Oh wow I'm behind. You guys haven't heard from me in over a year now. Oh well, I have a dual surprise for you today. I forgot to post the last Halloween event because it was so late (writing went well into November and didn't even get to a point I wanted it to end on). So today, on the fifth anniversary of the Cracker's start, I grant you 9volt's super spooky scary one-shot story.

***

October 31st, 2030.
Mobius Castle.
Five elves gathered around a roaring fire on All Hallows Eve. They had gathered for the yearly tradition of storytelling. Already Nick and Scott had told their stories, and this year the torch would be passed to the only shapeshifter of the group.
“I missed out last year,” Elementres said, sipping from her banana smoothie, “How was Scott’s tale?”
“Awful,” Nick blurted out.
“God-awful,” 9volt added.
“I liked it,” Elementire said with a slight smile.
“He pulled a Twilight Princess,” Nick continued.
Elementres sighed, glaring at Scott, “What the hell?”
Scott scowled, “All of you can suck my throbbing werewolf dick.”
Nick laughed, holding up a strawberry smoothie, “At the very least, The Smoothie Story was good, right?”
There was a long awkward silence, broken finally by Elementire, “I liked it.”
They all looked at her. Nick smiled slightly, “Well I’m not really sure what to think about this.”
9volt took a sip from his blueberry smoothie, nervous. He spoke, “Well now it seems that it is my turn to tell the tale.”
“It better be a good one,” Elementres said, picking at her nails with a knife, “I get bored easily.”
The shapeshifter smiled, “I’m sure you’ll like it. Our story begi-”
“I’ve got one,” Elementres interrupted.
Everyone looked at her. Elementire frowned, “One what?”
“A story,” Elementres explained, “I’ve got one. You’re the last person alive, and you’re alone in a room by yourself. You hear a knock at the door.”
There was a pause. Scott furrowed his brow, “How did everyone else die?”
“Why would I be sitting alone in a room?” Nick questioned.
“Is it an animal or a plant that fell over and is the one making a knocking sound...?” 9volt pondered.
“Your story’s full of holes, Elementres,” Elementire pointed out.
Elementres shrugged, “I’ll work on it for next year, then.”
9volt shook his head, “Right, this year it’s my turn. As I was saying, our story begins at the turn of the twentieth century...”

***

October 31st, 1900.
Croydon, England.
9volt walked along in a blustery evening. It was snowing heavily, and he was the only one out at this time of night. He quickly shifted his body into one with a heavy build, becoming more accustomed to the cold.
He hugged his jacket close, his pace steady now. Somewhere from outside the city, he heard a wolf howl. He narrowed his eyes at the sound, turning the corner. He walked along, eventually coming to a grubby tavern. He wrenched the doors open and slipped inside.
He pulled off his coat and hat, changing his body back to its normal shape. He looked around for a moment, and then slung the coat over his shoulder and put his hat back on.
The place was abandoned, with the exception of the bartender silently washing glasses with his head bowed. Soft candlelight lit the room, but the tables and chairs were all empty.
9volt hesitantly stepped up to the counter and sat down on a stool. He cleared his throat and the barkeep looked up at him. The shapeshifter nodded uncertainly, “Is this the Particular Inn?”
The bartender rolled his eyes, “This is the Nowhere Inn Particular pub. It’s an inn in Nowhere town, named Particular. Nowhere Inn Particular.”
9volt took this all in with a raised an eyebrow. He looked around and sighed, “No business tonight?”
The bartender shook his head, “I got a small gathering scheduled, rented out the whole place for the night. So far no one’s showed up. You part of that group?”
9volt pulled a small slip of paper from his pocket, “Yep. Got my invitation right here.”
The bartender looked at the clock and then went back to his work. 9volt turned to look at the door. He sighed, “It’s getting pretty late though.”
The bartender grunted in agreement. 9volt frowned, ordering a drink. As the bartender slammed the glass down on the counter, the door suddenly swung open, and the howling wind swept a chilling air through the air. The shapeshifter downed his drink, not looking at the gale that raged through the small pub. The barkeep shouted out, “Shut that damned door, you’re letting all the heat out!”
The door creaked on its hinges as the newcomer struggled to close it. After a moment, they were left in silence. The stool next to 9volt was pulled back, screeching against the floor, and a rather short young man sat down.
His head only poked up above the counter. His size was quite comical, and he rapped his knuckles against the wood in front of his face. He spoke in a quiet, but unusually deep voice, with a raspy tone, “I’d like to order a drink for my friend here-”
“I already had one,” 9volt interrupted, holding up his empty flask.
The newcomer frowned, “I see. Well you may call me Iota the Observant.”
“9volt,” the shapeshifter replied with a frown. Iota had long dark hair that hung down over his face, obscuring his left eye. His fingers twitched, every second a different one changing its position. Still he knocked against the counter, and then raised his hand.
The barkeep turned his back to them, grunting, “Maybe you’d like to buy a drink for yourself instead.”
Iota smiled, waving his hand, “No thank you.” Out of thin air, a goblet made entirely of bronze was conjured into his palm, its stem fitting neatly between his middle and ring fingers. It filled from the base up with red wine, and his raised it to his lips, whispering, “I already poured myself something.”
“Wh- how did you...?” 9volt stammered in awe.
Iota turned to the shapeshifter and smirked, “I am what is known as a Manifestor. The rule that ‘energy can be neither created nor destroyed’ does not apply to me. I can create any object of any size, any shape, any density, any mass, and in any state with any temperature, velocity, kinetic energy, potential energy, sense of magnetic, nuclear, or gravitational forces I so desire. I am only limited by my own imagination, but otherwise there is nothing I cannot make.”
9volt went deathly still, a shiver running up his spine. He placed a hand over his mouth, thinking. He narrowed his eyes, “But you cannot make anything you do not know the exact properties of, correct?”
Iota shrugged, “It depends on what it is.”
9volt stared at the Manifestor. He lowered his hand, commanding, “A tiny bicycle made of silver with twenty-three spokes on one wheel and thirty-five on the other.”
Iota held out his left hand, which now held the object 9volt had described, “Simple enough.”
“An inverted lizard, with its organs outside the skin but held in place by an external skeleton.”
Iota grinned, holding up the creature by its tail, “Tricky, but doable.”
“A copy of the Magna Carta, with all original signatures properly written.”
“That would be in your ear,” the Manifestor indicated. He waved a hand, and a roll of parchment fell from 9volt’s body and landed face-up. It was a perfect replication.
“A list of all people that have died in the past year in the country of Finland,” 9volt challenged.
“I cannot do that,” Iota countered, “I would have to personally know the fact before I can print it.”
“The weather forecast for tomorrow.”
“I also cannot predict future events.”
“Understandable,” 9volt said, “Your powers function similarly to shapeshifter logic, except instead of changing your body’s composition, you are creating something entirely new.”
Iota cracked his knuckles, “Give me something really hard now. I haven’t had this much fun in ages.”
9volt thought hard for a moment. At last he snapped his fingers, saying, “A one-thousandth scale model of the Eiffel Tower of Paris made of dove feathers, using a foundation of emeralds and support beams of compressed mercury.”
Iota wiggled his fingers, sighing joyously. He turned to a nearby table, and from it arose a diorama of the entire city of Paris, meeting all of 9volt’s specifications. The buildings were crafted from jade and cut glass, with perfect architecture throughout. He shuddered, admiring his creation, “I got carried away. Paris is a lovely city.”
“That is amazing,” 9volt said, examining the model.
“In addition to my Manifesting abilities, I also possess a photographic memory,” Iota explained, “Any detail I experience for even a fraction of a second I will remember for the rest of my life.”
9volt looked at the Manifestor in awe. He swallowed, “Why have you brought me here tonight?”
Iota sighed, “I came in here to kill a shapeshifter.”
9volt tensed up, his fists becoming clenched.

***

October 30th, 1900.
South Croydon, England.
Francine Smith lived a quiet life. She had married her husband, Jean, two years prior, when she was twenty years of age. They had moved here from France, wanting to start a new life together. While she was merely a housewife, he worked as a newspaper printer. It was a meager existence they shared, but they were comfortable together, living each day by day without any worries out of the ordinary.
She stared out of the window, frowning. Jean had acted strange this morning before going off to work. He hadn’t looked at her and barely spoke a word. She shook her head, sniffing. He was also very late coming home. She glanced over at the grandfather clock next the the fireplace. It was nearly midnight now. She walked to their shared bedroom and laid down under the covers, sighing. She sniffed again, narrowing her eyes at some strange smell that she had caught earlier that she couldn’t place. She shrugged. The house lay silent and dark in the night, and Francine soon fell asleep.
What seemed like a few hours later, she felt the covers rise and her husband slim next to her. She smiled, unable to see his face in the dark, “Long day at the press?”
She could feel his short, hot breath panting on her neck. She turned her head slightly, looking at his figure over her shoulder, “All tired out, I take it?”
She could see him slowly nod in the dark. She smiled, rolling over. Her hand reached out, cupping his face in her hand. His skin felt cool, sweaty, and oddly slimy, most likely from the paper pulp, although she wondered how it got on his face. She frowned, “You’re a mess. I’ll draw you a bath, I’m not sleeping with you when your face is like that.”
She got up out of bed and picked up a box of matches from the side table. She went to the bathroom and looked back toward her husband, “You’d best get up on your own. I’ll drag you out of that bed if I have to.”
She opened the door to the bathroom and lit a match. She gasped in alarm, dropping it immediately.
In front of her lay her husband’s mangled corpse, twisted all around as if by some huge blender. It dripped blood, as it had been doing all day, and the smell of rotting flesh was overwhelming.
Trembling, she drew another match and lit it, her shaking hands making it difficult. Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder, and she looked down at it. It was scaly, with large claws and a layer of slime over it. Her eyes grew wide.
“Come back to bed, dear,” it whispered.

***

October 31st, 1900.
Croydon, England.
A woman’s scream pierced the night. 9volt and Iota turned in the direction it came from, and then Iota said, “Perhaps I should have been more straightforward. I came here to kill a shapeshifter, but apparently you are not the one I’m looking for.”
“What are you saying?” 9volt demanded, furrowing his brow.
Iota nodded his head towards the door, setting off at a brisk pace towards it, “I’ll explain on the way!”
They slammed out of the Inn, running towards the sound of the scream. It had only sounded for a brief moment before being cut off.
“There is something,” Iota explained, “Either an Elvin Shapeshifter or a creature otherwise I don’t know, that is killing off humans. However, this killer is unique in its actions. So far it has only taken ten victims, but the way it twists and mutilates them is-” The Manifestor stopped, looking sick, “I’d wish not to remember it. The point is that this creature is instilling fear in the people rather than killing for the sake of pleasure.”
9volt frowned, “So you want my help in capturing this...thing?”
Iota gave him a half smile, “Well now that you offer it, I could use some help.”
They took off running again. After a moment, a shadow flashed past them, and then slowed to a halt. Iota, wide-eyed, turned, “That was it! After it!”
9volt gasped, “It ran right between us?”
“It was moving so fast that it was near impossible for us to detect,” Iota theorized, “It doesn’t know we’re here, and since humans have much slower perceptions, there’s no reason for it not to.”
He raised an arm, Manifesting a surreal firearm with glowing blue lights. He pulled the trigger, firing off a laser of wispy energy. The bolt struck the shadow in the back and it fell to the ground, stunned.
“Now!” Iota called out. They ran forth, the Manifestor discarding his gun in exchange for a blue orb that grew as he drew closer.
The shadow stood. It turned, bits of its body floating out like sparks from a flame. Its body was a bulging beast with thick forearms and large clawed fists. It lacked a lower body, coming straight out from the ground. Waves of a tangled and messy black hair-like substance flowed down the creature’s back, whipping around in the windless night. Its jaws parted, revealing a wide range of teeth of every format; human, animal, fish, and many more. A tail rose up from the murky shadows below it as it lowered its stance.
9volt drew back, “Iota, stand back! It’s going to-”
On the tail formed a sickly axe-blade that shimmered in the moonlight. The creature roared, spinning around. There was a flash of light as the blade cut through their surroundings.
The air was still. 9volt stood deathly still, his arm still outstretched towards his Manifestor companion, eyes wide with fear. Time had slowed to a halt. Slowly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a light pole slant, split diagonally in two. The top half fell, the cut cleaner and more precise than any cut 9volt had ever seen. Time began to resume, and all around them objects began to fall apart, all split directly in two along the same path the tail had struck upon: half of a flower pot fell to the ground and shattered, wrought iron bars that covered windows on the north side clanged to the ground, even the street itself on the south side was cut, the earth split in a wide arcing pattern.
Then, a tiny, indescribably small line of red formed along the abdomen of Iota’s waistcoat. The fabric ripped apart, and 9volt felt the same happening to his own clothing. His molecules seemed to detach from each other, his upper body falling to the ground. He grunted, specks of dirt flying up his nose and into his eyes. He quickly looked up at the Manifestor.
Iota’s eyes rolled back in his head as his body split cleanly in two. He fell backward, spewing blood from his wound. He gasped, crying out into the night as he looked down upon himself. He threw his head back, screaming terribly in agony.
The creature paused for a moment, and then its mouth parted, curling back in what looked like a sinister smile. It released a deep, haughty sound and then melted into the ground, becoming nothing more than a shadow and a memory.
9volt’s body reattached itself, the molecules rejoining. He got to his feet, stumbled, and then fell again. He ran over to the Manifestor and gasped, hot tears flowing down his cheek, “Iota!”
The Manifestor looked up at him and smiled, then his eyes grew dark. He took one last long look up at the stars and then moved no more.

***

October 31st, 2030.
Mobius Castle.
The elves sat in stunned silence. Nick was the first to speak, “I thought it was decent.”
“Two people died,” Scott commented, “And that’s it. It really wasn’t very scary, per se...”
The rest of them thought this over. Finally, Elementres raised an eyebrow, “I agree with Scott. It really isn’t that noteworthy of a story.”
“Oh, come on!” 9volt yelled.
“Sorry, honey,” Elementire said solemnly.
“You didn’t like it?” 9volt cried, turning to the vampire. As she shook her head, looking at the floor, he scowled, “I suppose nothing can please you people.”
“The ending just seemed rushed,” Nick said, “I mean, imagine a situation where you have an entire year to write a scary story down, but you waste the first eleven months, get pretty far in the next three weeks, but then can’t think of an adequate ending, so you end up taking another half a month after your deadline to finish it.”
There was a pause as no one spoke. Finally, 9volt threw up his arms in frustration, “I honestly cannot think of a situation like that. It’s ridiculous and anyone that does something like that just sounds lazy.”
Elementres stood, sighing, “This was disappointing. Next year I think I won’t have to try too hard to scare you all shitless, if this is what you’re used to.”

***

December 31st, 1900.
London, England.
The shadow sulked through the streets, waiting and watching. For... three and a half months it had stalked this country and haunted it. There was no connection between its killings, having chosen a variety of means to carry out its murders.
No... that was not the right word. It was not murder. More like pest control. Yes, humanity was a pestilence, was it not?
Somewhere in the back of its mind that did not sound right. But he drowned that voice out. Shadows did not have voices nagging at their minds. They only spoke out loud... and only in whispers. Yes, that was why it was doing this. The fear of the whispers.
Although those stupid humans did not realize it - their ears clouded the sound that it sung so sweetly to them, like a lullaby - the shadow whispered terrifying promises of peace and quiet, of darkness and an end of suffering.
The shadows only whispered of death.
And the expressions that he twisted upon their faces - not just from the horrid whispers, but also the expressions it carved into their skin - were simply delightful. Suicide in this country was on the rise because of its appearance, and it would continue for years. But this shadow’s search had come to an end.
Its target had found it.
On that night two months ago, when it had been revealed, it had hoped the two would simply give up their chase. It had killed one and left the other. But the Royal Guard had stepped up security. Ultimately that became their downfall, as they led the shadow to its target.
Queen Victoria - God Save the Queen! - had gone away. Without the shadow to keep her company. It would show her that she was missing out.
That was six days ago. But the shadow felt compelled to stay in this capital city. For what reason, it knew not, but now was the time to move on. The Isle of Wight was its destination.
It swiftly moved through the streets, unleashing an invisible storm of spores. The spores were a creature, half fungus and half virus, that sought two things: to disease any person they came in contact with, and to reproduce. Yes, this nasty and tiny powder the shadow let loose as it pervaded across the land were its sperm and its eggs. If they were met with those of another of its species, more of the shadow would be born.
But that would never come. There were none like it. Even the shadow himself was only a shade, using this form as a disguise.
It slowed as this thought crossed its mind.
“Him...self?”
Its thoughts were interrupted before long as a man formed before it - the same one from that night, it recalled vaguely.
He spoke out at it, raising a finger accusingly. The shapeshifter - that must be what he was, the shadow had seen that race somewhere before - his words were muddled but pierced through to its inner mind. He invaded it, which filled the shadow with suppressed fury.
“Begone!” he shouted, “Leave this world, before I force you out of it!”
The shadow, in its true form, rose out of the ground. The shapeshifter winced at the sight of it. It only rose a quarter of the way out of the ground, revealing its head. Just like that night long ago, thin wafts of smoke rose off of its body and drifted away through the night. Long, hair-like tendrils hung down around its bulbous skull, and waved around madly in the windless night. The jaws of the creature opened, and the shapeshifter took a step back at the sight of its random assortment of teeth plastered together like a child’s art project on the canvas of its lips. The effect was made worse by the fact that all of its teeth - every single one - was at present coated in dried black blood.
The shapeshifter clenched his fists and then charged forward, “For Iota!” His fist sparked as lightning danced up and down his forearm. The shadow creature, with no patience left, swiftly moved to the side and then surged forth. Leaving the shapeshifter behind, in mere minutes it was able to reach the trap that its mouse had cowardly set herself in.
It scaled the walls of the stronghold with ease, dispatching the guards with ease. There was no art and no pleasure in their deaths. They were simply practice brushstrokes to wet its appetite. The satisfying masterpiece was to be painted soon.
Without difficulty the creature soon found itself standing at the bedside of Alexandrina Victoria, who slept soundly despite the imminent danger. Smiling in delight, and standing fully aboveground now, the creature leaned forward. It unfolded one of its bulging fists and gently scraped a thin claw along her cheek. A strand of pollen that the shadow-creature had been secreting fell into the cut, pussing immediately as the body fought the infection in vain.
A sharp pain shuddered through the shadow, however. It fell to the floor with a great thud, and the walls shook with its weight. Stunned, it slowly moved its head to look up, and saw with great rage the shapeshifter standing over it. Instead of letting loose its fury, the creature closed its mouth in a humble grin.
The creatures final thoughts were as such: “Bested.. beat.. my time is up, I suppose. This chance at renewed life, I.. cherished. Small matters. Someday, maybe soon, I will come again. Better.. the best...”

***

January 1st, 1901.
Southern England.
As the sun rose and the twentieth century began, 9volt dragged what was left of the shadow creature onto the southern coast of the island country it had ravaged. Much of its body had disintegrated away in smoky wisps of darkness, but there was still the fragile skeleton left over. He collapsed onto his back, turning his head to watch the sun rise.
Just as his eyes had begun to drift shut, he heard a gasp of breath. He straightened with a start and quickly turned his attention to the beast. It stood shakily once more and then fell to its knees as its outer skin faded away, revealing the shapeshifter hidden underneath.
“This must be what Iota meant,” 9volt thought, “This creature was merely a shapeshifter.. an elf in disguise.”
The younger shapeshifter coughed and gagged, spewing the meager contents of his stomach. Whatever was left was unidentifiable black mush. He cringed, his entire body convulsing in horror.
“My name.. 9Fear..”
“9volt,” the elder said in introduction.
“That creature.. I took its form.. but whatever it was.. became me. You must believe me, I was trapped beneath its skin. My mind was aware of every ghastly terror my body committed and I could do nothing.. nothing to stop myself.”
“I believe you,” 9volt said quietly, “Not just because you are my brother. I trust that creature was simply too terrifying to put into words. It had an otherworldly quality about it that I do not feel with you. I suppose in a farfetched way it is possible for something like that to happen.”
He trailed off, and for a moment the world was still. It held this peaceful gaze for a moment, and the two elves watched the sun rise in a brief harmony, savouring this precious time before parting ways soon after.

***

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Today marks a momentous occasion as the fourth year since the Cracker's inception. It is not April Fool's Day. How dare you suggest such a thing. On this day, I have prepared this non-canonical take on some differentiating opinions in the most sophisticated way possible. Because *bleep* you, that's why.

***

March 6th, 2013.
Renton, Washington; United States.
Scott Lycanthrope walked throughout the Walmart of Renton, searching for the electronics section. He came to it and placed a few thousand dollars on the counter. The store clerk looked up in surprise.
“Give me every Nintendo Wii U you've got,” he said.
“Are you sure?” asked the clerk, “Those things haven’t been selling very well, I heard they’re a lot slower then they’re advertised as...”
“I don’t care,” Scott said, “I’ll take every last one. Even the ones in storage.”
“Sir, you can’t buy from storage,” the clerk informed him, raising an eyebrow.
Scott sighed, “Alright, fine then.”
The clerk hastened to bring out every Wii U from the shelves. “Alright, that’s fifteen Wii U’s at $373.43 each, which brings your total up to...$5601.45.”
Scott paid the money and then the clerk brought out more Wii U’s from storage to fill up the spaces. Scott walked up to him while he was doing so, and said, “So, I’m really interested in those Wii U’s you have there. Could I possibly buy...all of those?”

