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Captain N: The Game Master

The "CHANGES" Miniseries

PART 4

"THE SECOND SIEGE"


WRITTEN BY
MARK MOORE
AND
NICHOLAS PINTO


Lana quietly walked down the dark corridor, holding her Zapper in her left hand, ready to fire at the first thing that moved.
Her face was all sweaty. She turned left around a corner. There was a man standing there. A tall man with short brown hair.
"No!" the man yelled, terrified, when he saw Lana. He put his hands up in front of him. "Please, don't shoot!!! I'm not armed!!!"
"Down on your knees!" Lana yelled, pointing down at the floor with her Zapper. "Now!!!"
The man, terrified, got down on his knees. He raised his hands. They were shaking due to fear. He started shaking his head. "Please...don't."
Lana aimed at his chest.
"No!!!" the man screamed.
Lana fired. The laser beam from her Zapper hit the man on his chest. He screamed in pain, and fell back onto the floor.
Lana holstered her Zapper and walked over to the man's right, standing by his head.
He started groaning. He turned his head to his right and looked up at the Princess.
Lana drew her left leg back behind her, then brought it forward at full force.
Her foot crashed into the man's head, killing him.
Lana looked down and lifted her left leg. There was blood on her shoe.
"Great," Lana muttered in annoyance, "I just had these cleaned!" Then she looked at her latest victim lying dead on the floor. A wicked smile came to her lips.
"Murderer!!!"
Lana turned around to face the person who had just yelled at her.
There were actually two guys there. Both men were tall and had long black hair, tied back in ponytails.
"You killed Danny!" the man on the left continued.
Lana laughed, amused. "It's my specialty! Wanna join him?"
Both men pulled knives from their belts and ran towards Lana, screaming.
Lana had anticipated their attack, however. When they were close enough, Lana began kicking and punching. She knocked the one that spoke to her down to the ground. When he tried to get up, she took his neck between her feet and broke it. He fell back down to the floor, dead.
The other man came at her again. She kicked him down to the ground. He got up again. The two of them were circling. The man finally kicked her down to the floor. He walked up close to her. Lana quickly stood up on her hands and caught the man's neck in between her powerful legs. She threw him to the floor, landing on top of him.
Lana squeezed her legs tightly against the man's neck. "I'll kill you!"
"No, please!" the man gasped, nearly out of breath. "Oh, c'mon, Lana, no, please don't! Give me a break!"
"Okay." Lana said simply, and broke his neck.
He fell to the floor, dead.
Lana stood up and turned in the direction the two men had come from. Yet another man was standing there. He was tall and had short black hair. He was also holding a pretty huge gun in his right hand.
"Murderer!!! Die!!!" he yelled.
Lana held her right hand up in front of her and shook her head. "No, wait a minute! Don't - "
"Die!!!" he yelled, firing.

Tuesday, June 30, 1992, 1:00 AM

Lana woke and sat up with a start. She was breathing heavily, and had broken out in a sweat. In fact, her hair was filled with sweat, and her gray sleeveless shirt and shorts were soaked with it. She even swallowed some of her sweat that had run down her face and into her mouth.
She still was not aware of what had just happened. The last thing she remembered was being fired at. Then,...then she was here. But where was here? Then it came to her. She was in her bedroom. It had all been a dream!
Suddenly, there was a knock at her door. "Lana?" came Kevin's voice. "Can I come in?"
"Y-Yes!" Lana answered.
The double doors opened, and Kevin came inside. He was wearing red shorts and a red sleeveless shirt. He closed the doors behind him. "I was walking by, and I heard you panting. Is everything all right? I mean, I could leave if you were - "
"No, Kevin, I wasn't." Lana said, shaking her head. "Please, stay."
Kevin walked over to Lana's bed. Lana swung her feet down to the floor, and Kevin sat to her left.
"I just had the most horrible dream!" Lana said. "It was a nightmare!"
"Wanna talk about it?"
Lana nodded. "Yeah."
"You know, you should get out of those sweaty clothes before you catch a cold." Kevin advised her.
"Yeah, you're right." Lana said, and stood up.
Kevin stood up, too. "Go take a shower. I'll bring you some fresh sheets for your bed."
Lana nodded. "Thanks, and something to drink, too."
Kevin nodded, then turned and left.
Lana turned and walked into her bathroom.

Lana was just walking out of the bathroom. She was wearing a towel. Kevin was standing in her bedroom, holding a large glass in his left hand.
Kevin smiled. "Pepsi!" He handed the glass to her.
Lana smiled. "Great, thanks!" She took a large gulp.
They sat on Lana's bed, which had fresh sheets on it courtesy of Kevin, with Kevin on Lana's left.
"What was your dream about?" Kevin asked her.
"I was walking down a corridor...in the Palace. I had my Zapper drawn and was ready to fire at anyone I saw. I shot and killed one man, and killed two others by breaking their necks. Then a fourth guy came and shot me, and then I woke up."
"Whoa. That sure is a nightmare, all right!" Kevin said. "Ya ever dream somethin' like that before?"
Lana shook her head. "No. No, this is the first time. And the thing is, it didn't seem like a dream. It felt completely real. From the sweat on my forehead to the warmth of my Zapper when I fired. The walking, fighting, all real. I was so confused where I was when I woke up. I thought I should be dead!"
"It must've been very intense."
Lana nodded. "I'll say!" She lowered her head and thought for a moment in silence, then she looked back up at Kevin. "Kevin, I killed them!"
Kevin placed his hands on Lana's shoulders. "Hey, hey, hey, it was just a dream, nothing more!"
Lana stared at him. "Yeah, I guess you're right." she said finally. "But still, it was murder. I committed a cold-blooded act of violence for no good reason! No reason at all! I mean since I dreamed it, what if...it's really inside of me? What if I'm capable of doing something like that?!"
"Lana, everyone is capable of doing something like that. Whether or not you're willing to admit it, every person has the ability to murder. You're a good person because you choose not to."
She smiled at him.
Kevin smiled also. "Try and get some rest."
Lana shook her head. "I can't sleep. I'm too awake."
"Then do something." Kevin suggested. "Keep yourself active."
"Okay." She handed him the glass. "Good night, Kevin,...and thanks!"
Kevin took it. "Good morning, Lana,...and you're welcome!"
Then they hugged and kissed for about thirty seconds.
Afterwards, Kevin stood up, turned, and started to walk away.
"Close the door on your way out." Lana called after him.
Kevin did.
Lana then stood up and let her towel drop to the floor. Then she lied down on her bed, on her back.

Dr. Wily was sitting in his lab deep inside Skull Castle. He was working at one of his many computers when one of the doors to the lab opened. Dr. Wily turned around to face the door.
Guts Man and Elec Man walked in. But they weren't alone. They had Mike Vincent with them. Guts Man was holding Mike's right arm and Elec Man his left. They had dragged him in, since he refused to walk.
Dr. Wily grinned evilly. "So, you've come back to me, huh?!"
"We caught him walking around a few miles away." Guts Man explained.
"I couldn't sleep, so I decided to take a walk." Mike said. "All of a sudden, your robotic nitwits grabbed me and brought me here. I was dragged for three miles! You're gonna pay for my jeans, man!"
"No, you're gonna pay for betraying me!" Dr. Wily countered.
"And it hurt, too!" Mike continued, ignoring Wily's remark.
"Not as much as a few gigawatts are gonna hurt!" Elec Man threatened.
"No!" Mike yelled, suddenly frightened. "No, wait! How 'bout I work for you again?!"
"Do you really expect me to trust you now?" Wily asked.
Mike just looked at him.
"Very well." Wily decided after a moment's thought. "But you will be kept under constant surveillance, you will have limited access to the Castle, and you will not be allowed to leave the Castle."
Mike nodded. "Deal."
Dr. Wily nodded to Guts Man and Elec Man, and they let Mike go.
"Okay, Doc, so what's up?" Mike joked.
"First take a shower and clean your pants, then I'll tell you."
Mike nodded, then turned and walked in the opposite direction. Guts Man and Elec Man walked after him.
Mike stopped, then turned his head to his left and looked at Guts Man. He then turned his head to his right and looked at Elec Man. "Okay, you guys can follow me, but the shower's off limits, got it?!" He then walked out the door, with the two Robot Masters following him.
Dr. Wily then went back to work on his computer.

"So, what ya doin', Doc?" Mike asked when he came back into the lab, with Guts Man and Elec Man right behind him. Mike had taken a shower and had his clothes washed and dried.
Dr. Wily stood up and nodded. "All right, come with me."
Mike and the Robot Masters followed Dr. Wily over to a wall. Wily pressed his left hand against it, and a section of the wall rose, revealing a secret passageway.
Do all mad scientists' castles have secret passageways? Mike thought to himself.
Wily walked inside, followed by Mike, and then the Robot Masters.
They were in a long dark tunnel. Mike was surprised there weren't torches on the walls.
They walked for a few minutes in darkness. Finally, Dr. Wily put his hand on the wall they came to, and it rose.
Mike and Dr. Wily squinted as their eyes adjusted to the light. Finally, Mike looked around. They were standing on the top of a flight of metal stairs. Below them was what was obviously a factory.
Dr. Wily led the way down the stairs. "This is what's up, Mike. I'm building up my forces to conquer Videoland!"
"Oh, I thought you were building 'em 'cause you like the company." Mike said. He didn't, of course, but it seemed like a good joke.
As Dr. Wily gave Mike a tour of the factory, he described everything that they went past. "I had this factory built shortly after King Charles' death, when I went on the news. In here, my robots are building an army for me!"
"How much is an army?" Mike asked.
"Thousands an hour." Wily replied. "My robots are mass producing Metools, Bladers, and all my other creations, new and old, including thousands upon thousands of copies of my old Robot Masters, plus some new ones, as well!"
Mike knew he had to get this information to the N Team somehow, or they'd be dead meat, but he couldn't think of a way right now. He also needed more information from Wily.
"So, when does the war begin, Doc?" Mike asked.
"Today is June 30th. At noon, my new Robot Masters will attack various cities in Megaland, setting up strongholds. Dr. Right will undoubtedly call Mega Man and Captain N for help. While they are diverted from the Palace, my forces will attack!"
He then laughed madly while Mike watched worriedly.

The black car drove down the empty road. It was still dark outside, and dawn wouldn't arrive for another half-hour.
The radio was turned on, and a woman was giving a news report. "This just in: An adolescent boy was found dead on the sidewalk outside of an apartment complex a few minutes ago. Police have yet to identify him, so as yet, the boy is without a name."
"I know his name." Osiris Runes, the driver of the car, said as he put a CD in the CD player. He selected a track and fast-forwarded a bit.
Queen's 'Gimme The Prize' replaced the news reporter's voice:

Here I am!
I'm the master of your destiny!
I am the one, the only one,
I am the god of kingdom come!
Gimme the Prize!
Just gimme the Prize!

"He's my brother!" Anubis Runes frantically explained to the cop, who was going through his duffel bag.
The cop pulled out a box of M&Ms, a Sony Discman, a cellular phone, and a 9mm pistol. He stopped at the pistol and examined it with his flashlight.
"You got a permit for this, kid?" he asked, shining the light directly into Anubis' face.
Anubis began to get up off the dusty roadside.
"Get down, you little punk!" the cop yelled, dropping all the stuff back into the bag and reaching for his revolver. "If you can't produce some legal ID, you're gonna visit the little old police station, kid."
Anubis lowered himself back onto his stomach.
"Call me kid again, and you're gonna have a really bad night, man."
"Is that a fact?" the cop asked, laughing. "What are you gonna do about it,...kid?"
A sly smile came to Anubis' face. "Have you ever played 'blind man's bluff'?" He let the cop have it in the eyes with a handful of sand.
"What the - " The cop grabbed his pistol and aimed it in the direction where Anubis was last laying. He fired three times, but Anubis was already on his feet and grabbing his stuff. "You little - " was the last thing that the cop muttered as Anubis gave him a swift kick to the nuts.
In the distance, but closing fast, was the wailing sound of a fleet of sirens.
"You called for backup on a freakin' jaywalker?" Anubis asked the cop.
Anubis turned and ran as the cops gave chase. He jumped over the jersey barrier and ran off after Osiris.

Osiris was already at the warehouse that housed his new, strange toy. He took a moment to touch the shell of the Warp Zone Shifter.
"You're gonna help me become the world's greatest assassin!" He stated, and began to flip switches on the main console.
Anubis kicked open the door. "You!" he shouted.
"Oh," Osiris said calmly, "Anubis, my brother, you're just in time for my performance."
"Cut the - " Anubis began.
Osiris typed in some coordinates on the console, then turned a dial.
A swirling blue warp opened up in front of him and his brother.
"Isn't she beautiful?" Osiris asked, gazing at the swirling warp.
"What did you do, Os?" Anubis asked in shock.
"You can come with me, if you'd like. It's not too late, 'Nubis! We can go anywhere in the world with my machine!"
"Anubis, and I'll never go anywhere with you, unless it's the land of the dead! Dorian is dead because of you, and - "
"'Nubis, 'Nubis, please!" Osiris cut in. "You must let the past remain in the past! Dorian's dead! Trying to kill me isn't going to bring him back!"
"Maybe not," Anubis shouted as he swung up his pistol to let his brother taste hot lead, "but it sure as hell will make me feel better!"
Osiris grabbed something that looked like a remote control off the main console, along with his rifle, and dove into the swirling warp. "Then see ya in the land of the dead!"
The warp closed.
Just then, a gang of state troopers came through the door behind Anubis.
"Freeze!!!" shouted half the unit as the room continued to fill with people.
"Aw, man!" Anubis sighed as six men came towards him with handcuffs and automatic weapons.

When Kevin and Lana walked into the kitchen that morning at dawn, Kevin was wearing his Captain N clothes, sans his jacket, and Lana was wearing her royal clothes.
Kevin always found it strange to see Lana with short hair and wearing her royal clothes at the same time, but he never said anything of it.
"That's odd." Lana said. "Usually there's someone here getting something to eat for breakfast."
Kevin laughed. "They're probably getting our surprise party ready!"
Then, Stacey, Rick, Romeo, and Julius walked in.
Stacey walked up to Kevin and without a word curled her arms around his neck and kissed him. Kevin put his arms around her.
Lana frowned.
After thirty seconds, Stacey broke the kiss and smiled. "Happy birthday, Kevy!"
Kevin smiled back. "Same to you."
"Where are the others?"
"That's what we were wondering. I think they're getting our birthday party ready."
Stacey laughed. "Let's act surprised when we find them."
Kevin nodded.
Then they let go of each other, and the six of them said happy birthday to each other.
"Let's try the Throne room." Lana said afterwards. "That's where our last few surprise parties were held."
Yep, Lana's 15th, and her and Kevin's 16th and 17th birthday parties were in the Throne room. It became rather predictable.
Kevin nodded, laughing.

