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Author Topic: New by Smarty: The Story Behind Zapp Brannigan  (Read 904 times)
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Smarty

Professor
*
« on: 06-17-2009 00:50 »

Here is my new idea which I am starting on:

Not much is known about Captain Zapp Brannigan except that he is dumb, socially akward when it comes to women, and makes horrible decisions as a military leader. But what's the story behind the idiot? How did he come to be? How the heck did he become a 25-star general? Was he always like this?

I will answer these and many more of these questions in this fanfiction, which I am still working on...Darkness Prevailing has a little of a road block...I can't think of anything for it right now. smile

So I'll post up the Introduction soon enough. I hope this works...And there will be illustrations eventually. I look forward to those. I never practice drawing Zapp.
Books

Near Death Star Inhabitant
Urban Legend
***
« Reply #1 on: 06-17-2009 00:56 »

I'm actually going to read this smile
Unless somebody dissuades me out of it frown
The Zapp

Crustacean
*
« Reply #2 on: 06-17-2009 01:23 »

Here is my new idea which I am starting on:

Not much is known about Captain Zapp Brannigan except that he is genius, pure casanova when it comes to women, and master military Strategist.

Fixed.  cool

And I look forward to reading this for sure.
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #3 on: 06-17-2009 01:33 »
« Last Edit on: 07-12-2009 07:18 »

The Story Behind Zapp Brannigan

I (Rough Draft, go down for better)

Leela and Fry walked down the street together. Leela was angry and Fry tried to stay clear in case she wildly swung her fists in rage. They had just returned from a meeting of scientists, which Professor Farnsworth made them go to. The meeting was about dirt and soil, which made everyone fall asleep. Unfortunately Zapp Brannigan was there and of course tried to win Leela’s heart, but failed. Yet, he managed to make her aggravated, as usual.

“I can’t believe that man! If you can call him that,” Leela yelled.

“Leela, calm down,” Fry said, “Really. It has happened a whole bunch of times. Can’t you just let it go like you usually do?”

“Not this time, Fry,” she explained.

“What did he even do?”

“Ugh, it is a long story, but I guess I can summarize it. He followed me into the bathroom. I went into a stall, and luckily before I…well you know, did my business…I saw him. In the ceiling panel, looking down! What an idiot! Not only that, but as I was walking out he threw water on me. Luckily I was facing the other way. He is such a…a…”

“Pervert?”

“Yes! And an idiot. Why the hell is he the leader of D.O.O.P.?”

“Zapp Brannigan, you say?”

Leela and Fry turned their heads to a newspaper stand where a middle age man was sitting. He was reading the newspaper.

“Excuse me?” Leela asked.

“Brannigan. He used to be one of the greatest generals of Earth…at least he was truly one. Nowadays he is still called that. The problem is he isn’t. Everyone just still loves him from years ago that they can’t take the title back…”

“Sir, I am sorry, but are you out of your mind? Zapp Brannigan is the worst general on Earth,” Leela said.

“Not about 15 years ago he wasn’t. Weren’t you alive then? What were you? 12? 13? Surely you thought he was a hero.”

“Well, yes I did, but that was before I met him in person.”

“Well then if you met him he would have been one of the wisest men you knew. If only that accident hadn’t happened…what a shame.”

“What…accident?” Fry asked.

“Do you want me to tell you the story?”

“Of what?” Fry asked.

“The story behind Zapp Brannigan. Here, take a seat on that bench over there…”
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #4 on: 06-19-2009 23:58 »
« Last Edit on: 07-19-2009 05:12 »

II (Rough Draft)

It was Tuesday night, one of the best nights of the year at the military base. It was the night that the families all got together and had a dinner, with a fire and stories of wars. It was an excitable time for one child in particular, Zachary. He was one to be interested in the war stories and stories of adventure. Stories about a brave hero, or a quick thinker, people like his father. Zach ran around pretending to shoot “invaders” who were “attacking.”

“Zoom! Wam! Pow! Ha! I have you now, alien enemies!” Zach exclaimed. He pulled out his finger and “shot” a boy across the kitchen floor. He faked a hit and fell to the ground clutching his heart. “Bullseye!”

The boy sat up and ran to Zach. “That was fun, Zach. When’s your mom going to be done with the food to take to the mess hall?”

“I don’t know, Tom,” Zach explained. “Let’s go ask.”

The two boys ran over to a young woman over near the stovetop. She was cooking pasta, and had an array of spices to her side. She was humming a song while she worked and stirred the food.

“Mom,” Zach began, “when is the food ready? Tom and me—“

“Tom and I, Zachary,” she corrected.

“Tom and I want to bring it over to the mess hall. Is it ready? Huh?”

“Almost, dear, hold on. Your father is coming back soon. He can go with you.”

“Cool, I guess,” Zach replied. He and Tom went over to a stool and sat down. They waited a while, talking to each other about their fathers and their military wins. After about 15 minutes, a young lieutenant walked into the door.

Zach turned his head and stood up to salute him, and the lieutenant saluted back, playfully. He went over to Zachary’s mother. He whispered something to her and then left the room, nodding quietly to the boys.

His mother came over to them and kneeled down. “Zachary, your father is going to be late from his training session, so he is going to meet us at the mess hall. Is that okay?”

Zach nodded. “Good, then,” his mother stated. She went back to the pasta and put it into a container. She then added some pepper and closed the lid. After untying her apron, she hung it up and walked the container over.

“You boys ready for some fun?”

They both turned to each other and nodded. She handed her son the container of pasta and they ran out the door. She followed, closing the door behind her.