***

March 6th, 2013.
London, England.
Scott walked throughout the Walmart of London, searching for the electronics section. He came to it and placed a few thousand Euros on the counter. The store clerk looked up in surprise.
“’ive to me e’ery “Nintendo Wii U” chu ‘ave got,” he said in a very fake French accent.
“Are you quite right?” asked the British clerk, “Those items haven’t been selling very well, I’ve heard that they are a lot slower than those Americans advertised them as...”
“I’z do not KER,” Scott said, his accent becoming worse and worse “I’z vill take e’ery last un. E’en de un’s en stor-AGE.”
“Sir, you cannot buy from our storage supply,” the British clerk informed him, raising an eyebrow.
Scott sighed, “AL-righ’y zen, havez et chour vay.”
“Would you like the Premium or the regular?”
“Both.”
The clerk hastened to bring out every Wii U from the shelves. “Alright, that’s fifteen Premium Wii U’s at £249.00 each, and eight basic Wii U’s at £199.00, which brings your total up to...£5,543.”
Scott looked at his money. He had Euros, not pounds. He looked up at the clerk, “I’z vill be RIGHT back.”

***

March 7th, 2013.
Sydney, Australia.
Scott slammed his money on the counter of an Australian Walmart, saying, “Howdy, pard’ner. Le’s say you’s there give me every goddanged Wii U you’s got back der.”
The Australian store clerk stared at him for a moment, and then said, “Well alright, then, Mate! Lemme just get right on that, crikey!”
As the clerk got every Wii U in the store, Scott coughed, saying under his breath, without the Southern accent, “Stupid arsshole Australians, goddang their lame accents...”
“Now what was that?” the clerk questioned, looking up at him.
There was a pause, and then Scott said, “Uh, I di’n’t say nuttin’.”
The clerk stared at him, and then asked, “Would you like these gift-wrapped?”
“That’d be mighty kind uh ya.”

***

March 6th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Nick knocked on the door to Scott’s house. He heard a muffled, “Come in!” from inside. He turned the knob and then pushed, but found the door stuck. He pushed with all his might, and steadily the door opened.
Nick frowned, “Scott, why is your door-”
He cut himself short, his eyes settling on the room. Wii U boxes were everywhere he looked. They lined the walls. Scott had taken out his furniture and replaced them with boxes. Scott sat on top of three boxes at a desk made from about a dozen.
“What the...” Nick said, trailing off from sheer amazement.
“Incredible, isn’t it?” Scott said, “Come, look at this.”
Nick walked over to him. On the computer Scott was ordering fifty Wii U’s from Walmart’s website at the same time. Scott clicked a button and then turned to him, “It’s beautiful, is it not?”
“I have no idea what to say...”
“Would you like one?”
Nick grinned, “Yes!”
Scott held out his hand, “That’ll be $380.”
Nick furrowed his brow, “Why do I have to pay you? It’s not like you’ll ever run out.” He looked around again, “Oh, I see what you’re doing. You’ve bought all of these so you could sell them and make a profit. How many do you have?”
“That’s a very astute observation,” Scott said, folding his hands, “But also an incorrect one. All will be explained in time. To answer your latter question, I have traveled to every supercenter from around the world, buying every Nintendo Wii U I could find. I now have around three million. It has cost me about $1,120,290,130.69 altogether. I also bought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.” He blinked, “And a cat. Help yourself to the chicken.”
Nick walked up to the indicated bucket and then groaned, “Aw, dude! You ate all of the skin off them!”
“Would you like to know what I do with the Nintendo Wii U’s?” Scott asked.
“Of course!” Nick yelled.
“Very well,” Scott said calmly, “Follow me to the back yard.”
They exited, and Nick found that Scott had a miniature trebuchet set up. “You see, the Wii U is terribly slow. I thought that if Nintendo thinks that the Wii U is becoming more popular, then they will update it into being faster.
“That makes sense,” Nick admitted. Scott then took a Wii U box - unopened - and set it upon the catapult. Nick frowned, “Wait, what are-”
“Fire!” Scott released the trebuchet, flinging the Wii U into the air. He pulled the string of a medieval cannon nearby, and the missile struck the box, blowing it up.
“What the hell!” Nick screamed, aghast, “You’re willing to blow them up, but not just give me one for free?!”
“You can have that one,” Scott said, gesturing behind him, “Some arssembly required.”
“Forget it!” Nick screamed, leaving. Scott sat down, chewing on a piece of fried chicken. His newly bought cat walked up to him, rubbing against his leg, meowing and purring.
“No, Mr. Kitty, this is my Kentucky Fried Chicken!” Scott yelled, annoyed.
“Mew?”
“No, that’s a bad Mr. Kitty! This is my chicken, GODD---IT!!”

***

March 8th, 2013.
Nick’s House.
Nick sat down on his couch and switched on his television. He needed to relax somehow, after all the insanity of Scott he had been exposed to. The television was tuned to the local news station, Action 4 News.
“This just in, the economy is doing surprisingly good all of a sudden due to a sudden billion-dollar increase in the amount of funds in circulation internationally.”
“What the hell.” Nick said monotonously, covering his eyes with his arm.
“It seems this is due to international sales of the Nintendo Wii U. The Wii U sold an astounding three million consoles in a matter of hours on Wednesday around noon. Eyewitness reports say that the systems were all bought by the same person...Iron Man.”
“The. Hell.” Nick said, getting up and leaving the room. On the television, a clip was shown, taken from a video surveillance footage of a Wal Mart's security camera. It showed Scott - wearing an Iron Man helmet - approaching the electronics section and then proceeding to buy every Nintendo Wii U in the store.
The reporter folded his hands together, saying, “Well, here’s hoping this doesn’t turn out badly somehow. I’m Tom Plicker, Action 4 News.”

***

March 11th, 2013.
Tokyo, Japan.
“We’re going to take off the bag now, Mr. Lee. Don’t scream again or we’ll be forced to bash your skull in.”
The potato sack covering Stan Lee was taken off, and he was greeted with the sight of Shigeru Miyamoto glaring at him with Mario in the background, holding a silenced pistol. Stan Lee’s eyes grew, but Miyamoto shushed him, saying, “Now, now, Mr. Lee. We wouldn’t want the authorities to find out you were here. We are trying ever so hard to convince you not to ‘commit suicide’. Would be a real shame if we failed...”
To punctuate this point, Mario clicked the gun, loading it.
“Now, tell us; where is Tony Stark!?”
Stan Lee shook his head, “You can’t be serious. He’s a fictional character, he doesn’t exist.”
Miyamoto punched Stan Lee in the jaw, knocking him over. He kicked him in the stomach, shouting, “Tell us where Tony Stark is or we will kill you!”
“Why does it even matter?!”
Miyamoto stopped, turning away. He folded his hands together behind his back, saying, “Why does it matter indeed? You see, Mr. Lee, a few days ago Mr. Stark bought millions of copies of our new Nintendo Wii U system. Thinking they were finally improving business-wise, we built more of them. But once Mr. Stark was done, we had too many Wii U’s. Nintendo has gone bankrupt. And now we are going to find Mr. Stark to make him pay!”
“Have you ever figured that it’s your own fault for making so many of them?” Stan Lee questioned, “Or that you could simply not make any more until sales improve?”
Miyamoto turned around to face him. He grabbed the pistol from Mario, shouting, “You have until the count of ten to tell me where Tony Stark is!!”
“I already told you, he doesn’t exist!”
“One! Two!”
“Please don’t kill me!” Stan Lee pleaded, “Think about what’ll happen to The Avengers 2!”
“Ten!” Miyamoto shouted, firing the gun. Stan Lee’s brains were blown across the opposing wall.
At that moment, Eiji Aonuma entered, saying, “Mis’er Miyamoto sir, we’ve found that the person that bought all of the Nintendo Wii U’s wasn’t actually Tony Stark.”
“Oh,” Miyamoto said. “Well then...dispose of this one like the rest.”
Aonuma nodded, dragging the body of Stan Lee over to a trap door. He flung a switch, dropping him onto the long-dead bodies of Ness and Lucas.

***

March 12th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Nick burst through the door to Scott’s house furiously, scattering Wii U boxes everywhere. Scott drank a scotch as Nick fumed angrily, “You knew this was going to happen! You bas-turd!”
“Come, sit.” Scott said calmly.
“No!” Nick yelled, “Because of you, Nintendo is failing! Sure, the economy is a lot better, but what will the world of gaming be like once Nintendo is gone?!”
“What will happen to the world of gaming?” Scott questioned, rising from his seat, “What will happen!? I’ll tell you what will happen.”
He placed a Nintendo Wii U on the table in front of him, with the name crossed out by a red marker.
“What am I looking at,” Nick asked monotonously.
“This,” said Scott, uncapping a marker and writing on the system, “Is the brand new Sega Regenesis.”
“You cannot be serious,”
Scott nodded, “Sega has not come out with a new system in over thirteen years. I am generously donating to their research.”
“By stealing Nintendo’s technology!” Nick shouted, pointing an accusing finger.
Scott shook his head, “I prefer the term, donating.”
“This was your plan the whole time,” Nick growled, “You didn’t care about how fast the Wii U is! Your plan was to ruin Nintendo!”
“Why do you care?” Scott questioned, his voice rising, “The economy is the best it’s been in almost ninety years. And Nintendo hasn’t been making any decent games recently.”
“Not true!” Nick shouted, “I was really looking forward to Zelda U!”
“Frig you, man,” Scott said in his usual crude tone, “The Sega Regenesis is going to revolutionize the gaming industry. And there’s not a goddanged thing you can do about it.”
“Just come off it,” came a voice from a ceiling. They looked up to see 9volt clinging there. He jumped down, saying, “Why do you even care, Nick? Does it really matter which gaming company is the best? I mean look at it this way. Sega went out of business a long time ago. Now Nintendo’s biggest competitors were Microsoft and Sony. And they were losing. Maybe now that Sega’s back they can beat out both of them.”
“It’s more about the principle!” Nick shouted.
“What principle?” 9volt asked.
Nick thought for a moment, and then left without a word.

***

March 14th, 2013.
Japan.
Miyamoto, dressed in traditional samurai armor, rode a horse through the battlefield. Nintendo employees were gathered, preparing to fight the forces of Sega. He was met by Hajime Satomi, CEO of Sega. They exchanged a few words and then returned to their troops.
Both sides charged, fighting valiantly. Thousands of lives were taken in a matter of hours. All of it was captured on the newscast.
Nick watched, his mouth agape. He balled his fists in rage. He went outside, met with the sight of Slick Black dressed in an orange parka.
“What are you doing?” Nick said with an almost bored tone.
“Iffs ree’y fuin coud, dude,” Slick said, his voice muffled.
9volt walked up to them, saying, “Hey guys.”
“Have you seen the news?” Nick asked.
“Yeah, there’s a civil war in Japan,” said 9volt, “The loyalist Nintendards and the rebel Segafreaks.”
“Iss phat ree’y waht herr ka’ing demseffs?” Slick asked.
9volt nodded.
Nick shook his head, “We have to stop Japan from tearing themselves apart over something so stupid. Come on.”
He leaped into the air, followed by 9volt and Slick. They flew across the world and landed in the midst of the battle in Japan. The forces of both armies collided around them, with Slick getting the worst of it. His limbs were ripped off, and his head was impaled by a spear that stabbed into the ground in front of an awestruck Nick and 9volt.
“Oh my god,” 9volt exclaimed, “They killed Slick!”
“You bas-turds!” Nick yelled.

***

March 15th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Scott burst into his home, arms filled with brand-new Sega Regenesis games. He dropped them all over the floor and then picked one up, New Sonic the Hedgehog, and slid the disk into his Regenesis. The door then slammed open, and Nick and 9volt stormed in.
“You have to make this right, Scott,” 9volt said, “Slick is dead and Japan’s in a civil war.”
“Slick Black?” Scott questioned, picking up the controller, “Don’t we hate him?”
“That doesn’t matter!” Nick screamed, “Because of you, a lot of people are dieing!”
“How does this affect me?” Scott said, “I’ve got what I wanted.”
There was a long pause, and then 9volt spoke, “Did you Scott? Did you really?”
Scott stared at the shapeshifter. He then broke down crying, “Alright fine, I admit it. I did all of this to take Nintendo down.”
Nick scoffed.
“But for me to explain fully,” Scott continued, wiping away a tear, “Allow me to explain in a,” he placed his left hand on his chin and slowly turned towards the ceiling, saying, “Flashback...”

***

April 7th, 1995.
Scott’s House.
A child version of Scott Lycanthrope sat on his couch, clutching a huge present. Today was Scott’s seventh birthday, and he could hardly wait to see what was inside.
“Alright, Scott,” said a much younger version of his mother, Destiny, “You can open your present now.”
“Yay!” Scott squealed with joy. He ravenously ripped apart his gift, presented with a brand new Sega Saturn.
“I don’t know what it is,” Scott said in a small voice, “But my friends will all think I’m soo cewl when I show this off to them!”
Suddenly the door burst open, and a child Nick walked through the door. He had a big nose and a sack of money hanging around his neck for some reason. He looked around the room, shouting, “Hey, Scott, I just got a Nintendo 64, you have to come watch me-”
He cut himself off, seeing Scott with the Sega Saturn. He began to laugh heartily at Scott’s expense. Annoyed, Scott frowned, “What?”
“Oh nothing,” Nick said, wiping away a tear, “It’s just that Sega totally blows.”
“It does not!” the child Scott insisted, “My mom spend a year’s income on this!”
The image distorted, the only echoing remnant Nick’s piercing laughter...

***

March 15th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Scott looked back to his companions, his hand still on his chin, slowly saying, “End Flashback.”
“Dude, you totally made that up,” 9volt said.
“Yeah, the Sega Saturn didn’t even come out until May of 1995,” Nick pointed out.
“And you two wouldn’t have been children eighteen years ago,” 9volt continued.
“And I’m not a Jewish stereotype,” Nick concluded.
“Screw you guys!” Scott shouted, “And just to prove you wrong, Nick, can I borrow twenty dollars?”
“No way,” Nick said with a frown, “You never pay me back.”
“Give me twenty dollars, goddangit!” Scott screamed.
“Shut up, fatarss!”
“No, you shut up, you f---ing Jew!”
“Scott!” exclaimed Destiny, who had just walked into the room at that moment, “Did you just say the F-word?”
As 9volt and Nick puzzled over the Ruler of Fate’s sudden appearance, Scott confusedly narrowed his eyes, “Jew?”
Destiny grabbed Scott’s ear and twisted it. She grabbed the television remote and changed the channel, saying, “No more video games for you, mister. You’re grounded.”
“But meym...”
“No buts!”
Scott breathed in sharply, “But...Meeyymmm...”
“To your room, mister!” Destiny shouted, pulling Scott up the steps to his room like a child.
Scott screamed, his eyes crossed, “What the hell are you doing!? MEEEYYYMMMM!?!”
9volt and Nick looked at each other. Nick sighed, “You know what? I’ve learned something today. It really doesn’t matter what video game company is in power. Because in reality, the ideas for games keep on being recycled with characters people feel comfortable with. All along we’ve just been playing Pong under so many different names: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, they’re all the same if you squint your eyes and look hard enough. While gaming has evolved now to more shooters and less platformers, in reality anyone that plays games is the same. We shouldn’t be divided by our differences; we should unite in our similarities.”
They turned towards the television, which all of a sudden flashed to an advertisement for the Ubisoft game, South Park: The Stick of Truth.
9volt pointed at the screen, “Except people that like that. That game is totally g--.”
“Totally g--.” Nick agreed.

***

March 19th, 2013.
Nick’s House.
Nick sat down on his couch and flipped to the local news station. “This is an Action 4 News special report,” said the head reporter, Tom Plicker.
“An update from the war in Japan,” Tom said, “It seems the smoke has cleared, and after all of this struggle...the Ninten-turds have won. They now own the rights to Sega. Also Ubisoft.”
Across the street Nick heard the outraged shriek of Scott Lycanthrope: “GODD---IT.”
Nick pulled a Nintendo Wii U game pad from his pocket and changed the channel of his television so that he was again playing on his brand new Wii U. He had stolen a couple from Scott a few days earlier. New Super Mario Bros. U was on the screen, paused.
He began to play, saying quietly to himself, “This thing is so d--- slow.”

***

So I had to censor a lot of it out because of Neoseeker's filters, but each time it wouldn't let me post it. Turns out the three letter word for homosexual (it starts with a 'g', ends with a 'y') is what was not letting me post this. Yeah. So I thought I'd just leave in all the changed stuff just to be on the safe side. This was certainly entertaining to write, I actually got some insight from Scott, and he had a lot to add, like the scene with Stan Lee and the epilogue. So anyway, happy fourth anniversary to the Cracker. Live long and prosper, you giant pile of wolf shit.

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December 25th, 2003.
Terra.

Zack, Uranus and Elementor stood on the top of a building on the far-off planet Terra. This planet was Zack’s eggsack, the planet he was borne of. Together, the three of them were planning their final strike against the last of the Original Six: Scott and Earth.

“Sir, who exactly are we waiting for?” Uranus asked their leader.

Zack grunted, “As you know, this Hextant of the universe has been excluded from Earth’s view for millennia. As such, the lifeforms have been allowed to populate this galaxy as they see fit. They have evolved into many different species, but they all come from the same root species.” He paused, taking a deep breath, “The Demizians.”

“I thought they were a myth,” Elementor said quietly.

“They’re not,” Zack whispered, “The Original Six fought them, long ago, as a sort of test to see if they were ready. It was because of the Demizians that each of us became who we were: Zatch, though he never found it out, was the reincarnation of the God of Chaos; Alex had his sight taken away; Kristen rose above the rest of us and became our leader; Scott fell in love with Kristen; and Earth...he proved he could be a capable fighter, under the right circumstances.”

“Such as?”

Zack turned to Uranus, “Do you ever wonder why he takes the name Nicholas Sven?”

Uranus shrugged.

Zack turned back towards the stars above, “He added to his code name so that it meant ‘Victory of the People’. The Sven part comes from his late friend, a Demizian who had the same name.”

“Late?” questioned Elementor.

“Sven was killed,” Zack explained, “So Earth wiped out the Demizian race.”

“And you, sir?” Uranus asked, “How were you affected?”

He chuckled, “It was the reason I decided to destroy them all.”

Uranus nodded, and then frowned, “I know my brother well, and I am aware that he tends to brag. However I have never heard him mention the destruction of these Demizians.”

“The strain was too much for him,” Zack said, “Kristen had his memory wiped. Now I am the only one that remembers the annihilation of the Demizians. However, soon enough that will all change.”

“Sir?”

“You see, the Demizians were ruled by a small family that led what is called the Disordinance Chain. It’s a sort of space pirate group. One of this family was able to escape the destruction. Which is lucky, because they were the strongest of their race.”

“Are we to meet them, then?” Elementor deducted.

Zack snapped his fingers, “Very good. I’ve managed to make contact with the last of the Demizians: Lord Varmur.”

There was a twinkle in the sky and a great ball of fire raged down from the heavens. It fell, striking a nearby building. Zack motioned to his companions, “Come along, then.”

They descended from their perch and ran to the crashed spaceship. From it rose a purple figure with dark red markings across his face. He grabbed what appeared to be a form of armor and put it on. It melded to his body, spreading so that it covered him entirely, and turned white. He was muscular, with the body of someone in their prime youth. His feet only had three large toes, each the size of three fingers put together. His eyes, diamond-shaped, had red irises. He lacked ears, but had a long dark purple tail extending from the base of his back. It swished back and forth as he grunted, “Well, don’t all of you start talking at once.”

Zack bowed, and his companions followed suit, “Lord Varmur, we welcome you to my planet.”

Varmur frowned and raised a hand. He pointed it off to the side of them and shot off a beam of energy. The beam incinerated several blocks of skyscrapers, leaving nothing behind. Elementor and Uranus looked on in awe as Varmur grunted again, “There, that’ll make an excellent shopping mall. Or a Capital building. From which I will rule the people of this planet.”

“There are no people living here,” Zack informed him.

Varmur sighed, “How unfortunate. I guess this planet truly is useless, then.”

“We know of another, however.”

“Oh?”

“In the First Hextant. A rating-5 planet known as Earth.”

Varmur mulled over this, “The First Hextant, eh? Why would I want to extend my reach all the way out there just for this Earth?”

“It has a population of over seven billion,” Elementor pointed out.

Zack nodded, “We want your help in conquering this planet. You can rule over the people all you want. All we ask is for you to leave to us the two that you have the most difficulty fighting.”

Varmur narrowed his eyes, “The two that pose the greatest threat? That’s oddly specific.”

Zack growled, “They are mine and mine alone to destroy. If anyone kills them, I will have no choice but to kill their killers. It’s nothing personal.”

Varmur chuckled, “And what if I do kill one of these two? Would you really attempt to kill me, Lord Varmur?”

“We’ll see,” Zack said threateningly, “Scott and Nick will certainly stand some sort of a challenge.”

At this, Varmur seemed to pale. He took a step back, “Did you say...Nick? As in Nicholas Sven?”

“Intimidated?” Zack said, grinning slyly, “He did kill your brother and slay your entire race. What is that name your people called him? The Raging Inferno?”

Varmur growled, “This changes things. I will have vengeance for my brother. I will kill Nick myself.”

Zack roared, “You will do no such thing!”

Varmur smacked Zack across the face, “Just try to *bleep*ing stop me!”

Uranus and Elementor sprung into action. Uranus drew Venom, slashing at Varmur, who grabbed the blade and threw him into a nearby building. He leaped into the air, firing down a bolt of energy at Elementor, who collapsed and did not move.