Sure enough, as it was every year, the lights were off. Everything was dark and silent.
The group walked into the Throne room, and, as expected, the lights came on, and everyone yelled: "Surprise! Happy birthday!"
The six weren't surprised, of course, but they acted the part very well.
The rest of the N Team was there, of course, as well as Link, Zelda, and Lyle.
There was a pink banner on the wall over the throne. On it was printed in black letters: "HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY, KEVIN, LANA, AND STACEY;", under that: "20TH BIRTHDAY, RICK AND ROMEO;", and under that: "22ND BIRTHDAY, JULIUS!"
Actually, only Stacey, Rick, Romeo, and Julius were born on June 30. Kevin and Lana were born on June 23, 1974, but, because they had traveled one week into the future back in 1989, they had to shift their birthday celebrations down one week, for they didn't physically turn eighteen years old until June 30. Simon, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, and Duke had to do the same to their birthdays.
After all the party throwers shook hands with or hugged the birthday boys and girls, Simon and Link stepped aside, revealing a tall chocolate fudge cake on a cart.
Lana beamed with delight.
Kevin looked at the Princess. "Uh, you're drooling, Lana."
Lana looked at him quickly. "Huh?!" She wiped her mouth and chin with the back of her right hand, then smiled. "Sorry. I love chocolate fudge!"
Simon handed Lana a large knife and a plate from the cart.
Lana cut herself a wedge, then took a fork and a napkin from the cart.

In a distant corridor of the Palace, a warp opened, and Osiris fell out.
Osiris stood up, and the warp closed.
Then he started to freak out. "What the - where - h-h-h-how - " He finished the grammatically incorrect sentence with a loud scream. I'm a cartoon! he thought. A freakin' cartoon!
Suddenly, an alarm began to sound.
Back in the Throne room, Lana was very annoyed at the sight of Kevin and Stacey feeding each other cake.
"There's an intruder!" Lana yelled.
They all dropped what they were holding and ran out of the room.
Osiris picked up his rifle and warp zone opener, then began running.
The N Team and friends were heading down a corridor, and when they neared the end of it, they saw Osiris run by in the connecting corridor.
"There he is!" Link yelled.
They gave chase. Everyone that had a weapon had it ready.
Osiris found a round door on a wall. He opened it. There was a swirling blue warp inside.
Everyone turned left into the corridor in time to see Osiris jump for the warp.
They walked up to the warp, and Lana closed the door.
"Who was that guy?" Zelda asked.
"Yeah." Link added.
"Whoever he was," Kevin answered, "he just went to Skull Castle."

Osiris exited the warp, landing on the ground in front of Skull Castle.
He stood up and started brushing himself off. Then he looked up at the huge structure. "Skull Castle?!"
"Hey!" someone called from behind him.
Osiris turned around. A Robot Master was standing right behind him.
"Air Man?"
"A trespasser! Dr. Wily will wanna see you!" He grabbed Osiris by the collar and started pulling him towards the Castle.
Air Man had gotten inside the front gate of Skull Castle with Osiris in one hand and his weapons in the other.
Osiris didn't like being dragged - especially by something that was out of a video game. He managed to break out of Air Man's grasp.
Air Man wasn't about to let the invader go for fear of what Wily would do to him later.
Osiris began to run back out of the Castle when a huge gust of wind flattened him against a side wall. He was suspended by Air Man's air shooter but didn't bother trying to escape it. Air Man walked over to him.
"Very impressive." Osiris said, as calm as usual. "I'm anxious to meet your creator. Dr. Wily, am I right?"
"You'll meet the doctor soon enough." Air Man responded as he grabbed his prisoner by the arm and escorted him deeper into the Castle.

"So, you have brought me an intruder from the Palace, Air Man. I am very proud of you." Dr. Wily praised his robot. "Now get back to work!"
"So what's your name, dude?" Mike Vincent asked.
"I am Osiris Runes, from Indianapolis, Indiana. And you are?"
"I am Mike Vincent, from Northridge, California. So you're named after a god, huh?"
"You can call it that, if you believe in that sort of thing." Osiris answered in a voice more calm than usual. "So, what's going on here? Why are we all cartoons?!"
"You are in a dimension called Videoland." Dr. Wily explained. "I don't know how you got here, but the only way you're leaving is on my terms."
"Don't ya mean our terms, Doc?" piped the other teenager.
"Yes. Well, I am the, uh, good guy, you see, and Mike and I have - "
"I don't do that good side garbage. I'm outta here." Osiris stated firmly. He began to leave.
Mike stepped in his way. "Okay, look, we're not the good guys. Dr. Wily and me are trying to take over Videoland. This is his homeworld - "
"Megaland." Osiris spoke softly.
"Yeah." Mike said. "We're planning an invasion on the place you came here from. The Palace of Power."
"Maybe I'll stay a while, if the price is right. If I can't own a piece of my own dimension, I'll take a few pieces of this one."
"I'll take you to your room, Os." Mike said, but before they left, he whispered to Dr. Wily: "I don't trust him. Keep an eye on the little punk."
"You're in charge of him." Dr. Wily told Mike softly.
Mike nodded, then took Osiris to a bedroom.

Anubis sat on a battered crate next to a cop, who was holding his duffel bag. He could see through the open door the sheriff, who was speaking into the radio in his squad car.
What could be taking so long? Anubis thought as he laid back against another crate, still handcuffed.
He gazed at all the cops and then moved around. He began to get up to stretch when the cop next to him gave him an angry stare. He tried to reposition to get comfortable again as he sat back against the crates. He stared long and hard at the machine. His gaze started to wander around as he looked at boxes.
"Can you, uh, uncuff me?" Anubis asked the cop standing to his left.
"Not on your life, kid." darted the rather corpulent cop.
"Aw, c'mon, Kinipo. He can't get out with all of us. He'd have to fly out of here!" answered another cop.
"I saw it on COPS once. They didn't cuff a guy because they didn't think he was dangerous." Anubis added.
The cop released Anubis, and he brought his hands around and stuffed them into his front pockets to await the results of his trial.
The sheriff came back in with the news.
"Your story checks out, kid." He held up a clipboard and read the info he had gotten from the station: "Anubis Runes, Age: 15, Height: 5 foot 11, Eye Color: Green, Hair Color: White. Two brothers. Osiris Runes, Age: 16, Height: 6 foot 1, Eye Color: Black, Hair Color: Brown. Dorian Runes, Age: 17, Height: 6 foot 2, Eye Color: Brown, Hair color: Brown. All three of them are currently residing in this city."
"That last part's not quite right." Anubis said. "As I told you, Dorian's dead."
"We believe you, kid, and we've got people out looking for Osiris right now, but we're gonna have to bring you in for brutality on the officer you ran from and the piece you were carrying."
Oops, Anubis thought.
Just then, a man in a white overcoat came through the open door. He had long, silver hair and was holding some sort of tracking device.
Anubis looked at him for a moment before the whole police force aimed and cocked a pistol, shotgun, or rifle in the man's direction.
"There it is!" the man exclaimed upon spotting the Warp Zone Shifter.
"Who are you?" demanded the cop with an exceptionally large automatic rifle aimed at the man's face.
"Oh, I'm Bob!" the man replied cheerfully.
Bob looked at the kid sitting on the crate with his hands in his pockets.
Anubis took advantage of the situation to stand up off the hard wooden box.
"Who are you, boy?" Bob asked.
"I'm Anubis Runes." he answered. "My brother is the one who stole your machine. Osiris."
"Yep, that's the little punk that stole it!"
"Who? This kid?" asked the officer with the gun, nodding at Anubis.
"No, that guy he's talking about. That Osiris!"
"So where is he?" implied another cop, this one with a shotgun.
"He warped! I told you!" Anubis yelled. "He could be halfway to Florida by now!"
"Yeah, yeah, sure, kid. Keep talking like that, and your parents will have you locked away in a nut house."
Anubis looked at the scientist with sad eyes.
Bob figured out what he was trying to say. He began to flap his arms lightly as he tried to explain what the machine was for. The police listened to him. The explanation seemed to almost make sense.
"And now to show you how it works." Bob finished.
The officer next to him grabbed his right arm and pulled it away from the machine. "Look, buddy, we don't need you to blow us all up if this might be a bomb or somethin'."
"All right!" Bob said as he tossed his hands into the air. He brought his arms down slowly while looking at Anubis. Then he turned and slammed a fist on a button on the console before the cop could stop him.
A giant blue warp opened next to Anubis.
Bob looked at him. "Go! Stop that brother of yours!"
Anubis didn't think twice. He shoved the cop who was next to him, taking his shotgun, grabbed his bag, and dove through the warp while the puzzled cops could only stand and watch in amazement.

The warp opened up at the same place in the Palace as Osiris' did, and Anubis fell out.
Anubis stood up, and the warp closed. He started to scream.

"That's him!" Kevin said.
"Are you sure?" Lana asked, not certain.
"Let's go get him!" Mega Man yelled.
They left the Communications room, where they had been monitoring all the corridors in case the intruder returned.

Anubis was slowly walking down the corridor, holding his shotgun in his trembling hands and ready to fire at anyone he saw.
Kevin crept up behind him, while the rest watched from around a corner.
Kevin slowly tiptoed up until he was right behind Anubis, then he moved his arms forward and around him quickly, grabbed his shotgun, and pulled it forward and up. The butt hit Anubis in his face, and he fell backwards. The Game Master jumped back.
Anubis struggled to get to his feet. Kevin watched him, but did nothing.
Anubis' nose was bleeding. He wiped it with his right hand, then looked at the teenager. "What the - you're a cartoon!!!"
Kevin pointed the shotgun at him and shook his head. "Who are you?!"
"What the hell is going on here?!!!" he continued.
"What are you doing here?!" Kevin asked, walking forward.
Anubis walked backwards, breaking into a little hymn. "Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray - "
"You know 'Rock of Ages', huh?" Kevin pointed at the right wall with the shotgun. "Over here, boy."
Anubis tried to sound brave. "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou - "
"I'm not going to hurt you - "
" - art with me, thy rod and thy staff." Anubis' back hit the wall.
Kevin cocked the shotgun. "Will you shut up?"
Anubis did.
Kevin then realized just how scared Anubis really was. "You have no idea where you are, do you?"
Anubis just looked at him, trembling in fear.
Kevin sighed, then, holding the shotgun in his left hand, waved his right hand over his right shoulder for the others to join him.
As everyone came into the corridor, they all gathered in a circle around the strange new visitor.

Anubis was taken to the Palace Jail and placed in a small area sealed off by a forcefield. The only object in the area was a bench for Anubis to sit on. The kind of bench you would find in a school locker room. Currently, Anubis was sitting there, watching Simon go through his duffel bag.
"Let's see," the vampire hunter said, "a radio, a phone, a gun, and some candy."
"And this." Kevin said, handing Simon the shotgun.
"Ooh," Simon said, examining the weapon, "I like this! I could use it on Castlevania!"
"That's mine, blondie!" Anubis said angrily.
"Not anymore!" Simon said, and put the shotgun in his backpack.
Anubis watched with silent rage. Simon then put the 9mm in his backpack also.
Kevin looked at Anubis. "So, kid, what's your name?"
"Anubis. Anubis Runes."
"Are you the person that our security systems picked up earlier?" Lana asked.
Anubis shook his head. "No, that must've been my brother, Osiris."
"Anubis? Osiris?" Kevin asked in confusion. "Your parents named you after gods? They hate you, don't they?"
"What parents?" Anubis asked.
"Oh. Sorry."
"My parents were mythology freaks, all right?" Anubis answered. "Anubis, also known as Anpu and Ano-Oobist, was the Egyptian jackal-god of mummification. He assisted in the rites by which a dead man was admitted to the underworld. He holds the divine scepter carried by kings and gods. The god of embalming is probably associated with the jackal due to the habits of jackals to lurk about tombs and graves. One of the reasons the early Egyptians sought to make their tombs more elaborate was to keep the bodies safe from the jackals lingering about the graves. It is only natural, therefore, that a god of mummification would be connected with them. By worshipping Anubis, the Egyptians hoped to invoke him to protect their deceased from jackals, and later, the natural decay that unprotected bodies endure. Anubis was the son of Nephthys. Some myths say that his father was Seth, and others name Osiris. One myth says that Nephthys got Osiris drunk, and the result was Anubis. Yet another says she disguised herself as Isis, seduced Osiris, and subsequently gave birth to Anubis. Some stories even suggest that Nephthys' affair with Osiris was the reason Seth hated and murdered him. Anubis was worshipped as the inventor of embalming, who had embalmed the dead Osiris and thereby helped to preserve him that he might live again. Anubis also monitored the Scales of Truth to protect the dead from deception and eternal death. Osiris, also known as Ausar and Unnefer, was the Egyptian god of the earth and vegetation. He symbolized in his death the yearly drought, and in his miraculous rebirth the periodic flooding of the Nile and the growth of grain. He was a god-king who was believed to have given Egypt civilization. The name 'Osiris' is the Greek corruption of the Egyptian name 'Asar', or 'Usar'. There are several possibilities as to what this name means. 'The Strength of the Eye' is one. The oldest and simplest form of the name is the hieroglyph of the throne over an eye. There are at least 158 versions of the name. At one point, the first syllable of the name was pronounced 'Aus' or 'Us' and may have gained the meaning of the word usr, 'strength, might, power'. At this time, the Egyptians supposed the name to mean something like the 'strength of the Eye', the strength of the Sun-god, Ra. Another possibility raised by an ancient hymn's author is that the name 'Unnefer', another name by which Osiris was known, comes from the roots un, 'to open, to appear, to make manifest', and neferu, 'good things'. The author then wrote these lines in his hymn to the god: 'Thy beauty maketh itself manifest in thy person to rouse the gods to life in thy name, Unnefer'. In any case, even to the ancients, the origin of Osiris' Egyptian name is a mystery. He was the first child of Nut and Geb, and therefore the brother of Seth, Nephthys, and Isis, who was also his wife. He was also the father of Horus, and according to some myths, Anubis. These traditions state that Nephthys, mother of Anubis, assumed the form of Isis, seduced him, and became pregnant with Anubis. The oldest religious texts refer to Osiris as the great god of the dead, and throughout these texts it is assumed that the reader will understand that he once possessed human form and lived on earth. Also, that by some unusual powers, he was able to bestow upon himself after his death a new life and a new body and ruled as king over the Afterlife. He was believed to be willing to admit all people that had lived a good and correct life upon Earth, and had been buried with appropriate ceremonies under the protection of certain amulets, and with the proper recital of certain 'divine words' and words of power. It was believed that once the pharaoh of Egypt died, he would go to the Afterlife as Osiris, and his successor would take his place as Horus and ruler of Egypt."
The others were all looking at each other, and yawning, this whole time.
Finally, Kevin looked at Anubis. "Why did you tell us this? What makes you think we have any interest in that whatsoever?"
Anubis shrugged.
"What video world are you fromicus?" Kid Icarus asked.
"Video world?" Anubis asked, scratching his head.
"Where are you from?" Kevin asked.
"Indianapolis, Indiana." Anubis answered.
"That's a city on my world." Kevin informed those from Videoland. He looked back at Anubis. "You're from Earth?"
Anubis nodded. "Of course! Uh,...where am I now?"
"Videoland." Mega Man answered. "It's another universe."
"Oh, man, I didn't plan on going this far!"
The others exchanged confused looks.
Kevin looked at him. "Uh, maybe you better start at the beginning."
"All right." Anubis said. "I'm chasing my brother, Osiris."
"Why?" Lana asked.
"Because he killed our brother, Dorian!"
Lana lowered her head for a moment, then raised it. "How did it happen?"
"Well, it all began early this morning, when..."