The two boys ran out the door across the base to the mess hall, their mother watching their every step along the way. They opened the doors to the hall and walked calmly over to the serving table. The cook behind the table smiled at them.

“Hello, boys, what have you brought me today?”

“Hey, Bruno,” Tom said. “Zach’s mom made some pasta with pepper. I dunno what else, she wouldn’t show us.”

“My favorite! Thank you boys…now go and sit down, relax,” Bruno said calmly.

The two went over to the front left table and sat down. Zach’s mother then came in, along with Tom’s mother and father, and walked over to the boys.

“Where’s your dad?” Tom whispered to Zach.

“I don’t know, Tom…he’ll be here. I know.”



An hour through the dinner his father still hadn’t arrived. He sat with his arms crossed and head down. He had barely touched his plate. His mother, knowing his disappointment, put her arm around him.

“Zach, you know your father can be busy…”

“I know, Mother.”

“And he is very important…”

“I know.”

“And if he can’t make it, you have to forgive him. But you can still tell him you were disappointed. But don’t make a big deal about it. Got it?”

“Got it, Mom,” Zach answered.

“Want to go home?” his mother asked.

“Yes,” he replied. The two got up and said goodbye to Tom’s parents, and walked out of the door. They strode across the base to their house, when his father pulled up in a hover jeep. His father waved goodbye to his escort and saw his son’s disappointed face. He rubbed his neck and walked over to him. After giving him a playful salute, he kneeled down to him and mussed his hair.

“Son, I’m sorry. I got held up at the training camp…kids don’t know how to run the obstacle course as well as you, I guess,” he said, with a chuckle. Zach cracked a smile. “There’s my boy. Hey, I have an idea.” Zach’s eyes brightened and he looked up. “Do you want to go for an ice cream? We can take the jeep…”

Zach thought about it. “Yes sir.”

“Good. Now come with me and we will be off!” His father patted his back and led him to the garage. They got into the blue jeep and headed off. His mother waved them off.

Now the ice cream stand that Zach loved was off-base, and his father was willing to take him to it. It wasn’t too far away, only four miles. In about 10 minutes from base to town, they were there. The town was small, only a few people, and in the heart of Arizona. The ice cream store was in the style of the ancient 1950’s, and according to their sign, they had been around since that time. Whether they believed the sign or not, it was still the best place in Zach’s eyes. They went inside.

About 15 minutes later they came out, Zach with chocolate ice cream and his father with vanilla. They were walking to the car when it happened.

A dark shadow of a man walked out from behind the store and stopped. Zach’s father heard his feet and turned around. He reached for his gun, only to realize he left it in the car, 20 feet away.

“What do you want, sir?” His father asked.

“Nothing in particular, Lieutenant, just a shot at shaking your hand.”

“What do you mean…” his father asked suspiciously.

The man pulled out a laser gun. His father pushed Zach behind him for protection. “Now, sir, don’t shoot me…”

“I wasn’t going to really shoot you,” he explained. Zach stepped out behind his father. The man pointed the gun towards him. “I was going to shoot your son.”

“Listen, sir, you don’t need to do this,” his father said.

“Peter, Peter, Peter, when will you learn. This kid is your son. I want to kill him. Now, you can try to stop me, or you can give me what I want.”

“What do you want!?” Peter yelled.

“You know…”

“No I don’t!” Peter exclaimed.

“Okay, here it goes…I’m not likely to miss,” the man said quietly. He raised the gun up towards Zach and pulled the trigger. A laser flew out and hit Peter in the chest as he dove in front of his only beloved son.

“Just as I planned, Lieutenant. You are as weak as I thought..” he said mysteriously, walking away.

Zach, open mouthed, stared at the man as he walked into the shadows. Then he turned to his wounded father. Peter clutched his heart, just as young Tom had when they were pretending. Tears welled up in Zach’s eyes as his father reached for his hand. Peter grabbed it and held it tightly. Then he brought Zach down to him.

“Son, I want you to become the best soldier you could be…an honorable one…a smart one…one who can lead. If I don’t make it out of this, I expect you to do that. Understand?”

Zach cried. “No, Dad, you can’t…”

“Understand? That’s an…order.”

“Yes, Father, I understand. I swear I will do what you say and become what you want me to become…please…don’t go…”

“I’m in God’s hands now, Zachary…”

Peter’s hand went limp and Zachary fell on top of him, sobbing. The cashier in the ice cream shop saw what had happened and ran out of the store, cell phone in hand. He called the military base, and in a few minutes, ambulances with flashing lights had arrived, with Tom’s father taking him home.

When Zach got home he ran to his mother and cried, and they both cried together, not knowing what would happen to Peter. The next morning he was pronounced dead.


The next afternoon was the funeral. The general was reading the obituary.

“…a fine captain. Peter was more than a military man, but a family man. With a son and a beautiful wife, he had it all. He was one of the most influential men we all have come in contact with, and many would have been glad to serve under him if he got the chance. Recruits requested him by the dozens, and were inspired to join because of his many brave acts…”

Zach and his mother stood beside the grave as this was occurring. Zach had his head down and did not cry. He would not cry at such an event, and dishonor his father. Even if his father had told him to cry, he would not. He could not. He was out of tears. His heart was broken into a thousand pieces, and he had to continue his legacy.

“…legacy will be a great one. May we, this afternoon of May 14th, 2982, celebrate the great achievements of this influential man. May we talk about his great achievements and praise him every way. And now, we will lay to rest this wonderful, prideful man, this Captain of the Earth Army. So, in prayer, we say goodbye to Peter. Goodbye, Captain Peter M. Brannigan.”