Zack stumbled to his feet and drew Liberty. He flew up to Varmur’s level and slashed hundreds of times per second. Varmur merely dodged every strike, crossing his arms casually. He lashed out, knocking Liberty from Zack’s hand and then charged a ball of energy. He threw it at Zack and it exploded on impact. Zack fell to the ground, watching weakly as Varmur descended to the ground, placing one three-toed foot on his chest.

“Are...are you going to crush me?” Zack asked, frightened.

“No,” Varmur replied, “Because I know you can’t get in my way. If Nick has given you trouble, then I am obviously a better match for him than you. But if you do get in my way,” he leaned in close, spitting in Zack’s face, “I will kill you.”

With that, he gathered energy, and then blasted away into space. Zack slowly got to his feet, and turned to Uranus. He sighed, “We will wait ten years. By then, either Nick will have defeated Varmur, and I will kill him; or I must kill Varmur myself. Either way, we’re pretty screwed.”

***

March 1st, 2004.
London, England.

Earth walked through the streets of London, quite content with himself. It was snowing. He had come across little trouble in almost ninety years now, and it was a streak he rather liked. He was, simply put, in a very good mood.

Suddenly, a point in the sky brightened, and a shooting star appeared in the sky. It descended upon the city, and crash-landed in a fiery explosion.

Earth sighed, “I’ll take eighty-nine. It’s close enough.” He took off, running towards where the meteorite had landed.

He came to a city square where people were running in the opposite direction. There were screams of disturbance as Earth saw what had landed: Lord Varmur.

He looked at Earth, wearing now a helmet that had four spikes extending back, and it concealed his mouth. It had tinted glass over his eyes, obscuring them. Only the red irises could be seen. He chuckled, a deep guttural sound from inside the helmet. He pointed a finger at Earth, “You.”

Earth glanced around and then pointed at himself questioningly, “Me?”

Varmur nodded, and then removed his helmet. He said grandly, “I am Lord Varmur of the Disordinance Chain.”

“Never heard of it,” Earth said blankly.

Varmur growled, “You killed my brother.”

He rubbed his chin, “What was his name?”

“Incin,” Varmur said through gritted teeth, his rage growing.

Earth thought for a moment, and then stared at Varmur, narrowing his eyes. He opened his mouth and spoke one word: “Who?”

Varmur’s anger broke, and he flew forward. He put on his helmet in midair, and attempted to punch him. Earth dodged out of the way, saying, “Whoa!”

Varmur continued attacking, and each time Earth evaded, saying some variation of “Whoa!” “Hey!” or “Wait!”

Earth leaped, landing on Varmur’s back as he descended upon where he had been standing. He wrapped his arms around Varmur’s neck, saying, “Can we just talk about this?”

Varmur rolled back, slamming Earth into the ground. He grunted, “You annihilated my entire race!”

“I did no such thing!” Earth said. He threw Varmur off of him and then got to his feet, running away. Varmur flew after him, smashing through any obstacle that came into his way. Earth turned, saying, “Halt!”

Varmur stopped, floating in place. Earth breathed heavily, “What is it that you want from me?”

“I simply want to conquer your planet, kill you, and avenge my brother. Whom you killed.”

Earth drew in a deep breath, “Alright. So same old, same old. Now the problem with that is that it involves killing me. Which, frankly, no one has been able to do. That’s why I’m still alive. I’m just too good at staying alive for everyone else’s sake.”

“That will change today,” Varmur said ominously.

“Yes,” Earth said, holding up a finger, “Wait, no. No, I cannot allow that. I simply require- okay, who are you?! This is seriously annoying, I have a great memory, I don’t even understand...”

Varmur sighed, “I represent the DiVormaSordinance Chain, or DVS Chain for short. I conquer planets and rule them over as my own.”

Earth narrowed his eyes, “How can you? The only life in the universe is in this solar system.”

Varmur laughed, “Do not lie to me. The Third Hextant is plentiful with life. Well, until I slaughter them all and/or conquer their planet.”

Earth mulled this over, and then asked, “Why do you do this?”

“The Demizian home galaxies, Sordinance and Di, have never been plentiful ones. We must take our resources from other planets in other galaxies.”

Earth nodded, “Ah, I get it now. So the Demizians are like the Mongols. And Earth is like Japan.”

“I do not know your history, nor understand it, nor care in the slightest for it,” Varmur said, bored.

“The Mongols,” Earth explained, “Were a great, powerful warring empire, which survived by conquering others. However, they put all their efforts into taking Japan, but the military was crippled due to a typhoon. The Mongols soon after were driven into nonexistence by the people they had conquered earlier. Can you guess the name of the typhoon?”

“I already told you that I don’t care,” Varmur said, tightening his fists.

“It came to be known as Kamikaze. Which is Japanese for ‘Nicholas Sven!’” Earth said triumphantly, readying his fighting stance.

“No it’s not!” said a British bystander, “It’s Japanese for Divine-”

“Shut up!” Earth yelled, “I’m making a point!”

“You’re making a fool of yourself!” called back the Brit.

“You’re both wrong,” said Varmur, “You’re digging yourself a grave.”

He punctuated this by forming a ball of energy in his fist and throwing it at Earth. He held it in place, but was pushed back, his feet digging into the ground. He took a few steps forward, grunting, and then threw it back at Varmur, screaming “Ha!”

Varmur grabbed the ball and then teleported behind Earth, releasing it upon his back. Earth was flung forward like a rag doll.

Varmur pointed at him, shooting beams of energy sporadically at his body. Earth was pummeled, and then when Varmur stopped, he collapsed, bleeding heavily.

“Huh,” Earth said, “That happened.”

“Now you know the extent of my power!” Varmur said dramatically.

“I’m not used to seeing this much of my own blood anymore,” Earth said to no one in particular, “I could really use a drink right now.”

“Hey!” Varmur shouted, “Are you ignoring me?”

Earth said nothing. He stood and then turned to Varmur, saying, “You know, I’ve decided something. Even though you are first form of life I’ve encountered outside of this galaxy, you really don’t deserve to live. Which isn’t to say I will kill you, no. I’m just going to beat all the imperfections out of you. And if you die in the process, so be it. I’ll probably regret it later, but it’s just that I’m so irritated, because this little alien shit strolled onto my planet, destroyed a bunch of random buildings that no one cares about, and is trying to impress me like I’m his alcoholic father!”

Varmur growled, swooping down. He attempted to punch Earth, but he merely grabbed his fist. Varmur stopped short, saying, “What the...” He punched with his other hand, which Earth blocked, spinning him around. Varmur kicked him in the chest, but Earth was unfazed. He simply smiled.

“Varmur, you have made a grave mistake.” Earth turned, throwing him into a nearby building. He unsheathed the Fli Sword, and it burst into flames. As Varmur crashed out of it, Earth swung his sword, smacking the side of his head like a baseball. There was a deep crack as the helmet split, but did not come apart. Earth stabbed his sword through Varmur’s chest, tearing a deep gash down his body.

Varmur groaned, and then lashed out, grabbing his sword. He ripped it out of his body and out of Earth’s grasp. He turned, whipping Earth with his tail while he threw the Fli Sword off into the distance.

Earth growled, punching Varmur straight in the face. His fist struck the helmet and glanced off, and Earth cringed. He made a small, weak noise as he unclenched his fist in pain. Varmur took the opportunity and kicked him in the chest, pushing him back. He formed two chakrams in his hands, and flew forward, stabbing one into Earth’s stomach.

Earth coughed up blood, and some splattered onto Varmurs face. He twisted the chakram and then pulled back, swinging the other towards Earth’s neck. He quickly raised his arm to block, and cried out in pain as it struck him, tearing through his flesh and striking bone.

Earth groaned, kneeing Varmer in the stomach. Varmur was unaffected, merely whipping his tail around to wrap around his leg. His tail pulled back, and Earth was stretched, the chakrams digging deeper into his arm and stomach.

Earth closed his eyes, the pain becoming unbearable. He felt his leg snap out of place, and then Varmur raised his leg, which held a small but deadly knife. Earth cringed, expecting the worst, and prayed for it to be painless...

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Earth was struck, but not with a knife. It was large and dull, like a steamroller. Earth’s eyes flashed open to see that he was falling out of the sky, and a flash of blue was bearing him along. He was spinning out of control, and barely a few seconds later he crashed to the ground.

He looked at what had struck him and could not believe his eyes. He groaned, and got to his feet, saying:

“Did I just get hit by a phone booth?”

The booth, which was on its side and pouring steam, opened its door and a man rolled out of it on his side. He wore a dark green velvet frock coat, silver waistcoat and a cravat. Earth also noted his shoes, which were remarkably fancy. He had long, curly, light brown hair that extended beyond his shoulders.

As he sprung to his feet, Earth held a hand to his face, “I think I might have suffered head trauma, because there’s no way this is happening.”

The man turned towards him, saying, “Is that quite right?” in a British accent. He walked up to him, pulling what appeared to be a flashlight of sorts with a blue tip out of his pocket. He pressed a button and it made a peculiar buzzing sound. The man waved it at Earth’s head and then let go of the button, and then looked at it. “Oh, something is definitely wrong with you, yes.”

Earth narrowed his eyes in utter confusion as the man circled him, looking him over and talking to himself, “Yes, you have a very empty head, you lack something. Or rather, you have a bit of something that most people do not. But what is it, I wonder? What’s wrong with you is not head trauma; if you were purely human you would more likely be dead than anything. What are you? You must be new, I’ve never seen anything like you before. But yet you’re not, I sense you’re very, very old, ancient in fact. Almost exactly as old as a Racnoss...but you certainly don’t look like a spider-person, nor do you have any sort of.. cloaking.”

“What in the everloving, flaming death pit of never ending torture known as the American Hell, are you even talking about?” Earth said, in a very precise manner.

“Oh, excuse me, my good man. What are you to be named?”

Earth looked at him and one of his eyes twitched. He sighed, “My name is Nicholas Sven. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.”

He stared at Earth for a long moment, blank faced. Then he turned away, raising a hand to his chin, “The name does strike a bell, but where? Er, who was it that referred to you? Alexander the Great? Winston Churchill? Augustus Caesar? The Romans?” He made a frustrated noise, not coming to a conclusion.

“Are you okay?” Earth asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Properly not,” he answered. “Forgive me, call me The, er, well you can call me John Smith.”

“John Smith?” Earth questioned, raising an eyebrow, “I get knocked out of the sky by a phone booth-”

“Police Box,” John corrected, indicating the words printed on the blue structure, “It’s right there, can you not read?”

“I get knocked out of the sky by a police box,” Earth said quickly, “Inhabited by a man named John Smith, which frankly no one is named, and.. wait, what the hell is a police box?”

“You’ve certainly got an American vocabulary,” John Smith commented. He looked back up to the sky, saying, “Now what were you doing up in the air anyway?”

“Oh, you know,” Earth said, with a sarcastic wave of the hand, “Hunting fowl. It’s the perfect time of year for it. I should really ask the same question to you, Mr. John Smith.”

John, who had been examining the area, turned back to him and said, “It’s Dr. Smith, if you don’t mind terribly.”

“Oh, so you’re a doctor now, are you?” Earth said, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow.

“And the best you’ll ever meet,” John added.

“A doctor in what?”

“Everything.”

Earth exasperatedly sighed, “A doctor of all fields of doctorhood. Perfect.”

“Is something the matter, Nicholas?”

Earth shook his head, “It’s Nicholas Sven. Nick for short. Not Nicholas, not Nicky, not Cholas, just Nick. Or Nicholas Sven. Preferably not at the same time.”

John Smith looked at him, “And I thought I was particular about my name.”

Earth cracked his back, “Right, I almost forgot, I was getting my ass kicked by some rogue alien until this all happened. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go die, apparently.”

“Alien?” John Smith questioned, perking up.

“Yeah, the big, buff jockstrap up there,” Earth said, pointing Varmur out in the sky.

John Smith looked up, “Oh, so that explains why you were up there. For a second I thought you weren’t even human.”

There was an uncomfortable silence as the two of them stared at each other for a moment. Earth spoke slowly, “Right. Anyway, goodbye now.”

“Not quite,” said John, “I can’t let you do this alone. In fact I’m not letting you do this at all. I’ll take over from here.”

“You!?” Earth exclaimed, “Who the hell do you think you are?!”

“My, you just love that word, don’t you?”

“You’re avoiding the question!”

John Smith shrugged. He turned towards the toppled police box and then grunted, “Right, I forgot about that. My...police box is broken.”

“Well no shit, Sherlock,” Earth said, rubbing his tired eyes.

John Smith thought for a moment, and then ran back past Earth, into a building that led up to where Varmur was still floating. Varmur yelled down to Earth, saying, “Sven! Watch now as I make your world burn, just like you did to my entire galaxy!”

“I DID NO SUCH THING!!” screamed Earth as he flew up to Varmur, kicking him in the face. He tried punching him, but Varmur’s tail lashed out, wrapping around his wrist. He flung Earth down to the rooftop of the building John had run into.

As Earth collapsed, a door opened and John Smith ran out. He looked at him, saying, “Good, you’re here.”

“You know what, I hate you,” Earth groaned.

John stepped forward, drawing the flashlight-device, “Now let the professional do his work.”

Earth laughed heartily at this, and then stopped, coughing up blood. He moaned, “It hurts to laugh, you should stop making jokes.”

John Smith ignored this, stepping forward to face Varmur. Varmur had raised both arms above his head and was forming a gigantesque orb of energy above his head. John yelled out, “Stop, now!”

Varmur turned towards him and laughed, “You are hilarious.”

“Told you,” Earth called out, steadily getting to his feet.

Varmur shifted the ball of energy to one hand, saying, “What do you have to use against me? That puny screwdriver?”

“I think the Demizian definition of screwdriver is drastically different than the Earth one!” Earth yelled.

“Stop that, you’re making things worse!” John Smith shouted at him. He scanned Varmur as Earth mimicked him, annoyed. John frowned, “Curious. Never met a Demizian before, but I have heard of you. I thought you were wiped out.”

“We were,” Varmur said quietly, “I have come to extract my vengence.”

“On who, the humans?” John asked.

“No!” Varmur shouted, “Him! The Raging Inferno, Nicholas Sven!”

John Smith turned towards Earth, and then turned back to Varmur, “Surely you’re mistaken.” Behind him, Earth crossed his arms.

“He is the terror that befell our race, destroying my home and leaving me to wander the universe, searching for scraps.”

“For the last time, I have never even heard of the Demizians before today!” Earth shouted.

“Yes, you probably have him confused with some sort of Shape-Changer,” John Smith commented.

“Alright,” Earth said, turning to John, “Please, for the last time, shut the hell up. Second, it’s Shapeshifter, that’s their proper name. And finally, I probably do have the ability to wipe out an entire intelligent race at once, but I’ve only done it to two planets before, both within this solar system.”

“So that’s what happened to Pluto and Venus,” John Smith muttered.

“Enough of this,” Varmur yelled, growing impatient. He flew forward, knocking John Smith off of the building with his tail. Earth gasped in alarm as he fell, and Varmur again drew his knife, throwing it down to slice through John’s heart.

“He was doing nothing wrong!” Earth yelled, “Sure, he was damn annoying, but that’s no reason to kill him!”

“He was distracting and in my way,” Varmur said coldly, “Unlike my people, whom you slaughtered for no reason at all.”

“Alright,” Earth said, “Let’s pretend for a moment that I did kill all of the Demizians. Naturally I would need a motive for this. I seem like a sophisticated person, do I not? I wouldn’t just commit genocide for the he- I mean for fun.”

Varmur thought about this and then nodded slowly, “That is correct, I do not take you for a simpleton graced with powers unimaginable.”

Earth smiled, “Thank you. We might actually be getting somewhere. Now then, your race, are they all like you?”

“We did what we had to do to survive,” Varmur said, “Occasionally we would annihilate a race or two, but not without provocation. My brother on the other hand...never mind about him. But yes, we were a war-ridden people, never knowing peace for the sake of survival.”

Earth rubbed his chin, “I might have destroyed the Demizians simply to put them out of their misery, by the sounds of it. I weep for you, honestly. But I am merciful, and I would have done my best to help you, instead of simply killing you all. It’s quite unusual...”

“My own son was on our home planet at the time...” Varmur said somberly, “He bears the same name as you: Sven.”

Earth took this in and then looked at Varmur. “I remember now,” he said, “I remember your son, Sven. I took his name because I was his friend. He was killed by a high class Demizian, his name fails me, but in my rage I destroyed everything, I’m so sorry, but your son, he was such a great person, I remember, I could not bear it, I would have destroyed myself, if not for my memory loss, I don’t know how or why, but now I remember what I had forgotten, and I am sorry, I am so very sorry for what I have done.”

Varmur took off his helmet. A single tear ran down his face. “I believe your tale; I can see the truth etched upon your face. I forgive you. The life of one may not be equal to the many killed, but your death will not bring them back. Therefore I will end my attack on this planet, and return to the Third Hextant. I sorrow for you, Nicholas Sven. May we meet again, as allies...”

He rose silently, and then streaked off through the sky, never to be seen again by Earth. Nick walked to the edge of the building and watched him go. He sighed, bowing his head. He saw below him a pool of blood, and then remembered with a bang: “Oh, god, Smith!”

He leaped down, falling several stories and landing on his feet. He crouched down, and hesitantly rolled John Smith onto his back.

Surprisingly, the man was still alive. He spoke quietly, “Back away. You’re about to witness something amazing.”

Earth slapped him, saying, “You’re still talking nonsense, so you must be fine.”

“I’m serious,” John Smith said, “It’s starting...”

Earth noticed something peculiar. He knelt closer, pressing his ear to John Smith’s chest. He heard four beats in a rhythmic pattern, but two were weaker and slower than the others. He stood, backing away. “You have two hearts.”

John Smith nodded, and then was enveloped in a flash of bright golden light. His hair receded, going very short and turning black. His features changed, his entire body becoming a new person.

This new man grunted, and then jumped to his feet. He wobbled for a moment, saying in a Northern English accent; “New legs, and a new voice, I don’t know if I like the accent. Eh, I’ll get used to it. You know what I’m craving right now? I want to see the Kennedy assassination. I’ve never seen it before, I think that would be tragic, it certainly sounds exciting, doesn’t it?”

He turned to Earth, who was awestruck. He chuckled, “You know, with your experience I would think you’ve seen someone regenerate before, but apparently not. I need a mirror, what do I look like...” His hands reached up to his head, feeling his short hair. He frowned, “What hair color am I?”

“It- it’s sort of black.”

“Aw, drat,” he said, “You know I’ve never been ginger before? It’s really a shame. Oh well, maybe next time.”

With that, he turned, running. Earth, mouth agape, shouted after him, “Wait, who are you!?”

The strange man turned, and said, “I’m the Doctor.”

Earth stood motionless for a moment, and then screamed: “Doctor Who?!”

He burst after the Doctor, chasing him. He ran into the police box, which was now right-side up. As the doors shut, Earth crashed into them, bouncing back. He pounded on the door, and finally it opened. The Doctor poked his head out, saying, “By the way, thank you for taking care of Varmur for me. I couldn’t have done it any better myself. You were fantastic!”

Earth smiled for a moment, and then asked, “Who are you, really?”

“I told you already,” The Doctor said simply. “I’ll visit again sometime. See you in the future, or the past, whichever comes in the middle!”

The doors of the police box closed, and then it began to fade away, as if it had never been there in the first place. Earth shook his head, “I think I’m just going to go home, lie down, and forget this whole day ever happened.” He rubbed his forehead and walked on.

***

June 8th, 2004.
Terra.

Zack sat at his desk, reading a few papers. He had sent Elementor to Earth as a spy, to find weakness in him. Uranus was standing outside his office as a guard. Suddenly the door opened.

Without looking up, Zack said, “I don’t want to be disturbed.”

A head was slammed onto Zack’s desk, and he jumped in alarm. It was the head of his vile nemesis, Nicholas Sven. He looked up and saw Varmur, wearing his helmet. Varmur grunted, “The head of Earth. He was of no difficulty to me.”

Zack swallowed, “You know what this means now, don’t you?”

“That you’ll try to kill me?” Varmur said with a slight chuckle.

Zack, pale-faced, nodded. He stood, and then unsheathed his sword, readying himself. He called out, “Uranus, can you come in here for a second?”

***

October 13th, 2013.
Terra.

Zack and Uranus fought Varmur for over nine years, but to no avail. Varmur was far superior in every way, pummeling them at every opening, dodging a third of their attacks and sending another third right back at them. But Varmur would not kill them. And Zack would not give up, no matter what.

Uranus and Zack were sent hurtling into each other. Uranus blacked out as they crashed to the ground, but Zack still weakly held on. Varmur descended, placing one foot on his chest. “How typical. We’ve been at this for years and yet we always come to the same conclusion.”

“Then why don’t you just kill me?” Zack growled.

Varmur chuckled, “Because you have so much to live for.”

Zack suddenly went very still. The Demizians had no concept of morality, and barely could grasp mercy. He looked up and him, asking very slowly, “What is that supposed to mean?”

Varmur smiled, “You see, Zack, I’ve been stalling you as a favor. A favor to Earth.”

Zack’s thoughts raced, “But...you...”

“I don’t believe I ever said I killed him,” Varmur said. He snapped his fingers, and the head of Nicholas Sven rolled to his feet. It disintegrated into small gray particles and then reformed into a Shapeshifter.

He grinned, “My name is 9iron. I serve Lord Varmur of the DiVormaSordinance Chain.”

“No,” Zack screamed silently.