It had started when Osiris didn't come home after his job until really late. Some people will stay to earn overtime, and he did seem to bring home a lot of money, but it just didn't seem right when Anubis found that Osiris' job didn't pay overtime. Anubis didn't bring this story to Mandi, the girl who owned the apartment building they lived in at the time. He decided to investigate this himself.
Anubis followed Osiris to work that night and hung out in the back seat of the car Osiris took to work every night. He didn't see Anubis, because he was tucked almost under the seat in the dark. The car was rather old, so the overhead light didn't work anymore. Anubis wore a dark gray sweatsuit with a hood and hid with his bag for almost two hours. Osiris came out with a strange man, and Anubis heard them discussing "prices per hit" or something. He didn't understand until Osiris said "ten thousand", and the man agreed. Anubis heard the man walk off, and Osiris got back into the car.
They drove away.
They stopped a block and a half away from their apartment, and Osiris reached onto the back seat for something. Anubis thought he was busted, but Osiris grabbed a bag off the seat that he didn't even notice as he snuck into the car. His brother bolted out of the car and took off. Something fell out of the bag and slid under the seat. Osiris hadn't paid attention to it. Anubis looked up to see where he went and saw him disappear into the apartment they were parked in front of. He opened the door and started to get out when he remembered something fell out of Osiris' bag. He felt around for it. He grabbed something that he thought was the seat, because it was cold and metallic, but Anubis moved it out from under the seat and found he was holding the barrel of a 9mm.
That right there worried him.
Anubis shoved the gun into his shirt pocket and got out of the car, slamming the door. He followed Osiris into the apartment. The only doors open in the building were to stairs going up. Thus, he followed.
Osiris was up there setting up when he arrived. Like a cat, Anubis crept around with his bag. He found a skylight he could hide behind to get a good view.
He watched as Osiris leaned over the edge of the building. He was hunched in a way that didn't look right, holding an automatic rifle. Anubis didn't know what kind it was, but it was aimed at the roof of their apartment building. Anubis looked over the skylight to see what he was aiming at.
Osiris fired two shots, and Anubis saw his brother, Dorian, fall to the sidewalk off the edge of the roof where he hung out when he came home from his job.
Osiris bent over and picked up the bullet casings. Anubis hadn't a clue what to do after he saw what he saw. He ducked down, banging his kneecap on the skylight. He grabbed his knee and fell to the ground. Disturbed, Osiris ran back down the stairs and into his car. Anubis followed down the fire escape.
He ran after him as Osiris tore out into the street. He couldn't drive very well in the dark, which made it easy for Anubis to keep up on foot.
Osiris turned onto the highway and sped up. The highway was empty save a cop car on the side of the road, probably watching with a radar. Anubis didn't pay attention at the time, but the cop radioed something and got out of the car to run him down. Even though the cop looked out of shape, he caught up with and overtook the fifteen-year-old. The next thing the boy knew, he was on his face in the sand at the side of the road as Osiris drove away.

Anubis then told about how he was questioned by the cop, about Osiris at the warehouse, about the Warp Zone Shifter, about the police raid, and about Bob letting Anubis through the warp.
"And, that's it." Anubis finished.
Kevin looked at Lana. Lana nodded, and Kevin turned off the forcefield.
"Thanks." Anubis said, standing up. "Can I have my stuff back now?"
"Sure." Kevin said, smiling. He handed the duffel bag to Anubis.
"What about my pieces?" Anubis asked, looking at Simon.
"Oh." Simon reached into his backpack and pulled out the 9mm and the shotgun. "Sorry about that." he said, handing them to Anubis.
Anubis took them. "That's okay. I wouldn't trust me with them either."
"Uh, Anubis, when Osiris arrived here, he warped to Skull Castle in Megaland." Kevin informed him.
"Skull Castle? Dr. Wily!"
Kevin nodded. "Uh-huh."
"I hope he gets himself killed there!"
"Anubis!" Lana snapped.
"He's my enemy!" Anubis retorted. "Besides, anyone that calls me 'Nubis deserves to die! Now,...it's your turn to do some explaining."

"And that's it." Lana said.
"Thanks for giving me a tour." Anubis said.
Lana smiled. "No problem."
"What do you wanna do now?" Kevin asked.
"Well, - "
He was cut off when Mega Man came running into the corridor. "Your Highness, Captain N, I think you should come see this."

They were all sitting at the table in the Conference room, except for Mega Man, who was standing in front.
"What's this about?" Lana asked.
"Look what the satellite monitor picked up just a few minutes ago!" Mega Man rewound the tape a bit and played it.
An image appeared on the viewscreen.
"It's Metroid!" Lana said, surprised.
"And it's dark!" Kevin said. "What happened; it run outta power?"
Mega Man shook his head. "No. There are enough Zebetite power crystals on Metroid - "
"I know, I know - to conquer Videoland ten times over!" Kevin finished.
"So, if it's not out of power," Simon asked, "then why's it dark?"
"My guess is that Metroid performed a system-wide shutdown after Mother Brain didn't return to it for a while." Mega Man said. "It's adrift."
"Let's go study it!" Lana said, excited.
"Yeah!" Kevin said. "Who knows what kind of technology we'll find there!"
Mega Man smiled. "That's what we're planning to do!"
Kevin looked at Anubis. "You better stay at the Palace. You don't know your way around here."
Anubis nodded.
"Link, Zelda, Lyle, stay here and look after the Palace and Anubis." Lana instructed.
They nodded.
"All right, N Team, let's do it to it!" Kevin said, drawing his Zapper and twirling it.

The N Team exited the warp and found themselves in a corridor in Metroid.
"Man, it sure is dark in here!" Rick commented. Suddenly, he felt something furry brush against his left arm. "What's that?!"
A light came on, and Rick saw the hideous creature. It put a hand to one of its ears and went "Booga booga booga!"
Rick jumped back, screaming. Then he saw what the creature was. "Simon!"
Sure enough, it was Simon Belmont, Vampire Hunter, holding a flashlight and making faces. He grinned.

"This place gives me the creeps!" Romeo said as they walked down a corridor.
"And it's so quiet." Rick brought up.
"Yeah," Kevin said, "too quiet."
"Where are we?" Simon asked.
"We should be near Mother Brain's lair," Kevin answered, "if I remember correctly."
"Should?!"
"I wonder why there aren't any enemies for us to fighticus." Kid Icarus said.
"They probably all left when the shutdown began." Kevin replied. "Hey, I think that's it over there!"
Kevin led them to a sealed door. He stood there and pounded on it with his right fist.
"Great, we're locked out!" Simon said.
"Duh, let's fry it!" Julius suggested.
"You know, that's not a bad idea!" Rick said.
"The combined power of two laser beams should be adequate to destroy said door." Gameboy informed.
Kevin nodded. "Okay. Lana, come over here and stand to my right."
Lana did. They both drew their Zappers.
"On three." Kevin said. "One,...two,...three!"
Both of them fired at the door. After a few seconds, it was destroyed.
Kevin walked in, followed by Lana, and then the others.
They were in a room, but they couldn't tell what it was.
"Everyone try looking for a way to get the power back on." Mega Man said.
They did.
"I think I've found it!" Lana said. She was crouched by the side of a computer console.
Suddenly, all the power came on all over Metroid.
They looked at their surroundings.
"Yep, this is it!" Kevin said. "Mother Brain's lair!" He looked at the Princess. "How'd you do that, Lana?"
"Simple," Lana said, smiling and standing up, "I plugged in the power chord!"
"That was the automatic shutdown?" Rick asked.
"Okay, guys, let's try to access the computer system." Kevin said. "We'll copy all the information from its databanks that we can."
"Then what?" Romeo asked.
"Then we blow this bad boy up." Rick answered for Kevin.
That said, they went to work.

In Megaland, Osiris was idly walking around Skull Castle, wherever he wanted, without permission.
He entered Dr. Wily's lab and noticed that the room was empty. So, he naturally decided to make himself at home.
He went over and sat in Dr. Wily's chair. Then he began studying the computer. Finally, he accessed it.
"Let's see what Mr. Clean Lab Coat's got in here." Osiris began going through the information. Soon, he came across an interesting entry: "'Mother Brain - My former employer. Videoland's greatest threat - yeah, right. The N Team's archenemy. Current whereabouts: trapped in the cellar of Baseball World.' Well, well, well, that is interesting!"
That gave Osiris a great idea. Or, at least, he thought it was great.
He accessed the start-up sequence for the Warp Zone Shifter, which he heard Mike Vincent mention to him. He found and entered the coordinates for the cellar, and opened a warp.

"Where's my equipment?!" King Hippo demanded.
"Uh, uh, right here, King Hippo!" the Eggplant Wizard said, rushing forward.
King Hippo snatched a bat and three leather gloves from Eggy and began to chow down.
"How long have we been trapped down here?" Eggy asked, munching on a baseball.
"Oh, I dunno, at least a few months. I've lost track of time down here."
"Are we doomed to spend the rest of our days like this?" Eggy asked. "Chasing down baseball equipment for food? Running away from them at all other times? Having only bats, balls, and gloves for food, and water that's fallen through the cracks in the ceiling for drink?"
"Aw, shut up and don't remind me." Hippo said, finishing off his bat.
Just then, Mother Brain rode into the small cave they were living in. "Hello, boys." she said wearily.
"Hello, Mother Brain." Eggy said. "How are you feeling?"
Mother Brain sighed. "Worse. I'm almost out of energy. If I don't get some power soon, I'll die."
"I know how you feel." King Hippo said sympathetically. "Weak. That's how I feel, too."
"Me, too." Eggplant Wizard said.
"I've actually lost twenty pounds!" Hippo said. "I need some real food! Mashed potatoes. Roasted chicken. Steak."
Eggy screamed, lunging at Hippo. "I can't stand it anymore! I'm starving!" He bit King Hippo on the face. "Raw hippo!"
"Me, I'll even settle for fresh eggplant!" Hippo said, sinking his teeth into Eggy's right arm.
Months ago, Mother Brain would've yelled and zapped them for doing something like this, but now she just didn't care. She was going to die soon anyway. It wouldn't be long now.
Suddenly, a warp opened.
Mother Brain gasped. "Boys, look!"
King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard let go of each other and looked at the warp.
"A warp!" Eggy cried happily. He ran towards it. "Free! Free at last!"
"I'm gettin' outta this place!" King Hippo cried. He ran towards it, too.
"Good-bye, Baseball World!" Mother Brain yelled, then rode her tank through the warp.

"How are you comin', Lana?" Kevin asked.
Lana inserted another chip into the slot. "Maybe another few minutes, Kevin. There's an awful lot to copy."
Suddenly, a warp opened. Everyone looked at it.
The Eggplant Wizard came through. "Free! Free! Whee!"
Suddenly, he was pushed down to the floor by King Hippo, who ran into him from behind. Vegetables came popping out of Eggy.
"It's King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard!" Kid Icarus cried.
Then, Mother Brain came riding out of the warp. Hippo and Eggy screamed and got out of the way before Momma could run them over.
"And that's not all! Mother Brain!" Kevin added.
"The N Team!" Mother Brain yelled. "What are you doing on my world?!"
"Into the warp, everybody!" Kevin yelled.
Lana yanked the chip out of the slot and ran with the others to the warp.
"Get them!" Mother Brain, who was too weak to fight, yelled.
But the N Team was safely through the warp by then.
"Aw, they got away!" King Hippo yelled in frustration.
"No matter." Mother Brain said. "We'll get them soon enough. Well, it seems they were nice enough to reactivate Metroid while they were here. You two birdbrains get settled in and get something to eat."
"Food!" King Hippo said happily.
"I'm going to get power from the crystals." Mother Brain continued. "When I'm done, we'll start gathering an army to beat the N Team! They'll pay for trapping me in that cellar - especially Princess Pinhead!"

The N Team exited the warp and found themselves back in the Palace of Power.
"First thing we gotta do is activate the security system." Lana said to the others.
Kevin nodded. "Right, we can't let Mother Brain get in the Palace!"
They were about to walk off when a buzzer sounded and red lights started flashing.
"An emergency call!" Lana yelled.
They took off to the Communications room.

Kevin sat in the left chair, and Lana sat in the right chair. The two of them were soon able to tune into the right frequency.
"Dr. Right calling Mega Man!"
Mega Man stepped forward. "What's the matter, Dr. Right?"
"Dr. Wily's robots are attacking all over Megaland! Come quickly!"
Kevin groaned. "Wily would have to pick a time like this to attack!"
"I'll be there right away, Dr. Right!" Mega Man said to his creator.
Kevin stood up. "Me, too!"
Dr. Right nodded. "Thank you!"
He ended the transmission, as did Kevin.
Lana stood up.
Kevin turned and faced her. "Activate the security system after we leave. I'm naming you Acting Captain of the N Team until I return."
Lana smiled. "Cool!"
Kevin grinned. "Don't let it go to your head!"
Then he and Mega Man left.