And while they lowered his father into the ground, Zachary Brannigan swore to himself, to God, and to his father that he would become the man his father told him to be, and to follow the last orders of the late Captain Peter Brannigan.
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #5 on: 06-25-2009 06:21 »

III


“This is going to be great,” a teen said in the back, whispering to his classmate next to him. He took a piece of paper from his notebook and crumpled it up, and continued doing that until he had a wad of paper about the size of his fist. He aimed for the boy three rows up and threw it. The ball of paper flew down the aisle and hit him in the back of the head. His head went forward and he turned back. After an angry glare, he turned his head to the front of the room.

Zach, now angry, drew on a scrap piece of paper. He drew spaceships, mostly DOOP ships, soldiers, battles, all the things he was learning about in school. Zach attended the Arizona State Military Academy, or ASMA. Graduation was right around the corner and he needed to be on top of everything. The boys in the back couldn’t break him from his studying.

Zach was reputable for his study habits. He was known by the kids in the back of the room as a nerd, dork, and as unfit to be in the military. Zach knew this. He wanted to change. Today just wasn’t the day.

“…in 2403, the Earth army attacked the planet Hammar, which was inhabited by the hostile hammer head land sharks, who were terrorizing ships transporting valuable supplies between Earth and the planet Drule in the Fargo Quadrant of space,” Col. Redman lectured.

A young girl raised her hand. “Yes, cadet?”

“So, the Hammarians were essentially pirates?”

“Yes! Thank you, Cadet Waymond,” Redman stated. “Now, does anyone know who led the attack on June 29, 2403 on the Hammarians?”No one raised their hands.

“Anyone?”

Zach searched the depths of his memory for anything having to do with this that he learned from his father or from his books. The teacher looked around the room for anyone who could answer. Zach frantically tried to remember and finally he found it and raised his hand quickly. Everyone stared at him and he lowered it a little in embarrassment.

“Ah, Brannigan. No surprise here. Who led the attack?”

“It was General Ross Abernathy, and he led a fleet of only 400 men into the…uh…oh, the, um, base camp of Hammarian pirates, located at the base of Mount Baxoql. He managed to sneak up on them and defeat them, with only killing 20 of the 750 pirates. He was known as a hero to people around the area for his courage and mercy.”

Everyone in the class stared at Zach. He looked around the room. Then he sunk down in his chair.

Col. Redman smiled. “Good job, son. You do know your history, that’s for sure. You would make an excellent general.”

“Not like he’d ever get to Lieutenant,” said the boy in the back. The boys in the back laughed. Zach clenched his fist.

“Cadet Grahm!” the teacher exclaimed. Graham sat straight and forward. “Stand up and apologize to Zachary.”

Graham reluctantly started to get up.

“NOW, Jason!” Redman yelled.

Jason got up and faced Zach. He took a breath and said, “Sorry, Brannigan.”

“Thank you, Graham,” the Colonel stated.

Jason stared at Zach the rest of the class period. Zach didn’t dare look back to see the angry eyes of his enemy. He just stared at the clock. There was about five minutes left in class. When the bell rang, he was going to make a run for it.

He continued to write down notes until the bell. When it rang, he stuffed his stuff into his pack and rushed out of the room. Jason hurried and followed him outside. Zach heard him behind him and picked up his pace. Jason ran and grabbed Zach’s backpack, throwing him to the ground.

“What the hell, Brannigan?” Jason sneered.

“I didn’t do anything, Graham, so just bring it up with Redman.”

“It’s not my fault you are a failure. Stop giving me something to make fun of you for,” Jason said, laughing.

“Just because I am an A student while you are failing in the back of the room is no reason for you to—“

“You think that is the reason I make fun of you, Brannigan? Really?” he started to laugh.

“Well, I…”

“Listen, Brannigan, you are a failure in the military. Why you are still here, I don’t know. I think the only reason they let you into this school is because you are the son of Peter Brannigan. You know, that’s not enough. Your father can’t save you when you graduate. There will be so much you will go through, so much you will cry about. Your father won’t help you there. You know why?”

Zach stood silent, looking into his eyes with anger.

“Because your father, the oh-so-great Peter Brannigan is dead. He is long gone now. I don’t even respect the guy, really, he was shot in the middle of a parking lot with no protection by some guy no one even knows. Really if he was so great, why would die like tha—“ Jason was stopped when Zach punched him in the nose.

“OW!!!” Jason yelled. “Damn it, Brannigan! I’ll kill you!” Zach began to run but Jason reached and threw him against a wall. Zach fell down, slumped against the wall. Jason continued punching him and as someone pulled him off, everything went black.



He woke up in the infirmary with his mother sitting in a chair. She looked over and smiled at him. “Thank God you’re okay...”

“Yeah, I’m fine Mom.”

“Why was Jason hurting you like that? Col. Redman pulled him off of you when he saw him throw you against the wall. Thank goodness he saw you or you may have been seriously hurt.”

“Well…” Zach started, embarrassed and ashamed, “he probably was mad at the fact I gave him a bloody nose…”

“Zachary! Why would you do that?” Mrs. Brannigan exclaimed, now angry.

“He was…he was saying how it was disrespectful of how Dad died, and how the only reason I’m in military school is because I’m his son.”

Mrs. Brannigan sighed, “You may encounter more people like this, Zach. That is no reason to hurt them, though. They may be hurting you, but still…come to me or your teachers.”

“I’m going to college soon, Mom; I need to fight my own battles. I’ll be in the military. I’ll be fighting all the time.”

“Are you ready for that kind of thing, Zach? I just don’t know…”

“…You aren’t sure if I’ll make it in the military, do you Mom?”

