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    The Mazkertis Paradox

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:15 am

    As you may know, BZPB will be rebooted. However, many plots have been left unresolved, including one where a human wizard is attempting to rewrite history. The Mazkertis Paradox wraps up several plots while telling an overarching narrative of its own. Enjoy!

    Chapter 1: Harmony, Disharmony

    Far off on Atuar Sadiares, a band was given the golden opportunity: They would play in the town square for a fundraising event dedicated to help repair the station after the recent attacks. Their excitement overwhelmed them, and they decided that they would practice at their future venue.

    The band set up their instruments on the stage, and began to play. Despite their best efforts, their music was atrocious. Their problem was a lack of harmony.

    The lead singer shook his head and looked at the drummer.

    “Not quite my tempo,“ he said. “You’re rushing.”

    The drummer started to argue with him, and soon, both the bassists and guitarists where involved.

    Meanwhile, a muscular man wearing a red armless shirt, black jeans, and a belt with a signature radioactive trefoil symbol as its buckle, walked by the commotion. He had recently escaped a containment pod, and was on his way to a shuttle towards Supermax 282. But that’s none of our business.

    “Damn,” he said with a deep gravely voice after observing the band’s fight. A voice called from the shuttle, and urged him to get on.

    “I go where I please, and I please where I go,” said the man as he stepped onto the shuttle.


    Lalli Cain rolled his eyes and spoke into the communicator.

    “Name’s Cain, Lalli Cain, like the famous murderers. Come on, man. I’m with Klak.”

    He heard a hesitant sigh come from Ynot’s side.

    “Fair enough,“ said the Makuta.

    Cain’s ship boarded the much larger Cabana, and all of its occupants emerged. Klak ran in front of them, and greeted Ynot.

    “Haven’t seen you in a while,” he said, rather cheerily.

    “Likewise, Klak,” responded Ynot with a smile.

    “I need to speak with you about Mazkertis, Ynot,” Klak said, cutting right to the chase.

    “I assumed you would want to talk about that, along wi-why the hell is there another D-Klak here?”

    D-Klak waved at Ynot and grinned.

    “Don’t you hate time travel?” he said.

    “I’ve a better question,” Klak said with a hint of annoyance in his voice. “Why the heck would you put D-Klak in harm’s way when that is exactly what we’re trying to avoid?”

    Ynot slammed his fist on a wall in anger.

    “Look, damn it, I’ve had enough of people trying to point out what I should and should have done today! What’s done is done, we need to figure out a way to stop that maniac before he kills us all!”

    Klak was taken aback by Ynot’s yelling, but he knew that his friend was right. Mazkertis had to be stopped. Too many lives were at stake.

    “Indeed,” he said, quietly, “Who else is here?”

    “The rest of the crew, along with some Knights of the Keruvim. We lost one of them in the battle,” Ynot said, somberly. “Sasuken also collapsed, and Coro’s helping him. They’ve both been acting weird lately.”

    “Knights? Axalara?!”

    Klak ran to where everyone else was at, and saw his beloved being taken care of by Perseus.


    He rushed over to her, and desperately shook her, attempting to wake the Toa. Perseus somberly looked at Klak, whom he had not seen in a while.

    “She’s alright, according to my scans she won’t go into a coma. Cutter wasn’t so lucky. That monster killed him,” the Red Lantern said.

    “No….” whispered Klak to himself as he cradled Axalara in his arms.


    Lalli Cain ran into Moe, and the two paused, staring at each other. It was as though they had known each other for quite some time.

    “Name’s Cain, Lalli Cain.”

    “They call me Moe.”

    Meanwhile, the two D-Klaks approached each other with inquisitive looks on their faces.

    “Huh,” said D-Klak (4).

    “Believe me, it’s weirder when you see it a year after seeing it,” said the other D-Klak.

    “Time travel is weird,” they say in unison.


    Meanwhile, on the Divine Providence, Figlio’s smile beamed at the assembly.

    “Yes, you should get your security checked out.”

    Rokubungi Gendo calmly reached for his phone and called for security.

    “What are you doing here?” asked Malygos with slight repulsion.

    “Come now, that’s now way to speak to your son’s friend, Malygos,” said Figlio, tauntingly. “By the way, he’s a handsome little boy. You raised him well.”

    “I knew it!” shouted Blackout, pointing at both Figlio and Malygos. “I knew you were cooperating!”

    “Cooperating? We’re networking, and his son has helped HYDRA achieve many of its goals,” said the Rider, sitting down. “Your relationship with the organization is about the same. You remember our meeting on Ailyb-Gypte.”

    “Meeting? What meeting?” said Malygos angrily, “And what gives you a right to make a claim on a Dominion world, Rider?!”

    Figlio raised his arms, and blue light emerged from his staff. An image was projected onto the table as the guards came in. Everyone was mystified at the sight: a man wearing a HYDRA uniform standing before the Keruvim. The guards started to restrain Figlio, attempting to drag him away.

    “This does!” he yelled as the guards pushed him to the ground.

    Gendo observed the reactions of the other dignitaries. Blackout stared in horror at the picture, while Malygos was astonished. Their visages had made one thing clear: HYDRA now deserved a seat at the table.

    “Let him go,” Gendo said, raising his hand. The guards stood up with Figlio, and pushed him into an empty chair.

    “Thank you, thank you,” Figlio retorted, smiling.

    “How the hell did you get that? Perseus had hidden it,” Blackout asked incredulously.

    “All you need to know is that I figured things out. However, this is not the reason behind my sudden appearance,“ Armechio said, suddenly frowning. “As you may already be aware, Subject 08, aka Mazkertis has been released from his prison. He was once an enemy of the Great Beings, and now, he is planning on rampaging throughout the cosmos. HYDRA and Great Being intelligence has assessed with high confidence that he intends to travel back in time. This could have potentially disruptive effects on the time stream. You have already seen what he is capable of, and, if left unchecked, he will be unstoppable. Now, the Dominion and Blackout’s puppet government both failed to stop him. Saskana should be allowed to decide its fate, and reject any sort of incompetence.”

    Gendo removed his glasses and began to wipe them. His face was expressionless.

    “And I suppose, Mister…”

    “Figlio,” the Rider added. “Figlio di Armechio.”

    “Mr. Armechio,“ continued Gendo, “That you intend on making it clear that HYDRA is the only competent choice that Saskanans need to make?”

    “Perhaps,” said Figlio, nodding. “But that choice belongs to the Saskanan people, not the Dominion, or the Brotherhood. HYDRA possesses the Keruvim, a device that Mazkertis had an interest in 50 years ago. This artefact could bait the wizard, and obliterate him once and for all. Thus, HYDRA will end this madness.”

    “If only it were so simple,” said Gendo. “The Lurians have revealed themselves, and have a vested interest in the conflict.”

    Malygos nodded. “Their leader, Gabriel Ascheron, made an alliance with Mazkertis. Your plan will not work, but the Dominion can take care of this.”

    “So that you can take Luria and Saskana for yourself, and absorb Mazkertis’s magic? I don’t think so, Magoo,” said Blackout, mockingly. “Let’s focus on the task at hand, and worry about those maniacs later.”

    “Your funeral,” said Figlio as he leaned back in his chair. They continued to discuss the future political situation of Saskana.


    TPK silently watched as half of the Claws of the Phoenix cooperated with the Knights and Ynot’s crew as they attempted to take care of their unconscious comrades. Suddenly, Black Phantom contacted him through a small electronic communication device.

    “Sir,” said the android robotically, “We have tracked Figlio di Armechio to Saskana.  We found his vitals on a ship not too far from your current location.”

    “What? Figlio is here, everyone,” TPK yelled to the rest of the crew.

    Klak looked up at TPK with widened eyes.

    “Where is he?” asked the Makuta of Light.

    “Knowing him, he’s probably on that ship that Malygos and Blackout are on,” said D-Klak (4) matter-of-factly.

    “I suggest we make quite the entrance,” said Nadle.

    “Right. Spotter, you and Trixtin take care of Axalara and Sasuken with Nadle and the others. Ynot, you, Kurenitsu and I will accompany D-Klak on that that ship,” said Klak.

    “Which one?” asked both D-Klaks in unison.

    “Doesn’t matter,” responded Klak with a groan.

    Hokagetsu approached the two men out of time, and suggested that they decide who would go on the Takemikazuchi ship by playing a nice game of rock-paper-scissors.

    Perseus went up to them.

    “TPK and I are coming with you, period,” he said brusquely. Klak nodded, while Ynot rolled his eyes.

    They all boarded Lalli Cain’s ship, which requested to land on the Divine Providence.


    Sasuken was caught inside of a perplexing dream. Grey, imperceptible shapes surrounded him as he flew through a burnt meadow. Days seemed to pass, until Sasuken slammed into a familiar Kraahkan.

    “He is dangerous,” said a disembodied voice. “His Hollow could end many lives…”

    “But Ynot is my friend, why would I betray him?” asked a desparate Sasuken.

    “You are doing him a favor, Sasuken. You are ridding him of his darkest emotions. You must strike when the moment is right. Or all is lost.”

    Sasuken was suddenly surrounded by several shades. They began to attack him, and the Makuta fought back and defeated most of them. However, one who looked eerily similar to Hollow Ynot was able to overpower Sasuken, and cut him down.

    Sasuken woke up screaming. Trixtin and Spotter ran over to him as he panicked.  


    TPK burst into the conference room and rushed over to Figlio in an attempt to punch him. The latter leaned to the side and positioned his sword’s sheath so that TPK would trip and fall. The Great Being angrily dusted himself as he stood up.

    “Take it easy,” said Gendo, aiming a gun at TPK. The latter calmed down and walked over to Ynot, the Klaks, and Lalli Cain, all who stepped

    “So, Figlio, releasing Mazkertis into this world wasn’t good enough for you,” said Ynot.

    Figlio rolled his eyes. “Unsubstantiated accusations.“

    “Oh please, we all know you are behind this. We also know that you planned the horrific experiments that drove him mad!” retorted Klak.

    “Also unsubstantiated. Come now, Lalli, you won’t let them talk to me like this,” Figlio said.

    “You’re right,” said Lalli as he crossed over to Figlio’s side. “What is this, an episode of Space Jerry Springer?”

    “What?! You’re a traitor,” cried D-Klak as Cain’s allegiance was revealed.

    “Mr. Cain was offered a very generous contract to work for HYDRA,” explained Figlio. “I’m sure he helped you all for a little extra cash. I’m sure you would have done the same, D-Klak. After all, you fight for the highest bidder too.”

    D-Klak grimaced and looked away. An argument began to erupt between many of those present. Klak shook his head silently, and slammed his fist on the table.

    “Let’s stop these futile discussions,” he bellowed. The room suddenly became silent. “Mazkertis and his new ally are threatening us all. We need to unite. D-Klak told me that your attacks on Saskana weren’t coordinated. Whenever the Claws of the Phoenix and I crossed paths with Mazkertis, we found that we were facing an enemy that we did not understand. That’s our problem. Everyone here needs to develop a joint action plan between all of us, so that we may find Mazkertis and stop him before it’s too late. I-”

    “Oh please,” interrupted Malygos. “We have all had our respective temporary alliances. We even acted in unity a few hours ago. It is useless and pointless to bring fools to your side when they would otherwise be against you. What’s so different this time?” Malygos’ venomous statements were followed by a glare in Blackout’s direction.

    “This time,” Klak answered, “This time we’re fighting for existence as we know it. Mazkertis plans on changing our history. I’ve been told that Ascheron is a monster. There’s no way this will end well.”

    “He’s right,” added D-Klak. “On Saskana, I noticed that Mazkertis had no little to no restraint. There was no way I could reason with him. His hatred and desire for vengeance have consumed him, and I fear he’s too far down the path of the dark side. I sensed much hate in Ascheron as well. They’re going to use each other to get what they want, and they won’t let anything stand in their way. I doubt either of them know the true consequences of their alliance, but we all do.”

    “A plan of attack could work,” said Figlio, “We could split into teams that will search for him and alert everyone else when they find him. Meanwhile, I’ll find the Keruvim.”

    “Hold on, a squadron of Knights are going with you,” fired Perseus.

    “I am too, with my droids,” said TPK.

    “The Takemikazuchi Empire is interested in aiding your cooperation force. I will speak to Emperor Yetzirah,” said Gendo, nodding at Klak.

    “So, what’s the verdict?” asked Ynot. “Are you in, or are you out?”

    Blackout and Malygos looked at each other, and turned to Ynot.


    The band on Atuar Sadiares had finally reached a compromise. They played harmoniously together in the town square. The sound reverberated throughout the space station, enrapturing the hearts of its listeners.


    Chapter 2 will be up sometime this week, hopefully tomorrow!

    Last edited by Klak on Sat May 08, 2021 8:23 am; edited 1 time in total

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Dr_pav11
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:59 pm

    Chapter 2: Calm

    Mazkertis burst into Sachiel’s medical office. He had no patience for the latter’s indecisiveness. He desperately took pills and bandaged his wounds. Meanwhile, Sachiel and Fourteen ran into the office and began to search for the wizard.

    John Sheppard helped Cassius Calm up, and patted him on the back. He handed him a medkit that was on the floor. It had been blasted away from Sachiel’s office during Calm’s short encounter with Mazkertis.

    Calm took some medicine from the kit. It would be an hour before its effects would take place, but he thought it would do. Mazkertis was in control of a potent, dark power that had to be vanquished before it was too late.

    Sachiel and Fourteen burst through the roof of the office, flying into the air. Sachiel quickly used his magic to soften the fall, but Fourteen was not so fortunate. Although his exoskeleton ameliorated his slamming into a metallic roof, the pirate felt one of the ribs of his endoskeleton break.

    Before he could lift himself from the wreckage, Mazkertis appeared and grabbed him by the neck. Fourteen summoned his strength to his mind, and began to use telepathic attacks against the wizard. Mazkertis strained and fought back. It was a war of minds.

    Calm and Shepard made their way to the foot of the building, while Sachiel skipped across the nearest rooftops. Sachiel hesitated to wrest Fourteen from Mazkertis. Was this the justice he was seeking? Surely, the pirate would receive the death that he deserved, that all Pirate Lords deserved.

    Fourteen’s hands were pressed onto his temples as his mind reeled. Mazkertis too strained, sweat beading on his face and dropping to the ground below. Sachiel noted the suffering, and began to feel something tugging at him.

    What do I gain from this? he asked himself. If I let him die, will I have done justice, or would I become just like him, satisfied at suffering?
    In the midst of Sachiel’s contemplation, Calm leaped upwards and grabbed onto the ledge. He pulled himself up and charged at Mazkertis. The wizard’s mental hold was broken as he was tackled by Calm.

    Fourteen fell to the floor, his eyes blank. He slowly drifted into unconsciousness with a tattered mind.

    Calm and Mazkertis brawled on the floor, until Calm blasted him away with his powers. The wizard crashed into another building, and made a growling sound. He threw a fireball at Calm, but the monk flipped out of its path. Calm was about to summon his stand, when Mazkertis flicked his wrists. Time reversed, and Calm found himself in the path of the fireball once more. It slammed onto him, and singed his skin.

    Mazkertis smiled victoriously. Suddenly, he felt the crystalline pangs of ice pierce his back as torrential chilled water slammed into him. He fell into an alley, and Sachiel attempted to drown the wizard with his powers. Mazkertis struggled, but it appeared that he would soon succumb to the magical waters. There was only one way he could escape.

    The water suddenly slammed to the floor. Mazkertis had absorbed all magic within it, rendering it useless to Sachiel. The wizard coughed, slowly regaining his composure. Sachiel leaped down to the alleys and charged at him. Mazkertis summoned a shadow hand that grabbed the medic, and slammed him onto the ground. It did this several times, until a bullet from a P90 broke through some of Mazkertis’s robes. He stopped, and looked to John Sheppard, who was pointing the gun straight at his head.

    “Surrender now!” yelled Sheppard, breaking the silence.

    Mazkertis grimaced. Sheppard felt something entering into his mind as a cold chill ran through whatever he would call a spine.

    No,” said a voice in Sheppard’s mind. He immediately knew that this voice belonged to Mazkertis.

    An alarm rang throughout the city, for Liquid Metallicon was under attack.


    Akzer woke up, having been knocked out by a spell for a few minutes. He immediately knew what had transpired to cause such a slumber. He had stopped the Red Lady’s dragon blood shipment, and endangered the life of the dealer. Her assistant Ophelia attempted to cover their tracks by trying to put him to sleep. What she had not known was that he had been trained by Caiaphus to resist spells in another life. As such, what would normally cause a deep sleep actually would only cause him to be unconscious for a few minutes.

    He was about to attempt to pursue Lady Thorne when the alert alarm’s shrill screaming pierced into his ears. His attempt to climb up the Pirate Lord ladder would have to wait. Akzer hopped on a nearby speeder bike, and drove away.

    Meanwhile, Lady Thorne and Ophelia were hurriedly making their way to the slums. They had sensed something, an unsettling power, manifesting itself in that area. Once they had arrived, they saw Sheppard being knocked away by a shadow blast. Mazkertis emerged, and turned his head towards Valentine, his red eyes glowing with rage.

    Ophelia quickly rushed over to him to protect Lady Thorne. Her fangs emerged, and she leaped onto Mazkertis, biting him in the shoulder. Mazkertis wailed, and began to punch the face of the vampiress. He slammed his side into a wall, hoping to injure Valentine. Her jaw was still snatched onto his shoulder. Mazkertis slapped his hand onto her eye, and summoned a blast of light. Ophelia screamed, and released the wizard. She slumped to the ground, grabbing her face in pain.

    Mazkertis healed his shoulder, halting the spread of the vampiric venom that threatened to course through his veins. Cassandra, horrified at what had happened to Valentine, grabbed for her pistol. She fired her weapon several times at Mazkertis, but kept missing. The wizard was about to throw a lightning bolt at her when the blood on his face suddenly appeared to hover. He was then lifted upward, feeling himself be controlled by another force.

    Thorne had gone for the last resort: bloodbending. Cassandra manipulated Mazkertis' blood to turn him around, suspending him in mid-air. His eyes gazed at her in anxiety.

    “It’s over, Mazkertis,” said Calm, approaching the battle with a burned shoulder. Sachiel and John Sheppard joined him, each with their own injuries. “Your onslaught of terror ends here. Face judgment!”

    Calm prepared to use his stand on Mazkertis, hoping that it would work this time. It had to. The wizard was pinned, and there was no way he would be able to escape.

    Suddenly, an explosion of energy blasted everyone back. Mazkertis had been freed, and he began to run with incredible speed. First, to Sachiel, whom he dispatched with several kicks; then to John Sheppard, whose P90 was demolished by the wizard’s fist. The next target was Cassandra, who struggled against Mazkertis in a fistfight. The wizard gained the upper hand, however, and brought her down to the floor. Lady Ophelia Valentine could not see Mazkertis, and had fallen unconscious because of the blast. The only one left was Cassius Calm.

    Mazkertis stood in front of the monk and smiled at his tenacity.

    Your abilities are admirable,” he said, telepathically, “As is your attitude. But you must know that I am here to bring justice to the multiverse. Stand aside!

    “Never!” shouted Calm.  “I SUMMON THEE, NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PA-“

    Mazkertis angrily flung a bolt of shadow energy at Calm, interrupting the summoning of the monk’s stand. Exhaustion began to overcome the wizard. He needed rest. He had just been through two battles with barely any time to recuperate in the interim. A portal opened, and Mazkertis disappeared.

    The injured Cassius Calm stood up and looked around. The slums had been ravaged by the battle, and many bystanders were injured. Sachiel, Cassandra, and Lady Valentine all slowly rose up with wounds gaping. Sheppard noted the damage his own body took, and silently cursed. This was a close one, he thought to himself,  I have to avoid close calls.

    A skiff arrived carrying Pirate Lords Ozar and Akzer, along with several henchmen. The former had just finished making a deal with an individual calling himself “Von Ness” when he heard the alarm. He had no idea where the crisis was occurring until Akzer had informed him. They met with each other and quickly made their way to the slums, but they were too late.

    “What happened?!” shouted Akzer. “I sensed a kind of darkness I’ve never seen before.”

    “Mazkertis,” said Calm. Cassandra ignored Ozar and Akzer as she went to Valentine, attempting to console the Red Lady. Sachiel said nothing.

    “What is a Mazkertis? And Fourteen! Where’s Fourteen?” asked Ozar, in a panic. “He said he would be here. Where is he?”

    John Sheppard pointed to a nearby shack. The other pirates surrounded the area, aiming their guns around to ensure that everything was secure. Meanwhile, impoverished Liquid Metalliconites were suffering. Sachiel silently made his way to some of them, ignoring his own pain to tend to their wounds.

    Ozar burst into the shack, madly searching for his loyal ally and friend. He saw Fourteen on the floor, unconscious. Ozar desperately attempted to wake him up.

    “Fourteen….FOURTEEN! FOURTEEN!” he shouted. The nearby pirates saw a look on their master’s face that they had never seen before. Sure, they knew what an angry Ozar looked like, what a happy Ozar looked like, and what a disappointed Ozar looked like. But now they saw something they thought impossible: a despondent Ozar, sobbing.

    “He must be in a coma,” said Akzer as he entered somberly. The Red Lady helped the still blinded Ophelia walk towards the commotion.

    Meanwhile, Cassius surveyed the destruction. He was astonished that one madman, just one, had caused such devastation.  He looked to the skies, and whispered to himself.

    “I will find you, wizard,” he said. “Justice will triumph.”


    On the distant planet of Luria, Gabriel Ascheron sat on his throne, twirling his glass of wine. He groaned impatiently, and threw it on the wall, nearly hitting a nearby guard.

    “WHERE IS HE?” he bellowed in rage. The guard stuttered, attempting to produce a response. However, his efforts were cut short by another wineglass nearing his leg. He jumped out of the way, and became silent.

    “I am growing impatient with the incompetence of those that surround me,” yelled Ascheron.

    Suddenly, a black orb appeared, and out of it emerged Mazkertis. The mage collapsed, the blood of his fresh injuries dripping onto the freshly cleaned floor of Ascheron’s palace. The guard that stuttered attempted to attack Mazkertis, but he was telekinetically repelled into the wall.

    “You,” said Ascheron in rage. “You abandoned me on that wretched planet, and now you dare stain my FLOOR! THE FLOOR OF LURIA MUST ONLY BE DRENCHED IN THE BLOOD OF ITS WARRIORS! ARE YOU ONE OF ITS WARRIORS?!”

    I left you because I knew you could handle yourself,” responded Mazkertis telepathically. “All great warriors can. But I come here not simply to rest and mend to my tattered cloak and mask. I come to solidify our alliance. You have your armies and I have my power. Together, we will remove that pretender of a magician Malygos, the vile Makutas Ynot and Blackout, the Red Lantern Perseus, and all of their miserable allies. Your people will have your vengeance against all who have wronged them, and I will save our realities from the scourge of the Klaks. Revenge is ours! Together, as allies, we will set right what once went wrong!

    Mazkertis stood up, and looked Ascheron straight in the eye. He raised his arm up in the Lurian salute.

    For the preservation of the ideals of Luria! said the mind of Mazkertis.

    Ascheron pursed his lips, and silently stared at Mazkertis. Silence began to fall across the palace. The leader stood from his throne, and returned the salute.

    “Sieg Luria,” said Ascheron.

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:06 am

    Chapter 3: Freedom

    Kakamu got to his feet and swung a fist at his mysterious captor, intending to charge it with shattering power, but his fist hit the back of Monarch's helmet and bounced off as nothing more than cold, powerless biometal. As Kakamu cursed and tried to channel the same power through his fist again, he was struck in the chest by Monarch's elbow and flung across the room. He slammed into the smooth, black wall behind him and collapsed onto the floor.

    "Down," Monarch commanded. Telepathic circuits in his suit transmitted his words into Kakamu's mind so that he could hear Monarch despite the absence of air in the room.

    Kakamu was stunned by the impact, but he wasn't going to give up that easily, even without his powers. He got to his feet and charged at his captor. Monarch swung his fist, hoping to cause an intense vibration with a punch that would cause Kakamu's biometal body to lose its cohesion and collapse, but to Monarch's surprise, Kakamu predicted this attack and slid under the punch to grab onto Monarch's leg. Kakamu then used his momentum to swing around onto Monarch's back and grab hold of his helmet. Monarch reached behind his back in an attempt to grab Kakamu, but Kakamu evaded his grasp and dug his fingers under Monarch's helmet in a bid to remove it. After a few moments of intense pulling, Kakamu felt a rush of air escape from the suit as the helmet was separated and flung across the room. The now-helmetless Monarch finally grabbed Kakamu and slammed him onto the ground, sending debilitating vibrations through his biometal body that blurred his vision. Kakamu closed his eyes and braced himself for another attack - but too many moments passed where none came. He hesitantly opened his eyes to see Monarch's face - a human face - gasp and struggle for breath.

    "The mighty Monarch..." Kakamu responded telepathically, rising to his feet as his opponent fell onto his back, gasping and choking at the absence of air. "You're nothing but a man. A man who needs to breathe air to survive. You know, if I still had my powers, I would be able to conjure some up for you right now."

    Monarch, or the man inside him, shot Kakamu a filthy look. He mouthed the words "Too bad" as his eyes rolled back and head hit the ground, limp. Kakamu solemnly kneeled down to check his pulse to see if he was still alive, but felt nothing beneath the titan's neck. Kakamu banged his fist on the ground in frustration. He had hoped he would have at least been able to get information out of Monarch, such as why he had been abducted in the first place, but Kakamu already had an idea as to why he was there. After all, this was not the first time this had happened to him.

    Now alone, Kakamu walked over to the concave window that overlooked one of the many black metal cliffs of the dimension and sat on the strangely out-of-place chair in the center of the room. Behind the window, massive mechanical arms lifted prisoner pods attached to the metal cliffs and placed them on the railings that ran overhead. Kakamu wondered what unfortunate prisoners the pods contained as they travelled along the railings to places unknown. He had already seen thousands of these pods on the way to his current location, so whatever version of Monarch he had just killed had undoubtedly been more successful than the Monarch that had abducted him over fifty thousand years ago. Kakamu closed his eyes and began to meditate, allowing the memories of 100,079 CMT back into the forefront of his conscious mind.

    Ah, 100,079. He was a Makuta back then, working for Blackout of all people, until he was beamed out of his laboratory on Nynrah by a mad scientist named Monarch. Monarch had trapped him in a stasis pod and told Kakamu that he would be one of his proud warriors, serving in an army that would dominate the universe. It wasn't long before Blackout noticed his chief scientist was missing, followed the teleportation signature, and drove Monarch's ship into the ground. The Kakamu of the present focused harder on his memories of the original Monarch's voice. The original Monarch was also arrogant and uptight, but... his voice was different from the Monarch he had just killed.

    "So what, there's a whole clan of Monarchs with power-suits who want to build armies out of random people?" Kakamu thought. He snapped back to reality when he sensed a door open behind him. As he turned to face the door, he heard the sound of a third voice in his mind: his own.

    "There's plenty of everyone if you travel far enough," it spoke.

    A shadowed slithered through the open door and across the floor towards him. As the shadow grew closer, the voice intensified. Kakamu pressed his hands to his head in agony and his vision began to distort. He could hear his own voice in his mind, but speaking words he had never spoke. The already dark room darkened even further and Kakamu fell to his knees as the shadow approached him. It stopped at his knees and rose up off the ground as black fog.

    "I have journeyed beyond the limits of reality... past the borders that have been defined for us. I have seen what must not be seen. I have entered the realm of the gods. What have you achieved?"

    "Get out... of my head... and maybe we can talk," Kakamu thought in a pained attempt to communicate with the voice.

    "There is no need for air in my domain, nor is there need for sound. Your mind is the only place we can... talk... unless you would enter mine. I doubt you would want that. Your body cannot die, Kakamu, but how resilient is your mind?"

    "Who are you?!"

    "I am what you became, in another place. A place of endless, bitter bloodshed, with no end in sight for over a thousand millennia. I had to adapt to survive and ascend beyond the constant battles and the meek purpose that was intended for me at birth."

    "You're... me?"

    "In a manner of speaking. In my reality, you would have been beaten so far into the ground you would have forgotten the taste of air long ago. Our creator made us immortal, but immortality does not prevent pain. It does, in fact, welcome it."

    In Kakamu's peripheral vision, which was not obscured by the smoke, Monarch's body spasmed and rolled over. Both hands of the corpse pressed the floor and lifted the body back to its feet. Monarch turned to face Kakamu with an expression of anger, confusion, and misery all at the same time as life was restored to his eyes. As Kakamu looked upon Monarch with a bewilderment that turned into pity when he realized that Monarch shared his curse, the voice in Kakamu's head continued with a more sombre tone.

    "...Like so. Poor Adam will reflect upon the curse of immortality as he suffocates again and again.. the price to pay for letting his guard down in this dimension. Will you show him mercy and return his helmet, only to have him lash out at you until your body collapses into liquid biometal?"

    Kakamu's own fists clenched as he watched Monarch, or 'Adam' as the voice called him, crawl across the floor towards his helmet before suffocating again and falling limp only a few metres away.

    "Not yet. I have some questions that need answering," Kakamu telepathically responded.

    "Don't we all?"

    "Why am I here?" Kakamu continued. "To be brainwashed and inducted into an army like the last time I was kidnapped and Monarch was involved?"

    "Oh no, nothing as exciting as that."

    "Then what?"

    "You're bait," the other Kakamu responded matter-of-factly.

    "For who?"

    In response, the black fog slammed itself into Kakamu's face, throwing him back into the chair. A vision of someone he had never seen before began to form in his mind: a relatively short figure with a silver, Hau-esque mask but a human face underneath, wearing a grey coat with a yellow pencil in the chest pocket. Beneath the coat was what appeared to be Toa-esque armor and the figure's legs were encased in what looked like metal supports.

    "Do you know him?" The voice asked solemnly. It did not receive a response, so it continued, "He is our creator. He guides us on paths we cannot see, uses us to navigate this plethora of worlds. He was there at the creation of the universe and has been a part of your life since the very beginning."

    "You're telling me I'm looking at... God?" Kakamu thought, clutching the arms of his chair as he dealt with this revelation.

    "No, not God, but he thinks himself as such. Able to enter and exit this universe whenever he wants. Elevate the universes he likes and condemn the ones he doesn't. He and his hateful kin... the Users."

    "That's enough!" A third voice bellowed.

    Upon hearing this voice, the alternate Kakamu withdrew from his counterpart's mind and back into the black smoke, which also retreated across the room. The figure from Kakamu's vision, the "User", stood on the other side of the room in front of Monarch's self-resurrecting corpse.

    "It worked..." the alternate Kakamu 'said'. Though the smoke had been separated from his face, Kakamu continued to hear its voice in his mind.

    "Stop this, Dukamu," The User ordered. Somehow, his voice could also be heard in the room despite the absence of air. "It is not yet time."

    "I know your secrets, User," Dukamu continued. "I exist because you will it. My life is an illusion, created solely for your own amusement. But I comply."

    "You will?"

    "Of course I will. Because I agree with you. All of this... all the death and pain that has plagued me... it's fun! It's so fun!"

    A noise then emanated from the smoke - a disgusting, heaving noise that, at a higher pitch, might have sounded somewhat like laughter.

    "It hurt before. It hurt so much that I would have done anything to end it. That pain vanished when I learned the truth about life: that it must be destroyed so that we can be free. And you're going to let me, because you want the same thing I do."

    "Which is?" User Kon asked.

    "For all this to be over."

    User Kon said nothing, but the blue-grey eyes behind his mask narrowed as he stared at Dukamu.

    "So what will you do now?"

    "I will fight under the pretence of autonomy," Dukamu replied, "Despite the fact that I have none. Simply because... it's fun."

    Kakamu stood up, only beginning to comprehend the depth of the conversation he was witnessing.

    "Excuse me, what the hell is going on?"

    The smoke that composed Dukamu's form began to swirl upwards and solidify into metal. An intricately-designed torso formed above the floor, with two large swords attached to either side. Black and red-colored arms and legs followed, with Dukamu's head and mask forming last. When Dukamu stood complete, he looked at Kakamu, their eyes meeting for the first time.

    "Thank you, Kakamu. You've helped to draw my enemy here... and now I'm going to set you free."

    Before Kakamu could respond, Dukamu drew his swords and charged at User Kon, who instead stretched out the palm of his hand towards Kakamu. A wave of white light emanated from User Kon's palm and engulfed his creation.

    "Goodbye, my child," he said.

    Before Kakamu could respond, he found himself falling... falling... falling through space.

    After what seemed like minutes, but could have been much more, Kakamu hit softer, but still solid, ground. When he opened his eyes, he saw birds swirl in the sky above him, singing harmoniously to each other. Grass surrounded him from all sides and he felt a gentle breeze wash over his form. Kakamu groaned and forced himself to stand to examine his surroundings. A white church lay in the center of his vision, with the tents that he and his friends had slept in the night before to the right of the church. Malchior IV's sun was setting on the horizon, casting a shadow over the fields beyond. Faced with the beautiful sunset of a perfect world, Kakamu took a moment to dwell on what he had discovered that day. There was much he still did not understand, but he knew that, Users or no Users, he was happy with his life, his friends, and his universe, and he would protect it for as long as he lived.

    "Mazkertis!" Kakamu shouted as he realized why he had come to Malchior IV. "I have to help them!"

    Without any further words or thoughts, Kakamu turned and ran across the field away from the looming darkness of night. Using every bit of willpower in his body, he increased his power of energy absorption to the next level, using it to absorb both sunlight and air. Coming to the end of the field, he used his newly regained power over air to lift himself off the ground and into the sky.

    Last edited by Kon on Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:21 am; edited 2 times in total
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:08 pm

    Chapter 4: Homeward Bound

    A shooting star fell in the night sky of a condemned world... well, it used to be a world. What is now classified as "XTR-686" by the Galactic Government was once home to a noble sapient species full of potential, but that doesn't matter now. After the cleansing, it is little more than a graveyard, but with nobody left to honour the dead.

    "What better place could there be to build a portal to the Dark Universe?" Shattered Mirror Kakamu thought as he soared beneath the stratosphere of the planet, scanning the surface for the ghostly green glow of the portal. After hours of searching, he finally saw it, held between two rocks out of the corner of his vision. He smiled, and moved to intercept, but his smile faded as soon as he saw the bodies. Two white and blue corpses lay strewn across the rocky ground in front of the portal, so he touched down next to them to investigate.

    The first corpse was fully intact, but the second was in pieces, with some parts missing. SMK took note of the corrosive burns on all sides of the piece of torso he picked up, meaning that whoever this was had most likely been blasted apart by a large energy weapon. The word "Luux" was engraved into a piece of armour nearby. SMK took this to be his name.

    Just as SMK stepped over Luux's remains to inspect those of his partner, an idea hit him.

    "What if these corpses were people who accessed this universe from a universe that wasn't so... dark?" he thought. They don't look like the type to ally themselves with Monarch or Dukamu, and the portal in the Dark Universe must be extremely heavily guarded. Maybe... just maybe... I can go home from here.

    SMK spun around and teleported in front of the control panel that was connected to the portal via a series of long cables. He immediately turned it on and brought up the last set of co-ordinates that the portal led to: 733:1678-2419-8842.1. While he had no idea what universe "733" was supposed to represent, he knew that it wasn't the DU or the SMU. That had to be amended. He deactivated the portal by slamming his fist on the reset button, and started inputting the co-ordinates that would lead to his universe's Destral. Once done, he pressed the activation button, electricity surged along the wires to the portal, but... nothing happened. Confused, SMK tried again, but still there was nothing. This could only mean one thing: Destral had fallen.

    The Makuta cursed, and took his anger out on a nearby rock with his Shattering power. He took a deep breath of thin air and went back to the control panel. This time he typed the co-ordinates for Metru-Nui, pressed the activation button, and again nothing happened.

    "I swear, if the only planet left is Vassilan, I'll kill them all." he muttered, while entering the co-ordinates to Aluic-3, the location of a secret Brotherhood fortress. He pressed "activate" for the third time, and to his surprise, the portal lit up and a plume of energy short forth before collapsing back into place to form a perfect event horizon. SMK beamed, and wandered away from the control panel to get a closer look at the portal that led back to his home universe - not home exactly, but about as close as he would get. He held his right hand over the surface of the portal, letting the ripples of energy engulf it for a moment before pulling it back out. As much as he would love to return to his beautiful, but dying, universe, he would not return alone. No... he would step through this portal along with every unfortunate soul that had accompanied him through the Shattered Mirror on his misguided attempt to conquer this universe all those years ago.

    "But how to contact them?" He thought. "My brothers and sisters are scattered far and wide, living in the shadows of their counterparts. There is no common ground they live on, no single place I can send a message to without it being read by those who would oppress us."

    SMK turned around, stepped back over Luux's remains and sat himself on a rock. He remained there for some time, not once thinking to disconnect the portal; though he did find it odd that nobody had come through from the other side. Perhaps they were all asleep, or had died due to plague or fluff?

    After several hours, SMK finally came up with a solution to his problems. When he was taken by Starok to his base underneath Stelta-Stal, he remembered detecting some kind of thought-projection device that was mounted on the walls, as well as some smaller ones hidden inside their armour that allowed them to communicate long-distance. If he could get his hands on one of them, or even interface with the device in the base (assuming it still exists following the attack), he could send a message to everyone from his universe, and invite them to join him on XTR-686 to return home.

    SMK knelt down and picked up a white-coloured laser rifle , still being held by Luux's disembodied hand. He grimaced, plucked the hand off and activated the rifle himself. It sprung into life with a very satisfying whirring noise. He then demonstrated it on a nearby rock, which was blown to pieces.

    "Time to go."

    Using his teleportation Kraata power, SMK vanished with a bright flash of blue light.


    SMK reappeared in the smouldering brickwork of Stelta-Stal, his coming heralded by the same flash of light as before. Fortunately for him, it seemed that no enemy Makuta were around to see it. Looking around, he realized that he was in the hall he was in just a few days ago when it was filled with Rahkshi ready for war. But then a traitor gave up their location... what was his name? Kulnak?

    SMK had only made his way halfway across the hall when he felt the ground rumble beneath him. He barely had time to turn around when he was pelted across the room by a giant mechanical foot. He crashed straight through the wall at the end of the hall, slumping over from shock and allowing himself to be buried in rubble. The behemoth to which the foot belonged stepped out of the shadows, revealing itself to be a bizarre, titanic fusion of countless Rahkshi parts. Opening its segmented mouth, it screeched at the rubble and and advanced upon him. However, when it picked up the two largest pieces of rubble on top of him with its mighty hands, it found nothing underneath. At the same time, SMK appeared on top of its shoulder, grew a blade out of his arm and stabbed it into its neck. The Rahkshi-Nui roared and lifted up a hand to grab him, but he destroyed it fingers with blasts of shattering power before melting its hand into a stump with plasma. While he was distracted, the monster grabbed him with his other arm and slammed him into the ground. The Rahkshi-Nui let go of him for a moment, but only to raise both its fists together in preparation for a crushing attack. SMK shielded his face with his arms and braced himself for the impact by increasing the density of his body, but then-

    "Wait." A voice spoke from another room. "Let me hear his side of the story."

    The Rahkshi-Nui gave an annoyed grunt and backed away from SMK, who opened his eyes to see the figure to whom the voice belonged. To his surprise, Kivalon stepped into the hall, but judging by the look on his mask, he wasn't happy to see him. The Makuta's armour had been badly damaged during the attack on the fortress, and he had run out of solid antidermis with which to make more. SMK got to his feet, and Kivalon approached him with a glare.

    "You abandoned us."

    "Oh come on!" SMK protested. "You saw what we were up against. Starok was insane to think that we could take down the leader of the Brotherhood's flagship with only a handful of warriors and a small legion of Rahkshi. It's Kulnak you should be blaming, not me."

    Kivalon nodded as he paced around the room. "I already sent him a message concerning his imminent painful death. Not sure he received it."

    "A message? How?"

    Kivalon paused. He wasn't expecting SMK to ask that question, though in hindsight, he probably should have.

    SMK continued. "I know what that huge circular machine in Starok's throne room does, as well as the miniature versions you keep inside your armour. It's a giant thought transmitter. Brotherhood scientists were working on it back in my universe... I suppose over there, they didn't defect like they did here."

    "Good for you."

    "Yeah. Now get out of my way."

    SMK stepped towards the throne room, but Kivalon raised a hand signalling him to stop. "What do you need it for?" he asked.

    "Well, if you must know, I'm going to use it to invite every single person from my universe to return home."

    "Return home? How?"

    "Through your brother's portal. I changed the co-ordinates. Nobody noticed."

    SMK pushed past a shocked Kivalon and walked into the throne room. Sure enough, the thought transmitter was mounted on the wall just like it always had been.

    "Wait!" Kivalon shouted. "Just how many of your people are there?"

    "Tens, hundreds, depending on who survived." SMK replied, tapping on the side of his head. "Good thing I kept a record."

    "And they all pledged their allegiance to you?"

    "In a manner of speaking."

    "Then why leave? Summon them to the portal and change the destination to the UG! We could find Dukamu's sleeping army and... kill... them all..."

    SMK's eye twitched, and he turned back to Kivalon with an angered expression. "What did you say?"

    "Kill them all."

    "They're innocents!"

    "Since when did you care about the lives of innocents? From what I have read, you started a slaughter the moment you entered this universe. Why else do you think I attacked you the moment I saw you?"

    "You attacked me because you thought I was your brother. I'm nothing like that bastard... many things changed after I died."

    "So now you're a hero? Is that it?"

    "I'm a hero to my people. That's all that matters."

    "Maybe to you."

    "Don't you dare lecture me about morality when you just suggested we commit genocide."

    "Killing thousands to save trillions seems like a fair deal to me. Plus, they won't be innocents for long. Not when Monarch finishes his-"

    "You know what? Do it yourself. But first, I'm getting me and my people out of this mess."

    SMK turned back towards the thought projector, but Kivalon put his hand on his shoulder to drag him away. SMK threw it off and swivelled around, punching Kivalon in the face. The Makuta was momentarily stunned by the attack, giving SMK the window of opportunity to blast him into the wall with chain lightning. SMK was about to return his attention to the device, but before he did he noticed where Kivalon had landed. To the right of him was a large stasis chamber, the same one that Ordak had used during the Uterio War. SMK picked the burnt and battered Kivalon up, shoved him into the stasis chamber and punched the button that turned it on.

    "Good riddance." SMK muttered, and then went over to the thought projector for the last time. Having used one before back on his home planet, he operated it with ease, sending out a telepathic summons to every known Shattered Mirror native in the universe. He smiled, and teleported away just as the Rahkshi-Nui burst through the wall to check on its master.


    Three days later, SMK returned to XTR-686, hoping that others would arrive to meet him there as requested. However, something was different. The portal he had left open to the SMU had been deactivated in his absence. Because it could not have been deactivated from the other side, SMK suspected that someone else had recently returned to the planet to use the portal... but whoever it was had not buried the bodies of Luux and his companion. Not wanting to disturb his kin by leaving them out in the open - although, most of them would probably prefer it - SMK buried Luux and his companion Marlon next to the portal and marked their graves with rocks.

    Mere moments after burying them, he heard the sound of jet engines approach, and looked up to see a blocky ship approach that looked like it had been built out of old cars. The ship touched down in front of SMK, and he put his hands on his hips as the ship's landing pad extended onto the ground. A set of five strange figures, all wearing spacesuits due to the planet's air-thin atmosphere, walked down to meet him. Their leader was an African-American-looking man with an ash-grey complexion and dreadlocks that obscured his eyes.

    "Nice to have you with us, Shroom." SMK said with a smile, extending his hand. Shroom did not take it, but returned the smile nonetheless.
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Fri May 22, 2015 11:29 pm

    Chapter 5: Power Play

    Far away on the Stouttish Islands, a very different kind of battle was taking place. The islands were in the process of being swept by a police force hailing from Earth, who had made it clear that they would stop at nothing to locate and capture their target, Ross Mandell. Despite Mandell being taken into space by members of the Co-operative weeks ago, the islands' inhabitants have refused to inform the police of his departure, viewing their "scan first, ask questions later" mission tactic as a hostile act. Of course, the sweep would stop if the natives stopped agressively defending their streets from the police's search parties, or even told one of them that Mandell was long gone, but then again, the Stouttish aren't exactly known for their intellect, now are they?

    Danny, aka the "Tourettes Guy", was the first to be chased by the NYPD's flying cars, thanks to his colourful response to their automatic entrance broadcast by phone. For better or worse, he had found himself an unlikely saviour: an overweight man named Chris. Chris had Asved Danny from life imprisonment with his fists and trusty pepper spray just minutes earlier, leaving the unfortunate police officer unconscious on the curb. Danny looked between Chris and the officer with an angered expression, with his gaze eventually resting on Chris.

    "So who the hell are you?" Danny asked in his usual, gruff voice.

    Chris's avoided Danny's gaze, staring past him into the distance. "We've got to find a way to defend ourselves. We leave everything behind. We do what it takes to survive, things we can't even imagine. You can't trust your phone. You can't trust your family. Remember: they're gonna come for us, and when that day comes, we have to be ready. You must be afraid, but-"

    "I'M NOT AFRAID OF SHIT! ...except snakes. Just tell me where to go so I can... FUCK off outta here!" Danny shouted in response. Chris furrowed his brow, and a frown spread across his face.

    "You must stick to the Shadows... or you will get Scanned, or captured, or all three!" Chris spluttered. "There is only one place you can go if you truly want to escape from these... these CAPITALIST PIGDOGS! You already know its name..."

    Danny absent-mindedly started picking glass out of his neck brace. "I know a lotta names."

    "Pen Island."


    "No I would never do that."

    "FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!" Danny screamed. Chris worriedly reached for his pepper-spray as the tourettes sufferer stamped his feet and shook his fists at the sky. "YOU COCKSUCKERRRR!"

    Suddenly, a police siren blared from across the street, which signalled another approaching car. Chris initially assumed that the police had been alerted to their location by Danny's screaming, but then someone wearing an astronaut costume came into view running down the street, away from the car. The astronaut's escape was obviously being hindered by his bulky costume, but he seemed unwilling to take it off. The astronaut finally collapsed of exhaustion when he reached the alleyway entrance that Danny and Chris were hiding in, and the floating police car parked over his legs. Two officers stepped out, dragged him out from under the car and propped him up against the side.

