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    NTS-HD-05 Sundered Hearts

    NTS-HD-05 Sundered Hearts
    By Darrel James Vanwinkle
    May 4th, 2013

    Chapter Forty-One

    Back in Meta Star City, snow was falling as December had just begun. Rudolph was unhappy and miserable because they still didn't know where I'd disappeared to. Krypto was fed up as all of both his and Ace's informants had no information on what had happened to me. There were now Missing Canine posters all over the city. But since I wasn't in Meta Star City, none of the posters were generating any leads.

    "Try your super ventriloquism again, Krypto," said the Bat Hound. "Maybe you will get lucky this time. He has to be hearing you."

    Krypto sighed but it was all he could do to keep his sanity. I had never run away before so he couldn't figure out why I would do it now.

    'Harold, this is Krypto. Rudolph and I are worried sick about you. Please come home.'

    At that moment, our vagabond hound rail car was sitting on a side ell near Pecos in QC Texas. Our group had expanded to a nice pack sized group of nine hounds and one rat who were all down on their luck. But no matter where we went, no one dared to make us abandon our claimed rail car. One of the hounds was softly playing a harmonica while the rest of us shared a sparse meal which I had procured for us. And then... I heard Krypto's message. And the tears in my eyes began to well up as I realized that I was making their lives unlivable because I had left without telling them where I was going.

    The older hound looked at me as he lay a paw on my shoulder. "Thinking about loved ones?"

    "Y-yeah... I messed up things back home and now... they want me to come home."

    "How do you know that? You're just a vagabond like the rest of us."

    I slowly stood up and magically caused my collar and my cape to appear, which caused the hounds to step back from me. All of them suddenly recognized who I was.

    "Night the Superdog! In our rail car!"

    I sighed. "Nighthunter, as I told you before."

    The rat said, "BULL! You're Night the Superdog!" He pulled out one of the posters and held it up. "I can't believe without the collar and the cape we never recognized you!"

    I sighed again. "I accidentally torched the Union Script Building and fried one hell of a dumb assed toon. And he wasn't even a cute donkey."

    Much to my surprise, the hounds slowly applauded what I thought was a bad thing. Then the owner of the harmonica said, "Doesn't matter who you are, Night... you have always been there for us and even defended us from the railroad engineers. You obviously have a home but the rest of us... we only have this rail car. We're vagabond hounds."

    I nodded my head. "Krypto and Rudolph want me to come home. But even if I do, I can't get any work in Meta Star City. I've been banned from the Union Scripting Department."

    "So this is where you went..." Standing just outside of the open rail car door was the Wolf With No Name. "Took me forever to find you." He then saw all of the vagabond hounds. "Building a pack, are you? Well, that doesn't surprise me. Hunters are permitted to have them. Better be glad I found you before the Producers did. They are all over in Amarillo where a sighting of you was reported."

    "That was two weeks ago, WWNN," I replied. "Our rail car was there then and if I hadn't acted when I did, that poor child would have been killed."

    "You made one mistake, Harold; It isn't the end of the world," he said looking quite annoyed. "You're a Hunter. Now are you going to go home on your own or do I have to attack you and carry you back in chains?"

    That's when he saw the glow in my eyes and it wasn't the glow of hell hound fire. It was the Kryptonian eyes. "These guys stay with me, wolf! We're vagabond hounds!"

    WWNN grinned. "You know... you should turn this into a TV series. Get these people back into the spotlight. Surely they haven't been through all you have, but maybe they think they belong. You accepted them as your own. They are your pack. You don't abandon them, Alpha. Now get your ass back home to Krypto or else I will fight you in such a bad way that we will both get hurt. I mean it, Harold. If I have to come after you again, I'll use Kryptonite."

    I grinned in return. "Kryptonite only affects Kryptonians, WWNN; I'm from Earth." I winked slyly.

    End of Chapter Forty-One

    Chapter Forty-Two

    WWNN said he would handle the Producers over in Amarillo while I got my pack back home. Thing is... it was snowing in Meta Star City and it was warm in Western Texas. I didn't want my new friends to freeze to death on some December night. But I had to go check in with Krypto. Although if he tried to ground me, I'd just leave again.

    I was a vagabond hound now. Like my friends.

    Most of the heroes and villains probably didn't know what to make of the flying rail car as it sailed through the sky over Meta Star City, but as WWNN said: they are your pack; you don't abandon them. So I brought them with me. No one got left behind. I brought the rail car in for a landing as like a small air craft into a thermal warehouse that was owned by Superman. I think he had a greenhouse in there or something and that required constant warmth.

    Once inside the warehouse and after a secret food run to feed my pack, I used my own super ventriloquism to contact Krypto.

    'Krypto. Superman's thermal warehouse near Justice League Park. Meta Star/Comet City district. Come alone.'

    Not long after that, the white dog of steel did arrive alone, although he had a Christmas tree and box of decorations with him. "Harold... I missed you so much. Why did you leave like that? You've had the entire city up in arms since you disappeared. A lot of shows are currently on strike right now. Mine included."

    I hugged Krypto and then I slowly explained the day of the Scripting fiasco and what the new guy had deliberately done to me in front of everyone, all snobby like. "About the only thing he didn't try to offer me was a pornography role. I never felt so humilated in all my life, Krypto. I lost my temper and destroyed the building and everything within it. I couldn't stop myself. Then afterward, the Union Reps banned me from the Union Scripting Department for life, they said. I felt that I had failed you guys, and I was so shamed that... I ran away." I was sniffling at that point as Krypto held me with one paw.

