Captain N: The Game Master



Author's note: Welcome to the story. Before you start reading it, let me explain what this is and how it came to be.

Through most of 1998, I and three friends of mine were planning out a fan-written Season 7 of the Saturday morning cartoon series, "Captain N: The Game Master". It was to be one huge story arc consisting of 16 episodes.

It involved a new enemy, named Brain Child, whose goal was the destruction of every world in Videoland.

This was going to be awesome, but the other three writers quit over creative differences in the summer of 1999, and my hard drive crashed the day before episode 3 was to go online.

Still, I was determined to not let this stop Season 7. Once I got my new hard drive, I rewrote most of the episodes. Due to time constraints and my memory, I knew that I couldn't rewrite everything that I had lost. I got rid of story plots, removed episodes, combined some episodes into one, and added in a bunch of filler. Some of the episodes reached an NC-17 level. My readers weren't happy and were even angered by a lot of my writing.

Season 7 ran from Wednesday, September 22, 1999 to Saturday, December 11, 1999 and consisted of 10 episodes: "Brain Storm", "Alliance", "Knee-Deep in the Dead", "Star Light, Star Bright", "Valiant Heroes", "Instruments of Destruction", "The Shadow of Our Night", "Separation Anxiety", "The Touch", and "Game Over".

I'll try to list the problems with Season 7: 1) Lack of writers. 2) Loss of material due to hard drive crash. 3) Filler. 4) Spelling errors due to not enough time to check for them. 5) A self-imposed deadline for the season finale.

I had written 10 episodes that, slowly, changed the situation in the series. Still, Season 7, as it was put up in 1999, was very incomplete and epitomizes the worst of the cartoon series: filler. Season 7 also led to a lot of retaliation by Captain N "purists", but I won't get into that here. You can read my extensive essay, "A Critical Analysis of the Captain N Fandom", for more on that and a more detailed account of the creation of Season 7.

In 2002, inspired by the Director's Cut of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", I decided to do the same thing for Season 7. I started working on a "movie version" of Season 7, but it was lost in my hard drive crash in July. Rather than trying to do it again, I decided that, as rude as the fans are to me, they didn't deserve it. Now, though, I've decided that I do want to do this.

So, let me explain what this is. This isn't a 16-episode Season 7 as it would have been had the other writers not quit. We'll never know what that would have been like. This isn't what the story would have been like if I had decided back then to write it as a movie (as I should have done). I put all 10 episodes into one file. Then I started making edits: cutting out the filler and making spelling corrections. The result is a "movie edition" of the Brain Child story arc. It's tighter and cleaner. It's also been lowered to an R rating.

I created this edition from Saturday, January 25, 2003, 8:30 AM to Friday, March 7, 2003, 11:11 PM. Reviews of all kinds are welcome. Enjoy the story!

Saturday, September 9, 1995, 11:05 AM

The blue vortex opened in the darkness, spitting a weary young man into the rain-filled crater on the cold gray world. He cursed, forcing a good deal of mud from his mouth. Normally, he wouldn't have executed a blind warp to anywhere, and it appeared that the decision would cost him.
He stood in the rain, his boots sinking into the watered soil which bore a resemblance to heavily moistened clay. "Hoo, boy." he sighed, examining his monochromatic surroundings. "This looks like a rather enjoyable place."
He pulled the cuff of his now-torn leather jacket up and raised the Power Glove to his mouth.
"Computer," he requested, "pinpoint current location." He could barely hear the Glove's response over the raging storm.
"Unknown." the glove responded. "Game world is not said to exist."
"Well, it has to exist." he argued. "It can't be here if it doesn't exist."
"Official and independent maps do not register this location."
"This world is artificial?" He asked.
The glove hummed. "Negative. Game world is natural, but lifeless."
"Stupid question time." he warned. "Are there any colonies on this world?"
"Scanning." The glove paused. "No colonies detected. Unknown structure located twenty miles south of this location."
"Teleport to location of structure." Pak commanded.
"Unable to teleport. Circuitry damaged in recent involuntary downgrading of equipment. Excess power being routed to self-repair sequence."
"Excess power?" Pak smiled thinly. "This situation may prove interesting yet." he said as he began to march off toward the structure.
Trudging through the rain seemed like an endless journey for the bounty hunter. There wasn't much for scenery on the asteroid-like world. The most frustrating segments of his trip were when seemingly harmless puddles turned out to be several-feet-deep pits of water.

After twelve hours of walking and slipping through the mud, Pak reached the only structure specified by his trusted computer. Much like the world itself, the large dome was almost void of decoration.
"Computer, is this structure inhabited?"
The glove hummed in the rain. "No registered lifeforms detected."
"Great." he said, stepping closer to the dome. "Now how the hell am I supposed to find out where I am?"
Once he came into contact with the structure, Pak ran his hand along the exterior. After scanning the perimeter by touch for several minutes, he finally found the small cracks that signaled an entrance.
"Load." he ordered his glove. "Strength."
The rusted iron door screamed as it was pushed into the wall. As Pak stuck his head through the portal, he found the inside of the dome barely more featured than the outer structure. On the far side sat a dormant monitor - and beside it a lifeless 'droid with multiple appendages and features.
"Yo!" Pak called, his voice painfully echoing back at him. In the dim light, he nearly collided with the control panel that was only a few feet before the door he had opened. "Anyone home?"
He ran his hand along the control panel, and when his hands discovered what appeared to be a master switch, the only option in his mind was to examine the unknown purpose of the dome's existence.
Pak pushed the switch forward, and the room came alive. A powerful light from the dome's peak burst to life, its illumination trickling down into small glass jars that lined most of the upper ceiling. The 'droid across the room began to weakly flail its devices about, and the monitor flickered.
The screen was consumed by a purple hue, which pulled back to reveal itself as an aquiline face. If he had to associate it with anything, Pak would have guessed its design inspired by the infamous comedy and drama masks so often referenced to theater on Earth.
The face smiled innocently, but Pak sensed nothing but vicious intentions from the electronic being. The usually fearless bounty hunter shivered as he heard the device speak its first words since an activation in however how long it was shut down.

Kevin stepped out of the kitchen. He had fixed himself a snack at his stomach's demand and had managed to create an extraordinary sandwich with the greatest of stealth, not waking his teammates in the late evening.
Not that the noise would matter. The sudden storm that had consumed Megaland only an hour ago would have covered up any clattering the young man made. If anything, most of his friends were struggling with sleep, as Megaland was frequently unknown for ill weather.
He caught a form out of the corner of his eye. Standing before the sliding glass door that lead to the back porch, in a pink robe, was the Princess of Videoland, Lana Deschain. Kevin wasn't exactly sure if he should have disturbed the deeply-immersed young woman.
Mindlessly, Kevin joined her at the door. The Princess was watching the storm with serious interest, which didn't sit too well with the Game Master. Remembering that the sandwich had been cut into halves, he offered her a piece by lifting the plate before her.
"No," she said, barely taking her eyes off the storm, "but thanks."
"It's pretty bad," Kevin graded the weather, "isn't it?"
"Blackouts in over forty percent of the city." Lana reported. "Satellite transmissions are down, power regulations are fluctuating - " She shook her head. "We'd be in the same boat if we didn't have a private generator. This house and Doctor Right's estate must be the only two places in the city right now with stable electricity."
"I hope the doc doesn't make Rush sleep outside."
Lana laughed at Kevin's quip.
"What's the problem anyway? I know it's not normal, but you're taking a pretty weird interest in the weather all of a sudden."
"There's something about it." Lana said as she pulled the glass door open.
With the winds blowing away from the door, the pair was able to experience the storm minus the downpour.
"I can't put my finger on it. It's something in the air. Can you smell it?"
Kevin nodded, now concerned as well. "Yeah, I can smell it. But what is it?"
"I don't know," Lana answered, "but it's definitely nothing good."

The monitor flew across the room, attached secretly to a track that could cross over the entire dome if necessary. Its sudden motion sent Pak to the floor, and it pressed closer as he crawled backward on the freezing metal floors.
"Alive!" it restated.
"Well, duh!" Pak rebutted. "Would you please back up, whatever the hell you are?"
The machine did as requested, allowing the bounty hunter to slowly climb to his feet.
"So, what's your deal? What are you?"
"Brain Child." the image returned. Its eyes tipped upward, taking Pak's with them. There, in one of the ceiling's glass cylinders, was an old, withered, decaying brain. From the looks of the organ, it had been out of use for an extended period.
"You're an artificial lifeform. Interesting." Pak stood upright. "Well, it was nice meeting you. If you'll excuse me, I believe I've had enough shlock horror for one day." He promptly headed for the door, which slammed shut, nearly taking his nose along with it.
"Fix." Brain Child demanded.
"Fix?" Pak turned, angry. "Fix? Listen, you freaky excuse for an IBM, I'm not a repair man! I hunt - that's what I do. You need someone to fix your binary ass, you call Doctor Wily."
"Wily?" the computer repeated the name.
"Yeah, Doctor Wily. He's a nutball of a robotics expert that lives in Megaland." Pak's eyes lit up. "Say, why don't you let me out of here, and I'll go find him for you. Then I'll send him back here, and you can have all the repairs you want done."
"Fix." Brain Child insisted. "Then hunt."
"Hey, I told you - " Pak stepped forward, but the 'droid quickly zipped before him, extending an arm that closely resembled a stun gun. Not wanting to guess from the crackling sparks if it was a long range weapon, Pak submitted. "Where do I start?" he asked, forcing a smile.

Mike walked downstairs and into the kitchen. He got a Pepsi from the fridge, then went into the band room and joined Kevin and Lana. "Hey, guys."
Kevin and Lana looked at him. "Hey, Mike."
"You can't sleep either, huh?" Kevin asked.
"None of us can." Mike replied. "How long is this storm gonna last?"
"Who knows?" Kevin replied.
"Care for some extra company?"
Kevin, Mike, and Lana turned around and saw Stacey standing there.
Kevin smiled. "Sure!"
Stacey walked over to them, her footsteps muffled by her white bunny slippers. "Thunder totally sucks."
"Yep." Mike agreed.
"I can't get to sleep." Stacey complained.
"Have you tried masturbating?" Lana asked. "That always helps tire me out."
"I've tried." Stacey replied. "I can't concentrate on it. The lightning scares me."
"Hey, guys, since we're all up, let's play a concert." Kevin suggested. "I'm sure everyone else in Capital City is awake. Music will take our minds off of the storm."
"Great idea, Kevy!" Stacey complimented.
"But how do we get the word out?" Lana asked. "Power blackouts have risen to eighty percent."
"We'll send out a message all over Capital City." Mike said. "Whoever gets it can tell their friends about the concert."
"Let's do it!" Stacey said.

Li Shiroshi stood at a metal work table in her laboratory. She couldn't sleep, so she had decided to work. It wasn't easy to get any work done, because the power kept fading to half and returning to full. This made Li wish she had gotten a private generator, rather than receiving power from the Megaland Power Plant. She was just finishing up her robotic bat.
"Done!" Li exclaimed to herself.
Jazz walked into the lab. "Li,...are you feeling all right?"
Li smiled at her "daughter" in appreciation. "I'm fine, Jazz. I just can't sleep because of this storm." She grinned. "But I finished an invention!"
"Neat." Jazz replied with a smile.
Suddenly, a beeping sound came from the computer console.
Li walked over to it and pressed a button. Lana's face appeared on the viewscreen.
Li smiled. "Hi, Lana!"
The image and sound weren't very clear, due to the unstable power.
Lana smiled back. "Hi, Li. Listen, the band is going to perform a concert to try and make people happy. Wanna come?"
"Did you say concert?" Li asked. "Count me in!"

Attendance of the concert was a lot greater than expected. The Megaland concert hall, one of the few remaining places in Capital City with power, was packed with people. They had come from all over Megaland at their friends' announcements of the concert. The N Team and their friends had front row seats as usual.
Security was heightened due to the unusually large number of people. Police robots were at the doors and going up and down the aisles.

Backstage, the band members gathered together, ready to go on. They were dressed in their usual band attire - all in black.
Kevin looked at Lana and smiled nervously. "You ready?"
Lana returned the smile. "We'll see."
Kevin looked at the others. "Mike, Stacey, you got the music down, right?"
"Yeah, man. Don't worry about it." Mike said.
Stacey smiled. "Good luck, guys. Break some legs."
Lana smiled at her. "Thanks! I think."

Mega Man walked up onto the stage and turned on the microphone. The audience fell silent.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I present...Captain N & The Video Game Masters."
The audience went wild as the band walked out onto the stage. Mega Man went and took his seat.
Mike sat behind his drum set. Stacey stood behind her keyboard and turned it on. Kevin and Lana plugged their guitars into the amplifier and turned it on.
Then they all turned on their microphones.
Lana waited for the audience to fall silent, then spoke: "Six years ago, I was sitting on my throne in the Palace of Power. It was a dark day in Videoland. Mother Brain's forces were advancing on my home. I had lost all hope. Looking to each of my friends, I thanked them for their help." She smiled. "But the day didn't end quite the way I had expected. A prophetic voice spoke to me and gave me hope. The Ultimate Warp Zone opened up, and the legendary hero, Captain N: The Game Master, was brought to Videoland to lead us to freedom. This concert tonight is in celebration of the six-year anniversary of Kevin Keene's arrival in Videoland!" She looked to Kevin.
Kevin looked at the audience. "I, uh, I admit, six years ago, I didn't clean my room when I was told to. Sorry, mom."
Cheryl Keene, sitting in the front row, laughed.
"Never did I think I'd be here, in Videoland, sharing adventures with characters I had seen only on my TV screen. When I arrived, everyone was skeptical - even me. I didn't wanna help these guys." Kevin smiled. "But we learned to work together, and we've grown close, becoming a family. Eventually, the team grew from the original six of us to thirteen. Lana cut her hair. Mega Man got a cool new body. We've learned some hard lessons. But we've stuck together, and we're closer than ever." Kevin faced Lana. "I will now sing a song with Lana that kind of fits this occasion. 1, 2, 3, 4."
The band began playing the music to "I Have the Power", the theme song to "He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword". Kevin and Lana sang the vocals.
The audience went wild. Cheering and applause sounded throughout the room. Kevin's parents were especially proud. Lana disliked singing some of the lyrics, which she didn't agree with, but she enjoyed the attention. The band members took bows.
Then they realized that something was wrong. Three of the police robots were firing their weapons at people!
The audience began wondering what was going on. The band stopped and watched in horror as six people were fired down by laser guns. They gasped.
Kevin, Lana, and Mike drew their Zappers and fired at the 'droids, destroying them. Kevin and Lana took off their guitars, and the four band members jumped down off of the stage.
Five more police 'droids began firing. The band members destroyed them all.
Kevin ran over to the other N Teamsters. "Simon, Kid Icarus, Rick, Romeo, Julius, get these people out of here!"
Lana ran over to him. "Kevin, those people are dead!"
Dr. Thomas Xavier Right, Dr. Li Shiroshi, and their robots ran over to Kevin.
"The robots have gone haywire!" Dr. Right yelled over the screams of the crowd.
"Michael, Jazz, Tempo, go with the guys!" Li ordered.
"Yes, Li!" Michael replied.
The two androids and the robo-wolf left went to help get the people out of the concert hall.
Ned and Cheryl Keene ran over to Kevin.
"Kevin, what's going on?!" Cheryl yelled.
"I don't know, mom!"
"Everybody to my lab quickly!" Dr. Right yelled. He took a warp zone opener out of one of his lab coat pockets and opened up a warp zone.
They all ran into the warp.

They appeared on a lift in Dr. Right's laboratory. It lowered them down to the floor.
Dr. Right immediately ran over to a viewscreen and clicked on VNN.
"This is Cathy Bennett, live outside the Megaland concert hall in downtown Capital City, where just minutes ago robots began attacking the concertgoers for no apparent reason." the news reporter announced. "We have yet to hear from Dr. Thomas Right about the cause of this attack, but people are already suspecting Dr. Albert William Wily."
Dr. Right contacted VNN. Cathy Bennett's face appeared on his monitor.
"Dr. Right, are you watching this?" Cathy asked.
"Yes, and I share popular opinion. Believe me, I'm going to call up Dr. Wily right now and get - "
"Wily, what the fuck did you do?!" Lana demanded. She had already taken the liberty of contacting Dr. Wily herself.
"What are you talking about, Your Highness?" Dr. Wily asked.
"You know what I'm talking about. You reprogrammed the robot security force at the Megaland concert hall and caused them to fire on people!"
"Princess, I assure you I had nothing to do with it." Wily smiled. "Although it's a nice idea. Thank you." He cut off the transmission.
Lana hit the computer console in anger.

Dr. Wily chuckled to himself. "Yes, I think I'll do that sometime."
Suddenly, the glass of the sky window in the ceiling shattered to pieces, and a figure dropped down to the floor.
"Wily!" Pak yelled.
"Piedmont!" Wily returned. "What do you want?"
"You." Pak fired at him.
The evil scientist fell to the floor, unconscious.
Pak grabbed hold of Dr. Wily and teleported out of the lab.

Rick appeared in a glow of yellow light on the lift. It lowered him down to the floor.
"Rick, how is it?" Mike asked.
Rick was panting. "We managed to get most everybody else out, but four more people were killed by the 'droids before we destroyed them. It's a hell of a mess. People are freaked!"
"Ten people...dead." Lana said in disbelief. "Just like that."

Pak dragged Dr. Wily into the dome and threw him on the floor.
"Where am I?!" Dr. Wily demanded. He looked up at the android. "Who are you?!"
"I am Brain Child," the android replied, "and you are in my lair. You are Dr. Wily."
"Why was I brought here?!" Dr. Wily demanded.
"You were brought here to fix and upgrade me." Brain Child said. "I had sent out a video virus to infect your robots, so they might bring you to me, but that attempt failed, so I had no choice but to send Pak to obtain you."
"Hey, I resent that." Pak said.
"Silence." Brain Child ordered. "You two now work for me. Dr. Wily, you will upgrade me. Pak, you will destroy for me. If I find that you are not performing to your full capability, you will be terminated."
Dr. Wily gulped. "Very well."

"Robot uprisings are occurring all throughout Megaland." Cathy Bennett announced. "Chaos and panic are everywhere as robots turn on their masters. Seven-hundred people have been declared dead so far, and there are more than three-thousand injuries."
"Dear God." Cheryl said. "What's happening?"
"I don't know." Dr. Right said truthfully. "Somehow these robots are being reprogrammed."
"Dr. Right, we gotta go out and fight these robots." Mega Man said. "We can't let any more people die."
Dr. Right nodded. "You're right, of course. Go,...but be careful."
Rock, Roll, and Blues nodded and teleported out of the lab.
"Like, what are you waiting for, Riff?" Stacey asked. "Go!"
"No can do." Riff replied.
"Say what?" Kevin asked.
"When Pak was detransformed by Unicron, the modifications Riff had done to his Power Glove were undone. Riff can no longer channel its excess energy to power himself." Dr. Right explained. "In short, Riff is not drawing as much power as he once was, and tires out easily. He has to rest; otherwise he'll literally burn himself out. I'm afraid he can fight only on an as-needed basis."
"Well, that's just prime." Mike said.

Mega Man, Roll, and Proto Man arrived at an electronics store.
"I'll search the perimeter." Proto Man volunteered. "You two can go inside."
Mega Man frowned. "How generous of you, bro."
Mega Man and Roll entered the store. Everything was silent for the moment, but this place had been evacuated earlier. There were no humans in the store.
"We'll split up." Mega Man said.
Roll nodded.
They walked off in opposite directions.

Dr. Right sat down at a computer console and began typing. "I've got to figure out how these robots are being reprogrammed. Li, Rick, Mike, Kristen, get on the other computers. Maybe you can help me."
They did.
Just then, a short red robot walked out of a storage closet. "Hi, guys!"
Everybody looked at the robot. "Hi, Eddie!"
"What's shakin'?" Mike asked.
Suddenly, Eddie twitched. "Shakin'? Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty!"
"Eddie?" Rick asked.
"Not Eddie!" Eddie said. "I am E-Man, defender of the galaxy!" He did a trumpet call with his voice. "Robots of the world march!"
Lana laughed. "He's so cute!" Then she turned her attention back to Dr. Right's monitor.
"Eddie - er, E-Man," Dr. Right said, concern in his voice, "come here."
E-Man complied, whistling along the way.

Roll came across a sales 'droid that was throwing computers and smashing them on the floor.
"Quit formatting the hard drives, buster!" Roll yelled.
She pointed her arms, raised her arm cannons, and blasted the sales 'droid to pieces. Roll smiled, smug.
Roll spun around and fired.
Mega Man dodged the blasts. "Whoa! Cool it, sis!"
"Shit!" Roll frowned. "Mega, have you fried your circuits?!"
"Sorry." Mega Man said, offended. "I'll remember to approach you from the front from now on."
They were silent for a moment as they looked at the pieces of the sales 'droid lying on the floor.
Mega Man looked at Roll. "'Quit formatting the hard drives'?"
"Well, yeah." Roll replied. "They were in one format - working, and now they're in another format - broken."
Mega Man smiled and shook his head. "C'mon. Let's see how Blues is doing."

"I don't get it, Dr. Right." Kristen said. "What are you doing?"
"I'm accessing Eddie's datatracks." Dr. Right explained, holding the cute red robot still as he examined its circuitry. "It appears that Eddie has been reprogrammed." He checked the monitor he had linked Eddie to. "Apparently, some of his programming has been overwritten. But how?"
"He'll be okay, won't he, Dr. Right?" Stacey asked.
Dr. Right shook his head. "I don't know. And I don't understand why Eddie isn't behaving like the other robots. He doesn't seem to be behaving violently."
Eddie's eyes opened. "Watch me, scum!"
Eddie kicked Dr. Right in the stomach, then jumped down to the floor and ran off.
"Man, that little dude can kick!" Heather said in amazement.
Dr. Right looked at the monitor and gasped.
"What is it, Dr. Right?" Rick asked.
"A virus!" Dr. Right exclaimed. "That's how the robots are being reprogrammed! And if Eddie got it that easily..."

Mega Man, Roll, and Proto Man were currently fighting three security 'droids in the middle of a street.
Then they heard Dr. Right's voice: "Rock, Roll, Blues, get back to the lab right now! Hurry!"
Mega Man and Proto Man defeated their respective 'droids.
"Let's go, Roll!" Mega Man yelled.
Roll grunted as she tried to keep the security 'droid in place. It stopped moving for a moment, and Roll used the opportunity to fire plasma into its mouth. She leapt back one second before it exploded.
"Nice going, sis!" Proto Man complimented.
The three androids activated their teleporters.

