September 4, 1998...
At News World Public School...
"Keisha!! Wait up!" cried a little red-haired girl, following Keisha Davenport out of the school. Afternoon recess had just begun, and Keisha was leaving the building again. She had on a white blouse and a cute little red skirt, with white sneakers and white socks. Her hair was done up in a bun. "Wait for me!!" cried the redhead in a matching outfit. Keisha stopped and turned to the girl.
"What is it, Lonnie?" she asked. "I just wanna go talk to the new boy from Tetris. It's not like I'm gonna die!"
"Oh. Sorry," Lonnie apologized. "But I wanna talk to him, too. Oh, please, please, please, can I go with you?"
"All right, come with me, then." The girls proceeded to a blond boy. He had square-ahaped hair, but the rest of him was round. He had on a green sweater and blue jeans from News World. He was leaning on a basketball stand with a net. "Hi, I'm Keisha, and this is my friend Lonnie."
"Hi," said the boy. "My name is Luke."
"So what brings you to this school?" asked Lonnie.
"My mom," answered Luke. "She's got a new job here, so I gotta move, since I live with her."
"What about your dad?" asked Keisha.
"Gone. Who knows where. I haven't heard from him since the divorce." Luke then asked, "Where do you come from, Keisha? I heard that you're just as new as I am."
"I come from another world. A place where everyone here is a video game character, and all the events that happen here are just games. I was pulled from my world into here because I have to save Videoland from evil, and the Defenders are here to help me and protect the Queen."
"So you must be the newest Captain N! I heard about you, but I, well, thought that you would be older."
"Well, how are you enjoying this school?"
"It's very fun. Miss Jarowick's a really nice teacher." Then the bell rang.
"I gotta go," said Luke, "Mr. Stravinsky's waiting."
"Who's he?" asked Lonnie.
"My teacher." Then Keisha and Lonnie remembered. Mr. Stravinsky teaches the fifth grade.
"You're in the fifth grade?" Keisha gasped. I'm talking to a fifth grader! she thought.
"Yeah, and you must be in the third grade, right?"
"Yes...." How does he know? "How do you know that?"
"Duh. It's on the teacher's list. Miss Jarowick teaches the third grade and Mr. Stravinsky teaches the fifth grade." Then, "Lonnie, you're in the first grade, so you must have Mrs. Steepleman as your teacher."
"Wow, he knows everything," she whisphered, awed. Then the bell rang again. The kids' respective teachers came to them.
"Mr. DeLeo!" boomed Mr. Stravinsky, a strapping young blond man in a red and white jacket with a letter "N" on the front and his last name on the back. He wore a white shirt and black pants under the jacket, with a red tie, black socks, black belt and black loafers. "You get into class this instant!!"
"Yes, Mr. Stravinsky!" hollered Luke as he dashed through a blue set of double doors, yelling "See you at the park tomorrow!!" to Keisha and Lonnie.
"The same for you, young lady!" bellowed Mrs. Steepleman, in a white blouse and long flower skirt, almost covering her black platform shoes. She had her brown hair done in a bun, grandma-style, and wore glasses. She looked 60 years old. She grabbed Lonnie's arm and pulled her through the doors.
"Well, Keisha, it's time for us to go in before school's out. You don't want to keep your classmates waiting," said Miss Jarowick. She looked about 25 years old, with short red hair that she left down, green eyes to stare at with envy, and a fair complexion with a sprinkling of freckles on each cheek. Her lips were not large, but not small, either, and she had a button nose. Miss Jarowick was wearing a red sweater over her black pants, and she wore black socks and black boots with a black belt and she carried a black purse.
"Okay," said Keisha. Miss Jarowick is the nicest teacher and staff member of all the faculty and staff of News World Public School. Keisha was lucky to have her as a teacher. She took Miss Jarowick's hand and led her inside the building.
That evening at the Palace of Power...
"Who did you play with, Keisha?" asked Lana, whom everyone nicknamed her "Mom".
"Some new boy named Luke, Mom -- I mean, Your Majesty."
"Please, Keisha, just call me Lana. Not 'Your Majesty', not 'Mom', not anything else. Okay?"
"Hi, Keisha! Hi, Mom!" Alex sauntered into the room holding a tray with two glasses of milk and a plate of video-chip cookies. Then, in his best June Cleaver voice, he announced: "Milk and cookies, anyone?"