“No, not at all Zach! It is just…ever since the accident you have become very quiet and introverted. I’m not sure if…”

“You are…I’m going.” Zach got up and put on his school uniform.

“Zach, don’t leave now,” his mother said quietly.

“I am going to Tom’s,” he explained.

“You just got hit in the head, Zach.”

“So? I’m 18 years old. I think I can handle myself now,” he said, walking out the door. He closed the door behind him and was stopped by Col. Redman. “Oh, hello sir…” Zach started to continue walking when Redman grabbed his shoulder.

“Not so fast Cadet.”

Zach sighed and turned to him. “Yes…I know I’m in trouble.”

“You shouldn’t have punched Graham.”

“I know sir, I’ll take my punishment. Pushups, detention, an essay…just give it to me.”

“I’m not going to punish you, son.”

Zach looked up in confusion. “Wait. Why? The rules say you need to.”

“I know. But I am almost proud of you. I’m sure your father would say the same thing…oh your father. He would first punish you. But then he'd take you somewhere to celebrate your courage. It took a lot of guts to punch Graham, who is in peak physical condition. You took a beating too,” he said, looking at a bruise under his eye.

“Well, thank you, sir.”

“You go off now,” he said. Zach turned and began to walk. “Oh, wait, Brannigan!”

Zach turned.

“I just wanted to let you know, if you do that again outside of training or battle, I will give you detention,” he said smiling. Zach smiled back, shaking his head. He walked outside the door and into the hallway. He went to the parking lot where his hover car was parked. He opened his trunk and threw his backpack into it. He hopped into the front seat, turned the key, and drove off to Tom’s house.
Books

Near Death Star Inhabitant
Urban Legend
***
« Reply #6 on: 06-26-2009 16:49 »

Smarty: I swear I'm going to read this today. when I get time. smile
x.Bianca.x

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #7 on: 06-27-2009 10:37 »

I read it. It's good, but just some constructive critisism, I think you need to include more classic Zap Brannigan into young Zach wink Other than that, it is good.
Future Shock

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #8 on: 06-27-2009 12:52 »

Pretty good story. Probably one of your best fan fics. Glad to see you're back in action.
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #9 on: 06-27-2009 17:23 »

I read it. It's good, but just some constructive critisism, I think you need to include more classic Zap Brannigan into young Zach wink Other than that, it is good.

Oh, I'm getting there.
Books

Near Death Star Inhabitant
Urban Legend
***
« Reply #10 on: 07-06-2009 01:33 »

That was awesome Smarty!
Really great writing big grin
sohel001
Poppler
*
« Reply #11 on: 07-07-2009 20:32 »

There needs to be a strong vision behind the creation. ... I'm almost reminded of Zapp Brannigan's self-styled war between good and neutral. ... The yak-folk, however, are a new one to me. Where are they from? ... Towards a Theory of Demihumans · No Class · Story Games Style Smarty Pants Idea .This is a story about how 2 enterprising web developers quit their jobs at CNET .... form-reply that they would be launching new sites in the summer to compensate. ..... if you want people to put your site in their sigs by Zap Brannigan, ... Why we used SMARTY by boompa,The story is typical smarty-goes-wiry, but the dialogue is very, very weak, which is unfortunate, since the concept has a lot of potential. Zapp Brannigan .
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #12 on: 07-12-2009 01:46 »

There needs to be a strong vision behind the creation. ... I'm almost reminded of Zapp Brannigan's self-styled war between good and neutral. ... The yak-folk, however, are a new one to me. Where are they from? ... Towards a Theory of Demihumans · No Class · Story Games Style Smarty Pants Idea .This is a story about how 2 enterprising web developers quit their jobs at CNET .... form-reply that they would be launching new sites in the summer to compensate. ..... if you want people to put your site in their sigs by Zap Brannigan, ... Why we used SMARTY by boompa,The story is typical smarty-goes-wiry, but the dialogue is very, very weak, which is unfortunate, since the concept has a lot of potential. Zapp Brannigan .

You know, I'm not just going to leave it like that. I know it sounds weak. I am horrible at dialog the first time, I need to put my ideas down first, then make it stronger. I've been busy lately.
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #13 on: 07-12-2009 07:17 »

I'm going to count the above as a rough draft, and go over the other chapters before I post. Here is Chapter I again, with a little better writing and details.


I

It was a Saturday afternoon in New New York. Leela and Fry had just finished up a national conference at Madison Cube Garden about the effects of nuclear weapons on plant life. There were many government officials, including President Nixon. In addition to this was of course none other than Captain Zapp Brannigan, the one person Leela hated most. The two walked down the street together, or stomped, in Leela’s case. It was obvious to passersby that Leela was very angry. Fry stayed clear in case she wildly swung her fists in rage. Of course, the only reason she would be this mad is that Zapp once again tried to win her heart, humiliating himself and receiving another kick or punch in the face, gut, or, of course, crotch.

Leela came up to a stop sign and kicked it, bending it at about a 45 degree angle. Fry flinched.

“Leela, are you—“

“ARGHHH!,” Leela yelled.

“Leela, calm down,” Fry said, backing a step away, “Really. It’s happened a whole bunch of times. Can’t you just let it go like you usually do?”

“Not this time, Fry,” she explained, crossing her arms. "I've had it with this monster."

“What did he even do?

“Ugh, it is a long story...but I guess I can summarize it,” she said, sitting on the bent sign. “He followed me into the bathroom. I went into a stall, and luckily before I…well you know, did my business…I saw him. In the ceiling panel, looking down! What an idiot! Not only that, but as I was walking out he threw water on my shirt. Luckily I was facing the other way. He is such a…a…”

“Pervert?”