Mega Man, Proto Man, and Roll teleported into the lab.
"Why'd you bring us back, Doc?" Rock asked.
Dr. Right walked over to them. "I've found the cause of the massive reprogramming - a computer virus that spreads from one robot to another, infecting it. Eddie's got it, and I'm afraid you three might get it as well."
"I think it's safe to say we don't have it, Doc." Blues said with a grin.
"Yes, but - " Dr. Right was cut off by a plasma blast. He narrowly dodged it. He looked up from the floor. "What in - Roll!"
Everybody looked at the blonde-haired robot. Roll had shot a burst of plasma at her creator!
"Roll, what are you - " Lana began.
Quickly, Roll leapt into the air and began firing at Lana. The Princess did a backflip and managed to avoid getting hit.
"She's infected!" Rick yelled. He took his Super Scope off of his back and fired at her.
Roll landed on the floor and dodged the blast.
"What the hell are you doing?" Kevin asked Rick. "We don't want a crispy Roll!"
"Rock, Blues, I have to make sure you don't get infected!" Dr. Right said. "Everyone else keep Roll from destroying anything!"
"Easy for you to say!" Stacey said, dodging one of Roll's blasts.
Lana drew her Zapper and fired repeatedly at Roll, who dodged by doing a series of backflips. Roll then jumped into the air and fired at Lana, who pressed the Left button on her Power Pad to dodge.
Kevin pressed the Jump button on his Power Pad and soared into the air. He drew his Zapper and fired at Roll, missing.
"Eat plasma, fuckwad!" Roll yelled, then fired at Kevin.
Kevin did a Power Dive and landed on the floor.
Roll transformed into her vehicle mode and landed on the lab's floor, then drove after Stacey.
Eddie walked around the lab in a drunken-like stupor. "Robots in disguise!" he sang.
Stacey dodged Roll, then climbed up on top of her.
"Prepare to be noogied, Twinkie Man!" Eddie said, then yelled as he was knocked into the air by a speeding Roll.
"Yep, she's wonky." Kristen commented.
Dr. Right was fiddling with the circuitry in Rock's brain. "I'm putting in some quick blocking programming so the virus can't override your datatracks."
Roll transformed back into her robot mode, dumping Stacey onto the floor, then ran off.
Kevin, Lana, and Mike pointed their Zappers at Roll. They all fired at once.
Roll, hit by all the blasts, fell to the floor, unconscious.

Roll opened her eyes and found herself staring at the ceiling.
She looked around and saw her father, brothers, and friends gathered around her. She was lying on a metal work table.
"What happened?" Roll asked.
"You were infected with the computer virus." Dr. Right told her.
"Yeah, you went postal!" Stacey added.
"Oh." Roll sat up and gave a sheepish smile. "Sorry."
She hopped off the table.
"What about the infected 'droids?" she suddenly asked.
"Most of them have been reprogrammed back to normal. Others are still on the rampage." Dr. Right informed her. "However, the police are handling them."
"Dr. Right, I think you better see this." Ken said. He was sitting at a computer.
Heather looked at the screen. "What'd you find, dad?"
Everybody gathered around the computer and looked at the screen.
"It appears that some of the infected 'droids are leaving Megaland." Dr. Right said.
"Why?" Heather asked.
"I bet they're acting on some sort of command. Mr. Shallowayne, I need to sit there."
Ken stood up. Dr. Right sat in the chair and began typing.
"It seems that the 'droids are heading towards an unknown video world." Dr. Right said.
"You mean like an uncharted island?" Kevin asked.
"Yes. Wait,...a name is appearing on the screen."
"Looks like someone just named it." Ken said.
"The name of the planet is...New...Metroid." Dr. Right said in surprise.
The room was silent for a moment.
Finally, Li spoke up. "Not only are the 'droids heading to New Metroid, but so are people - people from all over Videoland."
"What do we do, Lana?" Rick asked.
Lana began pacing, trying to think of a course of action. For a while, her footsteps was the only sound in the lab.
Finally, Lana turned and faced them. "Whatever's going on is too big for us to handle by ourselves. We're going to form an alliance."
"Good idea." Riff said.
"Dr. Right, begin making plans for a headquarters." Lana ordered. "I'll go over them later. Everyone, go home and pack. Take only what you absolutely need. Rick, shut down all power in the house. I'll send a message all over Videoland."

Sunday, September 10, 1995, 8:50 AM

Dr. Wily had been working all through the night on Brain Child. It now looked hideous.
Brain Child had a large cybernetic brain. Small eyes and a small mouth appeared on the front. The brain was encased in a protective glass dome. The dome was on top of a contraption that had six metal legs. Whenever Brain Child walked around, the clanking of its legs could be heard.
The lair had also undergone a massive upgrade. Hi-tech computer systems filled the room, allowing Brain Child to monitor activity and control New Metroid's defenses with its mind.

"This is Cathy Bennett, reporting live from the Alliance Headquarters, the new base of operations against Brain Child. The decision to form a permanent alliance was made yesterday by Princess Lana Deschain as a way to more effectively combat Brain Child's forces." the news reporter said. "Last night, Her Highness declared that the Third Videoland War has begun. While some people believe that Princess Lana is overreacting to a minor threat, this reporter takes the mass relocation of villains to New Metroid as sufficient proof that something big is going on. This first meeting will involve delegates from only a few video worlds, and its main objectives will be to institute the alliance and set up some basic defenses. I expect that the Alliance will receive many more member worlds over the course of this war."
The Alliance Headquarters was a huge building. It had a Conference room for meetings, a Monitoring room for tracking objects and communicating, three offices, a laboratory, a small kitchen, and quarters for everyone that would stay there.
The delegates began to arrive. Mega Man, Proto Man, Roll, and Riff stood outside, directing the delegates to the Conference room.

Inside the Conference room, Lana sat at the head of the conference table. The N Teamsters and their closest friends sat nearest to Lana. The rest of the delegates sat in the other seats.
"Okay, this conference is hereby called to order at 9:12 AM." Lana said. "By sending a delegate to this conference, your video world has expressed its desire to join the Videoland Alliance. I will now call the roll. Representing Megaland, myself - Lana Sarah Deschain. Representing Hyrule, Princess Zelda Harkinian."
"Here." Zelda said, raising a hand.
"Representing the Mushroom World, Princess Peach Toadstool."
"Here." Peach said.
"Representing Mount Icarus, the Eggplant Wizard."
"Right here!" Eggy exclaimed.
"Representing Castlevania, the Poltergeist King."
"Here." the Poltergeist King said.
"Representing Punch-Out, King Hippo."
"Here." King Hippo said.
"Representing Tetris, Mayor Squaresly."
"Here." Mayor Squaresly said.
"Representing Faxanadu, King Melvis and Queen Dwarfine."
"Here." King Melvis said.
"Here." Queen Dwarfine said.
"Representing Studio World, Wombatman."
"Here." Wombatman said.
"All right," Lana said, "now I wish to inform all of you of something. I want to make this union a lot stronger than a simple alliance. I want to create a new government. Every video world represented here today will be a member of the Republic of Videoland. I hereby nominate myself as President and retain all my powers, but with the added option to delegate any powers and responsibilities I wish. Voice vote. Who agrees?"
"Aye!" came the overwhelming response.
"Okay, we'll draw up a charter later." Lana said. "Now on to more pressing matters. Mega Man, Proto Man, Roll, and Riff, you are to man the Monitoring room in groups of two on a rotating schedule, which I shall leave to you to design."
Mega Man nodded. "We'll get right on it."
"No." Lana said. "I want you to stay for the rest of the meeting. Next, I wish to discuss this...Brain Child. We don't know much about it, except that it is a recently-awakened lifeform on the recently-discovered planet of New Metroid. Brain Child's origins, age, and full capabilities are unknown, but it obviously has the ability to reprogram computers. This includes androids and other robots. We have solved this problem at least. Dr. Right, you will be in charge of trying to learn more about Brain Child."
"Yes, Your Highness - uh, I mean Ms. President."
Lana smiled briefly. "Now, here are orders for the troops on your home worlds. You will use two-thirds of your troops to protect your own worlds, and you will send one-third to Megaland to man our space fleet. Any questions?"
No one said anything.
"All right, meeting adjourned."

Rick and Kevin were in Dr. Right's laboratory with the scientist.
"I've called you here to show you these." Dr. Right gave each of them a warp zone opener. "I've created new warp zone openers for use during the war. They have built-in viewscreens, so we can communicate with each other."
The young men looked the openers over.
"Why do we need new openers, Dr. Right?" Kevin asked.
"The old openers have the coordinates for Earth." Dr. Right replied. "I stored them in the vault with the Warp Zone Shifter. We can't risk Brain Child opening a warp to Earth."
"Good thinking, Dr. Right." Rick complimented.

Lana was walking on the lot in the back on the Alliance Headquarters. She was observing ships being refueled, weapons being loaded, and other such activities.
She entered a hangar and saw Riff and Mega Man carrying some crates onto a ship. When they exited the ship, Lana walked over to them with a smile.
"Great to see ya helpin' out, guys." Lana said. "Hard work?"
"Not for us." Mega Man replied with a smile.
"Riff, I was wondering." Lana told him. "How would you like to join the N Team."
"I'm not a group person." Riff replied.
"Right. Well, you're going to have to work with us during this war." Lana made perfectly clear. "I don't want you going off on your own. What do you say?"
"Well,...only if Chord can join, too." Riff said.
Lana smiled. "Okay. Riff and Chord, welcome to the N Team."
Lana turned and walked away.
Mega Man beamed. "Hey, this is great! Me and my brother on the same team!"
"No offense, bro," Riff told him, "but shut up."

"What did you want to see us about?" Lana asked.
Kevin had called Lana, Mike, and Stacey to his office.
"Guys, we've got a big problem." Kevin said.
"No shit." Stacey quipped.
"No, not that." Kevin said. "Brain Child's forces could hit this place at any time. Our instruments are in danger! We've gotta do something!"
"Kevin, you've gotta prioritize!" Lana said. "What's more important, Videoland or our instruments?!"
Mike nodded. "She's right, Keene. We gotta get 'em!"
Lana rolled her eyes.

Kevin and Lana carried their guitars. Stacey carried her keyboard. Kristen, Romeo, and Julius helped Mike carry his drum set.
The four of them were in a large corridor approximately ten meters below ground level, underneath the Alliance Headquarters.
Lana ran her keycard through the slot.
The large titanium doors slid open, and they walked through. They went deeper underground and soon came to another titanium door.
Stacey placed her right hand on a scanner.
"Identity: Stacey Lynn Anderson, N Team member." a female computer voice said. "Please state your password."
"Fluffy bunny feet!" Stacey said with a grin.
The others all looked at her.
Stacey blinked. "What?"
The titanium doors slid open, and they all walked through.
Lana turned on the lights.
Inside this room was the Warp Zone Shifter. Kevin fired it up.

Taking Kevin's dad's truck, they loaded the instruments in the back.
Kevin drove the truck, while Lana sat next to him, and Romeo and Julius sat in the back. Stacey drove Cheryl's car, with Mike and Kristen sitting in the back seat.

When they arrived at H&S Storage, Kevin saw a sign that read "TRUCKS PARK IN REAR". He ignored it and parked in the front. Stacey parked to his left.
When he got out of the truck, Kevin noticed a FOR SALE sign with a phone number on it: 985-3805. It was the office phone number.
The group headed to the office.
"Hey, you two." a man called.
Romeo and Julius looked at him.
"Who, us?" Romeo asked.
The guy nodded. "Yeah. You two wanna be professional football players?"
"Duh, yeah!" Julius exclaimed.
"Then follow me!" the man said.
Romeo and Julius walked off with him.

Kevin filled out a form and gave it to the owner.
"Here's your key." the owner said, handing it to Kevin.
Kevin took it. "Thanks. Hey, I noticed you're selling the place."
The owner laughed. "I've been trying to sell this place for over eleven years!"
"And no one's offered to buy it?"
"Not since those kids disappeared." he replied.
"Disappeared?" Kevin asked.
The owner nodded. "Yeah. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was back in '84. Four kids in a band parked out front and went inside and practiced. They vanished without a trace." He laughed. "And you got their storage space! Lucky you!"
Kevin, Lana, Mike, Stacey, and Kristen looked at each other, wondering if this was a good idea.

Their storage space was filled with shelves, boxes, and barrels. The band members carried their instruments inside and set them down. Kristen was helping Mike carry his drum set.
"Where are Romeo and Julius?" Mike asked. "They're never around when you need them."
"They probably got lost." Kristen said with a smile.
The two of them set the drums down.
"Okay, let's get back to Videoland." Kristen said.
"Kris, I think you should remain on Earth." Lana advised. "It looks like we're gonna have a big war on our hands. The Third Videoland War." She paused and thought about that. "You'll be safer here."
"Lana, I wanna fight beside you." Kristen protested.
"Kristen, we don't know what we're up against. I can't guarantee your safety. Once we seal up the Shifter again, all trips back to Earth are off."
"Damn it, Lana, I want to join the N Team!" Kristen yelled.
This got everybody's attention.
Lana considered it and nodded. "Fine, but remember you asked for it. Kristen Shallowayne, welcome to the N Team."
Kristen grinned.
"Now we'll go." Lana said.
"What about Romeo and Julius?" Kevin asked.
"Leave them." Lana said. "If they're so irresponsible as to get lost in a fuckin' mini-storage place, then they're out of the N Team - and the Videoland Club."
"You go, girl!" Stacey cheered.
They walked out of the storage space.
On his way out, Kevin noticed a full-length mirror with a plastic cover over it.
"Huh." Kevin said in curiosity, then walked out.

Heather greeted the N Teamsters when they exited the warp. "Have a nice time on Earth?"
"We went there to hide our instruments from Brain Child." Lana told her.
Kristen walked up to her sister and grinned. "Guess who's on the N Team!"
"You?" Heather asked in surprise. "You're on the N Team?"
Kristen nodded excitedly.
Heather turned to face Lana. "I wanna be on the N Team, too!"
"Fine." Lana said. "Heather Shallowayne, welcome to the N Team."
"Ha." Heather stuck out her tongue at Kristen.
"And I've got the perfect first mission for you two." Lana said.
Heather and Kristen looked at her in surprise.

The warp opened, and Kevin, Heather, and Kristen exited it. They found themselves on an army base.
"Let's go inside." Kevin said.
They walked into a barracks.
A soldier stopped them. "Identify yourselves."
"My name's Kevin Keene." Kevin said. "These are Heather and Kristen Shallowayne. We're here to see Sergeant David Justin Haley."
"Stay right there." The soldier turned and went into another room. A few seconds later, he came out. "You can go in."
"Thanks." Kristen said.
Kevin, Kristen, and Heather walked into the office.
Haley was sitting behind his desk. Upon seeing them, he stood up and walked over to them with a smile. He offered Kevin his right hand. "Kevin! Good to see ya again! How are you doin'?"
Kevin shook his hand. "Hey, Snake! Good to see you, too! Uh, we're not doing too well."
"Yeah." Kevin said. "There's this new enemy, Brain Child. We've formed an alliance to fight it, and we need all the help we can get."
"But Metal Gear has no contact with the rest of Videoland."
"Yeah, but we're only here to recruit you,, not all of Metal Gear." Heather said.
"You're a skilled fighter. Please join us, Snake." Kristen begged.
Snake thought for a moment. "All right, I'll have a talk with my commanding officer. I've got some leave time accumulated."
Kevin grinned. "Thanks, Snake!"
The three of them walked out of the office and exited the barracks.
"So, do you know if this Brain Child's gonna attack this place?" Snake asked.
"Actually, it seems that Brain Child can't detect isolated video worlds." Kevin told him. "So, I'll bet it'll leave Metal Gear alone."
"Sounds good." Snake said.

The door chimed.
"Come in." Lana said.
The door slid open, and Link walked into Lana's office.
"What did you want to see me about, Lana?" Link asked.
"Link, I've got an assignment for you." Lana told him. "A group of moblins have taken over a warehouse on News World and confiscated Alliance weaponry and ammunition. It's very important that we get it back. Go kill the moblins and take back the warehouse."
"Yes, sir." Link turned and left the office.

It was late night by the time Link reached the warehouse.
He opened a side door and walked inside. The door closed behind him, cutting off the light.
Link turned and tried to open the door. It was locked.
Link walked deep into the warehouse. The entire place was dimly-lit. The only source of illumination was the parking lot lamp outside.
"Link, help me!" a voice called.
Link stopped. "Zelda?!"
"Link, I've been captured! Please rescue me!"
Link started running. "Zeldaaaaaaaaa!!!"
Suddenly, some creatures attacked him.
"Octorocks!" Link mimicked the octorocks' movements, then defeated them with blasts from his sword.
Another group of creatures attacked.
"Tektites!" Link imitated them as well, then killed them.
Link began doing stupid poses, pretending to be various enemies, accompanied by poor vocal effects.
"Zelda! Zelda! Zelda!" Link sang in a high-pitched voice.
Suddenly, a group of moblins tackled him from behind, pinning him to the floor.
"Zeldaaaaaa!" Link yelled.
"She's not here, you moron." Pak stepped out from behind some crates. "We made a fake recording of her voice."
Link growled. "I can't believe I fell for that - literally!"
"By the way, what was with those stupid creature imitations?" Pak asked.
"What are you going to do with me?" Link asked instead.
"We lured you here," Pak explained, "so Brain Child can possess you. Take him, guys."
The moblins raised Link to his feet. Link struggled, trying to break free, but the moblins were too strong for him.
Pak took out a warp zone opener and opened up a warp. They all went through.

Saturday, September 23, 1995, 8:50 AM

Lana was sitting at her desk, reading a datapad.
The door chimed.
"Come in." Lana said without looking up.
The door slid open, and Rick walked into the office.
"Am I disturbing you?" Rick asked.
"I'm going over the latest casualty report." Lana said. "Three-hundred of our ships were destroyed inside Brain Child's territory. Over three-thousand people dead. So much for our offensive."
Rick just stood silently and listened.
Lana sighed and threw down the datapad, finally looking at him. "I'm sorry, Rick. What do you need?"
"A few minutes ago, we started picking up a transmission from one of our allied worlds." Rick told her. "It's not coming in well, but we're clearing it up. I thought you'd like to be there when we hear it."
Lana nodded and stood up.
The two of them left the office.

Lana and Rick walked into the Monitoring room. Roll and Proto Man were sitting at the control panel. Kevin, Mike, Stacey, Heather, and Kristen were standing around them, waiting in anticipation.
"Have you got it cleared up yet?" Lana asked.
"Not yet." Roll replied. "Something's fucking up the reception."
"Hey, I think I got it." Proto Man said.
A voice, filled with static, was heard on the speakers: "We require immediate military support. Something fraggin' evil is coming out of the Gateways! Computer systems have gone berserk!" The rest was incoherent.
"Can you re-establish contact?" Lana asked.
"No." Proto Man replied.
"There's something familiar about that call." Mike snapped his fingers. "Hey, that call is from Doom!"
Kevin grinned. "Yeah! It's part of the storyline!"
Lana raised an eyebrow. "Doom has a storyline? I must've missed it."
"Let's just say this isn't good." Rick told her. "We gotta go there now!"
Lana nodded. "Okay. Mike, Kevin, you guys are the Doom experts, so you're with me. Rick, I want you to come along as well. Heather, Kristen, think you're ready for this?"
"I'm in." Heather said.
"Me, too." Kristen said.
"Okay, let's go." Lana told them.
"Like, can I come, too?" Stacey asked. "It's kinda boring around here."

The group exited the warp and found themselves on a planet.
"What's the name of this planet?" Lana asked.
"It was Mars in the game." Mike told her.
"I know full well it was Mars in the game." Lana said.
Mike grinned. "I thought you didn't know it had a storyline."
"Phobos and Deimos." Lana replied. "I know my astronomy. What's the name of the planet here?"
"I believe it's...Romero." Rick said.
Kevin, Mike, and Kristen grinned.
"Oh, I get it." Stacey said after a moment, a smile forming on her lips. "Neat."
"C'mon, let's get to the base." Kevin said.

They walked into the control room in the base. The room was full of activity. Soldiers were working at control panels and speaking at the same time.
"Fox Hounder to Phobos base. Come in!" a soldier said into a microphone. He flipped a switch. "Deimos base, come in!"
"Hello?" Lana asked. "Excuse me!"
A man walked over to her. "Who are you?"
"I'm Lana Deschain, President of the Republic of Videoland. Are you in charge here?"
"Lt. Weems, Fox Company." the man replied. "What do you want?"
"We picked up your distress call and have come to help. What's going on?"
"The call you picked up came from Phobos, one of our two moons. Soon afterwards, Deimos simply vanished from the sky. Since then, attempts to establish contact with either moon have been unsuccessful." Weems turned and faced his soldiers. "We're going to Phobos! Let's move out!"
The soldiers picked up their weapons and headed out the door.
"What are the 'Gateways'?" Lana asked Weems.
"Look, lady, I don't have time to answer your questions." Weems said. "Come along if you want, but stay out of our way." Lt. Weems walked out the door.
The N Teamsters looked at each other, shrugged, and followed him.

The shuttle landed on Phobos. Everybody exited it and walked over to a building.
"Taggart, Sanders." Lt. Weems called.
A well-built, red-haired man, who looked to be in his early thirties, walked over to Weems. He was accompanied by a well-built, red-haired woman who also looked to be in her early thirties. She bore a striking resemblance to Scarlett on "G.I. Joe".
"Yes, sir?" the man asked.
"Stay out here and patrol the perimeter." Weems ordered. "The rest of us are going inside."
"Sir, I work best in the field!" the man protested.
"Yeah, I know how you work, Taggart." Weems replied. "All right, let's move in!"
The rest of the soldiers followed Lt. Weems into the building labeled "HANGAR".
The N Teamsters walked over to Taggart and Sanders.
"Tough break, dudes." Kevin told them.
"Yeah, tell us about it." Taggart said.
"I'm Kevin Keene." Kevin said. "These are Mike Vincent, Lana Deschain, Rick Walker, Stacey Anderson, and Heather and Kristen Shallowayne. Who are you guys?"
"Corporal Flynn Taggart, Fox Company, Light Drop Infantry, serial number 888-23-9912." Taggart said. "Folks call me Fly, except when they're pissed."
The others laughed.
"Private First-Class Arlene Sanders." the woman said. "Nice to meet you."
"Yeah." Taggart added.
"It looks like Lt. Weems doesn't like you, Fly." Lana observed. "How come?"
"Three years ago, Weems ordered us to fire upon civilians." Taggart grinned. "He got a knuckle sandwich from Yours Truly."
Kevin grinned. "Way to go, dude!"
"Well, anyway, you guys can keep us company here." Taggart said.
The group began walking around the perimeter of the hangar.
"So, what's going on here?" Lana asked.
"The Union Aerospace Corporation is a multi-planetary conglomerate with radioactive waste facilities on Romero and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos." Fly began.
"For the last four years, the military, UAC's biggest supplier, has used the remote facilities on Phobos and Deimos to conduct various secret projects, including research on interdimensional travel." Arlene continued. "So far, they have been able to open gateways between Phobos and Deimos, throwing a few gadgets into one and watching them come out the other."
"Recently, however, the Gateways have grown dangerously unstable." Fly told them ."Military 'volunteers' entering them have either disappeared or been stricken with a strange form of insanity - babbling vulgarities, bludgeoning anything that breathes, and finally suffering an untimely death of full-body explosion. Matching heads with torsos to send home to the folks became a full-time job."
"Latest military reports state that the research is suffering a small setback, but everything is under control." Arlene said. "Bullshit."
"Then the call from Phobos came in, Deimos vanished, and you guys showed up." Fly finished.
Suddenly, Fly and Arlene's radios picked up the sounds of combat: guns firing, men yelling orders, screams, bones cracking, then, finally, silence.
Fly drew his radio and pressed a button. "This is Taggart! Come in!"
He released the button. Nothing.
"This isn't good." Fly said. "We gotta get outta here."
Fly and Arlene turned and headed back towards the shuttle.
The N Teamsters walked after them.
"Fly, don't you think we should go in there and find out what's going on?" Kevin asked.
Fly and Arlene turned and faced him.
"Are you kidding?" Fly asked. "With what? All the heavy weapons have been taken by the assault team, leaving us with only pistols."
"C'mon, guys, you have to stop whatever's in there." Kevin insisted. "We'll help you."
"Okay." Fly agreed. "You're right. Let's go."
The group walked back to the hangar.
"I hope we can find more substantial firepower somewhere within the station." Arlene said. "If only I could get my hands around a plasma rifle - or even a shotgun."
As they walked inside, they heard animal-like growls echoing throughout the distant corridors.
"They know we're here." Fly said. "There's no turning back now."
They began walking forward. Kevin went to the left, so the others followed.
They saw two sergeants in black uniforms, one on either side of a staircase. The sergeants didn't speak to them, but simply growled and began firing. Fly and Arlene drew their pistols and fired. After three bullets hit each of the sergeants, they died and fell to the floor. The group walked over to them.
"What happened to them?" Fly asked.
"They were turned into zombies." Kevin explained. "They were already dead."
"Well, at least they left us their shotguns." Arlene squatted down and picked up the shotgun of the zombie she had killed.
Fly squatted down and picked up the other shotgun.
When Arlene and Fly stood up and holstered their pistols, they suddenly heard more shooting. Everyone looked up. Two more sergeant zombies were on top of the staircase. Kevin drew his Zapper and shot them dead.
"What the fuck is that?" Arlene asked. "Some kind of new military weapon?"
"It's from another planet." Kevin replied. "Oh, yeah, guys, don't use your off-world weapons except in an emergency. We don't want them running out of power. We can't recharge them here."