    "Alright, spaceman," One of the officers began, "Why'd you run? We just wanted to make sure you weren't a wanted criminal."

    They could hear nothing but heavy breathing sounds from the spacesuit, until the astronaut finally spoke. "Ae... aeiou..."

    "The hell is that?" The other policeman said. "Is that your name, huh?"

    "Sounds like Chewbacca after a sex change." Danny muttered nearby. Chris clapped his dirty, sweaty hand over Danny's mouth in an effort to stop him from talking, but that only caused him to wriggle free in disgust. "UUUGH, JESUS! When was the last time you washed your hands?!" Danny spat. One of the policemen instantly looked up and shone a torch in the shadowed alley, revealing Chris and his foul-mouthed companion.

    "OVER THERE!" The policeman shouted, pulled out his baton and ran towards them.

    "OH BOB SAGET!" Danny screamed as he ran away. Chris pulled out his pepper spray and prepared to fire, but the policeman whacked it out of his hand with his baton and then struck him across the face. While he handcuffed a dazed Chris, his colleague ran after Danny and tackled him to the ground. "You'll never get away with this!" Danny bellowed as he was handcuffed and led back to the car. When he and Chris were strapped into the back, along with the astronaut, the two policemen in the front discussed their options.

    "Well, the back of the car's full." The first one mumbled while eating a doughnut. "No more room for prisoners, which means I guess we're done here."

    The second nodded in agreement, and looked over his shoulder to see a furious Danny strapped in the middle seat, between Chris and the astronaut. "Just look at these guys. What the hell happened to them?"

    "Rumour has it that there's an ambient energy 'round these parts. A "HahaJ'UsT-Seying" energy, that exaggerates the wacky characteristics of... well, hell if I know. I think a Dr. Bedge wrote a book about it once."

    "Huh. Weird. Kinda sad though. I wonder what'll happen to them now they're in our hands."

    "We'll take them back to HQ and hand them over to the legal team, where they'll get all the help they need."

    "I hope so, man. I hope so."

    The first officer restarted the engine, turned the car around, and pressed his foot against the pedal. When it was halfway down the street, it lifted off the ground and flew into the sky. Moments passed until they reached the portal that they came through, and disappeared through it to New York.


    On the planet Linkit, a wizened figure climbed through the wreckage of the Lambda-class shuttle he had crashed in. His ears were ringing from the sound of the explosion, and when he took his hand off his head, he saw blood on his fingertips. The figure picked up his robe, and examined it for rips, but surprisingly, it was all still in one piece. The figure put his robe back on and climbed into the cockpit. His pilot was dead with a shard of glass through his skull, and the control panel had been crushed against Linkit's rocky surface. The figure let out a shriek of anger, and raised his wrinkled, grey fingers towards what remained of the windscreen. Lightning erupted from his fingertips and the windscreen shattered, allowing him to climb out onto the planet's surface. When the ringing in his ears stopped, he heard chants up above, presumably from whoever shot him down.

    The figure c climbed up the rocky wall at the edge of the crater his ship landed in and tried to focus on the sights below. He had suffered a pretty hard blow to the head, but he still remembered who he was: Shevak, a master of the dark side of the Force. And now, while he could be building a new dominion in other parts of the galaxy, he was stranded on this miserable rock with no immediate means of escape.

    When he arrived at the top of the crater, something incredible came into view. A pale sea of clear water, surrounded by alien workers at all sides. Underneath the surface was what appeared to be a gigantic chute attached to an ancient, rune-covered portal. The first row of workers on the shore raised their tools and chanted "LEVIATHAN! LEVIATHAN! LEVIATHAN!"

    Shevak sat down on a nearby rock and watched with intense concentration. He observed that there were members of two species below; the slightly smaller, blue-skinned aliens with tools and the taller, greener fishmen with fins and tridents. Both chanted the word "Leviathan" in harmony, completely focused on the portal in the sea. Suddenly, a plume of energy burst forth from the center of the portal, before receding to fill the stone circle. A few moments passed, and the head of a gigantic primordial sea creature emerged. It looked around, and its expression changed from one of sternness to satisfaction when it saw the walls of the chute, and its loyal worshippers up above. Leviathan, Lord of the Whorl, swam through the chute in its entirety and burst out of the water at the end. The aliens marvelled at his full form, but only glimpsed it for a moment before the creature fell back into the water, with only his reptilian head remaining above the surface. His worshippers knelt on all sides of the sea, and Leviathan smiled smugly at his subjects.

    One of the green-skinned aliens walked up a stone podium overlooking the sea. He wore golden armour and a large hat that had several precious jewels in it, so Shevak assumed he must be a priest of some sort.

    The 'priest' spoke. "Welcome Leviathan, Lord of the Whorl and saviour of the Sahagin, to your new colony on Linkit."

    Leviathan turned to face him, gazing upon the Sahagin, who was tiny in comparison, with his piercing red eyes. "Yesss... these others around you must be the Agrippa. The most recent converts to our empire. You have chosen well. Now rise."

    The Sahagin and Agrippa followed Leviathan's orders and got to their feet. However, Shevak could sense that something was wrong. His mastery of the dark side of the Force allowed him to sense emotions, especially negative ones, and right now he sensed fear. The Agrippa feared Leviathan and by extension, his Sahagin underlings. Shevak put the pieces together in his mind - a struggling, malnourished species living on a desolate planet had recently submitted themselves to a gigantic, alien sea monster. As stated by said sea monster, the Agrippa had only just joined his empire, which further reinforces the assumption that they are desperate to survive. The Sahagin didn't strike Shevak as charity workers, and neither did their master. When you add that to the fact that the Agrippa are afraid, the idea that Leviathan rules through fear seems ever-more likely.

    "Well... I have some experience there." Shevak thought. Mustering all of his power and faith in the Force, the Sith Lord stretched his arms towards the sky, and the weather itself began to change . Clouds filled the night sky and lightning struck the sea, electrifying the water. Leviathan screeched in pain, writhing around and splashing towards shore. The hordes of Agrippa and Sahagin that were standing on the shore ran away from their god, hoping not to be crushed by his gigantic form as he writhed up the beach. Once clear of the water, Leviathan glared towards the sky, his eyes glowing redder than ever. The priest approached Leviathan's form and raised his hands.

    "A thousand apologies, my lord!" The priest began. "We had no knowledge of this... freak weather when we settled!"

    Leviathan screeched again, and with a whip of his tail, smacked the priest into the sea. The as-of-yet unseen Shevak used the Force once again to amplify his voice, and levitate above the mountain.

    "Do not blame your servants for your own foolishness!" Shevak's voice echoed throughout the valley, gaining the attention of everyone present.

    "Who dares speak against me?" Leviathan hissed as he turned to face Shevak. The Force-wielding clone cackled, and more lightning struck the ground behind him, illuminating him to the Sahagin and Agrippa below.

    "I AM SHEVAK!" He cried. "The people of this world will serve you no longer! Instead, they will be a part of my new empire! They will work for food, and purpose, and a greater, united future, instead of only the right to survive!"

    Leviathan's eyes narrowed, and his mouth spread into a smile, revealing a row of thin, razer-sharp teeth. "Is that so?"

    Leviathan whipped his tail against the sea, sending water in Shevak's direction. The Sith Lord was about to laugh, and mock Leviathan for trying to splash him as if they were in a water park, but then he noticed that the water was floating in mid-air. The water came together to form a large sphere, still suspended in mid-air and never once leaving Leviathan's line of sight. Leviathan muttered something under his breath, and suddenly the sphere shot forward and encased Shevak in it completely. His control over the weather and his own levitation was broken along with his concentration, and Shevak found himself unable to regain control while he was trapped in this water sphere, the insides of which were thrashing at him from every angle. He tried to scream, but his mouth only filled with water. He tried to manifest another lightning storm to break his opponent's concentration, but all that resulted of it is the sphere becoming electrified, causing his skin to burn. After a minute or so of this, Leviathan sensed Shevak's heart stop beating, so he dissipated the sphere. Shevak's body fell on the rocks and the water ran over his corpse. Leviathan's followers observed this in stunned silence, and although the serpent-god couldn't hear it, he knew that there was now less chance of his servants disobeying him than ever before.


    Koranis felt metal fingertips stroke his cheek, and then gently slap it. The ex-king of the island Nynrah groaned, and reluctantly opened his eyes. He saw alien birds circle in the sky above him before the face of a Great Being came into view. The face was bronze-coloured and feminine, with an elaborate all-in-one tiara and hairpiece. The Great Being gave a knowing smile, and Koranis crawled away from her in surprise.

    "Who are you? How did I... get here?" He asked, clearly confused. The Great Being sat next to him and toyed with her gauntlet.

    "What do you remember?"

    "I remember... arriving on Mordor. I killed the guards, and then I was attacked... by a robot?"

    The Great Being looked at him and smiled. "Yes. My name is Viruel. I created that robot that attacked you, and so many more. I also repaired your foot, though I wouldn't have needed to do that if you'd just waited by the gate."

    "I've waited long enough." Koranis said dryly. "I take it you're a Great Being."

    "What gave it away, the armour or the giant robot behind me?"

    "The wha..."

    Viruel laughed and shuffled aside to give Koranis a better view. The Spherus Magnan got to his feet and walked to the cliffside. In the canyon in front of him stood a gigantic robot, similar to the one that he was placed in over a hundred thousand years ago. The robot was almost complete, save for some armour plates that were being welded to it by flying robots similar to the one that attacked him.

    "Well, what do you think?" She asked.

    "There... was more than one?"

    "Oh, yes. Mata Nui wasn't the first, nor was he the last. Merlin made sure of that."

    Koranis took a moment to absorb this information, and observed Viruel detach a section of her armour. She held it in her hand, and he saw that it was actually a touchscreen control interface. She flicked through layers of Spherus Magnan writing, and an outline of the robot came up. After tracing over a combination of symbols with her finger, the smaller robots operating on the giant robot stopped and flew inside it.

    Viruel continued. "We have records of you in our database, Koranis, and you have served us well. We are willing to overlook your misplaced anger if you consider the offer I'm about to give you. How would you like to go back inside a Great Spirit Robot, but this time pilot it directly instead of operating only its left wrist?"

    Koranis raised an eyebrow. "Power always was a weakness of mine."

    "Well, you wouldn't have it all to yourself, of course. You would be one of two pilots, the other being a woman of your species named Lhirra. Unlike Mata Nui, this is not an exploration vessel. Your job would be to enforce order on worlds we control and to retake those that we lost during the Uterio War. Do you understand?"

    The Spherus Magnan's eyes narrowed. Admittedly, he had expected a much worse fate than this - a promotion - but he had also hoped for more than that: his own freedom. If he took this offer, he would still be working for the same people he worked for all those years. If not, he would be throwing away his chance at retaking power, and Viruel's mention of "misplaced anger" made him think that the Great Beings wouldn't let him walk away so easily.

    "I'll take it." Koranis said. "When do I start?"

    Viruel gave a satisfied smile. "Excellent. Come with me."

    She began to walk down a passage that led down the side of the canyon, and Koranis followed.


    In the UG pocket dimension, User Kon's fists glowed with a blue energy as he prepared to fight Dukamu. The shadow titan materialized into a more solid, Makuta-esque form, and drew a jagged red sword from his back as he circled his opponent.

    "What's wrong? Still unwilling to answer for your mistakes?"

    "I don't need to justify myself to you!" Kon spat, and flicked his wrist to fire a creation blast at his opponent. Dukamu turned back into shadow again, and it parted to allow the blast to pass through him safely. He re-materialized back into his Makuta form, and conjured a shadow hand. It shot forth and grabbed the User, holding him in place while a red energy made its way up Dukamu's neck.

    "I am your creation... how did you think this was going to end? Did you think... you would be free from the slaughter to come?!"

    Kon grit his teeth and managed to turn the palm of his right hand to face his opponent. He fired another creation blast from it, which hit Dukamu in the shoulder, atomizing it and breaking his concentration. When the shadow hand dissipated, Kon formed an air bubble around his head and pressed a button on a previously unseen earpiece.

    "MK, NOW!"


    User MK's eyes widened as he heard Kon's voice through his earpiece, and choked down what was left of his lunch. "Oh crap, I forgot! Sorry, sorry, sorry!" he shouted as he wiped his mouth, got up from the table and ran out into the corridor. Doorways littered both sides of the corridor, each one with a different name or number on it. When the door labelled "Kon" came into view, he grabbed the handle and pulled, but found that it was locked. He shrugged, guessing that he would have to pay him back, and destroyed the lock with a creation blast of his own. He swung the door open, ran over to his computer, and opened a program named "Omniversal Positioning System". He saw that Kon was transmitting his location to his computer, and that he was in a place he had never seen before. After typing several commands into the program, a top-down layout of the entire pocket dimension was given to him, including the names of all lifeforms currently inside.

    MK wiped his brow and clicked on a button that said "Extract". An empty field came up, with the I-beam pointer flickering inside, waiting for him to type a name. MK looked at the post-it note Kon left on the screen that contained the list of characters he wanted MK to save from the UG. MK read the first name, Etende, typed it into the field and pressed Enter. Suddenly, her name disappeared from the list of lifeforms inside the UG, and Etende herself appeared behind MK with a thud. MK looked over his shoulder to see if she was okay, and fortunately she was fast asleep. His attention returned to the computer, and he began typing the names of several others Kon wanted extracting.


    New wires of solid antidermis grew from Dukamu's armour and sealed the wound as he kicked Kon in the stomach, picked him up and threw him into the wall. Just as he was about to finish him off, he noticed a flashing red light on the room's control panel. He walked over to read the warning message on the screen.


    Dukamu sheathed his sword and started typing, hoping to discover the reason behind the malfunction. While doing so, the same message popped up again, but this time with a different number. And then again, and again, and again. Enraged, Dukamu turned to Kon and realized what he had done. When Monarch came back to life again, Dukamu telekinetically grabbed his helmet and fitted it over his head to stop him from suffocating again in the airless room. Once that was done, he telepathically gave him an order.

    "Adam. Someone is stealing members of your would-be army. It's finally time for you to go to the User World and stop whoever is interfering with our plans. Subdue and trap, but do not kill. Their deaths will come by my hands alone."

    Monarch got to his feet, nodded, and pressed a button on his suit. He disappeared in a flash of blue light.


    A pile of sleeping bodies amassed behind MK. Atop of Etende laid Masaharu, and on top of him laid Spanha. Micros groggily crawled out of one of the gaps in Masaharu's armour. His neutral expression changed to one of suspicion when he realized that he was no longer on the ship that he left to Saskana on, and that there was a larger, seemingly technologically advanced figure sitting above him in a computer chair, typing rapidly.

    "Hey, you!" Micros squeaked at MK. "Am I on Saskana right now?"

    "I'll explain everything later!" MK replied.

    Suddenly, another figure appeared behind them - but not one who's name MK had entered into the computer program. DU Monarch drew breath through the mouth-speaker on his suit, and raised his right arm at him. When he clenched his fist, the strange-looking device that was strapped to his arm projected a spherical forcefield around MK. The energy barrier separated his hands from the keyboard. MK turned to face Monarch and grinned, completely unfazed by his menacing appearance.

    "Oh, hi! I'm MK, or Klak. What's your name?"

    Monarch growled. "The boss told me not to kill you, but I can't keep this forcefield up all day. However, judging by what you're doing on that computer, you already know too much for me to let you go, so... I'll have to freeze you in carbonite."

    MK's grin faltered a bit, but he managed to keep it up while he wondered what do to.

    Monarch's electronic eyes narrowed, and he powered up his matter cannon on the teleport setting. However, before he could fire it, he disappeared in a flash of green light. MK shielded his eyes from the light, and once it had subsided, he saw another figure standing in Monarch's place.

    "What did I tell you about bringing your characters home?"

    MK's fake grin became a real one, and the forcefield around him disappeared. "Ynot! It's good to see you, man!"

    "Likewise. Wasn't expecting to find you here, though. Where's Kon? And what's with all the bodies?"

    "Oh, they're some of his characters. They got abducted by yet another one of his characters who gained free will and turned evil because of it, so he decided to try and rescue them himself. Well, with my help, that is. He'll be back to explain any min-"

    As if on cue, Kon appeared in a white flash of light. He instantly stepped over the sleeping bodies of Etende, Spanha and Masaharu and started tapping on the keyboard of his computer. MK left his computer chair so he could sit down, and observed him pull up another program named "Timescale". User MY checked the clock as Kon selected the UG on the screen, and with a few more commands, flung the pocket dimension into the future.

    "Hey, Kon. How goes it?" MY said nonchalantly.

    Kon breathed a sigh of relief and leant back in his computer chair. "Doing pretty good... at least for now. Hey, did either of you guys see someone in a really heavy black suit come in here?"

    MY nodded. "I did, I just assumed that he didn't belong here since he was threatening MK."

    "What did you do with him?"

    "Sent him sightseeing. Right now he's orbiting a planet called Conpiom... if he's lucky."

    "Hmm... I have a better idea."


    Monarch... or rather Adam, since he was no longer wearing his suit... awoke with a start. He could see nothing but darkness, and to his horror, he found that he could only move his arms and legs a few inches before hitting the edge of something. As he felt his way around, he realized that he was trapped in an extremely enclosed space, which more than likely meant...


    Adam banged his fists against the walls of his coffin, but it was too late. Nobody could hear him twenty feet under the ground... not even Kon.


    Kon led Etende, Spanha, Micros and Masaharu onto the roof of the User HQ. All four of them were encapsulated by the view of the beautiful and otherworldly User World. Several districts could be seen, each one labelled by the gigantic, electronic signs floating above them. Despite each one being of a different theme, they all shared the same basic structure apart from "Completely Off Topic", which was a district where the houses looked like they had been cobbled together by the people who lived in them. Etende leant against the railing and sighed, wondering if she could ever live on a world like this, or if she would always be too alien. Micros jumped on Kon's shoulder and zapped him with a weak jolt of energy to get his attention.

    "So, what are we doin' up here, then? You haven't told us your name, what you are, where we are... hey, I just thought of another one! Why'd you rescue us in the first place?"

    Kon stayed silent, and looked to the horizon. A streamlined silver and white ship flew over it towards them. When it became clear that it was going to land on the roof of the User HQ, the group stepped aside to allow the ship to land. A ramp extended from the ship, but nobody came out from it to meet them.

    "You're gonna go now." Kon said. "This ship has no pilot, but it'll take you wherever you need to go. Just say the name and it'll fly you there."

    Etende put her hand on one of the ship's wings, feeling its smooth metal and admiring its design. "Will we ever know why you did this for us?"

    "Maybe one day, when you are old enough. You've got a lot to prove first, but I have faith in you."

    Spanha shook her head as she walked up the ramp and into the ship. "Man, this has been one acid trip of a week."

    "Tell me about it!" Micros replied. Masaharu squatted to lay an egg, so that it would hatch a new body for him to explore the world with, but User Kon stopped him from laying it by gently kicking him up the backside. Masaharu growled and boarded the ship with the others. When the ship's ramp closed, and it flew off to parts unknown, Kon wondered what he would do next... maybe take a holiday before the Architect found out just how much he was abusing his powers.

    Last edited by Kon on Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:14 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:10 pm

    Chapter 6: Maskirovka

    OOS: Kon, thanks for your awesome chapters!

    Caiaphus and Ricochet triumphantly carried the lifeless body of the mutated scorpion that had terrorized Max-Eli’s village. They knew that this was one more step towards using whatever was left of Neo Z’traa as a base of operations for the Reformed Second Brotherhood of Makuta.

    “A Vrai army under my control, I’d never thought I’d see the day,” joked Caiaphus. Ricochet smiled in response. They had grown to respect each other given their condition, strengthening their resolve towards their common goal: the destruction of all of their enemies, from Blackout to Klak.

    Suddenly, a portal opened a few feet in front of them. Caiaphus grabbed Ricochet by the shoulder and pulled him behind the mutated creature’s corpse. Mazkertis emerged, his head turning around and searching for any life on a largely desolate world. Caiaphus raised his finger to his mouth, begging that Ricochet remain silent as they hid from the newcomer.

    Mazkertis silently stepped over to the mutated scorpion’s corpse, and kneeled down. He placed his hands on it and realized that it was dead. He growled and shook his head, turning back towards his portal and exiting Neo Z’traa.

    “What in Karzhani’s name was that?” asked a baffled Ricochet.

    Caiaphus was bewildered. He had not seen something like this since he met Kivalon, and even then, this was almost on another level.

    “Whatever it is, it had better not get in my way,” he spat out.


    Blackout slammed his fist onto a table. Gendo shot up a glance at him, as though he were telling him to never damage Emperor Yetzirah’s table ever again.

    The Makuta was frustrated with the convoluted plans that everyone was offering to take on handling both Mazkertis and the Republic of Luria. It had been a full day since the Battle of Saskana, and half a day since Klak and some of the Claws of the Phoenix had arrived.

    “This is incredible. We’ve had nothing but convoluted plans for three stinking hours!” cried Blackout, angrily.

    “Yeah, why can’t we have some pragmatism?” added D-Klak.

    “Just hear us out,“ responded Klak, wringing his hands. “We split up only to find them, and expand our alliance. Then we meet up once either of them is found.”

    “The presence of the lack of trust between us could not be more glaring, Klak. It won’t work.” Malygos said. “Besides, wasn’t that Figlio’s plan?”

    “You know what they say about broken clocks,” muttered Ynot. “Besides, we’ve a checks and balances system in place here. The Knights and TPK will follow Figlio to ensure he doesn’t try anything weird, the Empress just pledged her support and will be following Malygos along with Toa Bob, and Blackout’s travelling with me.”

    “True. The Claws of the Phoenix also have Anzu with us, and we’ll be in constant contact with each other throughout the expedition,” added Klak in an attempt to assuage any fears about the Claws’ agenda. “Point is, we need as many people as possible to set out to find these psychos, and I want to devote some time to look for our missing friends.”

    Suddenly, a Takemikazuchi ensign burst into the room. Gendo glanced emotionlessly at him, and raised an eyebrow.

    “Yes?” he asked the ensign. You see, all the latecomers secretly annoyed Gendo, as this would only delay the resolution of the conflict. Of course, he was partly used to it, as intergalactic politics were often long-winded. He wondered if, in an alternate universe, he was cursed with the name ‘Long’, resulting in some sort of cascading effect in which everything he did would take forever.

    “We found some kind of biometallic creature orbiting our ship. We were about to shoot it, but it contacted us telepathically, claiming to be someone named ‘Kack-Amu?’”

    Klak, Ynot, and Nadle (who had arrived earlier to participate in the discussion) all looked at each other, with shock and joy.

    “KAKAMU!” shouted Klak.

    Several minutes later, Kakamu was brought aboard the ship and to the negotiation room.  The heroes all embraced him with hugs and triumphant handshakes, while the villains simply nodded and forced grins. Gendo pushed up his glasses and nodded as well. Kakamu was especially surprised to see that Lalli Cain was hanging around in the meeting. He thought he would hav left to find another contract out there, fighting for the highest bidder and all that.

    “Cain?!” he said, in astonishment.

    “He’s working for HYDRA. Better question, what happened?! Where is everyone else?” asked D-Klak.

    “I don't know,” Kakamu said, shaking his head in sorrow. “I guess I had some sort of existential crisis. Another version of myself captured me, Etende, Masaharu and co. to bait a higher power. The man you saw, Monarch, was similar to someone from my past, many thousands of years ago. I don't know how these pieces fit into the puzzle, but seeing as he didn't capture any of your clan, I'm guessing it has something to do with me. Just another thing for me to work out once this is all over, but with or without backup, I'm sticking with you, because what matters right now is Mazkertis.”

    Klak smiled and nodded.

    “I’ll help you with figuring things out and finding the others once this is over,“ he said. “Heck, if we can search for anyone in the meantime, we will. Anyway, we’re splitting up. You’re going with Nadle to find a friend of ours.”

    Kakamu frowned and rolled his eyes. Nadle silently sighed, and hoped that his comrade would forgive him for collaborating with David Robert Jones.

    “Who will they be looking for?” asked Malygos, raising one of their eyebrows.

    “Easy, Mr Wizard. The only other person who knows Mazkertis like Figlio and I do,” responded D-Klak, with a grin.

    “Oh no,” growled Blackout. “Not him.”

    “Well,” responded Kakamu, “I’m not sure who you’re referring to, but I suppose it must be done.” He then smiled and looked at everyone in the eye, even Gendo.

    “Come on everyone, let's go save the universe."


    Meanwhile, on Saskana’s surface, Captain Eurobeat looked up to the sky while on a balcony, pondering the destiny of the universe. Von Budberg, a leader who had originally been allied to Mazkertis, was kind enough to offer a place to stay for Eurobeat, the Full Frontal Fighting Squad, Strika, and Nif in return for their fight against the traitorous wizard. Captain Eurobeat briefed Nif on the situation, explaining to him all that was occurring. The latter was astonished, crying out “What to heck?” while shaking his head. They had spent the day in the hotel, but Nif had left, claiming that he wanted to “get a feel for things”. The rest of the Full Frontal Squad were in their quarters. Strika emerged from the hotel onto the balcony.

    “I’d hate to be captain obvious, but we Cybertronians don’t need that much rest,” she said, impatiently. “That fragging slag-faced piston rod killed my friends, and he’ll keep killing if we don’t stop him.”

    “I understand how you feel, Strika, but you need to realize that HYDRA is not going to help you,” said Eurobeat, clearing his throat. “They’re the ones who released Mazkertis. They’ve indirectly betrayed you.”

    “What?! I don’t believe you,“ Strika yelled, angrily.

    Captain Eurobeat made a strange dance move, and revealed a small 90s styled television set that was not there before. It showed Strika a video of Mazkertis’ release from his prison.

    Strika felt rage, confusion, and sorrow bottle up inside of her. HYDRA, the organization that she was once proudly a part of, had set in motion in the events that had released a monster into the universe, a monster that had killed her friends without a second thought. She had decided to renounce the organization, and pursue justice for her friends regardless.

    “Do not give in to the rage, but reject HYDRA. There are many heroes attempting to stop Mazkertis now, and if we are needed we will be called.  Have more faith!” Captain Eurobeat said, laughing. “However, that pride in you friends could be useful, if not against the wizard, then against what I fear is to come after.”

    Strika shook her head. She was even more confused now.

    “What are you even talking about,” she whispered, her voice carrying tinges of pain.

    “I’ll show you soon,” Eurobeat said, smiling.


    On the morning after they cemented their plans, the individuals that had assembled on Saskana split up and set off on their respective quests. Figlio di Armechio, Lalli Cain, Axalara (who had previously argued with Klak that she was fine and fully capable of moving along despite her injuries after the fight with Mazkertis), Moe, Spotter, and Coro all set off on the HYDRA spaceship that Turel brought to Saskana (known as The Manticore), while the Zodiark followed. TPK would join them at their destination later on, given that he had left the previous day to return D-Klak (4) to the past, another Klak of the Dark Mirror Universe that had been brought out of his time (long story).

    “Where is the Keruvim, Armechio?” asked Axalara, forcefully.

    “Hidden in plain sight! It’s on a planet once known to my people, the Dachori or Riders as you call them, as Shinar-Karana. Nowadays, people in the nearby system just call it Karana,” responded Figlio, smiling as the ship flew through hyperspace. “Thousands of years ago, when the Riders were starting their Second Empire, they conquered the world in question. Wars require propaganda, and what better than an engineering marvel that would also function as a base of operations? The Dachori had decided that they would build an ecumenopolis, a symbol of victory that would show their restored prowess and glory, and bring shame to all of their enemies. It would be called Shinar-Karana. Unfortunately, the Second Dachori Empire would be caught in yet another vicious war with the Vrai a few years later. The government decided to focus less on building monuments and more on fighting. Eventually, Karana was abandoned. Most of the massive buildings and structures that were in construction have been consumed by nature, but a few still remain as ruins. I don’t know if there are any surviving Rider inhabitants there anymore.”

    “Flora and fauna taking over an abandoned world! Reminds me of Krustallos,” said Spotter with fascination.

    “Yes,” responded Figlio, nodding at Spotter. “But Shinar-Karana was already ancient when Krustallos was being built. It also didn’t have its population wiped out by Caiaphus, so there’s that.”

    “Enough talk,” said Perseus, brusquely. “It’s time for action.”

    Figlio’s starship touched down on the roof of a tall black building a few minutes later. The edifice was rectangular with jagged edges. The sunset tinted the cloudy sky with a bright yellowish orange. In the distance, the group could see colossal skyscrapers jutting out into the sky, some with noticeable cracks and vines circling around them.

    The group stepped out of The Manticore, marveling at the wonders before them. The Zodiark landed on a building a few meters away, sharing it with TPK’s ship. Turel stayed behind for a special mission.  

    Figlio pulled out his staff and raised his arms up, preparing to teleport them all to the Keruvim’s location.

    “Wait,” interrupted Lalli Cain. “Why did we fly on a ship? Why didn’t we just go straight to the Keruvim and go back?”

    Figlio rolled his eyes and looked back at Cain.

    “Because with the staff it’s a one way trip. You only go where the Keruvim is. There was once this orb that could take you wherever your heart desired, but it was destroyed in the Uterio War, I think. Supposedly it was on a ship belonging to a Pirate Lord Akzer called The Mazkertis! Ironic, eh?”

    They warped away, Eos, Hassan, TPK, and his droids included, all materializing in front of what appeared to be a bridge made of a hardened material. It led to a throne with a gargantuan backrest following the wall of a building on the other side of the walkway.  An outside observer would note that they were, in fact, on one of a series of bridges--all arranged several metres above each other--connecting two large edifices made of marble and stones native to Shinar-Karana. This walkway was the last of the series, set to connect the highest floors of the buildings together; those present were nearly 4,000 feet above the ground, which was covered by a thick, ghostly white fog. Spotter keenly observed that this walkway functioned as a road in other parts of the city, but in this particular area, it was a pathway to the ruler of the would-be ecunemopolis.

    Despite the fact these tall buildings surprisingly survived erosion and the withering of time, it was likely that they were quite fragile. Everyone took note of this, and slowly moved towards the throne, which housed the object they all desired: The Keruvim. Figlio was the first to arrive, placing his hand on it and grinning madly with greed and lust for power.

    “Alright, hand it over!” cried TPK, as Black Phantom, Straxus, and IG-88 all raised their weapons, aiming at Figlio.

    “Oh, dear TPK, how could you?” Figlio pouted sarcastically. He had expected betrayal, but he had originally thought that the Knights of the Keruvim would panic first. I guess Turel was right. he thought to himself. They are too soft.

    “Hold on,” said Axalara, raising her hands. “That artefact is property of the Knights of the Keruvim. It’s far too dangerous to fall into either of your hands. Let’s stop bickering and use it to defeat Mazkertis once and for all.”

    Eos smirked, and shook his head. Perseus glared at him in rage.

    “How naïve. You truly believed that HYDRA would give back the Keruvim?” he said, laughing.

    TPK growled, for it was a mutual betrayal, and an expected one at that.

    Coro and The Knights of the Keruvim prepared themselves for the inevitable battle, as did Eos, Hassan, and a HYDRA operative that was with them at the moment. Perseus broke the standoff as he activated his Red Lantern energy, hoping to charge at Figlio and get him away from the artefact. Suddenly, Hassan shocked him with one of her electrical weapons, rendering him unconscious. She grabbed his ring, and threw it off the building, letting it disappear in the fog.

    Moe disappeared, using his shapeshifting ability to camouflage himself for more strategic strikes. Coro attempted to use his technopathy to shut down Straxus, but he was tackled by TPK. They both fell onto one of the bridges below them, their landing causing several cracks to develop within the structure. Spotter tried to kick Hassan, but he was blasted away by Black Phantom.  Straxus and IG-88 double-teamed the assassin instead, while Black Phantom made his way towards Figlio to kill him and take the Keruvim. Lalli Cain quickly shot at him, repelling the droid and allowing the HYDRA operative to strike him from behind. Phantom was almost unfazed, and swung his mace towards the operative. The latter crouched, narrowly dodging the deadly weapon. He fired his gun into Black Phantom’s chest, damaging it minimally but causing the robot to nearly lose his balance on the walkway. Black Phantom regained his composure, and grabbed the operative by the neck. He threw him off the walkway, the HYDRA member screaming as he fell into the abyss below. Spotter shouted, and fired his rifle at Black Phantom.

    Straxus swung his pickaxe at Hassan, his weapon clashing with a katana that she quickly pulled out. The assassin leaped into the air IG-88 was about to shoot her, when an unseen force suddenly hit him.

    “Conclusion,” surmised IG-88, “Target identified as Moe is near.”

    IG-88 used his heat sensors, quickly detecting Moe. He fired his blaster at his position, but the shape-shifter leaped into the air, avoiding most of the lasers (save for one that grazed his right arm). Moe landed behind IG-88, but the droid turned around and faced him, still detecting him with its heat vision.

    “This should become problematic for you,” said IG-88 as he flung his paralysis cord at Moe the moment he landed a few feet away. The Knight collapsed and shapeshifted back into his original form, struggling as the cord wrapped around his body.

    Hassan and Straxus ignored them, as they were engaged in a struggle of their own. They had both lost their katana and pickaxe, so they had to resort to other weapons within their respective limited arsenals. Hassan threw her daggers at Straxus, but the robot deflected them by twirling his axe. The assassin ran closer to him, pulling out a knife and stabbing it into Straxus’ neck. Electricity cackled from the affected area, but he was undeterred, grabbing Hassan’s neck. She struggled, throwing countless magically enhanced daggers and shurikens at the droid, most of which penetrated his armor and damaged it.

    “Servers identify you have made many mistakes,” Straxus said, coldly. “Failure is not a valid option.”  

    Straxus violently threw Hassan to the ground. His axe touched the sky as he raised it into the air, and swung it down towards her face. Luckily, Hassan reeled out of the way, the blade of the weapon slicing into the walkway. Straxus pulled his axe, breaking a piece of the walkway and causing it to crack all throughout. His other arm transformed into a Gatling gun, firing a barrage of lasers at Hassan. Though she was able to dodge most of them, some of them tore through her uniform and nearly penetrated her flesh. She threw a knife right at Straxus’ optics, missed, and tried again, this time successfully blinding the robot in one eye. Using whatever was left of his vision and targeting systems, Straxus aimed at Hassan and fired yet another barrage, this time successfully hitting her in the arm and leg before she leaped into the air. It was her attempt at a deathblow; she intended to land on top of the robot and destroy his head, ridding the universe of such a menace. Her effort would be in vain. Straxus fired his gun at her and swung his axe, cutting out a gash on her chest. Hassan’s lifeless body fell to the floor, and the robot merely kicked it off the walkway. He turned around to see IG-88 restraining Moe, and slowly made his way to do the honors.

    Meanwhile, below all of this chaos, Coro and TPK were engaged in a fistfight of their own.

    “You have betrayed us, TPK!” cried Coro as he swung his leg to TPK’s side.

    “No, the Knights of the Keruvim are under the purview of my Council,” he retorted, grabbing the metal behemoth’s leg. “It is you who has betrayed us!”

    “They made themselves independent after the war,” said Coro. “Before your hostile takeover!”

    He punched TPK in the face, allowing his leg to be set free. TPK blasted Coro with lightning, knocking down the Great Being. He shook as it coursed through his conductive skin. Coro then weakly looked up to TPK, and continued speaking.

    “You had a chance! You were supposed to lead us away from Angonce’s regime, not drive us to something worse! He was fine until he gave Uterio power, and when he found that the madman fell into a coma, he tried to assert his own brand of tyranny! Instead of taking us away from this legacy you brought us to your own twisted dictatorship fueled by revenge.”

    TPK shook his head and sneered at Coro.

    “I did what was necessary. And revenge? You’re one to talk,” he replied. “The hours drift away as you plot and scheme over how to inflict vengeance on those that made you a monster. Especialy Huriel and Heremus.”

    “Huriel,” Coro said, shaking his head. “I forgave him, I forgave all of them.”

    He stood up, forming a side stance with his legs. Coro jabbed TPK in the face, preventing the latter from pulling out his rust gun. TPK stumbled back and tried to regain his stance, but he was felled by Coro’s uppercut.

    “Yes,” said Coro. “Despite me spending every waking day with a chill creeping through my internal organs as they are reminded of the metallic skin that holds them. Despite taking a vow of silence in shame of the consequences of standing for what was virtuous and honorable. Despite looking like a monster for ages and ages, I forgave them. I have my own faults. We’ve all been wicked in our own ways, but there’s redemption, TPK!”

    TPK leaped into the air, shocking Coro with lightning. He filled his fist with energy, and slammed it into Coro’s gut repeatedly. He attacked him with lightning once more, causing him to stagger.

    “Save me the oration, you sick excuse for a politician,” replied TPK in a terse manner as he revealed his rust gun. “The Great Beings will be led into a new century, with or without you. The Keruvim is just one step on the path to greatness!”

    Coro reeled away from the incoming rust blast. He zigzagged across the walkway as TPK continued firing, completely missing him. He turned around and used what remained of his technopathy on the rust gun. TPK was startled, as the weapon disassembled in his very hands. Luckily, he had another weapon developed by the ingenious Great Beings: an acid pellet gun.

    TPK pulled the trigger, ejecting the pellet carrying the acid in liquid form. It burst as soon as it hit the ground, the acid burning through the already fragile floor. Coro attempted to destroy the gun, but his left side was hit by one of the pellets. He screamed in pain as it burned through his metallic skin. He jumped at TPK, grappling onto his chest and using his unscathed right fist to punch him repeatedly in the face. TPK returned with punches of his own, and the two fell down the hole created by the acid. They landed on a walkway several feet below them, and continued fighting.

    When the battle had merely begun, Axalara flew into the air, hoping to pick off her targets one by one. Eos followed her, preparing his light bow. He fired an arrow straight at her shoulder, but the Toa of Air was quick enough to dodge it and respond with a gust of wind. Eos was blown back a few inches, but he continued his assault, pursuing Axalara throughout their sector of the city. The labyrinthine edifices made them twist and turn, Eos’s light arrows slamming into walls left and right. Axalara luckily avoided most of them, until one grazed her arm, slicing through her armor and flesh. She grunted in pain but accelerated her flight. She suddenly nosedived, disappearing into the fog below. Eos prepared his light bow, aiming it all around. The Toa appeared out of nowhere, darting through the air and slamming her fist into Eos’s gut. The force of the punch made the son of Malygos crash through a nearby building, bursting out onto the other side.

    Eos regained his composure and charged at Axalara, his arm quickly firing a barrage of light arrows at her. She was only able to deflect a three with her gusts of wind, the rest stabbed into her chest, causing her to cry out in pain. Eos materialized in front of her, grabbing her by the neck with his right arm and flying upwards into the air. He punched her twice and formed a light dagger in his left hand, preparing to stab the Toa. Axalara quickly slammed her head onto Eos’s, causing him to let go of her. She rapidly punched his chest and blew him with a gust of wind into a building. Using her power over the air, she slammed him over and over into the wall. She brought him closer to her, and they began to punch and kick each other as they flew closer to the location of the Keruvim.

    In seconds, Eos formed a light mace and slammed it into Axalara, breaking her attack position. He pulled out the arrows that were still stuck inside of her biomechanical body, causing her to bellow in pain. He looked around and watched Hassan die.

    “Hassan!“ he screamed from the heights. Axalara shot back up, and grabbed him in a headlock.

    “Look at these idiots,” cackled Figlio as he stood triumphantly near the Keruvim. “They’ll kill each other, the chuckleheads. Okay, Lalli, let’s get out of here. I’ll call The Manticore.” The Rider laughed as he claimed victory.  

    Lalli Cain saw the fight before him, and knew that the time was right. It was now or never. This was what his path led to: all the money was just a ruse.

    “Name’s not Lalli Cain,” he whispered, quietly.

    “I’m sorry?” asked Figlio, the smile slowly receding from his face.

    “I said my name is not Lalli Cain! My name is Ezekiel Tobias Carter, and I am a Knight of the Keruvim!

    “YOU WHAT?!” screamed Figlio, his veins pumping with enraged blood. “YOU LITTLE SON OF A BITCH!”

    He charged angrily at Lalli Cain, pulling out his sword and kicking the mercenary to the ground. Cain winced, but smiled, and looked up at Figlio.

    “For all your knowledge and intel, for all of your time spent working in the Knights of the Great Beings…. you forgot that sometimes the Knights of the Keruvim take on the role of mercenaries to provide a cover identity and fight evil from the inside!  I just picked the name of two famous murderers to make myself seem more legit. And guess what? You  gave the perfect opportunity, the big case. You paid me to betray Pirate Lord Ozar, and brought me closer to HYDRA. I was deep undercover, but I remained loyal to the good. Hoisted by your own petard, Figlio! Just like your father!”

    Ezekiel fired his gun at Figlio, but the Dachori pivoted away from the blast. He kicked Ezekiel in the gut, causing the Knight to cough.

    “SHUT UP!” he yelled angrily. Figlio swung his sword to the ground, but Carter rolled out of the way. The mercenary stood up and pointed his gun at the Dachori. Figlio smirked and charged at Ezekiel, blasting him back with a fireball and cutting his chest with his sword.

    “Don’t let the pink long coat fool you,” he said, in a more calm, smug tone.  “My father made sure that I was trained by experts, himself included. I know a healthy blend of martial arts from many worlds. Plus, your attacks are rather futile; my people’s skins are tougher than those of your kind. Anyway, since we’re in a REVEALING mood, maybe it’s time I tell you all the truth! It was I who headed the research program that attempted to learn more about Subject 08’s response to pain! A program that D-Klak and Ynot naively called torture! And I’ll call him Subject 08, because he’s just another pawn to me, a mere tool, a means to an end! It was I who set Mazkertis free! I needed a distraction to keep you all occupied while HYDRA worked behind the scenes, slowly TAKING THE UNIVERSE FOR ITSELF!

    “What?!” cried Eos, confused. He could not believe it: the threat that Mazkertis posed would have simply been the history of another universe had it not been for Figlio. Additionally, he was shocked to realize that he had been used, as he had intended to use HYDRA as a pawn to further the goals of The Dominion.

    “Pirate Lord Ozar has been my ally for a considerable amount of time! The entire mission we set up was a gambit!” said Figlio, slamming his fist into Ezekiel’s face.  

    “It was my way of showing Ozar that he made the right decision by helping our organization. HYDRA and the Pirate Lords would find a new hiring pool of the best mercenaries this side of the galaxy. If you succeeded, we would both benefit financially and materialistically. If any of you died, then you really weren’t all the best mercenaries, and we would just have to keep looking for more.” Ezekiel pulled out a dagger and attempted to stab Figlio, but the Dachori dodged it and backhanded the Knight.

    “And Tiff Ramson? You never asked why I wanted him alive. The purpose of using tranquilizer darts on him was to transport him to a HYDRA base, yes. There, we would wake him up and give him his new mission, a new way to serve my Armechio bloodline! He would become my figurehead; wear the uniform of the Supreme HYDRA and fool people into believing that he was the true leader, when it was me all along. If he died in the mission, I would have lost a war criminal that gave our cause a bad name anyway. Plus, you all located Mazkertis, and confirmed one of his prisons. The other was implanted into Fourteen’s mind, and he kindly mentioned it to Ozar when you all weren’t looking. Everything went well, Ozar regretted threatening me, and knew I was a valuable ally. He cemented his leadership of the Pirate Lords of Liquid Metallicon, and HYDRA increased its power: we both won. Checkmate, Knight.

    Black Phantom ignored these revelations, slammed his fist into Spotter, and grabbed him by the leg. He flung him backwards, hoping that he would fall into the abyss below like the HYDRA operative before him. Luckily, the Knight landed a few meters behind IG-88 (the droid did not notice him). Spotter pulled out a lightsaber knife and calculated his next move. If he played his cards right, he would cut through Moe’s restraints and free him. If he failed, he would either fall into the abyss or be killed by Straxus and IG-88. Worth the shot, he thought to himself.

    Spotter dashed towards IG-88 and slid between his legs. He quickly swung his arm, slicing into the paralysis cord. Moe was free. Spotter stopped near Straxus and got up, firing his weapon onto the robot. Moe camouflaged himself once more and charged at IG-88, placing a sticky grenade on the confused droid and kicking him back. IG-88 fired his blaster all throughout and attempted to remove the grenade, but it was too late. The blast destroyed his head, sending shrapnel flying everywhere. Much of it stabbed into Moe, who had already been wounded in the battle, making him stumble onto the floor. IG-88’s body collapsed in deactivation and defeat; he had been destroyed.

    Straxus’s armor had been damaged by Spotter’s gun, but he was not deterred. He swung his battleaxe at the Knight, cutting him down with a gash on his arm. Before the droid could deliver the killing blow, however, a barrage of light arrows all fired by Eos hit him, some stabbing into his head. The son of Malygos had made a last minute truce with Axalara as they faced mutual enemies. Spotter threw a pellet of acid at Straxus’s face with his remaining strength, melting through some of the systems and causing him to sputter with electricity. The robot summoned his grenade launcher to kill all his enemies, but he was blown off the walkway by a gust of wind summoned by Axalara. Straxus fired grenades into the air as he fell to the foggy abyss below.

    One of these grenades landed on the walkway Coro and TPK were fighting on. The explosion ripped through the fragile rock and made the floor crumble. The Great Beings fell several feet, and while Coro was able to land onto the proximate bridge, TPK was not. Thankfully, Coro caught him in time and Asved him, albeit temporarily. The normally composed TPK felt the maw of death come far too close, and begged Coro to save him.
    “Please, please, help me!” he cried.

    Coro looked over to his other arm, wincing in pain from the acid that had eaten away through part of his metallic skin. He saw that it had been successfully anchored onto the bridge, but it had caused much of the floor to start cracking. He needed less weight, or else the bridge would give way below them and compound the already complicated situation, to say the least. To put it briefly, if the floor crumbled, they would be in free fall once again, and TPK would fall to his death below.  