“Nick and I called off our fight,” Varmur said, “Neither of us proved any stronger than the other. So you can go to Earth and kill him yourself.” He leaned down and spoke directly to Zack’s face, “Except you can’t. Because I’ve figured out your true purpose. You want to prove that you are the most powerful in the entire universe. And now that you don’t know which of us - Earth or I - is more powerful, you’ll have to kill us both. And that is truly a frightening thought for you. You should have never called me to your planet all those years ago. Because even if you can kill me, then you’ll have the Raging Inferno to deal with.”

Zack’s face contorted into a look of pure hatred. He screamed, grabbing Varmur’s leg and launching him off his chest. He leaped to his feet and then flew away, to his reddish-orange Uranian spacecraft. Still screaming, he smashed his fist into the start button and his craft rocketed away into the starry sky.

Varmur cracked his knuckles, “Good luck to you, Nicholas Sven.”

***

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September 19th, 2029.
Castle Mobius.
Scott Lycanthrope walked through the halls of his castle, fully concentrated on his task. His sister, the vampire Elementire, walked past him, and he grabbed her arm, pulling her with.
She grunted, “What’s this about, then?”
“I need someone to show this to,” Scott said, turning towards her, “I’ve got a secret, and I just can’t keep it for much longer.” He smiled, and she chuckled.
“Typical. So what is it then?”
He grinned, “Follow me.”
He led her down to the lower levels, where they came to a laboratory of sorts. The room was entirely white, with a testing area blocked off from the rest of the room. The testing area was a room inside of a room, built entirely from see-through glass. Inside there was a scientist injecting a liquid into the head of a corpse.
Elementire turned to Scott, “How recently deceased is that man?”
“This morning. He said he’d donate his body for science, so I had him shot.”
She glared at him, and he laughed, “I’m kidding. He turned up dead. No records, no family, nothing. I thought, ‘Why not?’”
“So what are you doing down here?”
“Reanimation,” Scott said simply, “Bringing the dead back to life.”
“You’re kidding,” Elementire said, laughing, “Earth can do that with the wave of a hand.”
“Ah, but that’s limited. They’d still die eventually.” Scott turned to her, “My goal is to reverse death entirely. Make it completely avoidable. And the best part is that it will work on elves.”
“Seriously?” she questioned, excited, “So you can make me...not a vampire?”
Scott rubbed his chin, “Possibly. If we can get it to work. The trick is figuring out how.”
He opened a door into the testing area and stepped inside. He closed the door behind him, alienating Elementire from the conversation he proceeded to have with the scientist. She watched, confused, as they mouthed an argument in front of her, and then Scott formed a ball of black energy in his hand. This only caused the scientist to become more infuriated, to which Scott responded by arrogantly shoving the black ball into the corpse’s chest.
Scott walked out of the testing area, slamming the glass door shut behind him. He walked back over to Elementire, mumbling, “Unethical my ass...”
“Okay, I’m confused...what exactly did you just do?”
Scott shrugged, crossing his arms, “Basic stem cell stuff. Just reactivated a lot of the the primary functions with electricity. And stuff. I just sort of vaccinated a cancerous insulin, causing the resistance of graftification to be deferred, and, you know, it’s kind of like a Gastric bypass surgery, except-”
“You have no idea what any of those words mean, do you?”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “Not a clue. I just did whatever the hell we were going to do, except without the use of a machine. And there’s one other thing.”
“What’s that?”
“Because I did it myself, the effect will be quarterfold what it would be with the machine.”
“Meaning...?”
Scott looked at Elementire and shrugged, “I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?”
They turned back to the testing area, where the scientist was loading a needle with a blue liquid. He reached across the corpse to inject it into its neck. Suddenly the corpse opened its mouth wide and bit down on his arm.
Elementire reeled back in alarm. Scott frowned, “I was afraid this might happen.”
The scientist cried out in intense pain. He stumbled back, and then fell onto the table which held all of the chemicals. He slipped onto the floor and the vials fell on top of him, shattering and raining their contents onto him.
Scott pulled a shotgun from his belt and opened the door into the testing area. As the scientist’s arm turned a sickly black color, Scott raised the firearm to his face and blew the corpse’s head off. He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow, turning back to Elementire and grinning.
He exited, closing the door behind him. He chuckled, “Always finish things before they start, and always go for the head. Everyone knows that!”
Elementire crossed her arms, “So you’ve stopped anything bad from happening, eh?”
Scott thought about it for a moment, pouting his lips. He nodded, “Yep, pretty much.”
She rolled her eyes and sighed, “Just turn around.”
He frowned bemusedly, turning on his heel. The scientist’s skin burnt away, leaving behind his black underbody. He stood then, and took a uneasy step towards them. His face had entirely rotted away, leaving him with a sickly expression. The jaw hung open as what was left of the scientist raised an arm, placing a hand against the glass.
Scott chuckled nervously, “Not a problem, we’ll just...kill him again. One headshot, that’s all it takes.”
He raised his gun and shot the former scientist in the face through the glass. A huge hole blew through the center of his face and he leaned forwards, forehead resting against the glass. Suddenly he twitched, his body dissolving into a pool of black liquid. It rose up, squeezing through the hole Scott had made with the shotgun blast. They stepped back in alarm.
“It’s still alive, kill it again!” Elementire shouted hysterically.
Scott pumped the barrel, firing off another round. The blob of blackness merely squirmed through the hole and shivered. It formed into the shape of a man, but did not resemble the scientist. It was pure black, like a silhouette, and its particles shimmered, moving back and forth. It opened where the mouth would have been, and it drooled onto the floor, resembling ink dripping from a quill.
It spoke in an eerily silent screech, “We are the Volution.”
It raised an arm, dripping blackness all the way, and then started walking towards them. Scott turned to Elementire, saying, “Now would be an excellent time for us to leave.”
They ran out of the room, slamming the door shut behind them. Scott locked the door and smiled, “We’re safe now. There’s thirteen inches of solid steel surrounding this room, preventing anything from getting in or out except through this door, which is enforced with an eternity code lock-”
The door started to melt, and they reeled away. Elementire glared at him, “You know what, Scott? Shut the hell up; every time you talk it jinks us up!”
“Harsh,” Scott pointed out, hurt. The blackness surged through the door and reformed into its humanesque form. It screeched at them.
“Elementire, do you remember what race the scientist was?” Scott asked unexpectedly as they backed away slowly.
She furrowed her brow, “I think he was white, maybe asian, why does it matter?”
“You’re definitely sure he wasn’t dark-skinned?”
“Yeah, but why?”
Scott relaxed, “Because the black guy always dies first, everyone knows that.”
Elementire narrowed her eyes, “You’re surprisingly genre savvy, but I have to tell you this is real life. The patterns in movies don’t exactly apply here-”
“Hey, I got the reports you wanted,” said an African-Mobian as he walked around a corner. Scott opened his mouth in warning, but was too late. The mass raised an arm and shot off a blob of blackness that struck the human in the chest. It engulfed him, amassing his body and tearing him apart in seconds.
Scott made a noise halfway between a sigh and a groan, “Yeah, now that he’s dead, we’re screwed.”
The fresh corpse rose up, becoming a blob of blackness as well. The creature was multiplying.
They ran, never looking back.

***

October 13th, 2029.
Metroponente, Mobius.
Scott and Elementire had hidden away. Weeks past, and the blackness known as the Volution was spreading. It had already enveloped two-thirds of the planet. Nearly every human on the planet had been transformed violently into the Volution.
They had found Elementres and two other humans, an African-Mobian couple whose names were Moreau and Skyla. Earth, Venus, and 9volt had gone missing.
They had hidden out in the outskirts of Metroponente, waiting for the apocalypse to die down. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and now the Volution was specifically seeking them out.
“We can’t hide here forever,” Elementres said, sharpening a knife with another knife, “Out there, more and more people are dieing due to the Volution, and we’re sitting here, doing nothing!”
“You didn’t see them,” Elementire said quietly, “It was maddening, watching those things come back from the dead. We’ve tried everything, nothing can kill them, they just keep reforming.”
“And once again,” Elementres said, setting down her knife, “All of my problems derive from our generous and loving King Scott Lycanthrope.”
“Me?” Scott cried, outraged, “I had no idea this would happen!”
Elementres held her knife up against his throat, “You’ve seen literally every zombie apocalypse movie in existence, don’t give me that bullshit, Scott.”
Scott shrugged her off, muttering, “Well, deep down I’ve always wanted an apocalypse of this large of a scale before, but I thought I could contain it. I never expected anything like this...but don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t planning this out or anything, it just happened. I was gonna wait another five hundred years until I started my apocalypse, but then that damn ethical scientist had to get in my way...”
Elementres sighed, “So tell me, Scott. Why shouldn’t I kill you right here and now for ultimately damning us all.”
Scott stared at her, “Because Earth is still alive. You know it, I can see it in your eyes. You’re hopeful even throughout all this. I don’t know about Venus or 9volt, but I know for a fact that he’s alive.”
Elementres slowly lowered her knife. She looked at her sister and sighed, “Fair enough.”
Scott cracked his knuckles, “Now then. I think you’re right in saying that we should do something. By now the entire human population should be dead except for these two,” he gestured to the two dark-skinned humans, “So I see no reason why I can’t activate my plan early. You see, I built an apocalypse device that would kill all life on Mobius except for humans and elves. However, I couldn’t work out how to stop it from killing humans. Clearly that’s less of an issue since we can just transfer these two and wipe out the Volution with a snap of the fingers.”
Elementire perked up, “That’s brilliant!”
Elementres narrowed her eyes, “But what’s the catch?”
Scott frowned, looking at the floor, “It’s on the top floor of Castle Mobius.”
“Effing perfect,” Elementres groaned, throwing her arms up into the air, “We’re going to have to walk a quarter of the planet, towards the highest concentration of an invincible enemy, just to climb a heavy fortress to get to this device, then somewhere along the line get the humans off of Mobius. Freaking beautiful.”

***

October 13th, 2029.
Metroponente, Mobius.
The three Lycanthropes, Skyla, and Moreau slunk through the city streets. They had thus far met no resistance. Elementire looked around warily, “Where are they? I could have sworn they were all over, and searching for us. So why aren’t there any around?”
“I’m not sure,” Scott said, slowing his walk, “It’s actually quite unusual, now that I think about it.”
“Oi,” said Moreau, “What happens if we do come across some of those things? We’ll have to be prepared, right?”
Scott grunted in agreement, “Aye, that’s true. Here, take these.” He pulled his shotgun from his back and handed it to Moreau as Elementire pulled two pistols from their holsters and Elementres drew a knife. He turned to Skyla, “Sorry, I don’t have anything for you,”
“That’s quite alright,” she replied, “I think it’s better if I stay out of conflict. You see, I’m pregnant.”
“That’s good,” Scott commented, “All of the patterns have been consistent so far, and one of the rules of a zombie apocalypse is that PREGNANT WOMEN. DO. NOT. DIE.”
They all stared at him as he stood unblinking for a moment. He shook his head, breathing in, “Well then, let’s get going then.”
He turned around and shouted, “Oh shit!” He fell back in surprise, seeing a Volution standing across the street from them. It screeched tremendously, and suddenly more appeared, surrounding them.
Elementire fired off her machine pistol, shooting the ones closest to them. Elementres threw her knives at the Volution, each one stabbing into their chest areas. She waved a hand, causing each knife to expand, bloating each of them like balloons before they exploded. Moreau ran forward, firing off the shotgun. He cleared a path, calling back to them, “Come on! We have to keep going!”
They ran after him, knocking back the Volution whenever one came close. They ran, every few seconds one of them turning to fire bullets at the pursuing Volution. Scott stood up and finally noticed they had gone on without him. Several of the Volution were surrounding him, dripping ink all over the ground. He released a burst of energy, and they drew back, but still rose back forth. He leaped into the air, drawing the Soul Reaver. He landed on the ground and then spun around, releasing a shockwave that cut each of the Volution in half. They melted down into pools, but started to rise up once again. He jumped over them and ran after his companions.
A wall of Volution rose up in front of them. Elementire surged forward, swinging her elbow. A wicked blade extended out from her sleeve, wrapped under her arm up to her hand. The blade ripped through the Volution in front of her and she spun around, slashing through the nearest blobs of blackness. Moreau was the next to arrive, blasting a shell through the head of a Volution. A drop of blackness landed on his cheek, but he seemed not to notice.
Scott roared, “EVERYONE DUCK!” They all complied immediately as he slashed horizontally, releasing a sonic boom that annihilated the Volution. They continued running, but suddenly Scott grabbed Moreau by the shoulder. They all turned back. Elementres shouted, “Scott, we don’t have time for this! Let’s go!”
“He’s infected,” Scott breathed.
Skyla gasped, “No!”
Moreau seemed to suddenly notice the black drop on his cheek. He wiped it away, but then cringed. He clutched his wrist as his hand shook, slowly turning black from the fingertips down. Skyla cried out, rushing forward, but Elementres lashed out, grabbing her and holding her back. She began to cry as Scott backed away. Moreau screamed, his body blackening and beginning to melt. Elementres looked back at the way they had come and noticed the Volution just watching.
She grabbed Scott by the shoulder, “We need to go, they’re not attacking us now for whatever reason. We would do good to exploit this.”
He nodded, and they began to run again, Skyla crying as she ran.

***

October 13th, 2029.
Metroponente, Mobius.
They had come within sight of Castle Mobius now, and Skyla had stopped crying. Scott wiped some blood from his shotgun and put it on his back once again. Elementire looked out at the castle, saying, “We’re so close and yet so far. This will be the hardest part of this journey.”
Skyla nodded, “Guess there’s no point in turning back now.”
Scott sighed, “Let’s go then.”
They leaped down into the street, running towards Mobius Castle. The Volution at the castle stood, looking towards them. They raised their arms and fired blobs of themselves at them. Elementres drew five knives with each hand and threw them up into the air. They expanded, forming a large metal umbrella. It flew up, smashing into the side of the castle, knocking down those Volution there. Scott grabbed Skyla by the hand and they leaped up through the hole formed from the collision.
They ran through the halls of Castle Mobius, heading for the throne room. They turned a corner and slammed into a figure going the other way. He drew back, raising their weapons at it.
Earth raised his arms up. He grinned, “’sup bitches.”
Elementres ran forward, hugging him. They embraced, and Earth whispered in her ear, “I missed you so much.”
She smiled, “We’re together now.”
Suddenly a black mass of ink ripped through them both, and they simultaneously cried out. They dissolved into a pool of blackness.
“No!” Elementire yelled in despair.
Scott turned back, pushing Elementire and Skyla the other way, “Wrong way, wrong way!”
They watched as the Volution ran after them, chasing them right into the throne room. They gasped at the sight they saw. On the throne sat a gigantesque blob of the Volution that radiated black light. It looked at them and screeched.
Scott shouted at it, “What the hell are you!?”
It melted into a pool of boiling oil and then a single figure rose back up. It was dressed in a suit, its hands bony with long curved fingers. Its head was a blank skull without a face. Its jaw opened, saying, “We are the Volution.”
“Obviously not,” Scott said, “It was all just a disguise for whatever...” he gestured to it, “that is. So let me ask you again; what are you really!?”
It breathed in, and then said in a sinister whisper: “We are the Deathless.”
“BULLSHIT.”

***

October 31st, 2029.
Mobius Castle.
The illusion dissolved, and Scott turned sternly to Earth, scowling, “Well, way to ruin it.”
9volt, Scott and Earth sat around the fireplace on Halloween, sharing a scary story. It had been Scott’s turn to tell a tale, but the revelation that the Volution were in reality the Deathless was too much for Earth. He growled, “You can’t just put the Deathless in your story just because you feel like it. Pulling a Twilight Princess is not cool, man.”
“At least my story was realistic,” Scott pointed out.
Earth glared at him, “The Smoothie Story actually happened.”
9volt and Scott cried out, arguing simultaneously. Earth shouted repeatedly, “Alright, alright! Point taken. No need to be complete assholes about it...”
“Well,” said 9volt, “It’s nice to know it won’t be hard for me to top you both next year.” He sat back contentedly as the other two angrily shouted out.
“Oh, can you boys just shut up already.”
They looked up at Elementire, who was standing there in the doorway. She sighed, “I really look forward to next year. 9volt’s an excellent storyteller.”
9volt blushed as Earth crossed his arms. He shrugged, “Alright, I guess the Smoothie Story means absolutely nothing to anyone.”
Elementire chuckled, “Actually, Earth, I believe you. I think the Smoothie Story really happened, it seems legitimate.”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “Oh, no, that is complete bullshit right there.”
Elementire shrugged, “Hey, anything’s possible.”
“Except zombie apocalypse,” Earth pointed out.
“Shut up,” Scott growled.

***

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***

July 29th, 2027.
Sky above England.
Earth sat atop the Project Ozone, staring off into the gray nothingness of the sky. He was wearing plaid shorts and a dark shirt, covered mostly by his signature unzipped black hoodie. It, like his hair, flapped behind him in the wind. His normally vibrant hazel eyes were dark and clouded.
A hatch opened up behind him, and Zero climbed out halfway. She looked at him, cocking her head, “Earth, what are you doing here?”
Earth turned slightly at her voice, “I needed a quiet place I could go to clear my mind...wait a second, what about you, Zero? Why are you here?”
Zero climbed all the way out and then sat down next to him, “Joe let me wander around, as long as I didn’t get into any trouble. I went looking for you, and then I saw the ladder...”
“Why did you want to see me?”
Zero shrugged, “I like you. You’re a good friend to me. Why wouldn’t I want to see you?”
Earth was silent. He sighed, “I enjoy the fresh air. I can’t think as clearly when I breathe stale air.”
Zero sighed as well, “Yes, I just love the feel of this cool wind in my hair. It’s refreshing.”
As she ran a hand through her neon green hair that streamed behind her, Earth looked at her ruefully. She caught his gaze and smiled. He turned away, but couldn’t help the smile that played upon his own lips. Zero wrapped an arm around him, “Aren’t you cold?”
“I cannot physically feel cold,” Earth said monotonously. He stopped short and turned towards her, looking over her being, “What about you? Why are you worried about me when you’re the one in...” He failed to find suitable words, and settled by gesturing to her body.
Zero unexpectedly hugged him tight, “I’m just worried about you, that’s all.”
Earth hugged her back, tears forming in his eyes. He let himself fall apart, sobbing in her arms.

***

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Chase stared at the strange one across the street. He was the only one out on this day except for her. Her arms were crossed, and he hadn’t noticed her yet, even considering the fact she was atop the roof of the house across from him. She stood and jumped off the roof, rolling onto the ground. She walked towards him, stopping just before setting foot on his property. She called out, “Hey, you!”

He straightened and turned towards her, furrowing his brow, “What are you doing outside?”

“Is it really a crime to be outside? You can’t be inside all the time, you know.”

He frowned at her, and then turned back to his work, saying nothing more.

She grunted, “My name’s Chase.”

“Nick,” he responded smoothly, not looking up.

“I know who you are, Sven,” she replied with equal swiftness.

He froze, and then slowly turned back towards her, his interest piqued, “Who are you, strange girl?”

She laughed, “You think I’m strange? It doesn’t even begin to cover it. But you’ve no doubt seen so much stranger.” She opened her hand, and a live bluebird flew forth. They watched it fly away, and then Nick turned towards her once more.

“Step closer,” he insisted, but she merely shook her head.

“I cannot. But I’ll return. Eventually.”


***


Nearly twenty years later, she did.

She still had the same young appearance, as he did himself. She was dark-haired, attractive and had a rounded figure, wearing the same black and white jacket and carrying the same anime-styled handbag. She still had the same appearance of a mid-teenager. And yet he didn’t recognize her.

She waved a hand, summoning something she knew would get his attention. He was still writing in that little green notebook, though it was nearly full now, she guessed. They were where she could finally come closer, at a small diner somewhere in town.

There was a bit of rumbling, and then a giant fanged worm exploded through the floor. It roared ferociously, and the people around screamed, fleeing.

Chase looked at him, and her jaw dropped. He hadn’t even looked up, still mesmerized with that little book of his. She looked around, and saw they were now the only ones left. She picked up a tile from the floor and threw it, striking him in the dead center of his head. Still he didn’t look up.

Her eyes twitched. She waved a hand, and the worm sunk back down into the earth. She walked up to him and grabbed the notebook out of his hands.

She was suddenly struck on the side of her face. She cried out in surprise, and looked back at Nick. He was still writing in that same book. Shocked, she saw she was no longer holding it, as if she never had in the first place.

She thought for a moment, and then released a group of fireflies from her hand. They swarmed around on his book, and then he finally looked up. “Yes?”

She trembled, about ready to explode, “Why do you insist on tormenting me?”

“Excuse me?”

“Haven’t you noticed anything I’ve tried to do to get your attention?”

He suddenly looked surprised, as if noticing the destruction of the diner for the first time, “Woah, you did this?”

“Yes!” Chase screamed, “After all this time...”

He seemed to remember her, slowly. He stood and looked her over, and then nodded, “Chase, right?”

“You remember my name?” she asked incredulously.

“Of course,” he said, “But if you’ve wanted to approach me for all this time, why didn’t you? My house is always open.”

“Yes,” she said solemnly, “But I know about the barrier...it prevents people that mean you harm from coming close.”

He took this in, and then swiftly reached for the hilt of his sword on his belt. She held out a hand, “No, it’s not a conscious thought...my father’s name is Dontae.”

“Never heard of him,” Nick replied.

“Not yet you haven’t,” she continued, “He hates you, a lot, and he made it so that I would too. It’s so firmly embedded into my subconscious, I’m trying so hard to suppress it now.”

He stared at her, slowly letting go of his sword, “Why should I trust you?”

She looked away, “I can create life from nothingness. Just like you. We’re...connected, in a way.” She held out a hand, and in it a flower bloomed, a Narcissus flower.