Kevin and Mega Man warped into Dr. Right's laboratory.
The scientist was standing in front of a computer. He turned around to face them. Kevin and Mega Man ran up to him.
"All right," Kevin said, "what's the deal?"
"Eight Robot Masters have taken control of eight different sections of Megaland."
"Which ones?" Mega Man asked.
"They're new ones." Dr. Right said. "I've never seen them before."
"Where are they attacking?" Kevin asked.
Dr. Right turned back to his computer and began working. Soon, he turned back to face them and held up a small chip. "This chip has the coordinates of the places that the Robot Masters have taken over. Sorry, I can't be more accurate than that and transport you two into the Robot Masters' chambers, because there's an electrical field surrounding each maze."
"It figures." Kevin said.
Dr. Right placed the chip in a slot in Mega Man's built-in transporter.
"Thanks, Dr. Right." Mega Man said.
"Come back to my lab after you complete each stage for an energy refill."
Kevin and Mega Man nodded. Then, Kevin placed his right hand on the green robot's right shoulder. Mega Man activated his teleporter, and the two of them left the lab.

Kevin and Mega Man landed at the beginning of a maze. They took a few moments to look around.
Kevin looked at Mega Man. "Whose maze is this?"
"I picked Ring Man." Mega Man replied.
"Ring Man?" Kevin asked. "Weird name!" Then suddenly, he was overcome with a feeling of deja vu. "Ring Man." Kevin said quietly to himself. "Where have I heard that name before?" Suddenly, it occurred to him. "Of course! The Video Game Competition! Mega Man, I played this game back home!"
"The whole thing?" Mega Man asked hopefully.
Kevin shook his head. "No, just this stage. But at least it's a start!"
"Let's take it slow anyway."
Kevin nodded. "Right."

Princess Lana was walking through a corridor in the Palace.
Stacey came up behind her. "Hey, Lana!"
Lana yelled, then looked and saw who it was. "Stacey, please, don't do that!"
Stacey laughed. "Sorry!" She joined Lana, walking on her left. "So, how does it feel?"
"How does what feel?"
"Being the leader of the N Team."
Lana shrugged. "Kinda nice."
Stacey stopped. "Kinda nice?"
Lana stopped, also, and looked at Stacey. "What?"
Stacey took hold of Lana's right arm with her left hand and pulled her in the opposite direction. "C'mon."

Stacey and Lana walked into Kevin and Simon's bedroom. Stacey went over to Kevin's closet and stepped inside.
"Stacey,...what are you doing?" Lana asked.
Stacey walked out holding Kevin's school jacket in her left hand.
"Stacey, put that back. It's Kevin's."
"Aw, c'mon, Lana!" Stacey said, walking up to her. "If you're gonna be the leader of the N Team, you gotta dress the part!"
Lana looked uncertainly at the jacket for a moment, then looked up at the valley girl and laughed. "Okay." She took the jacket in her hands.
Stacey grinned. "Great! Now c'mon, you gotta go to your room and change!"

"Everyone, can I, like, have your attention please?" Stacey asked as she walked into the living room.
Everyone turned to face her.
"May I present your leader!"
Stacey stepped aside, and Lana walked in and stood to her right.
The others gasped.
Lana was wearing blue jeans, sneakers, a yellow shirt, Kevin's Northridge High jacket, and her belt. She wasn't wearing her earrings, crown, necklace, or bracelets.
"What do you think?" Lana asked.
"Probabilities indicate that the word 'tubular' would be appropriate in this situation." Gameboy responded.
Lana laughed. "Thanks, Gameboy! You're pretty tubular, too!"
Gameboy beeped happily.
"So, how do it feel,...Captain N?" Rick asked with a grin.
"Me...Captain N." Lana said, her voice filled with awe. "Incredible!"
Everyone smiled at her.
"What's that sound?" Lana asked suddenly.
"What sound?" Simon asked. "I don't hear anything."
"I do." Lana said, and ran over to the window. She looked outside for a few seconds, then quickly turned back around to face the others. "Let's get the weapons ready!"
"What?" Simon asked, then ran over to the window. "What do you see?" He looked outside. "Uh-oh!"
In the distance, a few miles from the Palace, could be seen a large mass, and it was coming closer.
Simon looked at Lana. "Mother Brain?"
Lana nodded. "I'm sure!"
"What do we do?" Link asked.
"First we gotta seal all the warp zones." Lana said. "Then we have to get to the Control room and activate the weapons system."
"Right!" Simon said, and took off running. "Let's go!"
Lana ran after him. "Hey, I'm the leader!"
The rest of them followed.

In the Control room high atop the Palace of Power, Simon handed Lana a spare key from his left coat pocket. Lana used it to open the shutters. Then she sat in the chair and used the control panel to charge up the weapons.
Soon, a ship flew near the Palace and began firing.
"The shields are holding." Lana said as she read the information shown on a small monitor. She looked up at the viewscreen. "No damage."
Lana pressed a button and fired a laser beam at the ship. After about ten hits, the ship was destroyed.
Five more ships arrived, along with a lot of robots on the ground. Lana fired at them.
Then Kid Icarus, who wasn't with them, flew into the room. "Princess, the Palace is under siege!"
"Oh, really, ya think?" Lana asked as she continued firing, not even looking at the archer. "Mother Brain's attacking."
Kid Icarus shook his head. "No, Your Highnicus, it's Dr. Wily!"
"Dr. Wily?!" Lana asked in surprise, still firing.
"He's waiting to speak with you!"
Lana wiped out the last few robots, then switched the viewscreen to Dr. Wily.
"Princess!" Dr. Wily greeted with a smile. "Well, I'm making good on my threat to conquer Videoland!"
Lana smiled. "Sorry, Wily, I forgot! I guess you're not important enough to remember!" She started laughing.
"Oh, I'll be important soon enough! I'll be the Ruler of Videoland!" He laughed evilly. "Is that important enough for you? I'll have the Palace in three days at most, and then you won't be laughing as hard - unless you find being gunned down funny!" He laughed again. "Without Captain N there to help you, you're the Nothing Team!" More laughing.
"So that's why those robots are attacking in Megaland!" Lana realized.
"You wanted to lure Captain N and Mega Man away from the Palace to make your attack easier!" Simon finished.
"Exactly!" Dr. Wily said, laughing harder than ever. "And you never realized it!" He laughed some more. "Oh, there's someone here with me that I think you'll want to talk to."
Dr. Wily stepped aside, and Osiris came and stood next to the scientist, on his left.
"Hello, brother!" Osiris greeted with a grin.
Anubis gasped. "Osiris!"
Lana turned to face him. "Your brother?!"
Anubis nodded. "Osiris, what are you doing hanging around with Wily?!"
"I'm against you. He's against the N Team. You're with the N Team. That's as good enough a reason as any!" Osiris laughed.
Anubis made his right hand into a fist and shook it angrily in front of him. "I'll get you, Osiris! Wait and see!"
"Anubis!" Lana snapped again.
"So," Dr. Wily asked, "are you ready for a war, N Team?"
Lana faced the viewscreen. "We're ready, Wily! Bring 'em on!"
"You'll be sorry you said that, Your Highness!" Wily promised. "The next wave of robots will arrive in two hours!" He ended the transmission.
Lana gulped and worked at the control panel. "I gotta call Dr. Right and get Kevin and Mega Man back here right away!"

Pharaoh Man was destroyed by the final blast from Kevin's Zapper. Mega Man went over and picked up the weapon.
"That's it!" Kevin said with a smile. "The final Robot Master!"
They teleported back to Dr. Right's lab.
When they arrived, the scientist ran up to them. He was in a panic.
"Mega Man! Captain N! Dr. Wily's attacking the Palace!"
"Aw, great!" Kevin said. "We better get back there!"
The three of them warped to the Palace of Power.

Lana spun around in the chair and stood up. "Kevin! Great, you're here!"
Kevin just looked at her and smiled. "What did I say about letting it go to your head?"
Lana laughed and started to take the jacket off.
Kevin shook his head and held up his left hand in front of him. "Nah, you can hold onto it for a while. You look hot!"
Lana grinned. "Thanks!"
"Well?" Kevin asked.
"Hmmm?" Lana asked, confused. "Oh! I hereby return leadership of the N Team to you,...Captain N."
Kevin smiled and nodded. "Thanks, I'm glad." Then he became serious. "Now we have to find a way to stop Wily."
Dr. Right stepped forward. "I believe I can help."
Everyone in the Control room turned to face him.
"I've been working on some experimental new weapons. They're still in the testing stages, but they're far more advanced than anything Dr. Wily has."
"Anything will help!" Kevin said.
"Dr. Wily said the next wave of robots will be here in two hours." Lana informed the scientist. "How long will it take you to install the weapons?"
Dr. Right smiled. "Well, I guess it'll have to be less than two hours!"
Lana laughed.
"I'll have to go back to my lab to get them, but with Mega Man's help, we should have them installed soon."
"You got it, Dr. Right!" Mega Man said.

Wednesday, July 1, 1992, 2:00 AM

Anubis felt a little weird when he woke up in a different bed. He looked around, but the room was still dark. Not tired, he proceeded to put on his clothes.
He started to walk out of the room when he spotted a camera mounted on a wall in the corridor. Surveillance, he thought. It seems that the N Team doesn't fully trust me yet. That's reasonable with all that's gone on in the past few hours.
Anubis slowly walked out of his room and started down the corridor. His 9mm was in his shirt pocket.
He came to Kevin and Simon's room and looked in. Kevin was asleep in bed, and Duke was lying under Kevin's bed, as usual.
Duke's head shot up, and he started to look in Anubis' direction.
Anubis quickly got out of the doorway and leaned against the wall. Duke wasn't going to go to sleep until he was sure it was clear.
Anubis wouldn't have known Duke was awake if it wasn't for the blue light from Kevin's clock.
He heard a faint shout. He recognized the voice as Lana's. She must be having nightmares, he thought. What if Duke decides to check it out?
He peeked back into the room. Much to his surprise, Duke closed his eyes and lowered his head.
Anubis looked at Simon and saw him sleeping in bed. He wasn't sure, but he thought he saw the outline of a teddy bear.
He continued on and passed Mega Man's room. Then he heard a noise and stopped. He didn't hear anything more and decided to continue on.
He walked past Kid Icarus' room, not thinking to look in. That was a mistake, because if he did, he'd have noticed that the archer wasn't in bed.
Anubis walked into the Princess' room at the end of the hall.
Lana tossed and turned slightly, but she didn't say anything. Anubis turned to walk out, and he heard her murmur the word "murderer". This disturbed him, but she was still asleep. He shrugged and walked out of the room.
Mega Man jumped Anubis, pushed him down to the floor, and clasped his two metal hands around his neck.
Anubis was about to shout out that there was an invasion, but he found he couldn't talk anymore.
Anubis stopped moving and looked up. There was Kid Icarus with an arrow pointed straight at his chest. He then knew it was Mega Man who was holding his neck.
Anubis couldn't speak, so he simply waved hello to the archer.
Mega Man released a little to allow him to breathe.
"What are you doing, Anubicus?" Kid Icarus asked.
"Where do you think you're mega going?" Mega Man demanded.
"I was restless. I couldn't sleep, so I went to walk around."
"And what were you doing in Her Highness' room?" Mega Man asked.
"I thought I heard her scream. I only went to investigate."
A moment of silence passed.
"Well," Mega Man said finally, "she has been having nightmares."
"Yes, but how did you escape-icus the camera?" Kid Icarus wanted to know.
"It was easy. I just went around behind it. You really ought to talk to Dr. Right about that."
"Well, we can't let you mega roam around like this at night."
Mega Man helped him up, and he and Kid Icarus walked Anubis back to his room.
"Um, guys?" Anubis asked when they stopped outside his room.
"Yeah?" they answered together.
"Either of you tired?"
"No." Mega Man said, shaking his head.
"I'm not," Kid Icarus yawned, "too tired."
"Well, I can't sleep." Anubis said. "You guys wanna do somethin'?"
"Like?" Kid queried.
"Like,...uh,...do you two play basketball?"
The robot and the archer grinned and led Anubis to the Palace's court.

"King Hippo! Eggplant Wizard!" Mother Brain yelled. "Front and center!"
Her two servants ran into her lair. Hippo came to a stop, and Eggy ran into him. They both fell to the floor, and some vegetables popped out of the Eggplant Wizard.
"Get up, you klutzes!" Mother Brain demanded.
After tripping over each other a few times and arguing, they did.
"Now, what is the status of my forces?!"
"Uh, well,..." Eggy began nervously, "we've got armies from thirty video worlds willing to help us."
King Hippo punched Eggy on the back of his head, making vegetables pop out again. "Thirty-one, Egghead!"
"Well, excuuuse me!" Eggy returned.
"We're ready to begin, m' main brain!" Hippo announced.
Mother Brain grinned. "Excellent! And after we seize the Palace, I'll conquer the armies' worlds!"
She laughed her horrible, evil laugh, and Hippo and Eggy joined in.

Mike Vincent was in his room with Osiris, playing Duck Hunt with Osiris' rifle. Mike was losing badly, for he just couldn't draw a bead on real clay pigeons.
"I can't stand this! How can you beat me at this simple a game? I am the Ultimate Game Master, and I never lose!" He never told Osiris about the Video Game Competition back home.
"That's not quite what I'm seeing, Mike. I'm seeing a little angry man who couldn't hit the broad side of Skull Castle." Osiris said in his usual calmness.
"Oh, really?" Mike walked over to a sitting Osiris. "That's it! I'm gonna kick your - "
Mike was interrupted by a shrill yell: "Mike Vincent!!! Get in here right now!!!"
"He sounds pretty pissed. You'd better get in there." Osiris taunted.
"This isn't over, Runes. You'd better be gone when I get back!"

