

“Good..mm… choice”


After finding the drugs and loading them into their rucksacks, the team started to escape out the front door, but they found that the cult’s guards had stationed themselves in the attic room of the house, and had located Amelia’s plane out beyond the west field (the one that wasn’t on fire.) They weren’t firing upon him, they were planning to use him as bait and shoot the drug-nappers when they tried to escape.

P.S. cast a spell with some pink sparks. It made their bodies harder to focus on, thus making it harder for the snipers to make contact.

“Go ahead, they won’t be able to hit us.”

Tarrique ran out into the field and immediately got shot. He fell to the ground and held his hands over the hole in his right leg. Jessica ran after him, bullets narrowly missing her. She and Carla held him up and they limp-ran across the field.

The three and a half of them ran to the plane, only sustaining minor wounds. Jessica began counter-sniping, while Carla tried to wake up the pilot.

“You drunk asshole, wake the fuck up.”

“Ugh, what?” He held his head, and acted as if pants actually covered the entirety of his genitals.

“FLY THE GODDAMN PLANE.”

“I don’t take orders from no commonwealth-darkie bull-dyke, now where’s my-“

His racist, misogynistic rampage was interrupted by a bullet whizzing through the cockpit, followed by his frontal cortex.

“Fuck.” She turned around to the cabin, with Tarrique bandaging his leg, P.S. trying to burn everything in sight, and Jessica shooting cultists that weren’t there because the smoke was starting to get to her. “Which one of you can fly a plane the best?”

Tarrique spoke up, “I was in the air force before I joined the Feathered Serpents.”

“Wait, why the hell didn’t you fly us here instead of that drunk idiot?”

“Nobody asked.”

Tarrique scooped himself into the pilot’s seat and started the engine. Even on a broken leg he was almost as smooth as he was back in the old days. Tarrique opened the luggage compartment and told P.S. to ‘bomb the ever-loving shit out of them’.


“I don’t really care what you think, PS, Jerome won’t let you take any of it. If he doesn’t give all the drugs to the police, we won’t get paid.”

“But the police don’t know how much we have! It’s the perfect crime!”

Jessica and Pythonius were still arguing when they crossed the threshold. Jerome over-heard them.

“What the hell are you talking about? Getting the police involved? Where the hell did that come from?”

“You said we were getting the drugs off the streets!”

“That doesn’t sound like me. We’re just going to sell them, now come on, I already have a fence lined up.”

“Can we at least keep some?” P.S. interjected.

“Fuck no, we need every last dime.”

Jerome ended the conversation by carrying the bags out to his car.

“What an asshole.”

“Whatever, I have some in the barracks, let’s go get high.”

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