It's been over a year, but the Durrance Legacy is back! Previous installments can be found here and it probably wouldn't hurt to look them up since it's been August 7, 2007 since the last update. This one's a lot more "story" than the caption installments, too.
So, who do we have? It's Gen 5 heir Luna and her husband Remington (formerly the maid); Gen 6 heir Dinghy and her husband Alon (formerly the paperboy); and Gen 7 heir Brenna! But what happens next?
Brenna was chosen as heir because the family picked Ben Long as her future husband. Brenna and her older brothers Dillon and Aldin all had the exact same personality and face, so it came down to spouses as the tie-breaker. Aldin went to Europe, and Dillon was incomprehensible to the rest of the family, so they sent him off to Fiesta Tech with a fully loaded set of suitcases and matching trust fund.
Dillon's ready to party off into the night and never be clearly understood again. In the meantime, he makes his first friend, who, as luck would have it, shares his same facial features, except maybe the chin he got from a Durrance ancestor.
Brenna becomes an adult and Ben Long moves in. It's been a bit of a wait, but now he has access to the entire Durrance fortune and membership to the country club and Perloo Society, as well as the right to wear anything he wants, any time he wants, ever.
It's at this time that the entire family picks up from its household on the edge of the cliff and moves to a larger, nicer place with more acreage. Three stories, two and a half bathrooms, a prebuilt greenhouse, a lovely pond, and plenty of wall space for the several dozen family portraits.
"Oh, Alon, it's perfect! And much safer than the garden at the edge of the cliff!"
Standing, L-R: Ben Long; Remington (formerly Harris); Alon (formerly Livingston); Dinghy (full name Inflatable Rubber Dinghy); Luna.
Remington and Luna are unemployed/retired; Alon is the Red Dragon, criminal mastermind of the Southwest; Dinghy is Mighty Space Pirate I.R. Dinghy.
"Wait, wait, wait. Is this for real? This is the new home of a criminal mastermind and a space pirate?!"
"I mean, come on, there should at least be some defensive works, or Tesla Towers, or vicious man-eating Venusian pickles, or hedges composed of the souls of watchdogs! Not just a nice house on a nice street!"
Brenna now wished she'd gone to college and maybe done something else with her life. But at least she had her medications and Mr. Bun had stopped talking to her.
She wasn't thrilled about her possible marriage to Ben, either. They talked things over to get their concerns out in the open, and realized neither one of them wanted to get married. Sure, they might have a couple kids, but as long as Ben had access to the Durrance opportunities (unlimited access to knowledge aids, more money than the entire state budget) he didn't care if he had the ring, and he didn't feel like changing his last name. Brenna, for her part, had grown up with her family's oddities, and felt that any kids that came along would be pampered and spoiled quite efficiently without worrying what their last name was.
With that out of the way, it was time to get down to business.
Meanwhile, the rest of the family made sure to get on well with the neighbors.
Everyone already knew that the Durrances were "eccentric", but they were also filthy rich, so nobody said anything to their faces.
There was something about Alon Durrance, though, that got people hot and bothered. It couldn't be the uniform, since the Red Dragon didn't spread around his secret identity, and Alon didn't wear the uniform at home.
Then again, perhaps it was just the nature of people to be attracted to the smell of money and power and danger and intrigue.
Ben, it turned out, was quite highly placed in the local military.
But, like Hermey the misfit elf, Ben wanted to be... a dentist. Now he could buy himself a dentistry degree! He also updated his look.
Oh, I hope there are some babies soon... that would make Remington so happy... not sure about anyone else, but I know he misses having some kids to take care of.
The family spent more than a hundred thousand dollars moving, but had well over $625,000 left in personal funds alone, not to mention quite a collection of things from previous generations.
Some of these were believed to be from long-ago family founder Finch Durrance himself, including the brimstone-smelling telephone that no one dared use.
"Now we're going to spend all our time developing new skills!"
Remington was the only one who looked forward to the next generation, it seemed; any children Brenna had would be his great-grandchildren. Luna wanted to reach that million-dollar milestone, Brenna was into sports, and the rest of the family were all about learning new things and new skills.
"What about a restaurant? Or a flower shop? Edible flowers! Edible flower arrangements! This glitter on the food would be a big seller, you just know it. I'll do some research and a cost-benefit analysis..."
