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Saturday, October 5, 1996, 2:34 PM
The headlines read "RINKU COMMITTED TO MENTAL INSTITUTION". It was even blared over information networks. FAX, VBS, and VNN screamed it as front-line stories. But for all the coverage it was given, there was one question on the minds of the Videoland masses... "Who's Rinku?" Samus asked. Mike simply shrugged. Rick stared blankly. Kevin answered, "You got me." "That name sounds familiar." Lana admitted. "But I can't quite place where I've heard it before." A few keystrokes into the nearby computer sent it into a search for any known Videoland person or persons named Rinku, though the search came back negative. So that was the last the N Team thought about it that day.
Thursday, October 10, 1996, 3:45 PM
Over the next five days, news information services kept reporting the deteriorating state of poor Rinku's mind and health. And eventually becoming fed up with it, Lana placed a call to Cathy Bennett and demanded to know who Rinku was. Not even Cathy Bennett had a clue. That same afternoon, Lana had a mundane meeting, so the matter was unofficially put aside.
Kevin pressed the chime next to Samus' door. "It's unlocked." Samus' muted voice called from the other side. So Kevin walked in, finding Samus with her back on her bed and her feet propped up on the wall. "Wadaya want?" "I figured it out." Kevin said. "Figured what out?" Samus asked. "That I'm much better looking than the President?" "Rinku is a Japanese name." Kevin said. Samus frowned. "Even Lana doesn't give a shit about it. What shit should I give to an insane person?" Kevin leaned over the bed and its occupant. "Not even for the person who tried to kill you?" Finally Samus pulled her feet off the wall and sat upright. "What the fuck are you talking about?" "Rinku," Kevin said slowly, "is the Japanese pronunciation for Link's name." "So?" Kevin frowned. "So, for one reason or another, Link's in a mental institution, and Zelda hasn't even bothered to let us know. Forget about Lana." "And?" Samus asked. "Why?" Kevin pointed out. Samus thought about it. "You gonna tell Lana?" "Why are you asking me? I don't rank as high as you." Samus pondered some more. "Okay, let's skip Lana and go to Hyrule."
Kevin and Samus met Zelda in the courtyard. Zelda's shoulders slumped when she saw the two walk up. "Oh, Goddesses,...I was hoping you guys wouldn't show up." "So, it is Link?" Kevin asked without preamble. Zelda nodded. "Yes, it's Link." "Why didn't you tell us?" Samus demanded. Zelda slouched. "There were lots of reasons. And it was so sudden. It got so bad that I finally had to stick him in the hospital - under a different name because I didn't want people to think I had hired an idiot...and to protect whatever reputation he had left." "Wait, wait, wait." Kevin held up a hand. "Start from the beginning." Zelda gestured for the other two to sit down. "It started shortly after Link started claiming he had seen one of the judges murder someone. Now, understand that Link had jurisdiction over the country's armed forces - sentries, guards, police, army. But since he had no say over the judges, he had to bring it to me. We were all ready to launch a full-scale investigation when Link suddenly became incredibly hyper. He claimed there were demons in his room. He was acting incredibly irrational, way too arguative for even him. We had to confine him after he tried to attack me when he claimed he saw a moblin superimposed over me. In one of our detention cells, he started scratching at his skin with his nails, often to the point of ripping huge chunks of skin off. He'd bang his head against the bars. The day before he was admitted to the hospital, he had used the edge of his water cup to cut off one of his ears. We had to restrain him to keep him from cutting off the other ear. At least, lucky for us, Farore gave all Hylians regenerating ears, so we could always hear her voice. When we finally admitted him, he was shouting something like 'The leeches are plotting on the mountain!' And that's all he would repeat." Kevin frowned. "That just doesn't seem right." "Sounds like a loony to me." Samus drawled. "No, I'm serious." Kevin paused. "Can I take a look at his room?" Zelda shrugged. "I'm not sure what good that will do, but I guess."