"Please, I don't know what is it with everyone and 'Mom'! Just call me Lana, okay? Lana!" Lana complained.
Alex set the tray on the table next to the TV set. Then he stood up and said, arms along his sides, using his Jeeves impression: "Milk and cookies are served, Your Majesty!" and sauntered off to his room.
"He's a pain! I don't know how he got here!" muttered Lana. Keisha waited for her.
"Are you okay, Lana?" asked Keisha.
"Yeah," she answered. "Now let's get back to Luke."
The two sat down on the couch. Not long after they settled with the milk and cookies, Armina and Simon passed by, dressed for a vampire's party. "Hello, Mom!" Armina greeted Lana, cheerfully.
"Greetings, Your Momliness!!" was Simon's greeting.
"Mega-hi, Mega-Mom!" Mega Man appeared from another entrance.
"Hello, Momicus!" Kid Icarus flew in from an air vent, obviously spying on everyone that day. Lana groaned.
"This is going to be one very long night!" she moaned.
The next day...
"Bye, everyone!! I'll be back for dinner!" Keisha yelled as she dashed out the Palace Doors. Lana called out after her, "Where are you going?"
Keisha forgot. She slapped her head with her hand and told her, "Luke said he'd meet us at the News World Park. I'm going get Lonnie and we're going to meet him there."
"Wait!" cried Lana as she raced after her. "I'm coming, too. I want to meet this Luke, and who knows what could happen to you and Lonnie if you two are alone with him!!"
"All right, you're the Queen," Keisha sighed. "Lonnie's staying with her uncle this weekend. We'll catch her at the lab."
At the lab...
"No, Lonnie!" said a stern Dr. Right. "You may not go to the park today."
"But Uncle, my friend is waiting there for me! Please, can I go?"
"Of course not, my dear. You don't know what kind of trouble you could get yourself into. I know you can handle monsters and witches, but being alone with a boy is a danger on its own for a little girl like you."
"I'M NOT A LITTLE GIRL!!" she shouted. "I'm six years old, uncle. I can take care of myself!!"
"Still, this is out of the question!" he stated firmly, "No niece of mine is going alone with her friends to meet a boy that she's never known!"
"She won't be alone, Dr. Right," boasted Lana, "She's coming with Keisha and me."
"Your Majesty," he bowed, "please, I beseech you, you don't know what troubles await young girls like my niece. She doesn't know the dangers that older boys pose to little girls."
"From what I heard, Luke is not an aggressive boy. He's new to News World, and thus, would not know how things work there."
"If you insist," he resigned, "but I would like to have her back for supper. I love Lonnie, and I don't want her to be hurt."
"She'll be fine," assured Lana, as she escorted the two girls to the News World warp. "We'll guard her with our lives."
At the park...
"Hi, everyone!" cried Luke, running towards the girls. He wore a brown sweater and blue jeans, with white socks and white sneakers. He knelt before the Queen upon noticing her.
"That's okay, stand up." He rose. "So you must be Luke DeLeo."
"Yes, Your Majesty. I am the one," responded the blond boy. Then Lana noticed his square hair.
"Your hair," she commented, "it's square, but the rest of you is round."
"Yeah, I know," he answered. "My mom's all square. She's the only square person in News World. Kinda makes you lonely."
"Your mother must be from Tetris, then, right?" asked Keisha.
"Right, she is."
"Then what's this about you, then? Are you adopted?"
"No, she's my birth mother. She taped this video about me being born, and she showed it to me." Then he added, "Check out my head. It's square, and so's every strand of hair, but everything else is round."
Lana, Lonnie and Keisha felt his hair. Sure enough, each strand felt like a 3-D rectangular extension. Lonnie then asked, "Who's your dad?"
"That's why I asked you guys to meet me here!" Luke surprised everyone. "To meet my dad! I'm going back to Tetris to stay with him for the weekend."
"Yeah, you sure are," Lana whispered, suspicious of the way the boy looked. He looks like Lyle, she thought, but maintained a happy face on the outside. I better watch out for him.
"Somebody looking for a lift to Tetris?" shouted a familiar male voice. Everyone turned their heads to see a tall, blond man approaching the group. "Is this a private party, or can any Keeper of the Sacred Square join?"
"DAD!!!!" Luke rushed into the man's waiting arms. The man lifted Luke high in the sky before setting him down, both smiling. He turned to the Queen, and said, "Hi, sis!"