"Luna, my darling, what say we go make sweet music in the top-floor bedroom!"
"What? It's not like anyone can peek in the windows."
Luna tried restoring classic cars as yet another means of diversifying her portfolio. The work was hot and dirty; it was cooler to work at night, but harder to see the engine.
When it was all done, they had a sweet ride, but Luna didn't think it was worth the expenditure of time, so once was it.
~ ~ ~
"Life is good, yo. Ain't that right, Dinghy-baby?"
"Uh-huh. Wow, have you ever read about the real Dread Pirate Roberts? Now there's a pirate I would love to talk with!"
Still, Alon had worries. The heroes these days were tougher, grimmer, less likely to negotiate or stop and spout colorful phrases so a villain could escape. Also, much as he hated to admit it, he was growing older. His youngest child was now going to have her own children. He could keep himself in shape, and wear more armor, but his reflexes were slowing no matter what.
There had been another supervillain in the family, the Dragon Empress. She was... Brenna's great-great-grandmother, wasn't she? I should look up what she did.
~ ~ ~
Eventually, Bren and Ben did start having a family.
"It's about time! Your poor grandfather has been waiting for ages!"
The result was Kenneth Branagh Frequency Beimers Cole Grass Durrance, named after many of his grandparents' henchmen. Naturally, it was shortened to Ken.
Two new portraits graced the walls, though Ben complained it was of his old look.
Ken's birth was just in time, as far as Dinghy was concerned. Her father loved taking care of babies and children. She herself hardly had time, as she was now not only a mighty space pirate, but working on new, hyper-efficient nuclear brain scramblers.
Yes, it was good that Ken was here. Very good. Even if it meant she was a grandmother herself now. Then again, she planned to become either a Ghost Pirate or a Zombie Pirate after her death, so she wasn't worried about that eventual stage of her life.
~ ~ ~
Alon himself wasn't as sanguine about a new look once his hair faded from red to silver. He tried to update it...
...But was less than thrilled with the result.
In short order he went back to his usual wardrobe of red and black.
"The new PJs will be here later today. Yo, why's Bren in her underwear again? Working to make us grandparents twice over?"
"C'mon, Ben, I think I need a thorough oral examination..."
"Are you still reading how to make yourself a ghost zombie demon pirate?"
"Dinghy, babycakes, ain'cha worried about, like, hero exorcists or stuff?"
"But Alon, this is fascinating! As a ghost zombie demon pirate, I can convert others into my obedient skeletal damned minions by plunging them into lava!"
"Yo, did we get our careers switched or sumthin'?"
~ ~ ~
Ken proved to have elements of both parents in his appearance; Bren's nose and brunette hair, and Ben's blue eyes and light skin.
Rather than make a separate nursery - he wouldn't be a toddler forever, after all - they made a space for him in the computer room on the second floor.
Remington had taken it upon himself to raise Ken, as nobody else in the household seemed to have time for the little tyke. Dinghy had created some new "wonder formula", which she said would help Ken learn in twelve ways. Rem didn't know about that, but it didn't matter, as long as his great-grandchild was happy and healthy.
~ ~ ~
Dinghy had recovered, or stolen, the fabulous Idol of the Tiki on the Throne, and placed it overlooking the fishpond. She'd noted that it was lightly guarded, and they soon figured out why, when it began talking to anyone fishing.
"Ahu! Friend! Will you teach me the idioms of your language?"
Having Alon be the primary interface for the Tiki later proved to be a possible mistake.
Meanwhile, life went on, with Ben testing some of Dinghy's odder inventions. "D'you know how fast you were going? Ha ha, I crack myself up. Wow, the Shame-ometer is off the scale! Who's been doing something shameful in this car?"
~ ~ ~
Bren decided to have her next child outside, as it was such a nice day.
"She shoots, she scores! It's a perfect catch before he hits the ground!"
"Of course it would be perfect! I've got the practice dummy right here, I've been working with it for months."
"A redhead!" Dinghy squealed. "He's got your father's red hair! I don't think we've ever had a redhead born into the family before!"
Indeed, little Lennart Torstensson Durrance had red hair and bright blue eyes. Everyone remarked over him.
"Bren, Ben, Ken, Len... it's like a flashback, yo, to Finch Durrance's kids. They was all named Carl or somethin' like that..."
"Now, Alon, come on. Remember we combined our names for our sons. Okay, we're almost to where I buried my share of the treasure..."