Dr. Li Shiroshi and Gameboy were in the Monitoring room.
"They've been gone for five hours now." Li said. "I'm really worried." She faced her creation. "Gameboy, would you like to come with me and help look for them?"
Gameboy beeped in the affirmative.
"Roll, get me the coordinates to Romero." Li told her.
Roll picked up a warp zone opener and entered in the coordinates. She handed it to Li. "Good luck."
Li opened up a warp, and she and Gameboy entered it.

The group entered Dis.
As they entered the spacious arena-like room, Heather picked up a rocket launcher.
"Careful." Kevin cautioned.
On the left side of the arena were old favorites - including a Baron. On the right side was a new baddie. It looked like a brain with eyes and a mouth. It had a protective glass dome over itself and moved around in a contraption.
"A brain with metal legs." Arlene said. "Now I've seen everything."
"The Spider Mastermind." Rick told her. "Bad-ass motherfucker."
"Okay, so how do we take it out?" Fly asked.
"We'll walk around the arena, collecting the rockets. We have to stay clear of the Spider Mastermind's chaingun fire. We'll let it kill off the other baddies for us." Mike said. "Then we fire the rocket launchers and barbecue its ass."
"Sounds like a plan." Heather said with a grin.
And the plan worked. The group managed to pick up all the rockets in the path around the arena and avoid the Spider Mastermind's fire at the same time. While they were doing this, the Spider Mastermind killed the other bad guys, taking damage itself at the same time. Then the group jumped down into the arena.
"Fire!!!" Mike screamed.
Fly fired his BFG9000. The Spider Mastermind walked out of the way of the plasma blast. It couldn't avoid all of Mike, Arlene, Lana, Stacey, Heather, and Kristen's rockets, however. Nor could it avoid Kevin and Rick's plasma gun blasts.
When they ran out of rockets and plasma, Lana, Heather, and Kristen used their chainguns.
The Spider Mastermind was still standing.
"Fly, please tell me you still have enough plasma cells for a BFG blast." Mike pleaded.
"Shit." Mike said. "Okay, there's a plasma gun in that room over there. Someone go and get it."
"I'll go!" Lana ran to the room.
The others fired at the Spider Mastermind with their shotguns. Lana got the plasma gun and started running back over to the room.
At that moment, Li and Gameboy entered the arena.
The Spider Mastermind turned toward them and fired. Li ran out of the way and avoided getting hit.
Gameboy wasn't so lucky, however.
The bullets from the Spiderdemon's chaingun hit Gameboy, creating holes in his case and screen.
"Gameboy!!!" Li screamed in horror.
Gameboy fell to the floor of the arena. His circuitry was exposed. Electricity crackled throughout his body. Then his screen went black.
Li walked over to Lana and took the plasma gun out of her hands. "Give me that."
Li turned and fired at the Spider Mastermind. Tears ran down her cheeks, and her face was red. She screamed in rage as she fired at the monster that had murdered her child. All those present were surprised as Li showed such an anger and hatred that they didn't know she was capable of.
The Spider Mastermind, already weakened, died and fell to the floor in a smoldering heap.
Even after it was dead, Li crashed her plasma gun over the corpse repeatedly. She cried as she bludgeoned the monster's brain, staining her white lab coat blood-red.
After she had thrown down the weapon, everybody stood in silence for a moment.
Suddenly, a hidden door opened.
Lana placed a hand on Li's right shoulder. "Li, - "
"Fuck off!" Li yelled, pulling away. She began to cry.
"Li, I know you're sad." Lana said. "We all are. But...we should go."
Li turned and faced her. "Lana, that thing killed Gameboy!"
"I know," Lana said, "but you might still be able to save his circuitry and build him a new body. For Gameboy's sake, let's go."
Li nodded, then went over and picked up Gameboy.
The group went through the door.

On the other side, they were standing in a green field.
"Romero!" Arlene cried with joy.
"Home at last." Fly said. "I wonder what's been happening here while we've been battling evil unleashed. It's good that no monsters could come through the door with us."
"Uh, maybe not with us, Fly, but..." Kevin began. He pointed.
They looked. The city was on fire. People were driving and running away from it in a panic.
The group entered the city. Chaos was everywhere. People were being killed and turned into zombies.
"The monsters have reached Romero!" Arlene said.
She and Fly drew their shotguns and fired down the zombies.
One ran at Stacey with a gun. His face was all bloody and bruised. His uniform was torn and dirty. Stacey raised her shotgun and fired. She killed the zombie. It fell and hit the street pavement.
"You bitch." he said. "I was trying you."
"Lt. Weems?" Arlene asked.
Lt. Weems died.
"Stacey," Lana said in shock, "...he was no zombie."
"Oh, my God." Kristen said.
"He...was alive?" Stacey asked. "He - I - I didn't mean it."
Lana faced Fly and Arlene. "Fly, Arlene, will you be able to handle Doom 2 by yourselves? We...need to go."
Arlene nodded. "We'll be fine." She offered Lana her right hand. "Thanks for helping us."
Lana shook it. "You're welcome."
Fly offered Mike his right hand. "Take care of yourselves."
Mike shook his hand. "You, too. And keep on Dooming."
"We will."
Mike took out a warp zone opener and opened a warp back to the Alliance Headquarters.
Kevin, Rick, Heather, Kristen, Stacey, Lana, Li, and Mike entered the warp, and it closed.
"Well, Fly Taggart, what do we do now?" Arlene asked.
"Follow me, Arlene Sanders." Fly said. "We'll shoot our way to the base. Find out what's going on once we get there."
The two of them cocked their shotguns and ran into the fury.

"So, they were able to destroy my clone." Brain Child said, watching a few viewscreens. "No matter. The invasion has just begun. Soon there will be nothing left of Romero. Let's see how Flynn Taggart and Arlene Sanders do against my spawn."

The group exited the warp and found themselves in the kitchen.
"Guys, I'd like to have a moment alone with Stacey." Lana said.
Kevin, Mike, Rick, Heather, Kristen, and Li left the room.
"Have a seat." Lana said.
Stacey sat at the kitchen table, and Lana sat to her right.
"Stacey, I realize this is difficult for you." Lana told her. "I know. I've been there. Please talk about it."
"I've never killed anyone before." Stacey sobbed. "Not a human being."
Lana placed her left hand on Stacey's right. "I know. Stacey,...dear sweet Stacey, you're always so cheerful and happy. I'd hoped you'd never have to go through this."
"I'm sorry." Stacey said.
Lana shook her head. "I'm not your priest. You'll receive no absolution from me. If you really feel bad, go to confession, but you didn't do anything wrong."
"Didn't do anything wrong?!" Stacey yelled. "I fucked up big time and killed someone! A man died because of my stupidity. Isn't that, like, a mortal sin?"
"Stacey, you made a mistake." Lana told her. "But the mistake wasn't killing him. You mistook him for a zombie. That was your mistake, not killing him. You killed in self-defense. There's nothing wrong with that."
"How do you live with it?" Stacey asked.
"This may sound cold, but you get over it." Lana said. "Well,...if it's someone you don't care for. I've killed two people. I didn't plan on it or expect it. It just happened. I had to deal with it, or else I'd keep blaming myself. You'll get over this in time."
"I, uh," Stacey began, "I guess it's kinda like losing your virginity, huh? You can never go back."
"No, Stacey, there's a difference." Lana told her.
"If I take a human life to save another, I'll still be able to respect myself. If I lose my virginity, any guilt I feel will stay with me until the day I die."
Stacey swallowed hard. "Thanks, Lana."
Lana kissed Stacey on her forehead. "Good night, Stacey."
Stacey looked at Lana, then leaned forward and kissed her on the left cheek. "Good night, Lana."
Stacey stood up and walked over to the fridge. She took out a can of Pepsi, then left the room.
Lana watched her go. She replayed the moment in her mind when Stacey kissed her. What was that? "Thank you, dear friend"?
Then Lana thought of the other possibility.
"I love you, Lana."

Friday, October 6, 1995, 6:23 PM (California time)

Rick Walker and Mike Vincent sat in Dr. Right's laboratory in the Alliance Headquarters. Rick was busy typing on a laptop.
The door to the lab slid open, and in walked President Lana Deschain, followed by Ken Shallowayne, his daughters Kristen and Heather, Kevin Keene, and Stacey Anderson.
"How are you coming along, guys?" Lana asked.
"I think we've almost got it," Rick said, "but I can't - "
"Here, let me try." Mike typed for a bit on the laptop. "Bingo."
"You decrypted it?" Rick asked in surprise.
"Hey, I'm a hacker." Mike said.
"Okay, what's on it?" Lana asked, leaning over Rick's right shoulder.
"Let's see." Rick skimmed the contents of the disk. "According to the disk, the Star Bright Project was started on Saturday, October 26, 1985. Its purpose was to advance the US space program by developing...wormholes. Theoretically, a tunnel could be opened that could connect two different points in space, allowing almost instantaneous travel between the two locations. Oh, shit. This is not good."
"Earth is developing warping technology." Lana said.
"You don't seem surprised." Rick observed.
"Well, Anubis Runes, the Warp Zone Shifter. It's all starting to fit together." Lana said. "What else, Rick?"
Rick scanned the text. "The first successful 'jump' was accomplished on Friday, July 7, 1989, by pushing a cart through a warp in one room and having it come out of a warp in another room. Inspired by this success, the scientists began making plans to warp objects into space."
"I guess that's where I come in." Ken said.
Rick nodded. "You were hired to test parts for deep space probes. These probes were sent into outer space, where they collected data, and then they were brought back to Earth."
"So, if the project accomplished this, why does it still exist?" Kristen asked.
Rick scrolled down. "Ah. According to a report to the National Security Agency at the Pentagon, their one functioning 'gatemaker' was stolen on Monday, June 29, 1992. In reality, it was taken to a warehouse in Indianapolis to be used by Osiris Runes."
"Osiris?" Kevin asked. "How does he fit into all this?"
"I'm getting there." Rick said. "Osiris was hired on the 29th as an assassin for the project. His first assignment was to kill his older brother, Dorian, as a test of his loyalty. He did that in the early morning on the 30th. Unfortunately, his younger brother, Anubis, got involved, as well as Bob, the designer of the Warp Zone Shifter. The police raided the warehouse, but Osiris and Anubis warped to Videoland. Anubis came back, but Osiris didn't. Bob took Anubis to the Director. Anubis told him that Osiris had ended up in the Florida Everglades and had been eaten by alligators."
"Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got somethin' in my tummy..." Mike sang.
"The Director hired Anubis as an observer for the project." Rick continued. "However, he never told the Director about Videoland."
"Rick, does it say who the Director is?" Ken asked.
"Nope. That's the one thing that's not on here."
"With power like that, those people could rule the world." Heather said. "They must be stopped."
"But their Warp Zone Shifter was destroyed when Anubis' house was blown up." Lana said.
"That's true," Rick said, "but according to this, they're working on a new Shifter."
"Rick, that disk is nearly three months old." Ken said. "What if they've already completed the Shifter."
"We have only one option." Lana said. "We have to go to New Mexico and see for ourselves."
"Are you crazy?!" Ken asked. "If we so much as show up with proper ID, they'll kill us!"
"Not if we kill them first." Lana said. "We're gonna storm the complex."
Mike grinned. "I like how you think."
"There's one more thing." Rick said. "According to this, a new feature is being added to this Warp Zone Shifter - temportation."
"Time-travel." Lana breathed in horror. "We gotta go - now!"

Five minutes later, the group drove Mike and Stacey's convertibles down the corridor ten meters below the Alliance Headquarters.
They stopped in front of the double titanium doors. Lana ran her keycard through the slot.
The doors slid open. Mike and Stacey drove the cars through, deeper underground.
They came to the next double doors. Lana placed her right hand on the scanner.
"Identity: Lana Sarah Deschain, President of the Republic of Videoland, N Team member." the computer voice said. "Please state your password."
"Open the pod bay doors please, Hal." Lana said.
The others all looked strangely at her.
The doors slid open. Mike and Stacey drove the cars into the room.
Rick, Lana, and Kristen exited the vehicles. Rick fired up the Warp Zone Shifter.
"Okay, where to?" Rick asked.
"Good question." Lana said. "Where's the project complex located?"
"The disk doesn't specify." Rick said.
"Well, it was near where they set off the first atomic bomb." Kristen said. "Send us to Los Alamos."
"You got it." Rick entered in the coordinates.
"I'll call you once we've located the complex." Lana told him.
Lana and Kristen got back in the cars. Rick opened up a warp. Mike and Stacey drove the cars through it.

It was dusk by the time they arrived. Mike and Stacey drove up steep curving roads and came to a pine forest.
"Kristen, are you sure you know where we are?" Mike asked.
"Positive." Kristen replied.
At an over-7000-foot elevation, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, was the first of many turnoffs to various buildings and research sections of the National Laboratory.
"Welcome to Los Alamos." Kristen said.

They checked into a motel and rented two rooms for the night - one for the guys and one for the girls.
Currently, they all gathered in the guys' room.
"Okay," Lana said, "we know what Star Bright is, but we don't know where it is. We need a map."
"I'll go to the gas station and get one." Kristen offered. "Mike, can I borrow your car?"
Mike thought about it, remembering what happened the last time he had let someone drive his car.
"Okay." Mike took the keys out of his pocket. "Here you go, but be very careful."
Kristen caught the keys. "I will. I'll be back in ten minutes."
She turned and left the room.

It was dark by the time Kristen reached the gas station. She parked Mike's car by a pump, got out, selected unleaded, and began pumping.
A man standing by another pump noticed her. It was the hitman that had tried to kill her and her family nearly three months earlier. He was shocked when he saw that she was still alive.
After she had filled the tank, Kristen went into the convenience store to pay.
Kristen walked over to the counter. "Ten bucks in gas, and I'd like a New Mexico state road map, please."
The cashier handed the map to her. Kristen paid for it and the gas.
"Have a good night." the cashier said. "Drive safe."
"I will. Good night."
Kristen walked outside and over to the convertible. She got inside, fastened her seatbelt, and started the engine.
Kristen drove out of the gas station and onto the road.
Suddenly, the hitman sat up in the back seat. He pointed his gun at Kristen's temple. "Keep driving. I'm going to give you directions. Do exactly as I tell you."
"What do you want?" Kristen asked, frightened.
"You know, you speak quite well for a dead person." the hitman said. "I thought that bomb had killed you. Now imagine my surprise when I stop for gas and see you walking and breathing."
Kristen looked in the rear-view mirror. "You!"
"Yeah, me. Now, I want you to drive into the forest."
Kristen sighed. "One time I forget to check the back seat, and look what happens."
"Shut up." the hitman said.
They were silent for a moment as Kristen drove.
"Tell me something." Kristen said. "Are you gonna rape me then kill me or kill me then rape me?"
"How'd you escape the bomb blast?" the hitman asked instead of answering her.
"Magic." Kristen replied.
"What about your family? What about Lana Deschain? Are they alive?"
"Like I'd tell you."
"Okay." the hitman said. "Oh, and to answer your question, I think I'll rape you then kill you, but we can do it in whichever order you like."
"You're a sick fuck." Kristen told him.
"Nice pun. Your mom would be proud. Oh, I forgot. You don't have a mom."
"Fuck you!" Kristen yelled.
"Just drive." the hitman said.
Kristen gritted her teeth. "Whatever you say." She hit the gas.
The car sped up with a jolt.
"What are you doing?!" the hitman yelled.
The car went up to 60 miles per hour, then 70, then 80.
The hitman hopped into the passenger seat. He pointed his gun at Kristen. "Slow down!"
Kristen didn't slow down. She sped up. The car was going 90 mph by now.
"Look, no hands!" Kristen said, taking her hands off the steering wheel.
The car went into the left lane.
"Put your hands back on the wheel!"
Kristen did and steered the car back into the right lane.
"Slow down, or I'll shoot you!" the hitman threatened.
"You can't kill me." Kristen said. "If you kill me, we'll both die. Hey, there's an idea! You wanna die together?! Let's die together!"
"You're insane!"
"A car is going a hundred miles per hour, and your hostage, who's at the wheel, refuses to slow down. What do you do?" Kristen asked. "Huh?! What do you do, motherfucker?!"
"Slow down!"
"You gotta bail!" Kristen yelled. "If you don't, you'll die!"
"Suit yourself." Kristen drove the car across the road and towards a tree.
Kristen held up her arms in front of her to shield herself. The car hit the tree.
Kristen had suffered a few bumps, but was otherwise fine. She looked to her right. A tree branch had decapitated the hitman. His head lay in the back seat.
Kristen faced forward for a moment and calmed down a bit, then turned and dug in the man's pockets.

Kristen walked back into the motel room.
"Kristen, what took you so long?" Lana asked.
"I...had some trouble." Kristen replied.
Heather could tell that something was troubling her sister. She walked over to her and put her hands on Kristen's shoulders. "Krissy, what happened?"
"While I was at the gas station, a man had snuck into the car. It was the hitman that had blown up our house." Kristen said. "The son of a bitch tried to kill me!"
The others gasped.
"Are you all right?" Heather asked.
Kristen nodded. "Yeah, I'm okay."
Heather let go of her, and they walked back over to the others.
"And the hitman?" Lana asked.
Kristen faced her. "We're tied."
Everyone was silent for a moment.
"Man, if the Director finds out - " Ken began.
"I don't think he will, dad." Kristen said. "I burned the body."
"But your father's right, Kristen." Lana said. "We should take extra precautions."
"Oh, Mike, I had to be creative in dealing with the bastard," Kristen told him, "so your car's a liiiiiiiiitle damaged."
"What?!" Mike blurted.
"I'll pay for the damage." Kristen offered. "Minus ten bucks. You owe me for gas."
Mike bolted for the door and ran out into the parking lot.
Everybody expected the scream that followed.
"My caaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!!!"

Once Mike had calmed down sufficiently, they all gathered in the room again.
Heather locked the door and closed the blinds. She then turned off the lights.
Everyone gathered around a table. Kristen turned on the lamp, the only source of light in the room. She unfolded the map and laid it down on the table.
"Okay, we gotta figure out where the project is right now." Lana said.
"Well, dad says it's located at about the place where they set off the first atomic bomb." Kristen said. "The bomb was set off on Monday, July 16, 1945 at this location." She pointed it out on the map. "Robert Oppenheimer had dubbed it 'Trinity'."
"Most encyclopedias say it was set off near Alamogordo." Kevin put in, confused.
Kristen laughed. "That's a gross oversimplification of New Mexico geography. Trinity Site is 85 miles northwest of Alamogordo."
"So, the project's there?" Mike asked.
Kristen shook her head. "No. Despite bulldozing away the fused sand, the radiation levels today, half a century later, are still ten times that of the background radiation levels found in nature from radioactive rocks and cosmic rays."
"Yeah, what she said." Stacey agreed.
"The project's not at Trinity, but it's close. The northern approach to Trinity Site is called Stallion Gate." Kristen traced it with her index finger on the map. "It's 17 miles north of Trinity, not too far from Socorro, near the northern edge of White Sands Missile Range."
"So, how do we get there from here?" Lana asked.
Kristen pointed at Los Alamos on the map. "We're here." She traced her directions with her index finger. "We have to go down route 501, route 4, and state route 44." Kristen smiled. "The area has Pueblo reservations marked by spectacular red rock mesas."
"Skip the personal commentary, Kris." Kevin said.
"Right. Sorry." Kristen apologized. "We turn onto New Mexico 525, which leads to an area called Stallion Range Center. Then we turn onto route 380, near the San Mateo and Gallinas mountains. State route 380 runs from east to west along the northern boundary of White Sands. It's a straight, lonely, two lane road. That brings us to Stallion Gate, 53 miles west of Carrizozo, 12 miles east of San Antonio."
"Good work." Ken said.
Kristen smiled.
"Now that we know where the project is, there's still the question of how we get in." Lana said.
"Simple," Mike said, "we'll kick everybody's ass."
"They'll kill us before we set foot in the complex, dork." Heather said.
"We need identification." Lana said.
"Maybe this'll help." Kristen took a wallet out of her front right shorts pocket. "I found it on the hitman."
Kevin took the wallet and opened it. "Let's see. His name was James Reed. His address is listed as a PO Box in Stallion Springs, New Mexico."
"Where's that?" Stacey asked.
"As far as I can tell, it doesn't exist, so Stallion Springs probably refers to a mail drop at or near Stallions Gate." Kristen had a thoughtful look on her face. "Hmm, possibly even those postal boxes I saw."
"What?" Mike asked.
"When we visited last year." Kristen explained.
"The zip code is 87-" Kevin squinted his eyes. "-something." He flipped through the wallet. "Oh, shit, he's from the US government!"
"That's nice." Lana took the wallet from him. "Bingo." She pulled out an identification card with a bar code on it. "Here's our ticket in."
"Don't forget this." Kristen took a neon blue star pin out of her pocket and handed it to Lana.
"Thanks." Lana said.
"Access to Trinity Site via the Stallion Gate is open to the public two days a year - on the first Saturdays in April and October." Kristen said. "Whatever we have to do, we better do it before the crowds show up."
"All right, we'll leave early tomorrow morning." Lana said. "Everybody get some sleep. I don't want us fighting guards while we're fighting our own fatigue."

Saturday, October 7, 1995, 2:00 AM (New Mexico time)

"Stacey, wake up!" Lana yelled.
Stacey woke and sat up. "What?! Huh?!"
Lana was standing next to her. "Time to get up, Stace."
Stacey groaned and stood up. "I, like, hate getting up early!"
"Go shower, then get dressed." Lana told her.
Stacey headed for the bathroom.
Lana walked over to the other bed and clapped her hands. "Heather, Kristen, yo!"
The two sisters got up and out of bed.
Heather groaned. "What time is it?"
"2 AM." Lana replied. "We're all gonna shower, then we'll head out."
Kristen grinned. "Are we all gonna shower together?"
"Be serious. The universe is at stake." Lana turned and walked away. "I'm gonna go wake up the guys."

The door opened, and a man with long silver hair walked into the dimly-lit office.
Behind the desk in the office, a man sat in the shadows. "Progress report, Bob."
"We're almost ready, sir." the man with silver hair said. "We're doing the final systems checks now. Maybe another half-hour."
"Excellent." the man said.
"Director," Bob asked, "why are we adding time-travel capabilities to the gatemaker?"
"That's not your affair." the Director told him. "Inform me when we're ready to proceed."
"Yes, sir." Bob turned and left the office.