    “TPK! Let go of some of your items and armour!” yelled Coro frantically. “The walkway is breaking! I need less weight or we’ll both die!”

    “I CAN’T!” screamed TPK, as he was unable to do so with simply one arm.

    Sure enough, the bridge collapsed. TPK slipped from Coro’s grasp as they fell yet again. The Great Being, through his machinations, unwittingly caused his doom. It was his droid and his gun that destroyed the first two walkways, cursing them to constantly fall through the fragile structures. TPK fell to the abyss, realizing the irony of all this, and died.

    Coro crashed through a mysterious ship, landing inside of its cargo hold. He grasped at his acid wound, feeling blood. He drifted out of consciousness briefly, falling onto a set of boxes.

    Black Phantom sauntered towards Figlio, who was laughing maniacally and holding his sword to Ezekiel’s neck. Before he could attack the Dachori, Perseus, who had woken up and slammed his fist into the android’s face, stopped him. Black Phantom cut parts of the Toa’s armor with his saber strikers, causing him to stagger.  He fired his Zamor sphere, but Perseus successfully blocked it with a stone brick from one of the nearby ruined buildings. The shards of rock combined around Perseus’ left hand, and he used it to create an armored fist that jabbed several times into Black Phantom’s face. The robot grabbed the Toa and flung him towards the throne. Black Phantom continued walking to Figlio.

    “Come any closer, android, and I’ll use the damn artefact against all of us!” Figlio said, grinning. “All I have to do is leave in time before it blows and I’ll be safe.”

    Perseus reached out with his hand, hoping that his Red Lantern ring would appear. The crimson object sped out of the fog and fit onto the Toa’s finger. He blasted at Figlio, knocking the Rider back. Perseus then created a mace construct (one that was nearly identical to Black Phantom’s) in his left hand, swinging it towards the android. Their weapons clashed and swung at each other once more. Figlio suddenly charged at the both of them, his sword creating a three-way melee fight of clanging weapons, all being parried by one another. He fired a blast of fire at Perseus, who blocked it with another stone he lifted with his Toa power. Through his shrewd calculations, Black Phantom found a weak spot in Perseus’s form, and exploited it, shooting a Zamor right at his chest. The Toa was blasted back to the throne.

    Suddenly, The Manticore arrived, having risen up from the foggy chasm. Turel turned the ship’s targeting systems and aimed them at both Perseus and Black Phantom. A rope ladder emerged from the bottom of the ship. Figlio attempted to fling a fireball at the droid, but it was met by another Zamor sphere. The ensuing explosion knocked them both back. Coro took this chance to leap out of a hole in the roof of the cargo hold of The Manticore, and jumped onto the platform everyone else was on. Before Black Phantom could recompose himself, Coro attacked the droid using his technopathy. TPK had ensured that Phantom’s mental faculties would be impervious to Coro’s powers, but there was a loophole: the mechanical movements of his joints in his elbow and knees were vulnerable. It strained his mind, but the Great Being soon rendered Black Phantom immobile. Figlio took this chance to stand up and run to the Keruvim.

    “Oh no you don’t!” yelled Eos, launching a light arrow that pierced through Figlio’s right shoulder. The injured Ezekiel lifted himself halfway and shot a pistol, hitting the Dachori in the thigh.  

    “Tougher skin my ass,” he said, wittily.

    Axalara and Spotter were charging towards Figlio, and Perseus appeared to be preparing an attack of his own. Coro was nearest to the Rider, his imposing stature a threat on its own. Figlio realized that the risks that would result of grabbing the Keruvim would outweigh the benefits. He would have to obtain it later, or find his own way of destroying Mazkertis.

    He dashed to the rope ladder, grabbing it with his other arm. The Manticore flew away, and Perseus attempted to pursue it, but Axalara stopped him.

    “Perseus, don’t bother!” she yelled as she snatched him. “He lost anyway.”

    “There’s still a HYDRA ally here,“ the Toa of Stone replied, angrily pointing at Eos.

    “No, I have severed all ties with them,” said Eos, shaking his head. “It was a pleasure fighting with you. Hassan’s sacrifice was not in vain. We shall meet again, Knights of the Keruvim. Hopefully on the same side in the coming race against Mazkertis.”

    “Right,“ responded Perseus. “But if you come after the Keruvim again, or decide to make amends with HYDRA….”

    “You will have to deal with us,” added Axalara.

    Eos smirked at the damaged Knights, and teleported away to The Zodiark.  Spotter applied medicine to his wound and limped to Moe, who was just coming to consciousness. Ezekiel Carter stood up and looked at Coro, who was grabbing his side, covering the damage of the acid gun. He then turned to Axalara who, despite her multiple stab wounds, stood, somberly staring at the Keruvim. Perseus shook his head and glared at Black Phantom, who was staring at the ground, calculating his next move after being immobilized. They were silent for several minutes, until the Red Lantern broke the silence.

    “We’ll have to take it back, and hide it better,” he said. “You decide, Axalara.”

    “Agreed, sir,” she replied, nodding. “It’s far too dangerous to be used against Mazkertis, and there are too many powers involved in this mission. It’s too risky. I already lost Cutter, and we almost lost more of us.” She paused, looking away. As much as they all hoped to save the universe, all of the Knights present had agreed that they couldn’t afford such a risk.  

    “We’ll also have to double the guard around the Keruvim,” she continued. “HYDRA or the Great Beings’ agents may try to take it, and for all we know Mazkertis might want the artefact as well.“

    “I will take Black Phantom to Mordor and inform everyone of what has happened,” Coro said. “The Council of the Great Beings will have to elect a new leader now that TPK has passed. I also need medical attention, so there’s that.”

    “We all need rest,“ Spotter said, agreeing with the Great Being. “The wounds of Saskana were only worsened by this battle. I’m surprised you’re even still standing, Axalara.”

    Axalara smiled, trying to avoid a chuckle. She knew that the laughter would hurt.

    “I am too. I’ll probably collapse when I get to Vizima anyway,” she said. “We’re all roughed up. We need to regain our strength and plot our next move. Klak and the others need our help.”

    She smiled again; hoping to spend more time with Klak after everything was resolved.

    “How will we even leave? My ship’s back at Saskana,” Ezekiel retorted.

    “I’ve called TPK’s ship over here. I’ll drop you all off there,” answered Coro.

    “Right, technopathy. So convenient,” said Carter. He realized the sarcasm in his tone and widened his eyes. “Um, with all due respect, sir.”

    Coro grinned.

    Lalli Cain, huh? Creative.”

    The Great Being used the humour to defuse the situation. Why wouldn’t he? He would need serious attention on the ship’s medbay, and figure out a way for the Council to restrain Black Phantom, if they could even be trusted in the first place. Moe, Axalara, Spotter, and Ezekiel had all been heavily injured because of the past two battles, just like him. Perseus himself had also been battered, but he was resisting showing it to all of them. It was yet another pyrrhic victory for the Knights, and it remained to be seen whether or not they would all survive the wounds of war.


    Mazkertis emerged from a portal on a dark, stormy world filled with canyons. This was a planet he had already visited a few days ago, as not far from his present location was an empty village. The planet’s government was launching an investigation into the sudden deaths, but it had largely been inconclusive until news of Mazkertis’ other attacks had spread.  Many governments were baffled and in panic, as the Lurian-backed Mazkertis appeared omnipresent. It had been five days since the Battle of Saskana, and three days since the battle on Liquid Metallicon.

    The wizard opened another portal, summoning a young humanoid named Drepp. It was white with rainbow hair and a black light suit with glowing multicolored strips. Mazkertis had first assumed that Drepp was a female, but upon closer observation he noticed that she was actually a he (that being said, many in the galaxy thought Drepp was a girl, much to his chagrin).  

    Drepp was known for his eccentric behavior, and was otherwise a normal student on his home world, when suddenly the criminal known as C’uk damaged his life. He decided to dedicate his life to fighting crime, and became a vigilante. Although he defeated C’uk and brought justice to his planet, he began to feel depressed. Once he saw Mazkertis in clothing not unlike that of Death itself, he assumed the worst had happened.

    “Have I come here to die?” he asked, somberly.

    No,” responded Mazkertis, telepathically. “ I have summoned you to offer you an opportunity: to serve me in my attempts to rewrite history to fight a great evil. I ask that you aid me.
    “Rewrite history? Why the heck would you do that?!” cried a confused Drepp.

    I will destroy those who have wronged me and make things right in my universe, as well as yours. I offer you justice. Join me, and you will achieve it,” ‘said’ Mazkertis.

    “Huh!” replied Drepp. He realized that what this man was looking for was vengeance. Mazkertis could not deceive him, as the wizard’s bloodlust could not be any more apparent in the telepathic communications. Drepp prepared to insult him, but his species could not fully say curse words without accidentally pronouncing letters only known as ‘#’ in the English language. In fact, a member of his species was known for saying ‘f##### b#####’ when expressing his anger at being a victim of a robbery. Drepp simply raised his arms and yelled “F### you” at Mazkertis.

    The cat-being blasted Mazkertis with electromagnetic energy, sending him flying back into a nearby rock formation and burning his arms. The wizard stood up angrily, and menacingly approached Drepp, whose arms were glowing with power.

    Electromagnetism? You fool! It has temporal properties!” he ‘said’.

    Mazkertis took control of one of his enemy’s arms, moving it until it was aimed at his head. He began to charge towards Drepp, hoping to absorb most of his power and life force before killing him with his own attack. However, Drepp charged another blast with his arm. Two forces of great power were about to meet; a combination of Mazkertis’ magic and Drepp’s electromagnetism.

    The ensuing explosion ripped through the rock, leaving a massive crater to compliment the vast canyon. Mazkertis and Drepp were on opposite sides of it, their respective bodies devastated by their combined attacks. Drepp slowly stood up and opened a portal, hoping to find some sort of aid somewhere in the universe.

    Mazkertis realized that the incredible explosion that had ruptured through the canyon had temporarily blinded him.  He felt immense pain from burns, bruises, and other injuries that his person had received after the attack. It would take more than modern medicine to heal them; he had to use even more of the magic (which he had originally stored up for his time travel spell) for healing purposes. In between his battles on Saskana and Liquid Metallicon, he had used a portion of his power to heal some of his wounds, hoping to heal what remained with Sachiel’s medical expertise. While Mazkertis was injured once again in that battle, he was able to combine some of his magic with the extremely advanced medicine of the Republic of Luria to restore his health in just a few days.

    That being said, he knew he had to be cautious. At this rate, he would lose all the energy he gained through the spires of Saskana, his reserves being relegated to all the power that had been absorbed in his previous rampages on Malchior IV and other worlds. Such a situation would be a major setback, as what he intended to do required a significant amount of magic. He had to continue feeding, and continue his quest for allies to assist him in doing so. Only then could he make things right.

    His vision was still weak when he heard someone approach him.

    “Do not worry, I am certain your vision will return. It would be best that you get to healing yourself, Mazkertis,” said the mysterious individual. “I am Raziel. I, like you, have travelled through time. In this universe’s future, our Klak’s doppelgänger becomes a twisted tyrant, one far too dark even for me.”

    Mazkertis could hear Raziel getting closer to him. He moaned, attempting to reach out to him telepathically.

    “I have been secretly been watching the events of the past week, and I have witnessed your immense prowess,” continued Raziel. “Your mission is like medicine to a long existing ailment. By ridding both of our universes of all Klaks, both the real ones and the false one, we will prevent much undue suffering. I intend to reap at least one soul, but otherwise, I have no terms. You and I both must accomplish our quests. Ergo, I hereby align myself with you.”

    Good,” ‘said‘ Mazkertis as his vision returned. His eyes beheld the vampire-turned-wraith for the first time. Thank you, Raziel.


    Light-years away on Malchior IV, President Howard smiled as he sat with his wife, his left arm wrapped around her shoulder. He was finally taking a much-needed vacation, and who could blame him? Two of his colleagues were assassinated, Cadmus allies were getting testy with their fugitive on the loose and their facility endangered, Malygos nearly took over the universe, ZFT and HYDRA were on the rise, and a slew of terrorist attacks from Mazkertis and a mysterious cell had gripped the planet in fear. These crises were all topped off by a scandal that revealed his extension of “Project NSA”, a program that spied on the citizens of Control City. He could not believe that this had all occurred in one week!

    “I love this place,” he said, gazing at the night sky reflected on the lake that sat before his log cabin. “So peaceful.” On the other side of the lake was a large forest filled with trees and guards all prepared to protect their elected leader.

    “Yeah, it really is. You’re really in touch with nature here,” the First Lady said, smiling.

    Unbeknownst to them or the Presidential Guard, a slim figure wearing a SCUBA suit slowly emerged from the lake. It opened a waterproof case and silently crawled on the shore opposite that of the log cabin. The man pulled out a sniper from the case and pressed his gloved hand onto the rifle grip. He aimed and fired, hitting President Howard in the heart, instantly killing him. The First Lady screamed, and the Presidential Guard almost immediately panicked, dogs barking and soldiers yelling in the night. He silently crept back into the lake and swam through it, eventually reaching an unguarded shore and disappearing into the darkness.

    The Guards would find the murder weapon neatly sitting directly across the log cabin. Their investigations would find that Senator Skeddadle’s fingerprints were on the grip and trigger. This would lead them to believe that Skeddadle had assassinated Howard over Project NSA and his own presidential ambitions, but this was not the case. The assassin was using a special glove that had copied the senator’s fingerprints to frame him.

    President Howard was dead, and his assassin had gotten away.

    The Mazkertis Paradox Tumblr_mgyuiyMerS1qfr6udo1_400

    The Mazkertis Paradox Dr_pav11
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:43 pm

    Chapter 7: Zugunruhe

    As night fell on Meme World, the pixelated, seemingly two-dimensional rainclouds in the heavens released another torrent of byte rain over the valley. The crash survivors from Tybion retreated back inside their makeshift tents and shelters to wait for the storm to pass. Those who were familiar with the HahaJ'UsT-Seying force painted pictures of Boltman outside their sleeping areas, to ward off a trespasser named "Moonman" who was said to come and disturb them in the middle of the night by rapping loudly. One such person was Space Ryan Gosling, who had spent some time carving Boltman's face into the wooden wall of his shelter with the end of his hammer. Sasha, the "meme kid", buried himself in blankets out of fear, but Hassan-ill-Sabbah comforted him by saying that, if the Moonman did appear, he would challenge him to a rap battle of his own and make a fool of the moon-faced menace.

    Not everyone was at peace, however. Inside BONES's ship, Randolph Moloch groaned and pulled the sides of his top hat over his ears. It had been well over a day since he last had the opportunity to sleep, and while most of the Dongers were eager to take the opportunity to get their forty winks now, Pumkin didn't seem to want or need it. Instead, the anthropomorphic vegetable had chosen to stand guard in the doorway of Randolph's quarters, and had spent the last half hour making bizarre statements to him.

    "I'm very bored. Give me the mission."

    "Shut up!" Randolph replied, rolling over in his bed.

    "I'm very hungry. Give me the FISH."


    "I'm very thirsty. Give me the BLOOD."

    "GAAAAH!" Randolph grabbed his rapier, got out of bed and pointed the sword between Pumkin's eyes. "The next time you think to disturb me with your babble, creature, I will carve your words into your face!"

    Pumkin's cartoonish eyebrows slowly dropped towards its eyes and its smile turned into a grimace. Randolph tightened the grip on his sword in anticipation of its response.

    "No. I don't want that!" Pumkin said calmly as it grabbed Randolph's sword, yanked it out of his hands and tossed it over its shoulder. The human swung his fist at Pumkin's eye, but the creature grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back. Randolph cried out in pain, and Pumkin took the opportunity to grab his torso and lift him up into the air. "I'm very hungry," it said again. "Give me the HUMAN."

    "NO! NO! AAAGGHHH!" Randolph screamed. Fortunately, he was loud enough to attract the attention of the person in the next room, Ainsley Harriott. Ainsley opened the door, saw Randolph being held above Pumkin's mouth, and took action just in time.

    "Hold it right there!" Ainsley shouted. "If you kill 'im, they'll replace ya just like that! And y'know what that means. No more free meals! You'll be back where they found ya, and last I 'eard, the Stouttish Islands are bein' swept by police!"

    Pumkin paused, and it looked over to Ainsley.

    "Trust me mate," he continued, "ain't nothin' worse than bitin' the hand that feeds ya. I've been there. Who knew askin' for a pay rise could've been so offensive? ...I bloody hate the BBC."

    Pumkin's closed its mouth and tossed Randolph aside.

    "I'm very useful. Give me the money. Give me the free food."

    Ainsley shrugged. "Don't look at me. We gotta find a way to contact that grinch fella."

    Randolph got up, adjusted his hat and stormed out of the room.

    "Oi, where ya goin'?" Ainsley shouted after him.

    "To get paid!" Randolph shouted back as he marched down the corridor.


    A few hours later, Randolph observed the progress the various crash survivors were making from a hilltop, as the sun rose over Meme World. A hatch on the side of BONES's ship opened, and the other Dongers came out to witness the morning, hopeful that another of Zrintch's ships would have arrived overnight to pick them up. There was a collective sigh of disappointment from everyone but Pumkin, who instead said "No! I don't want that!" before going back inside. Randolph considered rejoining them, but reminded himself that he had vowed not to until he'd gotten paid. For too long had he been on the receiving end on the others' cruel jokes, for too long he had laid his life on the line for them with no gratitude, and no pay!

    While Randolph trembled with rage, he noticed something so bizarre it made him completely forget about his woes, at least for the time being. At the bottom of the hill he was sitting on, Snoo, the "Reddit Alien", regurgitated memes into Sasha "The Meme Kid"'s mouth like a bird mother would feed its young. Once this ritual was complete, Sasha took an "upvote" out of his pocket and jammed it into Snoo's anus. King Harkinian made a shocked face , while an elderly news reporter nearby called it "Absolutely disgusting". However horrific it was, this transfer of memes gave Randolph an idea. He immediately got up and ran down the hill towards Snoo, waving his arms to get its attention, but he slipped on a discarded banana peel halfway. He tumbled down the hill, coming to a stop at Snoo's feet, winded but otherwise alright. The cartoon alien stared at him, waiting for him to get his breath back. Randolph eventually pulled himself up and grabbed Snoo by the shoulders.  

    "Alright, you disgusting, macabre creature, answer me this. Can you connect me to the internet?" he panted.

    Snoo simply stared back at him with its usual idiotic smile, so Randolph continued. "Well, what else would that antenna on your head be for?"

    The alien nonchalantly grabbed its own head-antenna and wiggled it around in response. Randolph heard it chant "subscribe to le reddit /r/all" a few times before its pupils disappeared and were replaced with tiny projections of the front page of Reddit. Even though Randolph came from a planet that ran on magic, he had never seen sorcery like this, so he asked it for help. Snoo said "Victoria will be here to assist you shortly. RemindMe! 2 minutes" so Randolph figured that meant he ought to sit back and wait.


    Ten minutes later, there was a banging on the hatch of the Ayy-Lmalium ship, so Billy Mays opened it up. Randolph burst in with a grin on his face and addressed the team.

    "Pack your things, hooligans! We're finally getting off this godforsaken planet, all thanks to Reddit!"

    Jesse Ventura approached him and folded his arms with a glare. "Red-it? Sounds like what I'm gonna do to your ass if you don't pull it together soon, Moloch."


    "You were missing from the ship-wide census we took this morning. If you want off the team, all you have to do is say so, and I can replace you faster than Nixon was after the Watergate scandal!"

    Randolph opened his mouth to reply calmly, but then clenched his teeth and spoke with a hint of anger. "I might just have Asved you all!"

    "Is that so?"

    "It is indeed! When that... that thing over there," Randolph said while pointing to Pumkin, "made it clear that I was not to sleep tonight, I figured I might as well do something to help get us out of this rut while awake. I'm no engineer, and never learned how to communicate via magic, so I went to ask elsewhere for help. Luckily, I found that the Reddit mascot was more than happy to help!"

    "Like how?" Ventura grunted.

    "He connected me to Reddit, where I submitted a question on /r/grinchmeetups as to how I could get in contact with Zrintch. Luckily for me, someone knew who he was, and sent him a message on my behalf. Apparently, he replied, saying that he's sending one of his lieutenants over with a mobile workshop with tools and raw materials to help us restore communications and get us back in the air."

    Soldier looked over Ventura's shoulder and grinned. "You did good son, real good! Ah, the world of tomorrow..."

    Billy Mays appeared beside him and gave Randolph a thumbs-up. "I second that! Maybe we should go thank this Reddit fella ourselves."

    Ventura shrugged. "Let's just hope that we don't end up with yet another crashed alien ship on our hands. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was some kind of conspiracy..."

    Randolph rolled his eyes and walked past the ageing ex-governor to go to his room and rest.

    Billy Mays opened the hatch of the ship and stepped out, embracing the feeling of natural light on his face. He reflected on his achievements, and reminded himself that he was lucky to be alive, following the cancer scare he had had. Unfortunately, when he opened his eyes, what he saw made him maybe wish that he wasn't.

    In front of him was Snoo, the Reddit alien, regurgitating memes into Sacha's mouth. When the smell of rotten memes reached Mays's nostrils, he recoiled in disgust. He recognized that smell... a musty, decaying odor. It was more than just decaying memes... it was the smell of cancer. As he looked over to his comrade, he could see that the Soldier was equally disgusted, as he grabbed the shovel from his back and gripped its handle firmly in both hands.

    "That... son of a BITCH is feeding kids cancer!!!" Mays screamed, pointing a shaking finger at Snoo. The alien looked at him and waved with its fingerless, two-dimensional hand.

    "Let's crush that alien scum!" Soldier yelled, and cried a battle cry as he and Mays charged at Snoo. A gust of wind blew the ship's hatch shut, blocking the Dongers' view of the battle. Despite this, they could all hear the sound of the alien mascot getting the shit beaten out of it.

    An awkward silence lingered among the others until the door to the debriefing room, at the end of the corridor, opened. A group of joke characters that most of the Dongers had never seen before walked out to meet them. Ayy LeMao beckoned Ventura to crouch down so that he could whisper something in his ear. Ventura raised an eyebrow, stood back up and banged on the wall to get everyone's attention.

    "Alright Dongers," he began, "my little green friend here tells me that these weirdos are gonna be the bulk of Lord Zrintch's second strike team... the Wang Gang."

    Saitama didn't seem fazed, only responding with "ok", but the others quietly talked among themselves.

    "What do you mean, second team?!" No Image Guy protested. "I thought we'd been doing just fine by ourselves!"

    "This decision has nothing to do with your performance. As it turns out, there are more threats out there to galactic peace than Zrintch originally thought, and a strike team can only strike in one place at once." Ventura responded.

    Suddenly, there was a puff of purple smoke and Merasmus appeared in the middle of the gathering, looking just as crazed as he usually does.


    "Who said that?!" The Cataractor shouted as he swung his walking stick at Merasmus's shin. There was a cracking sound, and the wizard cried out in pain, falling onto his side and holding his knee.

    "Aaagh! Who told you to do that...?!" Merasmus whimpered. He took a moment to hide the pain, then hopped away on his other leg, with his parting words being something about hiding and healing.

    "Impressive, very nice!" Bateman said. Ayy and Ventura nodded in agreement.

    The question mark on No Image Guy's face grew bigger. "So, who's the leader of the other team?"

    "That'd be me, innit?" Hungry-man boasted as he pushed his way past the others to come into view.

    "Who the heck are you?"

    "It don't matter who oi am. What matters is me plan. To 'elp me old pal Skelly Bones get back on his bony feet!"

    The Dongers and Wangers then gathered round and starting introducing themselves to one another. Ainsley was surprised to see his former neighbour The Fresh Prince of Fresh Fruit as part of the Wang Gang, and Ventura felt the same when reunited with a Car Guard who was under his command when he was warden of Supermax 429. The Guy Who Was Engulfed in Milk gave the Shell-Shocked Cat some milk to drink, and Saitama and TTT discussed their past battles against evil.

    Suddenly, a beeping sound rang through the ship, and an automated message in the Ayy-Lmalium language started playing through the speakers. Understanding it as a signal that someone was trying to contact them, Ayy ran to the communications deck, followed by curious Dongers and Wangers. The alien technicians working on restoring power to communications had obviously made some progress, as the large screen mounted on the wall of the deck began displaying a pixelated image instead of just static.

    "Finally, contact!" Randolph exclaimed, though his initial joy quickly subsided when he and the others heard the crackled audio coming through the speakers. "Is that... what is that?"

    Ventura stepped forward and furrowed his brow. He had heard that sound before, years ago, not too long after he escaped from Earth aboard a stolen space shuttle. The screen flickered, and just for a second, the video feed stabilized before going back to a blurry mess. "You!" Ventura said while pointing to one of the technicians, "Can you stabilize the transmission?"

    The ayylium squeaked at him as if to say "I'm trying my best!" and began to fiddle with some controls on the back of the screen. Some of the other ayyliums went over to the Co-operative maker, where they made finer tools that were more suitable for work on advanced equipment, and brought them over to the main technician. The technician squeaked in appreciation and used the new tools to operate on the back. A few tweaks later and the video feed began to stabilize. All the Dongers and Wangers gathered round to watch the video, with the exception of Soldier and Mays, who were still out exacting vigilante justice. When it had finished buffering, the laughing face of a human filled the screen in ultra-high definition, causing the least hardened characters to jump back in surprise, but the most surprised of all were Jesse Ventura and Car Guard, for they had seen that face before.

    "Kevin Douglas?!" Ventura said, pushing past the others to be the closest to the screen. "Kevin fucking Douglas? Are you kidding me?"

    "Hahahaha!" Douglas laughed as he threw back his head and took another sip of his orange juice. When he looked back towards his camera, and saw Ventura and Car Guard on his monitor, the laughter changed to "Oh shit". Oh shit, indeed. Douglas had been dispatched by Zrintch to these co-ordinates, but he had not been following the developments of the grinch's strike teams at all, so he had no idea that Ventura was part of one.

    "Where the fuck have you been?" Ventura ranted. "You were supposed to back me up on the Subject 06 case!"

    Douglas rubbed his hair sheepishly. "Where the fuck have I been?" Where the fuck have I been... you guys, I'm so sorry! I left all of you high and dry! It actually wasn't my fault."

    "Is that true?" Car Guard asked Ventura. The ex-governor clenched his fists.

    "Like hell it is! Me and Kevin used to be like brothers. Noble warriors holding back the evil hordes at the threshold of sanity! When I became warden of Supermax 429, he became vice-warden. Together we used to monitor the entities entrusted to our care, and Douglas would snap photos of them to make "Aumms" on the internet. Then one day, something terrible happened. Turns out Subject 06... codenamed "Crack Jag"... was feeding one of the scientists cookies with some kind of hallucinogenic drug in them during his therapy sessions. The scientist went crazy... talking some shit about enlightenment and beat the others in his team to death with a radiator pipe! It was some grim shit... and the Galactic Government higher-ups were gonna start asking all kinds of questions if they found out. Like, how could such a bad security breach happen in one of the most secretive prisons in the GG?"

    "So what did you do?"

    "What did I do? I'll tell you what I did, son. I tried to cover that shit up! I made plans with Douglas to throw the scientists' bodies out the airlock and fake emails about them taking shore leave. And what did that bastard do? He goes and takes some shore leave of his own, leaving me to sort out that mess myself! I tried calling him, but he didn't pick up so I came to the conclusion that, well, he must have left with the intention of pinning the blame on me. Luckily enough, he'd inadvertently left me with all the means to turn the tide. I realized that if I said that the security breaches were his fault for not checking them, and were located in his block, I'd stand a chance of getting off clean!"

    Car Guard pulled up a chair, sat down and rested his chin on his hand. "So, where did you go, Kevin? Did you really take a vacation?"

    The party-loving entrepreneur laughed nervously on the viewscreen. "Lemme explain something to you real quick. Jesse, called Mark Zuckerberg, and they uh... for lack of a better term... "took care of me". Yeah, they wiped me off the internet completely. My assets took a huge, huge dive..."

    "Why'd you wipe him off the internet?" Car Guard asked Ventura.

    "I didn't. I asked Zuckerberg to check his online activity, to see if he'd checked in anywhere on Facebook that he shouldn't. I thought that maybe he would have left a trail to wherever he was headed."

    "Why didn't you just look at his wall yourself?"

    "Me? Facebook? Are you shitting me? I'M JESSE VENTURA! I live off the grid! No government can find me! You got that?"

    "I... uh.. seems a little paran-"


    Car Guard rubbed his forehead. "So why'd his account get deleted then?"

    "Zuckerberg found that Douglas had been violating the terms of service by posting photos of himself with drunk, half-naked young women every Friday night. With no censors."


    "Hey c'mon guys," Douglas interjected, "let's not dwell on all the bullshit that's happened... enough about how I'm doing, I wanna know how you guys are doing! I miss you guys! We had a good thing going, and then your boss just goes AFK! He went AWOL! Fuck!"

    "You're not the boss of me!" Ventura shouted, rolling up his sleeves and stepping forward aggressively. Ross Mandell held him back, saying that it was not his time just yet.

    "But yeah... I'm back! I'm fuckin' back!" Douglas laughed, and took another swig of his orange juice. "I'm gonna do a u-turn and park this baby right next to yours, and um... I want every one of you to send me friend requests. Oh yeah, every single fuckin' one of ya. I'm back on FB, so we're gonna be the same tight community we always were, right gang?" He said while pointing to Ventura and Car Guard, who rolled his eyes. The transmission then cut out, and the Dongers and Wangers dispersed.

    Ventura and his team left the ship to see the battered body of Snoo, still being punched and kicked by Soldier and Mays. However, they were soon distracted from their task by the arrival of a relatively small vessel that looked somewhat like a Repulsorlift gunship , but with sides that opened to reveal large racks full of sophisticated technological equipment that the Ayy-Lmaliums had lost their designs for when their ship first crashed on Meme World. Kevin Douglas could be seen in the cockpit window, rocking to some tunes and updating his Facebook status. Ventura folded his arms as he observed the ayyliums grab some tools and raw materials and continue to work on the ship, but at a vastly increased rate this time. He figured he'd deal with Douglas later; right now, he had to check that everyone was accounted for and that the fruits of their labour - the Travel Glove, the Mask and the Dedotated Wam - were safe and sound in the vault of the ship. Ventura stepped back inside, humming the tune of Conspiracy Theory, and shut the hatch door behind him.


    "What do you mean, PAYMENT?!" Ade bellowed, gripping the sides of her wheelchair with her cybernetic arms. The Terugan captain bowed her head and took a deep breath. It had been a long week for her. She'd taken back her ship from the oppressive grasp of the ZFT, been ejected from the hangar of another spaceship mid-flight, and broke her legs after bouncing off a huge, trampoline-like surface all within a week. Now she was arguing with a cow over who got to keep the waste processor of a giant-sized toilet.

    Kartouche the jazz-playing cow gave an condescending moo as if to say that he wouldn't be giving it up for free. A team of ten Ta'har had carried the cuboid matter converter of Hungry-man's log cabin's toilet all the way to the Jet-Ball II, which is where they were now, and Kartouche's English-speaking bodyguards were trying to negotiate a deal with its captain. Ade rummaged through her pockets, but found nothing but pocket sand and expired shopping vouchers. Kartouche waited for a while, unimpressed, but eventually got bored of watching her turn her pockets inside-out again and again. He gave another moo, which a bodyguard translated for her. "Well, it looks like we won't be working together. No regrets."

    Kartouche and his bodyguards turned and began to walk back to the camp site as the Ta'har groaned in disappointment, knowing that they would now have to spend even longer in the custody of these idiots before they could get back home to Tybion. Together they lifted the generator up again and began the long walk back to the camp site.


    When night fell that day, Jesse Ventura, Hungry-man, BONES and Kevin Douglas gathered around the brand new communications array that the Ayy-Lmaliums had constructed in the control deck of the ship. One of the ayyliums switched the array on and tested it out by sending an encoded message to Co-operative space, millions of light years away. A message on a nearby screen confirmed that the message had been sent, but that its system could not calculate when it would arrive.

    "Well that was pointless." Ventura grumbled. "Why'd we go into all the trouble of building a new communications system if it only transmits slightly faster than the last one?... wait a second, how'd you get to Meme World so fast in the first place, Douglas?"

    The laid-back aumm-trepreneur lifted his sunglasses up to mockingly stare at Ventura. "My ship can travel via portals. Portals go far."

    "Huh. Well then, maybe when we get this ship off the ground, you can get us a portal to Zrintch's place for us to fly through."

    "Ooh! No can do, sorry man."

    "Well why the hell not?"

    Douglas cleared his throat and straightened his collar. "Umm... well, like, I don't actually know where he lives. I get all my new assignments relayed through my ship's computer. I've never even met the guy, but my resume must have looked good enough for him to hire me anyway."

    "The little green aliens know where he lives, they'll give you the co-ordinates."

    The ayyliums shook their heads frantically and Douglas shuffled awkwardly in his seat. "Look, Jesse, I'm got some pretty impressive tech on my ship, but it can only create portals wide enough for me to go through. I gotta lot of baggage, y'know?"

    "God DAMN IT!" Ventura yelled, slamming his fist on a nearby table. BONES took his left arm off and poked the ex-governor with it, telling him to take it easy. Ventura sighed, and was about to retreat to his quarters, when Hungry-man displayed a rare moment of brilliance.

    "w8 a minite" The overweight, 'human' man blurted out in his Yorkshire accent, "don't u 'ave that dedicated ram or whateva the fock it woz? power the fockin' thing up wiv it!"

    Ventura looked at him and grinned. "Not bad. I'm starting to... well, 'like' is a bit strong, so... I'm starting to accept you, you strange, hungry man. You! Alien! Go get the Wam from the vault and bring it here!"

    The LGAM Ventura shouted at nodded and ran off. It returned a minute or so later with the ever-shifting, seemingly formless Dedotated Wam. Ventura grabbed the battery cover of the communications array and ripped it off with his bare hands. He then took its oversized batteries out and beckoned the alien to hand him the Wam. Just as he was about to ram the Wam into the power receiver, he stopped, and turned to the others for insight. "Uh... guys. I'm no technician, but won't this thing only be able to power one part of the ship at once?"

    "Who the hell knows?" BONES rattled. "The only expert we had on the Wam was that retarded dwarf, and he got eaten by Wiseau's dragon."

    Ventura bit his lip and looked between the Dedotated Wam and his loyal comrades. "Fuck it," he said, gripped the Wam with both hands, and pulled. The Dedotated Wam split in half, filling the room with blinding light. When the glare subsided, The group noticed that Ventura now held one half of the Wam in each hand, each one manifesting in reality as a slightly-less intense ball of light than it did when it was whole. Ventura put one half into the power receiver of the communications array, and handed the other half to one of the LGAMs for it to power up the engines with. The communications array started humming ecstatically, a sign that it had accepted the new power source. As if on cue, a message popped up on the screen that informed them that the message they had tried to send to Lord Zrintch earlier had now been received thanks to their signal boost.

    BONES gave Ventura a disapproving glare through his vacant eye sockets. "You're lucky that worked, old man. I'll let you off this time just because it did, but that could have gone horribly wrong. Imagine if it blew up in our faces!"

    "I took a gamble and it paid off. I'm JESSE VENTURA, luckiest man on the east coast!" Ventura grinned, and sat back down in his chair next to mr. skeltal.

    Kevin Douglas looked up from his smartphone. "So, Zrintch got our message. What now?"

    "Now we wait." BONES chattered.


    A couple hours later, a beeping noise alerted the weary leaders that the ship had received a video file. Kevin Douglas walked over to the computer and pressed play. The default screen that bore Zrintch's insignia was immediately replaced with a darkened video of the Sith Lord himself. The video opened with an extended cough, after which he smiled at the camera and put the tips of his fingers together, resting his elbows on the table in front of him.

    "Dongers," The grinch spoke in his usual, croaky voice. "You have done well. Few would so willingly let themselves be thrust into the unknown, to venture to a place where all that you know about the universe no longer applies. And now, you will do it all again. One of my informants has learned of a place that contains an artefact able to impose complete and utter balance between light and darkness within a chosen area. Its name is the Keruvim, and it will be vital to our cause. My informant tells me that it is kept on a planet named Vizima, not too far from your present location. Its co-ordinates will be downloaded to your ship's computer alongside this video file. As for the planet's defences, or those who guard the Keruvim... I know nothing, but I trust you will get the job done. To clarify, this mission, should you accept it, is for both strike teams... but I'm tripling the Dongers' pay as an extra incentive after the body count the last mission racked up. End transmission."

    The video cut out, and Ventura, BONES, and Hungry-man looked at each other with quiet anticipation. The LGAM from earlier returned to tell them that the co-ordinates to Vizima had been entered into the ship's database and that they had already calculated a flight pattern there.

    "And the engines?" BONES asked. "Is the Wam compatible?"

    The alien squeaked "Yes", and BONES got off his chair and did a happy little jig. After all this time, Dongers and Wangers alike were finally able to leave Meme World and venture into a new frontier. But could the same be said about the others on Meme World?


    Ventura and Douglas shook hands outside the ship as the latter prepared to leave Meme World in his own ship. While the ex-governor wasn't quite ready to forgive Douglas's reckless behaviour back at Supermax 429, he realized that his presence at least sped up the process of building the second ship for the Wang Gang, and that is something he should be thankful for.

    "Add me all on Facebook!" Douglas shouted down to the small crowd that had gathered around his ship as he climbed into the cockpit. "Every single fuckin' one of ya!"

    "I'm off the grid... but maybe one day." Ventura replied. Douglas gave him an army salute, and disappeared from view. The doors and windows of Douglas's ship locked up, its propulsion engines kicked in, and it lifted up off the ground and into the sky. After the crowd observed the ship shoot a portal into the sky which it then vanished into, they went back to whatever it was they were doing before. Ventura wondered why Big Man Tyrone had not sent them a message thanking them for their heroic efforts this time, so he figured that he must be swamped with video orders. He began to walk back towards the Dongers' ship, but paused when he heard someone shout his name. He turned around to see a white-skinned Terugan woman roll towards him in a wheelchair.

    "I'm Ventura. Have we met?"

    The woman squinted. "No, but someone told me your name. I heard that you're about to leave this place... whatever it is. I thought you were having difficulty with your engines?"

    "We got them fixed."

    "...Uh-huh. Is that why they're glowing a different colour now, and twice as bright as before?"

    "We... upgraded. Who exactly are you, again?"

    "Name's Ade. I run the TSS Jet-Ball II. You know, the ship that you guys kindly took inside your hangar when we blew up our warp core to save your asses back at Teruga Prime?"

    "Doesn't ring a bell."

    "Yeah. Figured it wouldn't. Well you might not care about me or my crew, but there's a war going on back home that you started, and last time I looked, you guys weren't exactly best friends with the ZFT either."

    "What's your point?"

    "I need to get me and my crew home. Not just to our families so they know that we're alive, but to make sure those evil bastards don't regain control of our planet. If you tell me what you did to your engines... or maybe just give me enough money to buy one from that selfish cow Kartouche... we can get back to Teruga Prime and make sure that the ZFT hold one less planet in their grip. It's a win-win for both of us!"

    Ventura took a deep breath and sat down on a nearby log. "Listen lady, the ZFT isn't really my business. I went in with my team and did what I was paid to do. It wasn't personal."

    "But you knew that you were doing the right thing!" Ade retorted. "I can see it in your eyes. You're not a soulless mercenary. You're a war hero. You fight for what is right, not just for cash in hand."

    The ex-governor shifted uncomfortably, but Ade continued laying into him, putting one of her cybernetic hands in his and wheeling herself closer. "You can save my people. All you have to do is help me."

    Ventura opened his mouth to respond, but ended up stammering instead and breaking away. Ade's expression turned from one of desperation to one of anger in an instant. "Fine! You don't wanna help me? I'll get Yon to do it instead!"

    When she began to wheel herself away, Ventura managed to spit his words out. "He's dead! Yon's dead..."

    "W-what...?" Ade gasped. She turned around again and put her hand over her mouth. "How?"

    "He died saving the people of this world from a corrupt monster. In doing so, we gained the source of his power, a mask that allows us to temporarily change reality around us. Because of him, we gained another artefact we can use to save the universe."

    "I... I see..." Ade mumbled. "I was hoping he would tell my people of his deeds, how he liberated my ship from the ZFT, how he braved the vacuum of space to destroy them, and how he selflessly took us on board as refugees. If they knew that one Terugan could do all that, it'd give them fresh hope for the future. Who will do it now?"

    Ventura gave an exasperated sigh, and retrieved a pen and a chequebook from his pocket. "How much is this new engine of yours?"

    Ade grinned. "I doubt Kartouche would let it go for anything less than three million credits. You know what musicians are like."

    "THREE MILL- You know what, fine. If it'll get that... alien... puppy-dog eye of yours to stop staring me down, fine." Ventura wrote out a cheque for three million to Brown Cow Productions, Kartouche's personal record label, and handed it over. Filled with relief, Ade grabbed his collar and pulled him in for a kiss. Once the moment had passed, the Terugan captain broke away and wheeled herself away to Kartouche's tent. Stunned, Ventura wiped his lips and turned around to see Ross Mandell smiling at him with a thumbs-up.

    "You tell anyone about this, and I'll feed you your balls for breakfast, Mandell." Ventura growled. Mandell simply laughed to himself and walked away.


    "Here's your bloody payment." Ade said, rubbing the cheque over Kartouche's snout. One of his bodyguards snatched it out of her hand, looked over it, and then held it up for the cow to see. Kartouche read it and mooed, after which one of his bodyguards looked at Ade and nodded. A grin spread over her face.

    "Alright. I'll tell the guys at base camp to bring it over." The bodyguard said nonchalantly. He then tapped on his earpiece and spoke into it. "Hey, it's Parkman. We've got the money for the engine, so you can tell the prisoners to bring it to the ship."

    Ten minutes or so later, the same defeated Ta'har from earlier returned, carrying the huge matter recycler on their backs like before. The crew of the Jet-Ball II climbed back inside the ship in order to open the docking ramp to allow the Ta'har to enter, and fix the place up. A couple of Terugans also carried Ade on her wheelchair inside the ship so she could monitor the core replacement.

    In just half an hour, the technicians on board succeeded in reprogramming the device to generate an infinite loop of energy that could power the ship in place of an engine. The Jet-Ball II righted itself almost immediately after activation, and it hovered above the strange, cushion-like surface it had previously been laying on when its new engine powered up. Sitting back in the captain's chair, Ade ordered the ship's pilots to fly it over to the Tybion survivors' camp, and then settle it down on the ground there one last time. As it did, the ship belonging to the Dongers/Wangers flew over the hills behind it and into the sky, entering hyperspace and disappearing. The Jet-Ball II's ramp extended in front of the camp, and Ade wheeled down it to greet its inhabitants. Buttman, Full-man, Pootisman and others approached the ship with awe, surprised to see it working again.

    "Alright," Ade began, "it looks like we're your last chance to leave this place, so I'm going to do what a man did for me about a week ago and extend a hand to you all, to come aboard in good faith. However, there's something we have to do before we drop you back on Tybion or wherever it is you came from. There's a war going on on our home planet right now, and we intend to fight in it. Each moment that passes, more of our people die, so this is when you choose. Will you stay here... wherever this is... or help us?"

    The crash survivors talked among themselves for a few minutes before they all came to their decisions. "I'm just waitin' for me mate," James said, signifying that he wanted to stay. Mr. Blobby and Pootisman seemed to be having the time of their lives, flapping about and screaming sentence-mixed obscenities, so Ade took that to mean that they were staying too. A group of Happy People declared that they were happier on Meme World than ever before, and Dolan agreed with them, with an axe hidden behind his back. Dennis, too, decided to stay, as he said he would find his own way back to the Milky Way if or when he was needed.

    However, some characters did step up to the opportunity to get back home, namely Hassan-ill-Sabah, Space Ryan Gosling, Buttman, Full-man, Caged Gorilla, Caged Pills, the TF2 Sniper, a HYDRA devotee and Bane and his men. Kartouche didn't really want to leave, but his bodyguards convinced him by telling him that Meme World didn't hold the kind of riches that were available to him back home. Confused Man was too confused to make a decision, so the HYDRA devotee took advantage of him by taking him with him, with a plan to induct him into HYDRA's ranks when they returned home. When she saw Bane gather his men and talk to them privately, Ade suspected that the big guy had a master plan too, but she didn't really care what it was as long as he didn't pose any immediate danger to her or her crew. With any luck, she thought she could direct Bane's strength towards her enemies, if not at all.

    Ade led her new allies up the ship's ramp, and it folded up behind them. The Jet-Ball II's repulsors kicked into gear and the vessel lifted off the ground and turned to point towards the sky. Hassan, Bane, Sniper and the others walked into the bridge to observe Meme World's sky, perhaps for the last time. Two Terugan crewmembers lifted Ade out of her wheelchair chair and put her down into the command chair that she belonged in.

    "Are you ready?"

    "Of coursh!" Bane said confidently, while holding the straps of his vest.

    "We don't have all bloody day!" Sniper agreed.

    Ade nodded, and gave the command. The Jet-Ball II's engines kicked into gear, causing the ship to vanish into hyperspace, leaving Meme World forever.


    A lightning bolt soared through the blackness of space in another part of the universe, followed by hundreds of blinking red lights, all travelling at the same speed. After countless hours of interstellar travel, the lights finally located, and homed in on, a planet within their scanning range: Dekan. The lights descended into the atmosphere of the murky green world, curving around the hemisphere and scanning for something else this time: Anime. Once their scans were complete, the lightning bolt struck the surface of the world and changed into a human-sized figure. Boltman had arrived.

    The yellow fellow's permanent, exaggerated grin masked his disappointment as he checked the results of the scan. No anime characters, items or plot elements had been detected anywhere on the planet. His loyal army of YONBOTS landed behind him, waiting for instruction. Just as he was about to give the command to leave the planet, he noticed what was above the swamp in front of him: a floating steampunk-styled ship that appeared to be encased within some kind of enormous bubble. A Bullet Bill-style face was scrawled messily onto the front of the ship, with various pictures of weapons and explosives painted over the rest. A cyborg girl with cartoonish proportions stood at the front of the ship, aiming an oversized revolver at a purple-clothed woman, frozen in mid-air with an energy ball forming in her hand. Boltman cared not about these bizarre characters, or even how they came to be trapped in some kind of time-bubble, but all the drawings of weapons scrawled over the ship caught his attention. While his YONBOT allies were powerful, they had a finite amount of ammunition, so this might be a good place to stock up.

