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Captain N: The Game Master

The "CHANGES" Miniseries

PART 2

"THE WOUNDED"


WRITTEN BY
MARK MOORE


Sunday, May 31, 1992, 8:00 AM

Kevin and Lana were walking up a hill towards the forest.
It was early in the morning. The sun had just risen.
Things were pretty slow around the Palace lately. The N Team didn't have any problems with Mike and Dr. Wily. In fact, they hadn't even heard much from them since Mike came to Videoland. Just the occasional taunts from Mike about how he was gonna kick their ass.
The two friends were walking along together, with Lana on Kevin's left. They were holding hands.
"It sure is a beautiful day, isn't it, Kevin?" Lana asked the Game Master.
"Yeah." Kevin said, nodding. "You wanna sit down and rest for a while?"
"Yeah, my feet are killin' me!" Lana said, smiling.
They both laughed.
Kevin and Lana sat down on the grass, facing the Palace of Power, with Lana still on Kevin's left.
They looked at their home. From this distance, the Palace looked about their height. The morning sunlight reflected off of the golden structure.
"It's so beautiful!" Lana marveled.
"Yeah, it sure is!" Kevin agreed. Then he turned to Lana. "But not as beautiful as you."
Lana smiled at him, and then they kissed.

At the Palace, Kid Icarus flew into the Communications room.
Mega Man and Simon were sitting at the control panel, pushing buttons, pulling levers, flipping switches, and turning dials.
"You wanted to see me, Mega Man?" the winged archer asked his friend.
Mega Man turned around to face Kid Icarus. "There's some kind of signal coming in. We're trying to clear it up. We need your help."
"Of course-icus."
"And I think Captain N and the Princess should be here, too." Mega Man added.
"I think they went to take a walk together." the archer replied.
"What?!" Simon yelled, looking at them.
"Eyes on the panel, Simon." Mega Man said, turning back to the control panel.
Simon turned and went back to work.
"Duke!" Kid Icarus said, noticing the canine that had just walked into the room. He flew over to him. "Duke, I need you to go find Kevinicus and Her Highnicus and bring them back here."
"Arf! Arf!" Duke barked, nodding in agreement, and ran off.
Kid Icarus flew back to help Mega Man and Simon clear up the viewscreen.

Kevin and Lana ceased their long kiss and lay down next to each other on the grass. They closed their eyes and were soon sound asleep.
Kevin was woken from his nap three minutes later by a long, wet tongue licking his face.
"Lana!" Kevin yelled, laughing.
That woke her up. Lana turned to her right and smiled in amusement.
"Aw, baby, that feels great!" Kevin said, enjoying the licks.
Lana giggled. "Do you two wanna be alone?"
That's when Kevin opened his eyes. "Duke!"
Duke barked at Kevin.
Lana laughed out loud, standing up. She folded her hands together. "Awww, isn't that romantic?!"
"Ha, ha, very funny!" Kevin said sarcastically, standing up. He looked at Duke. "What's up, boy?!"
Duke barked a few times and ran back towards the Palace.
"Sounds like there's trouble, Kevin!" Lana said, walking up to him.
Kevin sighed. "It's probably Mike calling to say he's gonna kick our ass. I believe we are overdue for a call."
The two of them ran after Duke.

Back at the Palace, Kevin and Lana followed Duke into the Communications room. Both of them were panting heavily.
"All right," Lana said, "what's the big emergency?"
Mega Man turned to face them. "We started receiving this signal about a half-hour ago."
Kevin and Lana looked up at the viewscreen.
"Can you clear it up?" Lana asked.
"We're trying to." Mega Man replied.
"I think I've got it!" Simon said.
Everyone looked at the viewscreen. The picture cleared up, and there stood a man with a long white beard.
"Princess!" the man called.
"Father?!" Lana cried.
It was Lana's father, King Charles of Videoland, who had been banished to the Mirror World by Mother Brain shortly before Kevin arrived in Videoland.
The King nodded. "Yes, Lana, it's me! I have found another warp zone capable of travel between the Mirror World and our world!"
"You're coming home?!" Lana asked hopefully.
King Charles nodded. "Yes, my little one! According to my calculations, the warp zone will open in exactly one hour! Wait for me in the courtyard!"
The image of King Charles disappeared, and static filled the screen.
Lana looked at Kevin. "Oh, Kevin," she cried, hugging him, "my father's coming home! He's really coming home!"
Kevin had Lana make eye contact with him. "Now, Lana, be careful. Remember what happened another time your 'father' contacted you?"
"Oh, Kevin, this is different!" Lana said, shaking her head. "I can feel it!"

