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  • Talon Stradley

S1E1 - Crash, The Cosmic Crackshot

Updated: Jan 12, 2020

In 2011, Dr. Vickston was spearheading the development of a new way to observe the universe. He called this technology the S.O.N.A.L. Tonal Conical Tunnel, or STCT.

The STCT was a large curling cornucopia, kind of like the enlarged bell of a phonograph. The STCT was so massive it had to be ratcheted onto two separate bi-planes. One plane supported the large opening of the mechanism, the part that collected all the sound. The other plane held a long winding pipe that funneled the sound and compressed it until it reached a passenger in the second plane. This passenger would then record the sound onto a large tape real. The two planes would have to perfectly fly side by side in order to keep the pipes of the STCT from snapping. The whole mechanism was affectionately called the Bi-bi-plane.

Dr. Vickston ran tests through the whole year, assisted by his colleague, a young woman named Martha Scribe. On the shortest day of the year, after spending many sleepless nights in an old warehouse analyzing the data, Ms. Scribe noticed a pattern in the frequencies. Mathematically, the waves they were receiving followed the structure of western music theory.

Ms. Scribe spent the following months digging through all of the tapes. She started speeding up the audio and sequencing them together in such a way that the tapes of the past six months, all lumped together, created a short song. This is the original tape she arranged. Ms. Scribe then spent another week writing a comprehensive report on the subject.

Dr. Vickston submitted this paper to the American Celestial Science Journal under his own name. The paper was a huge success and rocketed Dr. Vickston to something of an icon in the scientific community. He used his newfound stature to secure funding to expand the collection of these frequencies as well as developing a way to locate the sound’s source.

Martha Scribe reportedly left the research team at this time. She is rumored to be privately observing the sounds from a handmade cabin out in the mountains of southern California.

With new funding, Dr. Vickston grounded his S.O.N.A.L. Tonal Conical Tunnel at a research center in the desserts of Utah. The Bi-Bi-Plane was dismantled and the two planes were sold to a local aerial acrobatics troop. Dr. Vickstons next step was to develop ways of transmitting sound waves of similar frequencies back into deep space.

He did this by stitching multiple reels of tape together. Some sources say the tape was more than five miles long, if laid out and stretched as far as it could go. Dr. Vickston then ran the tape through a highly modified industrial tape recorder. This recorder was capable of pulling the tape through at insane speeds, over 5,000 feet of tape per minute.

He would then turn on the tape machine and have his voice processed by the massive recorder and stored on the tape. When the tape was played back at normal speed, he had a much slower and lower version of his voice. He then retrofitted the STCT to amplify the tape back into deep space.

After nearly a year of transmitting, Dr. Vickston finally got a response message. It told a story.

It all starts at the start of all things. Someone messed up. Mixed some wrong chemicals or something and caused an explosion. This explosion birthed the universe as we know it. The first inklings of matter and energy were chasing each other around in the formless place. Amongst the chaos, a new breed of sentience was born.

The Constells. The Constells had no names for each other and their physical forms resembled what we now call constellations, which is no coincidence. They roamed the cosmos, enjoying its beauty. The Constells especially adored the stars. They began to collect the stars and adorned their bodies with them. This is how we are able to understand their shapes today, the constellations are the Constell’s star fitted bodies. This led them to barter with the stars. This was the first currency. They exchanged goods and services for the stars. They began playing games, they began gambling.

One the Constell’s favorite games involved creating a ring in space. They would scatter all the planets and comets and moons and anything else they had collected into this ring, Then, they would take their prized planet, typically the largest or most solid planet of their arsenal, and they would flick it into the ring. The goal was to knock all of your opponents materials out of the ring with your prized planet.

The game was a hit. In fact, our very own Milky Way Galaxy was a hot spot for the sport. Saturn was one of it’s first major stadiums. The sport quickly outgrew the humble Saturn Stadium, but the rings remain as a historic site. Billions of years later, Crash would return to the Milky Way system and teach the game to the children of Earth who went on to call it “marbles”. Of course, the children couldn’t play with planets so they used small glass orbs. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Marbles, as we will call it from now on, was very popular. Nearly every Constell played and every Constell would watch the large tournaments. A couple of the older beings were curious as to who the best marbles shooter in all the universe was. This led to the creation of the Intrauniversal Marble Association, or the IMA. In the first year of its existence, they held the First Annual Universal Marble Tournament.

The first tournament was riddled with controversy, primarily the use of the words “first annual” in the title. Many argued that you could not have a “first annual” anything since this was the first year the event had ever happened. This wasn’t an annual event, it was the first event. Time would tell if it became annual or not. In fact, even the term “annual” garnered some debate. Was annual just a trip around the sun? If so, what solar system would they use? Which planet? This led to many internal debates between the Constells who later created time as a way of standardizing the matter.

Regardless of any conflicts involved with the event, the First Annual Comprehensive Marble Tournament was a roaring success. All the Constells in the cosmos showed up to attend the opening ceremony. In honor of the game, and as some would argue, a show of affluence, the IMA took one of their oldest stars and collapsed the core, causing the universe’s first super nova. The crowd was ecstatic, collecting the star dust and gases in their hands, like children playing in the sand at the beach. It was with this that the tournament began.

This was truly the wild west of Marbles. Never before had all the players gathered in one place to take part in the sport. The result was a slew of varied strategies. Some were glass cannon strategies, others have become staples in the modern marble meta. One Constell had one giant planet and several smaller comets. The idea was that the heavy planet would block the shots from the opponents shooter, saving the smaller comets. This did not work and that particular Constell was eliminated after just the first round.