A scream came from Link's room. A female scream. When Kevin, Samus, and Zelda reached the door to the room, they found a terrified, lithe, red-haired woman backed up against the wall. "Rell!" Zelda demanded. "What's wrong?" For a moment, Rell pointed a slender finger at the center of the room while moving her mouth wordlessly. Only after several seconds of this, did she find her voice. "I...I saw it! I saw the demon he's been talking about!" "Rell, - " Zelda began. "I did!" Rell insisted. "Who are you?" Samus asked. She had never seen Rell before. "Link's girlfriend." Kevin replied while Rell simply looked terrified. "They met two years ago." He faced Rell. "Slow down. What are you doing here in the first place?" Rell gulped. "I was feeling bad cuz Link was taken away and all. I can't go see him, so I thought that maybe being around his stuff would be just as good. I sat down to think, and suddenly the demon showed up. When I screamed, he vanished." "Maybe just being around him can make people nuts." Samus suggested. "You're not helping." Kevin said. Zelda guided Rell back to Link's four-poster. "Now, sit down and take deep breaths." "Okay." Zelda sat down with her and gave Rell the occasional pat. Kevin took to inspecting the room, evidently not finding whatever he was after, if he was actually looking for anything. Rell screamed again. This time it was joined by Zelda's gasp - and even a yelp from Samus. Kevin's head snapped up to see a translucent being. It had double-hinged legs, a long whipping tail, large wings, and a head that was lined with thousands of teeth. It looked like a vire on drugs. Rell had shoved her way with her feet back across the four-poster until her back hit the wall. Zelda was crouched. Samus had taken a step back and seemed ready for a boxing match, a wrestling match, a kickboxing match, or maybe a mix of all three. Kevin moved behind the demon, then lunged forward to pin the demon in a half-nelson - except he simply went right through it. "What the flying fuck is this?!" Samus demanded, standing straight up. While Kevin picked himself back up, Samus stuck her hand out. Part of the demon seemed to disappear. That part appeared in miniature on Samus' flat palm. She moved her palm at an angle, keeping the image on her palm, and moved closer to the source. Eventually, she had to drag over a chair when the image got too high to remain on her palm. This brought her hand upon the top of one of the head posts on the four-poster. Her hand clamped down, and the demon vanished entirely. There was a small snap, and Samus jumped off the chair. "Primitive holographic imager. Even Megaland stop making these centuries ago." Samus explained. Her hand trailed along a very thin wire which reached under the mattress of the four-poster. Rell scooted off, and Zelda lifted part of the mattress up, revealing a pressure-sensitive sheet. Kevin took it. "Zelda, - " "I'll have sentries scour the castle." she clipped before walking out of the room, stunned. Rell walked over and glanced over. "Does that mean someone made Link go nuts?" "Or tried to make him think it." Kevin corrected. Samus shook her head. "This can't be all of it. It might have scared him the first few times, but night after night? This thing is too primitive. Something else is going on." Zelda walked back in. But before she could say anything, Kevin faced her. "Can we go to see Link?" "I'm starting to think that's a good idea,...but I - " " - should stay here and oversee the search." Kevin filled in. "Right." Kevin looked at Rell. "I'm too shaken." she responded. Kevin shrugged and looked at Samus, who rolled her eyes.