In Megaland, Dr. Wily was in his lab deep inside Skull Castle, watching the N Team on a monitor.
"Perfect!" Dr. Wily said, grinning happily. "That gives me an idea!" He pressed a button on the control panel. "Mike! Report to my lab at once!" He released the button. Then he remembered that Mike wasn't there. "Oh, I forgot," the evil scientist muttered to himself, "I gave him the day off. He's probably out somewhere, blasting his way through some video world." Dr. Wily thought for a moment. Then he got up from his chair and walked over to a work table. There was a remote control on the table, along with a metal pin. Dr. Wily picked them up and smiled. "No matter. I can handle this myself!" He laughed madly.

In the Palace's courtyard, a television crew had assembled at Lana's request. She wanted her father's return home to be shown all over Videoland.
"Just think, Kevin," Lana said, grinning, "soon a warp zone will open, and my father will walk through!"
Kevin smiled. "We've got about a minute left!"
High above the Palace, unseen by everyone, Dr. Wily flew into position in his spaceship.
"All right," Dr. Wily said to himself, smiling, "it's almost time!"
Dr. Wily held up a robobee whose stinger he had removed. He placed the body-control pin in its place. The evil scientist opened the lid of his ship and sent the bee down into the courtyard.
The camera was trained on Princess Lana. Kevin was standing twenty feet to her left. The rest of the N Team was standing behind the camera crew.
A swirling blue warp zone opened between Kevin and Lana.
"Ladies and gentlemen, my father, King Charles of Videoland!" Lana announced proudly.
Everyone watched as King Charles came out of the warp, and then they all cheered.
"Father!" Lana cried happily.
Just then, the robobee stung the King in the back of his neck. He was too excited to notice, however. "Lana!" he cried happily.
Dr. Wily turned on the remote control and began moving the King around, looking at him on a monitor.
King Charles suddenly found that he was no longer in control of his movements. His left hand reached out and pulled Kevin's Zapper from its holster.
"Hey!" Kevin yelled, surprised.
King Charles, under Wily's control, pointed the Zapper at Kevin and was about to press the trigger.
"Kevin!" Lana yelled. She pulled her Zapper from its holster, pointed it at her father, and fired.
The laser beam from Lana's Zapper hit the King in the chest. He fell backwards, dropping Kevin's Zapper on the ground.
"No!" Dr. Wily yelled.
"Look, it's Dr. Wily!" Mega Man yelled, pointing at the spaceship that was flying away.
Kevin looked up and saw it, still trying to figure out what was going on.
Lana ran to him. "Are you okay, Kevin?!"
Kevin nodded, calming down. "Yeah! What happened?"
"My father tried to shoot you!" Lana informed him. She knelt next to the King. "Father?" She touched his chest with her right hand, then removed it and looked at it. It was covered with blood. "Noooooooo!!!"
Kevin stared in disbelief.
Lana dropped her Zapper, then looked up at the sky and cried in horror: "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
All of Videoland shared the N Team's disbelief.

"Lana, I, uh," Kevin finally managed to say, "I - " Then he decided to be quiet.
The camera operators were still recording Lana, who was now crying her eyes out.
A news reporter ran up to Kevin with a microphone. "This is a terrible tragedy. Can you tell us what happened, Captain N?"
Kevin looked at her, his face pale. "Wily."
"Dr. Wily's behind this?" she asked.
Kevin looked at the camera operators and saw where they were pointing the cameras. He pointed at them. "Hey, shut those things off!"
"Captain N!" the news reporter called.
"Look, this isn't a good time!" Kevin yelled at her.
The news reporter took a step backwards.
Kevin turned and crouched behind Lana. He gently pulled her to her feet, picking up her Zapper, as well. "C'mon, Lana," he said softly, "let's go inside."
Lana kept crying loudly as Kevin helped her inside, with the rest of the N Team following.

Once they were in the Throne Room, Kevin, still holding Lana and walking on her right, looked at Kid Icarus. "Kid, contact Lyle on Tetris and get him over here right away."
"Aye-aye, Kevinicus." the archer said, and flew off.
"Mega Man," Kevin said, "get Dr. Right over here. I wanna know what happened and how."
"Yes, Captain N." the robot said, and walked off.
"Simon, you and Gameboy...you and Gameboy go outside and...look after the King's body."
"Compliance." Gameboy answered.
"What are you gonna do?" Simon asked.
"Help my friend." Kevin answered.
Simon and Gameboy went off.
Duke looked at Lana's sad face, turned to Kevin, and whimpered.
"Yeah, I know, Duke." Kevin said sadly. "But there's nothing you can do. Go to Simon and Gameboy."
Duke nodded sadly and left.
Kevin looked at Lana. "C'mon, let's go to your room." He walked her over to a lift. They got on, and it rose.