    "So you joined up with the rail hounds that I've heard about. Vagabond Hounds being their official title. You probably ended up with the best guys you could find. They are good for each other and trustworthy. But you shouldn't have hidden who you were from them early on."

    "I was afraid they would try to turn me in for the Missing Canine reward. Even Templeton Ratt had one of the posters."

    The rat waved a paw as he relaxed on the German Shepherd's back, where they shared a pizza.

    "WWNN said that I should see about making the Vagabond Hounds into a TV series, but since I'm banned from Scripting, who would I get to film the show?" I sighed. "Or any show for that matter?"

    "You leave that to me, Harold," said Krypto as he set up the Christmas tree just inside the rail car and decorated it. "I assume you boys have been good this year, right? You found and befriended my boy, after all." He winked with a smile. In truth, though, it was about all he could do to not make a face and gag over how bad most of us smelled since as vagabonds... we hadn't bathed in quite a while. So in all honesty... WE STANK! And I could see it in Krypto's eyes. He expected better of me than that.

    The oldest vagabond replied, "You don't have to put on an act around us, Krypto. You know how bad we smell. As for being good... eh? We've survived... moreso thanks to your boy, here. He's been helping to keep us fed. I seriously don't think Santa has us on his Christmas list. We're just the hounds no one wants. We're vagabonds."

    At that point, Krypto stepped outside of the warehouse and I heard him coughing up a storm as he got a fresh breath to sustain himself before returning inside the warehouse. "Um, yeah... but none the less... you boys need a bath pretty badly. At least once a year for most of you. But you, Harold... you know better than to go so long between baths. Therefore, I expect you to get clean ASAP. Don't make me get Rudolph in here for a sexy bubble bath tease."

    I sighed again at that point. "Um, Krypto... most of the filth on me at the moment is deer blood. I had to kill one to feed the vagabonds a few weeks ago. Damned thing tried to kill me. He wasn't civilized like Rudolph and his brothers are." I drooped my head at that point. "He was a good meal for the pack though."

    "Roughing it isn't always easy, Harold," said the dog of steel. "But we got you home now. All of you. For now, however... I think we can move you and your pack off to our homestead in the Cloud Kingdoms... you know the place. It is warm there, but please... PLEASE... take a bath and use soap. I beg of you."

    I slyly grinned. "So you don't like the Pepe Le Pew fan club?"

    Krypto made an eww sound as he made a face again. "I can tolerate him; you guys smell worse than one of his work days. Now come on... off to the Cloud Kingdoms and that bath. Heaven knows... you guys need it."

    End of Chapter Forty-Two


      Chapter Forty-Three

      The copy of the Terryville house in the Cloud Kingdoms was the perfect place to bring the Vagabond Hounds. After the pack bath (in which Templeton got one too; he's one of us, after all,) there was good food waiting for us and an idealistic warm weather vacation for the pack to relax in. True, it was only temporary since vagabond hounds were always moving. But at least here the pack had a constant food source and a roof over our heads.

      Nine hounds and one rat made the pack what it was.

      One afternoon while we were all lounging around doing nothing, Cheer Bear, Secret Bear, Braveheart Lion, and Brightheart Raccoon arrived with a briefcase. I invited the four in and we were soon all seated at a table. "So, what brings you tummy symbol animals to the vagabonds?" I asked.

      Cheer Bear said, "We have had a heck of a time trying to get you boys a script. The Union, once they hear who it is for, denies access to all scripts."

      I sighed. "That doesn't surprise me. So why bother coming here to tell me what I already know?"

      Braveheart Lion explained with a smile, "We gave up on trying to get a script for your pack when we happened to think of an alternate solution. We will make the Vagabond Hounds into a movie for the big screen. We say it is based on a true story and we blatantly publicize what happened to you at Scripting that day in the movie and then the movie follows your life as you meet and join up with the Vagabond Hounds. After that, it simply follows your pack until the day you learned that everyone missed you and you chose to come home. Instead of using a script, we simply ad lib the whole thing with only one rule for all of you. Be yourselves. Don't try to act in a way you normally wouldn't; just be yourselves. Then we distribute the movie through the movie theaters as an unrated movie and then all of you get your time in the spotlight."

      The older vagabond hound arched an eye. "So there is no hope for a series at this time?"

      Brightheart replied, "We figured if we got the movie out in public first, then series openings would become available for everyone who had been in the movie." He then looked at me as he slid an envelope over to me. "Harold... this is an offer that was sent to you in care of us. It is for a TV series, but you wouldn't be the star in the series. However... I think you do know the guy who is making the offer."

      I slowly opened the envelope and read the enclosed letter quietly. After a few moments, I looked up with a sad look on my face. "I can't do it."

      Cheer Bear now arched her eye. "Why not?"

      "Because they want Darcadia and I no longer have the Darcadia powers. It says it right in the letter. Dear Darcadia, etc. etc. etc. Signed, Wonder Dog. He wants Darcadia which I no longer have access to. I'm a Hunter now; Nighthunter. And I'm a vagabond hound."

      Templeton hummed. "Night... Ah think Ah know 'ow yas can get a script. Oh 'ow smart Ah am, yes Ah am..." He giggled.

      The ex-police dog nodded his head. "Yeah, Templeton is pretty smart. So what's your idea, Ratt. Just the facts."

      "'arold 'as been trying to get a script through the Union based scripting department. Since they've banned 'im from their scripting department, all Night 'as to do is submit 'is resignation to their stupid union and then 'e can seek out scripts from independent sources who would likely kill for the chance to write for Night the Superdog. And then 'e would 'ave 'is own show and there wouldn't be anything the Union could do about it." Templeton did a 'I am the champions' dance on the ex-police dog's back before he extended one hand toward Night. "Clever. Yes?"