Mike and Stacey followed Kristen's directions, and soon the group arrived at Stallion Gate. They got out of the cars.
Lana took out a warp zone opener. She contacted the Alliance Headquarters.
Rick's face appeared on the viewscreen. "Walker here."
"Rick, this is Lana. We're at our destination. Lock in on my coordinates and send the troops. No laser- or plasma-based weapons."
"Got it. Rick out."

In the Alliance Headquarters, the volunteers grabbed the weapons of their choice and went down into the underground corridor.
Once they arrived, Rick fired up the Warp Zone Shifter and opened a warp to Stallion Gate, New Mexico.

In the pre-dawn darkness, the assembled fighters listened to their leader.
"Welcome to Earth." Lana said, standing in front of the others. "In a few minutes, we will be raiding the Star Bright Project. It is a maximum security complex owned and operated by the United States government. This will not be an easy task. We must do our best. First, I want each of us to state our full name and the weapons we're carrying for the record. Lana Sarah Deschain. Handgun and semi-automatic."
"Kevin Kristopher Keene. Handgun."
"Michael Vincent. Double-barreled shotgun."
"Richard Edward Walker. Rocket launcher and shotgun."
"Stacey Lynn Anderson. Semi-automatic and handgun."
"Kristen Shallowayne. Machine gun."
"Heather Shallowayne. Semi-automatic."
"Kenneth Shallowayne. Two handguns."
"Lt. Flynn Peter Taggart. Handgun and shotgun."
"Sergeant Arlene Sanders. Rocket launcher and double-barreled shotgun."
"Sergeant David Justin Haley. Two handguns."
"Li Shiroshi. Handgun."
"Simon Belmont. Whip and handgun."
"Okay, we've got thirteen people." Lana said. "I hope that's enough. I've never done anything like this before, and most of you probably haven't either. If anyone has any last-minute qualms, now's your chance to back out."
No one said anything.
"Any questions?" Lana asked.
"Yeah, I got one." Fly said. "Why'd I have to leave my BFG9000 in Videoland?"
"Too advanced." Lana replied. "We can't risk someone from this world acquiring it and gaining the technology. That's why we're using only weapons that already exist on this world. Any other questions?"
"Yeah." Kevin said. "What does BFG stand for, anyway?"
"Big Fuckin' Gun." Arlene answered. "What else?"
"Anything else?" Lana asked.
No one had any more questions.
"All right. Solid Snake, you will lead us into the complex." Lana handed Snake the ID card and pinned the star pin on his right breast. "Got it?"
"Yep." Snake replied. "I've snuck into places before."
"Right. All right, everyone, form a line behind Sergeant Haley." Lana said. "Don't fire if you're not suspected. We don't want them cutting off our access to the building."
Snake led the group. Soon, they came to a booth with a guard in it.
The guard looked at everyone. "Who are these guys?" he asked Snake.
"The Director's new recruits." Snake answered.
"All right."
The guard pressed a button, and the gate opened.
The group walked into a parking lot and over to a locked door.
Snake slid the ID card through a slot, and the door opened. The group went inside.
The interior of the building was completely white. The walls were made of metal.
They walked over to an elevator. Snake slid the card through a slot, and the elevator doors slid open.
All thirteen of them crowded into the elevator. Lana pressed a button. The doors closed, and the elevator descended.
"According to the disk, the Control room is ten floors down." Lana said. "The Warp Zone Shifter is located there. Don't fire if you're not suspected."

The elevator doors opened, and the group stepped into a corridor.
A soldier walked over to them and held up a gun. Kevin fired at him. The soldier fell to the floor, dead.
The gunshot alerted other soldiers, who ran towards the group. Ken killed two of them. Simon shot and killed the third.
Solid Snake fired at and killed the next four soldiers that arrived. Eight more soldiers ran into the corridor. Lana sprayed them with bullets, staining the white floor with their blood. Lana motioned for the group to follow her. They ran into another corridor.
Five soldiers were waiting there. They began firing. Luckily, the bullets missed the assault team. Mike took down two soldiers, and Fly took down three.
A soldier ran into the corridor and aimed at Fly. Arlene fired at the soldier with her shotgun and killed him. She gave Fly a demented grin.
The group ran into the next corridor. There were twenty soldiers waiting there. Kristen killed ten. Heather killed the other ten.
Six more soldiers arrived. One aimed at Simon. Simon tried to return fire, but his gun misfired. Li killed the soldier instead. Simon gave her a grateful smile. Li did not feel like smiling, however.
The group ran into another corridor. Lana pointed at the door at the end of the corridor. They ran towards it.
Ten soldiers ran into the corridor. Stacey killed them. The next eight were killed by Rick and his rocket launcher. Arlene killed three more with her rocket launcher.
When they were a few feet away from the door, they turned and saw one more soldier. The soldier aimed at Lana. Stacey ran and pushed her out of the way seconds before the bullet was fired. The two girls landed on the floor. Stacey turned around and shot the soldier with her handgun.
Stacey helped Lana to her feet and gave her a smile. Lana smiled back in appreciation.

The group ran into the Control room. The assault team and the soldiers already there locked weapons on each other.
Lana walked down the steps to the center of the room, where the Warp Zone Shifter stood. She had her handgun pointed at Bob.
"Who are you?!" Bob asked.
"My name is Lana Deschain, and I'm taking control of this operation." Lana said. "Are you Bob, the designer of the Warp Zone Shifter?"
Bob nodded. "Yes! What do you want?!"
"No, you will answer my questions, sir!" Lana said. "Did you know that this project has been taken over by a rogue military group?"
Bob was startled. "Well,...I can't say I'm surprised. When the Director took over on February 12, 1990, things started to get weird. Important political figures around the world were being assassinated. Are you saying it's because of the gatemaker I designed?"
"Yes." Lana answered. "Now, what about time-travel?"
"The Director stonewalled me when I asked him about it," Bob said, "but I assume the project's been given a new purpose - to undo tragic events in American history. Imagine if we can go back and prevent the Challenger explosion or the Oklahoma City bombing."
"You can't stop it!" Lana told him.
"Sir," a Mexican man sitting at a control panel said, "the systems checks are complete, and the gatemaker is at full power. Shall we proceed with the first time jump?"
"Yes, Josť, go ahead." Bob told him.
"No!" Lana yelled. She faced her troops. "If anyone tries to open a warp, kill them!"
"Why won't you let us time-travel?" Bob asked her.
Lana faced him. "You don't know much about it obviously. That's reason enough. Tell me. How will you send someone back in time?"
"Why, open a wormhole to different time coordinates than our own, of course." Bob said.
"You're forgetting something." Lana said. "The Earth is constantly rotating on its axis and revolving in orbit around the sun. New Mexico isn't in the same place it was a week ago. If you send someone to different time coordinates, but don't adjust the space coordinates, they'll end up in the vacuum of space and die!"
"I hadn't thought about that!" Bob admitted.
"And here's something else you hadn't thought about." Lana went on. "If you go back in time to April 19, 1995, with the intention of stopping Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols from bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at 9:02 AM, and you succeed, you will have eliminated your very reason for going back in time in the first place. But if you never went back in time to prevent it, then the bombing did occur, which means you would've gone back in time to prevent it. But if you prevent it, then the bombing didn't occur. But if the bombing didn't occur, then you wouldn't have gone back in time, which mean the bombing did occur. You will create a time paradox! I would hate to see what would happen. Most likely, the universe wouldn't be able to handle it and will be destroyed! Past, present, and future will cease to exist!"
Bob was scared. "Oh, man, I almost made a boo-boo!"
"Tell Josť to power down the Warp Zone Shifter." Lana ordered.
"Power it down, Mr. Quinteros." Bob told him.
"Yes, sir." Josť powered it down.
"Where's the Director's office?" Lana asked.
"Five floors up." Bob said.
"Stay here." Lana turned, walked up the steps, and left the Control room.

The door to the office opened, and Lana walked inside.
The Director stood up. "Who are you?!"
Lana walked forward, pointing her handgun at the Director. "I'm Lana Sarah Deschain, and I've come to kick your ass."
"Yeah, me." Lana said. "No more people are going to die so that you can pursue your insane goals of world conquest. I'm taking this project out of your hands. Your reign of terror ends here, now."
"Where are you from?" the Director asked.
"That's not for you to know." Lana told him. Then she asked the burning question that was on her mind: "Who are you?"
The Director stepped into the light. "My name is Michael Mallory."
"Michael...Mallory?" Lana asked. "Any relation to Quinn Mallory?"
The Director was surprised. "Quinn was my son. He and my wife were killed in a car accident seven years ago. How do you know about Quinn?"
"I've met him," Lana said, "or rather a double of him from another universe."
"Quinn Mallory invented, or rather discovered, a form of interdimensional travel known as sliding." Lana told him. "That's it, isn't it? That's why you want to travel through time. You want to prevent your family from being killed."
"Yes," Mallory confirmed, "and you're in my way."
Lana shook her head. "You don't know what you're doing. If you son was still alive, he'd tell you what you're doing is dangerous. And unlike you, Quinn uses technology to accomplish good instead of evil."
"You're one to talk about evil." Mallory told her. "You killed John Petry. He was the best damn observer I had, and you took him away from me!"
"He tried to kill me!" Lana yelled. "I was defending myself!"
"You should've let him kill you." Mallory told her. "His life was worth a lot more than yours, you bitch. Petry was quick on the trigger and always performed his job with perfection."
"Yeah, well, there's one thing you're forgetting about John Petry." Lana told him.
"Oh, yeah? What's that?"
Lana walked up close to him. "I fuckin' killed him."
Lana did a quick jab with her right fist and punched Mallory in the face. He stumbled backwards.
"You piece of shit!" Lana yelled as she did a backflip, kicking Mallory in the jaw with both feet. "That's for Kristen's house!"
Mallory drew his gun and aimed it at Lana. Lana fired her gun at the Director. Mallory did an odd kind of dance as bullets filled his body. Then he lay still.
Lana walked over and pushed Mallory's body to the floor. "Get off my desk."

Lana entered the Control room.
"Report." Lana demanded.
"The rest of the rogues were found and killed." Arlene reported. "All of the bodies have been incinerated."
Lana nodded, then walked down the steps. "Power up the Warp Zone Shifter, Mr. Quinteros."
"Yes, Director." Josť replied.
"You're warping?" Bob asked her.
"Back to Videoland." Lana told him. "You are not to attempt warping until I send Dr. Right here to help you. Li, you're in charge 'til I get back."
"Yes, Lana." Li said.
"The gatemaker is at full power." Josť reported.
"Kevin, Mike, Stacey, Simon, you're with me." Lana said.
The four of them walked over to Lana.
"Hey, Lana." Rick called.
Lana turned and faced him.
Rick was taping her with a video camera. "Got anything to say?"
"Not really." Lana said.
Lana entered in the coordinates from the warp zone opener, then pressed a button and opened a warp. She briefly noticed that the time was 5:29:45 AM. She didn't notice, however, that the coordinates had been scrambled.
Kevin, Lana, Simon, Mike, and Stacey entered the warp, and it closed.

Saturday, October 7, 1995, 8:50 AM

The warp opened, and Kevin, Lana, Simon, Mike, and Stacey exited it. The warp closed.
Lana stopped short. "What the fuck?"
Everybody looked at their surroundings.
"The Throne room!" Lana exclaimed. "We're in the Palace of Power!"
"But I thought the Palace of Power was destroyed." Simon said.
"It was!" Lana said. "I should know! I blew it up!"
"We've gone back in time, haven't we?" Mike asked.
"I wonder when we are." Kevin said.
"I dunno, but I'm not sticking around to find out!" Lana started pressing buttons on her warp zone opener.
"Hey, wait a minute." Kevin said. "This is wrong."
"You're telling me!" Lana said.
"No, I mean the Palace. It's wrong!" Kevin said. "Take a look around."
"I see what you mean." Lana said. "The walls and the throne are different colors. This isn't right!"
"Maybe we've gone so far back in time, the Palace looked different." Mike suggested.
"Mmmm, I don't think so." Lana replied. "I'm no expert on the Palace, but I don't think it ever had these colors."
A group of people entered the room.
"Freeze!" a young human male yelled.
The N Teamsters looked and gasped. The newcomers gasped as well.
The young human male was Kevin, except he had a different hairstyle. He had his Zapper drawn. With him was Lana, only she had long hair and was dressed in her royal clothes. Kid Icarus was with them, except her was wearing a yellow toga instead of a white one. The fourth person they didn't recognize. She was a tall female human with long blonde hair. She looked to be in her late twenties or early thirties and was absolutely gorgeous. She was wearing orange armor and had her helmet tucked under her right arm. Her right arm had a cannon on it.
"Are we looking in a mirror?" Stacey asked.
The long-haired Lana walked over to the short-haired Lana and offered her left hand. "I'm Princess Lana of Videoland."
The short-haired Lana shook the long-haired Lana's hand. "I'm Lana Deschain, President of the Republic of Videoland."
"Are you from the future?" Princess Lana asked.
President Lana shook her head. "I don't think so. You have long hair, but you look to be about my age, and I never had that outfit in purple."
"Then you must be from another universe." Princess Lana said.
"I guess so." President Lana agreed.
"Uh, these are Kevin Keene, Samus Aran, and Kid Icarus." Princess Lana introduced. "Together, we form the N-Team."
"We have a Kevin and Kid Icarus, too, but no Samus." President Lana said. "These are Simon Belmont, Mike Vincent, and Stacey Anderson. We're all members of the N Team, but we have a lot more members than this."
"Well, as long as you're here, let me give you a tour!" Princess Lana offered.
President Lana smiled. "Thank you."

Princess Lana took the N Teamsters on a tour of the Palace of Power, and they all had an early breakfast. During that time, they compared the histories of their Videolands. The N Team's Kevin was surprised to learn that the N-Team's Kevin's Earth is animated, and the N-Team's Kevin couldn't understand what the N Team's Kevin meant by saying his Earth is "live-action". The two team's discovered the difference in the names of the teams: N Team and N-Team. The N Teamsters learned of the N-Team's adventures and the defeat of Mother Brain. The N-Team learned of the N Team's adventures, the defeat of Mother Brain, the addition of the new team members, their battles with Dr. Wily, the start of the Third Videoland War, their takeover of the Star Bright Project, and their arrival in this Videoland. That brought everyone up to the present.
"Substandard technology." President Lana said. "That must be it."
"But you've got a way home, right?" Kevin of the N-Team asked.
"Yeah, we've got a warp zone opener." Kevin of the N Team replied.
"Well, thanks for the tour." President Lana said once they returned to the Throne room.
"No problem." Princess Lana said. "I guess you'll be going home now."
"Actually, I wanted to ask you something, Princess Lana." President Lana told her.
"Yes. We're losing the war. We need all the help we can get. Would you consider joining the Videoland Alliance?"
"Why should we help you?" Samus asked. "We're not from your universe. It's none of our concern!"
"Please." President Lana begged.
Princess Lana thought for a moment. "Very well."
"Your Highness!" Samus said in disbelief.
Princess Lana faced the bounty hunter. "Samus, I know you often disagree with my decisions, but I need your support on this."
Samus folded her arms in front of her. She was angry but tried to minimize the appearance. "All right."
"Great!" President Lana exclaimed. She took out her warp zone opener. "Your Highness, Samus, please come with us."
Lana saved the coordinates for the Palace of Power into the warp zone opener, then she opened up a warp to the Alliance Headquarters.
Princess Lana, Samus Aran, Kevin of the N Team, Simon, Mike, Stacey, and President Lana entered the warp, and it closed.

The warp opened in Dr. Right's laboratory in the Alliance Headquarters. The group exited it.
"Welcome back, Ms. President." Dr. Right greeted.
"Thank you, Dr. Right." President Lana said. "I want you to go to Star Bright and teach those people the proper way to build a Warp Zone Shifter. Dr. Shiroshi's already there."
Dr. Right nodded. "Yes, sir."
"We'll be in the Conference room." President Lana told him. "Follow me."
The group left the laboratory.
"Nice lab, Dr. Right." Princess Lana said on her way out.
"Thank you, Your Highness." Dr. Right blinked. "What?"

"The war has been going badly for the Alliance these past two days." Cathy Bennett reported. "Just a few minutes ago, the Koopalings attacked the Mushroom Kingdom."
The camera switched to show footage of the villages. Houses were being set on fire. Mushroom Kingdom citizens were being murdered. Iggy and Lemmy Koopa were shown tearing a man's body in half. Wendy O'Koopa ate the heart out of a living woman's chest. She wasn't alive anymore.
The camera switched back to Cathy. "More than three-hundred villagers have been killed."
"Oh!" Princess Peach Toadstool covered her face with her hands and began to cry.
"This follows the destruction of the Alliance's offensive yesterday." Cathy continued. "People are losing hope."
President Lana turned off the viewscreen.
"Those murderers!" Peach suddenly yelled. "I'd like to eat their hearts out of their bodies!"
"Who know, Peach? You may get the chance." Lana told her. "But please, try to calm yourself."
"All right, I'll try."
"Now I'll introduce our newcomers." Lana said. "These are Princess Lana and bounty hunter Samus Aran. They come from an alternate Videoland. I've informed them of the war, and we've all just been brought up to speed on recent events. Princess Zelda, thank you for filling in for me in my and Rick's absence."
Zelda smiled. "You're welcome, Lana."
"Princess Lana, thank you for agreeing to join the Videoland Alliance." Lana said.
"You can thank me, Ms. President, but I'm afraid I'm not of much help." Princess Lana told her. "I can't enter Videoland into a war without the approval of the Federation Council."
"Kinda like the President of the United States." Kevin put in.
"I see." President Lana said. "Well, then, I suggest you get permission. Samus and I will come with you."
Samus frowned. "Very well, Ms. President."

"I can't believe it!" Princess Lana said. "They actually approved!"
Both Lanas and Samus had just exited the Federation Council's chambers.
"You were very persuasive." Princess Lana added.
"Thanks." President Lana replied.
"Now, in order to raise troops, we have to visit a captain in the Federation Police Force." Samus grumbled.
"I take it you don't like whoever we're going to see." President Lana guessed.
"He's a real prick." Samus remarked.

The three women came to a door that had two guards in front of it. The guards were wearing silver armor and holding orange guns.
"This guy doesn't take any chances, does he?" President Lana asked.
They entered an office. Sitting at the desk was a brown-haired man wearing silver armor.
"Samus Aran." the man greeted. "What do you want?"
"Charming as always, Dare." Samus remarked. "We need lots of police officers to send to the other Videoland."
Captain Dare sighed. "Aran, I don't think the Federation has any business entering this war. It's not our universe!"
"I don't give a fuck what you think, Dare." Samus said, lifting Captain Dare out of his seat. "You're a captain. You're not supposed to think. Your job is to be an asshole! Now, I want three-million officers!"
"Unhand me, Samus, or I'll charge you with assaulting a Federation Police Officer!" Dare threatened.
Samus let Dare go, and he fell back into his seat.
Dare typed at his computer. "I'm giving you three-thousand officers."
"Did I ask for three-thousand officers, Dare?" Samus shook her head. "No. I asked for three-million officers."
"Look, we're spread pretty thin right now, what with the increase in space piracy after Mother Brain's defeat. Take it or leave it."
Samus reached for him. "Why, I oughta - "
"We'll take it!" Princess Lana yelled. "Thank you, Captain Dare!"
The three women left the office.
"What a dickhead!" President Lana said.
Samus and Princess Lana laughed.

"Three-thousand officers only?" Kevin asked.
Kevin, both Lanas, Samus, Mike, and Stacey were sitting at the conference table again.
"I'm afraid so." President Lana said. "We'll have to think of another way to raise more troops."
"I've got it." Samus said. "Video Town."
"Video Town?" Stacey asked.
Samus nodded. "It's the one world in Videoland that has it all - fascinating places, bizarre characters, and incredible events. It's a city that attracts the best and the worst from every game world. From ghosts to space warriors, you never know who you'll meet next."
President Lana chuckled. "You sound like a guidebook."
"But beware!" Samus warned. "A place as large as Video Town attracts all kinds, and some of them are very dangerous!"
"Sounds cool." Mike said. "When do we leave?"
Samus shrugged. "As soon as you're ready."

Five minutes later, Samus, President Lana, Kevin, Mike, and Stacey boarded Samus' ship, which was parked in the Palace of Power's hangar.
"So, this is your ship." Lana said, looking around.
"Yeah, the Starship Hunter IV." Samus said proudly.
"Neat!" Stacey commented.
Samus sat down in the pilot's chair. The others stood behind her.
"You can sit by me if you want, Kevin." Samus offered.
"Thanks!" Kevin sat in the chair to Samus' left.
Lana frowned and folded her arms in front of her.
Samus started the engine, waited for the hangar door to open, then flew the Hunter IV out into space.
"Are you sure the rest of the N-Team can guard the Palace by themselves?" Lana asked.
"Sure." Samus assured her. "No need to worry. They can take care of themselves."
"So," Mike said, "tell us about this ship of yours."
"All right." Samus said. "The Starship Hunter IV is a modified scoutship / gunship. It used to be the most advanced model in the series. Hunter I, II, and III were destroyed under unknown circumstances. They're up to the Starship Hunter VI now."
"Gonna get it?" Mike asked.
"Maybe someday, when I get enough credits." Samus replied. "All six ships are based on Hyrodyne Space Systems, explorer class scout ship, manufactured at Hyrodyne Shipyards on Altair V. The Hunter IV was already considered the most advanced starship in its class, but it's been highly upgraded by me and other technicians."
"What kind of stuff do you have?" Mike asked.
"Ooh, I've got a lot of cool shit on here." Samus said with a smile. "The Hunter IV is made up of three interlocking sections. The drive section, on the starboard side, detaches to become an armored personnel carrier. It's got a main gun, which in this case is a 100mm Starfire laser cannon, at a 90 degree forward mount. I've got chaff anti-detection dispensors on port and starboard; a tailgunner turret, which in this case is a 30mm Gatling laser cannons; and escape pods. The ratio of power to mass is six times higher than average for ships in this class, resulting in geometrically higher performance specifications. There are three types of drives. Atmospheric drive is powered by a Ber'ger aerospace gravity resist generator. Sublight drive, which we're traveling at right now, is powered by a Gravity Propulsion Systems photon drive. The hyperspace drive is modified from the Federation Navy Corvette MK 88. The main / living section forms the base of the ship. It consists of the bridge, my cabin, crew bunks, a galley, a security vault, a prisoner holding cell, a sick bay, the cargo hold, communications, and computer banks. The electronics package includes a sensor array, ECM / ECCM, and normal and hyperspace communications. The top turret is a 30mm Gatling laser cannon. The gunner section detaches to become a heavily armed / ultra-maneuverable needleship for infiltration and high speed attack runs. It consists of weapons control, an auxiliary bridge, an emergency booster, and weapons bays. The emergency booster is a Sirus System space scramjet. The weapons bays, on port and starboard, contain six Striker space homing missiles, one Federation proton torpedo tube, and six Solaris homing space mines. The secondary gun is a 60mm Avenger laser cannon, fixed forward. Two air / ground powercycles are stored in the outside compartments on port and starboard. The entire ship is protected by Centuri Systems heavy duty deflector shields."
"Damn." Mike commented.
"Neat." Kevin added.
"Huh?" Stacey asked.
"Is that all you have?" Lana asked.
"Um,...yeah." Samus replied.
"Good!" Lana said. "You sure can talk people's ears off! What did you do - memorize the instruction manuals?"
"Actually, yes I did." Samus told her. "I gave you a summary."
"Summary, my ass." Lana mumbled.
"What was that?" Samus asked.
"Nothing." Lana replied.
"Hey, Samus, is there any place we can change?" Kevin asked.
"Uh, yeah, in the crew quarters." Samus said.
"Thanks." Kevin replied.
"You brought a change of clothes on this mission?" Lana asked them in surprise.
"Yeah." Mike replied. "I figure it'll help."
Mike and Kevin left the bridge.
Lana sat in the chair to Samus' left. "Samus, can I ask you something?"
"Do you like Kevin? I mean your Kevin."
"Well, yeah." Samus replied. "Lana and I used to fight over him, but I saw how much he loved her, so I decided to let her have him."
"So now you're trying to get my Kevin." Lana concluded.
"What?" Samus asked. "No!"
"Oh, c'mon, Samus!" Lana said. "What was with 'You can sit by me if you want, Kevin'?"
"I was just being nice." Samus explained. "I don't have a heart of stone. I do have a soft side."
"Do you have any friends?" Lana asked.
"The N-Team are my friends." Samus replied.
"No one else?"
"No one I'd call friends." Samus said. "You don't make friends as a bounty hunter. In fact, before I joined the N-Team, I didn't even know what a friend was."
Mike and Kevin walked back onto the bridge.
"Well,...wadaya think?" Mike asked.
Samus, Lana, and Stacey turned and looked.
Mike and Kevin were dressed in the mob outfits that they had worn on the Untouchable World.
Lana grinned. "The Video Boys are back!"
"The Video Boys?" Samus asked.
"It's an interesting story." Lana began. "See, it started when..."