Once they were in her room, Lana absently went into her bathroom and washed her hands. She watched the water in the sink turn red with the blood of her father. She looked into the mirror and stared at her own reflection - at that red, pain-filled face. She splashed water on her face and washed it. She then dried her hands and face with a towel, still looking in the mirror.
Kevin was standing in the doorway, watching her.
Finally, Lana turned away from the mirror and walked over to him.
The two of them walked back into her bedroom and over to her bed.
Lana sat down, and Kevin sat to her right.
Kevin looked at her. He couldn't stand to see her crying, but he completely understood why she was. "Lana, - "
"Kevin, I shot him!" Lana whimpered, looking down at her hands. Then her voice grew louder as she looked directly at Kevin and cried: "I killed him! I killed my father! My own father!!!"
Kevin shook his head. What could he say to her? "Lana, I'm...s-so sorry!" He was beginning to cry himself.
"Thanks." Lana said quietly, then looked back down at her hands again.
"Can I get you something?" Kevin offered. "Water?"
Lana shook her head. "No."
"Talking about it might help."
"I took a human life, Kevin." Lana shook her head. "I've never done that before. Never. I hate what I've become."
"Hey," Kevin said, taking her hands in his, "if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be alive right now! Lana, you saved my life! Thank you!"
Lana managed a small smile. "You're welcome." Then she lost her smile and broke eye contact with Kevin, looking straight ahead. "It still doesn't make me feel a whole lot better, though. No offense."
"None taken." Kevin said. "I'd be feeling pretty bad, too, if I were you. I mean, taking a human life isn't exactly a light thing to do!"
Lana shook her head. "No, it isn't." She looked at Kevin again. "I know."
Kevin nodded, understanding.
"And the thing is, I wouldn't be in this much grief if it was someone like Dr. Wily that I shot. But it was my father!"
Kevin just looked at her.
Lana began crying again, but not as hard as before, and silently. "What happened? Why'd my father attack you?"
Kevin shook his head. "We don't know yet. Dr. Right's on his way over. He's gonna try to figure it out. Wily was there. I saw his ship take off. He must've been responsible."
"Yeah," Lana said, then shook her head, "but how...and why?!"
Kevin shook his head. "I don't know." He paused. "Maybe Dr. Right can figure it out."
Lana nodded. "Yeah, maybe." She looked straight ahead again. "Still, the fact remains that my father is lying dead outside. And I'm the one that killed him."
Kevin was silent for a moment. "I wish I could've gotten a chance to know your father."
Lana looked at him and nodded. "You would've loved him."
"Sounds like your father meant the world to you!" Kevin said, amazed.
"Yeah!" Lana said, nodding and smiling.
"Do you wanna be alone? I can leave if you want me to." Kevin said.
Lana nodded.
Kevin put his left hand on Lana's shoulder. He then stood up and faced her. He placed Lana's Zapper back in its holster. "If you need me, I'll be downstairs."
Lana nodded, and Kevin turned and left the room.
Lana brought her legs up onto the bed, put her arms around them, and lowered her head.

Friday, June 23, 1989, 8:30 AM

Lana was walking down a corridor to the Throne room. She was wearing her royal clothes.
When she got there, she came to a dead halt.
That's odd, she thought, the room is never dark.
"Hello?" the Princess asked. "Yoo-hoo! Anybody here?"
Just then, the lights came on.
"Surprise!" everyone in the room yelled at her. Lana jumped back in surprise. "Happy Birthday, Princess!"
Lana smiled happily.
Her father walked up to her, his arms spread wide. "Happy Birthday, Lana!"
"Oh, thank you, father!" Lana said happily, and they hugged.
Lana looked around. There was a big pink banner on the wall behind the throne that had "HAPPY 15TH BIRTHDAY" printed on it in gold. Mega Man was holding a birthday cake. Zelda and Kid Icarus were holding presents.
Then Lana noticed that someone was missing. "Hey," she asked, "where's Simon?"
Just then, a loud scream was heard behind her.
"Simon?" Lana asked, turning around and looking back into the corridor.
The scream continued, and Lana's question was answered when Simon came speeding into the room on a bicycle. It was clear that he was out of control.
"Oh, no!" Simon yelled. He crashed into Mega Man, and the cake fell on both of them, covering them with chocolate fudge.
Mega Man groaned. "What a mega mess!"
Simon stood up and took out his hand-held mirror. "Ahhh!!! My hair!!!"
"Simon!" Lana yelled angrily at the vampire hunter.
Simon put his mirror away and walked up to her. "I'm sorry, Your Disappointedness. That bike was for you. I'll buy you a new one!"
"Chocolate fudge is my favorite!" Lana said sadly.
Her father picked up a present and handed it to her. "Maybe this will cheer you up, Lana!"
Lana took the present and read the card that lay on top: "'To my sweet, beautiful Princess on her fifteenth birthday, love Father'. Aw, thanks, Daddy!"
"Open it." the King said with a smile.
Lana eagerly opened her gift. She grinned when she saw what was inside. "Wow!" She pulled out the object inside, letting the box and card fall to the floor. "A laser rifle!" She hugged her father tightly. "Thank you so much!"
"My pleasure!"
Lana looked over the weapon. It was white. She checked the green power meter on top. All the lights were on. The weapon was fully charged.
"If you like," her father offered, "we can try it out after you finish opening the rest of your presents."
Lana looked up at him and nodded, smiling. "You bet!"