      I looked at Cheer Bear. "If I quit their stupid union, would that ruin my Big Brother status with the Care Bears?"

      Cheer Bear shook her head. "The rules say that once you're accepted as a Big Brother, it doesn't matter whether you're with their union or not. So your Big Brother status is safe. Besides, you impressed the heads of the Sponsor Board already. And I am glad you don't have that spooky voice anymore. I like you for you, Harold."

      "Okay, Vagabond Hounds... who all is in favor of my resigning from their stupid union?" Several paws went up. "Those opposed?" Only one of the hounds had a paw raised. "Why are you against it, Slurry? Not that I am upset or anything. I'm just curious."

      Slurry, a beagle type of hound, said, "Krypto wanted you to be able to have a union based pay check. If you go with an independent source, then you can't get your money unless the show succeeds. Everyone else gets paid simply for working. You wouldn't get that. But its your choice, Alpha Nighthunter." Yes, he had come up with a serious issue since Krypto had wanted me to get a Union based job and the Union wasn't going to let me touch one of their scripts.

      End of Chapter Forty-Three


        Chapter Forty-Four

        I instructed the Vagabond Hounds to work with Cheer Bear regarding the movie idea while I went to investigate the Union Script angle. Something about the whole thing stank worse than my pack smelled before our bath. And to get to the bottom of this, I knew I had to go to the top. And that meant Lord Albert Atticus.

        The Founder's Mansion was one of a kind and quite secluded. There were cats and felinoids all over the estate. Fortunately I didn't have to go far to locate the head cat himself. He was laying in an outdoor lounge chair pool side in his backyard. A contradiction in terminology since cats supposedly hated water. I flew down and hovered over the cat lord before I realized that he was lounging in the nude.

        "Um, I wasn't expecting this, sir."

        Albert opened his feline eyes and smiled when he saw me floating in mid air. "Hello Harold. What brings you to Casa Atticus today? Surely you didn't come to sign up for my witch cat classes." He winked with a giggle.

        I remained as stern as I could muster. I wasn't smiling. "Albert... I need to ask you about the Scripting Laws here on QC Planet. Who has the final say so in who can acquire a TV show script from an official source?"

        "Normally the Union, although lately I have been hearing how the other unions have been distributing illegal scripts."

        I arched an eye at his odd response. "How many unions are there here on QC Planet?"

        Albert never got up as he replied calmly. "The Hero and Villain Union in Meta Star City is the most well known one, however... they are only supposed to be handling the heroes and the villains; not the scripts. Then there is the Experimental Maverick Union in Coolsville. They only cover what they say they will. Next up is the Frontier Union Nexus or FUN for short. They handle all of the space going stars. But scripts for TV shows, there is only the Script Writers Union. I personally monitor that one and it is only through that one in which anyone is supposed to get their new scripts. But as I said before, I've been getting reports that other Unions were handing out illegal show scripts. Everyone in the Cloud Kingdoms as well as various independent heroes are all members of the Script Writers Union and they get the majority of their scripts legally, although a few stray illegal scripts find their way into the actors' hands. Such as the one some months ago which suggested that Passion Park merge with Care-a-lot. No-heart himself reported that one to me. He mentioned that he showed it to Cheer Bear before bringing it straight back to me."

        I managed to crack a smile. "I was there when they were discussing that script. I didn't know that it was illegal. So if I were to join this Script Writers Union, I could legally get a hold of a TV show script for my own series? I ask because the Hero/Villain Union has banned me from any access to their Scripting Building. Especially after I destroyed the last one when they insulted me with inappropriate script suggestions."

        He grinned at me through his feline eyes. "Is that what they are calling it? How blatant can one get? Well, if you want to join the real Script Writers Union, you came to the right place. Head over to the black building on the east side of my estate and meet up with Shanther the Panther. You should like him. Tell him that I have approved of your joining the union. He will break you in and walk you through the registration. Then tell him I gave you permission to read over all the scripts to find the right TV show for you to star in. If you need me for anything else, come on back to me, Harold. I'll be right here sleeping."

        Moments later at the entrance to the black building, something seemed off to me as I read the faded sign over the door. "Sundered Hearts... why does that sound so familiar to me? Oh well, Albert said this was the place." And I headed inside to find this panther guy.

        Inside in what appeared to be a dark stage area decorated to look like a lavish bedroom, I saw one hell of a stud bull sex symbol humanoid toon with a bulging package in his Speedos as he spoke to a slinky and studly posture problematic panther hunk who was no slacker between the legs. I seemed to have walked into an emergency situation where one of the stars had to leave for the day and it was going to hold up the rehearsal session they had set up. Except... I couldn't detect a single camera.

        "I said I was sorry, Shanther," said the bull star. "They are going to foreclose on my dad's business unless I can get there in under 15 minutes with the payoff. I don't want my dad to be out of work. I got to get going right now." And when he turned to leave he saw me standing there, blue cape and all. "Night the Superdog? Here? Look, how'd you like to make a very QUICK thousand dollars. Legally. Just escort me over to Spooky Harbor and back. Please, I'll never get there in time otherwise."

        I smiled. "Get on. Although I was actually here to see Shanther about joining the Script Writers Union. Lord Albert told me come on over and Shanther would help me. But I'm more than willing to help you." Having a large Minotaur like stud sit on my back was a bit of a challenge, but I wasn't about to let him down. Krypto would want me to play the hero still regardless of my being unable to work in Meta Star City.