"Lyle? Lyle!!" she cried out and hugged her brother. "You're Luke's father?"
"Surprise!" was his answer. "Actually, I only knew he was my son about three years ago. I was going to tell you, but you're too busy to hear anyone out these days."
"Some people back at Tetris were teasing me because of my roundness, so how could I be a child of a square person? And Prince Lyle didn't have a social life, or so I was told, so he couldn't have been my father. So they thought I was some weird experiment gone wrong. Turns out they were wrong," Luke explained: "Some ten years ago, Dad ran away from the Palace. He then came to Tetris and had fun with some girls, and met Mom. The two began dating for a couple of months, and then they married and I was conceived and born to them. But Mom said his demanding job as the Keeper of the Sacred Square was keeping him away from us, so she got a divorce. That does NOT happen in Tetris, let me tell you that, so everyone treated Mom as an outcast, since she's the one who asked for a divorce. She put up with it for ten years, until people started kicking me in the ass. Then she scrambled to get off Tetris, and found a job in News World. I found out three years ago that he's my dad when Mom told me after I wanted to go to some father-son event, but could not find a dad to take me there. Then I found Dad at that picnic and we talked. After that, Mom and Dad decided that I should spend weekends with him, and the rest with her, and that's how I came to be here!"
"Yeah," added Lyle, "my job was too much for Kyla to take, so she did the most horrible thing in Tetris, and that was to divorce me. Then three years ago, I found out about Luke when Kyla phoned me and asked me to take him out. I mean, I was only there for the birth process! I haven't seen the baby since then! But she said that he's my son, and after the picnic was over, I took a paternity test. The answer was a definite yes. I was his father, and there was nothing that I could do about to 'fix' it. Now I like things the way they are!"
"I'm glad, Lyle, very glad," responded Lana. "Lyle, you called me 'sis', right?"
"You're my sister, of course!"
"Then that would make me Luke's aunt, right?"
"Uhh, yes. Definitely yes!"
"You're my AUNT??" Luke squealed. "This is so cool!! Queen Lana's my aunt!! What shall I call you?"
"Anything but 'Mom' will do!"
"Okay, Auntie Lana, then."
"Okay. That's better."
Keisha, Lana, Lonnie, Lyle and Luke both headed for Spritzer's, a favourite hangout with News World kids, for fruit spritzers and milkshakes. Lana ordered a Swingin' Strawberry spritzer, Lyle had a Peach Paradise, Lonnie had an Apple Avalanche spritzer and Keisha and Luke both had Rocky Road milkshakes. Keisha noted someone behind her drinking a Crazy Cranberry spritzer. Lana asked the woman at the cash register: "What other flavours do you have for spritzers?"
She answered: "We also have Banana Beach, Pineapple Passion, Pear Parfait, Blueberry Blues, Grapefruit Gripes, Grape Grenades, Raspberry Ranch, Oppy-Boppy Orange, Lovesick Lemonade, Alien Apricot, Alpine Avocado, Coconut Crush, Tangerine Twister, Naughty Nectarine, Monster Mango, Pomegranate Pushover and Double Date."
"Thanks for the input," said a bewildered Lana who made to her seat as fast as a runner on steroids. "That's about a total of 21 flavours!" she whisphered to the gang, all sipping on their drinks.
"That's how they make business," answered Keisha. "They make it so kids will go there to drink their stuff."
"Yeah, it's popular for the drinks they serve," added Luke. "I should know. I've seen it the day we moved here."
"Well, let's get your stuff and go to my apartment, son. I'll protect you from those nasty kids back at Tetris," Lyle announced. "When we're there, we can have dinner at Cubies!"
"'The best square meal in all of Tetris!'" Lana mimicked Mayor Squaresly's boast about Tetris's most popular restaurant.
"Fine, but I gotta clear it with my uncle first," said Lonnie.
At a payphone near the warp to Tetris...
"Uncle Thomas, can I go have dinner at Cubies with Queen Lana and Prince Lyle and Luke and Keisha?" Lonnie asked, with the receiver in her hand.
"Well, supper's not going to be the same now that I've made your favourite. Besides, haven't you already gone out for supper every day for the past week?" asked Dr. Right from his lab.
"Yeah," she answered.