Kevin and Lana were walking down a corridor together, with Kevin on Lana's right.
Mega Man ran up to them. "Princess, Dr. Right has his equipment set up, and he's ready to begin."
Lana nodded. "I wanna be there to see it."
Kevin placed his hands on Lana's shoulders, turning her around to face him. "Lana, you don't have to do this!" he said quietly, with concern.
"Kevin, I want to!" Lana countered. "I need to know what happened to him!"
They stared at each other for a moment, then Lana broke eye contact with Kevin. She followed Mega Man, and Kevin followed her.

Dr. Right had instructed Simon and Gameboy to bring King Charles' body into the Palace. The scientist had the King placed on a bed in a small white room. Dr. Right had his equipment set up that he had brought with him from Megaland.
Simon, Gameboy, and Duke were in the room also. The four of them were waiting.
The door opened, and Mega Man came in, with Kevin and Lana right behind him.
"I placed him in suspended animation, so that no deterioration could occur to the body, which might destroy some clues as to what caused this to happen." Dr. Right informed Kevin and Lana.
"I understand." Lana said, nodding.
"I'm sorry, Your Highness."
"Thanks."
Dr. Right began running the preliminary tests. "This'll take quite a while." He looked at Lana and shook his head. "You don't have to stay here, Your Highness. I'll inform you when I have something."
Lana nodded. She and Kevin turned and left the room, Kevin closing the door behind them.
As Kevin and Lana walked down the corridor, with Lana on Kevin's left, Kid Icarus flew by.
"Your Highnicus," the archer said, "I contacted your brother."
"Did you tell him what happened?" Lana asked.
"No," Kid Icarus said, shaking his head. "I simply told him that there was a big emergency, and he was needed back at the Palace right awayicus. He asked me what was wrong, but I wouldn't tell him. I wanted you to be the one to break the bad news to him. I mean - "
Lana raised her left hand to stop him. "It's okay, Kid, I understand." She looked at Kevin and sighed. "Well, I guess I better go address the people of Videoland. This is not something I'm looking forward to!" She began to walk in the direction of the courtyard.
Kevin reached out and grabbed her left arm with his left hand. "Uh, Lana, I think the Communications room is this way." He pulled her in the opposite direction of where she was going.
Lana walked on Kevin's left. She sighed. "Thanks, Kevin." She shook her head. "I'm still not thinking straight."

Kevin and Lana entered the Communications room together. They went over to the control panel. Lana picked up the microphone and clicked it on. She breathed deeply, then set the equipment to transmit video and audio all across Videoland.
Lana lowered her head and drummed up as much courage as she could. Then she looked up at the viewscreen and spoke softly. "This is Princess Lana. By now, I'm sure all of you know about my father. Yes,...I did kill him. I am speaking to you now so that I may explain to you my reason for doing this." She paused and thought for a moment. "It is a terrible moment when one person has to take the life of another. But sometimes it is necessary! Like, to protect the life of a friend!" Tears started running down her face. "Of someone you love!" Kevin was surprised to hear this. "Like I did." Lana finished softly. She ended the transmission, clicked off the microphone, and set it down.
Lana then plopped down in a chair, exhausted. She began to cry loudly again.
Kevin sat in the chair to her left. He placed his right hand on her left. "Are you all right?"
Lana nodded, wiping tears away with the back of her right hand. "I'll be okay."
"Sis!" Lyle called, running into the room.
Kevin and Lana stood up and looked at him.
Lana dreaded this moment even more than addressing all of Videoland, but her voice was steady when she spoke. "Hi, Lyle."
"Kid Icarus told me I could find you here! What's the big emergency?!"
Lana looked down, breaking eye contact with her brother. Then she and Kevin walked up to him.
"What have you been doing today?" Lana asked, still not looking at Lyle.
Lyle didn't know what this had to do with an emergency, but he answered her question anyway. "I was guarding the Sacred Square of Tetris all day."
"And while you're in there, you get no news from outside?" she asked.
Lyle shook his head. "Nope. What's this all about?"
Here I go, Lana thought. "Earlier this morning, father contacted us."
"Father?!" Lyle asked, excited. "What'd he have to say?!"
"He said he was coming home. I had a TV crew outside in the courtyard so that all of Videoland could witness his return."
"And he never showed up?" Lyle asked.
Lana nodded. "No, he did."
"Well, then, where is he?! I wanna see him!"
Lana remained silent.
An uneasy feeling came over Lyle. "Did something happen?"
Something happened, all right! Lana thought. "Dad took Kevin's Zapper, and was gonna shoot him."
Lyle was shocked. "What?!"
"So I shot him." Lana said.
"What?!" her brother cried.
Lana looked up at her brother. "I killed him, Lyle."
Lyle didn't know what to say.
"Lyle?" Lana asked.
"I'm not feeling too good." Lyle said.
"That makes two of us." his sister responded. "I addressed Videoland about this already. It nearly drove me crazy, but - "
"I wanna see him." Lyle interrupted.
Lana looked at him for a moment, then nodded.
They left the room.