        The bankers in Spooky Harbor were probably shocked when they saw me arrive with a few minutes to spare carrying the big bull sex stud. But we had made it and the deal was made.
        End of Chapter Forty-Four


          Chapter Forty-Five

          Back at the Script Writers Union building, the big bull stud, whose name was Steris McDowell, paid me the money promised to me and then he gave me a deep kiss on the muzzle before he sauntered off to his dressing room to get ready for the next scene. "Um... thanks, I think..." I said somewhat shaken by the kiss.

          Shanther placed a paw around my neck and gave the side of my muzzle a healthy lick. "So... Harold Dangers aka Night the Superdog is wanting to join our union. Well, you came to the right place, although... there is a test we have to give you to see if you 'fit in' as a union member. Will you humor me with this?"

          I was still in some shock from the bull's kiss as I said, "Er, sure... what do I have to do?"

          The black panther took me over to the bed and he removed my collar and my cape, then he had me lounge out on the bed and position my paws upon myself in a provocative manner. Once I was in the perfect pose, Shanther asked me to read off a string of lines and put my heart into it as if I was talking to someone I was really in love with. I thought it was a strange request, but I slowly did it and winked one eye at the end with a smile. I wasn't sure what kind of test this was, but there were whistles, cheers, and applause coming from what sounded like a recording booth... except I couldn't tell where the booth was.

          Shanther then helped me up and put my collar and cape back on me. He walked me over into a side office where he began getting out forms for registration. Or so he said.

          "Um... what kind of test was that, Shanther?"

          He smiled gently at me as he got the paperwork in order. "That was your screen test, naturally. All aspiring stars have to have one before they can be in any serious TV show. What did you think it was?"

          I was starting to growl at that point. "YOU GAVE ME A SCREEN TEST WITHOUT MY CONSENT?!"

          Shanther placed a paw on my neck and calmly said, "Remember when I asked if you would humor me with a test and you said 'sure'? You gave your consent at that moment. Besides, we have it on video and if we showed it to a judge, you'd look like the boy who cried wolf. And honestly speaking, Harold... your reputation precedes you. We know all about your track record in Meta Star City and how you want to be in your own show except since your reputation is so tarnished, there isn't a single film crew anywhere who would give you the time of day if you asked for it. You are, quite literally speaking, Scay-Rude in terms of getting into a TV show of your own unless you accept an offer to do something you probably would never agree to doing otherwise."

          He got the rest of the paperwork ready and then he said, "Sundered Hearts is a long running night-time TV series which is normally only shown on the Adult Channels. We usually hire those who are desperate for work no matter what it is they have to do. Quite literally, yes... it's a porn series. And you need a film crew who will agree to produce your TV series when you get it. And since no film crew trusts you anymore, Harold... you are at the bottom of the Union bucket. You came to us because we're your last hope for getting that TV series you want so badly. On the bright side... a lot of big name stars got their start here on our show, even though you'd never know it by watching their own shows. Remember Flash Chezden of the Lightning Patrol? He couldn't get hired anywhere when he first hit the scene. His story was worse than yours... except he was never human, like you were. He heard that our show had an opening and he was desperate to work anywhere as long as it got him on TV. He was nervous and raw at first, but we helped him and eventually... about 5-6 years in... he got hired by one of the big name film companies to do the Lighting Patrol series as the starring role."

          "But he got his start right here. We even provide lodging, full medical, and full dental. You get paid per scene you do; not per day. So you see, the more scenes you're in, the more you get paid."

          I gulped as I realized just how right the panther was hitting home. No one would hire me even if my life depended upon it.

          Shanther then smiled as he gave me a kiss on the muzzle. "Now for the really shocking part that a lot of people haven't figured out. The stars of Sundered Hearts produce and film our own series. In affect... the Producers ARE the Stars. We don't make someone be in something that we personally would not do ourselves. So you see... if its something I'd do, it is safe for you to do. And just because it is a porn series doesn't mean you have to have sex with any of us. But we are fun to play with." He then pointed me to the desk with two stacks of forms on it. "On the left is the Script Writers Union registration forms. But on the right is the contract forms for Sundered Hearts. Please think my offer over carefully, Harold... if you agree to do Sundered Hearts with us... I'll let you use our film crew to film your own TV series."

          I sighed. "I don't want my adopted parents, Krypto and Rudolph, to be disappointed in me."

          Shanther nodded his head. "On Sundered Hearts we will give you the alias of Libra Trevor. When you star in our show, no collar and no cape; you are simply Libra. But in your own show, you wear the collar and the cape and become Night the Superdog or Nighthunter or Shadow or whatever else you want to call yourself. And when in public as Libra when asked why you look like Night, you say, quote, Sure, I know him; we're all the time being mistaken for each other. But I'm the better actor, obviously."

          End of Chapter Forty-Five


            Chapter Forty-Six

            Shanther was pretty damned convincing. He not only had me over the figurative barrel, but over the figurative bed as well. Having me on video in a sexual position was about as deep into blackmail as one could get. But he never mentioned using it for that purpose. He actually sounded as if he cared about my outward career. Therefore... and I must sound like a hypocrite now... I signed the Sundered Hearts contract forms. Weird since I swore I would never do porn roles and now here I am joining the longest running porn series on QC Television. He did say normally only on the Adult Channels, but I am willing to bet that Lord Impy showed the series over Devi-TV during prime time since that would be the block where I could get the most exposure to hiring personnel.

            Then came the question I was dreading: "Do you want to do a scene today or wait a day before diving into this?"

            "If its all the same to you, Shanther, I'd like to start tomorrow afternoon. I have some last minute business spots to tie up and I need to spend that time wisely. I'll be back tomorrow to claim my lodging and do some scenes with your crew. Is that okay?" I was nervous since he had the damning provocative video with me in it. I was scared that would get out and then I'd be laughed off of QC Planet.