Samus landed the Starship Hunter IV in Video Town, and the five of them exited the ship. The city sure was crowded, as it always is. People filled the streets as they went to different places.
"Wow, there's a lot of people here!" Stacey said, amazed.
"Of course!" Samus told her. "Video Town is the ultimate recreation center! This is where Videoland folks go when they have time off to enjoy baseball, soccer, or even championship wrestling! If it's played in a video game, it's played here."
"Cool!" Mike said. "Let's check this place out!"
"Yeah!" Kevin agreed.
"We can come back for a vacation some other time, guys." Lana told them. "We're here on a mission. Samus, where do the really tough people hang out?"
"Follow me." Samus said.

They entered a wrestling arena. A match was in progress.
The five of them walked down the aisle and over to the wrestling ring. They watched the match.
"I don't see what's so enjoyable about wrestling." Stacey said. "It's just two guys trying to pin each other and hurting each other in the process. I like martial arts better. It's two guys beating the living shit out of each other."
The match ended. The winner got out of the ring.
"He was good, wasn't he?" Samus asked.
"Yeah, better than Stone Cold Steve Austin." Mike said.
"Who?" Samus asked.
"Never mind." Mike told her. "Let's go talk with him."
The five of them approached the wrestler - a tall bald man that looked like Jesse "The Body" Ventura.
"Excuse me." Lana said.
The wrestler turned and faced them. "Who are you?"
Mike stepped forward. "We're the Video Boys. I'm Frankie. This here's Tony."
Kevin stepped forward.
"I'm the Destructor." the wrestler said. "What do you guys want?"
"Yo, we want ya to join our outfit, the Videoland Alliance." Kevin said.
"We need big strong guys like you." Mike said.
"Yeah? What's in it for me?"
"You'll get to kick a lot of ass!" Stacey told him.
"I tell ya what." the Destructor said. "I'll join if Frankie here can beat me in a wrestling match."
"He accepts!" Kevin said.
Mike faced his friend. "Kev - er, Tony, this isn't high school wrestling. Ya know what I mean?"
"I'll wrestle you." Samus said, stepping forward.
"Who are you?" the Destructor asked.
"Samus Aran, bounty hunter and former Captain of the Federation Police Academy Wrestling Team."
"Okay." the Destructor agreed. "I'll join if you beat me in the next match."
The Destructor turned and walked back over to the ring. He got in.
"Samus, are you sure you can beat this guy?" Kevin asked as they walked back over to the ring.
"No problem." Samus assured him. "I'll use my kickboxing on him."
"Is that legal?" Lana asked her.
"No." Samus replied, then got in the ring.
"Hey, Kev, you know what they should play now?" Mike asked.
"'Get in the Ring' by Guns 'N Roses."
Kevin laughed. "Yeah."
"'Fuck you! Suck my fuckin' dick!'" Stacey yelled with a smile, earning her some strange stares from people nearby.
"'You wanna antagonize me?! Antagonize me, motherfucker! Get in the ring, motherfucker! I'll kick your bitchy little ass, punk!'" Mike added.
At this point, a large man walked over to him. Mike cringed and smiled sweetly.
"Shut up, guys!" Lana told them. "The match is about to start!"
"Ladies and gentlemen!" the referee said. "In this corner, weighing 220 pounds, the Destructor!"
Cheering sounded throughout the arena.
"And in this corner, weight undisclosed, Samus Aran!"
Some cheering, but mostly boos and insults, were heard.
Samus took off her armor, revealing a green one-piece bathing suit and green boots underneath. The audience whistled. Kevin was one of the whistlers. Lana elbowed him in the ribs.
The Destructor and Samus met in the center of the ring. For show, Samus felt herself up, earning her more cheers and whistles. Then she and the Destructor shook hands.
The Destructor started off by lunging at her. Samus dodged him and performed a roundhouse kick, hitting him in the head. Dazed, he fell to the floor. Samus jumped on top of him and pinned him down.
"1, 2, 3, - " the referee began.
The Destructor pushed Samus off of him and got to his feet. Samus stood up. The Destructor threw his fist at her. She ducked and punched him in the balls. He groaned and clutched at his genitals. Samus stood up and punched the Destructor in the face. He fell to the floor again.
"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!" The referee raised Samus' arm into the air. "The winner - Samus Aran!"
After receiving a datapad, Samus picked up her armor and got out of the ring.
"You were great!" Mike said.
"He means awesome!" Kevin corrected.
"Way to go, Sammer!" Stacey praised.
"But how can you win if you cheated?" Kevin asked.
"They don't give a fuck." Samus replied.
"What's that?" Lana asked, indicating the datapad.
"A thirty-thousand credit prize." Samus said with a smile.
Lana whistled.
The Destructor managed to get up and exited the ring. "Hey, Aran, you cheated!"
"Bite me." Samus replied. "I beat you."
"Okay, a deal's a deal." the Destructor said. "I'll join your alliance."
Lana shook his hand.
Suddenly, a group of wrestlers walked over to them.
"Hey, you were awesome, Aran!" one said.
"Yeah, we all want to join this alliance of yours!" another said.
"Yeah!" the rest added.
Lana, Samus, Kevin, Mike, and Stacey looked at each other and smiled. Mission accomplished.

A short time later, the five of them were back aboard the Starship Hunter IV. All the wrestlers were in the crew quarters, as were Mike and Kevin, who were talking with them. Samus was flying the ship, and Stacey was sitting in the chair to her left. Lana was standing behind them.
"That was really cool, Sammer, how you distracted that guy with that gorgeous body of yours." Stacey complimented.
Samus smiled. "Thanks, Stacey."
Stacey turned around to face Lana. "Hey, Lana, I bet you could do that as well. You've got the looks." Stacey winked at her.
Lana thought for a moment. "Stacey, may I speak to you privately?"
"Sure." Stacey faced Samus. "Samus, can you step outside for a minute?"
Samus was confused by Stacey's request. "Stacey, I'm piloting the ship."
"And you don't have an autopilot?" Stacey asked in surprise. "And you were going on and on about what a great ship this is. Sheesh!"
"I have an autopilot." Samus replied, trying to remain calm. "I simply choose to fly this ship manually in case we run into any space pirates."
Stacey nodded, understanding. "Aaahhh..."
"Come with me to an empty crew quarters." Lana told her.
Stacey stood up and followed Lana.

Lana and Stacey entered the quarters, and the door slid closed.
"Have a seat." Lana said.
Stacey sat on the lower bunkbed, and Lana sat to her left.
"What is it, Lana?" Stacey asked.
"Stacey," Lana began, " there anything you'd like to tell me?"
"Like what?"
"I think you know what."
Stacey shook her head. "No,...I don't. What?"
"Stacey," Lana tried again, "...I've noticed that you've been...flirting with me."
"What?" Stacey asked.
The lack of surprise in Stacey's response told Lana she should continue. "You kissed me, you smile at me, and now you've made a comment about my body."
Stacey stared at Lana, then she began to cry. "Please don't be mad at me."
Lana shook her head quickly. "I'm not mad. I'm...surprised. How long have you felt this way?"
"It started when you helped me last month." Stacey told her. "I felt something."
"Stacey, are you sure you're not confusing...physical attraction with love?" Lana asked her. "It's very easy to get the two confused, and most people do."
"Well, let's look at Zelda and me. We're close friends. We're like sisters. One day, we discovered we were physically attracted to each other, and we decided to pursue a physical relationship, but it's not the same as our friendship. As for Kristen and me, we started out as friends, then Kristen pursued a physical relationship with me, but all we have is friendship and physical relationship, not love. Although Kristen thinks it's love, it's not. Believe a physical relationship to be love is not only a bad choice, it's dangerous."
"So, where do I fit in?" Stacey asked.
"I think you think your love for me as a friend is a romantic interest." Lana told her. "Don't deceive yourself."
"How do I know?"
"Are you attracted to me?" Lana asked. "Do you have sexual thoughts about me?"
"Yeah." Stacey said. "Sometimes. I fantasize about kissing you or...having sex with you."
Lana inhaled and exhaled loudly. "If you feel this way, I should tell you that I'm not interested."
"Why not?"
"Because I'm already in three relationships. I don't think I can handle another."
Stacey began to cry again.
"But I can dump someone." Lana suddenly said.
"You will?" Stacey asked.
Stacey hugged her. Lana returned the hug. This would take a lot of thought.

Later on, the Starship Hunter IV landed in the Palace of Power's hangar. Everyone exited the ship.
Princess Lana was standing there, waiting for them. She smiled. "I see you've accomplished your mission."
"Yes," Samus told her, "and now,...I feel I must say good-bye."
"What?" Princess Lana asked in surprise.
"I've come to know these people," Samus said, "and I think I should join the N Team." She faced the N Teamsters. "That is...if you'll have me."
President Lana smiled and offered her left hand. "Welcome to the N Team, Samus Aran."
Samus shook her hand. "Thank you, Lana."
Lana pulled her hand away and shook it rapidly. "She's got a grip of steel!"
Princess Lana laughed. "I can relate to that. Good luck, Samus."
"Thank you, Your Highness."
President Lana took out a warp zone opener and opened a warp to the Alliance Headquarters.
The five N Teamsters and the wrestlers got back in the Starship Hunter IV. Samus flew it through the warp, and the warp closed.

Wednesday, December 13, 1995, 11:45 AM

"We have an update for you now on the base that Brain Child had established close to the border." Cathy Bennett said. "Just a half-hour ago, a task force led by bounty hunter Samus Aran raided the base and took control. They managed to secure weapons and databases. The heroes destroyed the base and returned home safely. The Federation Police Officers and wrestlers suffered minor cuts and bruises. Samus herself was not injured."
The picture switched from prerecorded footage to a live shot of Cathy Bennett standing in a hangar on the back lot of the Alliance Headquarters.
"Here she is now." Cathy said. "Ms. Aran, may I have a word with you?"
Samus walked over to the news reporter. She wasn't wearing her helmet. "Sure, Cathy."
"How does it feel being a hero and admired by trillions of people?" Cathy asked.
Samus smiled. "I'm used to it."
"What is your measure of the importance of this victory?"
"I think it's pretty significant." Samus replied. "But we still need to destroy a lot more bases and kick a lot more ass."
"Thank you, Samus."
"No problem." Samus walked away.
Cathy faced the camera. "Samus fever is catching all over Videoland. A lot of people believe Samus Aran is the key to winning this war."
Brain Child shut off the monitor.
"Ten beings report to my lair." Brain Child ordered.
Soon, the door opened, and ten bad guys walked into the lair. Nine of them were humans from various game worlds. The tenth was Wendy O'Koopa from Dark Land on the Mushroom World.
"Samus Aran is interfering with my plans." Brain Child told them. "You will take a shuttle to Megaland and kill her. Kill the being known as Lana Sarah Deschain if you can, but Samus Aran is your primary objective."
"Are you crazy?!" Wendy O'Koopa yelled. "Megaland has got a defense system almost as good as ours! We'll never get through!"
"The shuttle will be small enough that their sensors will not detect it immediately." Brain Child explained. "Now go and kill Samus Aran."
At that, the ten villains turned and left the lair.

It was a hot, sunny day in Hyrule, so Zelda and Lana decided to go on a picnic.
As they walked a distance from North Castle and towards a forest, the two girls took in the scenery. A deer was drinking water from a stream. Children were playing ball while their parents sat watching nearby. A bird flew over and perched on Zelda's left arm.
"It's all so beautiful," Lana remarked in awe, "and so are you."
Lana kissed Zelda on the lips. Zelda looked at the bird and shook her arm gently. The bird flew off. Lana spread the picnic cloth on the grass. She and Zelda sat down and began eating their late breakfast.
"Amazing." Lana said. "You can't even tell there's a war going on."
"I try to keep it that way." Zelda said. "My people need to remain cheerful. With the Gods' help, we'll win this war soon, and everything will return to normal."
"Gods. Right." Lana took another bite of her roast beef sandwich with garlic and horseradish.
"I won't mention them again." Zelda promised her.
"It's all right. Go ahead. It's your belief."
"Let's change the subject."
"'Kay." Lana agreed. "So, how'd you like being Acting President in my absence?"
"It was neat." Zelda replied. "I got to boss Link around."
Lana laughed. "You do that anyway."
Zelda laughed. "That's true. But he seemed strange somehow." She shook her head. "I don't know why."
"Link's always strange." Lana told her. "Think nothing of it."
The two of them burst out laughing. They had finished their sandwiches and now leaned forward and kissed. Lana sent her tongue into Zelda's mouth. After a few seconds, Lana broke the kiss.
Lana smiled. "You taste good. Real hot 'n' spicy."
Zelda giggled. "You, too."
Zelda now took out two cans of Pepsi. She handed one to Lana. They opened the cans and began drinking.
"So, you wanna go back to my room and make out?" Zelda offered.
"No, thanks." Lana replied. "Samus should be back from her mission now. I want to congratulate her."
"She's good, isn't she?"
They finished their Pepsis.
Lana leaned forward and kissed Zelda again. "See ya."
She stood up and took out a warp zone opener. She opened a warp and entered it.
The warp closed, leaving Zelda to admire only the scenery.

Everyone cheered as Samus entered the Alliance Headquarters. They all went to the Conference room.
Lana pulled her chair. "Have a seat, Samus."
Samus smiled and sat in the chair. She put her feet on the conference table.
Lana, Kevin, Mike, and Stacey sat down near her.
"You were awesome out there, Samus!" Kevin praised.
"You deserve a party!" Stacey declared.
"I do, don't I?" Samus took her feet off the table. "And I know just the place to have it - the Locker."
"The Locker?" Lana asked.
"The Locker is a safe haven for me and every other tough space hunter this side of Metroid." Samus said.
"Space hunters?" Lana asked. "I thought you were bounty hunters - pirates who hunt down other people for the price on their heads."
"It's the same thing." Samus said. "I was a Star-Tracker. That's where I got my cybernetic super powers. Then I became a space hunter / bounty hunter."
"Anyway, wanna go?" Samus asked.
"Sure!" Mike said.

The Starship Hunter IV flew through space. Samus was piloting the ship. Kevin was sitting in the chair to Samus' left. Mike, Lana, and Stacey stood.
"We're approaching the Locker." Samus said.
They all looked out the window. The Locker was a gigantic cube-shaped structure.
"It's huge!" Lana exclaimed.
"Definitely." Samus turned on her radio. "Locker, this is Starship Hunter IV requesting permission to dock."
"Permission granted." came the reply. "Enjoy your stay, Samus."
Samus turned off the radio and docked the ship.

The five of them arrived inside the Locker. The place was crowded. A lot of people were chanting Samus' name.
"You're pretty popular around here!" Lana remarked.
"Well,...a lot of people owe me favors." Samus explained. "We'll rent some suites, then we'll head down to the canteen and relax with a pint of Comet Grog."
"If that's alcohol, I don't drink." Lana told her.
"None of us do." Stacey added.
"Fine. You guys can have something else." Samus said. "Let's hop on the gravulator."
So, they did.

"So I booby-trapped my own gun and handed it to him. Then we went back to the lair. He couldn't resist killing me to become the 100% undisputed bounty hunter of all time. So, he pressed the trigger, and the gun exploded. Mother Brain was so mad, she had Big Time fed to the Metroids!" Samus laughed sadistically.
The others laughed as well.
Samus, Lana, Kevin, Mike, and Stacey were sitting in the Locker's canteen, drinking, telling stories, laughing, and having a great time.
Samus looked at Kevin. "You are sooo cute." She leaned in close to him. "Let's go up to my suite. I'll show you my Screw Attack."
Kevin smiled as Samus licked his face.
Lana cleared her throat. "Uh, Samus? Don't you think you've had a little too much to drink?"
Samus giggled. "Maybe, but cherry cola tastes like shit."
"And alcohol doesn't?" Lana asked.
Lana and Stacey helped Samus to her feet.
"And speaking of cherry cola," Samus said, "Everytimeiclosemyeyesiamtakentoaplacewhereyourcrystalmindandmagentafeelingstakeupshelterinthebaseofmyspinesweetlikeachicacherrycola! Can you say that five times fast? I can."
"C'mon, Samus, we're taking you to bed." Stacey said.
"Yes!" Samus exclaimed.
Lana and Stacey looked at each other with "She's lost it!" expressions and helped Samus walk out of the canteen. The guys followed them.

They reached the door of Samus' suite. Lana raised Samus' right hand and placed it on the door. The door unlocked and opened.
Lana and Stacey helped Samus into the room, and the door slid closed.
"In the meadow!" Samus sang. "Munchkins marching around in the island meadow. In the meadow!"
"That's right." Lana agreed.
Lana sat Samus down on the bed, and she and Stacey helped the brain-damaged bounty hunter out of her armor. Underneath, Samus wore her green bathing suit and green boots.
"Sleep well, Samus." Lana told her.
"Stay with me." Samus begged, giggling.
Samus pulled Lana close and kissed her soundly on the lips. Lana broke the kiss.
"Your breath stinks." Lana said.
"I wanna fuck you so bad." Samus licked Lana on the mouth.
"Me, too." Lana agreed. "I want to stick my tongue into your vagina and make you cum into my mouth."
"Lana!" Stacey exclaimed in surprise.
Lana looked at her. "What? She's not gonna remember anyway."
"Nighty-night!" Samus said, then passed out on her bed.
"Good afternoon to you, too." Lana said.
She and Stacey headed for the door. Stacey opened it.
"Stacey, let this be a valuable lesson to you." Lana told her. "Never drink alcohol!"

After checking out the Locker, Lana and Stacey entered their rented suite. The door slid closed behind them.
Lana and Stacey sat down on a bed, Stacey to Lana's left.
"So, Lana," Stacey asked, "have you decided who you're gonna dump yet?"
"Well, no, but I'm definitely keeping Zelda." Lana told her. "She's my best friend, and I love her dearly. That leaves Kevin and Kristen, and believe me, I have a strong urge to dump Kevin due to him going gaga over our newest team member."
"Then he's gone." Stacey said.
"Hold on." Lana said. "I admire Kevin. He's saved my life. Of course, I don't have much physical desire for him. It's probably just hero worship."
"So, dump him already!" Stacey insisted.
"But Kristen and I have a physical relationship without love." Lana said.
"Then dump her!" Stacey said.
"I'm gonna need more time." Lana said. "Sorry."
The two of them looked and saw Samus standing in the open doorway. Lana and Stacey stood up.
"Hey, Samus." Lana said. "Enjoy your nap?"
"What's this about you dumping Kevin for Stacey?" Samus asked.
"You heard us?" Lana asked in surprise.
"I've got bionic hearing, remember?" Samus reminded her.
"Oh, yeah."
"Okay, look, it's none of my business." Samus told them. "You two do what you want."
"I appreciate that, Samus." Lana said. "Oh, that reminds me. Do you still wanna fuck?"
"What?" Samus asked in surprise.
"Well, you were all over me in your suite. I'll be glad to take you up on your offer."
Samus looked from Lana to Stacey. "She's joking, right?"
"Nuh-uh, Sammer." Stacey said. "Man, you were so out of it!"
Samus looked back at Lana. "Lana, I was drunk. Whatever I said or did, I...I...I gotta go."
Samus turned and left the room. Lana and Stacey looked at each other and giggled.

About an hour later, Samus, Lana, Mike, Kevin, and Stacey were walking around.
"So, ready to go?" Samus asked.
They all said yes.
Suddenly, Lana heard a beeping. She withdrew her warp zone opener and activated the viewscreen. Roll's face appeared.
"What's up, Roll?" Lana asked.
"Lana, sensors have just detected an enemy shuttle in our space. It's heading towards Megaland. We need you back here."
"Okay, Roll." Lana shut off the viewscreen.
"Wait." Samus said. "I've got some weapons I think we can use. My personal storage area is on Level 200."
They hopped on the gravulator.

"Tell us about the weapon you wanna get." Lana said.
"The Medusa Ray." Samus said. "I found it on a dead planet. It can turn a person to stone."
They arrived at their destination. After walking down a corridor, they came to a door marked "SAMUS ARAN". Under her name was a skull. Under that was a rectangular scanning device of some sort. Under that were the words "PRIVATE PROPERTY", and, under that, "KEEP OUT".
"This is your locker?" Lana asked, surprised at the large advertisement on the door. "Aren't you worried about being robbed?"
Samus took out a rectangular metal object with her left hand. "Never. These warpkeys unlock a pocket dimension on the other side of the door. No one can open it, except the owner."
Samus unlocked the door, and they stepped through into her storage area.
"In fact, you could say that without the key, the contents don't really exist. What's everybody staring at?" Samus asked, noticing the others' looks of great surprise.
"I-it's so big!" Kevin exclaimed.
"Yes, well, I couldn't afford one of the larger ones." Samus replied.
The five of them walked along. Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey were fascinated.
"How much stuff do you have in here?" Mike asked.
"Lots." Samus replied. "Mostly stuff I picked up from space pirates' ships. Space hunters are allowed to keep half of whatever they bring in, and that half can be whatever they choose. I pick the really good stuff."
"Neat!" Stacey said.
"Let's see...I think the Medusa Ray is back in Aisle 30. Or is it Aisle 32?" Samus wondered.

Lana, Samus, Kevin, Mike, and Stacey entered the Monitoring room.
"Report." Lana said.
"The shuttle is very close to Megaland." Roll reported. "Estimated arrival in one-half hour."
"When it gets here, shoot it down." Lana ordered.
"No sense in blowing it up, Lana." Samus said. "There might be stuff on there we can use."
"What do you suggest?" Lana asked.
Samus grinned devilishly. "We're not gonna wait for them to come to us. We're going to them."