"What the hell's goin' on?!" Mike demanded as he stormed into Dr. Wily's lab. "I heard on the news that you tried to kill Keene!"
Dr. Wily turned around in his chair to face the ticked-off teenager. "Ah, Mike, you're back! Yes, I did, with my new body-control device! Unfortunately, Princess Goody-Two-Shoes ruined my plan!"
"And now the King of Videoland is dead!" Mike yelled angrily. "I can't begin to imagine what the Princess is going through!"
"Ah, funny you should mention the Princess, because I have a plan!"
Mike shook his head angrily. "Forget it! I want no part of it!"
"Suit yourself! The glory will be mine alone!" Wily said.
Mike turned and stormed out of the room.

Lana and Kevin stood aside and let Lyle go into the room. He saw his father lying on the bed. He ran over, touched the King's right hand, then covered his face with his hands and began to cry.
Dr. Right motioned to the corridor. Kevin and Lana walked outside. Dr. Right followed them, closing the door behind him.
"I've found out what made your father act as he did." Dr. Right held up a small pin.
"What is it?" Lana asked.
"A body-control device." the scientist answered. "I found it in the back of your father's neck. All Dr. Wily had to do was stick it in the King's skin, and he could use a remote control to make him do whatever he wanted!"
"Kind of like controlling a video game character?" Kevin asked.
Dr. Right nodded. "Exactly!"
"Was my father...conscious during that time, Dr. Right?" Lana asked uneasily.
Dr. Right nodded.
"Then he might've seen me shoot at him." Lana said, and then shuddered at the thought.
Kevin hugged her. "Hey, hey, don't think about it!"
Just then, Mega Man ran up to them. "Your Highness, there's something on TV I think you should see!"

Mega Man, Lana, Kevin, and Dr. Right ran into the living room, where Simon and Kid Icarus were sitting on the couch watching VNN: The Videoland News Network. Duke and Gameboy were standing in front of the couch, also watching.
"What's going on?" Lana asked.
"A mega news report!" Mega Man answered.
They all watched. Dr. Wily was on the news! He was being shown on the right half of the screen, in his lab in Skull Castle. On the left half of the screen was a news reporter sitting in a TV studio. It was the same woman that was pestering Kevin earlier in the courtyard.
"So, you're saying that Princess Lana was lying when she said she killed the King to save Captain N?" the reporter asked Dr. Wily.
The evil scientist nodded. "Yes! She knew that once her father returned, she would no longer be Ruler of Videoland, so she prearranged her father's murder!"
"What?!" Lana cried in disbelief.
Wily continued: "She killed her father in front of all of Videoland, and then claimed that she was saving her friend's life!"
"But I was there!" the news reporter challenged. "I saw the King try to shoot Captain N!"
Dr. Wily shook his head. "I don't know how, but she somehow managed to control the King's movements, and make it appear as though he attacked Captain N, just so she would have an excuse to kill him! And the video camera provided witnesses to support her claim."
"That liar!" Lana yelled angrily.
"Somebody should put that Wily in his place!" Simon said.
Kevin gave him a thumbs-up with his right hand. "Right! And that somebody is the N Team!" He looked around at everyone and pointed at them as he said their names. "Simon, Kid Icarus, Mega Man, Duke, Gameboy, you stay here and guard the Palace. Me, Lana, and Dr. Right will head on over to the TV station."
"I'll activate the security system." Lana said, and began to walk off.
"You mean you haven't already?" Kevin asked, surprised.
Lana turned around and just looked at him.
"Oh,...right. Sorry, Lana."
Lana turned and walked away.