Mike entered the lab.
"Do you want to explain this?" Dr. Wily asked, pointing to a monitor.
"What am I looking at, Doc?" Mike queried unsteadily.
"Somebody opened up a warp between the cellar of Baseball World and Metroid!" Wily motioned to another monitor. "Someone has also accessed my computer! They knew where Mother Brain was and where she operated from!"
"Dr. Wily, it wasn't me! I don't care about that stupid brain! She wasn't the one who brought me here to beat Keene!"
"Then who was it?"
The two looked at each other for a moment and muttered the same word: "Osiris."
"I told you to keep an eye on him! Now look what happened!"
"Who did I send to look after him, huh?!" Dr. Wily shouted back. He went to a microphone and called Mike's room again. "Osiris! I'd like to see you in my lab - now!"
A short while later, Osiris walked in.
"You wanted to see me, Doctor?" Osiris demanded as if he was granting Dr. Wily an audience.
"What have you been doing in my lab?" Wily demanded.
"Nothing, Doc. Just a little research, that's all."
"Wily's logs say different!" Mike began. "They say you - "
Wily hushed him with a quick gesture across his neck. "My logs say you've been doing a little more than research. They say you were playing with some of my inventions."
Dr. Wily whacked a button on his arm rest. Air Man came into the room right behind Osiris, quickly locking an arm around his neck.
"Can I crush him now?" the Robot Master asked.
"No. Not until I'm finished with him." Wily said.
"All right," Osiris started, realizing there was no way out, "I opened a warp for Mother Brain back to Metroid."
"And why is that?" Wily asked. "Why did you release my former employer?"
"I'm hoping her attack on the Palace will cause more trouble for the N Team and Anubis than we can right now." Osiris answered, struggling to keep his cool.
"Well, that sounds like it might be all right...for now. You had better tell me next time you think you have a plan. Release him, Air Man."
"Yes, Doctor." Osiris said as his windpipe was released.
Air Man left the room.
"Is that all?" Osiris asked, as if he was in control of the Castle.
"Yes, yes. Be gone." Dr. Wily said, irritated.
Osiris and Mike turned and walked out of the lab.

"Oh, man!" Mike whispered to himself. "Mother Brain!"
When Osiris walked off in another direction, Mike ran back to his room.
Once he was safely back in his room, he locked the door.
He then began nervously walking around, trying to figure out what to do.
"I've gotta warn the N Team somehow!" Mike said to himself.

Thursday, August 11, 1988, 4:00 PM

Kevin and Mike were in Kevin's room, sitting in front of Kevin's computer, with Kevin on Mike's right. Mike was busy typing away at the keyboard.
"Mike," Kevin asked nervously, "are you sure you know what you're doing?"
Mike nodded. "Of course!" He continued typing.
"Well, be careful. I don't wanna get in any trouble."
"Trust me, man." Mike said. He inserted a disk into the disk drive. "It's downloading right now."
After the file transfer was complete, Mike logged off. He then did a directory listing.
"Check it out!" Mike said with a grin. "Bank account info!"
"Whoa, cool!" Kevin said, smiling.
"Told ya I could do it!"

"That's it!" Mike said suddenly. "I could hack Wily's computer, steal all the info they'll need, and make off with it on a disk!"
That decided, he went over to the small computer terminal that was by the wall opposite the door, and sat down in the chair.
This computer wasn't much (after all, Wily didn't trust him fully, even before he betrayed him), but it was good enough. The best part about Skull Castle was that all the computers were linked. So even with this small one, Mike could still hack into Wily's.
And soon he did. It took a lot more effort than hacking into computers back home, because Wily's were so much more advanced. Still, he was able to do it.
"Well looky what we have here!" Mike said as he read the information on the screen. "Wily's battle plans, robot schematics, fortress layouts - oh, man! This rocks!"
Mike inserted a small chip into a slot in the computer. Videoland's technology is so advanced, one small chip could easily hold one-hundred gigs of information!
He saved all of the important information he could find to the chip, then ejected it and stuck it in his front left jeans pocket.
Mike got up and went over to the door. He unlocked it, touched it, and it slid rose.
He walked out into the corridor. Elec Man was standing there guarding the door, of course. Wily wouldn't leave Mike alone for a minute!
"Going somewhere?" Elec Man asked.
Mike rose his head and thought. "Um,..." He lowered his head. "Yeah."
Mike quickly drew his Zapper and shot Elec Man repeatedly until he was destroyed.
"Is it just me, or does Dr. Wily build his Robot Masters worse every time they're destroyed?"
Mike headed down the corridor. Fortunately, no alarms went off, so no robots came to attack him.
They would get their asses kicked anyway, Mike thought with a laugh.
Soon he was out of Skull Castle and making a run towards Dr. Right's lab.

The doorbell chimed.
Lana walked up to the front door, her Zapper drawn, and pressed a button.
The doors slid open.
"Mike." Lana said. "Well, this is a surprise. I didn't expect to see you here."
Mike hurried inside and closed the door. He looked at Lana. "Get the others. I've got somethin' you guys need to see."

They were all gathered in the Control room. Mike had related everything that had happened since his capture, up to his arriving at the Palace.
Rick was sitting in the chair, looking at the information displayed on the viewscreen. "This is great! We can really use this!" He spun the chair around and gave Mike a thumbs-up with his right hand. "Great job, Mike!"
Mike smiled.
"Well?" Kevin asked Mike. "How 'bout it? Join us?"
Mike thought about it for a moment. "Okay."
He extended his right hand, and Kevin shook it.
"Listen, Kevin, I'm sorry for all those times I kicked your ass."
Kevin smiled. "Apology accepted!" He slapped his left hand on top of Mike's right.
Mike slapped his left hand on Kevin's right. "Friends again?"
Kevin nodded. "Friends again!"
Then they hugged, but broke it when they heard "Aw!" from the others.
Lana smiled and offered her left hand. "Welcome to the N Team, Mike!"
Mike shook it. "Thank you, Lana!"
Rick stood up and walked over to him. "And the Videoland Club, man!" He offered his right hand.
"The what?"
"I'll explain later. Just join."
Mike laughed. "Okay, thanks!" He shook Rick's hand.
"Now," Kevin said, "let's put all this information to good use."

Thursday, July 2, 1992, 8:00 AM

Everyone got up. They met in the Conference room to plan what they were going to do.
"Okay," Kevin, who was at the head of the table, said, "the new weapons systems that Dr. Right installed have been doing a pretty fair job of holding back Wily's robots, but we've got Mother Brain to worry about, too."
"So what do we do?" Lana, who was sitting at his right, asked.
"I propose each of us be assigned a specific task." Kevin said.
Rick nodded. "Sounds good."
Kevin dumped some objects from a cloth sack onto the table. "Each of you take one. We can use these radios to keep in touch with each other from anywhere in the Palace."
Lana flicked her wrist and lifted the cover. A chirping sound was heard.
She laughed. "Cute."
Kevin smiled. "Okay, we've gotta assign jobs. I'll patrol the first floor of the Palace. Mega Man, you take second. Lana and Stacey, third."
Lana folded her arms in front of her. "Oh, joy." she said sarcastically.
"Mike, Control room. Fire at everything that approaches the Palace."
Mike grinned. "Cool!"
"Rick and Simon, fourth floor. Romeo and Julius, fifth floor. Kid Icarus and Duke, sixth. Lyle and Gameboy, seventh. Link and Zelda, eighth."
"What about me?" Anubis asked.
"You sure?" Kevin asked.
Anubis nodded. "I can handle it. Trust me."
Kevin nodded. "Okay, you've got ninth."
Anubis smiled.
"Those of you without weapons," Kevin said, then dumped more objects onto the table from a second bag, "will use a laser rifle. Anubis, Link, Zelda, Simon, and Kid Icarus, take one also. Your usual weapons won't be of much help to you." He looked at everyone. "Ready?"
Everyone nodded.
Kevin nodded. "All right, let's take our positions."
They got up and left the Conference room.

"Mega Man, do you read me?" Kevin asked, testing his radio.
"Affirmative." Mega Man responded.
"Lana?"
"Here."
"Stacey?"
"Check-a-lick."
Kevin laughed. "Rick?"
"Yeah."
"Simon?"
"Roger."
"Moore. Sorry. Romeo?"
"Uh-huh."
"Julius?"
"Duh, yeah! Hey, this is cool!"
"Kid Icarus?"
"Checkicus."
"Duke?"
"Arf!"
"Lyle?"
"Yes. Whoa!"
"Are you okay?!"
"Yeah, I just tripped, that's all."
Kevin sighed and shook his head. "Gameboy?"
"Compliance."
"Link?"
"Hey, ain't I always here when you guys need me?!"
Kevin laughed. "Right. Zelda?"
Zelda laughed. "Yeah!"
"Anubis?"
"Yes, sir!"
"Skip the sir. This isn't the military, dude. Mike?"
"Here, willing and able, and ready to kick - "
"Okay, looks like we're ready!" Kevin said, cutting him off. "Let's do it to it!"

"Kevin!"
"Yeah, Mike?"
"There are too many of them approaching! I wasn't able to get all of them before they reached the Palace!"
"Thanks, Mike, I'll look out for them." He lowered the cover and hung his radio on his belt.
He walked down the corridor. Suddenly, ten Metroids flew in from the left side of a branching corridor and started heading right for Kevin.
Kevin gasped, then drew his Zapper and began firing.
He got most of the Metroids while they were still a good distance away, but three were still coming at him.
"You ain't gettin' near me, you ugly creeps! Pause!" Kevin pressed the Pause button on his Power Pad.
The Metroids stopped in mid-air, just one foot away from Kevin!
Kevin skipped back a few feet, the Pause wore off, and Kevin zapped all three of them.
He wiped his forehead with the back of his right hand. "Phew!"

"Come back here, you little mega Metroid menaces!" Mega Man yelled as he chased some Metroids down a corridor. He was firing at them.
Mega Man wasn't used to fighting Metroids. Robots were his preference.
His preference decided to show up at that moment. Lightning Lords, three linked together, flew into the corridor.
"Great!"
Mega Man dodged the bolts and started firing at the trio.
Then he remembered the Metroids. He turned and saw them flying towards him. He hit the floor.
The Lightning Lords' next bolts wiped out the Metroids, then Mega Man turned and wiped out the Lightning Lords.
"Good riddance!"

Lana and Stacey were walking down a corridor, with Stacey on Lana's left.
"You know, Lana," Stacey said, "I can't help but admire this weapon. It's so really beautiful!"
"Yeah, it is." Lana said with a smile.
She and Stacey were actually getting along pretty good. They've been walking together for a half-hour already, and Stacey hadn't annoyed her once!
Suddenly, Stacey screamed.
Lana looked. Five moblins were running toward them.
"Okay, okay, don't panic!" Lana told Stacey.
"Then what?!"
Lana thought for a brief moment, then quickly drew her Zapper and fired, aiming above the moblins, not at them.
"What are you doing?!" Stacey yelled.
Lana spun around and ran in the opposite direction. "Follow me!"
The two of them ran, the moblins in hot pursuit.
They stopped in front of a room marked "WEAPONS".
"What's your plan?!" Stacey asked.
Lana placed her left hand on the door, and it rose.
"Inside!" Lana yelled.
"Some plan!" Stacey said, following Lana inside.
The door slid closed.
There was nothing on the floor in the room. On the walls, however, hung a large variety of weapons.
They heard the clash of metal against metal. The moblins were using the spears they were carrying to try and knock down the door.
Lana took off her gray short-sleeved shirt, revealing a red sleeveless shirt underneath. She was also wearing blue jean shorts and white socks and sneakers, but that's it.
Lana took a weapon down from the wall opposite the door. It came from a video world one of the soldiers of the royal army had visited four years before. Lana had seen it used only once. The soldier was one of the warriors that the Princess had sent to Metroid to rescue her father, and it was his head that she had picked up when the severed heads were brought back to her.
The door came down, and the moblins charged into the room.
"Get in back of me!" Lana yelled.
"Oki-Doki-Doki-Panic!" Stacey said, and did as she was told.
As the moblins approached, Lana began firing. Bullets began spraying out of the weapon Lana held. The soldier had called it a "semi-automatic", as Lana recalled.
Most bullets hit the moblins. They staggered a bit at first, then started to go down.
Stacey watched in amazement, and some fright, as the moblins fell. More came into the room, but they were taken care of as well.
Lana was in ecstasy. She was having the time of her life drilling these things. She even shot some in their necks, and their heads fell off. For a projectile weapon, it sure put on quite an impressive display.
As still more moblins came into the room, Lana began to scream. Stacey looked at her. The look on Lana's face was definitely pleasure.
Stacey had to cover her ears. The weapon, and Lana, were quite loud.
Finally, all of the moblins on that floor were lying dead in the Weapons room. It was just as well, too. Lana was out of ammo.
The two girls walked forward, looking at the dead moblins at their feet.
Stacey looked at Lana, grinning. "Totally awesome!"
Lana grinned as well. "Saves weapon energy, too!"

Simon screamed. "Get these things away from me!"
"Simon, get down!"
"But my hair will fall out of place!"
"Simon, down, now!!!"
Reluctantly, Simon hit the floor.
Rick fired at all the Metroids and wiped them out.
Simon got up and began brushing himself off. He took out his mirror and comb.
Rick shook his head in disbelief. He knew Simon was vain, but he didn't realize it was this intense.

"Duh, I got another one!" Julius exclaimed.
Romeo fired at another robot. "Me, too. I'm up by seven."
"Uh, I'll fix that!" Julius shot some more robots. "I'm up by, uh, up by,...hmmm, lemme see..."
"Two!" Romeo yelled.
Julius smiled. "Duh, thanks!"
Romeo slapped his left hand on his face and shook his head.

"Arf! Arf!" Duke yelled as a Metroid bit his tail.
Two more bit his ears. He tried to shake them loose, but they lifted him up into the air. Duke began to yell even more.
"Hold still, Duke!" Kid Icarus yelled. "This is gonna be tricky!"
The archer got three of his arrows ready. He fired them consecutively, hitting all three Metroids.
Duke dropped to the floor.
Kid Icarus quickly flew over to him. "Are you all righticus?!"
The archer's only response was one dizzy canine sticking his tongue out.

"Aw, this is no use!" Lyle yelled. "There are too many of them!"
He was running low on power, and still the robots came.
"Recommend aerial attack!" Gameboy suggested.
Lyle smiled. "I gotcha! Just like back on Tetris!"
Gameboy allowed Lyle to step onto him, then took off.
They soared above all the robots, and Lyle let them have it. "Yahoo!!!"

Zelda was firing at some Metroids with her bow and arrow, but soon found it to not be very effective, so she switched to the laser rifle. She wasn't very familiar with guns, but she soon got the hang of it.
"Link, I could use some help here!" Zelda yelled as more Metroids arrived in the corridor.
"Well, excuuuuuuuse me, Princess!" Link yelled, fighting off some moblins that were ganging up on him. "I'm rather busy myself!" He finally defeated the last one. "There we go! I'm coming, Zelda!"
Link took a huge leap and fired magical beams from his sword, killing the Metroids.
"Thanks, Link!" Zelda said as Link landed on his feet.
Link walked over to her. "Ha! Saved ya again! Kiss me!"
Zelda smiled. "Why, sure."
Link was surprised. "Really?"
Just then, more Metroids and a pack of Rio flew into the room.
Zelda grinned. "Whoops! Too bad!"
Link groaned. "This always happens!"

"Man, this is a cool rifle!" Anubis said.
A robot attacked him. He destroyed it.
"Whoops, sorry!" He chuckled.