            "I would be disappointed if you didn't wait a day, Libra," he said. "People who jump right in often mess up faster than they want to. Go prepare yourself for what you think may come and then tomorrow, we'll get your character inserted into the proper docket." He winked with a smile as he gave me a parting kiss and headed off to help 'film' the next scene already being prepared by Steris, that stud of a C.O.W.-boy sex symbol.

            At least I was in the Script Writers Union now. But I was also stuck in a contract for a show that I was sure would be the death of me. But the trade off was the promise of the use of their film crew to do my own series when I was ready to do it. So it was a catch-22 situation. No porn show; no film crew.

            My next stop was the opposite side of the planet. Again I was desperate and I had less than 24 hours to make my preparations and counting. I went to QC Rome and paid for some quick Latin lessons so as to help me to develop the Latin accent for Libra's usage. That way, Libra had his way of speaking and I had my own. Separately.

            When I returned to Meta Star Tower, I saw Krypto and Rudolph waiting on me. They didn't look happy, but these days where I was concerned... they didn't have much cause for being happy. I was a total screw up. I didn't even know why they bothered to adopt me. No one wanted me... except for Sundered Hearts.

            I quickly spoke up first. "Good. I am glad you're both here. I am stuck in a very stupid situation that is my own fault for getting into but aside from that, I just wanted to let you both know about it before you heard of it from any of the rumor mongers."

            Rudolph was the one who surprised me. "You signed a contract with Sundered Hearts; a show in which my uncles watch religiously. Shanther called us not more than an hour ago to let us know since we are your legal guardians."

            Krypto never took his upset gaze off of me, yet he remained silent and was letting the reindeer do the talking. The dog of steel looked mad.

            I sighed as I allowed my tail to droop and I lowered my head. "I'm sorry, guys. I was distracted and distraught when they got me to agree to a screen test... which they have on a video somewhere... and then he made me an offer which exploited my weak spot: Shanther offered me the use of his film crew when I was ready to make my own public TV series... but only if I joined the Sundered Hearts cast. He said he knew that none of the other film crews would give me the time of day. I was torn since he was right."

            I openly sobbed at that point. "I'm so sorry, dad... I know you're mad at me, but I was stuck for any chance at being on TV. What was I supposed to do?"

            Krypto wouldn't be Krypto if he stayed mad at me; he did adopt me and now I felt worse than ever. He slowly came over and hugged me, just holding me while I sobbed. Then he softly said, "There is only one way you're going to be able to save some face over this, Harold... and that is to go public over your latest blunder. Just fess up to the news crews at the TV station tomorrow morning. Use the morning news to explain how the crew had an opening and no one else was going to offer you a role on TV no matter what. Then you can pick up the pieces and we can show you the proper support. I was mainly upset because Shanther suggested you use an assumed name. But if you fess up, it won't matter what you call yourself; everyone can watch and see if the experience teaches you how to be a real actor. Even though Libra Trevor is a catchy name for you."

            "Actually, dad... Libra Trevor is to be my character name for Sundered Hearts. I'll still be Harold and Night otherwise." I then smiled a little. "I just returned from QC Rome where I got some Latin lessons so I could develop a Latin accent for Libra Trevor. That way, Night the Superdog has his own Americanized voice instead of the porn star's voice." I switched to the practiced voice to demonstrate it to my adopted parents. "I am Libra Trevor, yes? And I promise you gentle folk... I will take very good care of your son. Even though I may be nervous about doing activity scenes with the professionals on their set."

            Rudolph smiled back at me. "That was pretty good. That accent makes you sound so different from Night the Superdog."

            Krypto said, "I'd rather hear that voice over the spooky 'mess my drawers' voice you used to have."

            End of Chapter Forty-Six


              Chapter Forty-Seven

              The next morning at the TV station, both Krypto and Rudolph remained off stage to show their support while I spoke to the reporters about publicizing my latest embarrassing action in the filming industry. Of course when I mentioned being banned from an illegal scripting department owned by the Hero/Villain Union, they seemed more interested in that angle of the story than in my blunder. Later I would learn that nearly all of my fans would forgive me since I felt I had no choice after being banned from the main Union's scripting building. Being banned from an illegal scripting department was ground breaking news. And I was in the middle of it. I simply re-quoted what Lord Albert had told me about illegal scripts and who were handing them out without the consent of the Script Writers Union itself.

              And that was that: I was off the hook. My supposed embarrassing blunder was presented as a last ditch maneuver simply so I could work on TV in any medium after being banned. Of course they were tickled when I also mentioned that I was under an either/or promise to use their filming crew when I did go to start my own public series. But for now... I, or rather Libra Trevor, was stuck doing Sundered Hearts.

              We had a lunch around noon and then the three of us (or rather the seven of us once Ace, Streaky, Dasher, and Comet joined up) headed over to Sundered Hearts where Shanther showed us to my new shared lodging quarters with another newcomer, a slinky white-tailed buck deer stud who seemed to shimmer with an oily appearance. Shanther introduced him as Tuck Weer. He actually looked as nervous as I had the day before. I felt sorry for Tuck, but he for some reason was one hot looking hunk, although slinky. Dasher and Comet were easily pleased, of course.

              Once back downstairs, Shanther escorted me into the stars preparation room where he had me remove the collar and take a warm lubricant shower which would coat me from head to foot. Then without letting me dry myself, he brought me out and led me out on to a part of the stage which looked like a city gym and he had me get on a treadmill.