Some games ended quickly, an odd strategy losing to another. Some games were much closer, two skilled individuals testing their flicking thumbs. While the odd strategies were hardly consistent, spectators enjoyed the high risk, high reward style of play. Many were disappointed when, in the final round, two of the most underwhelming Constells were pitted against each other. These individuals were skilled, but not flashy. Many spectators left before the final round even started. Others stayed out of respect for the sport. All who stayed were glad that they did.

One of the Constells never missed a single shot for the entirety of the tournament. Not. A. Single. Shot. Every time he flicked that thumb of his, an opponents planet was kicked out of the ring. He want on to win the tournament, of course, and he earned the first recorded name of any of the Constells: Crash, the Cosmic Crackshot.

Soon after Crash earned his name, there was a feeding frenzy for Constell names. Everyone was claiming different titles and sounds as their own. By the time of the Second Annual Universal Marble Tournament, everyone had a name. And, everyone knew who Crash was. He quickly became the most well known Constell in all of the cosmiverse. That year, he claimed the championship title once again. Crash held onto that title for several billion years. It was known through the universe that Crash was, without a doubt, the best marble shooter there ever was.

Sadly, the good times did not last forever. The Intra-Dimensional Marble Association was becoming less and less popular. A competing organization had entered the field, the Inter-dimensional Marble Association, or the IMA2. While the Intra-Dimensional Marble Association was limited to contestants of our current dimension, the Inter-Dimensional Marble Association was very open to beings from all walks of life. This brought in a flurry of contestants to the world of marbles. While Crash had won the 8,979,160,024th Annual Universal Marble Tournament, the achievement was diminished in the cultural eye by the introduction of the First Annual Comprehensive Marble Championship. While some of the older Constells criticized the event again for its use of the term “First Annual”, the FACMC went off smoothly with the support of a reignited fan base.

Many wondered how Crash would hold up against the ethereal and abstract beings from the other dimensions. His thumb held true and he was on track to shoot another perfect tournament, the 3rd since his first tournament win. Crash was moving into the finals. Here he met what would become his arch-nemesis for the rest of his career. A greedy force that went by the name of Gravity.

Gravity implemented a strategy nobody had seen before, which is what the IMA2 was hoping for when they created a wider tournament. Gravity was able to maneuver and pull objects closer together. It would use this ability to protect its own planets, pulling them closer to the the center of the ring, and to attack the opponent’s, pushing them out of the ring. Crash went up against gravity in the finals of the FACMC… and lost. Horribly. The Constells quickly turned their attention away from Crash and to their new champion, Gravity.

Crash did not handle the loss well. He became temperamental, causing scenes at various low level tournaments. By the time the Second Annual Comprehensive Marble Championship came around, he was in a depressed stupor, intoxicated by dark matter. His showing at the tournament was dismal, placing in the bottom 50% of all the contenders. Crash has not competed in a marble tournament since then.

The tournament conclude, Gravity had won again, and Crash disappeared from the public eye. Sources say he wandered the universe, moving galaxy to galaxy, hustling other Constells at marble games. He Eventually, found himself in the milky way system. This had a profound impact on Crash. The Saturn Stadium was one of the first arenas he had ever played marbles in. He decided to stop here, getting a job curating the museum that had been set up commemorating Saturn. He stayed here for a few more billion years. He was content.

Soon after Crash set up shop in the Milky Way, a strange occurrence happened on one of the planets. Life, a phenomenon Crash had only seen a handful of times, had appeared on the planet Earth. Crash took it upon himself to assist the new life. He made sure to feed them and facilitate their exposure to the sun in between shifts at the museum. The life flourished on Earth, more so than any other life in the universe. As they became more self sufficient, Crash interfered less with the Earthlings, instead choosing just to observe. A couple millions years later, he heard something that changed his life.

He heard music. The music of Sues Anderson. Some of you may remember Sues Anderson from her legendary fundraiser for the women’s suffrage movement. In 1920, Sues Anderson sang for the entirety of the month of August, pausing only for a fifteen minute intermission in the middle of the month. This performance set the record for longest solo performance with the final tally being exactly 744 hours. In fact, during her performance the 19th amendment was put into place, allowing women in America to vote. She was informed of this when she got off the stage on September 1st. Sues Anderson then donated all the money they had raised for the completed woman’s suffragette movement into a national homeless organization.

It was during Sues Anderson’s marathon, broadcasted nationally by the radio station KTOP, that Crash, the Cosmic Crackshot first encountered music. The immense length of the performance combined with the power of the new radio waves allowed the performance to be heard by Crash. He was instantly enamored. Not with Sues Anderson, she got enough attention from her earthly fans, but at this construction of sound waves and frequencies. He had never seen anything like it before. Though he had only heard one month’s worth of music, a comparatively short time for someone billions of years old, he began to create and perform his own compositions. While we have no information on whether his music made any impact in the Constell world, it did catch the ear of one Martha Scribe on earth.

Crash, the Cosmic Crackshot now provides musical compositions for Newton’s Dark Room. He is the musical head for Indico and, as far as we can tell, is very content in his involvement and in his life. If you ever hear our songs on the radio or play a game of Marbles, think of Crash, the life he has led, and the gifts he has given the people of Earth.

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