The Starship Hunter IV flew around and behind the shuttle.
"I've matched their course and speed." Samus said.
She pressed a button and fired the top turret, a 30mm Gatling laser cannon. The blast created a hole in the back of the shuttle.
Samus stood up. "Let's go."
Samus, Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey used an escape pod to travel into the cargo bay of the shuttle. They exited the escape pod.
Five of the human bad guys were in the cargo bay, and they were surprised to see the N Teamsters. They stood up to confront them.
One of the bad guys ran at Samus. Samus fired her arm cannon and killed him. The other four bad guys drew their weapons and fired. The N Teamsters dodged and avoided getting hit. Mike and Lana fired their Zappers at two of the bad guys, killing them. Stacey fired a plasma gun she had gotten from Samus' locker and melted another bad guy into a pile of ooze on the floor of the cargo bay. Kevin blasted the last bad guy with the Medusa Ray. The guy turned to stone. Kevin did a roundhouse kick and knocked the guy's head off his body.
The five N Teamsters walked to the door. Samus opened the door, and the five of them walked into the cockpit.
In the cockpit were four other humans and Wendy O'Koopa. The five of them stood up and faced the intruders.
Stacey killed two of the humans with her plasma gun. The other two humans fired at the N Teamsters. The N Teamsters dodged, then Mike and Lana fired at the human bad guys with their Zappers. The bad guys remained standing. Samus fired her arm cannon and finished them off. One of the humans fell on top of Wendy O'Koopa, knocking her down to the floor.
Mike grinned. "The battle is won! Sing songs of joy!"
"I'll pilot this thing back to the Hunter IV and take everything useful, then we'll blow the shuttle up." Samus said.
Lana smiled at her as they walked to the pilot's seat. "I must say I'm impressed, Samus."
Samus returned the smile. "You can learn a lot from me, Lana."
Wendy O'Koopa reached up from the floor and clutched Samus' right leg. "You bitches!!!!!!"
Samus looked down and regarded the only female Koopaling with a wicked smile. Then the space hunter aimed her arm cannon and fired. Wendy O'Koopa died, and her guts splattered on the floor.

"And so, Samus Aran has netted another victory for the Alliance." Cathy Bennett reported. "Here she is now. Samus, do you have anything to say to Brain Child now?"
Samus faced the camera and smiled. "Yeah. Don't fuck with me, bitch."
"Bitch?" Cathy asked. "How do you know?"
"Well, it's hard to identify with a genderless, unfeeling, murderous creature, so let's make it a girl."
"Thank you, Samus." Cathy faced the camera. "This is Cathy Bennett, reporting from a hangar at the Alliance Headquarters."
Brain Child shut off the viewscreen. "I will destroy you soon, Samus Aran. I believe it is time for my spy to make his move."

Samus was given another party, this time in the Conference room. Samus, Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey were standing, drinking, laughing, and having a great time.
Lana smiled. "I see you've learned your lesson, Samus."
Samus smiled. "Believe me, Lana, I have. No more alcoholic beverages for me, but this Pepsi stuff tastes great!"
The door to the Conference room slid open, and Link and Zelda walked inside.
"Zelda, Link, you're just in time for the party!" Stacey said. She handed them each a glass of Pepsi.
"Thanks, Stacey." Zelda said.
Zelda enjoyed her drink, but Link walked over to Samus.
Samus faced him. "Hi, Link."
Link splashed his Pepsi in Samus' face.
"Link, what the fuck's the matter with you?!" Lana asked angrily.
Link drew his sword and aimed for Samus' head. Samus dodged, and the blade sliced through thin air.
Link turned and ran out of the Conference room.
"After him!" Lana yelled.
The entire group ran after Link.

They caught up with Link in his bedroom. He was using a warp zone opener to open a warp. Link ran through the warp, and it closed.
"Where did he go?!" Kevin asked.
"Let's try Hyrule!" Zelda said.
Lana opened a warp to North Castle, and everybody ran into it.

The six of them exited the warp and found themselves in the Throne room in North Castle on Hyrule.
Lana pointed. "Look!"
Link was by the throne and was pulling the Triforces off of it.
"The Triforce!" Zelda yelled.
Link, with the Triforce of Power and the Triforce of Courage in his hands, ran down the steps and out of the Throne room.
"He's heading outside!" Zelda yelled.
Zelda pulled off the Triforce of Wisdom and led the other N Teamsters at a run.
"We've gotta catch him!" Zelda yelled. "If he warps out of here with the Triforces, who knows what'll happen?!"

They ran outside in front of North Castle. They ran after Link.
"Where's he going?!" Mike asked.
"He's just trying to get away from us, so he can warp!" Zelda explained.
"What are you gonna do?!" Kevin asked.
"Fight him!" Zelda replied.
They arrived in the forest and slowed down. They began searching.
Stacey looked behind a tree. "Gotcha!"
Link elbowed Stacey and pulled away from her. He ran to another tree.
"There he is! Grab him!" Samus yelled.
"No!" Zelda yelled. "He's mine! Link!"
Link turned and faced her.
"Surrender the Triforces!" Zelda ordered.
Kill her, Brain Child ordered Link.
"Prepare to die, Princess!" Link cast a spell with the Triforce of Power.
A fire started. It set the forest in flames.
"No!" Zelda yelled. She cast a spell with the Triforce of Wisdom.
Rain started, and the fire was slowly put out. But the fire still did great damage.
"Fine!" Link said. "I'll kill you a different way!"
Link dropped the Triforces and unsheathed his sword. He ran at Zelda. Zelda dropped the Triforce of Wisdom and drew her sword. She ran at Link. Their swords clashed and created sparks as the two humans fought.
"You may be more skilled with the sword than I," Zelda said, "but, with help from the Goddesses, I'll defeat you! Din, Nayru, and Farore, intercede for me!"
Zelda felt a sudden strength within her, and she fought with increased strength. Link was wearing down.
"Give up now, Link," Zelda told him, "or, by the Gods, I'll kill you! I cannot allow the Triforce to be used for evil!"
Link wouldn't surrender. So, Zelda kept on fighting him. Eventually, Link was knocked down to the ground.
Zelda stood above him. His eyes met her own as Zelda raised her sword above her head. Her stare was one of sorrow, pity, and anger.
Then Zelda brought the sword down in a fast motion. Link's eyes flashed yellow, and he screamed in horror. By sheer strength, Zelda stopped her hand when her sword was just one inch from Link's throat.
"Link?!" Zelda asked.
Link was breathing heavily, a look of shock on his face. Zelda helped him to his feet.
"Are you all right, Link?" Kevin asked.
Link nodded. "I - I think so. What day is it?"
"Wednesday, December 13th." Lana replied.
"I've lost over three months!" Link said in surprise. "The last thing I remember was going to a warehouse on News World. Pak captured me and took me back to New Metroid. Brain Child used some kind of mind-control on me to make me serve her!"
"So, you were taking the Triforces to her!" Mike realized.
"You've had access to all our records." Samus brought up. "Who knows what kind of information you've passed on to Brain Child?!"
"We'll worry about that later, guys." Stacey said. "Look."
They all looked.
Princess Zelda Harkinian had fallen to her knees and was praying to her Goddesses, thanking them for helping her win the battle and sparing Link's life. The sight so deeply moved Lana Deschain that from that day on, she never spoke against her friend's beliefs.

During the twilight of that day, Zelda and Lana sat on a tree log and looked at the devastation that had been done.
Trees - indeed most of the forest - had burned down. The grass was gone. Deer, rabbits, birds, and other animals lay dead on the ground in the stream. The water was polluted with their remains. On one of the trees was a silhouette of a child knocking a ball into the air. On another, that of another child, hands raised to catch a ball that never came down. The entire area had been killed by evil.
"We won." Zelda said, then buried her face in Lana's shoulder and sobbed bitterly.

Saturday, February 17, 1996, 5:36 PM

All of the members of the N Team and all of the representatives in the Videoland Alliance gathered in the Conference room and sat at the table. Lana Deschain, as President, sat at the head of the table, and Rick Walker, as Vice-President, sat to her right.
"This meeting of the Videoland Alliance is hereby called to order." Lana said. "The purposes of this meeting are to summarize what has happened recently and to plan future strategies. Rick?"
"Over the last two months, Brain Child's attacks have been fiercer and more devastating." Rick said. "She has been destroying cities with bombs. At this moment, the death toll of this war stands at 60,845,467,327 people."
"As for future strategies, I'm open to suggestions." Lana said.
"How about evacuating all the civilians to Megaland?" Samus suggested.
Lana smiled. "Nice idea, Samus, but I'm afraid we don't have enough room."
"We would if we build shelters." Mike said. "Really tall buildings with small, but not uncomfortable, living quarters."
"Well, it's worth a try." Lana agreed. "Dr. Right, begin making plans for the shelters."
"Yes, Ms. President." Dr. Right said.
"What's the closest world to Brain Child's territory?" Lana asked.
"Power Blade." Kevin replied.
"Then we'll evacuate them first." Lana said. "Meeting adjourned."

Kevin, Lana, Rick, Samus, Mike, and Stacey exited the warp and found themselves on a street on Power Blade.
"Okay," Kevin said, "let's get to the mayor's office. That'll be the best way to send out an evacuation notice."

"An evacuation?" the mayor asked. "Why?"
"Brain Child has been bombing cities for the past two months." Lana explained. "We feel that an evacuation would be prudent."
"As you wish." the mayor said. "I'll call the governor."
Suddenly, though, they heard sounds outside.
"What's that?" the mayor asked.
They all ran outside.

They exited the building and ran into the street.
A group of ships had entered the atmosphere and were currently flying away from each other.
"What are they doing?" Stacey asked.
"They're getting ready to bomb the city." Kevin said.
"But they're flying far away from each other." Lana said. "One bomb per city? That doesn't make any sense."
"We gotta send out an evacuation call right now, Mr. Mayor." Kevin said urgently.
Lana stared at the ships, deep in thought. Then she gasped. Lana took out a warp zone opener and opened a warp.
"We're leaving!" Lana told them.
"What?!" Kevin asked in surprise. "Lana, we can't just let these people die!"
"Kevin, there's no time to argue! This planet is doomed! Let's go!"
"No!" Kevin yelled. "Not until you explain this!"
"Kevin, we're going home! That's an order," Lana said sternly, "from the only person on this team that can give you an order!" She shoved Kevin into the vortex. "Now, go!"
Rick, Samus, Mike, Stacey, the mayor, and Lana ran into the warp, and it closed.
Then the entire world of Power Blade was hit by a series of nuclear explosions.

The group exited the warp and entered the Monitoring room. The warp closed.
Kevin made Lana face him. "Lana, why'd we pull out?"
"We had to, Kevin." Lana told him.
"What does that mean?" Kevin demanded.
"Roll, check on Power Blade for me." Lana said.
"Yes, sir." Roll pressed some buttons on her console, then blinked in surprise. "What?"
Roll spun around in her chair, a look of disbelief on her face.
"Lana," Roll said, "Power Blade is dead. The entire planet is lifeless."
"My world." the mayor said in shock. "Four-billion people...dead."
Lana's eyes met Kevin. "If we stayed, we'd be dead."
Then Lana shrugged him off and walked away.

Dr. Wily entered Brain Child's lair. "What do you want?"
"I have a plan." Brain Child told him. "It will require you and five well-armed soldiers."

The door chimed.
Lana was lying on the floor of her bedroom, doing sit-ups. "Come in."
The door slid open, and Stacey walked into the room.
"Hi, Lana." Stacey said.
"Hi, Stacey." Lana replied.
"I want an answer." Stacey told her.
Lana stopped doing sit-ups and walked over to Stacey.
"Right now?" Lana asked.
Stacey nodded. "Yeah. I've waited for over two months since the last time I asked. Who are you dumping? I want an answer - right now."
Lana thought for a moment. "Kevin or Kristen? Okay, I'll have an answer for you tonight. I promise."
"Okay." Stacey agreed. "I hope you're serious about us."
"I am if you are." Lana said.
"I've never felt so serious about anything else in my life." Stacey assured her. "I want you, Lana."
Lana nodded. "You'll have me tonight. Metaphorically, of course."
Stacey nodded, then left the room. The door slid closed.

Kevin was standing around the corner in the corridor. Because the door had stayed open due to Stacey not walking far enough inside the room, Kevin had heard the entire conversation.
Standing at the other end of the corridor, Samus heard the conversation and also heard Kevin crying. She felt pity for him.

Dr. Wily piloted the shuttle towards a ship.
"We'll take over that one." he said.
The evil scientist flew the shuttle into the ship's open cargo bay. He parked it, and everyone exited the shuttle.
The cargo bay door closed, and the ship left the spacedock.
Dr. Wily opened the door, and he and his men stormed the bridge. They and the soldiers already in the cockpit locked weapons on each other.
"I'm taking over this ship!" Dr. Wily declared. "Out of your chair!"
The pilot stood up.
"You, you, and you, take everyone to the cargo bay." Dr. Wily ordered.
Three of Dr. Wily's men took the pilot and the other soldiers into the cargo bay.
Dr. Wily sat down in the pilot's chair. "I'm taking the ship down."

The door to the Monitoring room slid open, and Kevin, Lana, Mike, Rick, Samus, and Stacey walked in.
Roll and Proto Man were seated at the consoles. Mega Man, Riff, Chord, Simon, Kid Icarus, Link, Zelda, Kristen, Heather, Ken, Dr. Right, Li, and Duke were already in the room, listening.
"Mayor Deacon." Lana addressed in surprise. "What can I do for you?"
"President Deschain, I'm calling you on a serious matter." Marshall Deacon, the mayor of Capital City, said. "One of the Alliance's ships has been hijacked, and Dr. Wily is responsible. Here, I'll play the message back for you."
The image of Mayor Deacon disappeared and was replaced by the image of Dr. Wily.
"Citizens of Megaland," Dr. Wily addressed, "I, Dr. Albert William Wily, have taken control of one of your ships. Unless President Deschain and the rest of the N Team surrender, all eight hostages will die."
The image switched back to Mayor Deacon.
"We're unable to do anything without endangering the hostages." Mayor Deacon said. "As soon as Dr. Wily spots us approaching the ship, he'll start killing. We need the N Team's help."
"We'll do our best, Mr. Deacon." Lana promised.
"Thank you. The ship has descended, and it's heading toward the Megaland Mountains."
The viewscreen went blank.
"Let's go there and have a better look." Lana said. "The entire team needs to be there, since Wily wants all of us. Roll, Proto Man, Dr. Right, Li, Mr. S., I want you to come along as well - in case we need backup."
They all left the room.

A warp opened, and they all exited it to find themselves near the Megaland Mountains, far north from the Alliance Headquarters. It was twilight. Lana was flying the Warp Wagon. She parked it on the grassless ground a few hundred feet from a mountain. The warp closed.
Lana got out of the Warp Wagon and pointed up. "There's the ship."
"Okay," Samus said, "so what do we do?"
"I'll try to talk with him." Lana said. She reached for the Warp Wagon's radio.
"No." Kevin told her. "I'm going up."
"Are you crazy?" Lana asked. "Dr. Wily's probably got a bunch of guards up there with him. You wouldn't stand a chance."
"I'm a good Game Master, Lana." Kevin told her. "Trust me, I can do this."
"Kevin, I'm forbidding you to go." Lana told him.
"Sorry, Lana," Kevin told her, "this is one order I'm going to disobey."
With that, Kevin took Lana in his arms and kissed her soundly on the lips. Then he took Stacey in his arms and kissed her soundly on the lips.
Kevin got in the Warp Wagon and started the engine. He took off and flew into the sky.
The only thing the others could do now was watch.

Kevin matched the Warp Wagon's heading with that of the ship. Then he drew his Zapper and blasted a hole in the side of the ship. Kevin jumped.
He landed in the ship's cargo bay.
The three guards in the cargo bay drew their weapons. A firefight ensued. Kevin used his Power Pad to dodge the bad guys' blasts.
Kevin shot all three bad guys, killing them.
"Are you guys all right?" Kevin asked the hostages.
The eight men nodded and got to their feet.
"Thank you, Captain N." the pilot said.
"Stay here." Kevin told them. "I'm going after Dr. Wily."
Kevin went and opened the door. He stepped onto the bridge.
It was empty.
"Huh?" Kevin wondered.
He holstered his Zapper and walked over to the pilot's chair. He checked the display on the console.
The ship was accelerating, and it was on a course heading to...
Kevin froze in terror.

The ship flew into the side of a mountain. The Warp Wagon did the same. Both ships exploded into an infernal fire.
Standing on the ground, the N Teamsters and their friends watched in horror.
The wreck fell to the ground at the base of the mountain, its fires still blazing.
"Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!" Lana and Stacey screamed.
No one else could say anything after witnessing what had just happened.
Everyone stood there, staring at the wreckage in paralysis.

It was Samus who eventually found the strength to lead the others back to the Alliance Headquarters. It was dusk by now.
They entered the Monitoring room. By this time, the humans were crying. Those who knew Kevin the longest cried the loudest. Even Simon Belmont found that he could not hold tears back.
Roll silently walked over to her console and called up the Videoland News Network.
A man's face appeared on the viewscreen. "Yes?"
"I'd like to speak to Cathy Bennett, please." Roll said.

Cathy Bennett was handed a datapad. She quickly scanned it. Then she looked up at the camera, her face displaying shock.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I've just received some very bad news." Cathy began. "Just a few minutes ago, the N Team went to rescue the hostages on the shuttle that was hijacked by Dr. Wily. Captain N boarded the shuttle by himself. Soon after, the shuttle exploded. There were no survivors." Cathy's eyes began to water. "Captain N is dead. The - the first time I met Kevin Keene was on Sunday, September 10th, 1989, the day after he arrived in Videoland. He was happy to be here, helping people. He died helping others, and he will be remembered as a hero. I'm sorry, I can't go on! Rob, can you take over, please?"

Zelda took Lana to her room. The two of them sat down on the bed, with Zelda on Lana's right.
Zelda had managed to stop crying - partly through will, but mostly because she didn't know Kevin that well.
"Lana, I'm so sorry." Zelda told her. "I know how much he meant to you."
Lana didn't say anything. She didn't have the strength.
Zelda took Lana into her arms, and they hugged each other.

Dr. Wily walked back into Brain Child's lair, along with his two surviving soldiers.
"You have succeeded." Brain Child said. "While the N Team mourns a deceased member, they are unprepared to handle an attack. Dr. Wily, launch more ships carrying nuclear weapons."
"Yes, master."

The door chimed.
Lana was alone in her room now. She was lying on her bed, her face buried in the cover, crying.
The door chimed again.
"Come in." Lana called weakly, sitting up.
The door slid open, and Kristen walked into the room.
Kristen saw that Lana had been crying intensely. Her face was all red. It was painful to look at, and it made what Kristen had to say so difficult.
"There's, uh,...there's going to be a memorial service in a few minutes in the Conference room. Are you coming?"
Lana nodded and stood up.
The two of them left the room.

Kristen and Lana entered the Conference room. Kristen sat at the head of the table, and Lana sat to her left.
Kristen looked into everyone's eyes before beginning. "We're here right now to remember our friend, Kevin Keene, who was killed. This is a real tragedy, and I'm not sure how we should proceed. Perhaps we should start with a theological discussion."
"Do you - do you think Kevin still exists?" Mike asked, crying.
"That's a good question, Mike." Kristen said. "I see six possibilities. 1) Kevin is in Heaven. 2) Kevin is in Hell. 3) Kevin is in Purgatory. 4) Kevin's been reincarnated. 5) Kevin is completely dead and no longer exists. 6) Kevin is somewhere that we've never even thought of. Kevin no longer existing goes against Judeo-Christian theology, but it's the most logical possibility. When Kevin...was killed, his brain cells were destroyed. The human brain is the source of consciousness and thought - indeed, the source of life itself. When the brain dies, logic suggests that we no longer exist. No eternal life. We just die. I'm not sure what to make of Purgatory. It's a Catholic belief that if a person is bad, but not bad enough to deserve eternal damnation, their soul goes to Purgatory, where they suffer temporarily in order to purge their sins, and then they go to Heaven. Purgatory is not in the Bible, but there is a Biblical passage where a man prays for the dead. Apparently, he believed that the dead could be saved. This can be taken as Biblical support for Purgatory. I don't know what happens to people when they die. We'll all die someday, and we'll either find out, or we won't. If you believe in an afterlife, hope Kevin's in a good one."
Kristen paused, and everyone was in silent thought.
"Next, let's share our feelings about Kevin. We'll go counter-clockwise." Kristen said. "I didn't really know Kevin that well. We didn't talk much. But he seemed like a really nice guy, and I considered him a friend."
"Kevin was my best friend." Mike said. "We had a lot of fun together, and I'm really disappointed in myself for bullying him. I'll miss you, Kev."
"I always thought highly of Kevin." Rick said. "He was a good leader and a good friend."
"I can't believe Kevin's gone." Stacey said. "I loved him."
"Kevin and I didn't talk much with each other," Heather said, "but I'm sad that he died. He was loved by many."
"From what I've learned about Kevin from himself and others, he seemed nice," Ken said, "and I'll miss him."
"I didn't know Kevin that long," Samus said, "but I felt he was a good person, and I'll miss him."
"Kevin was a great Captain. He was also my friend." Mega Man said. "He came to our rescue a lot. I'll miss him."
"Uh,...I was always mean to Kevin," Simon said, "and I really regret it now. I wish I could've gotten the chance to know the kid better."
"Kevinicus was a great Game Master." Kid Icarus said. "He was cool. He'll be missedicus."
Duke moaned sadly and coughed.
"The first time I met Kevin Keene, I was jealous of him." Link said. "But we became friends. Good-bye, Kevin."
"I didn't know Kevin that well," Zelda said, "but I know Lana loved him, so Kevin must have been very special. I'll miss him."
"Kevin was a cool guy." Li said. "He played cool music. His death was such a loss of talent."
"Kevin was a fine young man - and a friend to all of us." Dr. Right said. "I will miss him."
"Kevin was the man." Riff said. "I miss 'im."
"I miss him, too." Proto Man said.
"When a friend dies, people cry." Roll said. "Robots don't cry, but they should, because I feel like crying. right now."
Lana struggled to control her tears. "I can't believe Kevin's dead. I'm sorry, I can't go on."
Roll put her right arm around Lana's shoulders and hugged her.
"I think we should now pray for Kevin." Kristen said. "I brought a rosary." She took it out. "Those non-Christians among us, you don't have to pray, but please keep Kevin in your thoughts. We'll do one section of the rosary."
The room was silent for a moment.
They recited the rosary. Kristen kissed the crucifix and put the rosary away.
Everyone was silent for a moment.
"Does anyone have anything to say?" Kristen asked.
"When are we gonna tell his parents?" Rick asked.
Kristen sighed. "When the war is over,...whenever that will be. We can't risk a trip to Earth right now, no matter what the circumstances. We'll attend the Mass when the time comes."
"Would it help to offer prayers to my Gods?" Zelda asked.
"Considering that Kevin wasn't Hylian, your Gods might not consider him one of their children." Kristen replied. "So I don't know if prayers would help, but they certainly wouldn't hurt. Anything else?"
No one said anything.
"All right. The service is concluded."
Everybody stood up and left the Conference room.

Stacey walked into her bedroom. The door slid closed.
She sat down on her bed and began to cry again.
"Damn it, why'd he have to go up there?!" Stacey yelled. "Why'd he have to die?! It's not fair!"
Stacey stood up and walked into her bathroom.
She looked at all of her cosmetics standing on the counter.
"It's not fair!" Stacey yelled. "Kevin's dead, and here I am with my stupid life! None of this stuff here matters. I'm vain! It won't matter how I look if I'm dead!"
Stacey threw away all of her lipstick, eyeliner, make-up, and other cosmetics. She poured her perfume down the drain and threw the bottles in the trash.