Mike was sitting up in the Control room, shooting the enemies that approached the Palace. He was making shooting sound effects with his voice.
"Hey, Mike!" Kevin's voice came over the radio.
"Yeah." Mike said, answering.
"Floors are all secure for now."
"Great!"
"Hey, you're great at flight sims, aren't you?" Kevin asked.
"Well, that sure is a dumb question, isn't it?"
"Sorry, I forgot who I was talking to." Kevin said. "But I bet you'd love to be playing one right now, huh?"
"As a matter of fact, yes." Mike said. "Why?"

The Warp Wagon, with Mike at the controls, flew in front of the Palace.
Mike was shooting everything he could, while Kevin, sitting next to him, watched.
"Man, this is a blast!" Mike said. "Kinda like Space Invaders, huh?!"
Mike flew the Warp Wagon every which way he could to wipe out bad guys.
They went in circles, loops, up, down, left, right, diagonal. Kevin felt sick to his stomach. He leaned over the side and tossed his cookies.

The N Team fought all through the morning and afternoon, destroying a lot of Dr. Wily and Mother Brain's armies. Each wave was a vast improvement over the last, but Dr. Right was able to counter them using the information that was obtained from Wily and Momma's computers.
Dr. Wily and Mother Brain were also attacking other video worlds, but with less force. They were concentrating most of their efforts on overtaking the Palace of Power.

As evening came, the attacks died down for the night.
Kevin and Lana had just destroyed the last two robots when a warp opened.
"Your Highness! Captain N!"
The two teenagers turned around.
"Prince Plenty. Major Domo." Lana greeted. "What can we do for you?"
The Ruler of Kongoland and his right-hand man were definitely in a panic.
"You've got to help us!" Prince Plenty cried. "Dr. Wily is attacking our village!"
Kevin groaned. "Not Kongoland, too!"
"What do you mean?" Prince Plenty asked.
"He's attacking all over Videoland!" Kevin said. "He's trying to conquer it - again."
"Please; at least a dozen villagers have been killed!" Major Domo cried.
Kevin and Lana gasped.
"Luckily Donkey Kong has crushed most of Wily's army, or else it would've been much worse!" the Major added.
"It's okay, you're safe now." Lana assured him.
She had no idea how right she was.

Friday, August 11, 1989, 7:30 PM

The doorbell chimed.
Lana walked up to the door, her laser rifle at ready, and pressed a button.
The doors slid open. Standing there were King Hippo and the Eggplant Wizard, Mother Brain's two servants. Hippo was on Eggy's right. They were both holding a large brown cloth bag.
"What are you two doing here?" Lana asked.
"Mother Brain sent us to return these to you." King Hippo said.
He and Eggy let the bag's contents fall out and onto the floor, right in front of Lana's feet.
The Princess gasped. "What have you done?!"
"Uh, don't blame us!" Hippo said defensively.
"Yeah, it was Momma Brain that did it!" Eggy added.
On the floor were the severed heads of all of the warriors the Princess had sent to Metroid only a few days earlier to find and rescue her father, Good King Charles.
Lana began to cry.
"Momma also gave us a message to give to you: King Charles is gone forever!" Eggy said.
Lana gasped again. "Gone?! What do you mean gone?!"
"He was sent to a place where he can never be rescued!" Eggy told her.
"Where?!"
Eggy shook his head. "We don't know. She didn't tell us."
Lana angrily raised her laser rifle and pointed it at the two.
The Eggplant Wizard screamed. "Don't kill the messengers!"
King Hippo turned. "C'mon, let's get outta here!"
He ran away, and Eggy ran after him.
Lana closed the door and threw down her laser rifle. She knelt down and picked up one of the heads. She looked at it thoughtfully for a moment, then dropped it to the floor.
The young ruler just knelt there and cried. "You'll pay for this, Mother Brain!!! I'll kill you with my bare hands!!!"

Thursday, July 2, 1992, 11:00 PM

"Lana, wake up!"
"Hmmmmmm?" Lana mumbled. "Huh? What?" She suddenly woke up.
Kevin was shaking her.
Lana sat up in bed. "I'm up. Stop shaking."
Kevin did. "Another nightmare?"
Lana nodded. "Uh-huh?"
"What about?"
"This one was true. It was the day King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard brought me the severed heads of the warriors I sent to Metroid to rescue my father."
Kevin nodded.
Lana started crying. "I'm scared, Kevin!"
Kevin sat down to Lana's left. She swung her feet down to the floor.
They took each other in their arms and hugged.

Friday, July 3, 1992, 8:00 AM

The entire N Team, Link, Zelda, Lyle, Dr. Right, and Anubis were sitting at the dining room table, having breakfast. Lana was at the head, and Duke was lying underneath the table, at her feet. Kevin sat to her right. They were currently discussing what to do next.
"I say a few of us make a trip to Megaland and wipe out Wily's forces at Skull Castle." Rick advised.
"Sounds like a plan." Mike said.
Kevin shook his head, smiling. "Nah, I've got a better idea - Metroid!"
"Are you serious?" Rick asked.
Kevin nodded. "Yeah. We'll wipe out Mother Brain's forces. The Metroids are deadlier, because they can multiply at a rapid rate - faster than Wily can build more robots. It'll be better for us if a few of us go to Metroid and wipe out Mother Brain's army at the source while others stay here and guard the Palace, slowly destroying Wily's army."
Everyone nodded in agreement.
"All right, I'm goin'." Kevin said. "Any volunteers?"
"I'm in." Rick said.
"Me, too." Romeo added.
"Duh, right here!" Julius added.
"So am I." Mike said.
Kevin nodded, and they finished their breakfast in silence.

After breakfast, Rick, Romeo, and Julius were given laser rifles.
Then, the five guys and Lana met at the warp to Metroid.
"I wish I could go with you." Lana said. "I wish I could go with you and kick Mother Brain's, er...ass?"
Kevin laughed. "Well, you have to stay here. I mean someone's gotta protect the Palace. Besides, shooting robots is just as fun as shooting Metroids, if not more so! And they're on your turf. For us, it'll be the reverse."
Lana nodded. "Gotcha." She smiled. "Zap Mother Brain a few times for me?"
Kevin nodded, smiling. "You bet!"
Then, Kevin and Lana hugged and kissed for twenty seconds.
"Good luck, Kevin." Lana told the Game Master after they ceased their embrace.
Kevin nodded. "Good luck, Lana."
Lana nodded.
Kevin looked at the others. "Let's do it, guys!"
"Yeah!" the five guys yelled, waving their Zappers and rifles in the air.
Kevin opened the round door and jumped through the warp. Mike followed him, followed by Rick, Romeo, and Julius.

The five of them stepped out of the warp and into a brown cavern.
"Where are we?" Rick asked, looking around.
"The center of Metroid." Kevin answered. "I've been here before."
Rick nodded. "Yeah, that time Mother Brain fooled you into thinking you were going home."
"It's changed a little, though." Kevin added. "I guess Mother Brain's been doing some remodeling."
"Where to?" Romeo asked.
Kevin looked around a bit. There were two possible directions to choose from.
"Right."
So, the five friends began going through the deadly corridors deep in the center of Metroid, which was currently flying high in the air, about ten miles from the Palace of Power.

It was a dangerous journey. Each of them literally saved each others' lives a few times. They had to blast through doors, jump onto platforms over lakes of lava, fight dragons, and shoot those pesky Metroids. After an hour, however, they made it to their goal.
"This is Mother Brain's lair, all right!" Kevin said.
A grenade rolled down onto the floor. Kevin pulled the pin and dropped it.
He turned and ran. "Back, guys!"
All of them ran and turned a corner. They watched as the grenade blasted a huge hole in the door.
"Duh, awesome!" Julius exclaimed.
"Let's go." Kevin said.
They turned the corner and ran through the destroyed door.
Mother Brain, King Hippo, and the Eggplant Wizard were in the lair at the time.
"Captain N!" Mother Brain yelled. "How did you get in here! My defenses should've stopped you!"
Kevin smiled. "I got by with a little help from my friends."
Mike stepped forward, standing to Kevin's right.
"The android?" Mother Brain asked, surprised. "You fixed it?"
"Guess again, Lame Brain!" Mike said, smiling. "I'm the real Mike Vincent, and I'm here to kick your - "
Kevin held up his right hand. "Uh, Mike, not now."
Rick stepped forward and stood to Kevin's left. "And you remember us, right?"
Julius came and stood to Rick's left, and Romeo stood to Mike's right.
"Captain Nitwit's friends!" Mother Brain said.
Rick smiled. "Aw, you remember us!"
Kevin placed his hands on his hips. "We're the super-cool, ultra-special, defeat-Mother-Brain Videoland Swat Team!" He chuckled. "Or something."
Mother Brain rolled her eyes and looked at her servants. "Destroy them quickly! They're getting on my nerves!"
"Yes, m' main brain!" King Hippo stepped forward. "All right, Julius, you and me, one-on-one!"
Julius grinned. He handed his rifle to Rick and stepped forward. "Duh, my pleasure!"
King Hippo and Julius started boxing.
"Come on, Eggy, let's see what ya got!" Romeo said, stepping forward.
Eggy stepped forward. "With veggie pleasure!"
Eggy started firing vegetables at Romeo, but Romeo zapped them all with his rifle.
Kevin looked at Mike and Rick. "Looks like it's us three!"
"We'll distract her." Rick said. "You do your leapin' thang!"
Kevin gave him a thumbs-up, and Rick handed Kevin Julius' rifle.
The three of them looked at Mother Brain.
"All right, Ms. Ugly, this is for trying to send us into the Earthquake Zone!" Rick yelled.
He and Mike began firing at Mother Brain's glass jar.
The shots bounced off, of course. They expected this. It would keep Mother Brain distracted for a while, though.
"Hey! Stop that, you teenage twirps!"
"I'm twenty!" Rick yelled.
"Whatever!" Mother Brain yelled. "Stop it! It's annoying!"
"Who asked you, Bird Brain?!" Mike asked.
"What?!" Mother Brain's tentacles came out of her jar and went toward the three of them.
"Now, Kev!" Rick yelled.
Kevin used his Power Pad to jump. He went up, then landed right on top of Mother Brain.
"Hey! Get off of me, Captain Nuts!" Mother Brain yelled. She wrapped her tentacles around Rick and Mike and started squeezing them.
They struggled to get loose, but they couldn't. Even King Hippo, Julius, Romeo, and the Eggplant Wizard stopped fighting to watch this.
As Kevin watched his friends being squeezed, he was suddenly filled with rage. He was feeling more anger now than he had ever known in the past eighteen years of his life. He wanted to destroy this creature more than anything else in the universe.
Kevin took Julius' laser rifle in both of his hands, holding the opposite end, and began to strike the butt against Mother Brain's glass jar.
"Hey, what are you doing?!" Mother Brain yelled.
"This is for all the times you've tried to defeat us!" Kevin yelled. "For destroying that android of Mike! For sending us into the Warp Zone To Oblivion! For kidnapping my friends! - "
"Stop it!!!"
"For kidnapping Lana's father, King Charles of Videoland! For killing all those warriors Lana sent to rescue him! You remember them?! You remember their faces when you cut off their heads?!!!"
The laser rifle came down harder and harder.
"I'll kill your friends if you continue this!" Mother Brain warned, squeezing Rick and Mike harder still.
"No more!" Kevin yelled. "Videoland won't be terrorized by you anymore!"
There were noticeable cracks on the top of Mother Brain's jar.
Mother Brain heard the cracks. "No, don't! You'll destroy my protective glass jar! Stop!!!"
"No way!" Kevin yelled. He swung with all his might every time. "I'm shutting you down!!! I'm turning you off!!! Game over!!!"
He had made a pretty big hole on the top of the jar by now. Just a little bit more to go.
Mike and Rick, despite having their arms pinned to their sides, had managed to point their Zapper and laser rifle up at Mother Brain. They fired near the top.
The combined laser beams knocked off enough glass. Mother Brain's life fluid began pouring out. It splashed against the walls of the chamber. Soon, everyone was waist-deep in it.
Mother Brain had released her grips on Rick and Mike. After taking a few deep breaths, they fired as quickly as they could at the evil Metroid Queen.
Kevin had managed to remain balanced on top of Mother Brain, despite her shaking and turning. He drew his Zapper and pointed it through the hole in Mother Brain's jar.
Rick and Mike ran out of power. Romeo used what little power he had left in his rifle against Mother Brain.
All eyes were on Kevin.
And then, in that particular moment in time, Kevin Keene, an eighteen-year-old kid who had been brought to Videoland nearly three years before, and who still couldn't clean up his room, pressed the trigger on his Zapper and fired a single blast at Mother Brain. In the moment following, Mother Brain shrieked in terror. The glass jar was completely destroyed, spilling out the rest of the fluid, and spilling Kevin onto the floor.
Captain N: The Game Master stood up and watched.
Mother Brain let out one final loud shriek: "Foooooo!!!!!!!" Then she died.
Kevin Keene had fulfilled his destiny.
The others joined him, standing there and looking at the mess.
Rick placed his right hand on Kevin's right shoulder. "Great job, Kev."
"Hey, you guys helped me!" Kevin said, smiling.
"Hey, uh, thanks, Captain N!" King Hippo said, smiling.
"Yeah, thanks!" Eggy added.
Kevin laughed. "No problem!"
"We don't have to take her orders anymore!" Eggy said.
"Now go pack your stuff and get outta here. We're gonna blow this place up soon!"
Hippo and Eggy nodded, then went to their room.

"So, what are you two gonna do now?" Kevin asked them after they had packed.
"Well, I'm goin' back to Punch-Out to box." King Hippo said. "I love a good fight!"
"And I'm going back to Mount Icarus!" Eggplant Wizard said. "I hope my wife and two little eggplants are still there!"
Kevin nodded. "Good luck, guys!"
"Hey, you'll see us every once-in-a-while!" King Hippo said, laughing.
"Yeah," Eggy added, laughing also, "maybe sooner than you think!"
Kevin grinned. "Looking forward to it!"
Hippo and Eggy nodded, then they each went through a different warp.
"All right," Kevin said, facing the others, "let's do it!"
They nodded, then went to work. First, they copied all of the information that the N Team wasn't able to get last time onto chips. Then, they rigged a self-destruct sequence. It was pretty easy, actually. They had it counting down within a few minutes.
"All right, let's go." Rick said.
"Wait." Kevin said.
He went over and pulled the key out of the ignition. Attached to it was Mother Brain's lucky rabbit's foot.
"Okay, now we can go."
So, they warped back to the Palace, and Metroid blew up.