“That, but I was mostly thinking a bastard.  And an idiot. Why the hell is he a general of D.O.O.P. anyway?”

“Zapp Brannigan, you say?”

Leela and Fry turned their heads to a newspaper stand next to them where a man, probably in his fifties, was sitting. He was reading the newspaper and had his feet up on the counter.

“Excuse me?” Leela asked.

“Brannigan,” he continued, beneath his low-rimmed hat. “He used to be one of the greatest generals of Earth, ya know…for real. Nowadays he is just called that. The problem is that he isn’t. Everyone just still loves him from years ago and they can’t seem to take the title back…”

“Sir, I am sorry, but are you out of your mind? Zapp Brannigan is the worst general on Earth,” Leela said.

“Not about 15 years ago he wasn’t,” he explained. He looked up from his hat. “Weren’t you alive then, kid? What were you? 12? 13? Surely you thought he was a hero.”

“Well, yes I did, but that was before I met him in person. He was so--”

“Different? Mhm. He has changed a lot. Well, let me tell you that if you met him then he would have been one of the wisest men you knew. If only that accident hadn’t happened…what a shame.”

“What…accident?” Fry asked. He turned to Leela. "Do you know about an accident?” Leela shook her head.

“Do you want me to tell you the story?”

“Of what?” Fry asked.

The man sighed and rolled his eyes. “The story behind Zapp Brannigan, stupid,” he said. Then he pulled out two stools. “Here, take a seat…”
Future Shock

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #14 on: 07-18-2009 12:31 »

I read it. It's good, but just some constructive critisism, I think you need to include more classic Zap Brannigan into young Zach wink Other than that, it is good.

I agree. This story should have a tiny bit of Zapp in it, otherwise people will relate to this person as completely different. They'll treat it as if its not Zapp, so with a little bit of his older persona, people will be comfortable with it.

Books

Near Death Star Inhabitant
Urban Legend
***
« Reply #15 on: 07-18-2009 21:43 »

Shut up Future Shock.
Smarty, the story is great smile
Future Shock

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #16 on: 07-19-2009 03:23 »

Constructive Criticism.

Have... you... heard of it?
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #17 on: 07-19-2009 05:12 »

Revision for II, added some more dialog between Tom and Zach, and dialog between Peter and Zach. I tried to fit a better young Zapp type in, but he is still young. Plus I have plans with this accident thing for most of his behavior. It's pretty well planned out right now. I really need to develop the characters more now.


II

It was Tuesday night, one of the best nights of the year at the military base. It was the night that the families all got together and had a dinner, with a fire and stories of wars. It was an excitable time for one child in particular, Zachary. He was one to be interested in the war stories and stories of adventure. Stories about a brave hero, or a quick thinker, people like his father. Zach ran around with Tom, his best friend, pretending to shoot “invaders” who were “attacking.”

“Zoom! Wam! Pow! Ha! I have you now, alien enemies!” Zach exclaimed. He pulled out his finger and “shot” Tom across the kitchen floor. He faked a hit and fell to the ground clutching his heart. “Bullseye!”

Tom  sat up and ran to Zach. “That was fun, Zach. When’s your mom going to be done with the food to take to the mess hall?”

“I don’t know, Tom,” Zach explained. “Let’s go ask.”

The two boys ran over to a young woman over near the stovetop. She was cooking pasta, and had an array of spices to her side. She was humming a song while she worked and stirred the food.

“Mom,” Zach began, pulling on her dress, “when is the food ready? Tom and me—“

“Tom and I, Zachary,” she corrected.

Zach sighed. “Tom and I want to bring it over to the mess hall. Is it ready? Huh? Is it?”

“Almost, dear, hold on. Your father is coming back soon. He can go with you.”

“Fine,” Zach replied. He and Tom went over to a stool and sat down. They waited a while, talking to each other.

“Zach...” Tom started.

“What.”

“You know Lieutenant Geffery’s kid?”

“Brook?”

Tom nodded.

“What about her?”

“I...I...Well I like her. I think,” he said with his head down.

“Really? Ha! You want a girlfriend!” Zach said, teasing.

“Stop it!” Tom yelled.

Zach snickered a little more then stopped. “Really?”

“Yes...” Tom said.

“Have you talked to her?”

Tom shook his head.

“Well how will she ever know ya?”

Tom shrugged. “You’re brave. Do you have any advice?”

Zach laughed. “Brave? Of course I’m brave. I get it from my dad...I’m the bravest kid in the fourth grade, Tom! Come’on...”

Tom stared at him with a smirk. “Zach...”

“Okay so I may have exaggerated a little bit.”

Tom laughed. “Really, no help?”

“Well, if you want to talk to her, you have got to make her want you. You gotta look at her nice...like this,” Zach said, making a look so that his eyes were a little closed and his eyebrows raised. Tom lauged.

“You look stupid.”

“That’s the point. She’ll laugh, then she’ll talk to ya. Trust me, works every time...”

“What time? You’ve never had a girlfriend!” Tom said, laughing.

“Almost! But then I threw up from lunch...she never talked to me again, that Tara...”

“Shut up,” Tom said, smiling. Just then a young soldier walked into the door.

Zach turned his head and stood up to salute him, acting older than he was, and the soldier smiled and saluted back, playfully. He went over to Zach’s mother. He whispered something to her and then left the room, nodding quietly to the boys.

His mother came over to them and kneeled down. “Zachary, your father is going to be late from his training session, so he is going to meet us at the mess hall. Is that okay?”