Nick smiled at the flower’s meaning, ‘Accept my friendship’ and said simply, “I think I can make this work.”


***

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needs his old flashdrive back, not a brand new one.

You know, the whole internet seems to be freaking out over this new bill called SOPA. And to be fair, I should be worried as well, considering how The Cracker, as weird as this may seem, may be considered plagiarism. I know, weird, right?

If you are the .00000000012% of the American public that cares about the internet yet doesn't know what SOPA is, it basically give big businesses (the people who brought us Rebecca Black...just saying...) the right to ban any website they deem exploitable to copyright laws, several notable ones being Youtube, Neoseeker, Twitter, oh, and *EVERYTHING ELSE*. Except Bing, oddly enough. I don't know, that might just be from the fact that no one uses it...

However, people are apt to forget we're already subject to censorship already. Take the F-Word. You can't say that anywhere without getting that shit censored. Here, I'll say it right here: *bleep*. Now watch as Neoseeker administrators take it down. But why? Why are we subjected to this? Don't we have the freedom of speech? Isn't this what we're trying to petition with SOPA and whatnot?

The fact of the matter is that we're being subjected to unfair censorship every day without complaining. Remember back, when you were young, and your parents wouldn't let you watch certain movies because the rating was too high? Then you turned 12 (or for the younger generation, 4) and suddenly you became the person you are today, a swearing, fat, jackass piece of society like everyone else. That's not to say that censorship made you a better person (That's not the point of the rant, now is it?), but instead keeping away from it makes you a part of American culture. Hell, if you were watching porn while still in the womb, you'd probably be Rick Perry today. (Screw it...I'm going against my morals and swearing and putting as much elicit content into this thing as I can.)

So, bastard, you know what you can do? You go straight to D.C., get ahold of the SOPA document, and shove it up your ass! (Note; I cannot be held accountable if you go through with said act.) But on a more serious note, think about how much the internet *isn't* censored. In fact, it's the second least-censored medium, behind newspapers. What's that, you say? You don't read the paper? You get your news from the *interwebs*? Huh, who'da thought? It's almost as if this internet thing is actually important or something!

Now, back to the prospect at hand. I think that if you assholes don't want to be censored, you need to be able to deal with all the jackasses that wish to exploit it. And that means the F-word everywhere. And porn advertisements that will make you feel uncomfortable at work or at school. And more of that bitch, Rebecca Black...just saying...

Are you ready for that? Could you imagine what life would be like where any misclick gives you boobs? Where you'll be halfway through a review of James Cameron's latest movie, and then you see, "Still better than effing Twilight." And this is just on the internet!

If we didn't have censorship laws, where would we be? I'll tell you: Out in the streets, having sex in public, with enough people watching as there will be wanting to join. Let that sink in for a moment. There you are, walking your pet goldfish (for pure examplitory purposes, you are Aquaman). And then, in the middle of the street, there's this giant orgy going on. And this happens every day...everywhere. Wouldn't that be a horrible way to live?

Worst of all, this will open up the world for a breed most despicable: Internet Critics. I'm sure we've all heard of them. How many times have you posted a piece of art, only to have it torn apart by, "Omgez, the book was much better," or, "I honestly did not enjoy this all that much. It was beautifully written, it just lacked the engagement to be interesting." or, "YOUSUCKGOWRITEINYOUROWNGODDAMNSHIT" Believe me, it happens to the best of us.

I hereby propose the Anti-Anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act, or...AASOPA...It's a title in progress, okay? Basically, the point of this movement is to stop the stopping of censorship. Believe me, we need that *bleep*ing shit.

When not tearing apart internet memes, ShadowNc can actually be found actively against SOPA in ways other than just making fun of it. The views and opinions of this article are solely property of ShadowNc and not necessarily supported by Neoseeker. Any comments or questions are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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dropped a Nokia 3310 and the frigging floor broke.

Continued from Part One: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6392-cracker-chronicle-13-matrix-part-one-drowning-in-magic/

November 1st, 2027.
Metroponente, Mobius.
Earth Sven and Scott Lycanthrope walked through the newly built streets of Mobius, amazed at the progress the city had made in just one year. Last year, construction began on this city, Metroponente, and already it was complete. The city made entirely of skyscrapers covered half of the Earth-sized planet’s surface, having been built by the minimal number of humans that had popped up here. Unlike the humans of Earth, these humans knew of the existence of elves and implemented much like NSK.
This was Earth’s first visit to the city since exactly one year ago, when he had started the project and then left, never looking back. He took it all in with modest shock, as Scott was an adept mechanic and architect, but he had never built anything of quite this caliber until now.
“Well,” he said, “It’s certainly good, I’ll give you that.”
Scott grinned, “The people of Mobius thank you, ambassador.”
Earth frowned, “However, I did ask to come here for a different reason than to just inspect how much has been built.”
Scott’s grin disappeared, “Like what?”
Earth looked around at the eerily silent skyscrapers, “I’ve been reading through Elvin Legends, Myths, and Folklore, and I came across...an interesting pamphlet. Apparently, for each of the Original Six, their home planets hold a portal of sorts to a different universe. No doubt you remember, the fourth dimension, the Arch of Arc, even the Demon Realm you explored less than a month ago. There are still three universes we have yet to see, and I have reason to believe that one such portal is right...here.”
He turned on his heel, towards an ordinary office building of no interest. Scott furrowed his brow, but said nothing. Earth reached out to touch the doors, but they slid aside before his hand could stroke their surface. Earth raised an eyebrow at Scott, but they entered the building silently.
There was but one room, with a tiled floor and white-washed walls. At the other end there was a pair of silver doors, and a button to one side, marked with an up arrow. It was an elevator.
Earth pushed the button and the elevator doors slid open with a soft hiss. They entered, and the doors closed behind them. Earth looked at the internal buttons. There was only one, marked, “The Other Side.”
Earth and Scott looked at each other, and Earth asked him, “Do you want to live forever, Scott?”
Without waiting for an answer, he pressed the button, and the elevator took off, going straight up at breakneck speed. They fell back, grasping the railing to hold themselves upright. The elevator grew faster, and they began to black out from the sheer speed. There was a tremendous crash as the elevator burst through the roof of the building, and that was the last they remembered before falling unconscious.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Unknown Location.
Earth and Scott stepped hesitantly out of the elevator’s welcoming doors. It was bright, and they could make little out of their surroundings. The ground was solid, but had the appearance of golden cotton candy, as if they were walking on clouds. Here and there, transparent people walked around, as if they hadn’t noticed them yet.
“Where are we?” Scott asked.
“Scott...” Earth said slowly, “Welcome to the Spirit Realm.”
Scott stared at him, “What?”
“This place...it is where the deceased’s souls go once they die. However, the souls have to find this place, and to do so they float through our universe on a different plane than the visible one that we live on. Most get lost, but the truly worthy come here, as if directed by...well, by a point of light in a tunnel of darkness.”
“Are...does that mean we’re dead?”
They looked at each other. Earth shook his head, “Not yet. We’re substantial, unlike the spirits here.”
They were silent, and then Scott asked, “If there’s only one elevator to this place, won’t the one we took have to leave?”
Earth’s eyes widened, and they turned towards the elevator, whose doors were closing rapidly. They ran towards it, reaching out, but it disappeared, falling down into the clouds and back to Mobius.
They looked at each other with a sense of hopelessness. “Well,” Earth said, “We can, of course, just wait until someone comes up.”
“Right,” Scott said, “And until then?”
There was a pause, and then Earth said, “Come now, Scott; haven’t you ever wanted a chance to talk to anyone, one last time?”

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Earth walked solitarily through this world of the dead, thinking to himself that this is a land similar to the Christian description of heaven. It was boring. Christian Hell would have been a lot more exciting.
But this place was unique, in the fact that he could see those that had passed on, those he had never met before, and those he wished he had knew. He passed important historical figures, inspirational artists, etc. He knew who he was looking for, for there were two people who had left life and left him behind.
At last he found one of them, and he let out a cry of surprise when he first saw him. He ran up to his good friend, Julius Caesar.
“Julius,” he said, breathless.
Caesar turned towards him, and attempted a small smile, “Ah, Earth, I see you have joined me in this realm of the dead?”
Earth shook his head, “No, Julius, I am not dead yet. I’m merely...visiting.”
Caesar smiled, “What life must be like for an elf, to live an eternity. How things in Rome must have changed...”
Earth looked away, “We don’t even call it Rome anymore...We call it Italy. Rome is merely the capitol.”
Caesar laughed, “And I’m sure it’s been reduced to much less than an empire since my downfall, hasn’t it? No, don’t tell me, I don’t need to know. It was in the past, and today will come to pass as well as tomorrow. That is what death brings, I’m sure. Anyway, to more important things; how are you?”
Earth was surprised, “What? Well...I’m fine.”
“And how has the Roman religion progressed?”
“Ancient history. No one believes it anymore. Of course, people nowadays think that it was taken from Greek mythology, not the other way around as you and I obviously know.”
Caesar growled, “You should do something about that. If there is to be one religion in the world, let it be the mutated version of what actually is, as you told me to tell my people. Yes, I remember it well...
“Your three brothers, all jealous of you in different ways: Uranus, who openly despises you and wants to see you dead; Mercury, who wanted to be in your place, but lacks the courage to do anything about it; and Jupiter, who has always been in pursuit of power, and has been fighting a war with your brother Mars. Is that still going on? No, never mind, it matters not. Then your sisters, who love you unconditionally: Venus, your pacifist twin and Saturn, whose race far surpasses all in this galaxy. And then Neptune and Pluto, who are steadily turning against you from Uranus’ influence. Yes, your family is certainly one that should be sung about in great assemblies, not the Christ they were literally beating me with on my departing day. They stabbed me twenty-three times, Earth, do you remember?”
“I remember,” Earth said, solemnly remembering that fateful day. “About that...I came in your last moments of life, and you said to me, ‘Kai su, teknon?’: ‘You too, child?’ and then died. What did you mean by that?”
Caesar sighed, “You remember that 7Bolt boy?”
Earth frowned, “The half-elf? Yes, I’m now friends with his adoptor.”
Caesar closed his eyes, “He was there. He was one of the conspiritors. He possibly was the one that did the most damage to me. And knowing you had become quite fond of him, I thought you were the one who ordered the attack.”
Earth stared at him, jaw slack, “I...I would never...”
“I know that now, Earth,” Caesar said softly, “I was in a state of desperation. I thought that if you wanted to heal me, to help me, you could. But you didn’t. I revered you, I really did...”
“Julius, I’m so sorry...I couldn’t have helped you...you were already so far into the abyss...”
Caesar slowly nodded, “I know, Earth.”
Earth shook his head, “But...7Bolt? I never would have suspected...”
Caesar shook his head, “He was young and foolish. I doubt he even knew what he was doing. He said it himself, he likes to fight. I bet he didn’t yet understand the consept of death. Don’t condemn him for that.”
Earth smiled brokenheartedly, “You are good for that, Julius. I thank you, for being a friend to me in your short but eventful life. I must leave you now, but I assure you, we shall see each other again some day.”
Caesar laughed, “That, I do not question in the slightest. A word of advice, keep your enemies close, your friends closer, and above all, trust no one but yourself. Got it?”
Earth grinned, “Got it. Ciao.”

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Scott walked through the Spirit Realm, not sure what he was looking for. There weren’t all that many people that he had left to die on a bad note.
He stopped and laughed out loud. That thought was just too hilarious. In truth, there were countless people, but none that he cared to see anymore. No one, none at all.
He sighed, thinking. Was there anyone he wanted to talk to, just one last time? He shook his head. Nope, there was no one.
“Scott?”
He turned. Standing behind him was a scrawny man, with small eyeglasses. He had dark hair and an impressive goatee, which was ironic given his past. He wore a simple suit, which seemed slightly out of place in this world.
Scott raised an eyebrow, “Trotsky?”
Leon Trotsky nodded, “Yes. Do you even remember who I am?”
Scott snapped his fingers, “Vaguely, my friend.”
Trotsky sighed, “How is Russia? What happened?”
Scott shrugged, “The communists fell out of power, like you said. All’s good.”
Trotsky furrowed his brow, “That’s it?”
“Yeah, just like that. By the way, I’m sorry about letting you die. Yeah, real sorry about that...”
Trotsky waved him off, “I’m fine. It doesn’t matter anymore. As long as Stalin is dead.”
Scott sucked in a breath through his teeth, “About that...I sort of forgot about Russia after you died...and Stalin died of accidentally inhaling rat poison.”
“Dammit!” Trotsky screamed, “How could you do this to me, Scott? We were friends! You let me die, and then let my nemesis die in relative niceness!”
“Truth be told, he did last four days longer than you did and probably was put through worse pain that you were...”
Trotsky paused, “It was painful?”
“It was strong rat poison,” Scott said, “It paralyzed his right half and he was bedridden for the short remainder of his life. No one even knew that was how he died until 2003.”
Trotsky thought for a moment, “I guess fate turned out to be a better assassin than you, Scott.”
Scott scratched the back of his head guiltily, “Yeah, again, I’m sorry about that...”
Trotsky shook his head, “It’s alright, Scott. Just work harder from now on, alright? Advice from the dead to the living, is that right? Remember one thing: Never trust a friggin’ communist.”

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Earth frowned. He was standing outside what appeared to be a forest made up of blossoming cherry trees. He began to walk through the eerily nostalgic forest, cautious yet curious at the same time.
He came to a clearing, and saw a huge building that he knew immediately was seventy-nine stories tall. He saw dozens of humans around, all wearing old NSK uniforms. He knew where he was. He was standing in outside the Original Six Building, also known as the Main NSK Building and the very place where the Original Six had finally disbanded. It was here, that his only superior Kristen had died.
He looked around, and then saw her, recognizing her immediately. He walked up to her slowly, and then cleared his throat.
She looked up at him, and then widened her eyes in amazement, “Earth...you’re not dead, are you?”
Earth shook his head, “No, I’m...just visiting.”
Kristen stared at him, “Where’s Scott?”
“He’s here with me, also still alive.”
Kristen smiled solemnly, “That’s good, I guess. How have you been?”
Earth shrugged, “As good as being one of the most hated elves can get.”
Kristen laughed slightly, and then Earth looked around, “Kristen, we’re obviously going to try to go back home...why don’t come back with us? I can think of no greater person that deserves a second chance at life than you.”
Kristen smiled softly, “I’m sorry, Earth, I cannot do that. When I died, I used my remaining power to bring this place here with me. I didn’t want anything remaining of the Original Six, nothing to remind you of what a failure I was...If I were to return, I would just die again. I’m sorry...”
Earth’s eyes began to water, “What of the others? Have Zach or Alex made it here yet?”
Kristen gestured around her, “I know not of Zach’s fate. I am so weak I can barely move anymore. As for Alex, his death was so...agonizing, that his mind was lost. He’s gone insane, Earth, he doesn’t remember himself. In fact...” she paused, thinking intensely, “I think it has partly to do with his remorse for betraying us. His guilty conscious overwhelmed him. There’s nothing left of him.”
Earth looked away the whole time, tears silently flowing down his face, “Thank you, Kristen. At last I can sleep well at night, knowing the fate of the ones I never bothered to help save.”
“Earth,” she said softly.
“It was a different time,” he said, turning away, “I was childish, I didn’t know any better. And then what happened to Scott...it’s unacceptable. It will never be like that, ever again. I promise you that, Kristen.”
“What happened to Scott?” she asked, concerned.
“Of course you’d want to know,” he spat bitterly, “His brother pushed him off a building. Doesn’t remember a thing. Doesn’t remember you, or the Original Six, anything. Sometimes I envy him. I lived through a terrible war, Kristen. And I’m the only one; The only one that remembers it. I’m the only one to remember it for what it was...”
He began to walk away, never looking back.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Earth and Scott met back up where they started, unsure how they had remembered the way. They stood in silence for a long time, not saying anything to each other. Earth looked at Scott, “Were you enlightened at all? Said your final goodbyes?”
“So to say,” Scott said simply.
They waited for the elevator in silence from then on. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the elevator arrived. They looked up, hastening forward, but stopped short when they saw who the elevator was carrying.
Virgil, in an abomination of his two selves, grinned and stepped out. He had four legs, and from the knee down they were solid rock. He wore his regular black jeans and a black shirt underneath a light blue single-breasted jacket, the back hem of which hung down to his ankles, knee-high leather boots and leather fingerless gloves, which had an insignia inscribed on the back. He kept his vampire wings, black and skin tight across sickle-like bones. There was a scar across his right wing. His fangs were pure white, as was the rest of his pale, bloodless body.
He chuckled, “Oh, how perfect this is. To meet you both back here after I was so blatantly killed. My revenge...shall be sweet.”
“We don’t have time for you!” Earth shouted, “Quick, Scott!”
All three lunged forward at once, and Earth smacked Virgil out of the way without any exertion. Earth and Scott desperately smashed their fingers into the Door Close button – never once questioning its unusual sudden appearance – while Virgil stood up and lunged once more for them. The doors began to close, and Virgil reached out, his hand drawing closer and closer as the doors shut...

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Metroponente, Mobius.
The elevator opened as if nothing had happened, as if the ordeal in the Spirit Realm had been a figment of their imaginations. Only instead of entering this time, they exited.
They ran, and Virgil burst after them. All three of them collapsed outside the building, hastily getting to their feet. Virgil stared awestruck at his skin, which was glowing like the clouds in the Spirit Realm. He gasped, “Am I...alive?”
He felt a pain and then cringed. He pulled back his left sleeve, revealing a digital timer engraved into his skin, counting down from five minutes. He frowned, “I may not have much time left in this world,” he clenched his fists, “but I promise to spend all of it making sure you join me in that Spirit Realm!”
He lunged forward, and Earth drew the Light of Nc, slashing multiple times. Each time Virgil blocked with his bare hands, grinning. He laughed, “I’m invincible now! Do you really expect to be able to kill me again?”
Virgil swiftly stabbed his first two fingers into Earth’s temple, his neck, shoulder, and then his stomach. Earth gasped and dropped the Light of Nc, falling to his knees. He spun, knocking Virgil off his feet, and then stood up, grabbing Virgil by the neck before throwing him far. He picked up the Light of Nc and ran forward, charging towards him. Virgil did likewise, and as they drew close to each other, they didn’t notice Scott standing off to one side. To him, they drew closer in slow motion. He shook his head, “This has gone on for too long. Enough is enough.”
He closed his eyes, and the three of them teleported before Earth and Virgil could collide.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Pluto.
Earth’s brother, Pluto, walked across the surface of his planet solemnly. He had much to be solemn about. Years ago, Uranus had pressured him into launching an assassination attempt on Earth, and had regretted it ever since. Then Zack had taken his assassin for his own, and he had never seen Elementis since.
He sighed.
Suddenly Earth, Elementis, and Scott appeared in his midst, in the same position they were in when they teleported. Earth slashed, and Elementis grabbed the blade, twisting it out of his hands. He raised the sword, gripped it by its hilt, and raised it high...
“Stop!” Pluto shouted.
Virgil paused, and then turned towards Pluto as if noticing their new surroundings for the first time. He lowered the sword.
“Virgil,” Scott said, “This has gone far enough. You’ve died twice...hell, Earth’s died twice and I’ve died once, and look at us. Have we learned nothing from our visit to the Spirit Realm?”
Earth, ashamed, looked at the ground, “Scott’s right. Death should heal all wounds, and here we are, fighting again.”
Scott nodded, turning towards Virgil, “Look at your arm. You have five extra minutes in this world, and not once does it cross your mind to come here, to say goodbye to your master one last time?”
Pluto stepped forward, “Elementis, the war’s over. No one won. Both sides lost great elves, and I never even wanted us to join. Look at what’s happened because of it!” He gestured around at the barren surface of the planet, “Everyone is dead! I live a solemn lifestyle, and I’ll never get the old one back! And I realize you had quarrel with Scott other than that, but you killed him! You destroyed his memory! Isn’t that enough? Doesn’t a day go by when you regret your mistakes?”
Virgil sighed, “I have time some would give anything for. You’re right...I don’t want to leave this world on a bad note.” He turned towards Earth, “I’m sorry, Earth. I just got carried away, I guess.” He turned towards Pluto, “I’m sorry, Master. I only wanted to make everything the same as it was before...but it wouldn’t have made any difference.”
He glanced at his arm, and then walked up to Scott, “Brother, I apologize for everything. One’s memory is a treasure, one that should never be stolen away. But I took yours, and then continued to try to kill you when you didn’t even know why. That was cheap of me and,” he glanced at his arm one last time, “I hope you’ll never forget me. Not for the evil I’ve done, but for the small amount of good I’ve brought.”
He placed a hand on his shoulder, “You deserved the Original Six spot. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Tell Toranado goodbye for me. You will always be...my brother.”
He pulled him in, and he embraced Scott for his final moment of life. Tears streamed down Scott’s face as he forced his eyes to stay shut. Virgil’s body began to disintegrate into golden sparks that floated away into space and disappeared.
After a long time, Elementis Virgil Lycanthrope, son of Toranado and Destiny, twin brother of Scott Lycanthrope, and assassin of Pluto, was gone. Scott dropped his arms to his side and cried for a time, and then wiped away the tears, saying, “Guys, don’t pity the dead. Pity the living. They need the support.”
Earth wrapped an arm around Pluto’s shoulders. He sighed, “Scott, I want to tell you something:

Life is one thing. Death is another. Life can be long, but end by death for those who do not wish to live; they are dead, not physically, but death of the soul. They are at war, not with somebody else, but themselves. Their eyes are black with hatred and fear. Only with the guidance of love can they see that life is beautiful! (Reality; Kazuma Ishiguro)

Scott’s eyes began to water, and Earth and Pluto left him. Once they had left, he let his emotions bubble over, and he cried once more, not stopping until he was completely drained of energy. He fell asleep, and when he woke he had finally ended his ageless clash with his brother.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Larry was a trucker. It was good pay, but these long nights killed him. It was just past midnight, and he was dozing. He snapped alert, seeing two figures in the middle of the road. His eyes widened and he blared his horn. The two figures darted out of the way, and muttered under his breath while he wiped the sweat from his forehead.
A bit of smoke drifted in from the air conditioning system, and it formed into the body of Slick Black. Larry let out a cry of alarm, but it was literally cut short when Slick slit his throat.
Slick hoisted Larry out of the window and then took the driver’s seat. He scowled at Earth and Scott. He had made up what he had told them, about being cruel heroes, in a last-minute attempt to get them run over. It wasn’t successful, nor would it have been very satisfying. Ambushes were where he drew the line.
But he had to give Earth some credit. Why had he used the Golden Compass? Was what he had said really true, that death was too good for him?
He shook his head. No, he hadn’t been corrupted. But he felt something, deep down in the pit of his stomach. He brushed it aside and vowed to get that Compass and defeat them even if it killed him.