"So," the news reporter was saying, "you've been talking about this big conspiracy, Dr. Wily. Do you have any proof?"
"Yeah! We'd like to see it!" Kevin yelled as he, Lana, and Dr. Right ran into the studio.
"Of course, Captain N, of course!" Dr. Wily said evilly. His image was being shown on a monitor in front of the news anchor.
Kevin sat to the right of the news reporter, Lana to his right, and Dr. Right to her right.
"Princess Lana," the news reporter said, holding the microphone in front of the Princess, "Dr. Wily has accused you of murder. What do you have to say to that?"
Lana grabbed the microphone from her with her left hand. "It's not true, and we have proof!" She handed the microphone to Dr. Right.
"My name is Dr. Right. I'm from Megaland, as is Dr. Wily." He held up a small pin. "I found this pin stuck in the back of the King's neck. Using it, you can control a person's movements via remote control. Dr. Wily's spaceship was spotted above the Palace of Power when the King was killed. We know he was controlling the King. He wanted King Charles to kill Captain N, probably to make the Throne look bad. When people stopped supporting the royal family, Dr. Wily could easily move in and take over the Palace. But when that plan failed, Dr. Wily decided to accuse Princess Lana of murder, and came up with this new story, to accomplish the same goal!"
"No, that's not true!" Dr. Wily protested. "I don't even have the technology to build a device such as you described. I was there simply to watch the King's arrival. Imagine my shock when I found out that the King's own daughter had killed him! How's daddy's little girl doing? Still grieving over your dead father?"
Lana became infuriated. She stood up, knocking her chair over. "Shut up!" She made her left hand into a fist and pounded it on the counter. "You shut up, you hear me?!!!"
Dr. Wily spoke calmly. "You couldn't stand the thought of having the Throne of Videoland taken away from you, certainly not by an old man, so you killed him, just so you could rule!"
"Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!" Lana drew her Zapper and fired at the monitor, completely destroying it. She holstered her Zapper and walked away.
Kevin and Dr. Right got up and followed her.

When the three of them got back to the Palace, they found the rest of the N Team and Lyle in the living room, watching TV. They were all standing, being too excited to sit.
"What now?" Lana asked.
All of them watched the screen.
A man was shown being interviewed. "I stand behind Princess Lana all the way. I don't believe that conniving Dr. Wily for a second! The Princess isn't capable of murder!"
Then a woman was shown being interviewed. "I believe Wily! What he said makes perfect sense to me! The Princess has been ruling all this time, and she was afraid to give up her authority!"
Then their beloved news reporter was shown in the TV studio. "All of Videoland appears to be divided. Some support Princess Lana. Others support Dr. Wily and hope he'll take over the Palace."
"That's just what he wants!" Kevin said.
Just then, a swirling blue warp zone appeared. Princess Zelda ran out, followed by Link.
"Lana!" Zelda called.
"Zelda!" Lana said.
"Link!" Kevin said.
The two Princesses ran towards each other and hugged.
"Lana, I'm so sorry!!!" Zelda cried.
Lana began to cry also. "Thank you, Zelda!"
Zelda looked at Lana straight in her eyes. "I would've been here right after I heard, but all of Hyrule was in such grief that I had to stay to comfort my people!"
Lana nodded. "I understand."
Just then, they heard a man's voice on the news report. It was another interviewee. "She's a murderer! I hope Dr. Wily attacks the Palace and kills her! She doesn't deserve to live! Burn her, Wily! Burn her alive!!!"
"Shut that off!" Lana yelled, turning her head to look at Simon.
Simon clicked the remote and turned off the TV.
"Lana," Zelda said, turning her friend's head so that she faced her, "I don't believe those rumors about you. I want you to know that."
Lana cried happily and hugged her friend tightly.
When they finally released each other, Link walked up to Lana and offered his right hand. "My condolences, Your Highness."
Lana shook Link's right hand with her right. "Thanks, Link."
"So, what do we do now?" Zelda asked her.
Lana looked at her, then at Kevin and Link. "We've got to be ready, just in case Wily does attack. Let's seal every warp zone into and out of the Palace. Nobody gets in or out."
And so, they all went and did just that. Then they met back in the living room.
"What now?" Kevin asked.
"Weaponry." Lana answered.