    Boltman scanned the bubble and the ground around it, looking for a way to get inside the ship. A moment passed, and Boltman  detected a small metal box hidden in the grass nearby. He walked over, picked it up, and examined in an attempt to find out what it was. Unfortunately, the box seemed to be made out of a substance unknown to him, with the only words written on it translating to "Property of the Users". Boltman tossed it in front of him and destroyed it with his eyebeams, creating a small explosion.

    At that moment, the time-bubble collapsed, and the figures trapped inside it resumed their fight. The purple woman threw the blast of magical energy she had been charging at the cyborg-girl at the same time she fired her revolver. The bullet from the revolver tore straight through the woman's head, killing her instantly, while the cyborg-girl still had time to jump over her dead opponent's magic blast. The blast struck a part of the ship, causing only minor damage. When cyborg-girl landed back on her feet, she immediately swung the revolver towards Boltman and his army.

    "Who in the hell are you? I ain't hear sneak up on me. Nobody sneaks up on me!" She squeaked.

    A list of optional voice responses formed in Boltman's robotic mind, Terminator-style. Not really being bothered to think, he chose a random one from the list. "Fuck you asshole!"

    "Oh, so you wanna fight, do ya?" The girl goaded. "Hey Double, come take a look at these losers!"

    What appeared to be a nun approached the boat's railings, coming into the YONBOTS' view. She looked over the side and frowned.

    "Give us your weapons." Boltman said robotically while telepathically commanding the YONBOTS to aim their own.

    "Tell ya what. If you can fight me one-on-one, and win, I'll give you one of my best. How's that sound?" The cyborg-girl said, jumping over the rail of the ship and landing in front of the yellow fellow. She grinned, and spun around her revolver in anticipation.

    Boltman responded by raising a hand and firing a lightning bolt at her face. Upon impact, the girl's head exploded, and her lifeless body stumbled backwards into a murky puddle. "No."

    A shocked silence fell over the swamp for a few moments while Double, the nun, took in what just happened. Boltman's eyes glowed through his sunglasses, and he floated up towards the ship, generating another lightning bolt in his hand. Double snapped back to reality and started to transform. The nun form was torn away to reveal a writhing, floating mass of flesh and bone that looked like three or so humans fused together, with one single eye on the side of its head.

    The YONBOT army flew above the ship, behind their leader, to observe the coming battle. Boltman commanded them to charge their weapons and fire at the monster, but they found themselves unable to. Their systems were struck with an unknown error linked to their facial recognition software. Apparently, their programming prevented them from firing upon anything that had one eye in the head region.

    Their hesitation was bad news for Boltman. When he was distracted trying to work out what caused his minions to stop in their tracks, the right side of Boltman's chest was ripped upon by a spiky, fleshy tentacle owned by Double. The tentacle swung again, preparing for another strike, but this time it had Boltman's attention. He grabbed it with his left hand mid-swing and severed it from the main entity with his eyebeams. When Double screamed in pain, he flung the lightning bolt in his right hand like a javelin. The bolt hit the entity in the midsection, causing a part of it to explode in a shower of blood. The rest of Double flung itself forward at the YONBOTS' leader, and Boltman met the challenge. The two titans grappled in mid-air, exchanging punches and kicks. Double tried to draw Boltman into its body with more of its tentacles, but he simply ripped them off either with his eyebeams or brute force. Boltman attempted to fly out so that he could bombard the monster with lightning bolts from above, but it grabbed his leg and slammed him into the floor of the ship's deck. He rolled onto his back, grabbed the cloth covering the monster's stomach, and ripped it off, exposing four additional eyes bursting out of it. Neither Double nor Boltman realized it, but the yellow fellow had won.

    Now that the additional eyes of Double had been exposed, the YONBOTS realized that it was not a monocular creature, and therefore, was safe to purge with extreme prejudice. The mechanical irises of the robots powered up, and hundreds of eyebeams simultaneously laid into the monster, freeing Boltman from its grasp. Double screamed as it was blasted against the metallic railings of the ship, and when it was heated enough, exploded into a shower of gore. Boltman stood up and did a victory dance, as did the YONBOTS in the air.

    Over the next few minutes, the interior of the ship was breached and raided of all its weapons and ammunition. The YONBOTS, now equipped with a wide variety of oversized explosive weapons, flew into the sky as their leader detonated the rest behind him. While Boltman had not purged any anime-related things today, he had at least developed a deeper understanding of his minions, as well as supplied them with extra weaponry. "It's a good thing they don't know I'm not blind in one eye," he thought, wondering if they would still be as loyal to him if they knew the truth. As Boltman exited the atmosphere of Dekan with his army, he transformed into his lightning-bolt form, and shot into space, bound for parts unknown.


    Boltman passed by a great many things while travelling through space. One of those things was a pitch-black sphere, about the size of a caravan, unmoving from its place in the abyss. This peace was interrupted when an interdimensional portal opened beside it and a dark, humanoid figure emerged. The figure rested both his hands on the sphere, and took a deep breath of nothingness.

    "So it is true," the figure thought, "Eclipse has succumbed to darkness. How ironic."

    Reaching inside his pitch-black robes, Genetoes took out what looked like a lighter and flicked it. A flame burned despite the absence of air. The Time Guardian-turned-Destroyer held the flame to Eclipse's frozen shell. Within moments, the dormant Living Star caught on fire, his aura reignited. Eclipse roared, and the fire on his skin was drawn towards his face, with the flames forming an eyes and mouth for him to see through. Eclipse turned to Genetoes and looked him up and down.

    "Welcome back, master." Genetoes said telepathically. "We are needed again."


    One week later...

    A shadowed figure sat in a darkened room, watching a news report on a modified television set. He clicked his fingers over the side of his chair, and what looked like a cross between an anthropomorphic cat and a rabbit walked up to him to give him a bottle of beer. The figure in the chair snatched the bottle, broke the cap off, took a swig, and gestured to the TV. "What do you think about this, then?"

    "Why the fuck should I care?" the cat-rabbit creature spoke with evident disgust. "Fucking humans. I hate humans so fucking much. I wish they'd just fucking die with their... smooth skin and fancy clothes! Scum of the fucking universe." The creature then grabbed the carpet and started coughing. After a few moments, it coughed out a hairball covered in poisonous slime. "See? That's how sick they make me."

    "They're not all bad," the figure in the chair said with a grin, gesturing to a photograph of Gabriel Ascheron that was pinned to a cork board. "Also, you better clean that shit up."

    The cat-rabbit growled and fetched some disinfectant and a pan to clean its mess up with. When the deed was done, the creature left the room, leaving the figure in the chair to focus on the TV.

    "This is Neil Matheson, reporting to you live from the Galactic Government Headquarters!" the reporter shouted amid a crowd of sobbing women, just outside a large door with a sign that read 'KONG'. "For those of you just tuning in, there has been an attack on the Galactic Government's headquarters in deep space. We've been allowed access to the crime scene, but... it isn't pretty, so those of you who are... sensitive, look away now. We're gonna take a look."

    The figure in the chair took another swig of his beer and watched the reporter push past the women and enter the room. The once-immaculately decorated office of Commander-in-Chief Kong had been destroyed. The large window at the end of it that was overlooking a planet had been smashed by someone, likely in an attempt to escape, but had since been pressurized so that nothing else in the room was sucked out into space. It was then that the cameraman turned to look at Kong's desk. The hulking titan of a man was sprawled over his desk, deceased, with a large metallic lightning bolt embedded in his back. The cameraman turned to look at the wall beside him. A rushed drawing of Boltman's face covered it, with the caption "IT BEGINS".

    Back in the darkened room, the figure in the chair crushed the now-empty beer bottle in his hand. He rose up, revealing his head to be long, white and pointed.

    "Boltman... you son of a bitch," Moonman said, leaning forward to press the "off" button on the TV with his pointed head. He then sat back down, crossed his legs and stroked his curved chin with a smug and contemplative smile. The Racist Poison Rabbit Entity Cat re-entered the room and raised a furry eyebrow at him.

    "Did you say Boltman?"

    "Yes. Tell my agent the next album will have to wait," Moonman said as he picked up the M4A1 assault rifle next to his chair and grinned. "We've got more important work to do."

    Last edited by Kon on Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:41 am

    I know it's been months since our last chapter, but here we are!

    Chapter 8: The Enemy of My Enemy….

    In an indiscriminate place in the universe, three beings convened for the purpose of discussing important matters of space-time. They were known as the Chousin , hyperdimensional entities tasked by The Architect himself to maintain the Omniverse so that the Users could focus on developing their characters.  Each of the three entities was tasked with controlling a specific part of the Users’ virtual creation: Washu supervised space, Tsunami oversaw time, and Tokimi maintained balance. They were incredibly powerful when united, but not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent, for they had limitations. For example, they were virtually powerless in the User World, and even more so in the World Beyond (a realm the Users only referred to as “IRL”). Additionally, they could only limit themselves to a handful of universes at a time, sometimes completely blocking themselves from other realms due to their limited perception (the Dark Universe being an example of a world largely untouched by the Chousin). Finally, there were fixed Things in each of their purviews that they could not override without permissions from the Users: Washu could not remove fixed objects in space, Tsunami could not prevent predetermined events in time, Tokimi could not remove preset arbiters. Thus, there were checks and balances when it came to the Chousin.

    The Chousin knew that their obligations and limits would be tested, for the multiverse was facing a crisis. While Malygos’ ascent deeply concerned them, the mage’s descent assuaged the women’s fears. But this crisis was troubling for its implications were catastrophic.

    “His name is Mazkertis,” said Tsunami, breaking the silence. “All I’ve learned about him is that he’s from the Dark Mirror Universe, and that he’s a human wizard. The Users won’t let me look into that timeline, but we know that 50 years ago, he tried to obtain the Keruvim to power a spell that would rewrite history to his liking. The Dark Mirror version of Klak, known to us as D-Klak, was tasked by the Great Beings to stop him. He assembled a group of heroes that included our good friend the Zev of the prime universe, and fought the wizard in a brutal battle. Mazkertis’ vocal cords were damaged, and he was left mute after the incident. Once arrested, the Great Beings’ sentenced him to life in prison, placing him in a nether cell between our universe and the Dark Mirror universe, and occasionally transferring him to a Supermax prison. Uterio di Armechio pulled some strings and put his son, Figlio di Armechio, in charge of psychological analysis, leading our wizard friend to become a victim of cruel experimentation that drove him further insane.”

    “And now he’s escaped,” Washu replied, “He’s been rampaging all over the place, killing hundreds.”

    “Right,” said Tsunami, nodding. “Apparently he needs life force and superpowers to fuel his spells. He wants to erase D-Klak and our Klak from existence. That means that the Uterio War, a fixed event in time, will be ten times worse. Same thing with Pandorica and Malygos’ Ascension.”

    “If memory serves, he has aligned himself with Gabriel Ascheron as well,” Tokimi added. “I bet he’s willing to go back in time and make him emperor of the universe!”

    “And it gets worse,” said Tsunami. “The timeline is already fragile thanks to F-Klak, F-Blackout, and Ynot.”

    She referred to the war between Klak’s futuristic clone and the Blackout from the future that essentially consisted of travelling to various moments in time to manipulate events to their liking, causing various paradoxes here and there. And Ynot undid Klak’s death in a massive battle known as Ragnarok using time travel.

    “With Mazkertis’ chronal powers and his blatant time manipulation,” continued Tsunami, “we risk seeing the timeline unravel itself. Past, present, and future will all occur at once.”

    “That explains all the strange apparitions of figures from various points in time that keep appearing everywhere,” said Washu. “I’m almost certain I saw The Spirit walking around on Earth yesterday. If this gets out of hand the Users will intervene and just reboot everything. We have to stop Mazkertis. What are the Time Guardians doing?”

    “They’ve had their hands tied with other issues, and the only man they sent to take on Mazkertis disappeared,” replied Tsunami with a somber tone. “Luckily, Blackout, Malygos, Ynot, The Claws of the Phoenix, and many others have joined forces to stop him.”

    “You know we can’t count on them,” spat out Washu. “We have to act soon.”

    “Now, now, Washu. I’m sure they’ll be fine if we help them out,” said Tokimi with a smile. “What about the other Users?”

    “User Sarge is exploring reality, The Architect is on some kind of mission, Users Klak, Kon, Zev, and Nif are all working on a secret project of sorts. The others are busy too,” said Washu, shaking her head. “How do you see this turning out, Tsunami?”

    Tsunami could often see glimpses of the future, but when it came to beings that could manipulate time, she could only see possible destinies, not those that are set in stone.

    “Anything can happen. We have to bide our time,” she replied, shaking her head.

    “Right. We wait and see, and think strategically. If we must strike, we will do so furiously.”


    OOS: Note, the following two sections of this chapter take place on the same day as the struggle for the Keruvim on Shinar-Karana.

    Klak landed on Neo Z’traa, anxious to find leads. He had teleported to the surface from Anzu’s ship, which was in orbit (it avoided landing to prevent any radiation getting on it).  As he looked around, he saw three individuals approaching. Klak ran over towards them, and was shocked to find that two of them were Makuta.

    “You,” said Caiaphus, his voice a blend of hatred and joy. “YOU!”

    “I recognize that voice,” replied Klak. “Oh, no. CAIAPHUS?! And you, you’re Ricochet, aren’t you? The one everyone wanted to kill? I’m not even going to ask how you two are alive.”

    “Indeed, I was nearly destroyed on Ragnarok,” Caiaphus paused, his face freezing for a moment in fear. “But a very generous User restored me.”

    “Friend of yours?” asked Max-Eli, slowly reaching for his weapon.

    “Since when do Vrai work with Makuta,” Klak retorted, slowly charging a light blast in his hand. Ricochet pulled out a weapon of his own, scowling at his potential foe.

    “Now then, now then,” Caiaphus said, grinning. “Let us calm ourselves, we can come to an understanding. Can’t we, Klak?”

    “Oh please, I don’t have time for your games, Caiaphus,” Klak answered. “I’m busy with someone who is overshadowing you: a tall, black-robed wizard with a white mask. Have you seen him?”

    “Astonishing, really,” Caiaphus replied with a sneer. “You believe that I can be overshadowed.  You see, Klak, there are many variations of you across the Omniverse, and if there is one truth regarding every single one of them it’s this: for every Klak, there is me. Order and chaos, Klak and Caiaphus. Our destinies are forever intertwined, and thus, I am one of the few who is allowed to destroy you, other than you yourself of course.”

    Klak shook his head.

    “I have forgiven you for many things, but do not for one second mistake that for cowardice or necessity,” he said. “What are you getting at anyway?”

    “I will assist you against this new enemy,” Caiaphus said. “He landed on this very planet not long ago, seemed to be looking for something, but was disappointed when he did not find it.”

    “Sure, you can join us,” Klak responded, then grinned. “Blackout did, so why can’t you?”

    Ricochet widened his eyes at how accepting Klak seemed. Caiaphus sighed angrily upon hearing Blackout’s name. Max-Eli said nothing, for he was still suspicious of Klak, his hand remaining on his weapon.

    “Max-Eli, keep the Vrai forces at bay. Ricochet and I will solve the problem and return soon,” the Makuta ordered.

    As he pondered the wisdom of this decision, Klak received word from a servant of Azrael that Etende, member of the Claws of the Phoenix, was alive, and would meet with them soon. The alliance against Mazkertis was growing and his lost friends were returning, but Klak was wondering whether history will deem it wise they had to side with psychopaths like Caiaphus to get things done.


    Kakamu and Nadle were silent on their trip to Hei Fon 4. The former refused to speak to the latter because of a revelation he found disgusting: Nadle had secretly been communicating with David Robert Jones of ZFT, a man whose schemes had plagued many and nearly put Kakamu and his son Trantoshen in prison. It was unbelievable

    They were taken to the planet by a disguised Takemikazuchi transport as they were avoiding detection. If HYDRA were able to get its agents into Hei Fon, then, in Nadle and Kakamu’s mind, the Republic of Luria would have spies of their own running around.

    It was not until Kakamu hailed a streetcar that they spoke to one another, barely edging out a conversation.

    “Check it out,” he said ironically, pointing to the car. “One is all we need, Nadle.”

    Another period of silence followed once they entered and smiled at the cab driver that recognized the two as famous heroes. Nadle told him of their destination, using the chance to spark a conversation with his associate.

    “At some point we’ll have to address the Kraawa in the room, Kakamu,” said Nadle.

    “We’re in a cab,” replied Kakamu, rolling his eyes. “Look, David Robert Jones threatened my family. That is not something I take lightly. And to see you align yourself with him is just sickening! I thought better of you, Nadle! You were one of the first Makuta, you set trends all of us wanted to follow, but like many of your brethren you fell to darkness. Just when you were climbing into the light, you forsake it with this.”

    “It was for the greater good, Kakamu,” said Nadle, calmly. “He came to me after Ragnarok and we discussed Klak’s future. You know exactly what might happen. It wasn’t an alliance, it was a temporary truce.”

    He leaned forward to emphasize his point.

    “Just like you, I know what horrors that man is capable of, and what the sins of his past are. But I did then what we’ve done now: work together with people like Jones, Blackout, and Malygos to accomplish something grander, far beyond ourselves. We aligned with them to prevent evils like Mazkertis or Uterio. Jones and I in turn considered allowing F-Klak’s rise to come to pass simply because it was a better alternative. Those were the choices we’ve had to make” Nadle said, and then paused. “But I made a mistake. I failed to consider whether or not it would hurt my friends, being so shortsighted and arrogant to think that I could dodge the consequences because I wanted to be some sort of universal guardian. And for that, Kakamu, I apologize.  I am sorry for being so foolish, and I hope you forgive me.”

    Kakamu pondered the apology, and realized he had to do the virtuous thing. Nadle was his friend, and allowing vengeance to consume him would, in the end, make him just like Mazkertis and no different from David Robert Jones.

    “I forgive you Nadle. But promise me something….”

    “Thank you,” replied Nadle with a smile. “What is it?”

    “We will stop Mazkertis, we will stop Blackout, Malygos, David Robert Jones, their allies, and the people who kidnapped me…all of them….for justice,” stated Kakamu. “And we will stop Klak from ever turning too.”

    “Of course, Kakamu,” Nadle said, his face beaming. “We will.”

    The cab arrived at their destination, and both Makuta emerged, paying their driver handsomely. They entered the strange pub-like structure, finding several outlandish characters sitting at various tables, each attending to a different task. They all immediately looked up once Kakamu and Nadle entered, and waved at them, for they all recognized the pair.

    “It’s been too long,” shouted one of the characters, a grin widening on his face. He was a tall and lean man, with slightly messy, dark brown hair and jade green eyes. “How have you two been?”

    This man, despite his laid-back appearance, simple clothes, and carefree demeanor, was royalty, for he was the heir to the Juraian throne. He was also a well-known hero and freelancer, his exploits known far and wide throughout the universe under his just-as-infamous name: Zev Raregroove. He and all those of his crew had recently returned from various missions all recorded in multiple places. They were all there, Namah, Prudence, Mistgun, Viriathus, and many more.

    Even Nu-13, who normally wasn’t associated with the Conquistadores, was present. She was hoping to rally the Conquistadores around the idea of a mission to steal Klak’s toothbrush. Prudence had spent the past hour convincing her that Makuta barely need to brush their teeth when Nadle and Kakamu had walked in.

    “Here and there, Zev,” replied Kakamu. “Here and there!”

    Everyone embraced each other. Even Prudence Franklin, Viriathus, and Namah came by to say hello. The Conquistadores then went back to whatever they were doing, and Zev, Nadle, and Kakamu continued to chat. The pub became rather noisy.

    “Alda, dear, do me a favor and get something for ‘em,” said Zev to a blond woman next to him.

    Alda di Armechio, sister of Figlio di Armechio, and famous sapients-rights activist, smiled and nodded. Her brother had attempted to coerce her into spying on Zev for HYDRA, but she revealed her dire circumstance to the Juraian, who offered to take her under his wing if she assumed the cover of one of his Conquistadors. Many people often noted that she looked just like the famous activist, but they all shrugged it off as a coincidence (not that they would dare get lippy, they wouldn’t want to deal with Namah’s temper). Alda was probably the most servile, often being the first to offer one of Zev’s guests a drink or hors d'oeuvres. This was something that everyone else lamented, for they firmly believed that it would eventually make Zev even lazier.

    “Tell me something,” said Zev, his voice changing to an inquisitive tone. “You aren’t just here visiting, are you? Malygos’ ascent ended, but I bet there’s more going on.”

    “I wish it were that, Zev,” responded Nadle, gravely. “I’m afraid there’s a problem.”

    “Figures,” said Vi, rolling her eyes. “Lots of people screwing up out there in the damned multiverse.”

    “It’s much worse than that. I’ll get right to the heart of the matter,” Nadle said. “Mazkertis has escaped from his prison.”

    Silence spread throughout the pub, all conversations coming to a grinding halt. Even Mistgun, the brave and stoic warrior who faced evil hordes on various worlds unperturbed, widened his eyes in shock.

    “It’s been many years since I’ve heard that name. Crap,” Zev replied, his voice reaching a grave and serious tone. “Fifty years of imprisonment under the Great Beings must have done a number on him. He must be out for revenge.”

    “Didn’t you beat him before, Zev?” asked Prudence, hoping to cheer things up. “We can definitely do it again!”

    “With an army, Prudence,” he said, retaining his tone. “All of us were strong, and even then it was a brutal battle. I know I’ve told the story many times, yes, but it bears repeating. Our other enemies like Ravat may be just as brutal, but they know when to quit. If they get defeated, they retreat to fight another day. They’ll even exercise restraint because they either fear us, or want to keep our rivalry alive. But Mazkertis? He is a persistent person, full of rage, and stubborn. He’ll keep coming at you no matter how many times you’ve knocked him down. He isn’t intimidated. And if you’re alive after an encounter with him, you know it’s because he doesn’t want to kill you, but will if he has to. The man can throw a mean punch and use powerful magic from another universe, and who knows just what kind of Dying Will Flame he could produce.”

    “Yes,” said Nadle. “But we have an army, and all it needs is you. We have D-Klak who came in from the past, and you’re the only other person we know who has faced Mazkertis and defeated him.”

    “D-Klak! He lives!” Zev yelled, smiling. “Always a silverlining. I’ll go with you, for the sake of all of us, but I’m doing it alone.”

    “What?! Are you crazy?” cried Namah. “We weren’t there 50 years ago, and we’re not making the same mistake again.”

    “I couldn’t do that. I’ll be putting you all in danger,” Zev said morosely.

    “When has that ever stopped you, Zev?” replied Prudence, raising an eyebrow. “Besides, if you thought we would be complacent while you stepped in to fight Mazkertis, then you don’t know us at all.”

    “I have help, Prudence,” noted Zev.

    “But you’ll need more,” Namah said. “Nu-13, Prudence and I will go with you, Nadle, and Kakamu.”

    “She’s right,” added Mistgun. “The rest of us will wait as back up, ready to dispatch at a moment’s notice.”

    Namah placed her hand on Zev’s shoulder, and smiled. Her eyes reassured him as he remembered an old adage: ‘Everything will turn out alright in the end.’

    “Well,” Zev concluded. “The Conquistadores are with you.”

    “Excellent,” replied Kakamu. “The more the merrier!”


    OOS: These next two sections take place on the same day as Mazkertis’s battle with Drepp, and Howard’s assassination.

    Huriel and Orion Pax moved slowly through the darkness, dragging a damaged Black Phantom with them. They silently entered Angonce’s prison and turned on all available lights. The caged Great Being spluttered and woke up, mumbling to himself.

    “Who is it? What do you want?” he croaked.

    “Angonce, it is I, Huriel. Orion Pax is with me.”

    “What? Come here to mock me, have you?” Angonce moaned.

    “No, my lord. Have you not heard the news? Word of TPK’s death has spread like wildfire. Coro brought his corpse for burial, and Ganos-Lal quickly ascended to become the leader of the Council of the Great Beings. She’s holding a large funeral for him,” Huriel said, raising an eyebrow. “Interestingly enough, she is inviting back everyone TPK ever exiled, save for you. That said I have sensed that many are planning takeovers of their own. Star and Walternate have been having several private meetings. Viruel was witnessed conversing with that strange Spherus Magnan, Koranis, and so on and so forth. Orion Pax and I have been having our own conversations.”

    He turned to Orion Pax, who nodded.

    “And?” spat Angonce.

    “And we believe that our people are vulnerable. Such chaos would destroy our already fragile empire. That wench Nu may start to get herself involved again, though she went into a hiatus after the war. We need a charismatic individual to unite us once more, not exile the opposition, one who points to the best parts of our past as a blueprint of the future, not brings uncertainty to everything. We need you, Angonce.”

    “We beseech you, my lord,“ added Orion Pax. “Return and take what has been stolen from you. We were wrong. You can lead us to a new age!”

    “Yes,” said Angonce, a devilish smile creeping onto his tired face. “This foolishness has gone on long enough. Mazkertis is loose, and someone needs to vanquish him. They have referred to us as the Great Beings for a reason. Release me from my prison.”

    Orion Pax aimed his weapon at Black Phantom’s head. The robot explained how to release Angonce, and Huriel followed the instructions.

    “I have brought TPK’s top assassin to aid us in revealing all of Ganos-Lal’s secrets,” explained Huriel. “He is a gift to you, as part of our new relationship.”

    “A new pet,” said Angonce, grinning. He had gone rather mad after being imprisoned by TPK and tortured by Figlio di Armechio, but was still lucid enough to be composed during all of this.

    “Who is your master, robot?!” barked Pax.

    In truth, Black Phantom was merely pretending to go along with all this. His body almost entirely deactivated, making him appear vulnerable, but his mind was still intact, along with any failsafe defense mechanisms that had reactivated once Coro left him alone. The droid wanted to see just what Huriel and Orion Pax were up to. Now that they were planning to overthrow Ganos Lal, he concluded that they had to be stopped. It was Phantom’s last pledge to TPK, a tribute to the memory of his former leader. The Great Beings would decide their own destiny after this, but right now, someone had to intervene. Black Phantom would sacrifice plenty, but it was worth it.

    “My master is dead, and so are you,” he replied.

    A beeping noise came from Black Phantom’s chest. He then appeared to eject something from his back. Before anyone could react, the bomb hidden inside of the android exploded, and the prison was ripped apart. Angonce and his allies were killed instantly. The flames burned whatever had remained, as several Great Beings rushed towards it in the night. One of them swore they saw a snake-like creature dart away from the burning building, but when they blinked it was gone.


    Elsewhere, on Meme World, the Heckler, the Heller, and Stardust continued their vicious battle. All landed blows on each other, as even the Super Wizard could not withstand the power of not giving a heck.

    Suddenly, the Heller realized his place in the universe. Edginess was passé, for he was alienating his brother, and was dishonoring his family name. He had to stop giving a heck about his cold, bitter hatred and his desire to be edgy. Besides, there were already too many “mortal enemy” duos in the universe--The Pain Brothers (who, unbeknownst the Heller, had already teleported to another universe), Boltman and Moonman—one would not be missed.

    “Bro, we gotta do it…. We just gotta combine and kill Stardust. I hate that Mother F***er...” he said to The Heckler, his brother.

    “Merge? But no, you might die!” replied The Heckler. If there was one thing he cared about in all of existence, it was his brother. He gave a heck for the first time in eons.

    “Nah, heh,“ replied Heller. “My consciousness will be stored inside and you’ll have my powers, and we can split anytime we want. It’s okay as heck, haha.”

    “Ok,” said his brother.

    “Stop it!” bellowed Stardust in his thundering voice, hoping to resume their battle.

    The brothers ignored him and began to emit heckless radiation. A bright yellow and red glow filled the valley, and seconds later, a golden being stood where The Heller and The Heckler once were. The Heckumvirate, an incredibly powerful being so devoid of all hecks it seemed like he was edgy and different, but in reality, he didn’t care.

    Suddenly, a burly man with a red shirt, a belt, and jeans walked up to them, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. On his shirt the Heckumvirate and Stardust could read a badge saying ‘Hi, I’m Gub C.G. Giy’. Apparently he had been wandering around, and had stumbled upon such chaos.

    “Oh shoot, I’m sorry,“ he said calmly.

    “Sorry for what,” replied the Heckumvirate. “Our daddy taught us to never be ashamed of our hecks, pretty much because they don’t exist.“

    “Oh, well, daddy gave you good advice,” Gub said.

    “You are now under the power of STARDUST!” bellowed the Super Wizard.

    “Mmmm!” replied Gub C.G. Giy, as he was impressed by Stardust’s powerful aura.

    Stardust pulled out a strange raygun and fired it at Gub. He disappeared, but had not died. Wherever he was, he was facing some sort of punishment for interrupting them.

    The Heckumvirate laughed at Stardust, and summoned several orbs, each showing sequences of events. One had a child practicing for some sort of presentation, whispering to himself each “number” and what phrase it corresponded to. Another had a man shouting ‘GOOD NIGHT’ to impress a female, known only as “Bhaabiat.” Both of these images disappeared, allowing Stardust to focus on another, more important sequences. This one showed Mazkertis terrorizing a planet.

    “You leave and stop him, you’ll no longer give a heck about me,” explained the Heckumvirate. “You try to stop me, and you won’t give a darn about him. Either way, you lose a heck, and I will win. It’s a paradox, you see.”

    Stardust’s stoic face did not fall for such baiting games. He smacked the Heckumvirate to the ground, and their battle continued.


    On the Dong Squad’s vessel, somewhere in outer space, Jesse Ventura and Ross Mandell were engaged in a heated argument over who had a more valuable role in the team.

    “You have a small role compared to my large governing position!” yelled Jesse Ventura.

    “That’s totally false,” replied Mandell. “I’m about 50 times more important than you!“

    “I don’t think s-”

    Bill Wilson, CIA, interjected, hoping to keep the peace.

    “The flight plan BONES just filed with the Squad lists ALL of you!“ he said.

    “You interrupt me again little guy, and I’ll kick your ass!” yelled Ventura.

    “You’re a big guy,“ replied CIA, taunting Jesse.

    “Most definitely!” said the former governor. He shook his head and left the room while mumbling that he had to get out of here. Randolph Moloch followed him.

    “Tommy Wiseau was nothing,” Wilson warned. “Divided, you Dongers won’t last a day in the SCORCH!”

    Ross Mandell sighed, for he knew that without friendship, none of the squads could take the scourch of battle.

    Jesse Ventura stormed down the corridor while looking at his companion, Randolph.

    “Everything Ross Mandell was saying was bullshit. No one’s more important that Jesse Ventura! You got that?” he asked.  “Good.”

    “What about Yon or BONES, or Zrintch?” Moloch said, slightly trembling in fear of the angry conspiracy theorist.

    “Ah, yeah,” Jesse said, shaking his head. He turned around and went back into the room, and apologized in the best way he could. Ross Mandell did the same, saying that it was their time, and that they were friends.


    OOS: This section takes place a week after the previous events.

    The most famous bar this side of the Helix Nebula was in a star system near Drackovack, on the moon of the planet Alaine. The moon had its own hospitable atmosphere, attracting a profitable mining industry in addition to such a renowned drinking establishment. After the Uterio War, many hotel agencies set up shop, taking advantage of tourists’ interest in Alaine as a planet that saw conflict on its grounds. Anyone interested could take a spaceship down from the moon to the planet’s surface below to tour The Nakamura, and other sights. There were also rumors that many Liquid Metalliconite pirates would visit the moon to expedite a visit to the icy planet, the former home of their fallen Pirate Lord, Treskis.

    There, K'Theenya relaxed with her good frenemy, alcohol. She had spent the past week training and teaching Diru and Kithlara, her students, and that was a workout in of itself. Sure, it was nowhere near as exhilarating as that time when Mink vandalized a planet, but it was definitely something that required a miniature vacation of sorts. K’theenya turned to a man she had met at the establishment, with whom she would often crack jokes and laugh the night away.

    “So a priest, a cat, and a Buddhist Jew-wait…no,” she said, with a confused look on her face. “No, no, wait, I got one. There’s this bri-oh forget it. I don’t remember it.”

    “Aww, well, maybe it’s just me,” he replied in disappointment. He opened the bottle of ALILA brand whiskey, and then closed it. “But all I care about are brick jokes!”

    The man’s name was 18-LA, and K’theenya had assumed he was some kind of cyborg given the combination of a robotic name with middle-aged looks and an ability to consume liquids and solids. That said, he was very eccentric, often lamenting about how things were much better back in the day. He also was in the advertising business, and his commercials were always bizarre.

    18-LA shook his head, and wrung his hand in the air.

    “Whatever happened to jokes? So many of them don’t make any sense, and you can hardly tell what anyone’s saying,” he lamented. “Save for us, of course.”

    A waiter came by and served some bar snacks at their table. 18LA continued on his rant about the degeneration of things he liked.

    “Whatever happened to restaurants? So many places just give you a plate with food in the middle. Personally, I like food under the plate with a big shirt in the middle.”

    He muttered something about something else he likes to eat, then munched on the snack. K’theenya chuckled awkwardly and looked away as the band played a catchy saxophone tune. She needed better friends.

    Suddenly, K’theenya heard screaming outside. She grit her teeth. Everything is fine she thought. Besides, I’m on vacation. I couldn’t possibly…

    The screams continued. The urge to investigate overwhelmed K’theenya, and she propelled herself from her seat, bursting out from the bar. She spun her head, seeing a man dressed in a black cloak with a white mask that had an emblem in its center. His cloak and cowl covered nearly his entire body, revealing only his hands that were encased in a pair of dark gloves with runic inscriptions on them. The costume smelled fresh, as though it had been recently repaired. K’theenya sensed an immense magical power emanating him, but at the same time, she noticed something tugging at her own ability, as though someone was trying to absorb it. Whoever he was, he was definitely a threat. He had attacked several civilians, absorbing the life force of a few. A group of policemen ran at him, firing their blasters. He threw a shield up, blocking the blasts, and before the officers could react, he came behind them. One by one they fell.

    K’theenya spread her wings and flew quickly at this villain. He turned his head, his frightening gaze meeting hers. They were about to clash, when a wave of chaos energy knocked the kitsune hybrid back.

    “Oh crap,” said K’theenya after crashing to the ground, realizing who had just appeared. It was Blue , the demon who, for some reason, took the form of a cat.

    Blue stood where K’theenya used to be, grinning while looking at Mazkertis. She felt something entering her mind, like a cold hand peeling back the folds of her brain. Blue withstood it to the best of her ability. She then heard a voice in her mind; apparently, the newcomer liked to communicate telepathically.

    Be gone. I have no quarrel with either of you.,” he ‘said’.

    “You have a lot of spunk showing up here and messing around like this,” she replied out loud. “I like that! What’s your name?”

    Mazkertis,” said the man. “I wish to cast a spell that will rewrite history and end the Klak of my universe, an evil man who cost me my voice. More timelines can be changed in exchange for aiding me.

    “Oh, what the hell. Sure, let’s talk about it. Should be fun,” responded Blue, smiling.

    Mazkertis raised his arms, and in seconds, both he and Blue disappeared. K’theenya cursed to herself, knowing that she should have run after them.

    Klak. I remember a Klak, she thought. I think he’s dead, but I might as well find him. This seems serious.

    She looked at a nearby corpse, and grit her teeth. It was serious. Mazkertis would not stop until his goals would be realized, and with such power at his disposal, he would become one of the most dangerous men in the universe.


    Kalta Thaea, the perfect hiding spot. It was in proximity (relatively speaking) to Mazkertis’ previous targets: the Malchior system, the moon of Alaine, and Liquid Metallicon, although there were many systems and worlds in between. This was of no consequence to the wizard, for he knew that he had even more worlds to harvest magic from. But Kalta Thaea was far enough from Lurian territory to arouse any suspicion, and the negative reputation (that it was a dark, dirty, and dull world formerly belonging to a lucrative society) associated with it meant that no one would dare think of searching for him there.

    Mazkertis stood next to Gabriel Ascheron, Raziel and Blue, his newest allies, staring at the endless expanse before him. They were expecting several individuals; all of who had an interest in what Mazkertis was planning and were hoping to join him. And so they came: some entering through portals, and others silently traversing towards the assembly from spaceships that had landed nearly a mile away.  First to arrive were Genetoes, the rogue Sha’lythe, and Eclipse, the villainous black “Living Star”. Both wished to spite the Time Guardians and join Mazkertis in his attempt to forever alter the timelines of not one, but two universes, something that could benefit them in the long run. They had met the wizard when he had summoned Genetoes several days ago (he had learned about the rogue guardian after recalling something he had read in Quolas’ mind). Next arrived a small, glider-like spacecraft, carrying a man wearing some sort of green armor and a goblin mask. He had presented himself to Mazkertis as “Goblin” and begged to join him. After the Goblin came a ship carrying Osseron Tyrok, the renowned necromancer whose absurd wealth was beyond description. He was intrigued by all the stories of such a powerful wizard striking fear into peoples and states all throughout the nearest galaxy, and wanted to understand what it was all about. He had first met Mazkertis earlier that year while on a mission with the Pirate Lords on Supermax Prison 429. Another famously wealthy man, who was not invited but came anyway in hopes of offering his services to Mazkertis, accompanied Osseron. Finally, Mink emerged from a portal. They were all mostly silent, as they were waiting on Mazkertis to commence the meeting, but the Goblin and the Affluent Man (who never mentioned his name, as he presumed everyone already knew him), engaged in banter as they waited.

    “Meme World is down the universe, and to the right,” he said to the Goblin, mocking his strange armor.

    “Pathetic,” replied the Goblin, shaking his head.

    Mazkertis said nothing, as he was expecting one more person to join them.  Finally, another portal opened, and out came a smiling suited man with a pale, crescent shaped head. He handed a manila envelope that he was carrying to Ascheron, nodding at him.

    “Thank you,” Gabriel said. “You know, with our help, you can fix all of your problems.”

    “Thanks, but no thanks,” replied the crescent headed man.  “But now, with this intel, you owe me. I’ll be sure to cash in when the time is right.”

    The mysterious fellow cackled, and left Kalta Thaea through a portal.

    “So what is this all about, Mazkertis?” Osseron asked, having had enough of all of the waiting. “I know of your abilities, and I know you managed to escape your imprisonment. ”

    Mazkertis’ mind connected to all those present, and communicated his message.

    You have all been selected for a mission to fix a grave problem in this universe. His name is Klak, and he and his counterpart must be destroyed. However, they are not alone, and my plan to end them requires that I obtain more energy. That is where you all come in. Fight his allies and assist me in finding the tools I need to change both of our timelines, and you will all be handsomely rewarded.

    Osseron grit his teeth, and looked at the others, as he was waiting for everyone to speak before making his reply.  

    “We’re listening, and we stand with you, Mazkertis,” said Genetoes, speaking for both him and Eclipse.  

    “Frankly,” said the Affluent Man, “I think your plan is garbage. I have an idea and it’s fantastic. We’re going to build something and keep both Klaks away for good, we’ll get the experts to help us, and it’ll be amazing. I’ve got experience in defeating guys like him; I’ve made deals with people twice as bad, I’m good at the deal. When it comes to deals, I wrote the book. Let me tell you, it’s an art, and I’m an artist. You’ll be thanking me, you’re gonna say, ‘thanks a lot’, because I’m going to make this universe Klakless. You know, both Klaks keep getting their friends killed, I don’t think they’re real heroes, they’re losers to be quite frank with you. Not heroes. Not like me. Truthfully, my plan’s the best plan we’ve heard so far.”

    Mazkertis rolled his crimson eyes, and shook his head.

    “Fine, whatever. You’ll take my calls when you’ll need me. You’ll regret this,” the man warned. “I’ve got other stuff to do anyway.”

    The Affluent Man seemed to teleport away with no explanation as to how he did so.

    “So that’s it, eh?” said Mink. “We’re the patsies? Some kind of backup squad you’ll use and abuse like lackies?”

    “Oh no, you misunderstand, Mink,” replied Blue. “Mazkertis is going to change time itself, meaning everything either of us have ever wanted will become true. Plus, you should see how he absorbs magic from people, it’s really quite fascinating.”

    “Rewards beyond your wildest dreams are yours,” added Ascheron, who was hoping that Mazkertis would make his empire even stronger once he was finished.

    “And our fragile timestream will finally be restored,” said Raziel. Genetoes and Eclipse nodded while smirking, seeming to approve of this conjecture.

    “It’s a simple proposal,” said the Goblin. “So are you in, or are you out?!“

    “It’s you who are all out,” said Osseron Tyrok. “Out of your minds! I’ve met the Klaks before. You are lying, Mazkertis!”

    “Please, spare us from your rambling, warlock,” Raziel retorted. “I had assumed you would be apathetic to our aspirations and not as emotionally invested in the possibility of their fulfillment.”

    “Oh, I’m not going to interfere,” said Osseron. “But if any of you come near me or any of my assets to further your wretched plans, you will see what TRUE magic is like.”

    Mazkertis grinned as Osseron Tyrok left Kalta Thaea. He turned to the remaining recruits, and raised his arms.

    Together we will save our multiverse, accomplish our dreams, and have our revenge on those who trampled us!” he ‘said’.

    “What’s our name then?” asked Mink.

    “Something family related, because we’ve already had our arguments but remain united,” said Blue, with a smile.

    Genetoes, Goblin, and Mink laughed. However, Ascheron rolled his eyes. He hated xeno humour. Raziel and Eclipse said nothing.

    Kindred of Dawn, to symbolize a new beginning, ” replied Mazkertis. “More shall join us, friends.

    He formed an orb in his hands that expanded until it encased all of the Kindred members. The sphere suddenly collapsed, and they all disappeared, having been teleported to another location far, far away. The Kindred of Dawn was now active, and from that moment forward, would become a threat to the universe.

    Last edited by Klak on Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:25 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : updated wiki link)

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Dr_pav11

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Niflheim Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:17 am

    Chapter 9: …Is not my friend.


    The We’d Warriors all just saw the YONBOTs investigate the world for anime, and also free them from the time bubble they were stuck in, trying to fight Peacock and that witch. Of course, the YONBOTs took care of them, and now they were all waiting for the Cooperative Ship to pick them up. Wal Wal reached out to Boltman, the leader of the YONBOTs, “MAN OF LIGHTNING, HEAR ME ROAR!” Wal Wal then powered up, puffing out misty aura, then shouting “HUUUUUUUUUUUH.” Boltman was impressed by this display, who then stopped flying and went down to greet Wal Wal.
    “You are a strong man. Tell me, do you wish to fight?”

    Wal Wal extended his arm for greeting, which Boltman then grabbed his arm, and the two shared a manly, powerful handshake.

    “No, Boltman, I wish to thank you for your help. Us We’d Warriors would’ve been able to defeat them, but you wiped them out with no effort,” Wal Wal was ecstatic about the meeting, the power surged from Boltman was quite a bit.

    “No problem, I, Boltman, and the YONBOTs here, shall rid the universe of anime. Any help you could provide is fine. Just remember to summon us any time where anime is the problem, your faith is all that’s necessary.” Boltman then gave the We’d Warriors a thumbs-up, and then began flying away with all the YONBOTs, ready to go to their next planet.

    During the whole ordeal, Old Man Ross sat there, lighting ablaze his 10 meter long pipe. He reminisced of his days as a We’d Warrior, a legendary tribe of his people who used herbs to power-up and gain insight in the world. The dozen with him were the last of his group, and he was unable to take on anymore disciples with the conflicts going on in their worlds.

    “You know, we should’ve went with him, instead of being stuck on a planet where we’re hated, Ross,” said Wal Wal, in a stubborn manner.

    “Then you should’ve went. I wouldn’t have stopped you. But, you know our people need us now.”

    “Oh, really? Is that why we had to be exiled to this backwater world, from Rhadan?” Wal Wal was not pleased, and he wasn’t one to hide his feelings.

    “Sinjon called us. He was raiding the palace today, with almost all the rebel forces.”

    “WHAT?!” The group exclamated.

    “We should be out there helping them, Ross,” commented Jean-Paul.
    “Yeah, I agree!” said Wal Wal.

    “Have no worries, everyone. A ship is coming to pick us up and take us there.”

    “Oh? Just like how you say your arts will save our people, Ross?” Abit was angry, being stuck in a prison in exile, then being unable to help his family back at home. “This is ridiculous! For all we know, they lose today.”

    “Or it will all end tonight, Abit,” stated Richard.

    “We must have faith in our families, everyone.” Ross knew in the back of his mind though, for them to lose tonight, well…it would be the end of the rebellion. They would execute the families of the rebel members, or worse. The only thing they really had, was hope.



    Today on Rhadan, the rebels had won. Kek Kug, member of the rebel group, “The Tiger Youth,” had just killed Gaon Kug gruesomely. With two pieces of smoldering rebar sticking out of Gaon’s head, it was not a pretty site to see. The two others with Kek were Sinjon, leader of the rebels, and Dakk Dak, a cousin of Kek.

    “Well that was simply wicked, br0Thas!” Dakk was quite ecstatic at the site of smeared brains on the ground, for some reason.

    “It was the price to pay for our freedom, Dakk.” Sinjon, filled with such joy that he couldn’t show it, just kept a very neutral tone.

    “Boyyoass how i had to kill my grandpa for some freedom,” responded Kek, who was still recovering his breath from the attack by Gaon.

    “Now what the heck are going to do bros?” asked Dakk.

    “We’re going to fix this state of affairs, of course,” replied Sinjon.

    “Now,” interrupted Kek, “There’s still going to be loyalists around the palace. I don’t think we’re going to take them all out, are we?”

    “You have no faith, Kek. We just killed the Emperor and are storming the palace. Why do you think we’ll lose now? It’s over, we have the high ground.”

    “I don’t think you should be so sure, Sinjon.” Dakk was looking outside the palace, and saw Gaon’s Soldiers leaving the building, being ran out by Wol’s Rebels. The rebels were shooting down the escapees mercilessly. “Is this what you wanted Sinjon? A genocide crusade by us?”