Zach’s smile faded and he nodded. “Good, then,” his mother stated, stroking his hair. She went back to the pasta and put it into a container. She then added some pepper and closed the lid. After untying her apron, she hung it up and walked the container over to them.

She put her hands on her hips. “You boys ready for some fun?”

They both turned to each other and nodded, smiling. She handed her son the container of pasta and they ran out the door. She followed, closing the door behind her.

“Race you!” Zach yelled, starting to run.
“Not like you’ll win!” Tom replied.

The two boys ran out the door across the base to the mess hall, their mother watching their every step along the way. They opened the doors to the hall and walked calmly over to the serving table.

“I won,” Zach whispered to Tom.

“No.”

The cook behind the table smiled at them. “Hello, boys, what have you brought me today?”

“Hey, Bruno,” Tom said. “Zach’s mom made some pasta with pepper. I dunno what else, she wouldn’t show us.”

“My favorite! Thank you boys…now go and sit down, relax,” Bruno said calmly.

The two went over to the front left table and sat down. Zach’s mother then came in, along with Tom’s mother and father, and walked over to the boys.

“Where’s your dad?” Tom whispered to Zach.

“I don’t know, Tom…he’ll be here. I know. He’s always here,” Zach said, looking worried.



An hour through the dinner his father still hadn’t arrived. He sat with his arms crossed and head down. He had barely touched his plate. His mother, knowing his disappointment, put her arm around him.

“Zach, you know your father can be busy…”

“I know, Mom.”

“And he is very important…”

“I know.”

“And if he can’t make it, you have to forgive him. But you can still tell him you were disappointed. But don’t make a big deal about it. Got it?”

“Got it, Mom,” Zach answered.

“Want to go home?” his mother asked.

“Yes,” he replied. The two got up and said goodbye to Tom’s parents, and walked out of the door. They strode across the base to their house, when his father pulled up in a hover jeep. His father waved goodbye to his escort and saw his son’s disappointed face. He rubbed his neck and walked over to him. After giving him a playful salute, he kneeled down to him and mussed his hair.

“Hello Zach, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“Peter...” his mother started.

“What, Jane?”

“Peter!” she said. He looked confused, then he lit up. His face became saddened.

“Son, I’m sorry. I got held up at the training camp…kids don’t know how to run the obstacle course as well as you, I guess,” he said, with a chuckle. Zach cracked a smile. “There’s my boy. Hey, I have an idea.” Zach’s eyes brightened and he looked up. “Do you want to go for an ice cream? We can take the jeep…”

Zach thought about it. “Yes sir.”

“Good. Now come with me and we will be off!” His father patted his back and led him to the garage. Just then a young soldier came up to his father.

“Son, go sit in the jeep, I’ll be right there,” his father said. He walked up to the soldier.

“Captain Brannigan, sir, my brigade was wondering if you could help us with some war strategy plans. Do you have the time?”

His father frowned. “I’d love to, son.”

Zach’s face changed. His father continued. “But I have something important to do right now. Maybe tomorrow,” he said smiling. The soldier smiled, saluted, and went on his way. Peter got into the jeep and he turned to Zach. “Aw, comon, kid, you really think I would skip out on ice cream?”

Zach smiled. They started to drive off, with Mrs. Brannigan waving goodbye.

Now the ice cream stand that Zach loved was off-base, and his father was willing to take him to it. It wasn’t too far away, only four miles. In about 10 minutes from base to town, they were there. The town was Bayville, and it was small, only a few hundred people, and in the heart of Arizona. The ice cream store was in the style of the ancient 1950’s, and according to their sign, they had been around since that time. Whether it was true or not was anybody’s guess. The whole town looked ancient. They got out and they went inside.

The man in the shop looked up and smiled. He was about thirty, had a weathered look, and had dusty brown hair. He looked like he was covered in dust, just like the store. He pulled out two cones, ready for their order.

“Well if it isn’t the Brannigans, out for another scoop of the wonderful ice cream from Jason’s. What a surprise. The usual?”

“Yes, please, Jack,” Zach answered.

“Alrighty then, kid,” he said. He scooped a chocolate and vanilla cone out for the two, the chocolate for Zach and the vanilla for his father. Peter took out his walled.

“Oh, no, Mr. Brannigan, on the house tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you two around.”

“Well, thank you, Jack. Always a pleasure coming here,” he said, smiling. “Bye, Jack.”

They came out, Zach licking his ice cream with his father’s hand on his shoulder. They were walking to the car.

Suddenly, a dark shadow of a man walked out from behind the store and stopped. Zach’s father heard his feet and turned around. He reached for his gun, only to realize he left it in the car, 20 feet away.

“Yes, sir?” His father asked, suspiciously.

“Nothing in particular, Lieutenant, just a shot at shaking your hand.”

“What do you mean…” his father asked suspiciously.

The man pulled out a laser gun. His father pushed Zach behind him for protection. “Now, sir, don’t shoot me…”

“I wasn’t going to really shoot you,” he explained. Zach stepped out behind his father, being as brave as he said he was. The man pointed the gun towards him. “I was going to shoot your son.” Zach quickly became a coward.

“Listen, sir, you don’t need to do this,” his father said, his breath getting faster.

“Peter, Peter, Peter, when will you learn. This kid is your son. I want to kill him. Now, you can try to stop me, or you can give me what I want.”

“What—what the hell is it, man? What do you want!?” Peter yelled.

“You know…”

“No I don’t!” Peter exclaimed.

“Okay, here it goes…I’m not likely to miss,” the man said quietly. He raised the gun up towards Zach and pulled the trigger. A laser flew out and hit Peter in the chest as he dove in front of his only beloved son. Zach stared and his lower lip trembled. He looked at the killer, still hidden by shadow.