They all went up to the Control room. A year before, Lana had Dr. Right add a huge weapons array, along with the security system they currently had.
Kevin sat in the chair. Mega Man stood to Kevin's left. Lana stood behind Kevin. Everyone else was standing behind her.
"All right," Lana said, "open the shutters, Mega Man."
Mega Man selected a key on his left index finger and placed it in the keyhole. He turned it, and the shutters came open.
"Charge up the weapons." Lana instructed.
Kevin worked at the control panel.
"Weapons charged." Kevin said.
"Contact Dr. Wily." Lana told Kevin.
Kevin followed her instructions.
Soon, Dr. Wily's face was on the viewscreen.
"Princess Lana, what an unexpected pleasure!" the evil scientist greeted.
"Save it, Wily." The Princess wasn't interested in casual conversation with him. "I've got weapons powered up and ready to launch at your invading force." She shook her head. "It may not be enough to stop it, but I'll take as many of them out as I can. You want a war, Wily? Well, I'll give you one!"
Dr. Wily smiled. "Fortunately for you, Princess, I'm not ready to start a war today. But soon. I'm building up my forces. Soon, Princess. Are you prepared?" He ended the transmission.
Lana thought for a moment. "Power down the weapons. Close the shutters."
Kevin and Mega Man did just that.
Link breathed a sigh of relief. "I'm glad he isn't ready yet, because neither are we!"
Kevin smiled. "Are you kidding?! He couldn't beat us even if he did have more robots!"
Everyone laughed.

Kevin, Lana, Lyle, and Dr. Right were all standing in the small room where King Charles lay. He was once again in stasis.
"The brain is still functioning somewhat, but is rapidly deteriorating." Dr. Right informed the Princess.
"You mean he's still alive?!" Lana asked hopefully.
Dr. Right shook his head. "No. This is completely normal. After the death of the body, it's always a while longer until the synaptic pathways in the brain have broken down."
Just like Tasha Yar in 'Skin of Evil', Kevin thought sadly.
"You mean he's still having thoughts? His mind's active?" Lana asked.
"No," the scientist answered again, shaking his head, "his brain had already deteriorated significantly before I placed him in stasis. The memories are still there, but the person is gone. I'm sorry."
Lana said nothing. She simply looked down at her father's body.
Dr. Right suddenly thought of an idea. "Your Highness."
Lana looked up at him.
"I have an idea. It's a little strange, and I don't know if you'll go for it."
"What is it?" Lana asked, curious.
"Well, as I said, the memories are still there. I have recently built a machine that is capable of copying memories from one brain to another, much like uploading files from one computer to another. If you'd like, I could use it to copy your father's memories into your brain."
This was a big surprise for Lana. "You mean, I would know everything he knew? His memories? His experiences? His wisdom?"
Dr. Right nodded. "You would have his collective knowledge and memories."
"I'll do it." Lana agreed. "At least then his experience and wisdom won't be lost."
Dr. Right nodded. "I'll go back to my lab and get my equipment. I'll be back shortly."

Fifteen minutes later, Lana was sitting in a chair next to the bed. She had a helmet attached to her head.
"I'm removing the stasis field now." Dr. Right informed her.
The scientist pressed a button, and the field surrounding the King's body dissipated. Dr. Right placed a similar helmet on the King's head.
Both helmets were connected to Dr. Right's memory-copying machine.
"I'm beginning the process now." Dr. Right informed Lana. He pressed a button on the machine.
Lana felt nothing unusual as her father's memories were copied into her brain. After one minute, Dr. Right saw that the meter on the machine had reached the top: 100%. He shut off the machine.
"Whoa, quick upload!" Kevin joked. "How do you feel, Lana?"
Lana looked at him. "Fine."
"Do you know anything new?"
Lana thought, then shook her head. "No."
"It'll take a while for your mind to be able to read his memories. They uploaded and scattered to various sections of your brain. They're all over the place." Dr. Right informed her as she stood up, removed the helmet, and put her crown back on.
"Kinda like when a hard drive's fragmented." Kevin put in.
Dr. Right looked at him curiously. "You still have that problem on your world?"
Kevin was surprised.

"And as to King Charles' body?" the news reporter asked.
"I've donated his body parts to those who need them." Lana answered. "As my father donated those of my mother, Mary, who died giving birth to me." Lana couldn't help but laugh. "I guess my father isn't the first parent I've killed, huh?"
The news reporter was sitting in the TV studio, with Lana sitting to her right, and Lyle sitting to Lana's right. The two royal children were being interviewed on the afternoon news.
"I want to thank you two for coming." the reporter said to them.
"Our pleasure. Thanks for having us." Lana said, smiling.
"You're welcome. So, I guess you must feel relieved that the truth about your father's death is finally out!"
Lana nodded. "Very!"
"Before you go, there's a few more things I want to ask you."
"Yeah?" Lana asked.
"How was Dr. Wily able to get his ship so close to the Palace? Don't you have a security system?"
Lana hesitated for a moment. "I shut it off four months ago. You see, we haven't had any attacks for months, not since Mother Brain last took control, and the security system requires so much power."
The reporter nodded, understanding. "Oh. One more thing. What are you two planning on doing now that this is over?"
"Well, I'm going back to Tetris and resuming my duty as Keeper of the Sacred Square." Lyle said.
"And I'm going to remain Ruler of Videoland and a member of the N Team." Lana said.
"Now that you are the Ruler of Videoland for the rest of your life, and not just filling in anymore," the reporter asked, "will your official title be 'Queen Lana'?"
"Ugh." the younger sibling responded.
"I see. Well, I wish both of you the best of luck." the reporter said, smiling.
"Thank you." Lana said, nodding.
"Thanks." Lyle agreed, nodding also.
The news reporter then faced the camera. "Well, that's it for this half-hour. Join me back here at eleven. I'm Cathy Bennett. Good afternoon."