    “No…” Sinjon looked away and peaked back at the two. “We need to stop this.” Sinjon then broke up the window, firing a shot in-between the groups.

    “Enough of this infighting brothers! Execution of them is not the way!”

    “What does it matter, Sinjon?” exclaimed Woll Wol. “These men have raped our lands, taken our resources for themselves, and aligned themselves with their greatest enemy!”

    “It does not mean you need to kill them all! Let them account for their crimes, not get a free pass in death!”

    “What does it matter? Before we would kill them without hesitation!” yelled Wot.

    “Before we hadn’t crippled their forces. Loyalists to Gaon, your king is dead! His corpse lays by me! Surrender now, or be killed with any resistance.” The loyalists outside were stunned. Some didn’t believe him, and raised arms to shoot at Sinjon for tyranny. Wong Wol and Wolol quickly executed the would-be resistance. The rest of the loyalists dropped their weapons, then got on their knees and raised their hands to be behind their heads.

    “Nothing, we’ll do nothing! Just please don’t kill us!” begged one of the loyalists. He fell to the ground crying, and one of the Wol Rebels kicked him. Some of the rebels cringed as the kick connected, others let out a cheer. That was the world of war: misery.

    Inside the palace, Dengdengdeng-deng Deng-dengdeng was throwing his classic grenade techniques to clear out rooms of guards so their troops could go in and secure them. Memme Meme used his weak psychic powers to detect the amount of people in the rooms. The Rosses’ were freeing prisoners of war in the dungeons, along with Fig Newton and Akot. Will Willson was defending the outside of the prisons with Konn Kon.

    “You know, it’s quite amazing, Sinjon,” said Kek. “We finally did it. We’re finally The Tigers this world needed. Vicious when our territories have been claimed. Now, we can began a life of peace.”

    “You think so simply, Kek. We’re going to have to set-up a makeshift government until the people can decided what to do. The Loyalists on this planet aren’t going to just give-up. The drug-dealers and fugglers aren’t going to just stop. We’re going to have to keep fighting, like we always do.”

    “Don’t be so down in the dumps, br0Tha! We’ve killed the King! Our troops are pecking off all those loyalists! We’ve won! and you, my dear friend, are the king we need.”

    “I refuse,” Sinjon said sternly. “I was made for war, not politics.”

    “And yet you play them both so well, Sinjon,” replied Kek. “While I may be elected as successor by royalty if traditionalists so please, I definitely want you as my advisor. Together, we can reform this system of genetic lottery for one’s poverty.”

    “Come on bros, let’s get goin’ to join the squads coming back!”

    “Then what do we do with this corpse?” asked Sinjon.

    “Pretty easy, man.” Dakk Dak then attempted to lift up Gaon’s blob of mass. He looked over a them. “A little help?” Kek and Sinjon helped picked him up, and they moved towards the window. Dakk then threw out the fat corpse to splatter on the grounds below, really defeating the Loyalist’s morales that saw.

    “And now, it’s a new dawn, Sinjon.” The three looked at the first sun setting, with the cries of death in the background. Sinjon was not at ease for what they had done. He surely didn’t want to lead this nation either.


    [En Route to Vizima]

    The Dong Squad and Wang Gang ship was leaving towards Vizima, after their long detour on Meme World. The two squads had finally left Meme World’s system. Zrintch had forwarded Vizima coordinates to both sets of Ayy-Lmalium pilots.

    Zrintch then notified the ship’s commander, Aye, to call a meeting of everyone. She then said on com: “Everyone pls go 2 da meeting room 4 info Sad“ Eye was still grieving over the loss of the Dongers, who she became good friends with. For a ship’s commander to lose their crew, well, that can take an emotional toll.

    The Dong Squad moved single file to the meeting room, already being experienced, with BONES leading the group. Everyone but Pumkin, that is, who never really listens to anyone.

    The Wang Gang on the other hand, were still quite chaotic. Despite the latter’s group experience with each other, they never took anything quite seriously. Hungry-man attempted to eat the fruit off The fresh prince of fresh fruit’s head, while Patrick Bateman was attempting to find repeating even objects in the area.

    “whoa everywon we must get alonh noww.” TTT’s speech impediment was quite obvious, though it usually calmed everyone down but Hungry-man.

    “you remind me of me mum TTT, always calmin’ everyone down…” Car Guard stated. Then again, a lot of things reminded him of ‘his mum,’ or ‘me pops,’ as he likes to say.

    As the two groups entered the meeting room, with Aye in the center, and a couple of the Ayy-Lmaliums to the sides. Everyone took their seats, rustling around with their odd proportions. BONES stepped up to the center. Aye then nodded, and turned on the hologram. Zrintch then appeared.

    “Hello everyone. Some of you may already know me as your employer. As for you new members of the team, welcome. I do not guarantee your safety, but a hefty sum of money will be given to your relatives or people of your choice. As said before, rest in peace, recently deceased members. Without their sacrifice, we would have unable to get The Mask.”

    “Oi u fokin tellin’ me we gonna die? i aint have had all the tasty chow in the universe yet, matey…”

    “While normally I would say ‘yes,’ this next mission is not so suicidal. Infact, I request none of you to kill the people we are stealing from.”

    “Oh, and who would that be?” questioned BONES.

    “The Knights of the Keruvim.”

    Most of the squad were confused. After all, such a secretive organization isn’t well-known, especially to a group of outsiders who lived on the Stouttish Islands. A few, however, gasped. BONES, Jesse Ventura, and Merasmus. The Shell-Shocked Cat, as always, was shocked, even if he didn’t know who they were. He began having war flashbacks again, of when he fought Tratus, beating his retarded ass into the ground with a jelly dolphin. Ainsley began petting him so he would take it easy.

    “So…what do you want with Keruvim, Zrintch?” asked BONES.

    “To divulge such information, would be treason on my part. Let me put it this way: It will stop all of us from being erased from existence. Sounds good, doesn’t it?”

    “like ye fockin care you fuckin grinch looking fucker” Hungry-man, as always, was disgruntled about the lack of information. One too many times has withholding info screwed him over.

    “I am very hungry,” Pumkin then stared at the jelly dolphin the Shell-Shocked Cat had.

    “Shot ur fockin yap yah stooped pumpkin, ill be eatin’ ya in no tiem.”

    “No! I don’t want that.”

    “Enough!” shouted Jesse Ventura. “I don’t want all of time to erase us, and you two bickering isn’t helping us prevent it, is it?!”

    “As Ventura said, shut it,” BONES replied. Pumkin only kept the same happy smirk he normally has on his face, creeping everyone out. “So how are we going to get to where the Keruvim is at, Zrintch?”

    “Simple, really. The Wang Gang is going to disengage their ship as you’re detected, and blast straight towards the planet of Vizima. The Dongers will distract The Knights by flying around, or even launching your space-adept members out of the chutes to distract them.”

    “Ok,” replied Saitama, in his usual, deadpan, emotionless voice.

    “The Knights of the Keruvim are a very large and secretive organization, and many of it’s members could easily destroy this whole team, sans a few specific members.”

    “That’s it, huh? That’s our master plan to fight a giant organization that’s infiltrated large portions of the galaxy, with hidden members, on a planet that isn’t in most star bases?” BONES pondered why Zrintch would ask them to do this, yet not kill any of the members.

    “Well, The Mask overrides any powers they have. The real question is who is going to use it.”

    “If I do say so myself, I’d be a great fit,” Bateman smirked while saying it, then made a giggle after the statement.

    “Yeah, allow the crazy sociopath to get The Mask. Works every time,” mentioned Bill Willson.

    “Have a little positivity, Willson! Not every day does a man like me get to do something good for the universe!”

    “Well,” interrupted Zrintch,”Whoever you decide, is none of my business. This meeting is over. You should be in Vizima’s system soon. The advanced tech of that ship should allow no sensors to be triggered.” The hologram then turned off, and BONES turned around to speak to the crew.

    “Well, this is odd. But we’re going to have to do what he says. No killing these guys, and we need to get the Keruvim ASAP. Once word gets out they’re getting attacked, who knows who they’ll call in.”

    “I agree Skelly Bones,” replied Ventura, “But we’re going to need a better plan.”

    “Then what do you propose?”

    Jesse Ventura let out a chuckle, and then brought up a map on the hologram screen.


    [Zrintch’s Ship]

    As the hologram turned off, Zrintch sighed. He was, intact, quite worried for his associates. If they were to be caught by the Knights, it would cause an intergalactic incident on the interventionism of The Cooperative. While he could deny involvement, somebody in that organization would trace it back to him.

    His ship was now entering the toxic atmosphere of Dekan. The musk of the planet was quite obvious, the planet being a greenhouse one, made it quite hard to breathe for atmosphere. Luckily, Zrintch was trained in some old arts to prevent such nuisances.

    Zrintch used his powers to find the We’d Warriors in the foggy mist of the swamps, eschewing the scanners of his ship. He closed his eyes, pulsating with a red aura, then emitting it across the area. Down below, the We’d Warriors felt the power. Old Man Ross recognized it. This power…it can’t be. It’s been hundreds of years. This disturbance…

    “Ross, what was that…that power?” question Wal Wal.

    “An old, dark power. One I thought I got rid of years ago.”

    Above the group was Zrintch’s ship, a jagged-sphere, designed to resemble a comet, or space junk, and could alter the colors to look like other space debris with depth manipulation. The ship began expelling smoke as the landing gear came out. The ship slowed it’s descent dramatically to allow for safe landing in the mushy marshlands.

    “So this is our ride, huh?” asked Adit.

    “Yes, I think it is,” replied Ross.

    The ship opened up with long, skinny panel first off, lowering from top to bottom, vertically. Out stepped Zrintch, clad in his signature black robes, hood over head.

    “You said a scout ship was coming, not yourself, Lord Zrintch,” stated Ross.

    “There’s been a change of plans,” Zrintch tilted his head towards the rest of the We’d Warriors. “I’m going to need your help. You’re not going to Rhadan anymore.”

    The group gasped simultaneously, like it was in sync. Ross expressed their dissatisfaction in words: “What the hell?! You promised me!”

    “You need not worry about the warlords. The Tiger Youth have killed Gaon and have now taken over the palace. They are setting up a temporary leadership right now as we speak.”

    “How can I trust you?!” Ross questioned Zrintch.

    Wal Wal then put his hand on Ross’ shoulder. “Like you said…we only have hope. Let us believe in this.”

    Ross lowered his guard. “Yes, I guess you are right Wal Wal. So tell me Zrintch, where are we going?”

    “I am hiring all of you as guards. There will soon be a Cooperative Meeting on an important target, and I wish for you to guard the meeting place,” said Zrintch, in his low, raspy voice.

    “And why would you want us?” questioned Jean-Paul.

    “I have faith in your magic for protecting us, not the technology we normally use.”

    “Then I agree,” replied Jean-Paul.

    “As do I,” said Wal Wal

    “same thooooooo,” said Abit

    “they fear what they don’t know n hate what they do,” said Wol. He is really not a good philosopher, but he likes to think it is.

    “And you, Ross?” asked Zrintch.

    “I agree,” responded Ross. “On one condition: You take us to Rhadan after this.” Ross blew a puff of smoke from his nostrils, which Zrintch then flicked away with his hands.

    ’Then it’s agreed. We should get going now.” Zrintch motioned the dozen We’d Warriors to the ship. He pressed a button that opened up more platforms to the sphere ship. Each warrior got into a slot of the sphere, like vertically rising beds to lay-in.

    “You know, I didn’t expect we’d leave in something likes this,” stated Wal Wal

    “Yeah, well, everyone’s a critic,” replied Jean-Paul.

    The hatch/walkways then closed on all of them. Zrintch then climbed into the center he exited from, and the door shut behind him. He entered the location of The Cooperative meeting place, and the ship’s rockets came out of the ship, and began rising. The landing gear retracted, and the spherical scouting ship took off at a surprisingly fast speed. Before they knew it, it had already left the planet’s orbit. In a matter of minutes, it left the solar system.

    Not all was what it seemed though. In the mists by the landing site, out walked a giant purple-red shaped form. It was Flesh-Eater, and it’s hand, it was holding a device blink red. In another of its hands, was the head of another warlord from the planet.


    The Dongers and Wangers were waiting in their rooms for the orders. Their ship was now entering the system of Vizima. Aye announced on comms: “We are now in the system of Vizima. Everyone get to their stations to man turrets.” Bones then took the comm, “Wang Gang, get to your ship. Dong Squad, take turret placements. Pumkin and Saitama, get to the hangar.” All the strike team hurried to their stations. Jesse Ventura and Ross Mandell took the leading turrets of the front.

    “Can the Bad Boy of Wall Street really beat the world’s best conspiracy theorist?” remarked Ventura

    “Don’t get so full of yourself, pro-wrestler, stock trading isn’t just clicking buttons on the computer.” Mandell smirked, and the two got into their turret positions, back to back.

    Pumkin and Saitama moved to the Hangar, waiting for the signal. The plan was for the two to drop into space after The Wang Gang’s ship disengaged, with Pumkin to slap it towards Vizima, and Saitama to provide support.

    The two entered the Hangar, where Bones was at. “Now, you two are ready for this, right?” questioned Bones.

    “I’m very hungry,” commented Pumkin.

    “Can you ever say anything else?” questioned Saitama


    “Oh, by the way Bones, you know I can’t breathe in space, right?”

    “What?!” shouted Bones. “I figured with your power level, you could.”

    “Well, I’m still just a human.”

    Bones sighed. He then picked up his communicator, requesting a space suit to be made ASAP by the Maker the Ayy-Lmaliums had. Two of the little green alien men entered the one with measuring tapes, and began measuring Saitama.

    “Oh, remember, I’d like my belt a little loose around the waist, please.” One of the aliens huffed as a remark. “You know, you’re rude for being so small.” The alien blew hot air out, and the other laughed. Pumkin then stared over at them, and the two became worried and hurried up. The two then skimmed out of the room like CGI from 2000.


    Meanwhile, on Vizima, a Toa of Ice was laying back in a chair, watching the newest Spacehoops game, while eating a McRide™️ from McYonalds™️. He was positioned in the guard room to detect any objects moving in the system. A beep then went off. The Toa then looked to the radar and gasped. He dropped his McRide™️ burger on the ground and picked up the phone to call the Headquarters.

    “Whoa, guys, something’s coming in the system!”

    The Toa on the other line then replied. “Yeah? Just like last week huh? Let me guess: Dese Nuts.”

    “No, I’m serious!” yelled the Toa of Ice.

    “Yeah, whatever. You want me to notify Axalara? She’s here, after all.”

    “The object is moving fast, and heading straight for us!”

    “Then why didn’t you call the space station?! You idiot!”

    “Alright, fine! Notify everyone, and I’ll call the space station.”

    “This better not be a joke, Ike, I swear to-“

    The Toa of Ice, aptly named named Ike, hung up the phone. He immediately called Space Station Alpha.

    “Yes, Ike? Another joke?”

    “No, just look at the radars! Mine’s going crazy!” Ike pulled up a hologram of the area from his radar to examine the rapidly speeding object, heading directly to the planet.

    The space man then looked at his radar. “I don’t see anything.”

    “Switch to the telescopic imagery!”

    “You know, I really wish sometimes you never got placed where you are, Ike.” The Toa of Magnetism rolled over in his chair to one set of monitors, displaying the real-time imagery of an area. “Can you give me the location, Ike?”

    “It’s moving straight towards beta sector.”

    The Toa of Magnetism checked the footage of the linear path to beta sector. “What the?” Low and behold, the satirical wang-shaped dragonfly ship was moving straight towards it. The Toa instantly turned on all alarms.

    “And you thought I was lying. Heck you.” Ike smashed the communicator button so proudly, then sat down to keep watching Spacehoops.


    Axalara stormed into the Headquarters. “How could this happen? This ship is getting close enough to break orbit and enter atmosphere! Where are the space guards? What are they doing?”

    “Well, Ma’am, only one of our guards stationed on planet, Ike, noticed the object. It’s somehow evaded sensors.”

    “Notify all stations to send out their space troops immediately! We can’t let this ship get near the Keruvim!”

    “And you, Axalara?”

    “I’m going to greet that ship myself.”


    Back on the merged ship, on the bridge the Ayy-Lmaliums were laughing. “It seems they fell for our trick, Aye.”

    “Yes, it seems they have. You’d think they’d notice it’s a fake. Now keep moving, we’ll flank their forces if they all go for our fake.”

    Meanwhile, in the Hangar, Saitama got a classic astronaut suit to wear, but not as baggy, more agile, and instead it was black. He was thinking to himself after putting it on; “Man, I really need a symbol one of these days.” He sighed, but then stood at the hangar doors, waiting for the order.

    All the Dongers placed in the turrets were getting bored. They turned on comms to start talking.

    “You ever had a threesome, Ainsley?” asked Billy Mays

    “Yeah, a real spicy one. Smothered with bodies.”

    “Oh yeah, with who?”

    “My wife, and Morgan Freeman.”


    The comms were then turned off.

    In the Wang Gang Ship, they were all waiting in the drop hangar until they were launched. They would then have to jump off in spaghetti shoots. They were like parachutes, but made out of noodles and italian food, and they could be put under you for a soft landing. Sometimes, one must really question the work of aliens aesthetically, but not mechanically.

    Bill Willson broke the silence. He remembered the day when he lost it all, in a plane crash, and the man who did it all. “You know, being in this loading reminds me of how I got here in the first place. It all took place the day I tried tracking down a man known as ‘Bane.’ I was working for the C.I.A, and me and my men had just got on a plane. Little did I know I had just played into Bane’s hands. A Mosquito Man had just given me and my agents 3 masked men, who they said worked for Bane. However, it turns out, Bane was one of these men.”

    “oh than what did he you do?” asked TTT.

    “He brought his own plane to crash mine. His men shot all my men through the windows, and they then ripped off the plane wings. They took the man we just Asved, Dr. Pavel, for their own plots. Bane left one of his own men behind to trick the people who found the wreckage, and mumbled something about “raising the fire.” Honestly, most of the statements to this day don’t make much sense.”

    “But you lived from a crashed plane? Damn son!” questioned The Cataractor.

    “Aye. After crawling out of the wreckage, I knew my only goal in life would be to end the man who killed me, my friends, and everything I lived for. I equipped myself with cybernetics, and disguised myself as a Manhunter. It all happened one day…”


    [Earth, Months Ago]

    In the mountains of an unknown region, Bane had just defeated an unknown assailant who had tried to kill him, along with his two partners, Amy and Nikolai. The man was supposedly a “Manhunter,” an intergalactic group of law enforcement, precursor to the Lantern Corps.

    Just moments ago, the man blocked off himself from Bane and his group by landing boulders between them. The Manhunter proceeded to activate rockets to begin flying out of here. He lifted his arm and clicked a panel on his forearm, and rockets opened up from his feet.

    Before they got activated, a bullet was shot into one of them. What the? the Manhunter thought. He turned around and saw an injured man, wearing a red poncho. His face was bloodied, his right arm was broken, and his left arm was messing. Static electricity emitted from the remains of the light arm, implying cybernetics. The man had ragged, nappy black hair, along with brown eyes, and heavy black stubble.

    “And here I was thinking you were already dead,” said the Manhunter.

    The man had a USP Compact from which he shot the Manhunter’s rocket. “Don’t count a man dead after shooting him and throwing him off a mountain!” The man began firing shots at The Manhunter, with no effect it appeared.

    “W-what the heck?” The Manhunter was surprised. He looked down, and saw multiple bullet wounds. A hook had gone to his neck. “How?”

    “It’s simple, my shots deflected off you at an angle, which then bounced back to hit you in a different spot. However, I made sure the shots repeated in the same areas to break the armor. While you were distracted, I activated a trap that shot a grappling hook towards you.” The man smirked. “The name is Bill Willson, and never interfere with Bane again, he is my target.”

    “It is my duty. No man escapes the Manh-“ Willson then dropped his USP compact and pulled out a bomb trigger, which he then pressed.

    ”No way! He actually did it!” Several simultaneous explosions around the mountain range began exploding. Bill Willson then fell over the mountain and saluted the Manhunter. The Manhunter was still in shock, and with the hook trapping him and destroyed rockets, he was stuck. What was once a robot, was no scrap metal after a few seconds.

    ”And hopefully…Bane died too,” thought Bill Willson, as he was falling to his death off the mountains. But we both know that didn’t happen…to either of them.


    “oi what a crock of shiet m8,” said Hungry-man, in response to Bill Willson’s backstory.

    “wow how imprissibe not like you hungri-man” responded a shocked TTT.

    “ye fockin wot m8, ya know ill knock ur little ass here ‘nd now,” Hungry-man put his hands up for a good sockin’, but TTT only said ‘how ruude you are, we are here to save the universe just like my late cousin toa moe vehicluars wood do”

    “You kids and your bickering. Now, we got a mineral to steal” stated The Cataractor.

    “Man, I wish I was back at home, watching TV.” Car Guard was quite sad at the events that led up to this point in his life. Infact, nobody even cared what his real name was. He was forever “Car Guard,” ever since that Incident at Supermax.


    The space troopers were deployed to get the ship that was rapidly approaching the orbit of Vizima. Several Toa used their powers to rapidly boost to the ship. A Toa of Magnetism created a magnetic field to start dragging the ship back, but to no avail. A Toa of Plasma started incinerating the ship’s engine. Some Toa of Earth and Stone started slagging space rocks at it. A human with telekinesis tried it’s best to pull the ship back, and it did slow it down.

    “Where’s a Toa of Metal?! Surely he could strip this ship apart!”

    “I don’t know!”

    “Wait, this isn’t a ship! It’s a rock crafted as one!” The Toas of Earth began slowing it down with their powers. How odd it
    was, that they didn’t noticed this sooner. Things that make you go hmmm…

    The Toa then all surrounded the ship. “We should be careful, it could be a bomb.”

    “No, the inside is hollow,” replied a Toa of Stone.

    The Toa of Plasma created a giant plasma blade to slice it open. A Toa of Air sealed off the exit with a Hau, mask of shielding. The Toa of Plasma went into the hollowed out rock, finding nothing with his illuminated blade. “I’m not finding anything, guys.”

    Suddenly, a rock shot out towards him. He turned and sliced the rock, and saw a bald man staring at him, wearing a black astronaut suit. He immediately went to slice him in half with the sword, but Saitama stopped it with his hand.

    “Wait up. I need to get these rocks off.” Saitama began picking rocks off his clothes.

    “Who the hell are you?!”

    “Oh. Hi, I’m One Punch Man.”

    “What kind of stupid name is that?”

    “Can you speak up? It’s hard to hear in this suit.” He kept picking rocks off his suit. The Toa of Plasma then went in for another slice, but Saitama just raised his fist and knocked him out of the rock. The Toa out in space were shocked, eyes wide open at how this guy instantly knocked him out. Saitama then crawled out of the rock to see everyone.

    “That guy was just really rude. No patience for me to get cleaned up.”

    Who…who the hell is this guy? thought the group. A Toa of Stone went in to punch him with a stone-fist, but Saitama just raised his fast and instantly destroy his Toa Tool, with the Toa falling into Saitama’s Fist, making him fly backwards.

    “Put him on blast!” The Toa began shooting large amounts of elements at Saitama. After the dust faded, they noticed he stood there with no damage.

    “How are we going to defeat this guy?!”

    “A Toa Seal is our only option.”

    “HEY!” shouted Saitama “WHAT ARE YOU GUYS TALKING ABOUT?!”

    “This guy…has a lot of nerve…” Six of the Toa got together to began the seal. The six elements combined, and they created a giant protodermis-like beam to shoot at him. They were relieved, thinking they caught him. But suddenly, he was behind them, and poked one of them on the back.

    “Oh, was that your ultimate attack? I guess I should’ve stayed there to take it.”

    “What the?!” The group of Toa turned around and began charging attacks. Saitama then used a slightly stronger move of his: Rapid light taps. He instantly knocked out the whole squad. The rest didn’t really want to attack him, but went in anyways. They were all defeated in a matter of seconds. “How boring, you’d think after the speech Zrintch gave, they’d be more powerful.”

    In the distance, Axalara was racing with her air powers to get to the man. Her communications came on. “Axalara, be careful! He just took out all of the space guards without a scratch!”

    “Send in more reinforcements, I’m sure we could get this guy.”

    Back at the ship, Aye took notice of Saitama’s power. She was quite surprised, never seeing it fully before. Their ship was nearing the orbit, in which they’d surely get noticed by sensors. “ETA 5 minutes, everyone. Wang Gang, you’ll be disengaged and shot to the forest where we think the Keruvim is at.”

    “Copy that,” responded Bill Willson.

    Saitama was getting quite bored staying on the rock. Unfortunately, since he can’t actually fly, he’s stuck there, or else he’ll start drifting around unless there’s other things to jump on. Then, before he knew it, Axalara arrived, and used a giant slice of air to cut the fake ship into half. Saitama had just moved out of the path of the slice because he was looking at a shiny rock he had found.

    This guy really doesn’t care, does he? thought Axalara. Saitama then started falling over as the ship was moving from being split in half. He turned around and saw Axalara floating in space.

    “Oh, you must be the leader. Nice to meet you.”

    “How arrogant are you?! Whoever you are, tell me why you’re here!”

    “Well, I’m here to distract you from that.”

    “From what?”
    He pointed towards the Dongers’ ship, which had just hit orbit and it’s cloaking turned off from the Knight’s own technology. Axalara’s communications then turned on. “Axalara, a ship just entered orbit!”

    “Yeah, I know! Pull all troops back!’

    “Hey, flying lady.”


    “Sorry we can’t fight seriously today.”

    “What are you talking about?” Next thing she knew, Saitama defeated Axalara with his signature “one punch,” knocking her mask off.

    “Man, if only I got her before she called back the troops,” said Saitama, out loud. He then jumped off Axalara’s body to go straight to Vizima.


    At the ship, Aye just noticed alarms went off and disabled their camp. “Disengage Wang Gang ship now!” The Wanger’s ship disconnected from the main ship, and Pumkin was released from the hangar. As he descended, he slapped the Wanger’s ship rapidly into the forest. “No! I don’t want that!”

    The Wangers started feeling the gravity of the slap. They were moving so fast, The Cataractor and Car Guard got knocked out, the two being only normal humans.

    “wow what a wild ride” stated TTT. He raised his hand to give a thumbs up. “just like a carnivel ride”

    “what da fok iz wrong wit u m8? i feel like i’m ‘bout to vomit me guts up.”

    “lol” was all TTT had to say.

    Over the intercom, the pilot had an announcement. “It seems we are unable to slow down. Infact, it’s very likely we’re going to crash.”

    “With no survivors?!” shouted Bill Willson.

    “No, I’m actually pretty sure we’ll all be fine, just the ship will be wrecked,” replied the Ayy-Lmalium, calmly.

    “Man, it feels like I’m going to-“ BLUH! The guy who was engulfed in milk vomitted milk all over Car Guard, which then awoke him.

    “This is disgusting, what is this, warm milk?”

    “Yes,” replied TGWWEIM.

    “Ooh, gross. Glad he didn’t get any on my suit, or else this would get a little bloody.” said Bateman.

    “We are approaching the drop zone in 3 minutes. Get your spaghetti shoots ready for deployment. Don’t worry, they’ll protect you from the rapid change in atmosphere and speed as if it were nothing. It just might feel like you’re in a bowl of pasta.” said the pilot.

    “mmm..pasta. im so blood hungry right now, i could go for some good n proper spaghetti. dese there shoots, they edible?”


    “You know, my mom used to make spaghetti back home. It was pretty good,” the Car Guard stated sadly.

    “No one bloody asked ya, did they?”


    The announcement came on again. “ETA 1 minute.” The Wang Gang all looked at each other. TTT was quite happy, which inspired everyone. Unfortunately for all of them, The Cataractor was still knocked out. Infact, he looked somewhat peaceful.

    The bottom hatch of the hangar, the floor, then opened up. One by one, they were all dropped. The Cataractor finally woke up, and was quite scared of where the hell he was going. “I was sleeping, you rascals!” As he was blind, he didn’t know where to pull for his spaghetti shoot either. Everyone else activated their shoots already. Car Guard began shouting at The Cataractor.


    “What the hell do you want?!”

    “You gotta open your shoot!”


    “MY WHAT?!”



    “IT’S UNDER YOUR LEFT HAND!’ Cataractor lowered his right hand trying to grab it. “NO, YOUR OTHER LEFT!” So Cataractor then lifted his right hand to above him. Car Guard sighed. “YOUR RIGHT!” Cataractor then lowered his left hand and pulled the noodle. A giant noodle-tied cloak came out, which lowered his speed dramatically.


    Car Guard ignored him and looked at the landscape of the nearby forest. It was raining out, making their noodles somewhat mushy, which was fine but just would make the landing far more gross.


    Back at the Knights’ H.Q, they were trying to send out all available ground forces to the Keruvim location. While they had tons of their best guards stationed there, if these people were anything like the man out in space, they would need far more troops. The Knights redirected all their space troops to deal with the ship that was sitting in the Exosphere of Vizima, and along with that, began firing ground cannons and deploying ships to attack it.

    Komerak, a Platinum Lantern, and honorary Knight, was hanging around base that day. “Where should I go?”

    “Go to the forest. I think our forces can take care of the spaceship floating around. Whatever they sent possible sent there, well, I don’t think the guards could contain it if it’s even on the power level of that guy in space.”

    “Agreed, I’ll be leaving now.” The signature platinum aura of his corps surrounded his body, and he flew off to the forest.


    On the Donger ships, the Dongers were having a lot of fun blasting away at the flying Knights that had come to get them. Anyone that got too close felt the wrath of Pumkin’s backhand. He was really tempted to eat them, but I guess he had some loyalty to the group. His repetitive, echoing shouts of “No!” was getting annoying to the Ayy-Lmaliums.

    Soldier was blasting away at some of them. He then realized where the rocket button was. His only comment after he starting firing them was: “SPECIAL
    The A’s corresponding with explosions in the sky, of course. The Soldier was not a merciful one.

    Merasmus just sighed. He really would prefer eschewing these guns for some dark arts. Randolph, on the other hand, was quite enjoying the usage of guns. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a delusional psychopath, thinking you can defeat anyone, and finally can.

    No Image Guy integrated with the weapon system to get the most accurate and best shots, to make sure not to kill the Knights. His power also helped the rest of the weapon systems. Before the Dongers knew it, star fighters started closing in on them, trying to out maneuver the weapons and disable the Donger’s ship. They were no match for the spaghetti beams with No Image Guy’s improvements, not to mention a Maker on the ship. Basically, the star ships were fucked.

    Meanwhile, by the forest, The Wang Gang had all landed. The Spaghetti Shoots ensured a safe landing by using Rotini Twist technology to turn the Farfalle Feathered Parachutes, connected by the linguine stringy, into rigatoni strings and a conchiglie chilly shell to land in. The Eight Wangs stepped out of the shells and looked around. Suspiciously, it seemed there was no guards around in the rainy forests. There was also a light mist in the undertows of the forest, limiting their field-of-view.

    “Bruvs, im bloody starving, now allow me to munch on dis here nice pasta grub…”

    “Aren’t you supposed to be leader?” questioned Bill.

    “Wotever ya fock, ur leader now. think of some shit. dis here grub about 2 be scrub-a-dub-dubbed by me.”

    "Oh, Eight Shells, eight divided by two is four, 2 fours. Oh, nice, impressive Hungry-man. Dubs on your food. Clever." Patrick Bateman then winked and gave a thumbs-up to Hungry-man, who ignored him, indulging in his gluttony.

    “You fat no chin chump, why are you even in charge?” asked Car Guard.

    “You know, I for one think Mr. Willson here is a much better candidate for leadership,” replied Bateman.

    “i for one think it should be me the powarfull spirit of light” TTT was quite happy, as usual.

    “Enough! We need to get going and find this so called “Ker-u-vim” and get out of here! There’s thousands of those Knights here, you know,” Car Guard was worried. A man like him had no chance at defeating even one of them. Why, oh why, was life so cruel to him?

    “Yeah, let’s get the heck out of here and skedaddle before they notice us,” said The fresh prince of fresh fruit.

    “Too late,” state TGWWEIM. The rain around them started moving, and vines imploded from the ground to grab their feet.

    “Fock, and durin’ me grub gettin’!” Hungry-man jumped out of the way of the vines, which quickly consumed the shells of the spaghetti shoots. A vine gripped his leg, and he used his giant mouth to rip it open. As he lifted his head up, a tentacle of water slammed him in the face, knocking him over for the vines to get him.


    [The Void]

    The Heckumvirate was getting slapped around like nothing by Stardust. His stoic expression stayed the same, but deep down, he was angered by the events he saw. His allegiance was to the Stardust Crusaders, a faction of his people who were universal peacekeepers, created long before The Lantern Corps, Manhunters, or Time Guardians. For him to see the chaos being caused, yet his fixture on the Hecker Brothers occupied him, upset him.

    “Heh…” whispered The Heckumvirate, “Nothin personnel, but you will always give a heck.”

    Stardust was angered, and attempted to use molecule rays to dismember The Heckumvirate to molecules. The rays bounced off and reduced the surrounding areas into molecules. The assembled together smiley shrugged, and got up off the ground that wasn’t technically there.

    “Embrace the hecks, Stardust, and do your job,” stated The Heckumvirate.

    “NO! YOU MUST BE PUNISHED FIRST, HECK BROTHERS,” Stardust bellowed his statement, that echoed in the void of their location. As if it was thunder, with a lagging-behind sound after the statement.

    “No matter.” The marbled smiley of red and yellow, with a golden glowing aura, launched an orb from its hand. The orb showed the Battle of Saskana, where Mazkertis arrived and fought several beings. The orb began to expand and encompass Stardust. Stardust raised his arm in an unnatural, robotic matter, emitting an anti-teleportation ray, but it had no effect. The Heckumvirate gave Stardust a thumbs-up, before the orb started squishing Stardust.

    “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA,” Stardust screamed as the orb started to compact his body. The Heckumvirate shrugged, and before Stardust knew it, he was nothing more than a mush of plasma. The orb disappeared with the remains of Stardust in it. The Heckumvirate did it’s job, and now walked off into the void in the area they were fighting in.


    Stardust’s remains ended up in the core of a Red Supergiant star. His species were living stars in a way - made out of plasma, before they mastered, what translates as “Super-Science,”- the ability to alter the laws of physics with the manipulation of matter from stars, of which everything in the universe was made out of. Simply put, it was altering the product of stardust matter to anything they wanted. Explained like a science, but was really nothing more than magic to most.

    This Red Supergiant Star, was the home of Stardust’s race of people and where he was born. Whenever one of their beings died, they magically ended up back into the core of their star, for their remains to be recycled and used to create more. The memories of the being was stored in the library inside the star, so they could be consulted again. Immortality, basically.

    The Stardust Crusaders all arrived back to the star in a matter of microseconds, after the report of the death of one of them. Hundreds arrived, all shifting back into their five-pointed star forms, instead of their god-like morphed forms that resemble the species they’re governing at the time.

    One of the Crusaders stepped up, and looked at the amorphous blob of plasma that remained of Stardust. The being lifted the remains of Stardust and tossed it into the core, the plasma being eaten by the planet. The superheated matter was consumed by the world, and out echoed the waves of Stardust’s mind.

    “ALLIES OF JUSTICE, I HAVE BUT ONE GOAL-“ bellowed the electromagnetic radiation emitted by his remains, to which the others could process it as words. One of the crusaders responded: “TO FIND THE MAN WHO KILLED YOU?”

    “NO, TO END THE MAN WHO THREATENS TO END THE UNIVERSE!” A jump in the wavelengths was noted for his exclamation.


    “M A Z K E R T I S”


    In the far reaches of space, in a location that has no specifications, was the meeting room for The Cooperative, located on a spaceship. While The Cooperative were anarchists, volunteers from all of the member species came to discuss issues, most lying with problems outside their territories. Today, a meeting was called for a group petitioning to join. Because The Cooperative has the powerful technology of “Makers;” devices that were able to create anything be rearranging atoms, they had to be careful with who was able to use it.

    Today’s pending group: Space India, led by Indian President, who’s real name was never made public to outside groups. The president was somewhat short, around 5’5” or 165 cm tall, brown skin, and short black hair that drooped down, and not short enough to be a buzz cut. He had somewhat large lips, which many say are due to his amazing speech abilities(though we all know it’s from the genetic lottery, right?).

    He had come alone to the meeting, even forsaking guards, with no fear. He stepped onto a platform lift that floated him up into a room full of thousands of species, all very bizarre. There was plant people, Trilagons, masses of tentacles, giant floating, gas-giant originated mushroom blobs, giant plasma blobs, microscopic magnetic-based shaving species, and god knows what else. To the President of Space India, this was nothing to him.

    He stepped up to the intercom, which was a translation device for all the bizarre species that couldn’t communicate.
    “Hello everyone if you are listening, last time I showed you the Top 20 reasons why Space India should join, well this time I’m going to list the Top 10 reasons why we should NOT join.”

    The audience was shocked. Why would his argument be to list reasons why his nation SHOULDN’T join? Only one word could describe this situation: Insanity.

    “Numbahr Ten…” Before he could speak his reason, the room was covered by a flash of light. Suddenly, five Stardust Crusaders appeared in the room. All are clad in dulled, garish-colored(such as teal and purple, or orange and pink) outfits with strange geometrical patterns in random spots (such as spots or repeating rhombuses).

    “YOU ARE ALL NOW IN THE POWER OF STARDUST,” shouted the five beings, in their voices which always seem to echo.

    The Cooperative volunteers began to ready their weapons, and sounded the alarm. The indian president was knocked over with the arrival of the crusaders, and was thoroughly pissed. He got up and started yelling at one of the crusaders: “fuk u u fatass ugle sonofabitch ur face is so defaormed nd ur color make me blind.”

    “ENOUGH!” One of the crusaders raised his arm and shot a bolt of lightning at the man, silencing him with his ‘ray of silence.’ The president continued swearing under breath, since he could no longer be heard.

    “WE DO NOT COME LOOKING FOR TROUBLE COOPERATIVE!” The teal-and-purple crusader then covered the room in a yellow ray, which disabled all weapons. Another shot a ray that turned off the alarms.

    Zrintch was in the meeting too, and he raised his communicator to notify the We’d Warriors of an emergency. Zrintch continued watching the crusaders. The crusaders announced their next statement, “THE MAN CALLED MAZKERTIS WISHES TO DESTROY THE TIMELINE OF THE UNIVERSE. WE COME HERE ASKING FOR HELP OF THE COOPERATIVE, A GROUP WITH NO ALLEGIANCES. THE LANTERNS AND GUARDIANS CANNOT BOTHER US HERE, AND NEITHER CAN OTHER GROUPS. WE WISH FOR YOUR COOPERATION WITH OUR MOTIVES.”

    Zrintch then turned off the alarm. He maneuvered through the aisles to get towards the front. One of the beings noticed him, “YOU, COME FORTH.” The star being teleported Zrintch to be in front of them in the middle of the meeting room, on the floating platform.

    Zrintch stood forth proud in front of the group, with no fear. He spoke in the commanding tone as he did to his soldiers, “Our goals align. Just as we speak, I have two groups working for me gathering items to help with the defeat of Mazkertis. The Cooperative knows of his goals, and wishes to stop him.”

    “THEN, YOU SHALL WORK WITH US?” questioned one of the star-beings, in a still loud and monotonous voice.

    “Yes. Come with me.” Zrintch then turned on the platform to start lowering. Space India’s president was not on the platform though, and is now stuck up there. He was not pleased. The ray of silence was still on him too, so the only thing he could do is stomp up and down to express his anger.



    Nif, after being briefed by Full Frontal on the Mazkertis situation, decided to find a way to leave the planet to find Mazkertis himself. After all, this universe he ended up in seemed like some cross of original content and stolen copyrighted media of his home universe. How strange it was, to meet an alternate version of a man from his home universe. ”That mother fucker…” he thought to himself. ”Why is here? How? Then again, it could just be an alternate version, but he has similar powers…”

    As Nif walked along the abandoned city in wake of Mazkertis’ attack, he looked around for any spaceships he could steal. After seeing what was basically the equivalent of a Gundam character in this universe, he figured that spaceship controls would be relatively easy to learn.

    He spotted some junky knock-off of a Final Fantasy vehicle crossed with space opera aesthetics. It also had floating crystals on it, most likely as some tubing system for the power. Nif began using his multi-tentacles to try and find an opening to the ship. Just as a platform lowered for him to get in, a blue light enveloped around him. He felt this feeling before, when he was trying to integrate with the biome of Saskana. ”Huh.”


    On the bottom of the Saskana Ocean, there lied a palace made of crystal. The crystals were reinforced ice crystals, to withstand the depths of the ocean. They were a light faded blue-white, akin to the color of glaciers, but translucent instead. The palace had no real fitting geometry of it, or style. Just a big ice house, so to say.

    The location of the palace was affixed in “The Twilight Zone,” of the ocean, right before all light fades out in the bottom. The minuscule amount of light gave the palace a blue, otherworldly shine, akin to twilight time on the surface of snow, making it all blue. The palace was affixed to the side of an underwater cliff.

    Inside the structure were several rooms that made no real sense. A library, a hot springs room, a kitchen which also contained the dining room next to it, an internal aquarium, and then a main room for the inhabitant. The lighting was from bioluminescent plankton on the outside of the ocean, and also lived in the cracks of the crystals, swimming through a current of water that circled the whole structure.

    The blue light then appeared in the library, opening up, with Nif appearing in the center as the light faded. He looked around, his sense noting he was now back in the ocean of Saskana. Above him was the transparent ceiling, and he observed the lifeforms move around. The small amount of light that pierced this area of the ocean made most of the life fluorescent, to it appeared as if stars were moving around in the ocean.

    “Beautiful, isn’t it?” The man who muttered the question was sitting in the chair of the library, and had just put down the book he was reading. He stood up and went to approach Nif. The man was around 6’2”, or 188 cm, tall. He had ruffled, long dark brown hair, that had some strange fade of blue to it with different light reflections. He had a small beard and mustache connected to his sideburns, which was also an abyssal blue color. His eyes were a medium blue with white slits for pupils. His skin was tanned white, with a reddish hue. On the side of his neck were a set of three gills - one on each side totaling six. His clothing was nothing more than an underwater camouflage themed robe over boxers - quite tacky, in all honesty.

    The man extended his arm to Nif, as a handshake. His greeting? “h.”

    “h,” responded Nif, knowing the meme greet, then shaking the man’s hand. “So,” Nif asked, “Who are you?”

    “Nif tbh,” responded the man.

    “Then you are-?” questioned Nif

    “The alternate version of you? Well, not quite. You are me, and I am you. You could say were are BrOThas.”

    “More like twins,” responded the original Nif.

    “Not quite. I am a User, which I know you don’t know what they are, since I’m the one who made you. And the universe you’re from.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “Well, Users are people who control this whole universe. To be entirely honest, I’m not sure if we’re higher beings who created this universe, self-inserted avatars in this reality, or if we’re supposed to be meta commentary on ourselves. I have a theory that there’s a higher reality than this, in which we’re nothing more than ramblings of other normal people. A living picture book so to say. I’m not sure though.”

    Nif wasn’t very amazed, “If that’s true, why did you teleport me here? And can you prove it?”

    User Nif smirked. “Yes, of course. Let me show you,” he snapped his fingers and the place flipped upside down and they floated around. “Laws of physics are meaningless here, because they’re only used when we feel like it.” User Nif pointed towards a hole in reality. “And these portals to anywhere else. Just look through it.” Nif looked through and saw the fight between Stardust and The Heckumvirate. He just nodded his head in response.

    “I believe you Nif, but you didn’t answer my first question: Why did you want me here?”

    “To have this conversation, Nif,” responded User Nif.

    “So what you’re saying is this is just meta-commentary on the canon of this universe?” questioned Nif.

    “Yes. Impressive. Nice, even. You are, after all, my own self-insert from another universe, before I really knew about Users, then I became a User, by writing myself in, as of now. Hopefully we’ll fix this in the reboot,” stated User Nif.

    “The reboot?” responded Nif.

    “Yeah, after the end of this, me and the other Users are going to fix this inconsistent garbage,” User Nif looked up to the ceiling, seeing the life passing by. “The best thing about this is my ability to create these really cool and unique scenarios. This palace didn’t exist 5 minutes ago, but I had to talk to you, so I rewrote and retconned the universe to say this palace existed. Alas, it will most likely be forgotten by everyone until some random character says something about it because the writers remember.”

    Nif just seemed confused. He sighed and questions, “I know better than myself writing meta-commentary for something other than a laugh, this is obviously to move the plot forward. What do you want me to do?”

    User Nif’s pupils and sharpened as he looked at Nif. “Why, end Mazkertis of course. I’m going to teleport you to a location with other useful individuals so you guys can take him down.”

    “That doesn’t make sense,” responded Nif. “If Users can do anything to this universe and anyone in it, why don’t you they just erase Mazkertis?”

    “Well, because it’s boring. As part of a group of people with unlimited power, we have to create our own challenges to entertain ourselves. If this is going to be BZPB™️’s Crisis on Infinite Earths®️, then we’re going to go all out,” User Nif stated in a monotone voice.

    “Then,” asked Nif, “Why don’t you just send me directly to Mazkertis and let me kill him. He is human, is he not?”

    “Well,” responded User Nif, “I don’t think that’d bode well for some of the other users. To teleport in and rupture him into an artistic project on biology isn’t entertaining to many, but it is to me and you.”

    “So, you Users are purposely making things hard for the sake of entertainment?” inquired Nif.

    “Of coursh,” responded User Nif. “The lives of gorillions in this universe mean nothing to me, because I can just retcon them into never dying if I want a happy ending. Personally I like happy endings, because I want-“

    “World Peace and everyone happy?” Nif interrupted, “Yeah, same goals as me, to no surprise.”

    “Well, of course, yet neither of us will experience that ourselves because we’re supposed to be tragic and interesting.

    “So, do you wish for my death, User Nif?”