***
End of Part Two.
***

Well, what do you think? Any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below! (By the way, I'm not going to answer any questions about CC#12, so just don't ask. Got it?)

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I had to write an intro twice, each time Neoseeker glitching out. So I'm just going to skip it.

***

October 13th, 2027.
Unknown Location.
Scott Lycanthrope and a woman he knew only by the name, ‘Lady’ ran through a dim castle’s doors.
The castle was on an island in the center of an ocean of an unknown substance. This substance flowed like water, but had the appearance of a blue lava and would disintegrate anything it touched. This land was plunged in an eternal night, never hoping to see the light of day.
Once they both were safely inside, Scott turned and slammed the great wide doors shut, thrusting them both into pitch black darkness. Then, a pair of torches lit, their flames blue. More pairs of blue fire appeared in the darkness, and soon they could see clearly. It was an old-fashioned, Dark Ages styled place, with suits of armor guarding the walls and regal chandeliers hanging down from above. Across the red and gold carpet from the doors was a staircase that led straight up.
There came a crash from outside the doors and a voice cried out, “Come out and get what’s coming to you!”
Scott growled, gesturing to Lady, “Get up the stairs!”
They ran up them, stopping only momentarily as there came an explosion from down behind them, and they heard shards of wood scatter onto the lowest steps.
The voice from before, louder and clearer, scowled up to them, “You can run all you want, but you’ll get away from the demons inside of you.”
At this Scott turned and unsheathed a blade – he had found it while traveling in this land – slashing horizontally. A sonic boom issued forth from the blade, tearing plaster off the walls as it zoomed down its length. Scott turned and continued to run up the stairs.
At last they came to the top. They were at the highest point, on the castle’s steeple tip. It was a small platform that hung off from the castle. There was no need for a roof; the sky (made of the same substance as the sea) was a mere ten feet above their heads. To the left and right sides of the platform the fiery substance rained down. The only way off was from the far edge. As they watched, part of the stone rose up, forming a wall between them and escape.
They ran to it, smashing their fists against it desperately. Scott growled as he sensed their pursuer come into their midst. As he turned around, the door from the castle below closed off, mirroring the wall behind him. Their pursuer smiled at his brother.
“Virgil,” Scott growled.
Virgil chuckled. He was nearly the same as he had been mere months ago. The vampire wore black jeans and a black shirt underneath a light blue single-breasted jacket, the back hem of which hung down to his ankles, knee-high leather boots and leather fingerless gloves, which had an insignia inscribed on the back. He carried a rapier, balancing it rather than holding it by its basket shaped hilt. He had black wings jutting out of his back, the skin stretched tight across the sickle-like bones. His skin was pale except for his face, the lower half of which was coated in fresh blood. He licked at it absentmindedly. His fangs were pure white, contrasting greatly with the blood.
He tossed the rapier up into the air, allowing it to swish silently before deftly catching it. “Scott,” he said ceremoniously.
Scott once again drew his sword, “Don’t come any closer, or I swear I will kill you.”
Virgil chuckled darkly, “And what then? We just stand here for eternity, staring each other down?”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “I don’t understand.”
Virgil glanced at Lady and Scott subconsciously moved in between them. Virgil grinned, “You see, Scott, at least one of us won’t be making it out of here alive. I could do the cowardly thing and kill your...friend here, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll be an honorable man and kill you. But don’t worry...” he switched the rapier to his other hand and then back again, “I’ll be sure to take excellent care of your friend after you’re gone.”
Scott screamed, charging forward. Virgil lashed out, his wings tucking in, and dodged underneath Scott’s arm, coming up behind him. He kicked Scott’s back, knocking him over and then unfolded his wings, hovering slightly above the ground. He slashed the rapier twice, drawing two deep wounds into Scott’s flesh. They formed a bloody V.
Scott howled in pain and spun, slashing his blade. A sonic boom hit Virgil square in the chest, knocking him back. He shook it off easily, rising high. He dove, slashing at Scott’s ankles and soaring back up before Scott could react. Scott fell to his knees but quickly stood once more, ignoring the crippling pain.
The blade of his sword glowed black as he threw it. It struck the scar in Virgil’s right wing and stuck there. The vampire cringed and fell to the ground. Scott jumped, landing on his back, pinning him down. He drew his sword and smashed it into the main bone of the right wing. As Virgil howled in severe pain, Scott twisted his wrist, breaking the wing. As it fell limp, Scott leaped off of Virgil and allowed him to stand up, if he could.
Virgil did stand, and he looked away for a time. He sighed, and then turned, stabbing his rapier into Scott’s foot. Scott scowled, but he caught something. Leaking from Virgil’s broken wing...blood?
He had little time to think. Virgil drew the rapier and thrust it towards Scott’s forehead. Scott slashed at it with his own sword and then parried, slashing deep across Virgil’s stomach. This time, he was sure. The strike had drawn blood from the vampire.
Virgil growled, slashing Scott’s hand with the rapier. Scott dropped his sword in surprise, and Virgil pounced upon it, snatching it up. He stood and then laughed. He circled Scott, still laughing, “Honestly, Scott, I consider it poetic justice that I should hold your sword while I kill you. But my trustful Fourscage will be the one to drip with your blood.”
He raised the rapier, but stopped short as Lady jumped onto his back. Surprised, he dropped both swords and grabbed Lady by her hair, ripping her off his back while roaring mightily. He yelled in her face, “You stupid bitch! I was going to show you mercy, but not anymore! I’ll kill you along with my bastard brother!” He raised her up, but cringed. Scott had thrust his sword through Virgil’s stomach.
As Virgil dropped Lady, Scott withdrew the sword. Virgil took a wary step forward, his wound dripping fresh vampire blood. Scott growled and then plunged his sword through Virgil’s heart. He screamed in pain and collapsed as Scott withdrew his sword for the last time.
Lady touched Scott’s arm, saying, “The wall...a portal has opened!”
Scott brushed her off. Large stones began to rain from the non-existent ceiling, but Scott hardly noticed. He stared at his brother, who was lying on his side and clutching his chest. His left wing hung down over him, a veil that failed to conceal him. Scott gently lifted it out of the way, and then picked up the rapier. Virgil’s eyes flickered, meeting his. He coughed up blood and spoke one sentence, softly, “I guess you were right, in the end, eh, Elemental?”
He laughed, then. He held up his clawed hand and slashed up his own chest, tearing himself apart. He laughed until the sound steadily died and became but an echo. There, at the top of this castle in this strange land, in a pool of his own blood, the vampire Virgil Elementis Lycanthrope passed.
Scott stood and sheathed his own blade, bringing the rapier with him. He turned and saw Lady standing in front of the far wall, a portal having formed across its frame. He took her hand in his and then they jumped through it, never looking back.

***

October 31st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Scott woke with a gasp. He had merely been having an unintentional Flashback, the events of which had taken place weeks ago. He had killed his brother, Virgil, for good, with the power of the sword he had found in the Demon Realm, the Soul Reaver. He still had Virgil’s rapier, Foursage, and it was now hanging above his mantelpiece at home. Lady was somewhere on Mobius, where they had appeared through the portal.
On the thirteenth of that month, Scott had been roaming through the newly built city that covered a half of his home planet Mobius’ surface, named Metroponente, when he happened upon a building he had no memory of having put there. Inside was a tunnel, and he walked through it for what seemed like an eternity. Then, he came upon a land known as the Demon Realm, unknowingly having been followed by Virgil. He traveled through this land for about a week in real time, but in the Demon Realm only a day and a half passed. He met Lady, and befriended her. They worked out a way to get back to Mobius, found one, and then set off to the castle. However, Virgil chose to strike then, following them to the castle.
Scott suddenly felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Earth Sven staring at him, “Scott...you know you’re driving, right?”
Scott turned back forwards, “What?” slipping out of his mouth as he hastily returned his hands to the wheel, swerving back onto the road.
Scott scowled inwardly. What was in the past was in the past. Virgil couldn’t hurt him anymore, and even better, they now had a way to kill vampires, with this Soul Reaver. He hadn’t wanted to tell Earth at first, but decided to tell him only a couple days ago. Naturally, in that annoying way only Earth could, he had been concerned about him, about how he was coping. Scott had shrugged him off, but he did feel something deep down...
He swerved his car out of the way of some random drunk driver going the wrong way. If Scott Lycanthrope was careful with anything, it was his car. She was an original black Bugatti Veyron, with a price tag of over one million, eight hundred thousand dollars. She could accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in two and a half seconds. The car was known for having a top speed of only two hundred fifty-three miles per hour, and could only hold 4.82 miles per gallon, Scott had specially modified her to not only access her much faster top speed (while subjecting it to possible tire damage), but also to use a much larger gas tank, which refilled itself using a recycling system Scott had invented a few years back. Yes, he took good care of his car. He took great care of his baby, Ella.
He frowned slightly as he remembered the origins of the car’s name. Ella had been a prostitute he knew once. He could have imagined it, but there had been something between them. They saw each other so often that Scott stopped paying her to come by. They were nearly friends, of sorts, up until Scott ran over her with this very car by accident. He had no doubt that there were still blood stains on the underside of the car.
He swerved to avoid another drunk driver, and then growled slightly. There were a lot of drunks out tonight, to be honest. It was only twenty-two o’clock, but it seemed like every car they passed was going the wrong way.
He thought of Earth’s sister Venus suddenly, and shook the thought from his head. He was making progress with her, that much was certain. However, they had only seen each other three times, each not very eventful. The most intimate they had gotten was a simple hug. Earth was too protective of her for some reason...
He suddenly felt jealous of Earth. But why? Why should he be jealous of his paranoid over-protectiveness? Was it because he had no one that he cared for that way?
He shook his head. Where had that come from?
But indeed, it was true. He hardly knew any of his siblings too well, most of them on his bad side. An exception was Elementres, but she and him had a deep running rivalry, and it got in the way of compassion.
He shook his head, clearing it.
Earth, sitting in the passenger seat as always, had little troubling him. He was dressed comfortably, in jeans and a long-sleeved gray shirt with ‘Nebraska Cornhuskers’ printed across the front. It was the first time in too long that he sat here content. He had a brilliant sword, excellent girlfriend, little to no feuds with his family members (he was thankful now that NSK had finished Project Ozone, they could finally finish up a planet for Venus) and there was hardly anyone out there that he felt threatened by. His long-lasting paranoia seemed to have vanished in a matter of months, having been around since 2009.
Earth settled back in his seat, sighing with satisfaction.
As he was closing his eyes, he caught something in his peripheral vision. He opened them once more to see a pair of headlights in the rearview mirror. He cocked his head. It didn’t seem to be a police car, yet there was no doubt that the car was following them. As they swerved to avoid another driver going the wrong way – Scott swearing under his breath – the car swerved with them. He noticed vaguely that it was a dark green 2010 Chevy Volt.
“Curious,” Earth said aloud.
“What is?” Scott asked.
Bemusedly, Earth stared at the mirror, “There’s a car behind us. I’m certain it’s following us.”
“Ridiculous,” Scott said, waving a hand, “Just going the same way as-goddamn mother-” He twisted the wheel to avoid a large semi truck going the wrong way. Without skipping a beat Scott got back on track and turned back to Earth, “The same way as us.”
Earth made a noise, deep in his throat. Scott guessed it meant he was expressing dissatisfaction, but Earth merely sat back in his chair, staring at the headlights in the mirror out of the corner of his eyes.

***

October 31st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Half an hour later, and nearly half a dozen drunk drivers later, the car was still following them, but Earth didn’t point it out to Scott.
Scott screamed suddenly, pulling the Bugatti right off the road and into a ditch. A team of semis passed, honking noisily. Scott swore and steadily brought the car back onto the interstate.
Earth glanced at the rearview mirror. The car that had been following them had disappeared.
“I don’t get it,” Scott said out of nowhere, “If you don’t care for sports, then why do you wear that shirt?”
“Hmm?” Earth said distantly. He looked down at his Cornhuskers shirt and grunted in understanding, “Oh, that. I simply take pride in my home state; it doesn’t mean I actually care for the team.”
Scott frowned, “I don’t get it.”
Earth sighed, “Alright, how about this; Mexico goes to war with Russia. Who do you support?”
“Mexico,” he said immediately. Earth stared at him expectantly, and then Scott clicked his tongue, “Well, when you put it that way...”
They were silent for a moment, and then they heard police sirens behind them. Scott swore and adjusted the rearview mirror to see a cop car coming up behind them. Scott growled and pulled over to the side of the road.
The police car pulled up behind them, and then a man stepped out. He walked up to Scott’s window and tapped on it. Scott pulled a lever and the Bugatti lowered itself to a height of about four feet. Scott lowered his window halfway and wiped away at a smudge left by the officer’s tap. He lowered the window the rest of the way and looked up at the officer, “’sup?”
The officer looked down at him, and then awkwardly crouched down to be at the same level as them. He wore a hat and sunglasses that darkened his face, and held a pad of paper in front of him. He grunted, “Sir, are you aware that you’ve been driving on the left side of the road for the last fifty miles or so?”
“Is that so?” Scott said incredulously, “Funny, I thought everyone else was going the wrong way.” He turned to Earth, “Were you aware of this?”
Earth shrugged, “I can’t say I didn’t point it out at least four times.”
“Huh,” Scott said, turning back to the officer, “This whole time, I thought we were in Canada.”
The officer stared at him, “Sir, in Canada, people drive on the right side as well as here.”
“Right,” Scott said stubbornly, biting his knuckle.
“I’m going to need to see your license and registration, please.”
Scott grunted, “Well, since you asked so nicely...” He moved in the seat to remove his wallet from his back pocket. He removed his license and handed it to the officer. He turned to Earth, “The registration’s in the glove box.”
Earth gave him a look, “And?”
Scott returned the look, “Can you get it out for me?”
Earth scoffed, but did so anyway. As he was doing this, the officer spoke again, “Sir, are you aware that this license lists that you are over three billion years old...and it expired in 1955?”
“Is that so?” Scott said again, “Well, then, I must get that checked at.” Earth handed him the registration papers and he handed them to the officer.
He skimmed them over and then glared at Scott, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to get out of the car.”
“Wait,” Earth said, holding up a hand, “Would you please remove your hat?”
The officer was surprised, “I don’t see why not...” He slowly reached up and then took off his police cap, exposing his spiky black hair.
Earth growled, “Slick!” and then pounced, leaping through the open window to tackle the officer.
The officer chuckled, his form melting into that of Scott’s brother Slick Black. The last time they had seen him, he had been buried alive under an avalanche of stone. He had been after Earth and Scott for years, wanting so desperately the Golden Compass that they held. In their most recent meet, he had stolen a great deal of magic to use against them. He was now dressed as a civilian, in a black t-shirt and jeans. His signature greasy and unkempt hair had been short and clean, now it was reduced to a near buzz cut, each individual hair standing on end.
“Nice work, Sven,” he said, “I suppose it was my hair that tipped you off again, wasn’t it?”
Earth scowled, “Black. You’re looking awful. Do I detect wine and chives on your breath? Possible olive oil? You stink even worse than before. I honestly liked you better when you were a begging dog at our feet.”
Slick frowned, becoming Earth’s own shadow. It moved around and then rose up in the form of Slick once more. He clenched a fist, “I see you’re still a bastard as ever, Sven. How are you?”
Scott leaned his head out of the car, “Slick Black? You’re alive?”
Slick laughed, “Honestly, you thought some rocks could kill me?” He threw up his hands and a force field formed around him, “You seem to forget that I wield enough magic to destroy you with a snap of the fingers. Stop thinking with your dick, Scott.”
Scott frowned. Earth stood up and narrowed his eyes, “How did you find us, Black?”
Slick shrugged, “I merely followed the radiating pulse of the Compass...it calls out to me.”
Earth pulled the Golden Compass from his pocket, causing Slick to growl hungrily. Earth looked at it, “You want this? Come and take it from me.”
Slick burst forward, but Earth swung the Compass, cracking it against the side of his head. Slick fell against the Bugatti, causing Scott to cry out, “Hey! No blood on the car! There’s enough as it is!”
Slick stood and grinned, cracking his knuckles. He pulled a deck of cards from his pocket and they exploded, hovering in the air like a cloud around him. He clenched his fists, “Alright, you want magic? I’ll give you magic. Is this your card?”
He waved a hand and the cards shot forward. Earth returned the Compass to his pocket and waved a hand, and a wall of fire rose up between them, incinerating the cards. Slick leaped on top of the Bugatti and two silver orbs appeared in his hands. He threw them fluently at Earth, turning away. His sunglasses, which had fallen off, flew back into his hands and he put them on as the silver balls exploded on Earth.
Earth landed behind Slick and grabbed him by the neck. Slick merely stepped through Earth’s fingers as if he was made of smoke, and then turned, sparks flying off his person. They stuck to Earth and erupted in flames, causing him to step back, falling off the car. He stood up, still on fire and waved a hand, causing the flames to die away, as if they had no effect at all.
Slick cracked his knuckles. He jumped down, landing in front of him, and then made a symbol in midair. He motioned towards Earth, and his cheek was cut. Slick breathed in sharply, “Oh, my aim was off.”
Earth charged at him, but Slick disappeared, letting him slam into the side of Scott’s car. Slick appeared behind him and drew a knife from his sleeve, stabbing it through Earth’s back.
Earth grunted in pain and elbowed Slick in the face. He turned, kneeing Slick in the stomach before pulling the knife from his back and bringing it down on Slick’s head. There was a sickening crack as the knife plunged through his skull. Slick stepped back, with the hilt of the knife comically sticking out of his head, and then snapped his fingers. The knife drew out of his head and he grabbed it, returning it to his sleeve, utterly unfazed.
Slick snapped his fingers once more and ran straight forward. Earth, who was in his path, stood his ground, clenching his fists. Slick struck him and then burst into a cloud of smoke, reforming on the other side of Earth. He shapeshifted into the form of a large black dog, and then jumped over the Bugatti, jumping onto the rail guard dividing the interstate, and then began to run on top of it, still in the form of the dog.
Earth jumped over the Bugatti and then opened the passenger door, shouting, “Go, go, go!” while he hastily slammed the door shut. Surprised, Scott pressed down on the accelerator, and they set off, following Slick.
Earth urged him every few seconds to make the car go faster, but it was at its limit. Slick was faster, and he jumped off the rail onto the right side of the road.
“Bust the guard!” Earth screamed.
“Are you insane?” Scott yelled, “Do you know how much this thing cost me?”
“Oh, for the love of-” Earth grabbed the steering wheel and twisted it sharply. The angle of the turn was too great, however, and the Bugatti lost control, turning with its side forward. The Bugatti hit a bump and then bounced, spinning upside-down over the barrier. It landed on its tires, intact and without a scratch.
Earth turned to Scott, “Since you’re being a bitch right now, do you mind if I drive?”
Scott, at a loss for words, did nothing. His seat belt snapped off and his door flew open. Scott was thrust out of the car and Earth replaced him, slamming the door shut and tearing off down the interstate.
Scott stared after him, befuddled as hell. He looked up distractedly at the moon, which was just starting to rise, and then cringed, letting it take effect upon him. How could he have forgotten that he was a werewolf?