“Just as I planned, Captain. You are as weak as I thought...” he said mysteriously, walking away.

Zach, open mouthed, stared at the man as he walked into the shadows. He wanted to speak out, but all of his courage melted away when his father fell to the dirt. Then he turned to his wounded father. Peter clutched his heart, just as young Tom had when they were pretending. Tears welled up in Zach’s eyes as his father reached for his hand. Peter grabbed it and held it tightly. Then he brought Zach down to him.

“Son, I want you to become the best soldier you could be…an honorable one…a smart one…one who can lead. If I don’t make it out of this, I expect you to do that. Understand?”

Zach cried. “No, Dad, you can’t…”

“Understand? That’s an…order.”

“Yes, Dad , I understand. Please, don’t go! You can’t! You are the bravest person ever! You can’t go!”

“I’m in God’s hands now, Zachary…you be the brave one now...”

Peter’s hand went limp and Zachary fell on top of him, sobbing. Jack in the ice cream shop saw what had happened and ran out of the store, cell phone in hand. He called the military base, and in a few minutes, ambulances with flashing lights had arrived, with Tom’s father taking him home.

When Zach got home he ran to his mother and cried, and they both cried together, not knowing what would happen to Peter. Zach cried all night. The next morning he was pronounced dead. They said that they did all they could. It was too late.


The next afternoon was the funeral. The whole base attended. Everyone was grieving. The general was reading the obituary. Zach stared at the ground.

“…a fine captain. Peter was more than a military man, but a family man. With a son and a beautiful wife, he had it all. He was one of the most influential men we all have come in contact with, and many would have been glad to serve under him if he got the chance. Recruits requested him by the dozens, and were inspired to join because of his many brave acts…”

Zach and his mother stood beside the grave as this was occurring. Zach had his head down and did not cry. He would not cry at such an event, and dishonor his father. Even if his father had told him to cry, he would not. He could not. He was out of tears. He cried all the night before. His heart was broken into a thousand pieces, but somehow he had to finish what he started.

“…his legacy will be a great one. May we this afternoon of May 14th, 2982, celebrate the great achievements of this influential man. May we talk about his great achievements and praise him every way. And now, we will lay to rest this wonderful, prideful man, this Captain of the Earth Army. So, in prayer, we say goodbye to Peter. Goodbye, Captain Peter M. Brannigan.”

And while they lowered his father into the ground, Zachary Brannigan swore to himself, to God, and to his father that he would become the man his father told him to be, and to follow the last orders of the late Captain Peter Brannigan.
Smarty

Professor
*
« Reply #18 on: 07-21-2009 06:05 »

III (revised)

“This is going to be great,” a teen said in the back, whispering to his classmate next to him. He took a piece of paper from his notebook and crumpled it up, and continued doing that until he had a wad of paper about the size of his fist. He aimed for the boy three rows up and threw it. The ball of paper flew down the aisle and hit him in the back of the head. His head went forward and he turned back. After an angry glare, he turned his head to the front of the room. He put his hand behind his back and showed them his middle finger. The boys in the back snickered and mocked him by whispering, ‘ooh, I’m scared now.”

Zach angrily continued to draw on a scrap piece of paper. He drew spaceships, soldiers, battles, all the things he was learning about in school. Zach attended the Arizona State Military Academy, or ASMA. He was in his ‘History of the Universe: 2000-Present’ class and it was last period. Graduation was right around the corner and he needed to be on top of everything. The boys in the back couldn’t break him from his studying. Zach was reputable for his study habits. He was known by the kids in the back of the room as a nerd, dork, and as unfit to be in the military. He tried to be cool, like he was when he was younger, but he couldn’t really do it. He wanted to change. Today just wasn’t the day.

In the front of the room the teacher lectured to the class. His name was Colonel Shane Redman, a retired soldier about 57 years of age. He was a tall man, about six foot three, with wide shoulders and a well-build body, but a small gut to it. His hair was silver gray, and was styled in the fashion of a crew cut.  Zach continued drawing as he listened to him speak.
“…in 2403, the Earth army attacked the planet Hammar, which was inhabited by the hostile hammer head land sharks, who were terrorizing ships transporting valuable supplies between Earth and the planet Drule in the Fargo Quadrant of space,” Col. Redman lectured.

A young girl raised her hand. “Yes, cadet?”

“So, the Hammarians were essentially pirates?”

“Yes! Thank you, Cadet Waymond,” Redman stated. “Now, does anyone know who led the attack on June 29, 2403 on the Hammarians?”No one raised their hands.

“Anyone?”

Zach searched the depths of his memory for anything having to do with this that he learned from his father or from his books. The teacher looked around the room for anyone who could answer. Zach frantically tried to remember and finally he found it and raised his hand quickly. Everyone stared at him and he lowered it a little in embarrassment.

“Ah, Brannigan. No surprise here. Who led the attack?”

“It was General Ross Abernathy, and he led a fleet of only 400 men into the…uh…oh, the, um, base camp of Hammarian pirates, located at the base of Mount Baxoql. He managed to sneak up on them and defeat them, with only killing 20 of the 750 pirates. He was known as a hero to people around the area for his courage and mercy.”

Everyone in the class stared at Zach. He looked around the room. Then he sunk down in his chair.

Col. Redman smiled. “Good job, son. You do know your history, that’s for sure. You would make an excellent general.”

“He will get killed in battle before that ever happens,” said the boy in the back. The boys in the back laughed. Zach quickly turned his head to look at him. He glared.

“Cadet Grahm!” the teacher exclaimed. Graham sat straight and forward. “Stand up and apologize to Zachary.”