Link was in pitiful shape. He had ripped off his clothes and scratched off most if not all of his scabs. He hadn't bathed, brushed, or shaved in a while. There was a large bleeding welt on the side of his head where his left ear had been, and his right ear showed obvious sings of having attempted to cut it off. To some relief, Zelda was right about the ear starting to grow back. Link looked like he hadn't slept in a year. When Kevin tried to walk up to him, Link kicked out. "Okay, okay." Kevin lifted his hands in surrender and backed off. "We just want to ask some questions." "Mrph..." Link growled, seeming more animal than human, especially with the lack of garb. He stared at Kevin with a wide-eyed gaze. Kevin knelt. "Hey, relax. You know that demon you kept seeing in your bedroom? We found out what it was." "Holographic imager." Samus supplied. "Hmrrg..." Link still stared wide-eyed. "Zelda says you claim you saw a murder." Kevin said. "Did." "You want to tell us about it?" "No." "Why not?" "Won't believe." Samus laughed. "You're in a mental hospital. Try again." Link jerked, as if not really realizing this. His eyes remained wide, and he jerked his gaze back and forth from Kevin to Samus. "Saw Judge Jeeves." Link curled up. "Then black-haired man." He then took his fist and made a pounding motion, never quite hitting the floor. It took a few seconds for Kevin and Samus to realize he was imitating someone with a knife in a clenched fist. "Rauru Town Square." "Could you elaborate on that?" Kevin asked when Link didn't say anything further. There was a polite knock at the door, and a lady in a nurse uniform entered with a tray. "His lunch." She stopped, noticed Link's state of undress, saw the shredded clothing laying around the room, and shook her head. "You've got a nice body, but I hope you don't keep this up." "The clothes or the scabs?" Samus asked. "Both." replied the lady. She reached over, took some food off the plate, and held it in front of Link. "Eat." Link frantically shook his head. "C'mon. You haven't eaten a thing since you've come here, Rinku." Link grabbed the food, then chucked it at the other end of the room. The lady shook her head again. "Well, then, at least drink something. You haven't done that eith-" Link grabbed the offered cup before the lady could finish the word. He drank a mouthful, then threw the cup at the lady. "Mrph!" The lady put the tray on the floor. "Maybe you two can get him to eat something. I have others to attend to." She walked out of the room, closing the door behind her. Kevin ignored that and leaned in over Link. "Tell us about the black-haired man." "Big." Link simply said. "Big black-haired man." Kevin corrected. "Tall." Link said. "Tall black-haired man." Kevin said. "And big." "You mean fat?" Samus asked. Link smacked his head on the floor. He did it again. And a third time. Kevin lunged forward to hold Link, but Link kept jerking. A strange gurgling, gasping sound came from his throat. Then Link went limp. "Link, are you okay?!" Kevin demanded. No response. "Link!" No response. Kevin leaned in. "Damn!" He stretched Link flat on the floor, plugged Link's nose, and placed his own mouth to Link's. Carefully tilting Link's head back, Kevin exhaled, blowing air into Link's lungs. After five of these, Kevin released and moved his hand to Link's neck. Nothing there either. Kevin felt along Link's breastbone, finding the right spot. He clasped one hand atop another and proceeded to depress Link's chest. "One and two and three and four and...Samus, what are you doing?" "Pulling out your damn warp zone opener." she replied. A warp opened up in quick order. "One-way ticket to Doctor Right's lab." "How's he gonna help?" "You got a better idea?!" Samus didn't let Kevin answer; instead she picked up Link's legs. "Grab the other end, damn it!" Reluctantly, Kevin did, and together they carried the nude Hylian through the warp.
Right's jaw dropped when three figures came out of a warp in his lab. Two upright, the third horizontal. "What in the world?" "Medical emergency, doc!" Kevin and Samus lifted Link to one of the lab tables. "You bring him here and not to a hospital?" Right asked, rushing to the table and tapping in instructions to the side panel. "It was her idea." Kevin muttered. A line of light flashed over Link. About three seconds later, various robotic arms appeared. One set stuffed tubes into Link's nose and down his throat while Right strapped a wide strip across Link's chest. Right stepped back, and the robotic arms continued hooking up various instruments. Maybe ten seconds after it started, the robotic arms retreated. "What did you do?" Kevin asked. "Complete life support." Right said. He tapped at the side panel again. This time one lone robotic arm came out and began a slow scan. Right walked over to a large display. He started shaking his head. "Man, I'm starting to get paranoid about people shaking their heads." Kevin muttered. Right faced Kevin. "You want the long version or the short version?" "How 'bout the easily-understood version?" Samus suggested. Right shrugged. "Okay then..." He pointed to the display. "You see this triple-bonded molecule?" "That's what did it?" Samus asked. "No." He pointed to another molecule on the display. "The triple-bonded molecule is normal for Link. It's this one over here, interacting with the first one. I don't know what makes the second molecule, but from the distribution, my guess is that one way or another he's been ingesting it for some time - and a last final big dose that nearly killed him." "The water." Kevin snapped his fingers. "Link spasmed after drinking the water." "Was it just his water," Samus asked, "or is it in everything?" Right tapped the side panel. "If you asked me, I'd say it was in everything. Food and water. The diagnostics indicate that the possible reaction resulting from the two molecules would be hallucination and irrational behavior. But since only Link has the triple-bonded molecule, only he would suffer." Kevin frowned. "Why does he have it?" Right paused. "I'm not really sure. He never said." "Someone is obviously trying to discredit him and whoop his ass big time." Samus said. "Who would - " Kevin started. "Who wouldn't?" Samus interrupted. "Every hero has a line of enemies ten miles long." Kevin sighed. "How's Link?" "Living." Right deadpanned. "Keep him living." Kevin faced Samus. "How would you feel about finding the girl and doing an interrogation?" "Do I get to do it my way?" Samus asked. Kevin looked aside a moment. He looked back at Samus. "At this rate, sure!"