              "Here is your motivation, Libra..." the posture problematic black panther started. "...Steris comes into the gym today and your character is already completing a workout on the treadmill. When Steris sits down on the weight machine next to the treadmill, you say without looking at him these lines." He showed me the script which would introduce my character into the series itself. The funny part would come soon since Shanther had not heard the new voice I developed for Libra yet. "-and when you get to the end of this line, you turn your head slightly to look at Steris and as 'come hither' as you can make it sound, you say these lines. Remember... there won't be any sex in the gym, but we want the viewers of the episode to be jerking off when they see and hear Libra interacting with Steris. Think you can do that?"

              "I'll do my best," I said in my normal voice as I got started slowly on the treadmill.

              Shanther moved out of the scene and a skunky hunk arrived with one of those set cameras as the panther shouted, "ACTION!"

              Of course, Ace, Streaky, Dasher nor Comet had heard the new voice yet either. This was going to be an interesting day.

              Steris slowly strode in from outside and he sat at the weight machine where he started setting up his workout. "Can't wait to work the tension out," he said to no one in particular. "What a long hard day this has been on me."

              And that was my cue to say my first line. And I said it... in that Latin accented voice I had prepared in advance. "You might want to skip the two hundred weight, bison boy. They don't have it filled to the proper... capacity."

              Nearly everyone around who had been watching the scene had their lower jaws drop open as they heard that 'oh so sexy Latin accented' voice come out of Libra's muzzle. I could literally hear a pin drop. Perhaps worse, Steris missed his cue to continue. It was a first for him. He was expecting me to speak in my normal voice; not to speak in a voice like THAT. I continued to wait for him to continue, but he looked lost until I used super ventriloquism to his ears.

              "Your next line is, 'I can do two thousand easily. That elephant last night is proof of that. Do I know you?'"

              He then continued with his line; he looked relieved that I had memorized the script and had helped him. We bounded back and forth after that until my cue came to turn to look at him slightly and say the line that was sure to make the viewers lose control.

              "Perhaps you can give me, Libra Trevor, some private sessions... after hours, no?"

              Again I could hear a pin drop with the exception of Steris firing off a load in his Speedos. Perhaps I was either too good at this or I was having way too much fun.

              Yeah, too much fun, says I.

              Shanther said lowly, "And... cut. Um, Steris... the viewers are supposed to lose control; not you." He didn't know what to say to me. But I was smiling.

              End of Chapter Forty-Seven


                Chapter Forty-Eight

                Two hours later, Shanther came and found me when my guardians had already left for their patrols. (Rudolph's uncles were still around keeping an eye on me, however.) "Libra...? That voice of yours is really hot. However... if you are going to insist upon using it, then you have to do sex scenes since the voice literally demands it. The film crew is starting to complain that if you don't, then we should kick your ass out for getting them all hot and bothered like a cheap tease. I know I originally said it would be up to you, but the film crew is upset what with you using a voice that makes the crew lose control. I hate to ask you to do this, but you gotta help me."

                I sighed when he dropped the ultimatum in my lap. So now it came down to this... keep the sexy voice but agree to do sex scenes or... lose the voice and keep my original contract with Shanther. Again, I felt torn. I needed the film crew for my own upcoming series, but I was still virgin despite everything I'd gone through. With tears in my eyes, I slowly departed without a word.

                Shanther was sure there was some sort of problem I wasn't telling him because he went straight to Dasher and Comet, and asked them pointedly what was wrong with me concerning the issue of sex scenes. Well... they didn't have a clue. But Krypto and Rudolph would surely know. Any other canine would jump at the chance to mount one of the Sundered Hearts stars. But for some reason... I wasn't that motivated.

                One hour later, while Krypto and Kevin (his co-star) are completing a scene on their own set, two figures with a huge sack flew with a zoom through the area and bagged up both dog and boy effectively kidnapping them right off of their set. When the sack was opened inside the Sundered Hearts bedroom set... a very angry looking Krypto glared at Dasher and Comet through glowing Kryptonian eyes. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU IDIOTS?! YOU SCARED MY CO-STAR TO DEATH!"

                Nearby, Shanther said, "I told you to 'call him', not kidnap him. Geez, I swear... It is bad enough we're having problems with Harold."

                Yep, mentioning my name immediately got Krypto's attention. He was front and center in front of the panther. "What happened to him? Is he okay? Where is he?"

                "Why won't he do sex scenes, Krypto?" was the question. "The film crew is threatening to go on strike unless the canine with the provocative sexy voice does sex scenes. When I sadly told Harold what was going on, tears welled up in his eyes and he walked off the set. I need to know what his problem is. Please... he's the best actor we've ever had and we gotta have him on set."

                Krypto thought the issue was surely something else. He closed his eyes and shook his head as he walked both Shanther and Kevin off the set into the entry foyer. Then he stopped and looked to the two. "My boy... is still a virgin, Shanther. He doesn't know the first thing about 'sex'. So unless you turn his entire role into a gradual sex education sequence, then he won't feel comfortable performing with any of your stars. And for the record... he is bi-sexual, although he has never 'done it.'"

                Shanther closed his eyes with a sigh. Worst news ever.

                Kevin on the other paw was intrigued. "Harold's never done it, Krypto? I have. Maybe he just needs someone his own age to help him through this."

                Krypto shook his head negatively. "Kevin... toon wise, you are an adult in your twenties although you have a teenager's body. Harold is... literally younger than you are. He's barely thirteen in human years. He didn't grow up as a toon, so his mind set is still a kid. And Shanther is telling him he has to do sex scenes if he wants that film crew. Harold is scared, obviously, since he was trying to save his first time for that special someone. I'm afraid he might try to kill himself if he has to do this."