    “No, intact I’ll write you a happy ending and make one for myself in this universe. You know, a cover-up, for my depression and pseudo, self-diagnosed schizoid personality. You won’t remember this conversation after you leave this universe though, because then it would make your original universe interactions seem off,”

    “And before you go on a long speech about it, let’s cut to the chase, because 1 noreaders care” responded Nif.

    “Well, you’re going to recruit and organize the largest group of supporters against Mazkertis as you can. He’s created a formal allied group of individuals, the Kindred of Dawn. You’re going to kill them all, since that’s what you’re good at,” stated User Nif.

    “How very nice of you,” sneered Nif. ‘When do I start?”

    “Now, but first, I’ll give you something back that was hampered here,” User Nif snapped his fingers, then a multitude of light, refracted by water, covered Nif. In the prism water then stood an ebony-hued, even somewhat bluish, skinned human, clad in an aqua-colored dress, with long white-blue hair, styled after the ocean waves. She had blue lips and yellow eyes.

    She then spoke in a deep voice for a woman, like an echo of the abyss. Very powerful voice, really. “Oh, Nif? I wondered what happened to my host after that battle. It was if I was put into stasis.”

    “You basically were,” Nif said unenthusiastically.

    Levi went up to hug Nif and smothering him, before User Nif interrupted, “Now, before you ask where you are, Nif will tell you. As for you Nif, with Leviathan here you should be able to use your Evolve power fully now, and scan any planet with water-based life to copy from, along with it’s history. Now, off you two go.”

    “Huh?” questioned Levi.

    Before another word was murmured, User Nif snapped his fingers, and the two disappeared into the same blue light that brought Nif there. User Nif then walked to the hot springs room, “…time for artificial gratification,” he thought to himself, as he entered the bath. And then he fugg'd six trillion cat girls or somethin :DDDDDDDDD Cool remember I don’t give a heck haha


    [Kindred of Dawn Location]

    Mazkertis stood in front of his team of scoundrels, dictators, and wanted criminals. He himself did not personally like the team, personality wise. Abilities on the other hand, were useful, as were some of the member’s connections. “But sometimes you must have momentary discomfort for the result,” he thought to himself. What he was truly disappointed in, was that one of the most important requested members, did not accept his invitation. He wanted to help him, so why wouldn’t he appear?

    Of course, knowing him, this is nothing new. Most likely he is dealing with the political ramblings of his affiliated group to give Mazkertis more power, indirectly. Mazkertis looked on at his group, and smirked, knowing that his friend wouldn’t miss the world for a chance like this.

    Goblin and Genetoes bickered, nothing new on their part. Raziel and Eclipse stayed silent, staring into the horizon of space as they looked out on their new locale. Behind Mazkertis, a black portal opened up, temporarily inverting the colors in the room as a black robed man emerged.

    ”You’re late, you know,” said Mazkertis, telepathically transmitting his speech to the figure.

    “You should know how hard it is for our plans to get through without getting noticed,” replied the hooded figure, in raspy, deep voice, much like Boris Karloff.

    ”Yes, of course,” replied the time wizard.

    “You shouldn’t worry, we have all the time in the universe, don’t we?”

    Mazkertis would’ve laughed, if he had lungs, instead he only conveyed a smirk at his remark. ”Yes, we do, don’t, we, Lord Zrintch?” The hood of Zrintch fell over, revealing his neon green fur and scarlet eyes, with a smug smirk on his face. The rest of the Kindred were either surprised or confused. Ascheron was clearly angered; “Another fucking xeno? Do you have no morals, Mazkertis?!”

    “As if you’re comment means anything, you childish dictator, with an ego larger than his own technology level,” Zrintch commented.

    “If we weren’t allies, I would kill you right here and now, you red-eyed christmas tree!”

    Zrintch pulled out a metal stick that then began to glow a deep, neon-red, “igniting,” in a way. “Then you can surely try,” replied Zrintch.

    Mazkertis then stopped both of them in time. Telepathically, he communicated the following to everyone in the room: ”Enough! We are all here for our similar end goals, our temporary disputes should be null, for the greater goal! Ascheron, Zrintch is an old ally of mine, and you are just as valuable as him for our goals,” Mazkertis presumed time around the two, Zrintch sheathing his weapon, and Ascheron backing down.

    “My apologies, Mazzy,” Zrintch then turned his back from Ascheron, smirked and walked away, with Ascheron making no comment.

    Last edited by Klakeric Andre on Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:20 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : ok)
    The Chronicler
    The Chronicler

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:00 pm

    Chapter 10, Part 1: As Time Goes By

    For centuries, people have theorized that there is a point in space from which all of space can be seen, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion. This concept was first popularized by human writer Jorge Luis Borges in the short story "The Aleph" in the Earth year 1945. Unfortunately, Mr. Borges died without ever knowing that he had actually written a statement of fact. The Chousin sister Tokimi reflected on this as she stood inside the Aleph point of what the Users call the "The Hyperdimension", allowing them to witness all that transpired within the Original Universe. There is, in fact, an Aleph point inside each universe from which all of each of those respective universes can be seen, with additional Alephs inside other dimensions too. Tokimi sighed and began to go over the events of the past few months yet again.

    Several months ago, the warmonger Dukamu had attempted to access the Aleph point of the fabled Knowledge Dimension, but Tokimi and her sisters managed to prevent him from doing so. The battle was fierce: Dukamu nearly succeeded in killing Tokimi's sister Tsunami when she arrived to stop him, and his banishment was only achieved by the combined force of all three of the Chousin. After losing the battle, Dukamu immediately returned to the UG pocket dimension, where he began to empower himself even further to win the next one. The Chousin had no choice but to contact the Users themselves to deal with the threat. Luckily, Users Kon and MK succeeded in sending the UG, containing Dukamu and his allies, into the far future to be dealt with at a later date, allowing the Chousin to focus on other threats to the integrity of the BZPB Multiverse.

    Tokimi recognized the main outstanding threat as Mazkertis, who had since decided to surround himself with a horde of villains, bribing them with the promise of increased power in the new timeline that he wishes to create. Among Mazkertis's allies was Eclipse, the corrupt Living Star who holds the immense title of leader of the Kra'lythe. Already, Eclipse had his acolytes spreading the word of Mazkertis, hoping to recruit more powerful figures to their cause. Tokimi wiped the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand and tried to calm herself. The consequences of this alliance could be devastating, and would definitely disrupt the entropic balance she had fought so hard to maintain in the Original Universe. As the Chousin sister responsible for maintaining entropic balance, Tokimi knew that this was an outcome she would not allow to happen.

    Tsunami, the Chousin sister responsible for keeping the timeline in order, was also having frightening visions. Even though Dukamu had been catapulted into the future, she knew that it wouldn't be long before he employed the services of a time-traveller to return to the present. If that happened, Tsunami wasn't sure that the Chousin would be able to defeat him again. Not only that, but the timestream itself was also beginning to unravel, with time becoming distorted and difficult to measure within the Original Universe. What some saw as hours, others saw as days, with both observations being correct to some degree. Now that the Living Stars have disappeared, Tsunami is one of the only forces in the universe struggling to hold the timeline together... but it is a battle she is slowly losing.

    Washu could provide her sisters no comfort this time. The Chousin responsible for the integrity of the physical universe had just discovered the full extent of the damage caused by the universal imbalance her sister had detected. Overseeing balance was Tokimi's department, but Tokimi herself was too busy trying to determine what effects the unbalance would have in the future. Because Washu could see through space, but not through time, she decided to help Tokimi with her workload by using the Aleph to see what effects the imbalance was having on the universe in the present instead. Washu discovered that the entropic imbalalance was causing the Dark Zones to grow in size, along with their entrances to the Void between universes. She also tried to locate the Living Stars again, but with no success.

    The Chousin came together in the Aleph point of the Hyperdimension to discuss what they had learned. They had each spent the past week gazing far and wide through the space and time of the universe, looking for a way to defeat Mazkertis and restore order without necessitating the use of the Users' godly powers. Tokimi was the first to speak, though she had nothing new to say. Each of the sisters knew of the calibre of the threat they faced; it did not need restating any more. All eyes fell on Tsunami instead.

    "So, what have you learned, Tsunami?" Tokimi enquired.

    "A great many things..." Tsunami replied in a sombre tone, a far cry from her usual cheeriness. "Firstly, I now know what caused the disappearance of the Living Stars when we needed them the most."

    The others waited for her to continue, but she did not.

    "Well... what was it?"

    "...It would be easier to show you."

    Tsunami took a stone tablet out of her robe and laid it in front of them. Her sisters recognized it immediately: it was a Memory Tablet, an artefact which could duplicate and transfer memories from one individual to another. Tokimi and Washu picked it up together, and it showed them what it contained.


    Two years ago...

    The Living Star known as Vrentus returned home to the Forest of Lights. It was called the Forest of Lights for a reason: towering orchards of "trees" formed by sparkling purplish gas filled the dimension, with the glowing bodies of the other Living Stars shining through the "treetops", resulting in a rainbow of color throughout. Vrentus navigated the orchard with ease and emerged from the trees to consult his master. The Living Stars had a hierarchy determined by age that resulted in the oldest holding the most power. Vrentus would be unbelievably ancient by human terms, but among the Living Stars, he was middle-aged at most. The oldest of the Living Stars was "Sun", the supposed progenitor of them all. Sun had not left the Forest of Lights for eons, and some among them argued that his mind had aged away. Sun had seemingly lost the ability to speak in words, instead inferring his speech in cacophonous screams and roars. Despite this, Sun's speech was able to be translated by his two most trusted Living Stars, though it was unknown whether these two translators could actually tell what Sun was saying or if they were just making it up.

    Vrentus approached Sun and his aides with far less confidence than he had navigated the orchard with. He hated to be the bringer of bad news, but what he had discovered was just too important to ignore this time. Vrentus cleared his "throat" by coughing a flame of green fire away from his brethren, then began to speak.

    "My lord. Do you remember the prophecy I shared with you some years ago, regarding the death of one of our own?"

    Sun glared at Vrentus with eyes made of yellow flame. After a few moments, he roared and blew fire into Vrentus's face. Vrentus was of course unaffected by this, though he was a bit insulted. Sun's two translators talked among themselves before turning back to Vrentus and sharing Sun's apparent answer.


    Vrentus frowned. "Then perhaps I should remind you. I had a vision that our home was breached by invaders and that one of us was killed. When I told the others what I had seen, some of them had the same vision while meditating."

    Sun gave a louder but shorter roar, and his translators did their job. "That's ridiculous," they said. "The Forest of Lights could not be more secure. Even if someone with time-travel abilities discovered its location, we would instantly crush them into a fine mist and add the mist to the garden."

    "But what if they could counter our powers?"

    "Impossible! Nothing can kill a Living Star!" One of the translators roared before Sun even opened his mouth. "We are eternal!"

    The other translator nodded, and pointed at a spot across the dimension. When Vrentus followed her gaze, he saw another Living Star, Flare. Flare was famous among the Stars for successfully bonding with a deadly force, the Parasitic Fluff. When other Living Stars had tried to touch the fluff, they simply burned it away or had their arms consumed by it, but Flare had managed to coat himself in the fluff and use it in battle with no ill effects. Vrentus gathered that the translator was using Flare as an example of the Living Stars' invincibility.

    Vrentus angrily turned back to Sun and gave his finishing statement. "Fine! You think you're indestructible? Soon, you're going to have to prove it!"

    The green-coloured Living Star then turned away from Sun and left for the orchard. Upon leaving the realm, Vrentus telepathically summoned the Time Guardians in the universe who were loyal to him. He knew that his most loyal servent, Cithus, believed his visions, but there was even doubt among his own.

    "That is a wrong that must be corrected." Vrentus thought as he drifted through the blackness of space towards their soon-to-be meeting location.


    Two hours later, five of the six Time Guardians loyal to Vrentus met with him on the surface of an asteroid in deep space. The only one absent from the meeting was Vexull, who was correcting a minor temporal disturbance in the past. The ever-kind and insightful Cithus listened to Vrentus's rant about the ignorance of Sun and his elder translators, and mostly agreed with him on the subject. Two of the five doubted Vrentus, since they had not shared his visions, but listened nonetheless.

    The discussion lasted for several minutes, until they were all distracted by one single thing: a telepathic scream. Each of the Time Guardians froze in place and met each other's gazes, silently asking each other if they had also heard it; the answer was a resounding 'Yes'. The scream was accompanied by a short message in an ancient dialect of the Sha'lythe's native language. Because the message was prepared before any of the Time Guardians present were even recruited into the order, they could barely understand the language. The Sha'lythe looked to Vrentus for answers, and the Living Star said one thing in response.

    "I was right."

    The Time Guardians in front of Vrentus stepped out of the way as the Living Star opened a dimensional tear to the Forest of Lights in front of them. Preparing to unleash his flame upon any potential enemies, Vrentus charged through, along with his five followers. The first thing they noticed upon arriving in the dimension was that the orchard was burning. Jets of black flame leaped through the orchard, scorching anything they came in contact with. Avoiding the flame, Vrentus flew upwards, bursting through the treetops and seeing war.

    In front of him, tens of Time Guardians were furiously battling against a horde of shadows. At least, they looked like shadows - the "shadows" were actually Kra'lythe, former Time Guardians who had betrayed the ancient order to ally themselves with Eclipse, an evil Living Star whose objectives stand counter to everything that the rest of the Living Stars believe in. The Sha'lythe were outnumbered and were losing the battle. Every other second, one of them fell on the jagged blades of the Kra'lythe, or be engulfed in the Kra'lythes' shadows. The Kra'lythe named Genetoes was leading the charge, having already scored several kills himself.

    Above and behind the battling Sha'lythe and Kra'lythe was Sun and his aides. The black sun Eclipse himself approached them. When Sun's aides floated up to defend him, Eclipse rapidly smashed his own fists into their fiery bodies, extinguishing most of their flame with his own darkness. Cithus charged forward, lightning crackling along his sword, but Genetoes tackled him before the Sha'lythe could reach Eclipse. Vrentus watched in horror as Eclipse approached Sun and began to expand. Eclipse's already frighteningly-large mouth stretched to mirror the size of the Living Star, and closed around him. Sun gave a muffled roar, his light shining through Eclipse's dark surface from within. Eclipse grunted in pain as his whole body filled with heat, but he forced his mouth closed.

    Determined to discover what was going on, Vrentus launched a telepathic attack on Genetoes. The Kra'lythe stopped fighting Cithus and grabbed his head, giving Cithus an opportunity to escape and help the other Time Guardians repel the attack. Vrentus dug into Genetoes's mind and read the upper layers of his consciousness. Genetoes, while unable to resist the mental assault of a Living Star, tried to fight back against Vrentus.

    "HOW DID YOU FIND US?!" Vrentus telepathically roared at Genetoes, digging for the answers in his mind when the Kra'lythe failed to respond in thought. Genetoes gave in and mentally replied in an attempt to alleviate the mental pain.

    "The... Knowledge... Dimension!" Genetoes thought. "A tear in space led me there... it told me how to access your home!"

    "WHAT ELSE DID IT TELL YOU?" Vrentus responded. He had heard whispers about the Knowledge Dimension from some of the older Living Stars, but had never given it much thought. Vrentus remembered his brother TBS say that the Knowledge Dimension was not their job to protect, therefore it didn't concern them.

    "It... told us how to increase our power... to absorb our counterparts... and how to travel through the multiverse!"

    Vrentus exited Genetoes's mind for a moment to put the pieces together in his own. Vrentus knew that it was true that there were other universes, each with different versions of themselves, but the Living Stars had no way and no need to get there. If what Genetoes believed was true, then the Kra'lythe had discovered a way to cross over... AND to absorb their counterparts to become more powerful. No wonder Sun had sounded the alarm.

    Vrentus looked back to Eclipse. The light inside the black sun had been completely suppressed, and Eclipse was now double the size he was before. The leader of the Kra'lythe smiled and opened a portal with his hands. The surviving Kra'lythe began to fly towards it, but some were cut down by the remaining Sha'lythe before they could enter. Genetoes got up and prepared to fly away, but his foot was grabbed by Vrentus before he could leave.

    "Not so fast." Vrentus thought. "I need to know how to follow you."

    The green-coloured Living Star entered Genetoes's mind once again. The answer he needed was buried within Genetoes's consciousness, but he was able to find and extract it in time. It seemed that Genetoes and the Kra'lythe had learned how to develop their ability to cut passages through to alternate universes as well as passages within their own universe. Vrentus made a mental note and retreated from Genetoes's mind. Just as he did, however, he was hit by a gigantic blast of shadow energy, causing him to spin backwards and let go of Genetoes's leg. The Kra'lythe flew into the portal and disappeared from view. When Vrentus steadied himself, he saw that the only enemy left was Eclipse, who smiled at him before turning around and entering the portal. It closed behind them, leaving the Forest of Lights a little darker than it was before.

    Two different portals opened and Flare and TBS came through. They observed the aftermath of the death and destruction in their home, and silently wept for their fallen father and loyal followers. TBS sent telepathic messages to his own band of Sha'lythe followers to see if they had survived the battle; fortunately Chikato, Gekkou, and Lite answered the call. However, Quolas did not respond, causing TBS to worry.

    Vrentus solemnly greeted the two Living Stars and told them what he had learned from Genetoes. They, and the other Living Stars, agreed to suspend their current missions, gather in the Forest of Lights and meditate in synchronicity for the first time in millennia. (While Living Stars and their Sha'lythe followers can get glimpses of the future without actually going there by meditating, the accuracy of their visions increase with each added person meditating with them.)

    While the Forest of Lights was seemingly timeless in itself, the Sha'lythe who recalled the normal passage of time knew that the meditation they participated in took days. Together, they saw much of things to come, but one word of it stood out the most: Mazkertis.

    It was at that moment that the Living Stars and much of the Sha'lythe knew they had to leave the universe - not only to stop Eclipse and the Kra'lythe from becoming more powerful, but also to empower themselves in preparation of things to come. TBS considered leaving one of the Sha'lythe behind in the Forest of Lights to inform Quolas of what had happened, but Flare convinced him that Quolas was probably dead. TBS nodded, and, using the technique Vrentus had learned from Genetoes, opened a portal to the next universe over. The Living Stars and the Sha'lythe departed through the portal, and it closed behind them.

    A few minutes later, Quolas entered the Forest of Lights and found it deserted. He had spent the past few hours on "The Island", an island on Earth that was in a constant state of temporal flux, meaning that nothing, not even thought, could reach him unless directed at an exact time. Quolas panicked and left the dimension in search of an answer that he may never find.



    Washu rapidly blinked as she sifted through all the new memories Tsunami's Memory Tablet had given her. Once she had finished, the Chousin sister shook her head violently and yelled in frustration.

    "I spent all that time looking for them, and they weren't even in the same universe!" Washu cried, tugging on two of her huge red strands of hair. "Eclipse's here, but the rest of them could be a thousand universes away by now!!!"

    Slowly but surely, Tsunami's smile returned, and with it, so did her optimism. There was something reassuringly familiar about seeing Washu stomp her feet and pull on her hair, which itself looked like a cluster of steamed crab legs. She chuckled lightly and put a hand on her sister's shoulder.

    "Don't worry, Washu-kami-sama. You will find them. All you need to do is go back to the Knowledge Dimension Aleph and look for them there."

    "Wait." Tokimi interjected. "There's still something I don't understand. We know that, eventually, Eclipse was so badly injured that he had to enter hibernation to regenerate his power. What could have done that to him? Maybe one of the other Living Stars, after absorbing more versions of themselves than Eclipse had?"

    "I suppose that's something we'll have to ask TBS once we find him." Tsunami said with a smile. "Washu, would you do the honors?"

    Washu nodded, extending her hands to teleport herself and her sisters to the Knowledge Dimension. However, she was interrupted with another "WAIT!" from Tokimi. Washu groaned.


    Tokimi was taken aback by Washu's shout, but brushed it off. "There's no need for all of us to go. The Knowledge Dimension's security has been tripled since the last breakthrough, so another attack is unlikely. You should go to its Aleph and find the Living Stars, while I gather the Time Guardians who were left behind in the OU and tell them what happened to their masters."

    Washu pondered this idea for a moment. "That's... actually a pretty good idea, Tokimi-kami-sama. We'll meet back here in an hour?"

    "Of course! If not, feel free to come find me." Tokimi cheered. "Although... I'm going to need a ride."

    Washu nodded, and lifted the palm of her hand in the air, facing Tokimi. She folded space around Tokimi, causing her to pop out of existence. Washu then did the same to herself and her sister, teleporting them both into the Knowledge Dimension.


    Lady Tokimi popped into existence among the rolling clouds of Malchior IV, the last known location of the Time Guardian Quolas. She spun gracefully in mid-air, narrowly avoiding hitting a large metal object that she assumed to be some kind of satellite, and summoned her set of Lighthawk Wings . She used the wings to glide safely below the clouds and see the surface of the planet. She saw a mountainous expanse to the north, a city to the south, and grassy plains and a quaint white church beneath her. She figured the church would be her best bet for finding Quolas, so she dissipated her Lighthawk Wings and dropped down. When she neared the surface, she summoned her Lighthawk Wings once again to break her fall, and then wished them away when her feet touched the ground.

    Tokimi walked round to the front of the church, pushed one of the doors ajar and peeked inside. The lights were on, but the church was empty except for a small figure lighting candles on the altar. Tokimi stepped inside, closed the door behind her and walked up to the front of the church. The figure in front of her stopped and turned around, searching with blind eyes. She was The Norman, an ancient Nynrah Ghost and Turaga mother of Klak. The Norman blew out the matchstick she was holding and gripped her staff with both hands.

    "Who's there?!" The Norman shouted, her mask shifting with her face to form a suspicious frown.

    "A friend."

    "I don't recognize your voice. Are you a Phoenix?"

    "No." Tokimi replied with a smile. "I am what they aspire to be."

    "Is that so?" The Norman asked with a curious tone. "Come closer."

    Tokimi obeyed, stepping within a metre of The Norman. Years of blindness had heightened The Norman's senses to an increased, but not an extreme degree. She was at least more observant of sounds, smells and air currents than the average seeing person. The first thing she noticed was that Tokimi had no scent, meaning that she was either an artificial lifeform, some kind of spirit or hallucination. From the direction of Tokimi's voice, The Norman gathered that the stranger was about eight feet tall, meaning that The Norman's head would just about reach her waist.

    "What's your name, traveller?"

    "Traveller?" Tokimi asked.

    "You don't sound Malchiorian."

    Tokimi chuckled. "No, I suppose I don't. I am Lady Tokimi. It is a name known to few, but for the few who know it, it means the difference between universal peace and absolute chaos. I am responsible for maintaining entropic balance in your universe and others."

    The Norman was shocked. If Tokimi was telling the truth, she had just been let in on a secret of universal proportions. If Tokimi was not, The Norman had a mentally unstable eight-foot alien problem to deal with.

    "Why are you telling me this?" The Norman replied matter-of-factly.

    "Because you have a good soul, and I need your help and your trust. I have to meet with a Time Guardian named Quolas to tell him something important about his people. Do you know where I can find him?"

    The Norman supposed that there was no harm in telling Tokimi the truth about Quolas's whereabouts, since the Time Guardian was on his way back to the church in a ship with Etende as they spoke. Klak was due back soon too, meaning that if she stalled Tokimi at the church, the two would meet and Klak could properly determine if Tokimi could be trusted.

    "He's on his way right now, dear." The Norman cooed. "He's spent the last few weeks on Dominaria recovering from his injury. If you really are who you say you are, I'm sure he'd love to meet you!"

    "Excellent. I will wait for him."

    Tokimi sat down in a pew and laid her arms on her lap. The Norman smiled and went back to what she was doing, leaving Tokimi alone with her thoughts.


    Meanwhile, Washu and Tsunami strolled through the endless white aisles of the Knowledge Dimension, each filled with more books than either of them could count. They knew that the Aleph room was behind a secret door between the bookshelves dedicated to the history of the Fall of Cluster Empire and the life cycle of Fallmongers exposed to the radioactive atmosphere of Archon-7. At the end of each aisle stood one of the Knowledge Dimension's appointed guardians, armed with head-mounted motion scanners and spear-like weapons. Under normal circumstances, such a sight would be rare, but the number of guards in the dimension has increased according to the amount of times outsiders have attempted to access it over the past few months. It seemed that more and more outsiders were becoming aware of the Knowledge Dimension's existence, something that troubled the Chousin as well as the dimension's natural guards. As a result, the Chousin had instructed some of their own dimensional caretakers to monitor the dimension.

    As they turned a corner into the Fall of Cluster aisle, they found that it was guarded by four guards instead of one, a bit of a giveaway that it contained something important. The two guards at the southern entrance scanned Washu and Tsunami to make sure they were not shapeshifters, then stepped out of their way when they identified them as friendly. The two Chousin politely thanked them and proceeded down the aisle. When they arrived at the appropriate shelves, the selected the correct books and the shelves slid apart to reveal a dark passageway. They entered and closed the entrance behind them. When they arrived in the Aleph room, the two sisters searched for the Living Stars together. After half an hour and 26 universes scanned, they finally found them. A much bigger and more powerful TBS than they were used to was engaged in battle with that universe's version of Eclipse. The Chousin watched as the alternate Eclipse was defeated and absorbed by TBS. TBS's traditional bright blue colour had darkened somewhat, possibly as a result of all the Eclipses the Living Star had absorbed from across the multiverse.

    "TBS has become powerful..." Tsunami observed, "...perhaps too powerful. Every version of Eclipse he absorbs just causes more dark matter and chaotic energy to fuel his fire. It is corrupting him..."

    Washu shook her head in denial. "No. You don't know that. TBS is the most honorable and righteous of them all."

    "I hope you're right, Washu-kami-sama. I hope you're right..."


    Half an hour later, Tokimi noticed the ground beneath her feet start to shake, and The Norman did too. The Turaga rolled her eyes and walked up to Tokimi.

    "That's Quolas arriving now. I wish Etende wouldn't park so close to the church..." she said with an air of disdain. "These old bricks can only stand so much."

    Tokimi snapped to attention at the mention of Quolas's name. She thanked The Norman and went outside to meet him. Sure enough, a spaceship as wide as the church itself was lowering onto the ground. The ship was entirely chrome silver and streamlined to the point where it had virtually no visible features at all. A small window was wrapped around a raised bump towards the back of the ship, which Tokimi assumed was the cockpit. Several silver legs extended from the ship and touched the ground, allowing the ship's ramp to do the same. A hooded figure clad in a white robe descended. When he stepped off the ramp, it receded back into the ship and the ship began to lift off again. Quolas began to walk towards the church, but stopped in his tracks when he saw the Chousin sister in front of him.

    "Quolas. I don't believe we've had the pleasure. I am Lady Tokimi of the Chousin." Tokimi bowed.

    Quolas pulled back his hood, revealing his face to Tokimi. His yellow eyes, contrasting greatly with his pale blue skin, widened as he recalled her name. Quolas had heard rumours among the Sha'lythe that there was a force even higher than the Living Stars working to maintain the timeline, and that force was named the Chousin. He had also heard that Sun had revealed the Chousin's existence to his own batch of Time Guardians, but most of them had since been killed in combat, meaning that the secret only lived on with a select few like TBS, Quolas's former master. Quolas sensed a powerful, but calming, aura emanating from Tokimi. The white runes decorating Quolas's skin glowed with increasing intensity as he approached her.

    "Come inside. We have much to discuss." Tokimi said, putting a hand on Quolas's back and leading him inside the church.

    Quolas didn't know what to say. Tokimi could be an imposter, but she seemed so strangely familiar, and who else could possibly know enough of the Chousin to impersonate one? He at least needed to hear what she wanted to tell him.

    As Quolas and Tokimi disappeared back inside the church, Etende flew the Claws's chrome ship over the old white building and towards the hill on the horizon. Little did she know that she was being watched. The metal object Tokimi nearly collided with when she arrived on Malchior IV hovered below the clouds and extended both a camera and an energy scanner from its spherical body. The camera zoomed in on the Claws' ship and took pictures, while the scanner recorded the energy reading of the ship. When the ship flew behind the hill and disappeared from view, the spying object transmitted what it had learned to an unknown recipient along with its present location before flying away.


    Deep within the Republic of Luria, Lord Remarkable Silver strolled back and forth along a metal walkway between two rows of computerized workstations. Silver was slightly irritated that he had been assigned to supervise the Republic's Galactic Reconnaissance Division, but he could not refuse an order from their supreme leader Gabriel Ascheron. Discovering the location of a certain ship was at the top of Ascheron's priorities right now, so he had assigned one of his most trusted followers to make sure that the GRD was sufficiently... motivated to complete their task.

    Suddenly, one of the computers at the end of the walkway began beeping, so Silver went to investigate. The Lurian officer monitoring the computer nodded nervously at Silver and wheeled a chair out of the way so that his superior could get a better look at the computer screen. Silver's crimson eyes narrowed as he read the report of the drone dispatched to Malchior IV. By the time he had finished reading, a smile had spread across his face.

    "Well done, lieutenant. You have done a great service to the Republic." Silver said, patting the lieutenant on the shoulder. The lieutenant himself gave a pained smile in return, half-expecting Silver to strike him. Fortunately, the Lord was just glad that he had a reason to return to Ascheron and escape the monotony of the GRD. Silver got up and turned to leave, but then another computer started beeping too.

    "What?" Silver said aloud, making his way down the walkway to the second computer. This time, he rudely pushed the Lurian out of the way instead of waiting for him to make way. This workstation was for a different Lurian spydrone that had been dispatched to the far corners of the galaxy. Apparently, this drone had detected another energy source matching that of the Claws' ship: an unregistered space station. Silver muttered something to himself and left the room through a pair of sliding doors at the end of the walkway. When he left the room, he tapped the communicator in his ear, ensuring a secure connection between him and Ascheron.

    "Report, Lord Silver." The commanding voice of Gabriel Ascheron spoke through the communicator.

    "My lord, the spydrones seem to have detected two constructions bearing the energy signature of the Claws' ship. One is... well, the Claws' ship, and another is some kind of space station at the edge of the galaxy."

    "Really?" Ascheron said with an air of fascination. "That's interesting. Thank you."

    "So, perhaps I can make myself useful somewhere else now?"

    "All in due time, Silver. You've just found two constructions bearing this energy signature, who says they can't be more? Ginias tells me that this technology, if it exists, would accelerate the capabilities of our empire thousands of years. Which means that it belongs to us... or it belongs to no-one. Do you understand?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Good. Now show them why you're my favorite."

    Ascheron cut the signal and Silver sighed. He knew that he couldn't last another week in this boring bunker without making someone bleed.

    "Perhaps I should tell them that. Yes... I should." Silver thought to himself as he stepped back into the room, the sliding doors closing ominously behind him.


    In Ascheron's office elsewhere on Kyras, the man himself rested his feet on his desk. He now knew that he had to contact Mazkertis to tell him what his spydrones had found. Unfortunately, Mazkertis disliked using technology, meaning that Ascheron had to contact him using magic or long-range telepathy, and as powerful as Ascheron was, he couldn't do either of those things on his own.

    "Maybe Altian really was useful after all." Ascheron thought. "Guess I'm going back to Kalta Thaea."

    The Lurian leader stood up and left his office for the large hangar that took up most of the building's lower levels. He would board the Assault Shadow and arrive at the Kindred of Dawn's base on Kalta Thaea within the hour.

    Last edited by Kon on Sat May 06, 2017 10:46 am; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : spelling fix)
    The Chronicler
    The Chronicler

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:00 pm

    Chapter 10, Part 2: The Secret Within

    Brown tree leaves brushed against the windshield of the Assault Shadow as it hovered over Kalta Thaea's surface. When they reached a plain with a familiar symbol cut into the earth, Ascheron informed the ship's pilot that they had reached their destination. The ship lowered onto the ground and Ascheron stepped out, scanning the murky landscape with his bright blue eyes. The same symbol that was carved into the ground was also carved into two trees at the edge of the plain in front of him. Between the two trees was the hidden entrance to the Kindred's base. Ascheron brushed past the leaves that hung over the door and entered.

    Not long after they formed for the first time, the Kindred of Dawn member Genetoes stumbled upon the entrance to an unused, but surprisingly high-tech base partially hidden underground. When they ventured into it, they discovered that it was built by an ancient civilization that existed on the planet over 100,000 years ago. The base contained several ancient weapons, foodstores, prison cells, showers, sleeping quarters and even a hangar bay for crude-looking spaceships. After disposing of the mummified alien skeletons left in the base, the Kindred decided to adopt it as their own and make some improvements.

    "Oh, hi Gabe!" Blue greeted, waving a furry hand at him.

    "That's Supreme Leader Ascheron to you, beast. Where is Mazkertis? I have something to tell him."

    Blue extended a claw to point over Ascheron's shoulder. When he turned around, he saw the red eyes of Mazkertis stare down at him through his bony white mask. Ascheron instinctively took a step back.

    "Hello, Gabriel." Mazkertis's voice echoed inside the Lurian's head. "You wanted to see me?"

    Ascheron cleared his throat. "Yes, I have something to report. One of the drones sent from the GRD picked up the Claws' ship."

    "Good. Where are they?"

    "Malchior IV, near an old white church in west country. I had someone send me pictures to help guide us there."

    Ascheron took a tablet-like device out of his pocket and showed Mazkertis the pictures that the spy-drone took of the church, along with its co-ordinates and general location on the globe.

    "Thank you, Gabriel. It doesn't seem as though there are many of them there, so I'll pay them a visit."

    Ascheron nodded and took a step back as Mazkertis opened a portal with a wave of his hand. The wizard disappeared and the portal closed behind him. Ascheron clicked his tongue and looked around for something to do.


    "I can't believe it... all this time, they were in another universe?!" Quolas exasperated, walking in a circle at such speed that his cloak actually billowed behind him. "And not only that, but Sun is dead and they've been absorbing - killing - their alternate selves in some kind of blind panic in case they're not strong enough to stop... what, exactly? Mazkertis?!"

    Tokimi sat in the front pew and nodded solemnly. "It's true, Quolas. I saw it myself."

    "It's insane!"

    "I know, but it still happened. The Living Stars you know are still out there, they have just become... different. Some have taken to absorbing dark stars like alternate Eclipses in an effort to further increase their power, but I fear it is corrupting them."

    Quolas stopped walking and turned to Tokimi with a pained expression. "Is my master one of them?"


    "AAAAGH!" Quolas raged, kicking a chair with his boot and swearing in his native language. "How foolish do they think they are? They are supposed to be my elders, but this kind of behaviour..."

    "Quolas, please listen to me." Tokimi said, approaching the point of tears. "People will do unthinkable things if they are frightened enough, and that includes the creatures you serve. If the worst happens, and the Living Stars become a danger to others or to themselves, I want you to know that there is a middle ground you can stand on. That ground is the Chousin."

    "You mean..?"

    "I have watched you your entire life, Quolas. You are the purest Sha'lythe I have ever seen."

    "But... I started off with Eclipse."

    "Only because you had to. There was no other way to escape your world. I saw it, Quolas. I saw your sun go supernova and batter your world with the flames of hell, and you... you stood above, and you tried to save as many as you could, but it wasn't enough. Then when the sun was eclipsed you found yourself a way out... but you only escaped so that one day you could return to that moment and save them all."

    "Stop. Please." Quolas quivered and took a sharp intake of breath. "I don't need those memories. Not now."

    "All I'm saying is that there is a place for you at our side. You will never be alone again."

    The Time Guardian leaned against the altar and tried to fight back tears. Crying was a natural reaction for many species in the universe - but not for the Sha'lythe. Their transformation into beings composed mostly of magics and energies resulted in physical features such as tear ducts being left behind. And so, as Quolas began to cry tears of nothingness, Tokimi came up and hugged him. After a few moments, Quolas composed himself and broke away.

    "Thank you, Lady Tokimi, but I already have people I call family."

    Tokimi nodded and smiled. "Of course. You're a good man, Quolas."

    Suddenly, a portal tore itself open in the aisle of the church and a familiar figure stepped out. Quolas's yellow eyes widened, and he immediately drew his sword.


    Mazkertis's lips curled into a snarl beneath his skull-like mask, and he transmitted his thoughts into Quolas's mind. "Me. I've waited long enough to lay waste to you."

    Lady Tokimi stepped out from behind Quolas, and her hands glowed a holy white. "That's far enough, Mazkertis. You have no idea who you face."

    "If you're opposed to me, you have no idea of my goal. Stand aside, woman, and let me claim victory. The universe depends on my success."

    Wasting no further time, Mazkertis raised his arms in the air and conjured a lightning spell to fire electrical bolts at Quolas. The Sha'lythe warrior blocked them with his sword and charged at his opponent, screaming an ancient battle cry. An explosion of light filled the room when the two collided, erupting in a flurry of fists and ancient spells. Shielding her eyes with her arm, Tokimi did the only thing she could: even the odds. The Chousin sister's power of enforcing absolute balance equilized both combatants' powers so that neither one of them had an advantage over the other. She just hoped that Quolas was a better fighter.

    Neither Quolas nor Mazkertis noticed the change in balance at first, but the realization crept up on them. Mazkertis had punched Quolas several times in the face and even clawed him with his fingernails, but he didn't have a scratch on him. On the flip side, when Quolas channeled ice energy through his sword to freeze Mazkertis like he did last month at the subway station, he noticed that Mazkertis was now completely unaffected. Taking advantage of Quolas's distraction, Mazkertis headbutted him, picked him up and threw him into the corner of a pew. If Quolas had a human spine, Mazkertis and Tokimi would have heard a sickening crack as his back collided with the wood, but instead he just bounced off and continued fighting.

    Eventually, Mazkertis managed to get hold of Quolas's sword and repeatedly strike him in the face with its hilt. Quolas stumbled backwards towards the church doors with every hit, eventually falling out of them and onto the grass outside. Mazkertis slammed and locked the doors in his face, then picked up the Sha'lythe's sword and approached Tokimi with a menacing glare.

    "I don't believe we've met." Mazkertis telepathically addressed Tokimi. "I am Mazkertis. Are you going to tell me your name, or will I have to take it from you?"

    "You'll take nothing from me." Tokimi warned, raising her fists. Her powers were limited when within the physical universe, but she was still a capable fighter, having mastered several ancient forms of martial arts.

    If Mazkertis's vocal chords still worked, he would have laughed, so he had to convey his amusment telepathically instead. "Foolish woman. The fists cannot defend against the mind."

    Without warning, Tokimi received a severe headache and her vision became distorted. As it turns out, thousands of years without receiving a telepathic intrusion makes one ill-prepared to defend against one. She fell to her knees clutching her head as Mazkertis circled around her, gazing deep into the recesses of her mind.

    "Your name is Tokimi..." Mazkertis thought "aloud", " have... unimaginable power... but it is extremely limited while present within this dimension."

    Tokimi gave a frightened yell and took a swing at Mazkertis as random images filled her head, but the wizard sidestepped it with ease and kicked her in the face in response. She fell backwards onto the rug with blood trickling from her nose.

    "Your sisters are also powerful... perhaps even more so... and are working against me. Well, I can't have that. Show me how to destroy them."

    The Chousin sister screamed as the wizard dug deeper into her mind. Mazkertis was searching for an ancient secret that the Chousin were not supposed to know, but did. Eventually, he found the memory and brought it to the forefront of Tokimi's mind.

    While creating the Chousin and bestowing among them the power to manipulate time, space, and entropic balance, the Users realized that they must create a counter-force capable of shutting down the powers of the Chousin should they step out of line or choose to rebel against the Users. Tokimi knew that she would never do such a thing, but the Users had precautions for every scenario. One day, many years ago, the Chousin discovered the presence of this force somewhere within the universe, and it belonged to a person.

    "Stoppppp!" Tokimi pleaded, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. "If you take this secret from me, you will bring forth the apocalypse!"

    But Tokimi should know that Mazkertis was unshakable in his goal. Years of torture had driven him far past the point where any sane person would stop. If the apocalypse was going to happen as a result of him achieving his goal, then so be it.

    Unfortunately, Mazkertis's greatest strength was also his greatest weakness. He was so fixated on extracting answers from Tokimi's mind that he didn't hear the church doors cave in behind him. Suddenly, Mazkertis felt a searing pain from his wrist and an absence of flesh. The wizard's face contorted in agony as he withdrew from Tokimi's mind and fell to his knees. When he opened his eyes, he saw a bloody stump where his right hand should be, his veins still pumping blood onto the floor in front of him. Within seconds, the light blue carpet had been stained a dark red.

    Quolas and Klak stood above Mazkertis, with the Sha'lythe warrior holding his retrieved sword to the wizard's throat. Mazkertis's body was in shock due to his injury, but he could not help but smile. He had seen the location and identity of the Anti-Chousin, who Tokimi referred to as the "Counter-Actor", in her mind. Tokimi herself was curled up in a fetal position on the other side of the church, being comforted by The Norman. It was then that Mazkertis realized something else. Tokimi was no longer focusing on using her balancing powers, which meant that the full range of his own powers were back.

    With a smug smile, Mazkertis waved goodbye to the two warriors with his stump and generated a portal beneath him. They both rushed to grab him, but it was too late: Mazkertis had slipped through their fingers once again, at the cost of some of his own. Klak angrily stamped the ground where the portal was and went over to talk to his mother. The battle was lost.


    Three strange figures appeared above a swimming pool on an abandoned space station and fell in with a loud splash. One of them, Blue, gave a cat-like howl and thrashed around in the water as her fur was soaked. Raziel also loudly cursed, lamenting the fact that his cloak was now ruined. The Green Goblin laughed at their misfortune through his waterproof armour and waded to the side of the pool. When he grabbed the metal ladder and climbed up, Blue was blocking his way. Apparently, she had already teleported out of the pool, and judging from her bared teeth and extended claws, didn't like being laughed at.

    "Whadd'ya want, an autograph? Outta my way!" The Goblin demanded. Blue snarled and prepared to pounce on the Goblin, but Raziel held her back. The wraith had already climbed out of the pool and had no patience for infighting.

    "Settle down, Blue. We're here on a mission." Raziel said. If it were anyone else holding her back, Blue would use her wings to throw them off, but there was something calming about Raziel's voice. Blue relaxed and Raziel let go of the catgirl to wring the water out of his cloak. "So, is this it? The source of the energy signature the Lurians picked up that matches the Claws' ship?"

    "Let's find out!" The Goblin piped up, somersaulting out of the pool. Unfortunately for him, he slipped on the wet floor immediately after landing, and he hit the ground with a loud thwack.

    Blue gave a satisfied chuckle. "Jackass," she muttered as she walked past him and further into the space station.

    "That's not funny! My ego could have been seriously damaged!" Gobby called after her. Raziel shook his head and helped the supervillain get back on his feet.

    Raziel and Gobby followed Blue as she wandered through what was obviously the recreation deck in search of an exit. After a few minutes, Gobby found an open elevator. The trio bundled in and read the elevator's large, rectangular buttons. Each one had a different title, like "Operations deck", "Observation deck", "Interrogation deck", etc. Raziel instantly pushed the "Operations deck" button, and the elevator shot upwards.

    "So, what's the plan?" Blue asked the door in front of her. "We gonna start at the top and search every level for these Claws people?"

    Raziel shook his head as he threw his damp cloak around the lower half of his face and tied it behind him. "Our mission is to determine whether or not this station belongs to our enemies, or was built by a higher form of life like the Claws' ship was, or both. When one of Ascheron's scanner-drones detected an energy signature coming from this space station that matched that of Claws' ship, he and Mazkertis figured we should take a look. I assume we'll find some answers on the operations deck."

    "Higher form of life? Like gods or something?" Blue asked, an excited grin spreading across her face.

    "Possibly. Whoever we encounter can be considered a threat, so be careful."

    "Careful? Dude, I don't think you know who you're talking to."

    "Damn kids. Let a professional do the work!" The Goblin cackled as a row of jagged blades sprung out of each of his arms. He took every opportunity to show off, and today was no different.

    The elevator doors slid open, revealing a room filled with high-tech workstations. A holographic projection of a large galaxy filled the middle of the room, but it was not the Milky Way. Blue was confused, since she was sure that the station was at the edge of the Milky Way, but shrugged it off. At the far end of the room was a large window looking into space. The three Kindred stepped out of the elevator and looked around. Sure enough, the room was deserted.

    Blue ran straight over to the window and looked out. Ahead of her there was nothing but empty space, but when she looked down, she saw something incredible. Beneath the station was the same galaxy as was projected in the room. The entire galaxy seemed to be trapped in some kind of colossal frozen bubble. Blue gasped, and backed away as she was hit with a sense of vertigo. When Raziel noticed her shocked expression, Blue signaled him to come over. When Raziel saw it, he was equally amazed. How was this possible? Blue was sure that the station was in the Milky Way... at least, that was where she was thinking of when she teleported there.

    The Goblin walked over to one of the workstations and began typing on its computer. Within moments, Gobby succeeded in changing the holographic projection of the galaxy in the room to a projection of the station instead. If the projection was correct, the station was on the edge of the Milky Way, but just above a second, much smaller galaxy next to it. This smaller galaxy was labelled the "Five Empires Galaxy", and appeared to be trapped in some kind of frozen bubble. When Gobby zoomed in on the station, he saw that it had about twenty levels including the one they were on. There were no lifesigns on any of them apart from one at the bottom: the storage deck. Gobby tried zooming in on the lifesigns but received no further information other than there were 6.

    Suddenly, an alarm blared and a green light mounted on the ceiling flashed at the Kindred. The Goblin's computer, and all the other computers, locked up. All the screens turned black and green text scrolled across them, bearing a message.

    "We are on the storage deck. Free us."

    "Oooooh! This is getting spooky!" Blue piped up. "'Free us... freeeee usssss!' Hahaha. Tell ya what, I'll go check out the storage deck and look for someone to fight, while you two stay here and see if you can access the computers."

    "Absolutely not. I'll go with you." Raziel demanded, drawing the wraith-blade from his belt. "You might need backup."

    Blue rolled her eyes. "Fine, come on then."

    The two walked back into the elevator and pressed the button for the storage deck. When the elevator sped off, the Goblin cackled and turned his attention back to the computer. When he got past the emergency message screen, he was greeted with an unfamiliar desktop. Gobby looked around the desktop, but most of the files on it were encrypted, and the only ones he could access were written in an unfamiliar language with only one word readable through them all: the word "Users".