Graham reluctantly started to get up.

“NOW, Jason!” Redman yelled.

Jason got up and faced Zach. He took a breath and said, “Sorry, Brannigan.”

“Thank you, Graham,” the Colonel stated.

Jason stared at Zach the rest of the class period. Zach didn’t dare look back to see the angry eyes of his enemy. He knew he had done it this time. He just stared at the clock. There was about five minutes left in class. When the bell rang, he was going to make a run for it.

He continued to write down notes until the bell. When it rang, he stuffed his books into his pack and rushed out of the room. Jason hurried and followed him outside. Zach heard him behind him and picked up his pace. Jason ran and grabbed Zach’s backpack, throwing him to the ground.

“What the hell, Brannigan?” Jason sneered, his foot on Zach’s chest.

“I didn’t do anything, Graham, so just bring it up with Redman. Comon, we’re friends...” Jason stared. “acquaintances...okay so we know each other’s names. Can’t we just let this all go, like people?”

“No, smart ass. It’s not my fault you are a failure. But I’ll stop, if you stop giving me something to make fun of you for,” Jason said, laughing.

“I am an A student while you are failing in the back of the room. That’s no reason for you to—“

Jason got in Zach’s face. Zach’s expression became stone. “You think that is the reason I make fun of you, Brannigan? Really?” he started to laugh.

“Well, I…” Zach said, confused.

“Listen, Brannigan, you are a failure in the military. Why you are still here, I don’t know. I think the only reason they even let you into this school is because you are the son of Peter Brannigan. You know, that’s not enough. Your father can’t save you when you graduate. That’s the real world, the real war. No teachers to help you, and you can’t just take a test to survive. There will be so much you will go through, so much you will cry about. Your father won’t help you there. You know why?”

Zach stood silent, looking into his eyes with anger. A small crowd of students now gathered next to their argument.

“Because your father, the oh-so-great Peter Brannigan is dead. He is long gone now. I don’t even respect the guy, really, he was shot in the middle of a parking lot with no protection by some guy no one even knows. Really if he was so great, why would die like tha—“ Jason was stopped when Zach punched him in the nose. Zach smiled a little and turned to a guy next to him. He nodded his head. Then the rumble really begun.

“OW!!!” Jason yelled. “Damn it, Brannigan! I’ll kill you!” Zach’s confidence faded again and he began to run, but Jason reached and threw him against a wall. Zach fell down, slumped against the wall. Jason continued punching him and as someone pulled him off, everything went black.



He woke up in the infirmary with his mother sitting in a chair. He had gauze on his head and under his nose, and his nose hurt. She looked over and smiled at him. “Thank God you’re okay...”

“Yeah. Come on, Mom, it’s me,” he joked. Then he murmured, “I always make out of fights alive…”

“Honey, why do you keep getting in these fights? And why was Jason hurting you like that? Col. Redman pulled him off of you when he saw him throw you against the wall. Thank goodness he saw you or you may have been seriously hurt.”

“Well…” Zach started, “he probably was mad at the fact I gave him a bloody nose…”

“Zachary! Why would you do that?” Mrs. Brannigan exclaimed, now angry.

“He was…he was saying how it was disrespectful of how Dad died, and how the only reason I’m in military school is because I’m his son.”

Mrs. Brannigan sighed, “You may encounter more people like this, Zach. That is no reason to hurt them, though. They may be hurting you, but still…come to me or your teachers.”

“I’m going to college soon, Mom; I need to fight my own battles. I’ll be in the military. I’ll be fighting all the time.”

“Are you ready for that kind of thing, Zach? I just don’t know…”

“…You aren’t sure if I’ll make it in the military, do you Mom?” Zach asked, getting angry.

“No, not at all Zach! It is just…ever since the accident you have become very quiet and introverted. I’m not sure if…”

“You are…and I’m going.” Zach got up and put on his school uniform.

“Zach, don’t leave now,” his mother said quietly.

“I am going to Tom’s,” he explained.

“You just got hit in the head, Zach.”

“So? I’m 18 years old. I think I can handle myself now,” he said, walking out the door. He closed the door behind him and was stopped by Col. Redman. “Good to see you, Colonel! Well, I better be off now…” Zach started to continue walking when Redman grabbed his shoulder.

“Not so fast Cadet.”

Zach sighed and turned to him. “Yes…I know I’m in trouble.”

“You shouldn’t have punched Graham.”

“I know sir, I’ll take my punishment. Pushups, detention, an essay…just give it to me, I’m ready, as usual.”

“I’m not going to punish you, son.”

Zach looked up in confusion. “Wait. Why? The rules say you need to. And you’ve done something every time I’ve gotten in a fight.”

“I know. But I am almost proud of you. You actually stood up for yourself this time. I’m sure your father would say the same thing…oh your father. He would first punish you. But then he'd take you somewhere to celebrate your courage. It took a lot of guts to punch Graham, who is in peak physical condition. You took a beating too,” he said, looking at a bruise under his eye.

Zach was surprised. “Well, thank you, sir.”

“You go off now,” he said. Zach turned and began to walk. “Oh, wait, Brannigan!”

Zach turned.

“I just wanted to let you know, if you do that again outside of training or battle, I will give you detention,” he said smiling. Zach smiled back, shaking his head. He walked outside the door and into the hallway. Everyone went home.
“How long was I out cold?” Zach asked himself. He looked at his watch. 4:23. He had been out for about two hours. He walked out of the building into the parking lot where his hover car was parked. He opened his trunk and threw his backpack into it. He hopped into the front seat, turned the key, and drove off to Tom’s house.
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