***

October 31st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Earth drove the Bugatti fiercely on the correct side of the road, searching for Slick. He noticed a shadow moving where one of the lights was out, and unleashed the car upon it. There was a thump, and he pulled the car over.
He got out and walked back to whatever it was that he had run over. It was indeed Slick Black, still in form of the dog. He had a terribly wide tire mark running across his chest, and blood was oozing from the wound.
Then the dog’s lips curled, and it released a hellish chuckle. It leapt at him, and he was barely able to raise an arm. Slick sank his teeth into his arm, tearing him apart with his grazing claws. Earth formed a ball of energy in his free hand and slammed it into Slick’s face.
The dog was thrown back, and then went limp again. Earth took a hesitant step forward, and then heard a vicious roar behind him. Scott, in werewolf form, leaped over his head and grabbed Slick’s neck by his teeth. He turned, chucking the dog into the concrete guard. He leaped, attacking Slick, slashing violently.
Earth took a step back. He thought hard. Scott wasn’t making it easy for him. He shapeshifted into the form of a falcon and climbed high into the night sky. He dove, raking his talons across Slick’s back. He did this several more times, attacking whenever Scott let him have an opening.
Slick howled in pain and darted away from Scott. He turned, growling softly, “Why is it so easy for you to hurt me?”
Scott bared his fangs in a wicked grin, “Because in that form, I don’t see you as my brother. I see you as the damned spawn of the wolves, a traitorous mutt.”
Slick reformed into his regular form, bloodied and battered. He breathed heavily, “Don’t do this, Scott. You’ve lost one brother. Don’t make it two. Just help me. I just want the Compass.”
Scott growled, “You’re not my brother. You corrupted Elemently, and made him into whatever you are now. The pursuit of power has ruined you. Honestly, killing you now would only be a favor.”
He took a step forward, but Earth dove down in front of him, reforming to his normal self. He held out a hand, “No, Scott. We can’t kill him. He doesn’t deserve even that.”
Slick paled. Earth turned to him, pulling the Golden Compass from his pocket once more. He looked at it vaguely, and then turned the needle to the tenth setting. He held it up, and it released a pulse of gold energy. It struck Slick in the chest, and he collapsed, screaming. He shuddered in extreme pain, torturous shock searing through his veins. It hurt him so much that no sound would escape his lips, and he suffered in silence. It was numbing, and it lasted an eternity in a moment.
At last it stopped. Slick could barely move, slight spasms of energy rocketing through him as echoes of what had just occurred. He sat up, and looked at Earth, who was returning the Compass to his pocket. He grunted with great pain, and smiled slightly, “You bastard...only one as cruel as you would claim to fight for good and then turn around and do such a thing to your enemies. Did I deserve that?” He laughed painstakingly, and then screamed to the heavens “Is it worth it to go on living in a world where our heroes are vile as these two?!”
A horn blared behind him, and a semi truck ran into Slick, causing him to disintegrate as a wisp of smoke. Earth and Scott jumped out of the way at the last moment, and the truck passed.
Slick’s laugh resonated around them, and then faded away. Scott turned to Earth, “Was it really that bad? We’re not really cruel, are we?”
Earth didn’t answer. He turned to the Bugatti and stared at it for a long time. Finally, he said, “He deserved it.”

***

October 31st, 2027.
Mercury.
Earth and Scott stood on the planet Mercury, waiting expectantly. Scott was no longer in his werewolf form. Earth looked about, waiting for something. The sun beat down relentlessly. Finally, he stared off in one direction, and Scott followed his gaze.
A cloud of dirt was steadily growing, approaching them. It passed, and then stopped on a cliff on the other side of them. They looked up the cliff and saw a man standing there. In the blink of an eye he was standing in front of them.
He was a young man, but he was bald. He wore white robes coated in dirt. He had beady dark little eyes, which scrutinized over them. His skin was a dark tan, as if from years of overexposure to the sun. He raised an eyebrow at them, and then sudden recognition fell over him, “Earth! It’s...been a while.”
“Hello, Mercury,” Earth said placidly. “I was hoping you’d be able to shed some light on something for me.”
“Anything,” Mercury said, smiling falsely.
“What happened with Slick Black?”
Mercury’s smile fell. He searched for something to say, settling with, “What do you know?”
“That he’s not yours,” Earth said emotionlessly.
Mercury’s eyes darted back and forth. He sighed, “Alright, fine. Hundreds of years ago, a fat man came to me on this planet. He said his name was Wario.”
Earth and Scott looked at each other. Earth nodded, “Continue.”
“He claimed to have been searching for something called the Golden Compass. I told him I had never heard of it. We talked, and one thing led to another. He bragged that he was the best poker player on your planet. I told him I knew the game well enough, and I could probably beat him. We played a couple games, me winning each time. Pretty soon we started placing bets, and I kept winning. And then, there came the terminating game; he bet his greatest secret, how he escaped from Labzarynth. I was naturally curious, and I wanted to offer something of equal value, so I bet Slick, in the confidence that I would just win again. However...he drew a straight flush.”
Earth looked at Scott. He groaned, “It’s the best possible hand you can get in poker. The possibility of getting one in a single draw is fifteen ten-thousandths of a percent.”
Mercury nodded, “He drew a Royal Flush – diamonds. The only way I could have stopped him was to get a Flush of my own.”
“Wait,” Earth said, “If a Royal Flush is so hard to get, then how come I got one last year when I played poker for the first time?”
“Oh, that,” Scott said, waving a hand, “The deck was stacked. However, the dealer dealt counter-clockwise. You got everything I was supposed to get. You owe me three hundred dollars.”
“Needless to say,” Mercury said angrily, “I lost, and Slick became Wario’s.”
Scott cocked his head, “So you bet my brother on a poker game and lost?”
Mercury took a step back, holding up his hands, “I-I never meant for-”
“Mercury,” Earth interrupted sternly, “Shut up. Because of your mistake, Slick hates us. He’s going to end up killing himself trying to get the Golden Compass from us. He’s become corrupt with the power of magic.
“I’ve never respected you, Mercury. And you sure as hell know why. You’ve always been jealous that I got to be the Original Six. But this just proves how right I was for this job. When your mistake comes to bite you in the ass, you just stand there in fear of us. You’ve never had the guts to be an Original Six, and you disgust me.”
Earth turned, gesturing, “Come on, Scott. Let’s get out of here.”
He and Scott left, and Mercury stared after them, and did not move until they were out of sight. He closed his eyes, saying, “You have no idea, brother.”

***
End of Part One.
***

Continued in Part Two: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6465-cracker-chronicle-13-matrix-part-two-spirit-realm/

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took an arrow to the knee just now.

The end result of nearly six months of work; Cracker Chronicle #11: We Fight A War. It's been extremely stressful for me, but the end result...is epicocity.

***

May 9th, 2027.
Labzarynth.
Tim, Superintendent of Labzarynth, finalized his tour given to Thomas, a new NSK employee to be stationed here; “...Only two prisoners have ever escaped from Labzarynth and lived to tell the tale, and that’s two too many. It’ll be your job to guard our highest-priority prisoner.”
Labzarynth was one of two huge NSK prisons, the other being on the planet Saturn. Labzarynth was hidden inside the Earth’s mantle, made of a special alloy that wouldn’t melt from the heat or pressure. It housed thousands of prisoners, so many that the cells had to be stacked on top of each other. There were several shafts dotted around the globe, and whenever Labzarynth floated close to one, it would dock for thirty minutes to receive supplies from above. In its most recent dock, under NSK Las Vegas Division, the only supplies they had received had been a new prisoner and Thomas.
“I should warn you,” Tim said, leading him through a hallway on the far end of the prison, “Some prisoners are immortal, so if you ever walk past a cell whose convict ‘committed suicide,’ just keep walking. Ah, here we are.”
He unlatched a huge steel door and pried it open with some difficulty. They walked through it, into a dark room. Several bars separated the room into two halves, one side free, and the other confined. In the cell there was but a statue of an old woman reeled back in pain, her left hand clenched tightly.
Thomas raised an eyebrow, “This is it?”
“Don’t be fooled so easily,” Tim said, glaring at the statue.
“I meant to ask,” Thomas said, warily looking around in the cage, “How did the last guy – the guy I’m replacing – lose his job, so to speak?”
“Suicide,” Tim said simply. He saluted Thomas and then left, sealing him in with the statue.
Thomas frowned, staring at the statue. It obviously couldn’t be a shapeshifter, because their molecules could pass through anything. It could have been able to escape whenever it wanted.
He reached through the bars, but the statue was too far away to touch. He turned sideways and willed himself to squeeze through the bars. Soon he found himself on the inside, in a cell with the single most deadly prisoner NSK had ever had.
Thomas blew lightly on the face of the statue, and a layer of dirt flew off. Coughing and more curious than ever, he scratched away at the stone face. He was oblivious as the iron bars of the cell lifted away from their sockets and hovered in midair behind him.
Thomas stared into the gray eyes he had uncovered, cocking his head slightly. The statue stared back at him for a time, and then it blinked. The bars each were thrust forward, skewering through Thomas’ body before he even had time to react.
The stone crumbled away from the Ruler of Metal’s body, and she stretched, moving for the first time in almost a year and a half. She cracked her knuckles and stepped over Thomas, who was rapidly bleeding out.
The steel door flew off its hinges, calling forth the attention of everyone. R stepped out, strutting impassively through Labzarynth. NSK guards trained their guns on her warily. When she got to the center of the prison, she turned, spreading her arms wide, “Well, what are you waiting for? Open fire!”
Not sensing anything, the guards unleashed a hail of bullets upon R. Her arms still outstretched, the bullets stopped before they touched her, as if they had struck an invisible dome. Her fingers tensed and then the bullets flew back to the ones that had fired them, peppering their chests with holes.
R raised her voice, so that everyone in Labzarynth could hear her, “It was unwise to bring me here, and now you all will die for the foolishness of Earth Sven.” The walls, ceiling, and floor all shuddered. Magma began to pour inside as Labzarynth began to fall apart at the seems.
Tim watched, a mere fifty feet from where R was standing. An NSK employee ran up to him. “Orders, sir?” he gasped desperately.
“There’s nothing we can do,” Tim said quietly.
“What?” he screamed exasperatedly.
Annoyed, Tim sighed, “Alright, you know what you can do for me, Michael? Go call Earth, and if he shows up to save us, then a job well done to you.”
Michael ran off to carry out these petty and no doubt fruitless orders. Tim sighed and turned around, walking through the prison. He had been Superintendent for the last twenty-five years, and this place had always been his home. He passed NSK guards, attempting to either stop R or to prevent Labzarynth from collapsing, both goals useless. The prisoners reacted on either extreme; the mortal ones would scream for help while the immortal ones would laugh with joy.
Tim opened a steel door identical to the one that had failed to contain R. The cell was larger than R’s had been and devoid of bars. It was dark, but he could clearly make out the huddled lump in the center of the floor. “Hey,” he called out, “R has escaped. We’ll all be dead in a matter of minutes. You’re the only one that can help us now.”
Wolf-Sam turned his head towards Tim and uttered a sad howl before declaring his thoughts to him, “Morality has made you weak. Death is inevitable. Why do you humans insist on prolonging it?”
“Come now,” Tim said quietly, “If you had a chance to live one day longer, would you not take it?”
“No. If I am not strong, then I should not be shown mercy. Earth Sven is kind, but because of him I have been proven to be inferior. The most I want from life now is for it to be over.”
There was a moment of silence before Tim spoke again, “Do you not have anything left to live for? Do you not have a loving wife that you could return to if NSK was to turn a blind eye?”
Sam grunted, “Saturn is the very definition of perfection, but I have taken that for granted. She is too good for one such as I, and deserves someone much better. I have wronged her, and I will never be able to look upon her ever again.
“Indeed, you and I are not so different. When was the last time you were on the surface, twenty years ago? Not much has changed in all that time. You should have had a decent understanding of your society by that time. Tell me, you would consider your death rates high, no? From my perspective, they are low, and can you guess why that is? It is because the inferior are not dieing, and they infect the gene pool. It causes the human race in whole to come to a standstill, possibly even regressing. It stems from a fear of death itself, an unnatural fear. Murderers and those who commit suicide are ones who see the true light of things, ones who do not have a lack of understanding of death and the afterlife.”
“Are you saying that your wisdom is truly infinite? Surely no one knows the secret of death, not even you, Sam.”
Sam ignored this, turning away once more, “I only wish that by the end of this day we both are equals in the realm of the damned, but my wish will no doubt be unsatisfied.”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Nevada.
Earth Sven and Scott Lycanthrope stood in the center of a country with half of a burning car behind them. Scott sighed, “Well, we’ve certainly been through a lot today. I say we head home and drink our troubles away. Then again, why wait?”
He pulled a bottle filled with a dark liquid – which in actuality was just Dr. Pepper – from his pocket and popped the cap off. He swigged it drunkenly.
Earth felt a vibration in his pocket. He retrieved a cell phone and flipped it open, pressing it up to his ear. With his other hand he tried to block out excess noise by pressing it against his other ear while he struggled to hear the voice on the other end: “This is Mich...SK Lab...deep trouble, sinking...collapsing, help...ar...”
Just as Earth was about to say something, the line succumbed to static. He frowned as Scott gasped, drawing breath after his long swallow, “Ah, that’s good, but it needs to be spiked or something...”
Scott continued on in a drunken rant, but Earth wasn’t paying attention. He stared at the bottle cap Scott had dropped, and then bent over to examine it. It came as an immense surprise to him when he saw the bottle cap was floating about six centimeters off the ground. It spun in place, as if indecisive as to which way was up.
Earth stood up straight, staring at the cap as Scott continued his drunken speech next to him, “...so I says to the barmaid, ‘No, I meant the drink, not the action, but if you want to offer me that, then I won’t deny-” Earth elbowed him in the stomach. Scott shook his head, reverting to relative normality, “What?”
“The bottle cap,” Earth said, pointing it out.
Scott took it in with an evident lack of interest, “So?”
Earth groaned as the bottle cap tripped over itself, beginning to move down the street. They followed, jogging briskly as the cap gained speed.
They were lead to a city that had begun to dip in the center. They stood on the outskirts, jaws slack as the entire city collapsed in on itself, sinking into the ground. They watched as screaming people ran past, or were a tad unluckier and fell into the abyss. Then, for a time, all was still. There were no more humans around, and the city had settled in a neat pile in front of the elves.
Then it shifted, a metallic hand emerging. It hoisted itself on top of the pile, revealing it to be part of a gigantesque creature made of the metal that had previously comprised the city. It had the appearance of a short and stout man, but lacked a head. Instead, in the center of the chest there was a glass covering, and behind it sat the Ruler of Metal herself, R.
“You!” Earth screamed.
“I,” R said modestly, almost bored.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“It’s quite simple, really,” R said angrily, “Because of you, I was unjustly condemned to hell. So I did the righteous thing and destroyed that prison.”
“You...what?” Earth asked incredulously.
“Don’t act like you didn’t see this coming, Sven,” R said, raising an eyebrow, “I am the Ruler of Metal. Putting me underneath a cooking pot won’t trap me.”
Earth turned to Scott, “Labzarynth. There’s nothing left. My god, Scott, they’re all dead.”
“I consider myself fortunate,” R continued, “My element may not be as powerful as, say, Fire, but it is made up for in the fact that all weaponry is crafted from my power.”
“Not all,” Earth said, drawing the Light of Nc.
R laughed, “Ah, Sven. The last time I was conscious, I was attempting to destroy your sword.” She cocked her head, raising her hand, “I see someone succeeded where I left off. Tell me, what makes your new blade any different than the last?”
Earth grinned, “I’ve been thinking about what you said, back when you acquired that doomsday device. About how you only work with pure metal. Now, that could have been referring to the pyrite, but I decided to run some tests on a certain crystal known as Diamonium anyway. And I learned some pretty interesting things, too. You know, how you can’t manipulate it. So I made this sword, especially for you. While I may have been at a loss last time, now things will be different.” He smirked, “Ain’t you a lucky little bitch.”
R paled, but said nothing, barely changing her facial expression to a slight frown. Nevertheless, she waved her hand, causing the robot to ball its right hand into a fist, smashing it down on where Earth was standing. Earth dodged out of the way, and then leaped at it, slashing its metallic hand right off. He landed on the stump, running up the arm. R growled, causing the robot to swipe at him with its left hand. Earth leaped up at the last second, and the robot took its own arm off with the force of the blow. Earth landed on the left hand, stabbing the Light of Nc into it. R angrily tried to shake him off, while Earth drew the sword and launched it at R’s glass case. She reeled back in surprise, the sword stopping no more than a centimeter away from the bridge of her nose.
Earth shouted from the top of his lungs, “Light of Nc!” and the sword erupted with white light, momentarily blinding R. He jumped and landed on the machine’s shoulders, retrieving his sword. He stabbed it into the robot’s back and fell, slicing it easily in half. He landed between the mech’s legs and spun, hacking apart the robot’s feet and ultimately crippling it. He leaped out of the way just as the machine collapsed upon where he had been standing.
He slid to where Scott was still standing, having merely watched throughout the whole procession. Earth looked up at him and frowned, “’tis okay, Scott, I didn’t need any help anyway.”
As he stood up, they heard R laugh. The machine stood back up, its limbs reforming back into their places in a matter of seconds. R raised an eyebrow, “You’re going to have to try harder than that. You’ll never get anywhere without some strategy to back your tactics. But I’ll bet this has been your style for a long time now. Is it not true that one must have a reason to fight? If you don’t fight for something, then you are a lost cause.”
Earth gripped the hilt of his sword tighter, “I fight for humanity.”
Scott clenched his fists, “For Mexico!”
R let out a single bark of laughter, “Ha! A worthless species and a country younger than the cacti that habituate it? I think you either didn’t understand, or really are as useless as you say you are. So let me ask you properly: What do you fight for?”
A single knife darted through the air and stuck itself into the machine’s shoulder. R turned to look at it. Just as she began to *bleep* her head, the machine exploded, sending disintegrated shrapnel everywhere.
Earth and Scott turned to see the assassin, Elementres, standing behind them, arm outstretched, “For Earth,” she said, staring at the demolished machine unwaveringly.
She was wearing her signature purple and black full-body, skin-tight assassin suit. The suit was fitted with dozens of hidden scabbards, so she could pull a knife from practically anywhere on her person. Her fingernails had been sharpened to points, and were painted a deep chocolate color. Her dark brown hair flowed freely down her back, nothing holding it in place, but it loyally stayed put. Her amber eyes, icing on the cake of her Venusian beauty, shone fiercely.
R grunted, waving her hand. The glass covering – the only intact part of the machine – was raised, and she stepped out. She gestured to the metal fragments behind her, “I admit that you may be worthwhile, and your reason is sound.” Her gray eyes sparkled evilly, “But how would you compare when your own weaponry is turned against you?”
She raised her hand, causing all of the knives Elementres still had on her – a total of thirty-seven – to rip free, floating in the air around the assassin. R twisted her wrist and then clenched her hand into a fist. The daggers responded immediately, turning towards Elementres and rushing to bury themselves into her flesh. Elementres cried out in alarm.
“No!” Earth screamed, bursting forward. In a second he was in front of Elementres, arms outstretched. He was creating a force field, desperately holding back the knives. He grunted, “Scott, stop standing there and do something actually helpful for once!”
Before Scott had time to react, R whipped out her other arm, causing a film of metal to form over his body, holding him in place. Scott groaned, “Damn you, bitch, you can’t be serious!”
R grinned, bringing her full attention back to Earth and Elementres. Earth was sweating and shaking uncontrollably. He should have lost the struggle by this point, R thought, but his will must have been stronger than she had predicted.
“Very well then,” R said aloud. She twisted her wrist, causing Earth to cry out from exertion.
Earth gritted his teeth, looking at Elementres from the corner of his eye, “Hey, Elementres. Duck.” She dropped to the ground just as the force field steadily began to break, each passing second sending another wave of knives sinking into Earth’s flesh. With each strike, he cringed but did nothing to stop it. He merely took it all, nearly passing out...
There came a shout, gradually rising in intensity. As Earth, Scott, and R came to realize its existence, the assault of the daggers came to a halt. They turned towards the source of the yell: Elementres.
Suddenly the knives embedded in Earth’s body ripped out and dropped to the ground, along with the rest of the daggers. A column of flame erupted around R, and as Elementres drew her shout to a close, the column froze solid.
Earth gasped, dropping his arms, “Well done, Elementres.”
The film of metal holding Scott fell away and he stumbled forward, saying, “What, that was Elementres?”
Earth tapped his nose, “Yes, and this marks her first time manipulating the elements.”
They turned to look at her, and she stared back at them, eyes wide. Scott frowned, “That can’t be right. Surely she’s done it before, when she was trained-”
“Elementres never received any training,” Earth interrupted, “Venus refused to teach her anything, and her knife skills come naturally.”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “So, up until this point Elementres has just been more of a human than anything else?”
Elementres growled, snatching a knife up off the ground threateningly, “I insist that you repeat that, brother.”
A sharp cracking was heard, and then the pillar of ice shattered. R brushed herself off as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, “You have done well to train this assassin of yours, Sven. But I have been thinking; I fight you out of vengeance for my son. Would not your father do the same? ShadowNc never did anything for you, did he? Why do you respect him so?”
Earth, disgusted by this tactic, scoffed, “That may have worked on me a day earlier, but today I have finally fulfilled my father’s hope that I would be strong enough to deserve to wield darkness and light alike.”
R frowned, trying a different approach, “If you respect the light so much, then answer me this: What is the absolute most gruesome, horrendous object you have ever laid eyes upon?”
Earth leapt up, flying towards the Ruler of Metal, shouting, “It is thine face!” As he raised his fist, dark energy enveloped it unexpectedly. A sheet of metal appeared in order to protect R, coating her skin; however, Earth’s fist collided with her jaw and twisted her entire head, breaking her jaw. R released a muffled cry as Earth landed and took a step back.
The metal flowed away, and R rubbed her jaw back into place, “Quite a bit more painful than I thought possible. Now I find myself doubting...the legend might not be as false as I previously thought...”
“What legend?” Earth asked, staring casually at the darkness still surrounding his hand.
R grunted, “I would simply love to keep you in the dark, Sven, but I figure if you are to hear of it from anyone, let it be me. I presume you are familiar with the legend of Nc’s eleventh child?”
“Yes,” Earth said, glancing at Scott and Elementres, “Somewhat.”
“But indeed you know not the whole legend, for no one tells it properly. I predict that I will be the first, then, to tell it in full...
“Eons ago, there existed but one, a god by the name of Nc. He was the sole survivor of the previous universe, but he had no recollection of his past life. He created this universe using his vast power, and for a time was content.
“He grew lonely, and then created his son, the first elf born in this universe, 9volt the First, granting him control over the element of Electricity. He created nine more children soon after: 9ice the First, the Ruler of Cold; Lavana, the Ruler of Fire; Fei9n, the Ruler of Emotion; Aquarius, the Ruler of Water; R, the Ruler of Metal; Plasmatis, the Ruler of Plasma; Gravitasious, the Ruler of Gravity; Toranado, the Ruler of Wind; and Destiny, the Ruler of Fate.
“Then, because eleven is a sacred number, Nc foretold that his sixth son and eleventh child would be born with power unimaginable, more than even his own self. But alas, his eleventh child was a daughter, Minerva, the Ruler of Violence. Nc proceeded to have a twelfth child, a sixth and final son, and named him ShadowNc, which translates from Elvin to literally, ‘The Ruler of Darkness’. However, neither Minerva nor ShadowNc showed any signs of the great power.
“Among the Nefarious Twelve, as they came to be called, it is believed that Nc’s approval for the creation of the Original Six was to make up for ShadowNc’s lack of potential. However, they merely deny the truth, foretold by Nc himself...
“The great power had been recessive, and would be passed on to one of the Original Six. The reason it is denied is because the one with the power would most likely be the child of ShadowNc and Minerva, who is named,” R pointed at the one standing straight in front of her, cocking her head slightly, “Earth.”
They were all taken aback. Earth frowned, taking a retreating step, “No, that cannot be...it’s inconceivable.”
“That’s what I thought,” R said, turning around. She waved a hand, causing the metal fragments to stir, rising to her command. R spoke over her shoulder, “But it’s not impossible. It was foretold that it would take a few billion years for the power to show. Very well, I’ll just leave you alone to think it over...”
“Where are you going?” Scott asked.
R laughed, turning around to face them while the fragments swirled in midair behind her, “Wouldn’t you like to know? I don’t have the time to take my vengeance now; leisure first. Follow me, if you want...”
She stepped back, into the cloud of metal, and it rose to the sky, steadily taking the shape of a passenger jet, flying away from them without a second thought.
“Should we follow?” Scott asked, turning to Earth.
Earth nodded, “Of course,” before cringing, seemingly becoming aware of the dozens of knife wounds scattered across his body. He collapsed, unconsciousness taking him before he even hit the ground.