Lana was waiting in the corridor. The warp opened, and the five N Team members came out.
Lana ran to them, relieved. "You made it!"
She ran up to Kevin, who caught her, and the two of them hugged.
"Mother Brain?" Lana asked.
"Gone!" Kevin said happily. "It was real messy! You would've loved it, Lana!"
"Aw, I wish I could've been there!" she said.
"Well, I brought you a souvenir!" He held up the key with the rabbit's foot in his right hand.
Lana smiled and took it in her left hand. "Thanks." She kissed him on the lips.
They let go of each other.
"I thank you all! You have defeated Videoland's deadliest enemy!" Lana said to everyone. "Let's have a party!"

It was 10:30 PM. Everyone in the Palace was asleep except for Anubis. He tossed and turned in bed while trying to decide a position that would allow him to sleep enough to be fully awake in the morning.
A phone started ringing.
Anubis sat up in bed. He didn't know phones were used in the Palace.
He grabbed his 9mm off the nightstand and got out of bed. He proceeded to his closet, the place where the ringing was coming from.
He opened the closet door and found that the ringing was coming from his duffel bag.
He unzipped it and pulled out his cellular phone.
He pressed a button. "Uh, hello?"
"You know who this is."
"Osiris. What causes you to call me so early in the morning?"
"You wanted a chance to take me on. Well, here it is." Osiris said. "Meet me in the valley in Megaland, tonight at midnight."
"Fine. Hey, how'd you call me? Does the Palace have a phone number?"
"Yeah, 867-5309. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?"
"Sheesh." Anubis said. "Well, I'll be there. You better be alone!"
"You'll just have to trust me." Osiris snickered.
Anubis pressed a button to hang up.

Anubis cleaned up his room, made his bed, took his bag, and set out to begin his journey. He was on his way to the warp to Megaland.
Kevin grabbed his shoulder. "Where are you going, Anubis?"
Anubis, startled, turned fast and faced the Game Master. Kevin had on the nice blue pajamas Lana had given him.
"There's something I must do. Good-bye, my friend." He turned to leave.
Kevin stopped him. "Whoa, hey, hold on there!" Anubis turned to face him again. "You're talking like you're not coming back!"
"What do you mean 'good-bye'?" Princess Lana walked up to them, wearing her pink nightgown.
"Isn't anyone asleep?!" Anubis asked.
"The surveillance camera set off alarms in our rooms." Kevin said.
"What's this all about?" Lana asked.
"Your Highness, I must go now. My time has come."
"But we need your help here." Lana said. "We need every available person we can get. We need you."
"Look, this is something that will help you. It is my belief that you will benefit from what I'm about to do."
Anubis walked past them and to the warp.
He pulled open the round door and went through.

Anubis found himself in the valley in Megaland. He sat down on the grass and loaded his shotgun. Then he listened to music while he waited. "YMCA! It's fun to stay at the YMCA-A!"

Saturday, July 4, 1992, 12:00 AM

At precisely midnight, Osiris joined his brother. "Hello, 'Nubis."
Anubis stood up in a hurry, turned around, and aimed his shotgun directly at Osiris, who was standing on the top of the slope. "Oh, so it wasn't a dream!"
"You got it, little brother!" Osiris answered, without even lifting his rifle. "You can still join us! I see how well you handle yourself in intense situations. Not exactly the best, but with my training, you could become one of the most powerful people in this dimension!"
"Oh, shut up, Osiris." Anubis halted him. "You'd better draw your weapon, because I'm gonna open a hole in your chest the size of your mouth in about ten seconds!"
"I see! Well, then," He ran down the slope with his rifle aimed at his little brother, "good-bye, dear brother!!!"
Anubis stood ready with his shotgun in his left hand.
Osiris skidded to a halt and held up his right hand. "Wait!!!" he cried, suddenly remembering something.
"What?"
Osiris pulled a portable CD player out of his back pocket. "We need some battle music!" He set the CD player on the ground. "I borrowed this from Dr. Wily. He won't miss it. I'll say this for Videoland: It's got great technology!"
"Shut up and put the music on." Anubis said impatiently.
"Okay, okay!" Osiris turned it on, turned the volume all the way up, selected a track, and fast-forwarded a bit.
'Gimme The Prize' came on, echoing in the valley, as the two brothers battled, shooting and dodging.
Meanwhile, on the top of the slope, the N Team had just arrived.
"Is that...music?" Lana asked.

Give me your kings!
Let me squeeze them in my hands!
Your puny princes,
Your so-called leaders of your land!
I'll eat them whole before I'm done.
The battle's fought, and the Game is won.
I am the one, the only one,
I am the god of kingdom come!
Gimme the Prize!
Just gimme the Prize!

"I didn't know Queen was performing in Megaland!" Kevin said. "I would've gotten us tickets!"
Lana looked down into the valley. She pointed with her left hand. "Look!"
The others looked down there and saw Anubis and Osiris fighting.
On the top of the opposite slope, Guts Man was holding a boulder, ready to kill Anubis when Osiris moved.
Osiris thrust a knife into Anubis' left shoulder.
Anubis screamed in pain as he fell to the ground, clutching the knife in his arm. He noticed that the music stopped.
"Tsk, tsk, 'Nubis. We could've been a team. Ah, well, another day, another good guy!" Osiris laughed at his brother, who was looking at him, crying.
Blood poured from Anubis' wound.
Anubis looked up at his brother. "Osiris,...please..."
"I have something to say: It's better to burn out than to fade away! Now you die!"
Osiris walked away from his injured brother. Guts Man hurled the boulder at Anubis, who was now watching and awaiting his fate.
Anubis suddenly felt himself lifted off the ground. At the same time, he saw the boulder and Guts Man obliterated by two different laser beams.
"Boy, Anubicus, you sure can get into some troublis maximus!"
"Wha-" Anubis asked, a little confused and seriously injured.
"Yo, dude!" Kevin shouted as Kid brought him up to the top of the slope.
"You didn't think we'd let you go out on a mega suicide mission alone, did you, Anubis?" Mega Man asked with a smile.
"How did this happen?!" Princess Lana asked, kneeling by Anubis.
"Osiris...showed up. I should've known he'd be too...powerful."
"Just hold still. This is really going to hurt." Lana said truthfully.
Anubis closed his eyes tight and clenched the fist on his good arm. The Princess gave a yank.
Anubis screamed in pain again as the blade was removed from his arm.
"Told ya." Lana said, smiling.
Anubis kept his eyes closed for a few seconds. When he opened them, they had a look of evil.
Lana shrugged, still smiling. She threw the knife into the valley.
"Give me your weapon." Anubis demanded.
"What?" Lana asked. "Why?" It was a stupid question. She knew why.
"So I can kill Osiris."
"Will you listen to yourself?" Lana asked, disgusted. "Anubis, - "
"Please," Anubis interrupted, "no lectures on how he's my own brother, my own flesh and blood, and how I shouldn't - "
"I don't care who he is! I care what he is!" Lana said. "He's a human being, just like you!"
"He's not human, he's evil itself!" Anubis countered. "He killed Dorian, and now I must avenge my brother's death!"
"Listen," Lana argued, "it's one thing if he killed Dorian, you were with them at the time, and you killed him out of panic. But you're thinking of killing your brother, after chasing him all this time, when you should've calm down by now and left the matter to the authorities on your world. You, Anubis Runes, are driven by madness, and you're out for vengeance. That's murder."
"Oh, shut up!" Anubis made his right hand into a fist and punched Lana in the face, then grabbed her Zapper and quickly ran back down the slope.
Osiris was standing in the valley, his back to his brother.
"I've found you!" Anubis yelled, aiming the Zapper.
Osiris spun around fast. "What?! How?!" he asked frantically.
Anubis walked towards him, still pointing the Zapper. "And he said I will strike down upon them with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers!" He pressed the PLAY button on the CD player, and the song resumed.
Anubis decked Osiris right in the side of the face with the hand he was holding the Zapper in.
Osiris picked himself off the ground and proceeded to swing at Anubis.
Anubis backed up a little bit to evade, then countered with another face punch.
Osiris pointed his rifle at Anubis.
Anubis saw this and dodged the first shot.
Osiris cocked and tried to aim again. Anubis already had Lana's Zapper to Osiris' head, though.
"So, this is how it ends? You pulling the trigger on your own brother? Me to die at the hands of a coward. Pathetic!"
"Do you ever shut up? Do you have any idea how annoying it is to hear you yammer about? Just...shut...up!!!"
Osiris fell silent.
The N Team came running down the slope.
"Well, that's it, dude." Anubis said. "Game over! You lose!"
"Anubis, don't!!!" Lana begged, running forward, blood trickling from her nose.
Anubis didn't listen. He fired at his brother.
Lana lowered her head and closed her eyes. She saw the shooting, though.
Osiris fell to the ground on his back. He looked up at his brother one last time. "Ow." Then he died.
Anubis stared long and hard at the corpse. "Tonight you sleep in Hell!"
Suddenly, Anubis knew someone was standing to his right. He looked. Lana was holding out her left hand, her facial expression calm yet sad and angry.
Anubis laid the Zapper in its rightful owner's hand. When Lana's gaze got too much for him to bear, he looked away.

They all returned to the Palace of Power, and Anubis went to Dr. Right to have his shoulder examined.
"Well, it's gonna be a few weeks before you can use it again, but other than that, you're fine."
"Thanks, Doc." Anubis answered, then got up and went to his room.

"I don't like this, Kevin." Lana said, shaking her head.
The two of them were standing by a window, with Kevin on Lana's right, looking out at the army of approaching robots. They were still coming by the multitude.
Kevin sighed. "Yeah. We may have superior weapons, but Wily has a bigger army!"
It had been another long day of fighting. Wily had more robots than they had expected, and they were causing some serious damage to the Palace. Mike was trying his best to wipe the robots out before they reached the Palace, but there were just too many of them.
"It's ironic, you know." Kevin continued.
Lana looked at him. "How so?"
Kevin looked at her. "Well, you see, today is the Fourth of July. On my world, 216 years ago today, the colonists in the land I live in declared its independence from Great Britain. Independence Day is a national holiday."
Lana nodded, understanding.
Kevin smiled, looking out the window again. "Me and my parents would set off fireworks on this night every year starting at 7 PM."
Lana looked back out the window. "Well, I guess we're not as lucky as the colonists."
Just then, Link and Zelda walked into the room.
"Bad, huh?" Link asked.
Kevin and Lana turned around to face their friends, then nodded.
"Very." Lana said. "I don't know how much longer we can hold out."
"We need some kind of an advantage." Zelda said.
"We have that." Kevin said. "The weapons. We can blast everything that Wily sends at us. But each wave of robots always causes damage."
"So what do you think?" Link asked.
"I think if we've only seen half of what Wily's got," Kevin said to all of them, "we're gonna be wiped out before sunrise."

Kevin and Lana were walking down another corridor about a half-hour later, with Kevin on Lana's right.
They walked into the Throne room. The rest of the N Team, Link, Zelda, Lyle, Dr. Right, Prince Plenty, Major Domo, and Anubis were gathered there.
Kid Icarus flew up to Lana and handed her an electronic pad. "Your Highnicus, here's the death toll so far." he said in despair.
Lana read the list: "Mount Icarus: 118. Megaland: 227. - "
"Castlevania: 336." Simon interrupted.
Lana looked up at him momentarily, then looked back down at the list and resumed reading: "Hyrule: 442. Dragon's Den: 551. Kongoland: 660. - "
"The entire village population was 662." Prince Plenty pointed out. "660 plus Major Domo and myself."
"Thank you." Lana said, not looking away from the list. "Bayouland - "
Rick snatched the pad away from her. "All right, that's enough."
Lana looked around at all of them. "Are all of you trying to make a point?"
There was a moment of silence.
"We..." Kid Icarus began.
Lana faced him. "Yes, Kid Icarus. What?"
The archer couldn't bring himself to say it.
"Entire group believes you are behaving irrationally." Gameboy said, speaking for everyone except Lana.
"Oh." Lana said. "Is this true?" She looked at everyone in turn as they nodded sadly. Finally, she faced her boyfriend. "Kevin?"
Kevin was still for a moment, then nodded.
"I see." Lana said. She looked at them all. "I am trying my best to defend the Palace and keep the heart of Videoland strong! That is the primary duty of a ruler!"
"Lana, our point is that we shouldn't be trying to defend the Palace." Kevin said. "We should be trying to get Wily where it hurts, wipe out a lot of his forces at once, and go save the other video worlds."
"And leave the Palace undefended?" Lana asked. "Kevin, the security and weapons systems alone can't stop Wily's forces! We can barely keep them back even though we are here!"
"Lana, why haven't you done it?" Kevin asked.
"Done what?" Lana asked.
"You know what." Mega Man said.
Lana looked at him. "No, I don't."
"Yes, you do." Kevin said.
Lana looked at him.
"You just don't wanna do it!"
Then, suddenly, she realized what he was saying. The expression on her face turned from confusion to anger. "No!"
"If you do, it'll wipe out all of Wily's army at once!" Simon pointed out to her.
"No!" Lana yelled again. She ran to a lift, got on, and it rose.
"Lana!" Kevin called after her, then looked at everyone else and sighed.
He ran over to another lift, got on, and it rose.

Lana was standing in her room, weeping, when Kevin opened the doors and walked in. She had her back to him.
"Lana?"
"Get out." Lana said, not looking at him.
"Lana, do it."
She spun around. "No, I won't!"
"Why not?!" Kevin asked.
"Because I refuse to give up and run away like this! This is my home, Kevin! I was born here! I grew up here! I've spent the past eighteen years of my life here! And I refuse to destroy my home!" She walked towards him, lowering her voice, but no less angry. She shook her head. "Don't you ever bring this up again."
"Lana, it's just a building."
"Don't say that!" she yelled. "It's my home! I won't sacrifice it!"
"You mean you won't do what's best for Videoland!" Kevin said. "Some kind of ruler you are!"
Lana's anger suddenly flared up to an all-time high. She made a fist with her left hand and punched Kevin in the face.
Kevin lost his balance. When he regained it, he looked at Lana in shock.
Lana just stood there, staring at him, furious.
Kevin wiped his nose with the back of his right hand, looked at the blood for a while. Then he looked up at Lana. "Lana, you must."
"Kevin, we're talking about a nuclear meltdown! It will kill everyone on this world!"
"We'll evacuate everyone!" Kevin insisted. "We'll even take everything from the Palace and save it! But we must do this!"
"Why?!"
"The weapons!" Kevin told her. "Lana, those new systems Dr. Right gave us are revolutionary! They're the most advanced instruments of destruction that Videoland has ever seen! If Dr. Wily get his hands on them, all of Videoland will be doomed, and the deaths will rise that much more quickly!"
"Then we'll remove the systems and destroy them!" Lana insisted. "But we're not destroying the Palace!"
"Lana, we can't remove the systems! It'll take way too long! By then, it'll be too late!"
Lana thought about this for a moment, then sighed. "But this world will be poisoned. No one will be able to live here."
Kevin placed his hands on Lana's shoulders. "Lana, let me put it to you this way: Which would you rather do: make ten million people homeless, or be responsible for the deaths of quadrillions of people?"
The Princess thought about that for a moment, then nodded. "You're right, Kevin." She smiled. "Maybe this will be our Independence Day, also! Let's make some fireworks."
Kevin smiled, then he put his right hand around her, and the two of them walked out of the room.