Kevin and Samus exited the warp. Samus reached for the door handle, but it failed to budge more than an inch. "Guess what." Samus said over her shoulder. "I've got the key right here." Kevin pulled out his Zapper. Samus stood aside. A brief shot deteriorated the door. The lady who had brought in the food jumped back from her eavesdropping crouch. "Hey!" Kevin called out, when the lady started dashing down the hall. Samus bounded after her. Even without her bounty-hunting armor, Samus was fast. Actually, she may have been even quicker. Samus overshot her target, ricocheted off of the end wall, and pummeled back down onto the lady. They struggled for a little bit, but Samus' superior skill kept the other pinned to the ground. "You've got some talking to do, bitch." Samus growled. Kevin walked over, keeping his Zapper trained on the lady and making sure the lady saw this. "What exactly did you put in the water you left in the room?" "I don't know." the lady quickly said. "A fat man with black hair told me to make sure I put a powder in his food and drink." "Do you have any of it left?" Samus demanded. "No." The lady shook her head, hampered by the floor and Samus keeping her on the floor. "I used it all, just like the man said. He told me to make sure Rinku ate or drank it, and when Rinku died, to tell him when he came back." Kevin and Samus glanced at each other briefly. "When is he coming back?" Kevin asked. "Tomorrow." The lady struggled but still couldn't get free of Samus. "Let me go!" "Fat chance." Samus crowed. "We're gonna be there with you."
With the lady in tow, Kevin and Samus warped back to Megaland. After securing the lady in a holding cell, they made the journey to Doctor Right's lab. "How's it going, doc?" Kevin asked. The doctor shrugged. "I've purged the chemical out of his body,...but now he's lapsed into a coma." He walked over to where the Hylian lay. Link was absolutely motionless. Tubes were still strung all about. Various monitors wavered. Those measuring brain activity were hauntingly silent. "This sucks." Samus said. "I'm starting to feel sorry for the bastard." Kevin just shook his head. "I don't know what to say, doc. Just keep him alive, I guess." "Been doing that." Right responded.
Friday, October 11, 1996, 2:58 PM
The next day came, and the three waited at the mental institution. The back door creaked open, and in wiggled an enormously fat man with black hair. He stopped - sorta. His bulgy flesh kept moving and flopping even after his limbs had stopped moving. The fat on his face all but hid his eyes, and it was amazing that he could even see. But he did, and he saw Kevin and Samus with the lady. The man spun around and ran, showing off more speed than any fat guy had any right to possess. Samus bolted after him, though her first dive missed completely. She rolled back to her feet, but before she could launch herself at the man again, Kevin fired his Zapper. The big mound of flesh fell to the floor. Samus reached the man and rolled him onto his back. "You killed him!" "I couldn't have. I shot him in the leg." "He's dead. Look for yourself." Samus said. With neither N Teamster restraining her, the lady bolted. "Aw, screw her." Samus dismissively waved in the general direction. She pat searched the body. "Damn pacemaker." "Pacemaker?" Kevin asked. "On a Hylian? How can..." Kevin had tapped the side of the man's head to point out his obvious Hylian features, but the pointed ear broke off. "Orions masquerade as Andorians." Samus blinked. "Huh?" "Never mind." Kevin looked the dead man over. "If he's not Hylian, where is he from? And who is he?" "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Samus asked. "Right?" "Right."