Cathy Bennett was handed a datapad. She quickly scanned it then looked up and faced the camera.
"We've just received word that the planet of Puss 'n Boots has just been hit with nuclear missiles. All 6,478,346,665 people have been killed."
She was handed another datapad. She scanned it and looked up.
"Faxanadu, Polo World, Studio World, and Nottingham have also been hit. Everyone on each of those worlds have been killed. Faxanadu: 7,334,432,889. Polo World: 4,553,988,645. Studio World: 3,556,532,341. Nottingham: 2,896,665,457. Wombatman was one of the ones killed. King Melvis, Queen Dwarfine, Robin Hood, and Maid Marian are still alive and well, because they're in Megaland at the Alliance Headquarters. The death toll of the war currently stands at 89,712,345,642. This is truly a tragic day for Videoland."
Mike shut off the viewscreen. "This is horrible."
"We must forget about Kevin for the moment." Samus said. "Videoland needs the N Team, and the N Team needs a leader - now."
"I agree with Samus." Rick said. "There's only one thing to do. You feel up to it, Mike?"
"I guess." Mike replied.

Lana was standing in front of the sink in her bathroom.
She splashed cold water on her face and began washing it.
The door chimed.
Lana shut off the water and walked into her bedroom.
"Come in." she said.
The door slid open, and Mike walked into the room. He had his hands behind his back.
"What do you want?" Lana asked.
"I, uh,...I wanted to see how you were feeling." Mike said.
Lana sniffed.
Mike brought his hands out from behind his back. He was holding a jacket.
"Um,'s Kevin's senior year jacket." Mike said. "We thought you might want it."
Lana took the Northridge High School jacket from him. "Thank you."
"We want you to wear it." Mike said.
Lana looked up at him. "What?"
"We need a leader." Mike said.
"I have just lost someone dear to me, and you want me to take over for him?!" Lana cried.
"Lana, you have to." Mike told her. "As the founder and original leader of the N Team, leadership now falls to you. It's your responsibility."
"I don't want the responsibility!" Lana cried. "You lead!"
"Lana, I know you're upset." Mike said. "We're all upset. But we need you!"
"Mike, please, leave me alone!" Lana begged.
"Lana, billions of people are dying." Mike told her. "If you sit around and do nothing, then you're condoning murder. Now, how would Kevin feel about that?"
"Get out!" Lana yelled angrily.
"Lana, please!"
"You son of a bitch, get the fuck out!!!" Lana screamed.
Mike looked into Lana's eyes. They were full of sadness and rage. He turned and silently left the room.
Lana clutched the jacket to her chest.

Later that night, Lana and Stacey were standing outside in front of the Alliance Headquarters. They were silent, alone in their own thoughts. A breeze blew across their grim, haunted faces.
"May I join you?"
Lana and Stacey turned around and saw Samus approaching them. The bounty hunter wasn't wearing her armor.
"Yeah." Stacey said.
Samus noticed that Lana was dressed in blue jeans, a tanktop, sneakers, black fingerless gloves, and a red vest with a black "N" on the left breast.
"Well,...congratulations, Captain N." Samus remarked.
"Thanks." Lana said. "Is there something you wanted?"
"Yeah." Samus said. "I wanted to tell you something."
"What is it, Samus?" Stacey asked.
"Kevin knew over your planning to dump someone." Samus told them. "He overheard you."
"What?" Lana asked in surprise.
"Well, don't worry, Captain." Samus said. "You don't have to choose anymore. Kevin chose for you."
Lana and Stacey stared at her, stunned.
"You know what?" Samus asked. "You two deserve each other."
Samus turned and walked back into the Alliance Headquarters.
Lana and Stacey looked at each other, then walked away from each other in silence.

Thursday, April 25, 1996, 7:35 PM

A warp opened in the Conference room, and Lana, Samus, Rick, Mike, Stacey, Kristen, Heather, and Simon exited it. The warp closed.
"Okay, guys, take a break." Lana said. She left the room.
The others sat down at the conference table. Samus took off her helmet.
"Why the hell did we go to Dragon's Den?" Mike asked.
"Our leader felt it was necessary." Rick replied.
"Personally, I think it was too dangerous for us." Heather said.
"I agree." Samus said. "Not even I would take on an army of dragons."
"What's the death toll?" Kristen asked.
"Let's turn on VNN and find out." Samus turned on the viewscreen.
"The N Team has just returned from Dragon's Den." Cathy Bennett reported. "This is yet another in a series of dangerous and unsuccessful missions that the N Team has undertaken since Lana Deschain became the team's leader over two months ago. 6,467,312 were killed on Dragon's Den. Here is what remains of them."
The camera switched to footage of Dragon's Den. Everywhere, people's charred bodies lay, and dragons stomped around triumphantly, burning everything in sight. The camera switched back to Cathy in the studio.
"We can add these dead to the 3,956,768,217 other people that were killed in failed rescue attempts these past two months." Cathy said. "That plus the 324,758 soldiers lost and the 67,843,235 people who perished when their worlds were nuked brings the current death toll of the war to 93,696,836,846 people."
Samus turned off the viewscreen. "Kevin let me lead missions wherever I wanted. If I had been in charge, we wouldn't be running off trying to save every video world that comes under attack. We'd be going into Brain Child's territory and crippling the enemy!"
"I admit Lana's doing a lousy job," Rick said, "but what are you gonna do about it?"
"I'm going to challenge her for leadership of the N Team." Samus replied.
"Like, I dunno, Samus." Stacey said. "I don't think it's smart to mess with Lana when she's got a 'fuck the universe' attitude."
Samus stood up. "Don't worry. I can take her."
She left the Conference room.

The door chimed.
"Come in." Lana said.
The door slid open, and Samus walked into Lana's bedroom. The door closed.
Lana walked over to the bounty hunter. "What do you want, Samus?"
"Captain N, I am not happy with the way you've been leading the N Team." Samus said. "You consistently put us in dangerous situations, and we're fed up with it. I have the most Metroid experience. I should be the leader of this team."
Lana laughed. "You wanna be Captain N? That's a good one."
"This is no joke." Samus told her. "I'm warning you. Either improve your leadership, or I'll challenge you."
"I'll improve." Lana told her.
Samus nodded, then turned and left the room. The door closed.
"Bitch." Lana commented.
Out in the corridor, Samus stopped and smiled. "Cunt."
Then she went on her merry way.

Kristen, Heather, Simon, Mike, Rick, Lana, and Stacey exited a warp and entered the Conference room. They had just returned from a mission to Castlevania. Samus was standing there, waiting for them. The warp closed.
"Well, congratulations on a successful mission, guys." Lana said.
"It's about time you got back." Samus told Lana.
Most of the N Teamsters left the room. Kristen and Samus were the only ones left.
Kristen stared at Lana until the door slid closed. "I almost lost her tonight."
Samus looked at her. "Kristen, I know you love her, but there's something you should know."

Lana was changing into her pajamas for the night.
The door chimed.
"Come in." Lana said.
The door slid open, and Kristen walked into the room. The door slid closed.
"What's up, Kris?" Lana asked.
Kristen walked over to her. She didn't look happy. "Samus told me everything."
Lana knew what Kristen was talking about. "Oh."
"'Oh'?" Kristen asked. "Is that all you have to say to me?"
"I dunno."
"Lana, I can understand you liking Stacey." Kristen said. "I've masturbated while fantasizing about her lots of times. She's gorgeous. And I can understand why you don't want more than three love interests. But I don't understand why you didn't come to me with this. We could've talked about this and worked something out. But you kept this from me. When were you gonna tell me, Lana? After you broke my heart?"
"Why are you so upset over a potential breakup?" Lana asked.
"I'm not upset about a breakup." Kristen told her. "I'm upset that you didn't take my feelings into consideration. I admired you, and I expected at least that much from you."
"Kristen, you think too highly of me!" Lana told her. "I'm not perfect!"
"You don't have to be perfect to show a little respect for your fellow human beings."
After saying that, Kristen turned and left the room.

The door chimed.
Heather was sitting on her bed. "Come in."
The door slid open, and Kristen walked into the room. The door closed.
"Hey, Krissy." Heather greeted.
Kristen walked over to her older sister. "Heather."
Heather could see that Kristen was fighting back tears. "What's the matter, sis?"
Kristen sat down to Heather's right. She hugged her sister and started to cry.
Heather hugged her little sister.

Monday, July 1, 1996, 11:43 AM

"We've just received word that News World has been attacked." Cathy Bennett reported. "Bombs were dropped all over the planet. Fortunately, the entire population had evacuated earlier today to Megaland. Also, since the bombs were not radioactive, the citizens of News World will be able to return to their home planet once the war is over. Since the death toll report on April 25th, 70,347,854,356 people have been killed, bringing the death toll of the war up to 174,044,691,202 people."
Samus shut off the viewscreen.
The door to the Conference room slid open, and Roll walked into the room.
"Samus." Roll said.
Samus looked at the android. "What is it, Roll?"
"Someone's asking to speak with an N Teamster." Roll took the remote and clicked on the viewscreen.
Roll selected the proper channel. A man's face appeared on the viewscreen.
"Samus Aran, I have some urgent news." the man said.
"Who are you?" Samus asked.
"I'm a defector from Brain Child's side." the man said. "I think you'll be interested in what I have to say."

Kristen walked into Dr. Right's laboratory.
Dr. Li Shiroshi was standing at a metal work table, busily repairing Gameboy.
Kristen walked over to her. "How's it going?"
Li stopped working and looked at her. "Well,...I've made a new casing for him and repaired most of his internal circuitry." She sighed and shook her head. "But I'm still a long way off. It'll be at least another two months before he's online."
"The way things are going, in two months, Gameboy might be all that's left of the Alliance." Kristen said.
"You really know how to cheer a girl up, Kristen." Li said. She paused for a moment. "So, are you and Lana doing?"
"We're still not speaking to each other." Kristen replied. "Maybe I was stupid to fall in love with her."
Li shook her head and put her hands on Kristen's arms. "No, you weren't. You loved her, and I think you still do."
"You're right." Kristen admitted.
"Follow your body and your mind." Li said. "What does your body tell you?"
"Lana's fine." Kristen replied.
"And what does your mind tell you?" Li asked.
"I love her, and I want her to love me." Kristen replied. "Thanks, Li. I'll try to patch things up with her."
Li smiled. "Glad I could help." She paused for a moment. "Kristen, does Lana blame herself for Kevin's death?"
"Not as much as Stacey blames herself, but yeah, she does." Kristen said. "I've tried to give her hope that maybe Kevin's alive in another dimension, but she won't accept something like that."

Samus arrived at Lana's bedroom.
The door slid open.
Samus walked into the room. She smiled as she watched the scene before her. Lana was kissing, licking, and sucking Zelda's breasts.
Lana went up to Zelda's face and kissed her on the mouth.
Samus cleared her throat.
Lana and Zelda turned to face her, startled.
Samus grinned. "Lunch?"
Lana placed her arms across her chest. "What do you want, Samus?"
"I got a call." Samus said. "The CAVR's been found."
Lana gasped.

Lana, Samus, Rick, Mike, Stacey, Kristen, Heather, and Li exited the warp and found themselves on a street. The warp closed. Kristen and Heather held laser rifles, and Li held her laser gun.
They were on News World, but it wasn't the boring place it once was. The streets were full of dust and debris from bombed buildings. The sun was setting on a dead world. Rick turned on his infra-red goggles and began recording.
"We've got a long search ahead of us." Samus reported.
"Then tell us some stories of your adventures, so we won't be so bored." Rick requested. "It'll make great material for the Videoland Club's database."
"Mmmm..." Samus mused with a smile, looking at the goggles / camera on Rick's head. "Okay, guys, I'm gonna tell you about my three biggest adventures. Prepare to be amazed."
"Hmph." Lana said, folding her arms in front of her.
"The Galactic Federation was formed in the 2000th year of the new history - or, by your calendar, fifty years ago. All the cultures and races of the universe were now in alliance, and interstellar travel and trade resulted. Ships flew freely from one planet to another, and all seemed well among the galaxies." Samus paused for a moment. "Then the Space Pirates arrived. They're known as the Planteers of Krom. Attacking ships, stealing their cargo - smuggling, chaos, and anarchy in deep space resulted. Something had to be done. The Federation Bureau commanded the formation of the Galactic Federation Police forty years ago. In the Galactic Federation, only one being in a million is qualified to join the Federation Police Force. Twelve years ago, I not only qualified - I completed the training course in record time, graduating first in my class, and became the youngest police officer ever promoted to the elite Star-Tracker Squad! Star-Trackers! Only one police officer in a million is chosen. Each works alone, hunting down the most dangerous criminals in the galaxy. Equipped by the Federation with weapons and cybernetic super powers, they are nearly invincible, and I was the best ever! Then a year later, the space pirates built an asteroid known as Metroid for use as a mobile attack base to strike other worlds far beyond their home planet of Zebes. Their leader, Mother Brain, controlled Metroid with her mind. The Federation Police were ineffective against the pirates. I resigned because of that, and I went home. The police couldn't do the job. More extreme measures had to be taken. Those extreme measures were the Space Hunters. Gathered by the Bureau and the Police, these warriors of legend were paid great sums when they were able to accost the Pirates and bring them in alive, becoming a legion of bounty hunters in the end. When I heard this, I became a space hunter / bounty hunter a year later. I'm a free agent, so I can do almost anything I want, which suits me just fine. I started taking on missions others declared impossible. By the year 2041, the Space Pirates were mostly under control; small bands still caused trouble in the deepest reaches of the universe, however, and none so much as the group who stumbled upon the life-form from Planet SR388. The life-form was stolen when this particular group of pirates attacked a scientific research laboratory nested in deep space. While it was in suspended animation, it was found that exposure to beta rays for 24 hours will reawaken it. It was then discovered that the whole civilization of SR388 was wiped out by some unknown entity, a sample of which was captured by the scientists and being brought home for further investigation,...and that is what the unknowing pirates had in their possession. The researchers had named the new creature 'metroid.' It was discovered that the pirates had actually planned on multiplying the metroid and used as a biological weapon. Once word of this got back to the Federation, an attack was launched on the pirates' headquarters on the planet Zebes, a world infested with a natural labyrinth of underground corridors. The Federation Police were unable to take the planet and were badly beaten by the fierce and ruthless pirates' counterattack. During the battle, the plans for multiplying and unleashing the new bio-weapon were unfolding quickly. But the plan backfired, and the pirates might have been destroyed, except for the skill of their leader, Mother Brain! She could mentally control the creatures - and threatened to use them against the Federation! The Federation knew a large army could never overwhelm Mother Brain. But a single hero might slip through defenses and succeed where armies failed. Down to the last few units of police, the Federation decided on launching a commando operation - to be carried out by one of the Space Hunters. And only one was even capable of pulling the mission off - me. Rumor had it that I was a cyborg, with superhuman abilities enabling me to accomplish several 'impossible' missions, giving me a reputation as a modern legend. Infiltrating the heavily-guarded planet of Zebes was not a problem for me. Thwarting a major universal threat of an unknown species with the potential to erase all things living was another task entirely. After a long and tiresome battle against the Space Pirates' leader, the Mother Brain, and her alien minions Kraid and Ridley, I finally succeeded in eradicating the dangerous metroids and escaped the planet Zebes scant seconds before Tourian, the base of the Pirates' operations, self-destructed. But my job wasn't quite done just yet. Thus began my most famous assignment, leading me to fame, fortune, and many more dangerous adventures!"
"Wow!" Rick said, amazed.
"Awesome!" Mike added.
"Totally rad!" Stacey agreed.
"Please." Lana said.
"What happened next?" Kristen asked.
"Eight years ago, I went to Metroid, and 'Big Time' Brannigan was killed." Samus said. "Seven years ago, Mother Brain united the forces of evil on all video worlds to form a single deadly alliance so she could conquer Videoland. On that day, the League of Darkness was born. In what your calendar would be April of 1990, the Forces of Light searched for a hero on Earth to help them defeat the League of Darkness. The Ultimate Warp Zone found the hero, Kevin Keene, in Northridge, California, and brought him and his dog, Duke, to Videoland. Kevin was given a Power Pad and a Zapper and became Captain N, the leader of the N-Team. I met the N-Team in May of that year and became their ally."
Everyone was silent for a moment.
"Tell us more." Kristen finally said.
"My job was far from over." Samus said. "While I had successfully thwarted the menace of the Space Pirates, they had only smuggled one metroid to their hideout. There were more out there. Five years ago, I traveled to the source of the energy-devouring creatures: SR388. My mission: to eradicate the metroids once and for all - and leave no trace of their existence. Just one of those ravenous metroids could very well infiltrate any space where life still thrived - and feed upon it. I journeyed to SR388, a planet not as convoluted as Zebes but no less dangerous, with its frequent planetquakes and pools of molten lava. There I discovered that the metroids I had encountered on Zebes were but one variation - the Alpha metroid - and that the creatures took on as many forms as there were stars in the galaxy. Battling my way deeper and deeper under the planet's surface, I finally met the Queen Metroid...and battled not only for my life, but all life. After the intense battle, I emerged victorious." Samus paused for a moment. "On my way out, however, I discovered a single egg, attached to the ground. Upon my approaching it, the egg wriggled about and hatched open - revealing a tiny, embryonic metroid. The creature, sensing my proximity, clung to me, but not in the way the others did - with their tentacles, hungry for energy - rather, the metroid saw me as its mother and looked to me for security. Realizing this, I knew the metroid would be harmless around humans, so I took my new pet with me and left for Ceres, the leading human scientific research colony in the universe."
"Oh,...shit..." Heather said.
"No kidding." Samus replied.
"What happened?" Mike asked.
"The scientists at Ceres were worried to have such a dangerous organism in their possession at first, but once testing began, fear grew into fascination as the scientists discovered more about the metroid's energy-consuming abilities. It was discovered that the metroid's unique capabilities for eating, storing, and releasing energy could ultimately benefit mankind!" Samus said. "Once I was sure that all was well on Ceres, I left to report back to the Federation after my lengthy absence. Not long after my departure, I received a distress signal - from Ceres. Rocketing back to the research colony, I entered the facility and sensed a strange quietness. I had not been greeted upon arrival and was not asked for clearance to land. Something was definitely wrong. Sprinting through the colony's corridors, I finally made it to the main laboratory, where the bodies of the scientists lay on the ground,...and the infant metroid was missing. Opening the hatch in the back of the lab, I made my way through the long corridor to the empty room beyond. After passing through the hatch at the other end, I was shocked at what I found: the baby metroid, being flown away by its new keeper - Ridley! The giant red dragon had somehow returned and was now stealing the metroid, undoubtedly to continue the work of the Space Pirates and...Mother Brain? Had the mastermind behind the original metroid fiasco somehow escaped death as well? There was only one way to find out. Following Ridley back to the planet Zebes, I was determined to end this war once and for all. The planet appeared decimated when I first landed my ship upon its battle-scarred surface. Exiting the Hunter IV and making my way through the downpour of acid rain that had been falling since the apocalyptic destruction of Tourian, I found a bubble door leading into a cavern in one of the large mountains. I was shocked at what lay beyond the door - the underground passages had been rebuilt! Impossible though it seemed, my mission was still not accomplished. The Mother Brain had survived, and I was willing to bet that if Ridley had been resurrected, the bloated demon Kraid had been as well,...and who knows what other monstrosities may have been engineered while I was on SR388? My final conflict with the Mother Brain and the malevolent creatures of planet Zebes was my most difficult and draining mission ever. The life-forms of the hostile inner worlds of Brinstar and Norfair were familiar and yet more evil than before,...and this mission also introduced me to the unseen underwater world of Maridia and the deepest pits of the planet, where molten magma flowed, and Ridley himself reigned king,...and I was shocked to find that the ancient Chozo bird-people, statues of which had been scattered all throughout the planet's many hidden caves, were not at all extinct. I discovered a derelict ship containing many weapons and items which proved vital to the success of my mission - the permanent eradication of the metroids. After fighting my way through the newly reconstructed corridors underneath the planet's surface, I finally found the new Tourian, once again crawling with metroids, including one which had grown at least five times the size of the species' normal size! I was almost devoured by this beast until it appeared to recognize me as something it did not want to harm. The enormous metroid released me and began to whine like a puppy as it fled, and it was then that I realized what it was - the infant metroid! The Mother Brain was indeed behind the new plot. And once more, I fought the alien with all my might, finally destroying her,...or so I thought, until the Mother Brain revealed her true form, and the battle of the millennium ensued. The Mother Brain let loose with more devastating power than I had ever thought possible. For the second time, I stood at the brink of death,...until the gigantic metroid which had once clung to me as its mother suddenly appeared and attacked the Mother Brain, devouring its energy and leaving it for dead. It was then that the scientists' theories about the metroids' beneficial effects was proven true: it released all of the Mother Brain's energy into my near-lifeless body...almost. The Mother Brain, having returned from the dead once already, resurrected herself on the spot as the metroid was performing its amazing deed and proceeded to pummel it with every ounce of energy she had left...and succeeded. With an ear-splitting scream, the last of the metroids was extinguished. The Mother Brain then turned her attention to me. My armor was glowing with a radiant energy unlike anything ever seen before. I unleashed the Mother Brain's own energy weapon upon her, not only to erase this scourge of the universe from existence, but to avenge the young metroid. The Mother Brain didn't stand a chance against this awesome onslaught, and in my rage, I didn't even notice that my internal weapons had been wiped out, and all the micro-monitors in my helmet repeated the same word: 'HYPER'. The Mother Brain was utterly destroyed by my merciless attack. Upon the creature's disintegration, however, I found that I had one more pressing task - to escape before the planet self-destructed! In a blinding flash seen from a thousand planets, Zebes exploded and took anything in its path with it." Samus smiled. " Of course, I made it out just fine."
Everyone except Lana smiled. She walked silently in thought.
Suddenly, the group heard a thumping sound in the ruins of a building.
"Who's there?" Lana asked.
A boy in his teens walked outside. He was holding a gun.
"Stay back!" the boy warned.
"Julio?" Lana asked.
"President Deschain?" Julio asked.
"Finally, we've found you!" Lana said. "Julio, did you find a small black box from an Alliance ship?"
Julio took it out of his front right pocket. "Yeah."
Lana took the box from him. "Good."
Stacey read the letters on the box. "Caviar? Yuck!"
"Cockpit Audio-Visual Recorder, you ditz." Samus told her.
"Let's get you where it's safe." Lana told Julio.
"Are my mom and dad all right?" Julio asked.
"Yeah, they're in Megaland with everyone else from this world." Lana said. "Why didn't you evacuate with the others?"
"I got separated from my family, and I couldn't find a warp." Julio explained.
Lana took out a warp zone opener and opened a warp. "Here's one."
The entire group stepped through.

The group exited the warp and entered the Monitoring room. The warp closed.
"Roll, play this now!" Lana ordered.
Roll took the black box from Lana's hand and put it into a slot on the console.
Everybody silently stared at the viewscreen.

The group exited the warp and found themselves on the world of Star Tropics. Heavy rain was pouring. Flashes of lightning were seen in the sky, and loud claps of thunder were heard. The warp closed.
Samus pointed in a direction. "This way."
The bounty hunter led the group through the dense jungle.