                "So where is Harold right now?" asked Kevin since it was obvious that I wasn't around.

                Krypto and Shanther soon found me at a place nicknamed as the Well of Broken Dreams. It wasn't a water well at all; it contained fresh Toonium instead. Normally the place was famous for suicide cases. But when they found me sitting near the well, I had a small audience as I was singing entirely in Latin... the Music of the Night.

                "Nocturnaque acuit, firmat sensui; Ciet tenebris et imaginatio vigilat; Tacite sensus desere munimenta; Inops ad resistendum Nota ego scripturus; Ego enim componere carmina in nocte. Paulatim, leniter, explicat noctem splendorem; Capere, sensu, et tremulum miseratiónum; Audítui credit; Musica est fallendi; Dura sicut fulgur, sicut molle lucem candelae; Audes committere carmina in nocte .. Verum tantum oculi tui oculos tuos; Et vis videre, quod non est verum; Fingere facile in tenebris .. Quod verum est quod debet ... Abscondite arte musica blandientur vobis; Aures sentiunt clam te habere; Adaperiat cor vestrum impleatur sermo tuus semet explicare phantasmata; Scis hoc, quod non obscuris bellum; Noctis tenebris amet. Ante oculos tuos per viam externam mauris; Præsciebat relinquo vobis omnem mundi; Musica et liberaverit te fallat; Tantum ergo vos ad me. Supernatantem, ruentes, vinolentia dulcis; Noli me tangere, mihi crede, sensui sapit; Sit somnium incipiam, pars obscurior sit tibi do in; Scribere autem in musica; Virtus carmina in nocte. Tu solus potest facere laus mea confugias; Adjuva me facere in musica noctis."

                When the applause of the gathered toons slowly subsided, Krypto said, "Harold... we need to talk. And this is long overdue. It is mainly my fault for not explaining this to you in the first place. I adopted you as my son and therefore all lessons you should know are my responsibility."

                End of Chapter Forty-Eight


                  Chapter Forty-Nine

                  From that point on up until six o'clock that night, Krypto and I spent a short distance away from the well where we dogs of steel under went an educational discussion and adjoining activity on the subject of nature and how it no longer applied to me as a human since I was a toon canine like Krypto himself now. I was nervous, naturally, but Krypto being the supportive 'dad' was right there to guide me through all of it. I never expected to be given a crash course in sex education from the one toon I respected more than anyone else. But I was glad he was there. The whole topic squicked me to say the least, but as Krypto explained it... it was just nature since mating was always reserved for he or she whom I truly wanted to join with for life. But until then, it was good to practice the art in preparation.

                  The activity we engaged in at the end was simply to get me started, he explained. I think he liked it a little too much. But he said that it was just to help me to learn.

                  Krypto left me with Shanther as he and Kevin returned to Meta Star City to see about cleaning up their filming day.

                  "So, Libra... when would you like to attempt the scene?" asked the panther quietly as we walked slowly back toward the studio building.

                  I sighed as I walked with a slight limp. Remember how I said that I felt that Krypto enjoyed it too much? Well, I was still feeling it. "'Dad' hurt my rump. But if you can get the film crew around the set at midnight... I'll give it my best. But I'm still uneasy about all this. You said I didn't have to do this and now the film crew is demanding it. I'm sorry I never mentioned my virginity to you; the subject simply never came up."

                  Shanther simply smiled at me as he patted my back with a paw. "If you pull this off, I'll not only reduce your required quota to once a week, I'll give you a raise simply for doing it. Remember, Libra... Sundered Hearts is the most popular show on the air right now. Now for the good news... we tape shows a month in advance; therefore Libra's introduction hasn't even appeared on TV as yet. No one is going to know about you until next month. And by then, you might be a pro like the others. Who knows? You might even have the script for your own show by then. But until then... I really do care about both you and your career, Libra. Give me a smile?"

                  I smiled at him. It wasn't a forced smile, either. He somehow knew how to cheer me up. He knew my own show was number one on my mind and keeping me happy was the way to get me to at least try my best at Sundered Hearts. A sexual soap opera which I was soon going to be appearing in. It still made me nervous, but I was going to fulfill my contract. I did sign the damned thing. And no one else was going to give me the time of day. Shanther's exact words, if I recall correctly.

                  The midnight filming session went off exactly as Shanther was hoping it would. The only thing he didn't know was that I had prepared for it by visiting a doctor to get an internal protection medicine 'just in case' of unforeseen circumstances. The doctor was glad at least one actor was smart enough to make that kind of preparation.

                  To put it bluntly, my first time in front of the camera was as the proverbial bottom. I had to earn 'top' billing, as Shanther put it. And unlike what Krypto had done to me, Steris and I not only had to quote our lines perfectly, but he was far more gentle with me than 'dad' had been earlier. Of course the muzzle to muzzle kiss helped too.

                  Disappointingly, I am not going to bore you with my entire Sundered Hearts career, but I will say that I still spend most of my time helping the cast and crew whenever they need me. And believe me; I have gotten a LOT better at the art. I was even being allowed to do product commercials after a week to 'sell' the goods to the public. Shanther said I had to play Libra in the commercials for these products since I was really only being known as the Sundered Hearts star. Even better, the commercials were live during the Sunday football game, so nearly everyone across QC Planet and on Earth were getting to hear and see Libra in almost all of his glory. Or rather, my glory.