***

May 9th, 2027.
NSK St. Louis Division; Infirmary Wing.
Earth woke with a start. He shook his head, sitting upright. He recognized this room immediately, having spent a third of his time in this Division in this particular wing. His bed mockingly had his name carved into the headboard. The curtains were drawn, and a television set blared in the background.
He frowned, not remembering exactly what had happened prior to his unconsciousness. He looked at his hand, tracing a mark left behind by one of the daggers, watching it heal before his eyes. It came back to him with a pang, and he groaned. He rolled over, turning to the bedside table and pressing a button on it. From it he heard a woman’s voice, “Mr. Sven? Are you awake?”
“I am indeed,” he said, his mind clearing, “How long have I been out?”
“You’ve been here for less than an hour, thankfully.”
Earth grunted, “Where are Scott and Elementres?”
“They’re in the room with you. I’ll send them in.”
“Thank you,” he said, releasing the button. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. A breeze flipped the blanket off his lap, and he stood up. He was stretching when Scott and Elementres came in.
“Well?” she asked, an uncharacteristic tone of concern in her voice.
“I’ll live,” Earth said, shaking his head, “Did I miss anything important?”
“I stuck R’s plane with a tracking device,” Scott said, “And then we brought you back here. We are still going after R, right?”
“Of course,” Earth said, glaring at him. He then cringed slightly, “Argh, it wasn’t wise for me to swallow that much pain down at one time. I could have dodged or ducked out of the way, but I felt like I had to protect you, Elementres...”
She smiled warmly, “It’s alright, Earth. I appreciate what you did.”
“Ahem,” Scott coughed, “R’s been on a general northeast route, and it’s convenient that you woke up now, because she passed overhead just a little bit ago. Elementres says she thinks R’s up to something because of some detail or another...”
“Her pace is deadest,” Elementres explained, taking over, “It’s neither lax nor hasty. She’s maintaining a proper altitude, velocity, and she’s following United Airlines regulations.”
“She’s planning something,” Earth concluded, “R’s certainly not one for stealth.”
Elementres nodded, “That’s what I thought as well, until Scott pointed out...”
“...she could simply have discovered my device and passed it on to a different, normal plane.”
Earth cracked his knuckles, “Well, there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Sky over central eastern USA.
A single, unmarked plane flew soundly through the sky. It did not deter as three elves flew up to its emergency exit door, forced it open, and then slipped inside.
Earth, Scott, and Elementres surveyed their new surroundings. It was a first class passenger jet, with as many luxuries packed in it as comfort would allow. The seats were fluffed perfectly, made of red velvet and trimmed with gold. Each row of seats had a movie screen, all of which were blank. The windows, large and gaping, were wide open, letting in plenty of light. An air conditioner blew somewhere, making the cabin a cool temperature just above freezing. A discreet bathroom door – marked vacant – was in the back, next to a snack and drink cart filled to the brim with peanuts and wine. At the front was a royal blue curtain that separated the cockpit from the cabin.
Scott whistled, “I still support my earlier notion; I think we’ve got the wrong plane. This place is actually pretty cozy.”
“Don’t be deceived so easily,” Earth said, flipping open an overhead compartment, which was empty. “Why do you suppose there are no passengers here?”
Scott shrugged, “Any number of reasons. A decommissioning?”
Earth stopped cold in his tracks, turning to face Scott, “Come now, Scott. Not even you are that ignorant.”
Elementres picked up a full wine glass and sniffed it. She emptied it onto the rug in disgust, “It’s not poisoned.”
Scott walked over to the snack cart and shoved a fistful of peanuts into his mouth. He swallowed without chewing, and grinned, “Salty.” He grabbed a bottle of wine and downed it without a second thought.
Earth grunted, “Stop messing around and get over here.”
Elementres followed his orders immediately, walking over to where Earth was standing, near the blue curtain. Scott finished his draught, having emptied the bottle, and set it down on the cart; however, it was unstable and fell to the ground, shattering noisily.
They stood unmoving for a long time. Behind the curtain they heard a chair creak. After an excruciatingly long moment, Earth whispered, “I swear if you get us killed, Scott, I’m going to kill you in the afterlife.”
Scott, eyes wide and ironically more sober than ever, stealthily avoided stepping on the shards of glass as he joined them. They relaxed somewhat, and Earth reached for the curtain. Gripping the hilt of his sword tight, he ripped the curtain open, and they entered the cockpit.
The controls were complex, and stretched along a wide panel in front of the pilot’s chair. The pilot had their back turned to them, but they could see her right arm on the armrest, a scorch mark on the funny bone area.
“R,” Earth grunted, not in the least surprised.
The Ruler of Metal turned around, smiling, “Ah, I see you’ve decided to follow me after all! Good, very good...”
“What are you up to?” Elementres asked, getting straight to the point.
“I see how it is,” R said, narrowing her eyes, “I am your enemy, so nothing I do can be good, am I correct?” They stared at her, causing her to laugh, “Alright, I’ll admit I was trying to repay you a favor.”
“A favor?” Earth questioned with a frown.
“Yes,” R said, standing up, “You made my life a living hell, and I want to do the same to you.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?” Scott asked.
R grinned evilly, “Let me ask you this: What was the single worst event that didn’t directly affect you?”
Earth and Scott simultaneously groaned, “The 9/11 terrorists attacks.”
Scott growled, “You’re resorting to terrorism just to make us feel uncomfortable?”
As R nodded, Earth turned to Scott, “You know what? Maybe terrorism isn’t that bad. I mean, it made me hate George Bush once, but it’s not like he’s still president, right? Now what’s really bad...is killing puppies.” He looked at Scott and Elementres for support.
“Yeah,” Scott said awkwardly, “Killing puppies...is just terr-” he choked and then coughed, “Killing puppies is, is just, just a...it’s a bad thing.”
“You don’t mean any of those things, do you?” R asked skeptically, raising an eyebrow.
“Not a chance,” Earth admitted, “We’ll always hate terrorism because of the way people freak out, and deep down Scott will always feel joy from the sight of a small dead dog.”
Scott shrugged, “It’s true.”
Elementres sighed, “Guys, she didn’t actually know that you hated terrorism. She just wanted you to say it so she would know herself.”
Earth and Scott looked at R and then at each other. Earth struggled to find words, finally coming up with, “Well now I just feel stupid.”
R chuckled, “Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter. You might as well save your breath.” She grabbed a switch on the dashboard while still watching them, “You’ll need it.” She threw the switch, causing an alarm to blare. The windshield flew off, and R was flung out of the cockpit. A violent gale began to scream through the plane.
Scott waved his hand, calming the wind that was ripping through the cabin. Earth ran to where R had been, “Damn it, she was planning this all along. We may not crash into anything important, but we’re still headed towards something or another.” He growled, “She knows that we’ll either try to save the humans and let her get away, or go after her and have those people’s deaths on our conscious...”
He spun around, “You two, try to divert the plane. I’m going after that bitch.” He turned and jumped through the broken windshield.
Scott and Elementres ran to the controls. Now that they were closer they could see that they were much more complex than they originally appeared. Scott groaned, “This doesn’t even make any sense; why would the Ruler of Metal need any of this-”
“She’s toying with us,” Elementres realized, “She’s giving us a chance to stop the plane, knowing full well we’ll never get it to work.”
“Great, when did I become the main character of Saw VII?” he groaned, “Well, we’re just going to have to prove her wrong, then.” He knelt down, examining the controls carefully. Elementres watched, having no experience with mechanics. She took a step back, allowing him more room.
Finally, Scott pointed out a key slot, the key still inside, set to off. “The ignition switch.” He grabbed the rusty key, twisting it stubbornly, “It’s as good a place to start as any. All we need to do is-”
The key snapped in half, one end still in the key slot. His face twitched as he said monotonously, “Frack.” He desperately began to pick at the keyhole with his fingernails, muttering panicky.
Elementres pushed him aside, “Oh, just let me do it!” She drew a knife, stabbing it into the slot and then twisted her wrist so that the knife was pointing towards the word, ‘On.’
The blaring siren was then accompanied by R’s prerecorded voice coming on over the intercom system, “Manual Override Activated. Self-Destruct Sequence Activated.”
“Self-Destruct Sequence!?” Scott exclaimed incredulously, “Oh, great, now we’re not just going to crash, we’re going to blow up! Oh god, oh god, oh-”
“Shut up!” Elementres screamed, “Stop freaking out!” She placed her hands on Scott’s shoulders, calming him, “Listen. I’ll handle the plane. You go help Earth with R.”
“But I broke the key,” Scott said weakly, holding up the half of the key he still held.
“But I’m the reason this flying piece of shit is going to explode,” Elementres countered sharply, “I got this, Scott. Make sure Earth knows that. No matter what happens, I’m to blame.”
Scott stared at her intensely. Finally, he sighed, “I guarantee he’s going to find a way to pin it on me. He’s always liked you better.”
Elementres smiled, “And don’t you forget it.”
Scott grinned slightly, and then jumped out of the cockpit. Elementres sat down in the pilot’s chair, gripping the wheel tight. She growled, “For Earth.”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Sky over central eastern USA.
Earth dove, searching for R. He spotted her and scowled, flying down to her level. R turned, grinning evilly, “Ah, Sven, nice of you to...drop in.” She laughed and drew a cavalry sword, its thin and slightly curved blade ringing as it left the hilt.
Earth scoffed, drawing the Light of Nc. He surged forward, smashing his sword into R’s. The Ruler of Metal was more agile than he had expected, blocking the strike and then parrying, slashing across his chest. Earth flew back, and then feinted to the right, following by slashing R’s ribs on the left. R attempted to stab him, but Earth threw off the strike with his sword, spinning around to slash diagonally across her face.
R growled, tentatively touching the cut. She jumped up, causing Earth to raise his sword in an attempt to block; however, R twisted her cavalry sword around, stabbing upward through Earth’s stomach. She grunted in pain as she realized the Light of Nc had been run through her heart.
R withdrew her sword, and Earth did likewise. They each caught their breath, and then charged at each other. Their swords collided, resulting in a deadlock. Their faces were inches away from each other as Earth spoke, “Hey, R. Guess what?”
“What?” R asked impatiently.
Earth grinned, “Light of Nc.”
The sword erupted in light, and R fell back in surprise. Earth wasted no time, smashing his blade into the notch between R’s neck and shoulders. Her arm was dislocated, and she grunted in pain. She gradually eased her arm back into place, eventually slipping it back with a slight pop.
Scott suddenly appeared, falling onto R’s back. With one hand he twisted her arm around her back and with his other he snuck his arm around her neck in headlock. With her sole free hand, R unsuccessfully tried to loosen his grip.
“Scott?” Earth exclaimed confusedly, “What are you doing here?”
Scott grunted, “Helping you out. What the hell does it look like?”
Earth lashed out with the Light of Nc, striking R’s scorched funny bone, cutting it deep. She fell unconscious and dropped from Scott’s grip to the ground below. Earth watched her fall for a time, and then turned to Scott, “What about the plane? Where’s Elementres?”
As if in response, the jet above them exploded, splitting in half and cascading flames down upon them. What was left of the plane began to fall.
“No!” Earth cried out. Scott grabbed his arm, trying to get them out of the path of the wreck’s descent. He was limp, letting Scott guide him, as he stared up at the plane.
High up, still in the cockpit, Elementres struggled with half a plane, aiming it as best she could. The room around her was on fire, various schematics popping and spitting electricity around her. The wind rushed past her, threatening to throw her off her feet as the plane began to do a nose dive, facing straight down, perpendicular to the ground. And as this was happening, she thought, her mind heard by Earth far below...
“We fight a war. A war against prejudice, inhumanity, inequality, and all other evils. A war we fight for justice, for liberty, and for the greater good of all. We do it selflessly, unbeknownst to the very ones we liberate. We do it in secret, and ask nothing for it. We’ve fought since time began, and will still be fighting on Judgment Day. As soon as one of our enemies is struck down, ten more rise to take their place. And despite all the odds stacked against us, we will always be superior. Not because of power. Not because of knowledge. And not because of luck. We will always prevail because of the tears we’ve shed, the blood we’ve lost, and the sacrifices we’ve made. No matter how many times we struck down, we will rise again, for the pursuit of righteousness, and the eternal goal of peace withstanding and life everlasting.”
Scott and Earth landed, causing Earth to jolt back into awareness. Far away, they saw R crash to the ground and then stumble to her feet.
Elementres spoke, her final words heard only by Earth, “Meeting you was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. If I had my life to live over, I wouldn’t change anything. Goodbye...and I’ll always love you, Earth.”
The demolished plane crashed into where R was standing. Earth shook his head, clearing it. He ran forward, shouting, “No!”
The wreck exploded again, and a wall of flame rose up, surging forth to incinerate Earth. Scott whipped out an arm, teleporting the two of them away from this place. The inferno engulfed everything, setting the very dirt aflame.

***

May 9th, 2027.
Nebraska, United States.
Scott and Earth appeared on Earth’s front lawn. Earth collapse to his hands and knees, “She’s gone...I couldn’t save her.”
Scott walked up to him, “Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself. Her last words to me were, and I quote, ‘I got this, Scott. Make sure Earth knows that. No matter what happens, I’m to blame.’”
A tear flowed down Earth’s face. He brushed it away, “She didn’t have to sacrifice herself. I could have-”
“No, you couldn’t have,” Scott interrupted, “There’s nothing you could have done. She wanted this. Respect that. If anything, blame me.”
Earth blinked. He stood up, shaking his head, “Blame you?”
Scott nodded, “You heard me.”
Earth stared at him. Finally, he smiled tentatively, “She told you to say that, didn’t she?”
Scott shook his head, “No.”
Earth somberly looked away, “I want you to know something, Scott. I always liked Elementres more than you.”
Scott frowned, “I know.”
“Let me finish,” Earth said, holding up a hand, “I liked Elementres better as a friend. But you’ve always been the better assassin.”
Scott, utterly perplexed, furrowed his brow, “Thank you?”
Earth laughed, “Do you honestly have no idea why Elementres always rivaled with you?”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “Sibling rivalry, maybe?”
“No. Elementres has always tried to be a better assassin than you. Only once has she proven herself so.”
As Earth began to walk towards his house, Scott frowned, “When was that?”
Earth stopped, turning back to face him, his hand on the doorknob, “Today. You sacrifice yourself for me and maybe I’ll change my mind.”
Earth entered his house, Scott staring after him bewilderedly. As the door slammed shut, Scott shook his head, coming to his senses. He whipped out a cell phone and punched in a number. He held it up to his ear, listening to the dial tone.
A British man picked up the phone, “Good evening. Who is calling?”
“Scott. I presume this is NSK CEO Joe I am speaking to, correct?”
Scott could practically see the Brit nodding, “Indeed. Although, I must point out that I didn’t recognize your number...”
“I stole this phone.”
“Ah. So what’s the occasion?”
“I’m going to be in England tomorrow. Earth and I ran into some trouble while on vacation, and I think it would be best if Earth doesn’t have to relive what happened today.”
“You’re actually going to record information into the archives for once? Well then, anything else?”
Scott paused. He looked at Earth’s house warily, “Yes, there is something else. Today we crashed a plane in the central eastern part of the United States. I want to set up a perimeter there. But no digging through the rubble. I want to know if anything penetrates that line, be it entering...or leaving.”
There was a slight pause, and then Joe sighed, “Any reason in particular?”
“What do you mean?” Scott asked with a frown.
“Why are you doing this? When did you finally decide to actually take charge as CEO?”
Scott glanced at Earth’s house again, “Let’s just say it would mean a lot to Earth if we find anything moving there. But if he finds out prior to that, make sure he knows I’m the cause. It’s kind of a tender subject with him.”

***
End of Part Three
***

Thank you, thank you. Any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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July 6th, 2011. I think it is in everyone's best interest (everyone, of course meaning anyone who reads this) to know that I started CC#10 today. The real trouble was figuring out how it began. I mean, it's got a good start, but I couldn't remember what came first...It would seem weird if I just jumped into the action, right? (*silently curses the seventh Harry Potter book*)

July 10th, 2011. I randomly noticed something as I was typing CC#10, and because of it I went back and changed something in CC#9...insanely minor, but still...I might get the second music spotlight up today if I get around to starting it, so yeah. Something to look forward to.

August 13th, 2011. Ugh. Well, first of all, I'm sorry about CC#10. I just got back from a business trip in St. Louis, and I've only had access to a computer two days in August so far. I'm still working on CC#10, of course, because of it, but I'm close to finished. As you can tell, this will really throw off CC#11, which is unfortunate considering how long it will be. Speaking of which, CC#10 is the longest I've written yet, longer than 30 pages thus far. Yeah...

August 30th, 2011. So, no doubt you've noticed by now, but I finished CC#10 a while back and posted it as such. I've been hard at work on CC#11...ha, just kidding, I just wanted to hear what that sounded like. Yes, I have started CC#11 at the very least, and am on a good pace, however, I was very late starting it so I've barely gotten any (relative) progress. Meh, plus I am having some technical difficulties that I'm hoping to work through.

September 10th, 2011. Still writing CC#11, and having so much enjoyment doing it. I have, of course, finished writing the intro and will probably get it typed out soon enough. Check back often.

Update: Did I forget to mention I was working on an intro for the Cracker since I took down my Neohome? And that it was the reason I started CC#11 so late? Wow, well...that's the reason...

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As part of my running series of holiday-themed posts, this year, I've desided to make you all feel even more useless than you already are. And I'll do it with style.

You see, Black Friday is a lie propogated by the American media in order to go out and, you know, buy stuff. It originated from the slow news day of the after Thanksgiving, and in actuallity is the fifth biggest shopping day of the year, the first being *October First*, and the first week of November and the Monday after Thanksgiving taking two of the other three slots.

This day is a burden to all, from the ones doing the shopping (search "Black Friday trampled death" and sit back to wait for your browser to load) and those not (as far back as one hundred years ago, the frickin police have gotten in car crashes and traffic jams on Black Friday).

Reason Three: *bleep*ing Rebecca Black. Ever since her freaking fastest-selling-single-of-all-time, no one has let it go. Everyone sane agrees it was awful, and no one even wants to hear any parodies of it, it was that freaking horrible. Unfortunately - scratch that, *indescribable torture* - It's being brought back. She's even making a new song, Saturday. Will we ever stop taking this woman seriously? Will she become the third person on my kill list, after Stephanie Meyer and Justin Beiber? Only time will tell.

Four: Everything you know is a lie. There are no sales on this damned day. In fact, to the stores themselves, they hardly make any extra profit. It's just an average shopping day. It's because of the fact that not only do they not lower prices, but it's countered by the fact that not every one goes out to shop on this day...contrary to popular belief. Anyone part of the gaming community knows this; Nintedo and almost every other gaming company from Japan won't lower prices because they see Black Friday for what it is: a stupid holiay, unfit to even exist. However, America has steadily been going around this. For example, Target Stores offer forty dollar gift cards with the purchase of a 3DS. No doubt we will come to the point where video games will be 50% off on this accursed day. Admittedly, it's a mixed bag...

Final Point: No hangovers. One of the great things about the holidays is that the day after (November 1st, December 26th, January 1st, February 15th) is the day where the people that didn't degrade themselves the night before get to enjoy watching those with the hangovers sulk back home. And Black Friday not only prevents getting a hangover from Thanksgiving, but it occurs in the morning, typically, so one won't get a hangover from that day, either. It just goes to show that maybe Japan knows better on some things: never have a holiday that revolves around shopping if you want to get laid.

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Yes, this a blog post specially so I can bitch about something. It saves me from doing it more...

Nicholas Sven

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