Right looked over the dead man. The fake ears had been removed, and the hair turned out to have been dyed black to cover a mane of blazing red hair. "It looks like he's a native of one of the worlds that was destroyed by Brain Child." Right said. "Without proper identification, we may never know exactly who he is. Judging by the wear and tear on his Hylian-style clothing, he had to at least have been in Hyrule for a while." Right noticed something. "Now this is interesting." Both Kevin and Samus riveted their attention on the doctor. The doctor took a toothpick and scraped dirt out from under the dead man's fingernails. He placed the dirt into a small disk-type container and placed that into a scanner. "What is it?" Kevin asked. "Dirt." Right replied. "So?" Samus demanded. "From Death Mountain." Right completed. "'The leeches are plotting on the mountain.'" Kevin and Samus said simultaneously. When Right looked at them, Kevin held up a hand. "I'll explain later." He walked across the lab. "Hey! You're awake!" he exclaimed. Samus dashed over. "I dunno. He looks blitzed." Right took his time walking over. "Actually, he's only physically awake. Mentally, he's asleep. The active portions of his brain have not re-fired. It's called 'post-coma'. In its simplest,...the lights are on, but nobody's home." "How long does it last?" Kevin asked. Right shrugged. "Could be a few more minutes. Could be hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years. Maybe even never." "He could be a vegetable for the rest of his life." Kevin said. He pulled out his warp zone opener and tapped in coordinates. "Where are you going?" Samus asked. "Death Mountain." "What the fuck of interest is there on Death Mountain?" Kevin looked over his shoulder. "Dazel and Kordash."
"And to what do I owe this pleasure?" Dazel asked with more than her fair share of sarcasm. "I need to ask you a few questions." Kevin growled. "About what?" she asked. "About a certain fat man." "Oh, yes, poor guy." There was no sympathy in Dazel's voice or face. "William Teller. He was employed by Wombatman Productions until the world was destroyed." "Tell me." Kevin frowned. "How do you know about him?" Dazel smirked. "He came here." "And..." Kevin prompted. "He tried getting a judge to go along with the war crime suit against Link, but the judge wouldn't do it, so Mr. Teller killed the judge." "But Link saw that," Kevin filled in, "and Mr. Teller tried to make Link look insane so no one would believe him?" "Exactly." Dazel smirked. "How do you fit into this?" Kevin asked. "He wanted to know where to find a certain variation of the hænep plant. So I told him." Dazel chuckled. "Oh, you can't do anything against me about it. It's perfectly legal for me to tell someone. For instance, I could tell you where to get crack. I could tell you how much it costs. I could even drag you by the nose and bring you right to the guy selling it. It's not my problem what you do with the information. As long as I don't actually pick it up and hand it to you, I'm legally in the clear." She was right, and Kevin knew it. "One last thing." Kevin growled. "How did Mr. Teller know that the plant would affect only Link?" "He said Resurgam told him when he got here five months ago." "Who's Resurgam?" Dazel shrugged. "I didn't ask. Is there anything else?" Kevin fumed at Dazel's calm. "No. That's all." He opened a warp and walked into it.
"She makes me sick," Zelda proclaimed when Kevin had told her the events so far. They had warped from Hyrule to Megaland because Zelda insisted on seeing Link. When they stepped through the door into Right's lab, the scene was a little unexpected. Both Samus and Right were leaning over Link. "C'mon, wake up!" Samus was shaking Link's shoulder. "How many fingers do you see?" Right asked. "Don't go back now!" Samus demanded. "Wake up, will ya?" "How many fingers am I holding up?" Right asked. Kevin and Zelda dashed over to where Link lay. Like last time, Link's eyes were open - except this time he was actually focusing on things. And as if to shock them all, he asked "Who is this jerk? And why can't he count up to two?" "Welcome back to the land of the living, Link." Kevin said.