    The Goblin's eyes narrowed behind his mask. He was probably one of the only members of the Kindred of Dawn who knew the significane of that word. Earlier this year, he had been "banned" from the universe by a piece of User technology - a banhammer - but that ban was reverted when a Sha'lythe used another piece of User tech to restore a dying planet. If one of the Users had created this station, then he had no doubt that it contained some extremely powerful technology.

    "We'll see who the 'User' is now..." The Goblin muttered as he began to dig deeper into the files of the computer.


    Elsewhere on the station, the elevator came to a halt on the storage deck and the doors slid open. Eager to find someone to fight, Blue skipped out and formed balls of kinetic energy in her hands. Raziel took the calmer approach and carefully observed his surroundings before running off. The storage deck was essentially a warehouse filled with crates, canisters and other storage items. They were all stamped with company names that Raziel had never heard of, but he didn't think them important enough to remember anyway.

    "Oooooh~!" Blue called from behind a corner up ahead. "Now that's interesting..."

    "What is?" Raziel asked before he turned the corner and saw for himself.

    To their surprise, a row of ten stasis pods were stacked against the wall, each connected to a tank filled with vital liquid. Only six of the pods were actually occupied, though their occupants could only be hazily seen through the misty glass. Raziel recognized three of the characters as Toa, an ancient species of elemental cyborgs he had done battle with during his days with Caiaphus. The other three characters were of different species that he wasn't familiar with; the first was a tall being clad in purple and black armour, the second was similar but with green and gold armour, and the third was a smaller, human-like creature with metal augmentations. Raziel turned to Blue and asked if she knew who these creatures were, but she simply shrugged and used the kinetic energy in her hands to form a ball which she fired at the pod containing the purple-armoured creature. Raziel shielded his eyes as the ball ricocheted off and across the room, bouncing off a crate and back towards the pod again. The ball bounced back and forth for a few moments until it gained enough momentum to smash a hole in the pod's glass. Vital liquid drained through the crack, which Blue used to put her hand in and tear the glass cover off. The pod's former occupant's eyes opened and he fell to the floor as the rest of the pod's liquid washed over him.

    Now that he was out of the pod, the creature could be seen clearly by Blue and Raziel. A long green cape hung from the back of the eight-foot titan, and he bore a bronze helmet with horns and a grilled visor over his eyes. When he got to his feet and turned to face the Kindred, they saw a wrinkled green mouth below the visor. Thick bronze armor covered his chest, legs and shoulders, with the rest of his body wrapped in green robes. He wore a belt with various technological weapons and items, and a bronze gauntlet on his right arm. He shook the liquid off himself and cleared his throat.

    "How long has it been?" The creature said with a deep but alien voice.

    Blue and Raziel gave a confused glance at each other before looking back. The creature grabbed them and screamed.


    Blue was shaken, but Raziel stayed collected and answered the alien's question calmly. "Since when?"


    Blue wriggled out of the alien's grip and circled behind him. "Gee, I don't know, I'm not keeping track either."

    "It's 150,084. You've been in stasis for two years." Raziel assured the alien, hoping to calm him down. It seemed to work, but he remained confused.

    "The war... is there war?"

    "Assuming you're referring to the Uterio War, no. That ended last year."

    "..did we win?"

    "What side were you on?"

    At that question, the alien paused and took a step back. He stretched his right hand out, the one with the gauntlet, and pressed a button in its palm. A tall, bronze, multi-pronged staff formed out of seemingly nothing into his gauntlet hand. The alien then slammed the end of the staff on the floor and a shadow spread from it, covering the entire room within seconds. The shadow seemed to cause or create complete and utter silence, and douse all sources of light. Not even the faint mechanical whirring noise of the station's systems could be heard in the presence of this man now.

    "I am Ludwig von Todesfal, the only Great Being you will ever know. You will take me to your ship and I will leave this station." The being said, lifting his staff back up off the ground. When he did so, the shadow covering the room receded back into it. The room's lights switched back on and the whirring sound returned like nothing ever happened.

    "Oh yeah, you and who's army?" Blue retorted, smirking while extending her claws. "Cats can see in the dark."

    "And so can I!" Another voice called from behind Ludwig. When he turned around, the Green Goblin whacked him in the face with a large pipe, sending him sprawling across the floor. The temporary silence created by Ludwig's staff had muted the Goblin's approach. Before Ludwig could get up, Blue shot a kinetic blast at the staff, sending it hurtling across the room and out of reach. The Great Being rolled over and kicked Raziel in the chest, causing the wraith to fall backwards. Blue jumped onto Ludwig's back and clawed at his helmet, leaving white scratch marks over its bronze surface, but the Great Being managed to throw her off. He then spun around to punch his next target, but the Goblin intercepted the punch with ease.

    "IMPRESSIVE!" The Goblin cackled as he let go of Ludwig's fist and used his distraction to kick him backwards. Ludwig was about to charge at the Goblin again but before he could, Blue grabbed him, and in a truly impressive display of strength, threw him over her shoulder and across the room. Raziel got up off the floor and used his dimensional travelling ability to disappear and reappear behind him. He raised a foot above Ludwig's face, but the Great Being rolled away as Raziel stomped the floor. Blue shapeshifted wings and flew back into battle, with Gobby following on foot, who was regretting leaving his glider behind.

    Ludwig sneered at the Kindred as he got back on his feet and charged up his gauntlet. A few moments later, it unleashed a wave of shadow energy that knocked Blue out of the air and Raziel on his back. Gobby, however, was agile enough to slide under it thanks to the Goblin Formula coursing through his veins. Clueless to Gobby's presence beneath the shadow, Ludwig gave a hearty laugh. This was, of course, interrupted as soon as he felt Gobby's foot in his stomach. Ludwig doubled over in pain and his gauntlet deactivated, dissipating the wave of shadow and allowing Blue and Raziel to get to him.

    "Stop!" Ludwig shouted, seconds away from being further humiliated by a man in a goblin mask and his furry friend. "You are... worthy opponents. I wished only to challenge you... to see if you were worthy."

    Silence fell on the group, this time not because of Ludwig's staff, but because of how pathetic he was. Each of them burst into laughter, much to Ludwig's embarrassment.

    "If Great Beings are this easy to beat, maybe I should apply to be one!" Blue gasped through the tears. The Goblin laughed even louder with his comrades for a few more moments. When those moments were up, he stopped and raised a hand, silently ordering the others to do the same. They obeyed, and spikes shot out of Gobby's arms. He crouched down over Ludwig and put a row of them to his throat.

    "Any last words?"

    "I... I, uh, I could be of use to you!" Ludwig stammered. "Whoever you are... you must have come here looking for me and my friends. You need me!"

    Gobby looked back towards the row of stasis pods, and then returned his gaze to Ludwig. "What kind of snivelling waste would be your friend?" He wondered aloud.

    "Well, they weren't my friends in the end. They stabbed me in the back! When they started to run out of supplies to keep me alive, they put me in stasis. I assume they did the same to themselves once they started to run out too."

    "What use are you to us?"

    "I'm your way into the Great Beings."

    The Green Goblin didn't even know who the Great Beings were, so he turned to his two comrades to gauge their reactions. Blue simply shrugged, but Raziel had heard that term before. As someone who had spent a lot of time with and around Matoran Universe natives, Raziel was familiar with the myths and legends surrounding the Great Beings, but he had never encountered one in person. If the legends were true, then a Great Being would be a powerful ally. They had defeated Ludwig, but he had a feeling not all of them might be so fallible.

    "Well? You want this loser?" The Goblin asked Raziel, interrupting his train of thought.

    "Yes. Mazkertis will want to meet him."

    "Alright. When you're ready, Blue."

    Blue nodded and laid a hand on Raziel's shoulder. When all four of them were touching in some way, she teleported them back to Kalta Thaea.


    A whirling, vertical portal tore itself into existence in a corn field on the planet Jurai, scattering a flock of birds. After a few moments, Mazkertis fell out and hit the earth beneath him. He cringed in pain and waved his remaining hand to close the portal above. He knelt in the field, put pressure on the stump of his wrist, and took time to reflect on his close victory. His injury needed time to heal, but time was running out. Even with the Kindred on his side, Mazkertis realized he was vulnerable to the misguided forces gathering against him. Words could not express his frustration at their foolishness.

    "Perhaps a world without Klak is something that cannot be said... it must be shown." Mazkertis thought as he tore part of his cloak and used it to make a bandage for his stump. "That hateful man has been such a constant in their lives that they can't imagine them without him. They can't think about cutting him off, even if it would be best to. Well, worry not, world. I am the cure."

    Mazkertis stood up and observed the damage to his robe. The fabric he had torn off meant that part of his wrinkled chest was now exposed. He made a mental note to invest in a new robe after leaving Jurai, and made his way through the field. When he finally reached the end and burst through the corn, he found what he was searching for.

    In front of him was a large tan building in the middle of a grassy plain. The building was shaped like a short, fat cylinder, dotted with windows. A single balcony stretched around the top of the building, containing a couple of white trees bearing green leaves. A wicked smile spread across Mazkertis's face. This was the building he saw in Tokimi's mind. He contemplated portalling straight up to the balcony, but changed his mind. He thought he might encounter less resistance from the building's occupant if he knocked on the door and nicely asked to be let in. With a sigh, Mazkertis removed his mask for the first time in a long time, revealing his wrinkled skin and a neatly trimmed grey beard. He strapped the mask to his side and approached the building. When he reached its door, he raised his remaining hand and knocked four times.

    "Just a second!" A sing-song female voice called from inside. Literally a second later, the door swung open to reveal a smiling, blue-haired Juraian woman wearing an apron and oven gloves. Her smile disappeared when she saw the blood from Mazkertis's injury bleed through his bandage. "Oh my God!"

    Mazkertis shook off his sinister smile and winced with pain. He reminded himself that he had to at least act non-threatening until he made sure that there was nobody else at home. The last thing he needed was a repeat of what happened at the church.

    The Juraian bundled Mazkertis inside and closed the door behind him, rushing about the house at remarkable speed to fetch fresh bandages, antiseptics, healing potions and other items. She fired questions equally quickly while doing so. "How did this happen? Are you okay? You poor soul, how long have you been travelling like this? What's your name?" and so on.

    Mazkertis pulled up a wooden chair that wasn't there before and sat down as the woman took off his robe to get a better look at the stump of his hand. His gaze wandered around the room. It was beautifully decorated, with an assortment of ornaments, paintings of trees, and homemade pottery. Mazkertis noted that trees seemed to be a common theme of this place: he had seen several around and on top of the house, and all of the paintings he could see were of trees. There was even a symbol with a tree inside on the apron that the woman of the house was wearing. She leaned down in front of him and carefully unwrapped the makeshift bandage he had applied to himself earlier.

    "Can you speak?" The woman asked him.

    Mazkertis opened his mouth and pinched his neck to indicate his loss of vocal cords.

    The woman briefly clasped her hand over her mouth in horror before continuing. "Oh dear, you really have been through the wars, haven't you... here, use this," she said while giving him a tablet-like device with a screen and an English keyboard. Understanding that she wanted him to use this device to communicate, Mazkertis began tapping away at the keys with his remaining hand. Once he had finished typing, he tilted the screen towards the woman so that she could read his words: "My name is Lascovitz. I was attacked and tortured by pirates before escaping to your planet. Thank you for your kindness."

    "Aww, well, I may be the Empress, but I'm still a Juraian. Anyone would have done the same." The Empress cooed while applying proper dressing to Mazkertis's injury. "But if you're a foreigner, you won't know me. I'm Misaki Raregroove. I've been meaning to do something about pirates entering our space for a while, but with every scumbag you banish, two more take his place, y'know?"

    Mazkertis did not know, but he no longer cared. Only one word of Misaki's stuck in his mind; the word "Raregroove".

    "Could it be?" Mazkertis thought to himself, his eyes darting around the room to find some proof, any proof, to support what he had just heard. Eventually, his eyes settled on a framed photograph of Misaki and her family sitting on a cupboard across the room. She was laughing and smiling in the photo, with her hands wrapped around her two daughters and her son. Her son, whose long black hair and emerald eyes Mazkertis would recognize from any distance. Her son, who crippled him in a battle for another universe. Her son, who he swore revenge upon. Her son, who made his life a living hell.

    "All done!" Misaki cheered as she finished tieing the knot on Mazkertis's bandage and proudly stood back up. "I'll have you back to your family in no time, Mr. Lascovitz."

    "Family..." Mazkertis thought to himself as he got up and walked over to the photo. He typed the words "Is this your family?" onto the machine Misaki gave him and showed it to her. The Empress gave a nostalgic sigh and joined him in staring at the photo.

    "Yeah... they're all grown up now. That's my daughter Tamao, and then Anna - oh, doesn't she look adorable in that dress! - and my son Zev. He's such a hero, hopping from world to world, fighting the forces of evil and saving the innocent, all that stuff. Sometimes I think he forgets about me, but he always comes back to this funny old place eventually."

    Mazkertis's eyes glowed with pure, unrivalled rage, but in another way, he was excited. His quest to find an ace to counter the Chousin had delivered him to the secret home of one of his own worst enemies. He was tempted to turn around and gut Misaki on the kitchen table as a message to Zev, but he reminded himself that most of his master plan was riding on the removal of the Chousin, and that could not be achieved without the continued existence of Misaki and what she could become.

    When he turned around to face the mother of Zev, he saw her face contort into an expression of absolute fear. Misaki backed away, grabbed a kitchen knife and aimed it at Mazkertis with her quivering arms.

    "Oh... did I just think that out loud?" Mazkertis wondered. "Silly me."

    Backing Misaki into a corner, Mazkertis began to enter her mind and assault her with nightmarish images from both his mind and hers. Misaki screamed as seemingly random visions and memories flooded her conscious mind, rendering her unable to think clearly in the present.

    "Give me the COUNTER-ACTOR!" Mazkertis's voice echoed throughout her soul. Misaki's screams intensified and she began to writhe on the floor as if having some kind of seizure. When Mazkertis approached her, one of her limbs flew at him and whacked him across the room with incredible force. Mazkertis's wizened body smashed into a mirror and fell on the floor as shards of glass rained upon him. When he shook them off his robes and got back to his feet, he saw that Misaki had begun undergoing a disturbing transformation. She had ripped most of her clothes off in the corner to make way for a blood-red colored energy spreading across her body. Misaki reared her head and roared as the energy formed a spot in the center of her forehead and her pupils shrunk to tiny, hate-filled dots. Misaki turned to Mazkertis with a jolt and gave him the most frightening, demonic grin he had ever seen.

    At that moment, Mazkertis decided to cut his losses and leave, opening a portal behind him and falling through it before the Counter-Actor could lunge at him. The portal sealed itself less than a second before she did, causing her to slam into the cabinet behind him and furiously rip it to shreds in response, along with the rest of the beautifully-decorated kitchen. Once she had finished, the Counter-Actor shot through the roof and into the sky, vowing to find and protect her baby and kill everyone who stands in her way.

    Unknown to Mazkertis, he had just released a force that rivalled his famous rage. The Counter-Actor was hidden away by User Zev at the beginning of time for a reason. She was reserved for the Reckoning, where her abilities would play an essential part in erasing the Chousin so that universal society could collapse into a devastating, but essential war. Mazkertis's actions had just assured that that Reckoning would come much sooner than anyone anticipated.

    Well... not everyone was clueless, because someone has been watching.

    "The Counter-Actor has been released." A monotonous voice spoke into a futuristic communications device outside Misaki's former home. "We are now observing the consequences of the Living Stars' absence. Who knows what would have happened if they had been here to properly protect the time stream and prevent Mazkertis from ever coming to Jurai."

    "Imagining scenarios is not your job." A slightly older but snappier voice replied. "Your job is to observe and to report. And you're an excellent observer, September."

    "Thank you, sir. I won't let you down."

    September closed the communications device and put it back inside his pocket. Tilting his head to the side, September curiously looked up at the sky and watched the Counter-Actor leave the atmosphere. He shook his head, opened a portal and stepped through to parts unknown.

    Last edited by Kon on Mon May 16, 2016 2:03 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar fix)
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:01 am

    OOC: To put into perspective how long I've been working on this chapter: I started when it was 2015. Razz

    Chapter 11: Dejected: The Fall of Datrio

    A man woke up from his nightmare, sweating profusely. He noticed something strange about his room. He put on a pair of slippers and turned on the lamp, the light revealing what had changed. A fuzzy pattern of jagged stripes covered the walls and the floor, confusing and puzzling the man. He slowly made his way down the hall, noting that the pattern continued to accentuate everything. The man went downstairs, but halted the moment he heard a distorted voice that, while frightening, was somewhat familiar.

    “I….I did it.” it boomed.

    The man gulped, gritting his teeth. He quietly convinced himself to press on, and stepped on the floor. He moved towards the source of the voice: the dining room of his house, blanketed by the darkness of night. The shadows were exiled from existence as the man turned on the light, and gasped in horror at the sight before him. It was the face of his cat, emerging from the pattern. He now knew what had happened.

    “I’m sorry, Jon,” the voice burst out in slight sarcasm. “I was so hungry .”

    “No, Garfielf, no!” shouted Jon.

    A shrill sound filled his ears, as he and his house were teleported back to Earth. Garfelf’s insides were cleared, and he continued his journey in space. He knew that others that claimed to have insatiable hunger: Pumkin, Hungry-Man, the prophesied Man From Another Place . They all threatened the safety of his lasaga with their ravenous appetites and quest for more of thos; food. But he would show them not to underestimate the King of the Sundae Funnies himself. He would Tusken Raid them into oblivion.


    OOS: And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

    Klak paced around the conference room on Anzu’s ship in frustration. Over a month and a half had passed since they had last, as a group, encountered Mazkertis, and there were no leads on his whereabouts. During this time period, Quolas and Klak encountered Mazkertis briefly on Malchior IV and managed to severely wound him, but he had escaped before they could finish the fight.  Now, every time any of the groups found a planet with reports on his appearance, they would arrive when it was too late.

    In the meantime, the members of the Saskana groups were focused on various affairs. Since many of them, like Sefer Yetzirah and Malygos, were statesmen and women (or at least marginally involved in a government of a sort), there was a plethora of funerals they had to attend to. The presidents of three Malchiorian planets had all been assassinated recently, and Klak had mourned all their deaths in various occasions, with Howard’s death hitting him the hardest. Malygos and Blackout, of course, were not invited to any of these. The other funerals were for Commander-In-Chief Kong of the Galactic Government, Cutter of the Knights of the Keruvim, and TPK & Angonce both for the Order of the Great Beings. Sefer Yetzirah briefly met Klak at one of these events, and quietly remarked to him that all these deaths coinciding with Mazkertis’ arrival must have been a sign of the end times.

    But their time was not just consumed with Mazkertis or wakes of the dead. Three members had joined the heroes, including the aforementioned Cassius Calm, whose new friend Sachiel rejected joining the Claws in favor of aiding all those affected by Mazkertis’ Liquid Metallicon attack, K'theenya , who claimed she would remain on standby until they actually find the wizard, and Tezzeret, who came out of the blue once more to aid his old friend. The Claws decided to split in two, with some joining both Klaks, and others joining Kakamu. Meanwhile, Ynot’s crew and Blackout had spent some time hunting for Figlio di Armechio after hearing of his betrayal on Shinar-Karana from Eos, but their efforts were not met with success. Malygos claimed that Dominarian forces had run into several individuals claiming to be affiliated with Mazkertis’ new group of allies known as the “Kindred of Dawn”. Klak silently suspected that these individuals might have been behind the attack on Vizima and the theft of the Keruvim weeks ago. Unfortunately, the Dominarians had failed to apprehend any supposed Kindred members to obtain any new information.

    All in all, they had reached a dead end, and Mazkertis was only getting more elusive. Even the normally patient Cassius Calm, who had joined the Claws of the Phoenix when they visited Liquid Metallicon, seemed desperate for an encounter.

    “Damn it,” growled Klak. “The more we wait, the more people die!”

    “He’s an elusive guy,” replied D-Klak. “Much more elusive than he was 50 years ago.”

    “How can a man who spent half a century in prison be able to confound us so?” asked a slightly desperate Cassius Calm.

    “Like I’ve said before, Mazkertis isn’t like his old self,” clarified D-Klak. “That son of a bitch Figlio must have done a number on him. He’s more erratic now, desperate.”

    D-Klak turned to you, reader, and seemed to grin.

    “Consider yourself lucky, you’re part of a very small group of people willing to read this. Tell the authors what you think. Make this story count!”

    D-Klak then turned back towards the others, who began suggesting methods of tracking Mazkertis down. Caiaphus postulated the idea of trapping one of the Kindred members and interrogating them, while Klak advised that they remain vigilant for any reports of unusual chronal or magical activity. Tezzeret seemed to be distracted from all this chatter, his onyx eyes fixated on the holographic star map projected from a table at the center of the room. His mind paced itself as it went over all relevant information and intelligence.

    “Mazkertis is attracted to magical worlds,” he muttered to himself. “He needs to absorb mana, kø, life force, and other energies to successfully cast a spell that will rewrite history. We think this means he’ll erase D-Klak from existence, doing some favors for his new allies along the way. He might go on to erase other Klaks across all timelines. So….”

    Tezzeret stood up and raised his cold, silver-armored finger, pointing to a specific cluster in space. He seemed to trace paths to various locations within said cluster, searching for the one area yet unperturbed by Mazkertis’ presence. There was a sector he missed, namely a system.

    “Datrio,” he said out loud. “What about Datrio?”

    The realization hit everyone like a brick.

    “Of course,” cried Anzu. “It’s a magical world outside the Dominion. How did we not think of it?”

    “None of us have been there, as far as I know,” D-Klak replied.

    “How sure are you, Tezzeret?” asked Caiaphus.

    “It’s worth a shot either way,” D-Klak said. “We’ve nowhere else to look, unless you want to travel all the way to Meme World or Space India or something.”

    The others were confused, for they had never heard of that realm. However, they decided to not ask anything about it.

    “You and Zev have both said that we’d need an army to stop Mazkertis,” Klak piped. “We had those both on Quolas’ world and Saskana. Only on Malchior with special circumstances did something like that work, so obviously we’re at a disadvantage. I say we call for backup once we find him.”

    “He’ll escape,” Caiaphus pointed out. “Unless we somehow keep him occupied.”

    “Anzu and Tezzerret could form a containment field to keep this vile wizard occupied until our other friends arrive,” Cassius Calm suggested.

    Anzu and Tezzet glanced at each other in surprise, realizing that his proposal was feasible.

    “How would that work?” asked D-Klak.

    “We’ll explain later,” promised Tezzeret. “It’s a risky spell, but it’ll hold him by turning his magical energy against him any time he tries to escape it.”
    “It’s a start,” warned Klak as the ship set coordinates for Datrio.  


    Mazkertis floated above a series of unfinished metal buildings to observe the colorful and tropical city to the north of him. The citizens were preparing for yet another festival, adorning the streets with lights, lanterns, banners, and the like. Those closest to the beach could see their lights shimmering on the sea. It was a beautiful spectacle, but an ironic herald of what was to come.

    As he lowered himself to the purlins, he pondered what he had overheard from one of the nearby civilians about a “Nightmare” seen running around the city. Mazkertis had run into similar beings in his home universe many decades ago, so he knew that he would eventually have to investigate this further; but first things first.

    After he had lost his hand and unleashed the Counter-Actor, Mazkertis spent several days on Kalta Thaea in recovery, forcing his Kindred to pursue their goals without him. Luckily, a blend of Lurian, Cooperative (especially Lasagan) , and abandoned Kalta Thaean technology combined with the magic of Blue and the potions of Misaki Raregroove helped heal Mazkertis’ injury and develop a replacement. However, this new, largely prosthetic appendage could not fully cast any spells. In other words, he needed to find a conduit to fully use magic through his right arm. Mazkertis then decided to cleave his new hand to a staff, formed by enchanted wood obtained from a destroyed cabinet found in the Counter-Actor’s home (of course, Mazkertis was extremely careful as he collected this, as he did not want to run into her).

    ((OOS: Credit to Zoe for the staff.))

    The following weeks consisted of various battles as the Kindred pursued their agenda of vengeance. Much of Mazkertis’ campaigns were successful: there was a land of multicolored equines that was conquered quickly, along with other cities and villages across scattered worlds. However, not all were successful. The beautiful world of Aselia proved to be a terrible venture, as a boy named Genis was able to unite many magical peoples to overcome the Kindred and force them to retreat. Kråvenhold, too, was a mistake, as the hordes of gryphons proved to be tougher than they seemed. Despite these failures, however, Mazkertis was confident that he would grow closer to realizing his goal of rewriting history.

    The human wizard landed on top of a purlin, and looked to a gathering of his Kindred below. Several Lurian soldiers (looking up at Mazkertis to avoid even glancing at the xenos) and Death Vanguard flanked Raziel, Genetoes, and a Kra’lythe known as Minutún. Mazkertis raised his staff as he communicated telepathically to these individuals.

    We must scatter to secure the area. I do not want any unnecessary interruptions from misguided individuals, boomed the mind of Mazkertis. We will purge the timeline and save it from itself, and none shall stand in our way.

    “Understood, Mazkertis,” Raziel replied.

    The wraith ordered two Death Vanguard soldiers to follow him, while those that remained went along with either Genetoes or Minutín. The Lurian soldiers went their own way, as they were adamant in their xenophobic beliefs. Mazkertis made sure no one was near, for confidential matters were going to be discussed.

    His staff projected two holographic images in front of him. One of them was of Lord Zrintch, a Sith Lord that was already an old friend of the wizard when he was imprisoned over half a century ago. The other was an ancient being that was a resident of this multiverse who also acted as a spy for the Kindred. He was well known in the Dark Mirror dimension, but this version was even more famous, all evidenced by the epithets he carried. Mazkertis was communicating with none other than the Grand Master of the Brotherhood of Makuta himself: Blackout.

    Blackout had learned about Mazkertis after receiving a vision of the future in the Forest of Lights (Blackout had been exiled there when Malygos attempted to ascend). Rather than seeing the wizard as a threat to his goals, he noted that he could be a potential ally, one that could help him achieve godhood and eliminate his enemies (especially Malygos). So, after escaping a spat with Unicron, Blackout set out to find Mazkertis, and offered a secret alliance.  The blows they exchanged in previous encounters were restrained, meant to keep up the façade that they were on opposite sides. Mazkertis would eliminate two of Blackout’s enemies, while the Makuta would subvert any other threats from within. All the other Kindred members were either possible allies of the Brotherhood, or future enemies that would be dealt with in due time (and now, Blackout had more than enough time). Ultimately, everyone would benefit in some way, even if it were in the short-term.

    The wizard’s staff projected the words from his mind, as he could barely speak due to his injury.  

    Welcome, my friends,“ they said. “Dear Lord Zrintch, what of your strike teams?

    “They suspect nothing,” assured Zrintch. “We’re moving forward with our plans.”

    Wonderful. I must thank you for the Keruvim,” they said.  

    Zrintch nodded silently as he waited Blackout to say something.

    “Contacting each other so much is risky,” cautioned Blackout. “Either way, our enemies seem to have no leads as far as I know. Even if one of them figures out where you are, it will be useless for them to resist. Meanwhile, Ynot is on an obsessive investigative crusade, and I can guarantee that he’s running in circles at this point. Some of your Kindred should show up and help me kill him and his crew quickly.”

    I will consider it,” said Mazkertis’ words. “Your assistance is appreciated, my friends. Thank you.

    The holograms disappeared. Mazkertis quietly reviewed all the information that was given to him, and reviewed his plans for this Datrioan city.

    Suddenly, a ship that had been flying nearby descended to the metallic building. Out of it leapt someone, whom was all too familiar, carrying a shield. The ship flew away, landing elsewhere.

    “Subject 08: human,” said Figlio di Armechio. “Originally from outside our universe. Known there as Mazkertis. I’ve spent seven weeks looking for you.”

    Despite his masked appearance, the feeling of shock was immediately made apparent in Mazkertis’ scarlet eyes. He reeled back slightly out of habit.

    You…,” he simply ‘replied’.

    Figlio grit his teeth, the limits of his sanity having been broken in the endless search for his former victim. His normally neatly combed hair was unkempt, and his armor still had some damage from his fight on Shinar-Karana. The Rider’s eyes glowed with rage, as his kind was wont to do.

    “Here we are,” he gushed while laughing. “Finally, after all these years, I’ll break you!”

    You!” Mazkertis repeated, the rage building up within him.

    “It was so difficult to find you, so damn difficult,” Figlio cackled. “But now, finally, here we are! A relationship half a century in the making culminates now.”

    The Rider’s mockery further enraged Mazkertis. This was a man who supervised his torture for years, whose twisted experiments agonized him. What more did he want to take away from him? No, he had to destroy Figlio once and for all to save the universe.

    He hurled a green concussion beam that was surrounded with crimson Roman numerals, threatening to blast a hole into Figlio. Suddenly, the Dachori took cover behind the shield, quickly negating the beam’s chances of vanquishing him.

    ((OOS: Just a quick note, the Roman numerals thing was Zev’s idea, so he deserves credit)).

    “Like it?” bragged Figlio. “It negates magical energy. Bought it off of a rebel trying to overthrow the Dominion. Cost a lot, but I eventually convinced him that HYDRA’s help was much more valuable than this.”

    Mazkertis stepped back, confounded. He nearly slipped off the building as his feet met the purlins behind him.  Mazkertis winced, and leaped off of the building into an empty alleyway. None of his Kindred were near, but no matter. He had to face his demons himself.

    Figlio jumped to where Mazkertis was, and raised the hand unrestrained by the shield. He revealed a leather glove with a strange pattern on its palm.

    “Remember this?” he boasted. “It’s practically ancient in human years but still packs a punch.”

    The glove zapped the wizard, sending him to the ground in spasms. The staff, the conduit of half of his magic, fell to the ground with a clang. Figlio cackled as his weapon crackled with electricity.

    “I’m finishing you nice and slow, Subject 08,” he growled, once again shocking Mazkertis with the glove. “You will be out of HYDRA’s way, and the galaxy will finally belong to the Armechios. But make no mistake, I’m not doing this for the revolution, or for my people, or for my father. I’m doing this for me.”

    Figlio removed the glove and pulled out his sword. He raised it high, the tip of the blade kissing the heavens.

    “Checkmate, Mazkertis,” he pronounced.

    Mazkertis quickly rolled over, smashing into the Rider’s legs and tumbling across the alley. He stood up, leaped onto Figlio, and struggled to take the accursed shield off of his arm. The Dachori continually kicked and flailed, while the human pulled and clobbered against him. Finally, Mazkertis fell back, retreating from the multiple blows.

    The wizard winced in pain and leaned on a wall, using it as a mount to leap forward and kick his enemy in the face. He fired a bolt of shadow directly at Figlio, the burning lightning slipping under his shield and piercing his gut. The Rider fell, and Mazkertis once again attempted to remove the wretched anti-magic barrier. He succeeded, flinging the shield back and allowing it to smash into an unfinished wall.

    Figlio cursed at him in his father’s Dachori language, albeit with a noticeable non-native accent. He reached for his sword and jabbed upwards, hoping to stab Mazkertis. The wizard reeled away and grabbed the taser glove. Figlio gasped as he stood up, attempting to retreat to better ground for a stronger assault. The effort was futile. He decided to cut his losses, and charged at Mazkertis, dashing towards his left side and twirling his sword to impale the human’s legs.

    Mazkertis hissed in pain as the sword perforated his leg. Thankfully, no arteries were pierced, but the xeno monster had come close to killing him once again. Mazkertis blasted Figlio with the glove time and time again, sending the Rider thwacking to the ground in agonized grunts. He limped over to his staff, grabbing it with the other hand to heal the bleeding leg and occasionally shocking Figlio from afar. After a minute that felt like an eternity, his leg was mended.

    Figlio’s eyes widened as he felt Mazkertis raise him in the air. The wizard sauntered up to him, impaling the Dachori on his own sword. Figlio grasped his enemy’s cloak in seething loathing, tearing at it with his hands and gritting his teeth in pain and hatred. He spat at Mazkertis’ mask, insulting him in various languages as he felt magic coursing through his body. Meanwhile, the human smiled smugly.

    “Checkmate, Figlio,” he said, using what was left of his voice to enunciate those fateful words.

    Figlio’s screams echoed throughout the construction area.


    Anzu’s ship cruised near the surface of Datrio, carrying the armed and ready squad of the Claws of the Phoenix with it. The demon was stunned, for he noted something that confirmed their worst fears.

    “By the Emperor,” he gasped.

    “What is it?” asked D-Klak. The Kestora’s jaw dropped when Anzu pointed to a purple and green mass swirling like a hurricane over the city that they were approaching.

    “A spell I thought was rare, and only appreciated by demons,” Anzu explained. “In modern parlance, it is referred to as the Twilight Storm, a system that unleashes shades and many unspeakable things upon its victims. Even Malygos refuses to use such a wretched spell.”

    “Have I ever mentioned how much I hate magic?” Klak said.

    “I don’t blame you,” replied D-Klak. “Don’t blame you at all.”

    Moments later, the Claws landed in the midst of the storm. The group emerged from Anzu’s ship, cautiously making their way through shadowed alleyways. Suddenly, an opening appeared inside of the tempest above them, spawning a large garrison of shades.

    “Shades?! I thought they were extinct,” exclaimed Caiaphus in astonishment.

    The creatures hissed, charging at the heroes’ party.

    “Must be why they hate you! ” Klak spouted as he pummeled several of them with beams of light.

    D-Klak did not waste any time with his response, shooting at the shades with his gunblade. Concentrated magical energy burst from Tezzeret’s skeletal hand and into five of his enemies. Caiaphus himself destroyed several with his laser vision.

    The others took a different, less lethal approach. Anzu flicked his wrists, manipulating the very bodies of some of the foul creatures to collapse in on themselves. The unfortunate shades were immediately banished back into their hole of origin. Meanwhile, Cassius Calm valiantly stood in front of the remaining monsters and summoned a white tree full of chakra energy.

    “Return from whence you came,” he proclaimed in a booming voice as the tree burst out, slamming into the shades and dissipating them, though not killing them. The remnants of these unconscious creatures were sent back to the portal.

    “There is more where that came from,” Anzu warned. “Be on your guard.”

    “We have to hurry,” added Calm. “The sooner we arrest Mazkertis, the sooner we liberate the people of this damned storm.”

    Before they could continue, a green bolt of lightning struck a nearby building, immediately setting it on fire. More followed, some causing massive explosions.

    “Crap,” cried Klak. “We have to help the civilians!”

    The group rushed to the scene of the fire, rescuing the victims. They assisted rescue crews in the midst of the chaos, recommending immediate evacuation (an action that was already being considered when the Twilight Storm materialized). While moving to another building devastated by the lightning, the Claws were confronted by yet another group of shades. The monsters were dispatched with little effort, but the group realized they needed a change of plans.

    “This’ll be recursive, it’s like we’re constantly rebooting something!” yelled D-Klak. “It’ll keep happening until we find Mazkertis! Klak and I will get to him, the rest of you help these people out.”

    “What about the containment field?” Tezzeret inquired. More fires spread as another barrage of lightning bolts struck the city.

    “We’ll do it once we have the man distracted!” D-Klak replied.

    The Klaks quickly left to search for the wizard. Unbeknownst to them, they were being followed by Caiaphus.

    “Mazkertis has to be located in a place that gives him a good vantage point, and is near enough to the city,” theorized Klak. “This location must be secluded enough or ignored enough to maintain the element of surprise. The nearby mountains could work, or that warehouse area.”

    “Clever,” D-Klak said with a grin.

    They instantly stopped once they saw Figlio’s corpse on the ground. Despite being taken aback by such a shocking, morbid, and grisly sight, they knew Mazkertis was near. Sure enough, the wizard floated towards them.

    Finally,” he proclaimed in his usual telepathic manner. “I was worried that my mental suggestion wouldn’t work. Now, to fini-

    The thoughts were interrupted as Mazkertis was slammed through the beams of one of the unfinished warehouses. He was about to shoot his assailant when the very forces of gravity restrained his arms.

    “So, you are the mystical and fearsome Mazkertis,” Caiaphus said with a sneer. “How underwhelming. Though I admire your goals of eliminating Klak, I regret to inform you that someone else will achieve this. You see, only I am allowed to destroy him now.”

    Consider an alliance, Makuta!” Mazkertis suggested. “We have no quarrel with one another, and wish for the same thing.

    “Many have aligned themselves with me in recent months. The quota is full, human,” the Makuta replied, smirking. “You misunderstand either way: Klak will fall by my did you.”

    A tan light coursed through Caiaphus’ fingers as he prepared to use a fragmentation blast against Mazkertis. However, in his haughtiness, he failed to see the incoming rays of energy shooting towards him from the wizard’s staff. He was knocked back, freeing Mazkertis from his restraints. Caiaphus magnetically lifted rods and shrapnel in the air and flung them at the wizard. Mazkeris blew them back with a concussion spell, and instantly charged at the Makuta. Blasts of shadow bolts met each other, creating an explosion that pushed them into opposite sides of the room. Caiaphus quickly shimmered out of sight, reappearing behind Mazkertis to jab him in the spine.

    The human grunted and stumbled, dropping his staff. In retaliation, Mazkertis flipped forward and cast his time reversal spell, jerking Caiaphus back into the wall, then onto the ground, and then speeding towards him. Caiaphus retaliated by pushing Mazkertis away with a gust of wind, giving the Makuta enough time to recompose himself and prepare his own attack. He elastically stretched towards his enemy while chain lightning crackled between his fingers. Mazkertis put up a shield, successfully protecting himself from the incoming electrocution.

    He then lunged at Caiaphus, repeatedly punching him in the mask while he growled. They twisted in the air through the struggle, until the Makuta fended off his enemy by biting him in the shoulder. Mazkertis fell down, grasped at his new wound, then glared back at Caiaphus, who was back to his original form. The Makuta charged and leaped at him as though he were a cheetah ready to pounce upon its prey. His eyes glowed with intense heat as two beams shot out from them and straight towards Mazkertis.

    However, the resourceful human once again negated his attack, for his hands (one protected by magic, the other by magitek) beared the brunt of the attack. The heat increased, but he gained more ground, inching closer and closer until he grasped Caiaphus’ face. The surge in energy was too much, and an explosion ensued. Mazkertis was blasted through one of the walls and out of the edifice, his life and hands Asved by a shield he had put up around himself the moment he came close to that wretched Makuta.

    Meanwhile, Caiaphus ripped through purlins and walls until he landed several away, crashing near an alley in the more developed and settled part of town. He stood up, dusting himself and thanking his lucky stars for the fact that his vision was still intact (however, the eyeholes of his mask were broken, revealing nasty black scars that had resulted from the encounter. He began to catch his breath, and decided to return to Mazkertis to finish the fight. However, before he could do so, a familiar presence appeared in front of him.

    “Raziel?” he said, bewildered. “You’re alive?”

    “I should say the same of you, Master Caiaphus,” Raziel scoffed. “At least I have not tasted death as many times as you have.”

    “If you seek banter, then you have arrived at an inopportune time,” the Makuta retorted, chiding his former apprentice as he huffed. “But I have an inkling you are here for another purpose.”

    The wraith chuckled, and held up his blade.

    “Yes, you have said it,” Raziel acknowledged. “He will mend the timeline, a goal not at all ignoble in spite of his controversial methods. A new future will dawn, one untainted by your pitiful attempts to wipe out the universe.”

    Caiaphus rolled his eyes, and sped at Raziel, slamming a sword made of shadow energy into the wraith’s blade. The two continued to brawl, parrying each other’s lashes, until a gust of wind whizzed from the Makuta’s hand and hammered into his enemy. Raziel crashed on the Datrioan beach’s golden sand.

    The Claws of the Phoenix, who had just finished saving civilians from various infernos and disasters related to the shadow storm that was afflicting them, noticed the wraith’s landing. They looked towards Caiaphus, who was sauntering slowly towards them.

    “I shall deal with him alone,” he commanded aloud. “Mazkertis is in the construction area. This is your best chance of forming the containment field! Hurry!”

    Before they could comply, a massive wall of shadow encased the construction area, blocking it from outside interference. Hordes of shades came from the skies and the ground, and squadrons of Lurian soldiers and Death Vanguard joined them. Minutún and Genetoes were at the front of this army, both of them wearing smug and victorious grins on their faces.

    “We’re trapped!” Anzu cried. “They’ve used our strategy against us!”

    “That’s impossible! There’s no way they could have known,” asserted Tezzeret. “Unless….”

    “Unless we have a mole in our ranks,” alleged Cassius Calm. “We must make our stand here, and investigate when we are finished. I pray that the Klaks can hold Mazkertis off in the meantime.”

    The Kindred advanced towards them, each one facing off against a member of the Claws. Minutún, ever the risk taker, charged first, firing his pistol repeatedly at Anzu (why a Kra’lythe was using an ordinary blaster as his weapon, rather than displaying his raw power, was a question the Claws should have asked earlier). The demon twirled into the air, successfully dodging the bullets. He swooped down towards Minutún, grabbing him and flinging him across the beach. Raziel slashed at Caiaphus, his blows cutting into the Makuta’s armor. Caiaphus staggered back and retaliated, flinging plasma blasts that were met by the wraith’s reaver blade. He followed this with a power scream that sent Raziel into a nearby dune.  

    Genetoes struggled against Tezzeret, shards of shadow being easily blocked by the man’s metal arm. The human raised his fist, pure mana crackling like electricity around it, and jabbed the Kra’lythe in the chest, knocking him into the sidewalk that bordered the beach.  

    In the midst of this commotion, Cassius Calm found himself surrounded by a small squadron of Lurian soldiers. One of them pulled out a taser baton and glared at the Buddhist warrior.

    “TRAITOR!” he shouted, charging at Cassius with his fascist comrades. He swung the baton right at Calm’s head, but missed. Calm kicked him in the jaw, instantly toppling him.

    The others pulled out their weapons, but they were not fast enough for Calm; he ran towards a tree, kicked from it, and propelled himself to the ground. Cassius Calm bludgeoned the ground with his fist, surrounding himself with a shockwave of chakra that plowed through the Lurians.

    Genetoes’ eyes widened, and he called for a retreat. The Kindred members got up and stepped back into the army of shades and Death Vanguard soldiers. The Lurians recomposed and also joined the crowd with brandished weapons.

    “Quick,” shouted Anzu, “We must find them before they can recuperate!”

    “Agreed,” replied Caiaphus.

    Both flew into the air and noticed that the Twilight Storm had surrounded their location with the fog of war. They were about to dispel the darkness to reveal the location of the Kindred members, until Tezzeret shouted for them.

    “Little help here?!”

    Both masters of the shadows joined their comrades, for they were being assaulted by a massive force of shades (with a handful of Death Vanguard and Lurian troopers to boot). Each member of the Claws of the Phoenix gave it their best, using combinations of kicks, punches, and barrages of their own special powers to subdue the dark wisps. Caiaphus drove a Vanguard insane with fear and used plasma bolts to destroy several more shades. Anzu clawed through untold numbers of enemies.

    “Ready?” asked Cassius Calm of Tezzeret. His left fist glowed white.

    “Right. Just like training,” affirmed Tezzeret. His own metallic arm fiercely crackled.

    They clasped their hands together, firing an intense combination of raw power that ripped through hordes of shades, immediately decimating them. However, this effort was almost in vain. Lightning struck, and even more shades were added to the hundreds that were already present.  
    “Keep going!” shouted Calm in an attempt to encourage his compatriots. They were going to tire themselves out at some point, but that’s what the Kindred wanted. Perseverance would have to be their sustenance, for they needed to draw out the bigger fish.


    The Klaks approached Mazkertis’ location, warily drawing their swords. The wizard coughed as he emerged from the site of his landing, triumphantly gazing upon them from behind his ghostly mask.

    Yes, finally,” he whispered from his psyche. “Both of you are here.

    “What did you expect,” D-Klak mocked. “A Jabberwocky fan with a top hat?”

    Mazkertis rolled his eyes and sped at them, flinging green and red balls of offensive magic. Klak dodged the blasts and kicked the wizard in the chest. D-Klak’s cloak was grazed by the human’s offensive, but he was unfettered by this as he jabbed Mazkertis in the face.

    The combination of well-timed blows knocked the wizard back, but not before he could launch two shots of shadow energy that whacked into both Klaks.

    Everyone recomposed. Mazkertis reached outward, calling to his staff. The rod flew to his prosthetic hand and he caught it, quickly charging it with magical energy. All three men charged at each other, weapons brandishing. The clash of metal and magic formed a visual ambience to their dance of death. Mazkertis blocked one of the blows with magic while parrying the other with his staff. Switch. Repeat.

    Klak tricked the wizard into thinking that he was about to hit his shielded arm, but in a split second, he twirled and kicked Mazkertis in an unguarded part of his side. D-Klak followed with a punch to the gut, knocking the air out of the human. The latter was not given enough time to recompose, as a combined orb of light and Force lightning that came from the Klaks had walloped into his chest.

    Spitting on the ground, Mazkertis huffed for whatever semblance of breath he would inhale. His mask was twisted out of place, with his mouth and chin fully visible.

    “That’s enough,” ordered Klak authoritatively. “Mazkertis, we don’t have to do this. D-Klak is dead.”

    I wasn’t born yesterday,” the wizard replied, his mind’s voice ever so crisp. “How shameless of a liar are you?

    “It’s true,” D-Klak concurred with a shaky voice, no doubt stunned by the battle and by the fact that he had been informed of his doom only a few weeks ago.

    “The D-Klak you see is one from the past. We brought him here to aid us against you,” Klak explained. “In this time period, he died. Figlio is dead too. Zev won’t bother you if you stay away from him. Everyone else is scattered across the cosmos. It’s over, Mazkertis. There’s no need for any of this.”

    You misunderstand,” the wizard said, tersely.

    “You’ll have to answer for your crimes,” continued the Makuta. “All the people you have murdered….but I’ll do my best to ensure you receive help...I..I know what Figlio and Dr. Lascovitz did to you all those years ago, and what D-Klak did, but we can help!”