                  On Saturday, much to Ace's chagrin, I was out on a date with Isis (Cat Woman's number one feline companion.) Isis was more than pleased to be spending time with Libra Trevor since she was also a Sundered Hearts fan and now someone she personally knew was on the cast. Ace simply watched from a rooftop in utter disgust. On one paw, he was jealous that my alter ego was with his arch enemy in public. But on the other paw... he was a little sad that I hadn't come back to MYTHS since I had run away before Christmas. So now, he was wondering on how to get me to resume my classes since everything needed to be worked around my filming schedule.

                  Thank god for Sundered Hearts; it keeps me out of Ace's clutches.

                  But then there was the third thing that occupied the rest of my time. Also remember that I am a registered Big Brother with the Sponsor/Charge program and am on call with the Care Bears when a boy or girl back on Earth needs someone like me to help them. So I was having to make the occasional mission trip to Earth with at least two other Cloud Kingdom residents to fulfill my quota with them. Believe me... the Big Brother thing is no where near as hard as doing Sundered Hearts nor attending MYTHS.

                  Sadly, I often caught myself looking at my Caring partners' rear ends. And on one occasion... at the cute boy I was supposed to be helping. I was afraid I was nearing my proverbial puberty and/or heat cycle. And approaching that state of being was not a safe thing to experience point blank with a canine of steel. When the mission ended and I filed my report to Cheer Bear, I told her what I thought was about to happen and how it scared me.

                  Cheer Bear hummed. "I would suggest you check yourself into Cloud Kingdom Memorial and let the doctors give you a full physical. It might save someone's life."

                  End of Chapter Forty-Nine


                    Chapter Fifty

                    I was soon in the hospital where the doctors finished running their tests on me to see what it was that was ailing me. One of them stated that I likely got in before anything bad happened. I don't know why doctors tend to say things like that since it always makes me think the worst things.

                    One hour later, the doctor met with me, Cheer Bear, and Shanther. "Fortunately, it isn't puberty nor a heat cycle. However... Harold is infected with a toon sexual illness which is called Delusis. This is a contagious illness which is contracted through sexual intercourse which causes the infected to feel as if they are heating up while slowly experiencing bliss and false attraction to others. Therefore, I need to examine everyone you have done it with, Harold. This may be more embarrassing for you if you respect any of them, but they could be the carrier and not even know it."

                    I sighed as I looked to Shanther. "You know who did it as much as I do. Krypto was first; then Steris did it with me on camera. I was clean during my physical just after I first signed the contract forms, Shanther, so I had to have gotten this from one of the two others. If it was Krypto, then Steris is infected same as I am. But if I got this from Steris, then Krypto will be clean."

                    Steris was actually in the waiting room out of concern for his co-star. He readily volunteered to be tested. It was found that while he had a weaker infection than Harold had, he was not the carrier, fortunately.

                    A trick was resorted to for getting Krypto to come in. Once they had him, he wasn't very happy over being tricked like that. But the head doctor had a chunk of Kryptonite useful when dealing with uncooperative Kryptonians. Therefore, Krypto got his examination whether he wanted it or not.

                    The doctor spoke to Cheer Bear, Shanther, Steris, Krypto, and I (although Krypto was in a Kryptonian straitjacket.) "Sorry to say this, Krypto... but you are indeed the carrier. I don't know when your last medical check up was, but this has been festering since November, I'd say. Then when you learned you had to educate your son in sex... you jumped at the chance to mount him. But it was the illness making you do it. You actually had no control at that point. That's why Harold has the level of infection he currently has. And since Steris got it from Harold, it was weaker since Harold wasn't the carrier. I can have Steris and Harold cleared up in a week or two. But you, Krypto, will need to spend time in Detox for an entire month."

                    Krypto lowered his head and drooped his tail. "I didn't know there was anything wrong with me. I never developed the symptoms you said victims would experience. And the only person I had done it with before November was Stretch-O-Mutt. But he had a medical not more than three days later and the doctor said he was clean. So we just assumed that I was too. I guess I should have worn protection or something. See Harold? Even I mess up sometimes. So you aren't the sole 'screw up' on QC Planet."

                    I asked, "Did you do anyone after November but before you did me? Think carefully, dad. It's important."

                    Krypto was quiet for a moment, then he seemed to recall something. "New years eve... Ace had gotten extremely intoxicated and he offered his rump to me in jest. And... I think I accepted it. But Ace had also allowed Bud and Lou to mount him too. I don't want to think about that many canines with the infection."

                    The doctor was already putting the call out announcing a possible canine infection. All canines were to come in for a full physical. Those refusing would be captured and placed in Detox whether they liked it or not.

                    "Eww... dad," I said with disgust. "You and Ace? Just eww..."

                    "I'm sorry, Harold."

                    Twenty minutes later, Ace was standing there with a grim look on his muzzle. "Clean. Bill. of. Health. As usual. I wasn't very happy about the mandatory call to come in for this medical, but... I'm clean. What is this about anyway?"

                    I gladly told him what was up; Ace's muzzle made the self same 'eww' display that I had made earlier.

                    "Bud, Lou, and I fell into a bleach bath, which ruined one of my best capes and cowls... and we all three got our medicals right after we were pulled out of the wash. We had a clean bill of health, although my costume was a total loss. That was not more than a few days after New Years Eve. So if we were infected by Delusis, then the bleach purged it out of us." He then glared at Krypto. "Bad doggy."

                    I then said, "Krypto said that you got very drunk on New Years Eve and you offered to let him mount you."

                    Ace made another disgusting face as he stepped 'away from' the nasty white dog of steel. "I had to work New Years Eve. But I asked Thundermutt to go in my place. So guess who Krypto mounted..." Even Krypto eww'ed at that thought.

                    End of Chapter Fifty
                    End of Episode Five: Sundered hearts

                    Stay tuned for the next episode, The Time of Night