Kevin and Lana walked back into the Throne room. Everyone else was still waiting there.
Lana looked at all of them. She took a deep breath. "Prepare to evacuate to Palace."
Everyone smiled at her.
"Pack all of your things." Lana instructed. "Everything you have that's here." She looked at Simon with a smile. "Your backpack will come in real handy for this, Simon!"
Simon smiled and took a bow. "I am here to serve, Your Decisiveness."
Lana turned to Dr. Right. "Dr. Right, we need to transfer all of the information from the Palace's computer somewhere."
Dr. Right smiled. "I'll start putting everything on chips right away."
"Every last byte."
Dr. Right nodded and walked off.
Kevin laughed. "Man, that's gonna take a lot of chips!"
"All right," Lana said, "everyone go through every room in the Palace. Whatever isn't bolted, nailed, or screwed, I wanna take with us!"
Kevin, Mike, Rick, Stacey, Romeo, Julius, and Anubis burst out laughing.
"I'll go to the Communications room and send out a planet-wide evacuation message." Lana said. She turned to Mega Man. "Mega Man, how long do you estimate until all of Dr. Wily's forces are through the warp from Megaland?"
"About two hours, Your Highness."
Lana nodded. "All right. He won't begin his final attack until then, so we don't have to worry about any more robots reaching the Palace for the moment. I'll be back soon."
Then she left, with Kevin walking with her on her right.

Simon and the others searched the Palace from top to bottom, checking every room, closet, and other storage spaces. They took everything that they could and placed it all in Simon's backpack. Meanwhile, Dr. Right copied all the data in the Palace's computer onto chips and stored them in Simon's backpack as well.
While all of this was going on, Kevin and Lana walked into the Communications room.
Lana picked up the microphone in her left hand and set the equipment to transmit an emergency message planet-wide.
"What if Dr. Wily receives this transmission and finds out what we're doing?" Kevin asked. "He might pull all of his forces back to Megaland."
"I'm using Dr. Right's personal emergency frequency." Lana told him as she set the controls. "Only he and I know it." She clicked on the mic.
Kevin nodded.
Lana took another deep breath and released it. "This is Princess Lana of Videoland. As you all must know by now, Dr. Wily is trying to take over the Palace. I won't let him. I have decided to destroy the Palace of Power - and everything else on this world along with it. This is the only way we can defeat Wily's forces. We at the Palace are preparing to evacuate. I want all of you to do the same." She chuckled. "Unless you wanna get fried - extra-crispy! I will set the timer to count down one minute at 6:59 PM. You have until 7 PM, a little under two hours from now, to make it off this world. Find a nice world to live on. We will, too. End message." She clicked the microphone off and set it down.
The two of them left the room.

They all met in the corridor outside Lana's bedroom after they were done packing.
Lana checked her watch, then looked at all of them. "We have an hour left until seven. I have only a few more things left to do here." She smiled at them. "See you all in Megaland."
Everyone smiled.
Lana opened a round door with a warp behind it. Simon, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, Duke, Gameboy, Rick, Romeo, Julius, Link, Zelda, Lyle, Dr. Right, Prince Plenty, Major Domo, and Anubis went through the warp, and then Lana closed the door.
She turned to face Kevin, Mike, and Stacey. "Here for the big moment?" she asked with a grin.
The three of them nodded.
"Okay, follow me." She led them down another corridor.

"The first thing we have to do is hook up the fusion reactor's control computers to this remote control." Lana said, holding up a rectangular remote with a large red button in the center and a counter on the top. "We have to have the computers begin to shut down when I press this button."
"Right." Kevin said, taking the remote control from her.
"What's next?" Mike asked.
"Well, while Kevin works on that, I'll record a little message for Dr. Wily." She said with a grin.
"Like, what can we do?" Stacey asked.
"Go to the Warp Wagon and wait for us."
Mike and Stacey nodded, and then turned and began to walk away.
"And pick a cool CD." Lana added with a smile.
Mike and Stacey stopped and turned around.
Stacey smiled. "Gotcha."

A while later, all of the power was out in the Palace. The only light was the sun shining through the windows.
The Palace was eerily quiet. The only sounds were the echoing footfalls of Captain N: The Game Master and Princess Lana, Ruler of Videoland.
They walked slowly, silently, hand in hand.
Lana looked at the remote control she held in her left hand momentarily, then sighed and dropped her arm to her side.
They stopped and looked around the barren, empty corridor for a while.
Kevin looked at Lana. "I've spent three wonderful years here."
Lana looked at him. "What three years? It won't be three years for two months, five days."
The two of them laughed. True, Kevin came to Videoland on September 9, 1989.
Kevin sighed. "I'm sure gonna miss this place. It's become home to me."
"Me, too." Lana said. "But then again, it always has been."
Kevin nodded.
Lana looked at her watch. "We better get to the Warp Wagon."

"So, everything ready?" Mike asked when Kevin and Lana walked into the room housing the Warp Wagon.
Mike and Stacey were sitting in the back seat.
"All set up!" Lana said cheerfully.
She hopped into the passenger side, and Kevin into the flyer side.
Mike was sitting behind Kevin, and Stacey was sitting behind Lana.
Just then, they heard the distant but unmistakable sound of a door being destroyed. The front door.
"Wily's forces are here!" Kevin said.
"Lana, you got everything ready?" Mike asked.
"Yep." She held up the remote in her left hand. "When I press this button at 6:59 PM, the fusion reactor's control computers will slowly begin to shut down. The reactor's temperature will slowly rise. After one minute, the reactor will explode, and the reaction will spread outwards, destroying the Palace, Wily's forces, and everything on the planet."
"Sounds like a plan." Mike commented.
Lana turned around in her seat. "Stacey, you pick a cool CD?"
"Like, a totally awesome CD!" Stacey replied with a smile. "Steppenwolf!"
"Oh, yeah!" Kevin said with a grin as he started up the Warp Wagon.
They could now hear the robots running down the corridors.
Lana looked at her watch. "Open the warp."
Mike reached over to a panel on the wall and pressed a button. A swirling blue warp opened in front of and slightly above them.
"Buckle up." Kevin told them.
Lana, Mike, and Stacey did so. Then Kevin buckled up as well.
Kevin turned on the CD player that they recently installed in the Warp Wagon and selected a track. He turned the volume way up.
Lana stared intently at her watch. When it read 6:58 PM, she looked at Kevin. "Now!"
"Let the fireworks begin!" Mike said happily.
"Let's Rock and Roll!" Kevin said, and pressed the PLAY button.
The Warp Wagon took off with a jolt. At the same time, Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride' started playing:

I like to dream,
Yes, yes, right between the sound machine.
On a cloud of sound I drift in the night.
Every place she goes is right.
Flies far, flies near,
To the stars away from here.

Well, you don't know what
We can find.
Why don't you come with me, little girl,
On a magic carpet ride?

Well, you don't know what
We can see.
Why don't you tell your dreams to me?
Fantasy will set you free.

Close your eyes, girl.
Look inside, girl.
Let the sound take you away.

They were through the warp and zooming upwards, away from the Palace.
Lana checked her watch. It read 06:58:52. She thought one last time of her home. When her watch read 06:59:00, she pressed the button.

One copy of every Robot Master stormed the Control room. The clock below the viewscreen was counting down.
Dr. Wily was sitting in his lab deep inside Skull Castle. He set up to transmit a message to the Control room.
Wily's face appeared on the screen in the Control room. "Well, what's the status over there?" he asked.
Guts Man looked at Wily. "They're gone."
"Gone?" Wily asked, surprised.
"Yeah, gone. The only thing happening is a clock counting down."
"Clock...counting down?" Wily didn't like the sound of this.
When the time remaining was down to 20 seconds, a prerecorded message replaced Dr. Wily on the Control room viewscreen. The message also appeared on Dr. Wily's monitor.
Lana was standing there, smiling. "This is Princess Lana. Wily, if you're watching this, then you should realize something: you've lost, dude!" As an afterthought, she flicked him off with her left hand.
Suddenly, Dr. Wily realized what was happening. "Get out!!! Get out!!!"
The clock reached 0 seconds. At that moment, the fusion reactor exploded.
The entire Control room was gone a few seconds later, and along with it, all the Robot Masters. The bedrooms, the Throne room, the Conference room, the Communications room, the kitchen, the living room, the dining room, the basketball court, and every other room was destroyed seconds after that.
The entire Palace soon blew up, sending scraps of metal, from both the building and the robots, in all directions.
The glow could be seen by the foursome in the Warp Wagon, flying high in the sky. It was spectacular. Better than any fireworks on Earth.
"Whoooooooo!!!!!!!!!! Yes!!!" Mike yelled. "Happy Fourth of July!"
Kevin and Stacey also cheered.
Lana, however, wasn't really in the mood. "What have I done?"
"What you had to do." Kevin answered her. "Turned death into a fighting chance to live."

Kevin set the Warp Wagon down in front of Dr. Right's laboratory, behind Mike and Stacey's convertibles and Rick's truck. He turned it off, and they all unbuckled their seatbelts.
The four of them got out of the Warp Wagon.
The rest of the N Team, Link, Zelda, Lyle, Dr. Right, Prince Plenty, Major Domo, and Anubis were standing on the steps in front of the lab.
"Welcome to Megaland!" Dr. Right greeted with a smile and his arms open wide.
"Thank you, Dr. Right." Lana said with a smile. She looked around. "Our new home."
There was silence for a moment.
"So," Kevin said finally, "I guess we better begin making plans to build our new house, huh?"
"Of course." Dr. Right said. "I'll be inside. Come in when you're ready."
Kevin nodded, and the scientist went back into the building.
"Well," Anubis said, "I think I better get back home."
"Well, it was nice havin' ya here!" Kevin said insincerely, and they shook hands.
"Thanks." Anubis said.
Everyone else followed in turn. Finally, Anubis faced Lana.
"Well,...good-bye." Anubis said, offering her his left hand.
"Yeah, whatever. Get lost." Lana said coldly.
Anubis looked hurt. "Listen, I know you hate me for what I did, but it was blood for blood. Vendetta, you know?"
"I've been studying your world's history." Lana said. "It's not worth it, Anubis. Look at all the death it's caused."
"Yeah, well, I hope we can be friends."
"I can't be friends with a murderer." Lana said, then offered her left hand and forced herself to say "But good luck."
Anubis smiled and shook it. "You, too."
Lana nodded.
Anubis walked a few feet away and took his warp zone opener out of his duffel bag. Everyone watched as Anubis opened the warp. He turned to them and waved. They waved back, then he turned towards the warp and walked through. A few seconds later, it closed.
Dr. Right walked outside. "Captain N."
Kevin turned to face him. "Yeah, Doc?"
"I...need to see you inside. There's something I have to show you."
Kevin could tell the scientist was troubled by something. He looked at the others. "I'll be back soon. Don't start celebrating without me."
"You have our word!" Lana said with a smile.
Kevin walked into the lab with Dr. Right.
"Listen, guys, I'm gonna go take a walk around. Clear my head, you know?"
The others nodded.
Lana walked away.

Princess Lana was sitting near the edge of a lake near a forest. She was throwing small stones into the water and watching the water spread out from the point where the stones landed. It was twilight.
It was going to take her some time to get used to living in Megaland, but she had a lot of friends here to help her, and she felt better knowing that she wouldn't be going through it all alone. All of the others, except for Mega Man and Kevin's friends from Earth, would have to adjust, too.
She heard footsteps behind her. She turned her head to see who it was.
"Kevin." Lana said, smiling. She was looking forward to doing some making out until the sun set.
Then she saw the way he was looking at her. Kevin's face was ghastly pale and had mixed expressions of fright and shock on it.
"Kevin?" Lana asked worriedly, throwing her last stone into the lake and standing up. "Kevin, what's wrong?"
Kevin didn't say anything. He just walked towards her slowly.
"Kevin?"
Kevin stopped when he was close to her. There was a gentle breeze blowing that evening. Kevin's hair was moving by it.
Lana now saw him up-close. The look on his face was unmistakably horror.
"Kevin, talk to me."
After a moment's hesitation, he spoke, but weakly, as if he had received a great shock: "Doctor...Right asked me to...see something."
Lana nodded, inviting him to continue.
"It was a...computer screen...displaying a lot of stuff that I - I didn't understand. But he,...he explained it to me."
Lana couldn't understand how information on a computer screen could evoke such a reaction from Kevin. "What did it say?" she asked, feeling uneasy.
"I...was...trying to decide whether or not to tell you this."
"Whether or not?" Lana asked. "Kevin, we tell each other everything."
Kevin nodded slowly. "Yes, yes we do."
"Then tell me!"
Kevin just looked at her for a few seconds, then pulled her close to him and hugged her tight, sobbing on her right shoulder. "I'm so...sorry!!!"
Now Lana was panicking. She pushed Kevin away from her. "Kevin, what did the computer screen say?!"
Kevin swallowed. "Dr. Wily was jamming all the signals on the planet in the three hours before you destroyed the Palace."
"Meaning?"
"Meaning no electronic messages could be transmitted during that time."
Lana shook her head. "I still don't understand."
"Lana," Kevin began nervously, paused, then resumed, "how many electronic messages did you send in the three hours before destruction?"
Lana shook her head. "None. Just the evacuation alert - " She broke off as she realized with sudden horror what Kevin didn't want to tell her.
Kevin shuddered when Lana stopped talking.
"No!" she yelled.
Kevin shut his eyes. He didn't want to see her.
Lana gripped Kevin's shoulders with her hands and shook him hard. "No!!!"

TO BE CONTINUED...

Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999 by Mark Moore and Nicholas Pinto