Later that afternoon, Kevin and Lana were sitting at the table in the Conference room, with Kevin on Lana's left.
"So, you know anything yet?" Kevin asked her.
Lana pressed her hands to her temples. "It's like a whirlwind in my head!"
"Well, at least you know it's in there!" Kevin told her, laughing.
Lana nodded. "Yeah."
Kevin took her left hand in his right. "You wanna be alone?"
Lana nodded again. "Yeah."
Kevin got up, let go of Lana's hand, and walked out of the room, leaving Lana sitting at the table alone.
Lana put her elbows on the table, raised her arms vertically, and propped her head on her hands. She sighed.
Just then, a transmission came in.
Lana look up to see who it was, and was in for a big surprise. "Mike?!"
"Hello, Lana." Mike greeted her.
"Well, this is a surprise! What are you calling for?"
"I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry about your dad." Mike said.
"Thanks." Lana said, smiling.
"And I had nothing to do with it!" Mike said, shaking his head.
Lana shook her head. "I didn't think you did! I never suspected you. Hey, you said it yourself - you're not a killer."
Mike smiled, then ended the transmission.
Lana smiled, then got up and left the room.

Kevin and Lana were again walking up the same hill.
It was early in the evening. The sun was just beginning to set.
The two friends were walking along together, with Lana on Kevin's right. They were holding hands.
"No kidding, Mike said that?" Kevin asked.
Lana nodded. "Imm-hmm."
Kevin smiled. "Yeah, well, Mike ain't that bad. He's pretty decent underneath that tough guy exterior."
Lana nodded.
The two of them sat down on the grass, in the same exact spot that they sat in that morning, facing the Palace of Power, with Lana still on Kevin's right.
The light of the setting sun reflected off of the Palace. It gave off a dark golden light.
"It's more beautiful now!" Lana marveled.
"Yeah!" Kevin agreed.
Lana turned towards Kevin. The light from the Palace shining on her face made her look even more attractive than usual.
"He was aware of what was happening during those last moments." she said.
"Oh, yeah?" Kevin asked, interested.
Lana nodded. "Yeah. I've been able to find out that much, at least. He was aware that he was being controlled by something. He was scared. And,...he saw me out of the corner of his eye as I yelled and pulled my Zapper and pointed it at him. And in that brief moment...before he died,...he was happy. He was...proud of me,...that...I knew enough to make the right decision in that short a time. It's what he wanted."
Kevin just looked at her happily. He was happy about this news, and that Lana had forgiven herself.
"And he genuinely loved me," Lana continued, "and I loved him. I feel a whole lot better about myself now, Kevin. In fact, I feel great!"
Kevin smiled. "I'm glad."
Lana thought for a moment. "You're Irish, right?"
"Half-Irish. My grandparents on my mother's side are from Ireland. My grandparents on my father's side are from New Orleans, Louisiana. Why?"
"What was that song that your Irish grandfather taught you? The one that you sang for me once? The one I liked?"
Kevin thought for a moment, then laughed slightly and began singing: "The minstrel boy to the war is gone. In the ranks of death you will find him."
Lana instantly remembered the lyrics and joined in: "His father's sword he hath girded on, and his wild harp slung behind him. Land of song, said the warrior bard. Though all the world betrays thee, one sword at least thy rights shall guard."
Lana stopped singing at that point, leaving Kevin to sing the last line by himself: "One faithful harp shall praise thee."
Lana laughed slightly and began to cry, happily this time, not sadly.
Kevin put his right arm around her and hugged her.
"I'm glad to have my father's memories inside of me." Lana said. "That way, I'll always have him with me, wherever I go. But there's still a whole lot more that's all too confusing for me. I mean, he did live for seventy years! It's still gonna take a long time for me to understand his life experience!"
"It'll take time," Kevin said, nodding, "but you'll benefit from the added knowledge."
Lana nodded, then smiled. "I love you, Kevin."
Kevin had waited so long to hear those words come out of her mouth.
Hearing them made what he wanted to say a whole lot easier.
"I love you, too, Lana." he said, smiling.
And then they kissed until the sun set.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999 by Mark Moore