~ ~ ~
Shortly after Lennart's birth, Ben caught Russian flu, and the only thing that made it better was Remington's secret recipe for chicken soup. (The secret: large amounts of sodium chloride and essence of vodka.) Remington insisted everyone have some, to help protect them against the disease.
"This soup's like some kind of magic bullet! Makes me kinda sleepy, but I do feel better. Thanks, Rem!"
It was the last help Remington gave his family.
"Rem? What's going on? I heard a noise - "
No. It can't be my time yet. I'm only seventy-six!
Who's going to take care of the kids? Teach them the old songs and the family history?
~ ~ ~
"What the hell's goin' on here, yo?"
Everyone was freakin' out or cryin' or both. If it was a real emergency, why weren't they calling the cops or the ambulance or, y'know, doin' something about it?
Aw, no, man. Not Rem.
Brenna was takin' it real hard, looked like her eyes were gonna roll up in her head an' she'd hit the floor. Where was Dinghy? Didn't she have some kinda miracle stuff to stop this?
They'd both married into the family they'd served and their own families had served for years before that. They'd been good friends, he and Rem, despite the generation between them. At least it looked like his goin' was peaceful.
Rem's wife was flippin' out. But Alon could swear he saw some ghostly figure, like an angel or spirit or somethin', an' she was lookin' at him, like, you're next.
Ain't no way, babycakes. I ain't next.
But maybe that wasn't what the spirit was tryin' to say. Maybe it was more like... they'd be meetin' again soon.
He was the patriarch of the fam, now. The aging Red Dragon, ruling over a household of old dolls and his daughter an' the dentist and babies.
So be it. He was the only one left who wasn't a complete wreck, looked like.
~ ~ ~
Ken was old enough to remember his great-grandpa. He still asked if Remington could sing with him.
As for Dinghy, she couldn't decide if she wanted to see her father's ghost, or see him as a zombie. Either one would provide valuable insight into her own Next Form.
It was a bone of contention between Dinghy and Alon, who preferred to leave the dead alone. Sure, some supervillains were into the whole zombie thing, but not him. That was a game he didn't play.
~ ~ ~
It appeared Len wouldn't look much like his brother except for having blue eyes.
Luna and Dinghy took up fishing in the back pond after Dinghy had stocked it with all manner of strange and exotic piscids she'd collected in her adventures. The Tiki on the Throne approved.
Alon, having already fought giant squid and octopi and leviathans in his career, gave them plenty of advice. "Stick a' dynamite is the most reliable way, yo..."
Despite this help, Luna caught a millipede's worth of bootfish. "Daughter, I said we didn't need this many boots in the pond!"
Hm, wonder if it's time to shock the algae, Alon wondered.
So Alon tried to help out his mother-in-law. "Maybe you need to make an offering to the Tiki, since Luna's got 'im set up as the pond guardian?"
"Ahu! Yo, offerings, baby!"
"Alon, I really wish you hadn't been the one to teach English to Tiki..." Luna said.
Luna snorted. "I wish you two would stop pretending it's talking to you. You may think it's cute, but the rest of us don't."
On a more serious note, one morning the maid seemed strangely nervous around Alon; when he dismissed her for the day, she literally ran from the house toward her van. Was something up? Had she figured out his secret identity?
~ ~ ~
On a dark and stormy night, Luna went out to try fishing for something besides boots. Perhaps her mind was wandering; perhaps the warm storm air enticed her; perhaps the angry Tiki had somehow called her.
The storm was unusual for this time of year in the desert; a raging lightning-storm. Nobody would go outside in that madness.
None of them would ever know why Luna had gone into that maelstrom.
"What's going on?" All the arguing downstairs had woken Brenna. "Did a tree catch fire? Did... GRANDMA?!"
The "Dingo Girl" of long ago had passed on. Everyone was shocked, and distraught. Everyone except Alon, the Red Dragon.
Had Luna been right about the Tiki? Could it have caused her death? Perhaps... or it could've been just a storm. Or had the maid discovered Alon's criminal identity, and relayed it to a hero, who'd mistakenly attacked Luna instead?
~ ~ ~
There will be explanations and a more captiony take in the Outtakes post tomorrow! (Seriously, there's a lot more to the lightning scene.)
Kenneth's many names are the result of this post.