They came to a square building in the middle of the jungle.
Samus blasted the door open with her arm canon. They all ran into the building.
They found themselves inside a laboratory.
There was a machine shaped like a tanning bed in the middle of the room. The group silently approached it, weapons ready.
They looked down through the glass cover into the bed. Each of them gasped.
Lying inside the machine was a man whose clothes were dirty and torn. He had sort of long hair - but not shoulder-length - and a mustache and beard. But the group knew who he was.
"Kevin!" Lana yelled.
Samus lifted the lid on the machine.
Rick checked Kevin's pulse. "He's alive!"
"But what is this place?" Heather asked.
"Looks like some kind of lab." Mike said.
"Can you safely disconnect him?" Roll asked Li.
"I can try." Li said.
Li walked over to a nearby control panel and tried to shut off the machine.
"It's no good." Li said. "Kevin's mind is stuck in some kind of simulation, and the only way to shut it off is from the inside."
"Then hook me up." Mike told her. "I'm goin' in."
"Are you sure you want to risk it?" Li asked. "Once you're in there, I can't bring you out."
"Yeah, I'm sure." Mike said. "Just tell me what I gotta do."
"Hit the killswitch." Li replied. "But be careful. There are guards in there. You'll have to fight your way to the killswitch. Once you get there, hit it, and the simulation will end."
"Just like Doom." Mike said with a grin.
"Li," Lana said, "I'm going, too."
Li nodded. "Okay. You two lie down next to the machine."
Lana laid down to Kevin's left, and Mike laid down to Kevin's right.
Li pressed some buttons, and helmets lowered down from the ceiling. Mike and Lana put them on.
"I'm sending you in." Li told them.
Mike and Lana fell unconscious.

They appeared in the simulation. It looked like a level out of Doom. There were monsters all around them.
"Help me!" a voice called.
"Kevin, we're here!" Mike called. "Hold on, man!"
Mike and Lana drew their Zappers and fired at the monsters.
Lana pointed. "This way!"
They ran through the simulation, zapping monsters as they went.
Suddenly, one of the monsters clawed at Mike and threw him against a wall.
Lana turned around. "Mike!"
Mike was all bruised and bleeding. "Go!"
Lana turned and ran. She zapped monsters and jumped using her Power Pad.
Meanwhile, monsters were approaching Mike and Kevin in different areas in the simulation.
Lana saw the killswitch up ahead. She ran at it.
Suddenly, though, a monster grabbed hold of her and tried to pull her away.
Lana strained her whole body as she stretched her hand as far as she could.
Finally, Lana's fingers touched the killswitch.
A white glow came out of the switch and filled the entire simulation. The monsters disappeared.
Lana, Mike, and Kevin stood up.
The simulation ended.

The machine shut off.
Mike, Kevin, and Lana's eyes opened. They sat up. Mike and Lana took off their helmets.
Kevin looked at Mike. "Thanks for saving me, buddy."
Mike smiled. "Thank Captain N."
Kevin looked to his left and saw Lana. She smiled at him. He smiled back.
Samus cleared her throat. "What happened to you, Kevin."
"While I was on the ship, a warp opened, and I was brought here." Kevin explained. "Brain Child's minions had stumbled upon Star Tropics and were using this place to develop more efficient combat techniques. They kidnapped me 1) to cripple the N Team and 2) to study their opposition in a simulation. I was a virtual lab rat trying to survive."
"The ship exploded. We thought you were dead." Samus informed him.
"What's today's date?" Kevin asked.
"Monday, July 1st, 1996." Mike replied.
"What's been going on." Kevin asked.
"We'll explain later." Lana told him. "Let's get you home."
Lana helped Kevin to his feet. Kevin hugged Lana and leaned forward.
Lana pulled away from him. "No."
"No?" Kevin asked in surprise.
"Kevin, things have changed." Lana said. "Stacey and I are trying to get into a relationship."
Kevin nodded. "I remember."
"The point is I can't see you anymore." Lana told him. "It would be too complicated. It would be better for me if we break up."
"Lana, can I have him?" Stacey asked.
Lana shrugged. "Sure."
Kevin turned and hugged Stacey. He leaned forward.
Stacey pushed him away. "Yuck! Take a shave first!"
"Guys, let's get outta here before Brain Child's goons show up." Rick said.
Lana opened up a warp, and they all entered it.

Kevin stood in his bathroom and changed into fresh clothes.
Then he shaved. Soon, his mustache and beard were in the sink.
Kevin washed his face thoroughly to make sure there were no small bits of hair left on it.
Then Kevin turned off the water in the sink and left the bathroom.
Stacey was waiting in Kevin's bedroom.
"Much better." Stacey said with a smile.
She pulled him into a deep kiss, then ran her tongue all over his face, savoring its smooth feel.

Kevin walked into Dr. Right's laboratory.
"Hi, Dr. Right!" Kevin said.
"Captain N!" Dr. Right ran over to him. "You're alive!"
"Yep." Kevin said. "You can read the Videoland Club's report later."
Suddenly, Kevin heard barking. Duke walked over to Kevin.
"Duke!" Kevin knelt down on the floor and petted Duke.
Duke coughed.
"Are you all right, boy?" Kevin asked in concern.
"He hasn't been feeling well." Dr. Right told him. "He's old."
"Yeah, I know." Kevin said. "How much time does he have left?"
Duke licked Kevin on the face, then closed his eyes and died.
"None." Dr. Right replied.
"Aw, Dukey!" Kevin hugged his beloved canine.
"Captain N, memory transfer." Dr. Right said urgently.
Kevin stood up. "I'll do it!"
He picked Duke up in his arms, then he and Dr. Right walked over to the machine.
Kevin sat down in a chair, and Dr. Right placed Duke in the chair to Kevin's left.
Dr. Right turned on the machine and started the procedure.
After about ten seconds, the meter reached the top: 100%.
Dr. Right shut off the machine. "Done."
Kevin stood up. "Thanks, Doc."
"What do you want me to do with the body?" Dr. Right asked.
"Burn it." Kevin replied.
Kevin untied Duke's blue bandanna and took it with him as he left the lab.

The entire N Team sat at the conference table. Lana sat at the head of the table.
"This meeting is called for two purposes." Lana said. "First, let's welcome back our lost team member, Kevin Keene."
Everyone applauded and cheered.
"Second, we have to set a formal chain of command." Lana said. "Kevin and I have a disagreement over who should lead the team, so I am going to go through the lists of informal chains of command during the various stages of development of the N Team. When I founded the N Team almost seven years ago, I was the leader. Simon was the highest-ranking officer of my court, so he was second-in-command. However, this was only an assumption and had no formal backing. When Kevin joined the team, he became Captain N, the leader of the N Team. Informally, I was lowered to second-in-command, and Simon was lowered to third-in-command. However, Simon would often interfere, and, as the Ruler of Videoland, I could always override Kevin's decisions. During the first three years, the question of Mega Man, Kid Icarus, and Gameboy's authority never arose. When Kevin's Earth friends joined the team in 1992, the informal chain of command was Kevin, me (who could overrule), Rick, Mike, everybody else. Now we've got an icky situation. Kevin was presumed dead, so I, as second-in-command, became Captain N. Now Kevin's back. So the question is: Who should be Captain N?"
"Me." Mike replied with a smile.
Everyone chuckled.
"Here's what I've decided." Lana said. "I inherited the leadership of the N Team and the title of Captain N. Kevin's back, yes, but he was only brought to us to defeat Mother Brain. The prophecy has been fulfilled, therefore I declare that Kevin no longer has a claim on leadership."
Everybody was stunned at Lana's words.
"I am Captain N, the leader of the N Team." Lana said. "Samus, you are second-in-command. Rick, you're third. Mike, you're fourth, Stacey, you're fifth. Kevin,'re sixth. The rest of you I won't bother with. Does anyone object to my decision?"
No one said anything.
"Good. Meeting adjourned."
Everybody stood up. Most of them left the Conference room.
Kevin pulled Lana's arm as she was leaving. Lana turned and faced him.
"What the hell was that?" Kevin asked. "You took away my title and relegated me to the bottom of the team."
"Not the bottom." Lana countered. "You still have some people below you."
"Funny." Kevin replied. "And you don't even want to be with me anymore."
"I explained that to you." Lana told him.
"Yes, it's easier on you." Kevin said. "Well, what about me?"
"You've got Stacey." Lana said.
"I want you." Kevin said. "No. No, on second thought, I don't want you."
"Fine by me." Lana replied.
"So,...this is the way things will be from now on." Kevin said.
"Take it or leave it." Lana told him.
Kevin thought for a moment. "I'll take it." He offered Lana his right hand. "Friends?"
Lana shook his hand. "Friends."
Then the two of them left the Conference room.

The door chimed.
"Come in." Lana said.
The door slid open, and Kristen walked into Lana's bedroom.
"Hi, Lana." Kristen said.
Lana looked at her. "Hi, Kristen."
"I like what you did today." Kristen told her. "Saving Kevin, I mean."
"Yeah,...well,...I think I'll go." Kristen turned to leave.
Kristen turned to face Lana.
"I'm...I'm sorry for being such a bitch." Lana said sincerely. "Can we still be...whatever we were before?"
Kristen grinned. "I'd like that."
Lana grinned. Kristen ran to her, and they hugged.
"Hey," Kristen said, "...jacket."
"Right." Lana took off her vest and put on her Northridge High School Jacket.
Kristen smiled. "Looks great on you."

Friday, September 13, 1996, 7:06 PM

The N Teamsters and Li Shiroshi were on the planet Romero.
As they fought monsters, "Nothin's Gonna Stand in Our Way" by Spectre General was blaring from the speakers of a CD player on the ground.
A zombie sergeant approached Kevin and started firing. Kevin dodged and returned fire with his double-barreled shotgun, killing the zombie.
Rick shot an arachnotron with his plasma gun and eventually killed it, but he had to avoid its own plasma gun.
Samus came out of her mari maru mode and blasted a zombie sergeant with her arm cannon, killing him.
Kristen and Heather killed imps and demons with their rocket launchers. Li killed the specters, flying skulls, and cacodemons with her double-barreled shotgun.
Flynn "Fly" Taggart and Arlene Sanders killed barons and knights with their rocket launchers. Mike, Lana, and Stacey killed pain elementals, revenants, mancubuses, and arch-viles with their rocket launchers.
Just then, a spider-demon arrived.
Rick fired at it with his plasma gun. After hits from that and Kevin and Li's shotguns, the Spider Mastermind died.
A cyber-demon showed up.
Fly, Arlene, Lana, Samus, Rick, Mike, Stacey, Heather, Kristen, and Li turned to it and began firing. They surrounded the cyber-demon and shot it from all directions. Fly and Arlene used their BFG9000s.
After the cyber-demon was killed, Fly and Arlene went into the room that contained the head of John Romero on a pike.
Fly and Arlene emptied their remaining rockets into the head. John Romero screamed out in agony and died.
Taggart and Sanders exited the room.
The song on the CD player ended, and Mike shut it off. He opened the CD player and took out his "The Transformers: The Movie" soundtrack CD.
"Mission accomplished." Mike said with a smile.
"Thank you for saving our asses." Arlene said with a grateful smile.
"Yeah, thanks." Fly added. "The Plutonia Experiment is over."
Kevin smiled. "Anytime, guys."
"But being here isn't helping that much." Lana said. "People are still dying all over Videoland. We can't go to every game world that requests our help."
"I agree." Rick said. "What do you suggest we do."
"This war has to be ended now." Lana said. "I say we attack New Metroid."
"Yeah!" Kevin said.
"Totally!" Stacey added.
"Damn right!" Mike agreed.
"Samus?" Lana asked.
Samus took off her helmet. "I'll agree on one condition."
"What's that?" Li asked.
"Mike makes me a copy of that awesome CD." Samus said. "It kicks ass!"
Mike grinned.

The N Team, their friends, and the rest of the Alliance representatives gathered for a meeting in the Conference room.
Lana turned on the viewscreen, so they could be brought up to date on recent events.
"Members of the N Team and Dr. Li Shiroshi have just returned from Romero, where they helped Flynn Taggart and Arlene Sanders stop yet another invasion of monsters." Cathy Bennett reported. "Billions of lives have been saved, but many more people are dying all over Videoland. In the time since Kevin Keene's return to the N Team, 245,675,221,866,845 people have been killed in this war. Some people fear that every race in Videoland will die in Brain Child's plan of the complete destruction of Videoland."
Lana shut off the viewscreen, then faced the others. "We need to end this war - right now!"
"But how do we get near New Metroid?" Kevin asked. "They'll spot an armada instantly."
"If we take only one ship, it'll take them a few minutes to spot us." Samus said.
"One ship against all of New Metroid's defenses?" Lana asked.
"We'll land on the surface, find Brain Child, and kill the bitch." Samus said. "Trust me, we can do this."
"Looks like we've got no other choice." Lana said. "Okay, we'll do it. Samus, Rick, Mike, Stacey, Kevin, Zelda, Kristen, Heather, Roll, and I will go to New Metroid. Let's hope we succeed. If we do, by this time tomorrow, the war will be over. If we don't, by this time tomorrow, the war will be over."
Everyone was silent for a moment.
"Let's go." Lana said.

"So, the CAVR was warped out of Megaland and to News World after the ship crashed." Rick said.
"That's what I heard BC's goons say before they locked me in." Kevin said.
"That's why we didn't find it." Lana concluded.
"Hey, uh, I know we got our guns 'n' stuff." Mike said. "But don't you think we need something a bit more powerful to take out BC?"
Zelda smiled. "I brought the Triforces, Mike."
Lana could see that Kristen had a worried expression on her face.
"What are you thinking about?" Lana asked.
"The Final Judgment." Kristen replied. "I've been reading 'The Revelation to John' recently, and I can't help but notice some similarities."
"Like what?" Lana asked.
"Revelation 6:1-8: 'Then I saw the Lamb break open the first of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice that sounded like thunder, 'Come!' I looked, and there was a white horse. Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown. He rode out as a conqueror to conquer. Then the Lamb broke open the second seal; and I heard the second living creature say, 'Come!' Another horse came out - a red one. Its rider was given the power to bring war on the Earth, so that men should kill each other. He was given a large sword. Then the Lamb broke open the third seal; and I heard the third living creature say, 'Come!' I looked, and there was a black horse. Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand. I heard what sounded like a voice coming from among the four living creatures, which said, 'A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages. But do not damage the olive trees and the vineyards!' Then the Lamb broke open the fourth seal; and I heard the fourth living creature say, 'Come!' I looked, and there was a pale-colored horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades followed close behind. They were given authority over one-fourth of the Earth, to kill by means of war, famine, disease, and wild animals.'"
"I don't understand." Lana said.
"Lana, war is happening right now. Famine and disease and rampant due to all the bombings. So are wild animals."
"Kristen, you've got the wrong universe." Lana told her.
"I could happen here. You never know." Kristen said. "A lot of people interpret Revelation as a millennial prophecy."
"But Kristen, it's 1996." Lana told her. "The new millennium doesn't begin until 2001 - almost five years from now."
The calendar is off by a few years." Kristen said.
"Not in Videoland." Lana pointed out.
"We're approaching New Metroid." Samus reported.
"Okay, what do we do?" Lana asked.
"Well, I can't take the ship down." Samus said. "Too much electrical interference. We might not have enough power to lift off again. However, we can take the needleship down to the surface. The needleship is light enough that we can fly it back up even if the engines are damaged by the lightning storms."
"Let's do it." Lana said.

The N Teamsters and Roll entered the bridge of the needleship.
Samus put on her helmet and sat down in the chair. "I'm activating the separation sequence. Everybody hold on."
The needleship separated from the Hunter IV. Samus piloted it down to the surface of New Metroid and landed it.
They exited the needleship and were welcomed by thunder, lightning, and a heavy downpour of rain.
Zelda was carrying the Triforce of Wisdom. Lana was carrying the Triforce of Power. Kristen was carrying the Triforce of Courage.
"Which way?" Heather asked.
"We'll split up." Lana said. "Kristen, Zelda, and I will go this way. Everybody else will go that way."
They walked off in opposite directions.

Kevin slipped and fell into a hole.
The others looked down.
"Are you all right, Kevin?!" Samus called.
Kevin looked up. "Yeah!" He looked around. "I'm in an underground cavern!"
"We're coming down!" Samus told him.
Samus jumped down and landed on her feet. The others jumped down, and Samus caught them - except for Roll, who was able to land on her feet.
Everybody looked around.
Samus pointed. "Let's go that way."
They started walking.
Soon, they were attacked by metroids and rio.
They all hit the ground, then rolled over and fired up. They killed the creatures.
Everyone got to their feet.
"C'mon." Samus said.

Samus killed the boss in the cavern.
"So, like, now what?" Stacey asked.
"Let's keep going." Samus said. "We're moving up, which means we should reach the surface soon. Judging by all the creatures down here, I'd say we're pretty close to Brain Child's lair."
Everybody followed Samus.

Samus blasted open the door to Brain Child's lair. The entire group ran inside.
"Brain Child!" Samus said.
"So, you have made it here." Brain Child said.
"That thing looks just like the Spider Mastermind in Doom - ugly." Rick commented.
"I have been studying your profile." Brain Child told Samus. "Samus Aran, born on Wednesday, August 23, 1967, according to the standard calendar of this universe. Bounty hunter."
"Yeah, yeah, I know all about myself." Samus said. "Can we get to the fighting, please?"
"Piedmont, now." Brain Child instructed.
Pak ran between Brain Child and the N Team.
"Pak!" Kevin said in surprise.
"Hey, Keene." Pak greeted, then fired his Power Glove.
The N Teamsters dodged.
Brain Child turned and faced a viewscreen.
Roll saw this. "Pak's a distraction."
Kevin and Mike fired at Pak with their Zappers. Rick fired at Pak with his Super Scope. Pak was hit by all the blasts.
"Hey, I don't fight suicide battles. I'm outta here. You handle 'em yourself, BC."
Pak opened up a warp and entered it. The warp closed.
Samus aimed her arm cannon at Brain Child. "You and me, Brain Child, now."
Brain Child turned and faced her. "I accept. You will die, Samus Aran."
Samus began firing at Brain Child with her arm cannon. She leapt and rolled out of the way of Brain Child's gun.

Brain Child's lair began to collapse.
Samus fired at Brain Child a few more times and killed it.
Everybody yelled and ran out of the building.
Lana, Zelda, and Kristen were waiting there.
The entire group ran to the needleship and entered it.
Samus closed the door and started the engines. The ship took off.
Lightning hit the needleship. Grimly, Samus steered it up and out of the atmosphere.
Samus reattached the needleship to the Starship Hunter IV.
They all exited the auxiliary bridge and went to the main bridge.
Samus quickly turned the ship around 180 degrees, knocking everyone to the floor.
The Starship Hunter IV entered hyperspace speed and flew off seconds before New Metroid exploded.

A short while later, the ship was still flying at hyperspace speed.
"New Metroid has been destroyed." Rick said. "You can slow down now."
"What's the point?" Samus asked. "The lightning electrically charged the needleship. When I reattached it, it burnt out a lot of circuitry on the entire ship. It'll get us home, but once I shut off the engines, the ship can never be restarted. So if it'll die soon anyway, why not overheat the engines and get us home sooner?"
"I'm sorry." Rick said sincerely.
"Yeah, me, too." Samus said. "She was a good ship - my home at times. I'll miss her."

The Starship Hunter IV landed in front of the Alliance Headquarters.
The N Teamsters and Roll exited the ship.
The crowd of people gathered to greet them lifted them up into the air and began cheering loudly.
Lana raised her right arm into the air. "Let this mark the end of the Third Videoland War!"
The crowd carried them into the Alliance Headquarters as heroes.

The N Teamsters gathered in the Conference room. There also were all the Alliance representatives and a VNN crew.
"And so the Third Videoland War ends tonight on Friday, September 13, 1996." Cathy Bennett reported. "The final death toll of the war stands at 245,849,266,558,047 people." Cathy turned to Lana. "President Lana Sarah Deschain, what happens now?"
"The Videoland Alliance will continue to exist and henceforth be known as the Republic of Videoland." Lana said. "I will continue to be its President, though I will work at my home office. I will continue to be Captain N, the leader of the N Team."
Cathy went over to Samus. "Samus Aran, what about you?"
"I'm staying on the N Team, and I'll be living with them." Samus replied.
"Richard Edward Walker?" Cathy asked.
"I'm staying on the N Team." Rick replied.
"Michael Vincent?"
"Yeah, I'm staying on the N Team." Mike replied.
"Stacey Lynn Anderson?"
"I'm totally staying on the N Team, too!" Stacey replied.
"Kevin Kristopher Keene?"
"Me, too." Kevin said.
"Mega Man?"
"I'm off the N Team." Mega Man replied. "I'll be living with my creator Dr. Right, my sister Roll, and my brother Proto Man. We'll still be the N Team's allies."
"Simon Belmont, what about you?" Cathy asked.
"Fighting vampires is more my thing." Simon said. "I'm moving back to my lodge on Castlevania. I'm off the N Team."
"Kid Icarus?"
"I'm sick of warsicus." Kid Icarus replied. "I'm moving back to Mount Icarus. I'm off the N Team, too-icus."
"Pak's escaped. I gotta go find him. Chord and I are off the N Team." Riff whistled. "Chord Board!"
Chord swooped down. Riff jumped on him, then they flew out the door.
"Dr. Li Shiroshi, what about Gameboy?" Cathy asked.
"He's still off-line, so he'll make a decision later." Li replied.
"Princess Zelda Harkinian?"
"Link and I are off the N Team." Zelda replied. "It's pretty much pointless, since we don't even live on the same planet as them."
"Kristen Shallowayne?"
"Heather and I are off the N Team." Kristen replied. "It was just a temporary thing."
"I guess that's everyone." Cathy said.
Lana walked over to Simon and offered her left hand. "Good hunting, Simon."
Simon shook her hand. "Thank you, Ms. President."
Lana offered Kid Icarus her left hand. "Good luck, Kid Icarus."
Kid Icarus shook her hand. "Thank you, Ms. Presidenticus."
Li walked over to Simon and hugged him. "Good-bye, Simon."
"Good-bye, Li." Simon replied.
They looked into each other's eyes and considered kissing, but then they decided not to.
Li walked about from Simon.
Lana took a warp zone opener out of her pocket and opened two warps - one to Castlevania and one to Mount Icarus.
Simon and Kid Icarus walked into their respective warps.
The warps closed.
"Well, there you have it." Cathy said. "The war is over. I'm Cathy Bennett. Good night."
After they went off the air, the VNN crew packed up and left the Conference room. So did all the Alliance representatives. The only people left in the room were Lana, Samus, Rick, Mike, Stacey, Kevin, Dr. Right, Mega Man, Proto Man, Dr. Shiroshi, Michael, Jazz, Kristen, Heather, and Kenneth.
"I guess that's it." Lana said.
"Lana, we should get to Star Bright and check up on - " Heather began.
"Tomorrow." Lana said. "Tonight, I just wanna relax."
Lana sat down, leaned back in her chair, and put her feet on the conference table.
Everyone else also sat down at the conference table and rested, completely exhausted.
Soon, the door to the Conference room slid open, and Roll walked into the room. The door slid closed.
"Roll, where have you been?" Ken asked. "You missed the victory newscast."
"I was in the Monitoring room." Roll looked at Lana. "Lana,...can I talk to you?"
"Mmmm..." Lana mumbled.
"I was analyzing the message that Brain Child had sent out right before it was destroyed." Roll began. "It was directed at a point beyond our galaxy."
"What was it?" Lana asked, slightly interested.
Roll had a worried look on her face. "I believe it was a beacon."
Lana took her feet off the table, sat up straight, and faced Roll. "A beacon?"
"Yes, sir," Roll replied, "a homing beacon."
Everybody looked at each other in silence.


Copyright © 1999, 2003 by Mark Moore