"We also have that project that we have to finish before your bedtime, Lonnie. I can't do it alone, and only you know the formula that we need, and we can't do it over the phone."
"O.K., uncle, I'll go home now." She hung up. "I gotta go home to Megaland now. Uncle Thomas wants me to help him on this project, but it's a surprise!"
"We understand," said Luke. "I guess we make one more stop before going to Tetris."
"I agree," said Lana. "Time to head back to Megaland."
In Dr. Right's Lab...
"Oh, thank you very much for protecting my niece and making sure she comes back home in one piece!!" grovelled the doctor. "I will always be forever in your debt!"
"No need to thank us, doctor," answered Lana, "protecting people is what we do."
"Still, I must thank you for taking good care of her, what with all this evil going on here in Videoland. I can't always look after her and protect her myself, you know."
"We have an intruder!" shouted Luke as the alarms went off. "Oh, crap! Just what we need! A party crasher!"
The screen showed a black guy's back to the camera. He seemed bewildered, and he ran this way and that. Lana knew the room that he was in and she, Lyle, Luke and Keisha dashed to where the man was.
"Where am I?" asked the man, his back to the four. He was wearing a black-and-white football jersey and blue jeans with white sneakers. "What the hell am I doing here?"
"DeeJay," asked the Queen, "is that you? If it is, then why do you have a jersey? You always like to bare your chest. And your feet."
"DeeJay? Who the hell is DeeJay?" The man turned his brawny back around to show a familiar face. "My name's Walker. Rick Walker."
Lana gasped. Lyle and the kids were confused. "You know him?" asked Keisha.
"He's a friend of Kevin's, you know, the original Captain N?" To Rick, she asked. "How did you get here?"
"That's the project," answered Lonnie at the door. "Football World needed a new player. Uncle Thomas knew the best one in Northridge, so we pulled him in. Now my job is to make this guy comfortable, so he would be ready to play for the VFL."
"Okay, Rick, do you remember me?" asked Lana.
"I think so, the doc just gave me a memory boost," he answered. "It'll settle within an hour. Then I'll know."
"Maybe all of us can discuss this at Cubies," said Lyle. "I know we all must be hungry now, and I would like to hear more about this 'project'."
"Yeah!" everyone chorused.
"That square salad's the best!" bragged Keisha. "I don't know how they do it!"
"Tell me about it." Lana was scarfing a salad a second. "How do they do it?"
"I don't know which of you's worse!" exclaimed Luke. "you and your salads or Dad and his square-bone steaks!"
"I don't know about you, Luke, but I could surely scarf down more than those two combined!!" boasted Rick, twirling his cubic spaghetti with a fork. "Spaghetti with meatcubes sure beats the one with meatballs anytime!"
"I wonder what's for dessert?" asked Lonnie. "Now, dear, don't spoil your appetite just yet," warned the doctor. "We still have the square pancakes that you haven't touched yet."
"What's your situation, Rick? Is Kevin all right at home?" asked Lana.
"I don't know yet. I thought he was still in Videoland." His answer shocked the entire group. "But I'm sure he's doing fine, wherever he is."
"But we just sent him home six years ago!! You sure about this?"
"Definitely. He's so gone, that Stacey gave up on him and married someone else!"
"Yeah. I was there at the wedding, as were Romeo and the others."
"What happened to Mike Vincent?"
"That's the guy she married!"
Lana was shocked. "I don't believe it. My boyfriend's human mortal enemy and his airheaded admirer goes and marries him!"
"Yeah, I know! But of Kevin, I have no idea where he is, or even if he's alive."
"Who's up for cake?" Lyle asked, breaking the train of thought. Everyone raised his or her hand. Then cake was served, and Lyle had his face down in it when Luke smacked his back, saying, "Thanks, dad!! I love you and I owe you one!"
"You certainly do!" he shouted with cake on his face. "But I love you, too!"
And the rest of the day went on as normal as usual. Lana and Keisha went back to the Palace, only to be greeted with "Hi, Mom!" from everyone there.
"Hi, all!" she laughed at their useless attempts to humiliate her.
"Lana, you okay?" asked Alex. "Actually, I'm just peachy."
"You okay with us calling you Mom?"
"You know, after seeing Luke's dad, being Mom isn't so bad after all!" And she plopped down on the couch to watch some late night soap operas, smiling as everyone, including Keisha, stood there, staring at her with their mouths agape.