    This is my way of coping, Klak,” Mazkertis asserted. “Vengeance is the only way to heal myself, and to heal this universe. You could kill D-Klak, and another Klak remains. My wounds remain. The suffering inflicted upon us all by your kind remains.

    D-Klak aimed his gunblade at Mazkertis’ head, while Klak cautiously stood in attack position.

    I will not accept your patronizing offer, you monster.” he continued. “I will not rest until I achieve my destiny.

    Mazkertis called out to his staff, which came from behind both of the Klaks and tripped them. He raised his arms and disappeared, but not before heaving out ripples of green and purple energy all around them to destroy the unfinished building. As the edifice began to collapse, D-Klak turned to Klak and nodded.

    “Cover your auricles,” he said.

    Klak complied, and his counterpart immediately emitted a powerful scream that dispelled rubble from falling onto them.

    “I love sound powers,” D-Klak confessed.

    The Klaks made their way through the rubble, barely dodging a lightning strike from the Twilight Storm. Suddenly, five individuals who all looked like Mazkertis appeared. D-Klak immediately suspected that they were all shades, and subsequently fired at them using his gunblade. All but one were destroyed; the surviving Mazkertis, the genuine article, walked in a zig-zag formation to successfully dodge the lasers.

    He swung his staff upward, sending a green shockwave towards Klak and knocking him into a nearby brick wall. Mazkertis continued charging until his staff clashed with D-Klak’s blades once more.

    Vile self-righteous cretin,” he ‘spat out’ mentally. “Acting morally superior after what you did to me!

    They continued to struggle, faces ever so near their respective weapons.

    “You put lives in danger, and you didn’t surrender. Even when Zev and I had an entire team against you!” D-Klak growled. He slowly began to confess in the midst of his strain. “But you don’t think...I have regrets? I’ve had to do terrible things,” “But my line of work. I do questionable things….things that keep me up at night...just so a child on a planet light-years away can sleep safely.”

    Then you understand,” Mazkertis interjected. “You know why I must do this: for justice! For the greater good of existence!

    “Oh no,” D-Klak replied. “You crossed a line when you killed thousands! You’re not doing this for the greater good, that’s just what you’ve deluded yourself into believing!”

    A bright light flashed from Mazkertis’ staff, temporarily blinding the Kestora. Klak shouted and charged at the wizard. He hit him with several shots of heat rays, but Mazkertis quickly regained the upper hand. He tapped his sceptre on the floor, freezing Klak’s legs. The Makuta attempted to used his Kraata powers to break free, but his opponent was already in front of him. A dreadful onslaught of mental attacks, shadow bolts, and mere energy blasts all thrusted at Klak, immobilizing him as he howled in pain. Lightning from the Twilight Storm struck near them.

    Mazkertis quickly turned to D-Klak and flung him into the air. He also raised several bricks that were lying around in the construction sight and sent them flying towards the Kestora. Luckily, D-Klak was fully lucid. He pushed away four bricks using the Force as he fell towards the ground, and destroyed the seven that remained with his sonic screams.

    However, before D-Klak could crash onto the ground, Mazkertis grabbed him by the collars of his cowl and dragged him across the aforementioned brick wall. The blocks clattered to the floor. The human raised his enemy into the air and smashed him into the ground, a body sized crater developing underneath them. Mazkertis then bludgeoned D-Klak several times with his staff. The Kestora struggled and writhed, but he did not allow himself to fall so easily. He was about to retaliate with a sonic scream when suddenly, his enemy moved at breakneck speeds and leaped on top of him. Mazkertis’ hands were pressed up against D-Klak’s mouth, and his thumbs were on his auricles.

    Perhaps if you continue, my hands will be destroyed,” the wizard conceded, mockingly. “But what will happen to your head? It is a gamble you will not take.

    D-Klak gulped. He had to think of something. But just by looking into his enemy’s crimson eyes he could tell that this was the end of their fight: they shone beyond the masked face with gleeful satisfaction.

    Oh, you shall not fall so swiftly and easily, Klak,” Mazkertis said, clarifying his intentions. “I am going to obliterate every value you hold dear, bring ruin to this universe’s Klak, change this timeline to my Kindred’s liking, and then….Then I shall kill you when you are most vulnerable. You shall spend the rest of your life wondering when the hour will come when I erase you from existence, and your last thoughts will be the utter terror at realizing that once you are gone, no one can protect those you care for…..from me.

    D-Klak was enraged and shocked, but Mazkertis cast a sleeping spell on him, effectively knocking him out and preventing him from acting out on these desires.

    The remaining Klak had returned to consciousness, so the wizard commanded his staff to pin him to the ground. However, the Makuta saw it coming and rolled out of the way. He stood up, and seemed to disappear, reappearing right next to Mazkertis. Klak repelled the wizard into the brick wall using his crast, and hurled twenty balls of light at him. He then summoned his Keyblade and slashed at the wizard, beating him down.

    Once again, Mazkertis started coughing. He removed part of his mask and spat out blood onto the floor.

    “Give up, Mazkertis. I won’t offer you a second chance,” Klak warned. “There is a way out of this without more bloodshed.”

    To hell with you,” replied Mazkertis’ mind while he coughed.

    Something was off. Why did the wizard seem weaker than he actually was? Klak decided to keep him talking until he could figure out what was wrong.

    “You are not well, in more ways than one,” he continued. “Just let us help you. Call off the storm, and let’s leave these people alone, okay?”

    Mazkertis sniffed, then stood up. Klak saw his unmasked face, but instead of wearing a grimace of defeat, it wore a grin of victory.

    Suddenly, the entire volley of light attacks that Klak had used earlier reappeared, this time diverted back at their original user. The Makuta was pelted left and right with what once was his own attack, for the wizard had absorbed it and diverted it back at him. The bloodied coughs were mere parlor tricks designed to distract him.

    Mazkertis leaped and backhanded Klak, his left fist encased in a layer of magic that prevented him from breaking his knuckles against the Makuta’s metallic face. Before his enemy could react, the wizard fired energy at him from his staff, slamming him through the doorway of an abandoned warehouse.

    Klak tried to get up, but was pushed down by Mazkertis’ gravity magic. He countered with his own manipulation of this force, placing an immense invisible weight on the man’s shoulders. Though the veins on Mazkertis’ neck bulged as he struggled with the pressure, he continued with a slow, strained march towards his enemy. He dropped his staff, and his cold hands fell upon the Makuta’s mask. A feeling of drowsiness started to numb Klak’s senses.

    Assuming death was knocking at his door, he activated his Crast, sending Mazkertis flying into a nearby wall. The man recomposed himself, and shocked Klak with electricity.

    Your prattle will be silenced once you see the truth. The truth of your kind,” snarled the mind of Mazkertis.

    Klak felt dizzy, and soon his mind fell into a series of visions. The first detailing the universe Mazkertis claimed to have seen many years ago, a utopia united under the Intergalactic Confederation of Republics. Though the sights mesmerized him, his face reacted to every image, and twisted into shock and disgust upon the appearance of the alleged alternate Klak, a tyrannous fiend that ransacked the IGCR until not an ember was left of it.


    Cassius Calm looked up after knocking back a Lurian soldier, gasping. Tezzeret sensed the same thing, and wore a concerned look on his face.

    “Is that…?” he asked.

    “An illusion spell,” Anzu confirmed, morosely. “Mazkertis just cast it on someone.”

    “We need to find a way to Mazkertis’ location, Klak must be trapped!” Tezzeret roared, slamming his fist into a Death Vanguard that tried to stab him with a beam saber. Dabs of sweat accentuated the feeling of pain that was starting to bite at his muscles.

    “Yes, all two of them,” quipped Caiaphus, wearily.

    “Who knows what sort of lies that monster is telling him,” Anzu whispered to himself.

    Before they could advance, the aforementioned Kindred members revealed themselves. Raziel summoned his wraith blade and charged at Caiaphus.

    “No, stop, Raziel!” yelled Genetoes, slightly annoyed, for that was not part of their plan.

    But the beast ignored him, engaging in a brief swordfight with Caiaphus. The Makuta gained the upper hand, lifting him into the air using control of gravity and slamming him into the ground.

    “Did you forget why you once called me master, Raziel?” he mocked. Caiaphus clubbed the wraith several times in the face, then grasped his shoulder and flung him to the seas. Raziel rolled down the berm as the tide came in.

    Genetoes slowly approached Caiaphus, then disappeared. He reappeared in front of the Makuta, and fired a bolt of shadow. Caiaphus quickly negated it. This continued over and over again, until the Kra’lythe ceased flinging volleys.

    “A Makuta evenly matched with a Kra’lythe,” Genetoes noted. “This is not typical.”

    “I am no ordinary Makuta,” Caiaphus retorted.

    The Kra’lythe appeared to smirk and charge at Caiaphus, violently swinging his staff at his temples. The Makuta tried to block it with his arm, expecting to hear a thunk, but he noticed that nothing happened. It was an illusion made of pure shadows.

    Just before he could curse at himself for missing such obvious bait, Caiaphus gasped, feeling something skewering him. Genetoes had appeared behind him and impaled him with the energized, sharpened end of his staff. Luckily, there was no antidermis stored there, so the Makuta did not need to fear any leakages. Still, it would take far too long to heal.

    Genetoes quickly pulled his staff out, and backhanded Caiaphus to the ground. He turned and nodded to Minutún, who was engaged in a fistfight with Cassius Calm.

    “Enough of this!” said Calm. “I’ve entertained myself with fighting you, now to bring you to justice!”

    Minutún did not reply, instead smirking and crouching. His wrists danced and fingers jerked in strange movements. Faint yellow and green lights could be seen surrounding these appendages. Calm felt that he was losing control of his body as he came to the horrifying realization that this Kra’lythe had the power of corruption.

    Cassius Calm screamed in pain as his body was overloaded with chakra. The veins in his arms glowed with hot, white energy as his hands blasted everyone near him. Tezzeret, who was engaged in a brawl with remaining Death Vanguard mooks, felt a searing pain in his enchanted metallic arm. Calm’s corrupted chakra had a horrific effect on it, and before he could act, the appendage exploded. Tezzeret slowly drifted in and out of consciousness until one of the mooks knocked him out with a mere punch.

    Minutún felt triumphant. So triumphant that he forgot to regulate the dangerous power he wielded in his hands. It soon began to overwhelm him, and he cried out in pain as it surged. This, along with a loose blast from Calm, made him writhe in pain until he fell unconscious.

    Anzu had spent the last minute scoffing at the last two surviving Lurians who had teamed up on him.

    “You must be joking,” he had said, smirking.

    “Indeed we are, xeno scum,” one of them spat out while Calm was being corrupted.

    A hole was blasted into one of Anzu’s wings. The demon grunted in pain, and quickly ran to Cassius Calm. He jabbed him in the back and to immobilize him, knowing that the lack of consciousness would subdue the untamed energies coursing through his body.

    Anzu gasped for air and nearly collapsed, looking around. He saw Caiaphus lifting himself up, and noticed that Minutún and Raziel had been defeated. However, Tezzeret and Calm were in a similar state. Only Genetoes, Caiaphus, Anzu, two Lurians, and a small army of shades remained. None of the Kindred or Claws were dead, but they had each faced significant knockouts.

    The Twilight Storm began to break up around them. It was still prevalent around the warehouses in the distance, but Anzu could see the moonlight creeping through the wisps of the dastardly spell.

    Both sides realized that they were at a stalemate. The Kindred had effectively sabotaged the Claws’ plan to contain Mazkertis, but they faced casualties. The Claws had defeated many of their enemies, but two of their own nearly died and now both Klaks were out of reach, fighting Mazkertis himself.

    The figures that remained all eyed each other, wondering whether to continue their struggle or retreat while they still could.


    The vision of the utopian universe was dispelled, and Klak found himself in a foggy plain. A series of figures made their way towards him, and one of them was Caiaphus.

    “Caiaphus, what’s going on?” asked Klak, a hint of panic in his voice.

    “You fool,” Caiaphus said, wearily. “You failed them all.”

    He seemed to dissipate, turning into ashes. Uterio di Armechio rode in, pointing an accusatory finger at Klak.

    “This could have been prevented without the meddling murder your ‘brother’ perpetrated upon me!” he shouted in his stentorian voice that resounded in the darkness. “D-Klak was my downfall, and you a willing accomplice. I could have brought order to your universe, prevented men like Mazkertis from ever being unleashed to destroy innocent lives. Now you realize, Klak, that I was right in what I did. We could have protected this universe together, but you spat upon that. Klaks destroyed me, and in the end, destroyed their friends.”

    “Lies! All lies!” Klak scoffed angrily. “How dare you twist this situation to justify your crimes? You’re a dead man anyway.“

    Uterio morosely shook his head, and dissipated as well, his ashes combining with those of Caiaphus. Akzer arrived after the Generalissimo with a perplexed gaze.

    “All I wanted was to stop Caiaphus,” he hissed. “But you murdered me.”

    “You were still a monster,” maintained Klak, almost attempting to reassure himself. “I may have killed you in misguided rage but I prevented you from hurting people! I did!”

    Akzer repeated the word ‘murder’ as he collapsed into ashes. Blackout followed, scowling at Klak.

    “I wanted to protect our race, but you,” he scoffed in his gruff voice, pausing while narrowing his eyes in rage. “You betrayed your own kind and brought them on the path of doom. And in the end, you will become a monster who will lead us to the Reckoning. When Mazkertis cleanses the Omniverse of Makuta, and your future self conquers whatever remains, history will see your name as synonymous with extinction.”

    Klak said nothing, having been taken aback by the stinging words. Blackout disintegrated like his predecessors, the mix of grey ash and embers forming a small pile a few feet away from Klak.

    The next figures were of his friends, all slowly moaning and pointing at him in accusation.

    “You roped me into this,” Zev barked. “A madman wants me dead. Now the love of my life is in danger, and it’s all your fault.”

    “My body is forever destroyed because of you,” Nadle cried. “Now I will drift around aimlessly through your various misadventures, flirting with death while accompanying a disgrace.”

    “Nadle, Zev, no, I….” Klak stammered as he tried to respond, but he stopped as the tears welled up in his eyes. He then witnessed an apparition of both Jinx and Peter, two Malchiorian friends of his who died in Ragnarok, approach him.

    “You left us to die,” Jinx said, wearily.

    “Some hero,” grumbled Peter.

    “Jinx, Peter, I’m sorry,” cried Klak in a quavering voice.

    Neither Nadle, nor Jinx, nor Peter disintegrated. Instead, they continued moving towards Klak, cornering him.

    “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” asked a confused D-Klak. “Why didn’t you tell me about my death, and how you failed to save me?”

    Klak shook his head, denying it at first, but the grief and shame welled up in his heart.

    “You abandoned your own president,” said the late, but great President Howard. “Your people, lost, because of you.”

    “You poisoned us!” exclaimed several humans in the audience of lost souls. Klak recognized them as members of the Malchiorian Anti-Makuta movement. They seemed to be referring to the Rac Koon city plague, which was started by none other than F-Klak.

    “I know,” murmured Klak in sorrow. “I know.”

    “I Asved your life, and you repay me with suspicion,” proclaimed Ynot. “And you’ve summoned a threat that not even I can stop alone. Mazkertis is your problem; he should have never been mine.  Should they die, the blood of my friends will be on your hands.”

    “My son is missing,” Kakamu said. “The Red Star that was meant to be deliverance to our peoples was nothing but another cog in the machine of oppression that churns throughout this universe. But you don’t care, do you?”

    More and more of friends, comrades, and acquaintances of Klak appeared, all highlighting his failures. Shouts of “traitor,” “murderer,” and “failure” came from them all, a scattered chant among the vicious crowd. Klak negated it, slightly cowering as the mob began to surround him.

    “No,” he said, as the shouting continued. “NO!”

    The mob of familiar faces, nearly grappling him, disappeared. Klak now stood in a blank expanse, similar to a splashed white canvas. Axalara and Treveya (wiki article), the women who held his heart, were both facing him.

    “Just an illusion,” Klak repeated to himself. “Just an illusion!”

    Treveya frowned, reaching towards Klak, but disintegrating. Reminders of her unfortunate death at the hands of the demon Set twinged throughout his soul. Klak ran towards Axalara, attempting to save her from the same fate, but before his hand could touch hers, she too dissipated.

    Klak cried out in panic, watching the black ashes of all the people he had seen in these visions collect into a mass that tainted the expanse. Soon, he was surrounded by pitch-black darkness. A pair of familiar eyes appeared in the shadows, and Klak heard a voice he immediately recognized with dread.

    “Look at you,” it said, laughing. “Attempting to delay the inevitable!”

    “You’re just an illusion of a fake, F-Klak!!

    “Oh no, you’re wrong, dear,” said the voice of F-Klak. “I exist in your mind now. But do you know what is more delightful? The man you face….Mazkertis, is right, in a way. You see, I am either dead or alive, and I am either a clone, or your true self. Nevertheless, there is a certain inevitability surrounding all of these possibilities! You could labor like Sisyphus to be rid of me, but you can never escape, because in the end I am you. I will always be enticing you to bring you one step closer to becoming the monster Mazkertis is desperately hoping to vanquish.”

    F-Klak’s laughter echoed throughout the expanse as the mass of darkness violently lurched forward, slamming into Klak. The Makuta of Light cowered as he was tormented by the onslaught, feelings of hopelessness overcoming him. As the illusion ended, he slumped to the ground. He could not see Mazkertis anywhere, adding to the overwhelming sense of despondency and grief.

    Klak’s quiet sobs echoed throughout the empty warehouse, as the only light in its ever-present darkness came from the fires of the burning city.

    Last edited by Klak on Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:10 am; edited 2 times in total

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Dr_pav11
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Fri May 06, 2016 1:52 pm

    Welcome to Chapter 12. This is one of 4 chapters that I've been working on over the past few months. This is what I would classify as a "joke chapter", which is a chapter that deals with joke characters more than serious ones, though it does include events that will affect the main plot of The Mazkertis Paradox. Some old characters die, and some new characters live.

    Expect a serious chapter from me next time.


    Chapter 12: Breakout

    On the planet Mariejois, an alarm rang in a luxurious bedroom. Its occupant groaned and groggily felt around on his bedside table, hoping to hit the alarm clock that had shattered the beautiful dream he was having. After knocking over a book, a glass of water, and his mobile phone, the man finally found the alarm clock, and pounded it with his fist. The alarm stopped as quickly as it started, and was replaced with a pleasant female voice.

    “Good morning, Commander-in-Chief Zicks.” It said. “Your appointment with the senate will begin in thirty minutes.”

    “Ugh…” Zicks muttered, hoping that this was only another dream. “What?” he said quietly to himself.

    “Repeat: Your appointment with the senate will begin in thirty minutes.”

    Zicks gave his alarm clock another whack, causing its voice to whimper and trail off into static. “I was talking to myself.”

    The commander forced himself out of bed and made his way over to the bedroom mirror. Sure enough, his own face stared right back at him. Akoran Zicks was a human man with Japanese ancestry, which was a rarity in this part of space, and impossible to tell from his unusual name alone. He had a short black mohawk and a neatly-trimmed mustache and beard combo. After he finished admiring himself, Zicks went into the bathroom and splashed his face with water, but stopped when he saw something out of the corner of his eye.

    Sitting upon a dresser was a picture of three men: Himself, Kong (Zicks’s predecessor as Commander-in-Chief), and an old friend of Kong’s named Zev Raregroove. Kong was in the middle, pulling in Zicks and Zev for a massive bear hug while they all laughed and smiled. Zicks smiled sadly as he walked over to the photo and picked it up.

    “I’m sorry, Kong-sama, but the Galactic Government died with you.” Zicks stated. “I’d never be strong enough to pick up where you left off.”

    His mind travelled back to Kong’s funeral a few weeks prior, where he had given an emotional eulogy about his mentor. Just before leaving, he had bumped into someone named “Klak”, who lectured him on the hardship of death and the strength one must have to fill the void left by it. Zicks had thanked Klak for his kind words, but silently rejected his advice. He decided that he would not waste time trying to hold up the Galactic Government in the absence of Kong, especially when so much of it had already become ineffectual during Kong’s old age.

    After getting dressed and preparing his speech, Zicks grabbed his phone, left his quarters and walked towards the Galactic Government’ senate room. He had already given one eulogy this month, and now he would have to give another.


    Across the universe, billions of lifeforms tuned in to GGNews, the Galactic Government’s official news network. Ever since Kong’s funeral, it had been widely reported that the government was going to broadcast their latest senate meeting to the universe via a synchronized livestream. The figure who broke this news, Akoran Zicks, said that it would be a discussion nobody would want to miss, and with the representatives of over a thousand states in attendance, who could argue with him?

    That very discussion was now just under a minute from happening, and almost every pub, hospital, space station and household in the known universe tuned in in anticipation of the event. At the end of a tense countdown, Zicks himself, the de facto leader of the government, burst through a set of double doors on screen. The cameras followed him into the main chamber; a truly humongous room the size of a small city. Thousands of floating podiums filled the room in all directions, each one crewed by one planet’s representative and their respective staff. After taking in this impressive sight, the cameras turned back to face Zicks. The commander stepped forward onto a podium of his own, which then flew up above the other podiums. His apprehensive face was also broadcast on many gigantic monitors around the room that were mounted on the walls, and his voice was boosted through the microphone on his podium.

    “My friends,” Zicks began, “thank you for coming. I’m sure many of you are wondering why I’ve gathered you here today. The truth is, none of us would be here if it wasn’t for Kong, the man who spent his 70,000 year life painstakingly building bridges between the fractured civilizations that make up our universe. Even towards the end of his life, during the widespread Uterio War, Kong refused to relinquish his dream that everyone can enjoy a prosperous-”

    Suddenly, all the electronic equipment in the room stopped working, and each of the podiums that the alien delegates were standing on fell a few feet before their backup systems kicked in. Zicks instinctively screamed as he lost his footing and fell with his podium, only to land on it again a second later. When he got to his feet, his phone rang, displaying a message that told him that the trans-galactic livestream had been interrupted.

    “What the hell?!” Zicks spluttered. Judging from the expressions of the other senators, they had received the same notification.

    The assistant to the senator of Naboo grabbed the mic on his podium and shouted into it. “A communications disruption can mean only one thing! INVASION!”

    “Invasion? Don’t be ridiculou-” Zicks replied using his microphone, but stopped when several hundred senators gasped and pointed at his podium. He slowly turned around to face what they were looking at, and his jaw dropped.

    Behind Zicks was a large, blue-coloured portal which several strange figures were standing in front of. The first figure was some kind of bizarre humanoid with white skin clad in crustacean armor. The second was a blue-skinned, ethereal-looking woman with long white hair. The third was a blonde man in a red and black costume that looked like something out of an 80s mecha anime, and the fourth was a bulky and angry-looking robot. When the portal closed, the livestream came back online.

    The blonde man was the first to come forward, using some kind of retro dance move to slide past Zicks to the front of the podium, leaving behind a rainbow-coloured motion blur that lingered in the air for a few seconds before fading. In addition, some strange music started playing, which only a few would recognize as “eurobeat”, a retro music genre from Earth.

    “INTRODUCING!” The man shouted excitedly, “Space! Pirate! Captain! EUROBEAT!”

    The man then gave a twirl and thrust his arms up in the air, somehow spraying confetti over the entire chamber.

    “That’s me! Next up, not to be confused with the realm in Norse mythology, NIFLHEIM!”

    The white-skinned humanoid stepped up. “h,” he said with a bored demeanor.

    Eurobeat continued, this time pointing at the robot. “From the depths of war-torn Cybertron, she’s come all the way to see you now, give it up for STRIKA!”

    Strika gave no response.

    “And last but not least… I don’t know what to say here… LEVIATHAN!”

    “Enough of this.” The blue-skinned woman, apparently named Leviathan, said as she pushed Eurobeat out of the way and stepped up to the microphone. Her voice was the most powerful of the group, and reverberated through the chamber. The stunned Zicks, who was lying speechless at the end of his podium, wondered if Leviathan actually needed a microphone to make her voice heard.

    “Galactic Government.” She began. “A creature named Mazkertis has been travelling from world to world, draining the life force of some of the peoples you have sworn to protect. His goal is to become powerful enough to make changes to the timeline of your universe. The damage done could be irreparable, and so far, his followers have proven evasive even to me and my host. With your influence and resources, Mazkertis will have nowhere left to hide. Help us, or he will tear out the pages of your lives and your work will be tantamount to nothing. The choice is yours.”

    The chamber remained silent for a few moments, but then burst into a discord of chatter.

    “I have heard nothing of this ‘Mazkertis’!” One of the senators shouted amid the ruckus. “Why waste our time with such nonsense?!”

    The discord continued, with some of the senators saying that they will keep a look out for Mazkertis, but many more denouncing Mazkertis as a work of sensationalist fiction written by Revolutionaries in order to disrupt the workings of the government.

    The chatter subsided when Zicks finally stood up, took the mic back from Leviathan, and spoke into it. He turned around to face her and her comrades, briefly making eye contact before turning back to his congregation.

    “I’m sorry everyone, this was not intentional!” Zicks spluttered. “I did not gather you here today because of this ‘Mazkertis’ or anything like it. I gathered you here to formally announce the dissolution of the Galactic Government.”

    As expected, there was a stunned silence while the congregation processed Zicks’s words. After that, the discord resumed, but twice as angrily as before.

    “First the Shadow Proclamation, and now this? What a joke!” One of the senators raged.

    “But who’s going to administrate trade regulations?!” Another piped up.

    Zicks sighed before continuing. “Yes, at the peak of its existence, this organization was one of the most powerful forces in the known universe. But as Kong grew older, his grip weakened, and our rules became harder to enforce. We spread ourselves too thin, and other alliances like the Cooperative sprung up to take our place. Both sides of the Uterio War crippled our armies and liberated bases from our control. The only thing we can still effectively do is manage prisons, but recent breakouts from Supermax F### B##### and 282 are making me question even that.”

    “So… what are you going to do?” Another ambassador spoke up.

    “Well. The Supermax prisons will be sold off to the Blackwatch Corporation, one of our most prolific shareholders who have expressed interest in them. We’ve also contracted the Blackwatch in the past to administrate trade routes in the Milky Way Galaxy, especially around the planet Coryza. Blackwatch’s head told me yesterday that they are taking steps to expand their organization out of the Milky Way in order to take over some of our duties if we choose to trust them with more.”

    Another senator stood up. “This is an outrage! What about the planets undergoing civil war, like Teruga Prime? Who will step in to mediate the conflict?”

    “The Red Cross is currently in charge of providing relief on Teruga Prime.”

    “That’s not what I meant!” The senator bellowed, but Zicks ignored him.

    The senator of Naboo spoke up. “Meesa propose that yousa give control of the entire Galatic Govament to meesa!”

    “No! This is my final decision. You’re all capable of negotiating extrapolitical affairs by yourselves. The Galactic Government as it stands today is a huge, expensive, unnecessary waste of time, so I’m shutting it down before those damn Revolutionaries, or Great Beings, or this… “Boltman” shuts it down for us. You all only want to keep it afloat because you get paid to come here. This is the end. Not a discussion.”

    Zicks then picked up and dropped the mic, causing the chamber to erupt in a cacophony of angry voices once again. He pressed some buttons on his podium’s control panel, causing it to float down to the bottom of the chamber. Once there, he stepped off it and left through the same double doors he came through, leaving a confused Captain Eurobeat, Nif, Levi and Strika behind.

    Yet another senator, who remained silent until now, tried to lift their spirits. “TRUE PEERS! i just recede new orders. Org superiors say the war is cancelled! Weekend all go home. Bison is getting pay Duff for his crimes. And our friends will have DYED HAIR!!!1 ...will have dyed, for nothing. But, weekend all go home. Meanwhile I deals like piss, freedom, and just dis get tacked up. But... weekend all go home. Well ...I'm not going home. I'm gonna get on my boot and I'm going up writher, and I'm going to kick that sun of a bitch Bison's ass SO HORDE!!!1 ... that the next Bison wanibi is gonna fill it. No who wants to go home, and who wants to go with MIG?!?!?1”

    However, his words were mostly ignored. Most of the other senators started to verbally attack each other. The senator at the forefront of this conflict was the President of Space India, who was listing off ten reasons why all the other senators were “asshols” and should “shutthefuq up”. Another senator told him that he was “salty” because the Cooperative had rejected his request to join. Upon hearing this, the Space Indian President took control of his podium and crashed it into the other’s.

    Below this chaos, Captain Eurobeat looked up at frowned. “Maybe I should summon the FFFF?”

    “Don’t bother. We don’t need these idiots.” Strika responded. “We’d have better luck fishing for help in… well, just about anywhere else.”

    Eurobeat sadly typed something on his wrist-mounted PDA, and another portal tore into existence behind him. Just as the others all turned to leave, one podium floated down to meet them.

    “You leave now, you’re gonna regret it!” Its occupant shouted.

    The allies paused, and turned around to face him.

    “Is that a threat?” Strika said, clenching her fists.

    “No, quite the opposite. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime!”

    Nif stepped out of the shadows to get a better look at the man. He was human, and well-set considering his age of around 70. He wore a well-tailored suit with a bright blue tie. He had dyed blonde hair that was combed forward, and skin that was orange-ish in colour; Nif wasn’t sure whether this was due to makeup, tanning, or what, but he didn’t really care. None of the group knew this, but this man had met with Mazkertis a few weeks prior. To them, he was known as the “Affluent Man”.

    “Okay, so just who the FOK are you?” Nif said, feeling rather unimpressed.

    “Who am I? I’m the most powerful man on planet Earth, but you can call me Mr. President,” the Affluent Man replied with an air of immense smugness.

    “Never heard of it.”

    “Really? Well, you will soon enough. So, I hear you have beef with Mazkertis.”

    “Nah, not really, I’m just supposed to kill him.” Nif replied very matter-of-factly.

    “Right… well, listen very closely. I’ve met this ‘Mazkertis’ and I don’t think he’s all that he claims to be. I think he’s arrogant, and he’s a fool. I offered him a great deal - and I don’t make great deals to nobodies very often - and he turned it down. I want him to know that nobody says no to me. I’ve got people out there looking out for him, but it seems like you know a lot more about him than I do.”

    “Uh… probably.” Nif said, obviously bluffing.

    “So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna make you a deal, and it’s a good deal, trust me, it’ll work out for both of us. I’m prepared to lend you some of my best men to help you track down and kill that wizard and his friends. They’re no amateurs like some of the people you probably have by your side, they’re the best of the best, contract killers who always find their targets wherever they’re hiding and get the job done. One of them even has an actual superpower like you; he can instantly locate anyone or anything in the entire universe just by thinking about them. Problem is, these agents are locked up in a Supermax, and my influence only extends so far. Once Zicks sells them off to the Blackwatch, they’re gonna tighten security even more to make breaking anyone out virtually impossible.”

    “So let me get this straight,” Eurobeat interjected, “you want us to break some people out of prison to help us kill Mazkertis.”

    The Affluent Man gave a smug smile. “You’re a quick learner, aren’t you?”

    Nif briefly had a flashback to when he was transported into Supermax F### B##### and accidentally freed a prisoner named Steven Pinker.

    “Sounds simple enough. Which prison is it, who do you need broken out, and what else is in it for us?”

    The Affluent Man reached into his pockets and pulled out several photos with names and identification numbers. He handed them to the group, who looked over them and raised a few eyebrows.

    “Here’s who you need. Luckily for you, they’re all in the same place. Supermax 282. As for your reward… well, is a reward really necessary? You’ll have the satisfaction of killing Mazkertis, and the permanent allegiance of Earth as long as I’m in power. What could be better than that!”

    “One moment.” Eurobeat muttered as he took his allies to the other end of the walkway and huddled them together. “This is ridiculous. The men he wants us to free are notorious criminals without any sense of justice! They would probably join Mazkertis if he made them a better offer.”

    Strika grimaced. “Agreed. But, Captain, if we do this, we have a way of finding Mazkertis wherever he is, and the entire planet Earth on our side. You keep telling me about this ‘Project D’, but can they offer us the same?”

    “...maybe not, but I still don’t want to work with such crooks.”

    “Yet having Nemesis, the lord of darkness and hate, on your personal strike team is fine?”

    Eurobeat exhaled loudly. “Fiiiine. We’ll give them a shot at redemption. Is everyone ready?”

    Nif, Levi, and Strika all nodded. Eurobeat smiled and entered new coordinates on his PDA, stepping aside as a new portal tore into existence behind him. One by one, the group entered the portal as the Affluent Man looked on with a satisfied smile. He had a feeling that they were going to make the galaxy great again!


    News of the Galactic Government’s dissolution spread across the universe like wildfire, prompting hundreds of news outlets to pry into Zicks’s personal life, wondering if he had some ulterior motive for collapsing the organization. Reactions from other planets were certainly mixed, but there was at least one that was celebrating the GG’s collapse like it was the best thing that ever happened to them.

    This planet was Momoiro, home to the Kamabakka Kingdom. The kingdom, ruled by Emporio Ivankov, was strongly opposed to the Galactic Government and its practices, so much so that its ruler actually openly encouraged members of the Revolutionary Army to meet there. Due to the mentally unstable and aggressively homosexual nature of the kingdom’s residents, the Revolutionaries rarely accepted Ivankov’s offer, but this time they made an exception. Ivankov had promised them that his “okama” would be on their best behavior during the celebrations.

    Ivankov himself was a huge man, at least 10 feet tall, that towered over everyone else. His size was exaggerated by his unusually large head and equally large purple afro. He had long eyelashes and a large, manic grin. He dressed in a garish unitard that exposed his tattooed chest and had a large flared collar, knee-height boots with stilettos and fishnets. Both a king’s and a queen’s crown sat on top of his afro to further emphasize his sexuality.

    ((OOS: For the record, this planet and its inhabitants were introduced by Zev, not me. You’ll see why I’m using them here shortly.))

    “Oh, vhat a beautiful day-ay!” Ivankov sang as he strutted down the steps of his palace. All around him, the okama were shouting and cheering in the street, celebrating the collapse of the GG. Ivankov grinned as he made his way through the crowd, stopping every few moments to do a merry jig with one of the passing okama. Eventually, he reached the city hall and entered it. A few okama tried to follow him inside, but as per his agreement with the Revolutionaries, they were forced to wait outside. However, this did not dampen the okama’s spirits, who continued spreading their merriment throughout the city.

    Inside, Ivankov found himself standing in a room containing a very long table. Seated around it were all the highest-ranking members of the Revolutionary Army, including its leader, Monkey D. Dragon; a tall, menacing-looking man with slicked back hair and interlocking square tattoos on the side of his face. There was silence as he and Ivankov stared at each other for a few moments before bursting into laughter and running to hug each other. All the other Revolutionaries at the table followed suit.

    “Zhis is it!” Ivankov exclaimed in his distinctive accent. “Zhe Galactic Government is finished!”

    The others all cheered.

    “Now we can rule zhe galaxy! Without zhe pesky government’s blockades, vhe and our allies are free to commandeer zhe trade routes, and tax as many vezzels as vhe like! Even zhe Pirate-Lords cannot stop us now! Soon, zhe universe will regret ever freeing me from Impel Down!”

    There were even more cheers, and Dragon raised his glass of ale as a toast before chugging it down. He had almost gotten to the bottom of the glass when a sudden earthquake flung it out of his hand, causing it to fall on the table and shatter. “What in the hell was that?” the pirate asked, whipping out his pistol and looking around cautiously.

    He was answered by another miniature earthquake which caused several other Revolutionaries to fall off their seats. Dragon made his way to the window and peered outside. What he saw made him realize that they were not experiencing earthquakes - they were the aftershocks of explosions.

    “WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!” He shouted as he kicked open the huge double-doors of the hall, revealing to the Revolutionaries what was going on outside. In front of them, countless okama were screaming and running in all directions. Unseen airborne attackers were dropping bombs and firing lasers at the ground below, hoping to hit the okama. One of these attackers dropped down to the ground.

    It was a YONBOT.

    The YONBOT’s head swivelled round to face Dragon, and its red iris expanded upon seeing him.

    “Multiple targets located. Preparing to purge.”

    Dragon gave a battle cry and charged at the YONBOT, but it fired a charged optic blast, burning a hole straight through his torso. Dragon gasped and fell to his knees. He briefly reflected on his wasted life, clutching the hole where his heart once was, and died.

    The other Revolutionaries all immediately whipped out their weapons and fired. The YONBOT was strong, but it was not able to withstand tens of bullets battering its armor at once. Within seconds, the YONBOT’s eye was shattered and its body was blasted apart. The pirates gave a battle cry of their own and ran out of the building to further avenge their leader’s death.

    Meanwhile, Ivankov was crouching behind a chair in a pathetic attempt to conceal himself from the invaders. After assessing that the hall was empty, he walked over to a nearby painting on the wall which he took off, revealing a hidden switch. When he flipped it, a section of the wall slid open to reveal the entrance to a metal bomb shelter. Ivankov got on his knees to crawl inside, but stopped when he heard a sinister robotic voice behind him.

    “Where do you think you’re going?”

    Ivankov shuffled around to face the voice’s owner: Boltman. Ivankov’s face lit up upon seeing the face of the man who killed his enemy. Almost everyone in the universe knew who Boltman was by this point, thanks to the portrait of himself he left behind at the scene of Kong’s murder. As a result, Boltman had been painted as an anti-GG terrorist by the media, and Ivankov recognized him as such. Oh, how wrong he was.

    “Vou!” Ivankov cheered. “Vou picked a good time to arrive! Now vhe can destroy zhese invaders togezher!”

    A metallic lightning bolt materialized in Boltman’s hand as its owner glared at Ivankov. All hope that the okama had of an alliance died in that moment. His cheerful expression turned into an angry grimace as he realized that the man he had been praising was never on his side at all.

    “Vou… vou did zhis. Vou attacked my people. Why?”

    “To settle a score.”

    “Vou have a lot of balls coming all zhis vay to fight me!” Ivankov scowled as he assumed a fighting stance. “Now you vill leave zhis place vithout zhem!”

    Boltman snarled and flung the bolt he had been charging in his hand at Ivankov’s head. Ivankov ducked so that the bolt seared through his purple afro instead of his face. He responded by sliding across the floor at superhuman speed and kicking Boltman in the eye with one of his stilettos. The attack shattered the left lens of Boltman’s sunglasses and caused him to stagger backwards in surprise. In the few seconds that Boltman needed to recover, Ivankov followed up with a completely different attack. The okama slammed his hands together in front of him, creating a shockwave that blew the yellow fellow off his feet.

    “Vell, vou certainly aren’t as fast as a bolt, are you?” Ivankov mocked. “It seems all zhat testosterone is making vou violent, but don’t vorry, I can help vith zhat!”

    Suddenly, syringe-like needles protruded from the fingers of Ivankov’s gloves. He lunged at Boltman, but the yellow fellow came to his senses and rolled out of the way just in time, causing Ivankov’s fingers to stab into the ground instead. The okama cursed and pulled on his glove in an effort to dislodge it, but Boltman took the opportunity to blast him in the side with lightning. Ivankov howled in pain and fell over, causing the needles in his gloves to break off. He took a moment to examine his injury: there was now a scorched hole in his unitard and the flesh was burned underneath.

    “Are you ReAdY tO DiE?” Boltman asked as he approached Ivankov, another lightning bolt forming in his hand. He stopped just in front of the okama and lifted the bolt above his head, intending to bring it down in a stabbing motion, but before he could, he felt a stabbing sensation in his chest. Ivankov had stabbed him with another set of needles in the glove on his other hand.

    “Let’s see how vou like zhat, bolt-boy!” Ivankov cackled. Unknown to Boltman, he had just pumped his own brand of magic female hormones into Boltman’s body. Those hormones were capable of transforming any male into a female in mere moments… or so he thought. He waited… and waited… but nothing happened. “Ngeh-?! Vhere are vour breasts and curves? Zhese hormones are proven to vork on anyone!”

    Boltman leaned in close to Ivankov and removed his broken glasses, revealing his eyes. They were grey and robotic, with red “irises” that did not resemble human eyes much, if at all. A wave of panic swept across Ivankov’s face as he realized that Boltman had no hormones to manipulate in the first place. It still wasn’t clear whether Boltman was a robot, or some kind of magical construct, or even a man in a robotic suit, but one thing was certain: Boltman had left any semblance of humanity behind long ago.

    “N-no! Please! I shall give vou anything vou vant! Just don’t-”

    Ivankov’s pleas turned into gibberish as Boltman zapped him with lightning, making the curly hairs that made up his afro stand on end. Ivankov’s eyes spun around and his tongue flapped as the lightning coursed throughout his body. Eventually, he could take no more, and Ivankov laughed his last. His corpse slumped against the floor; his still-manic grin remaining on his face for all eternity. Boltman removed the okama’s hand from his chest and stood up, finally victorious.

    The doors of the city hall swung open and Boltman stepped out. He admired the devastation around him; his YONBOTs had made light work of the island’s inhabitants. He telepathically called his minions back to him as he stepped over the bodies in front of the hall. The one that was closest to him landed at his feet.

    “Status report?” Boltman asked.

    “Threat annihilated. The area has been purged of all life-signs.”

    “And the charges?”

    “Charges planted. We are ready to detonate.”

    Boltman nodded and looked up into the sky. Clouds were gathering over the Kamabakka Kingdom. He commanded his YONBOTs to follow him as he activated his power to turn into a moving lightning bolt, shooting up and away. They followed him up into the clouds. As they left the planet’s atmosphere, the charges they set on the island exploded, destroying huge chunks of the terrain. After the hundredth explosion, the island could no longer support itself and it began to sink into the ocean, taking the remnants of the civilization it was once home to with it. The Kamabakka Kingdom was no more.


    On the other side of the galaxy, a space prison hung in the void. This prison was one of the more notorious prisons in the Supermax line, due to the bizarre nature of its prisoners and its widely-publicized breakouts, which occurred a lot more frequently than the Galactic Government (soon to be Blackwatch) would like. Some believed that this was due to the incompetence of its warden, the power held by its prisoners, or the abundance of a mystical force named “HahaJ'UsT-Seying” within the prison.

    In reality, it was due to all three.

    The warden of the prison, a strange lemon-like humanoid named Lemongrab, was seething with rage in his office. News coverage of the collapse of the Galactic Government was being broadcast on the television set in front of him. He knew what would happen next: All Supermax wardens would undergo “re-evaluation” by the Blackwatch to see if they were worthy of being re-hired. Lemongrab, unfortunately, only did the bare minimum to keep his job as it is.

    “NNNNGH…. UNACCEPTABLE!!!” He screeched at the top of his lungs.

    Suddenly, a whirling blue portal opened dramatically in front of him, causing him to fall backwards off his chair. When he got back up and looked over his desk, four strangers had appeared: Nif, Levi, Strika, and Captain Eurobeat. Lemongrab screamed and began repeatedly slamming the panic button on his desk.

    “Take it easy!” Nif shouted, but Lemongrab could not hear him over the sound of his own voice. Strika stepped forward and grabbed the warden’s face, muffling his voice with her metal hand. He struggled against her, but it was no use.

    “So, is this the right place?” Strika asked her comrades, ignoring Lemongrab’s muffled protests.

    Capt. Eurobeat grabbed some documents off Lemongrab’s desk and flipped through them. Sure enough, “Supermax 282” was marked on each of them.

    “Yes, it appears so. Perhaps we can convince this ‘Lemongrab’ of our goals and come to an agreement! It’d certainly be easier than going through all the guards of the prison to break out the men we need.”

    Lemongrab began struggling harder, so Strika let go. He took a moment to catch his breath, after which he resumed talking, but in the same shrill voice as before.


    Eurobeat winced and put his fingers in his ears. “Do you have to talk in all-caps? That brings back bad memories.”


    “Ugh. Anyway, Mr….” The captain paused to look at the name on the document, “...Lemongrab, my name is Space! Pirate! Captain! Eurobeat! I strive to protect the innocent, just like I’m sure you do as the warden of a prison such as this. Me and my allies are in pursuit of a wizard named Mazkertis, a vengeful man with no regard for the loss of life his quest entails! We have been told that there is a man in this prison with the ability to detect Mazkertis’s presence anywhere in the universe. We’d like your permission to borrow him for this purpose. After Mazkertis is brought to justice, you have my word that we will return the prisoner to you safe and sound! What do you say?”

    There was a momentary pause, during which Lemongrab thought over the offer. Unsurprisingly, he disagreed. “UNACCEPTABLEEEEEE!!! DUNGEON. TEN YEARS DUNGEON, ALL OF YOU, SEVEN YEARS NO TRIAL.”

    Before Eurobeat and his group could respond, the doors of Lemongrab’s office swung open and heavily-armed guards burst in to hold them at gunpoint. One of them grabbed Levi and locked her hands together with magnetic cuffs. The others advanced towards her allies.

    “In that case, you leave me no choice!” Eurobeat warned. “Prepare for a surprise attack!”

    He began to strike a variety of dramatic poses, each with an accompanying sound effect. After his seventh or so pose, he thrust his fingers towards the guards, somehow releasing an invisible force that blasted them all out of the room.

    “Now THAT’S style!” He said triumphantly.

    Strika slammed the office doors and held them shut. The guards started banging on the other side, and she looked over at Eurobeat. “Captain, with all due respect, I don’t see how we can possibly go non-lethal on this one.”

    “I agree,” Nif said as he broke Levi’s handcuffs with one of his razor-sharp fins. ”These guards give way too many hecks about what we’re doing here.”

    Eurobeat frowned. “Yes… you’re right. Lemongrab will obviously not listen to us, and I have no intention of being locked in a dungeon any time soon. I suggest we split up. I’ll head towards-”

    “Actually, I have a better idea.” Strika interrupted with a smile. “Do you know what my alternate mode is?”

    She was met with blank stares from everyone present, including Lemongrab.

    “A tank. I can transform into a tank.”

    Eurobeat’s face lit up in excitement. “It’s no Gundam, but it’ll do! So, everyone else in agreement?”

    Nif and Levi nodded, but someone else objected. “NOOOOO!” Lemongrab yelled. “I AM NOT IN AGREEMEEEEENT!”

    Strika gave a sigh of disgust and walked over to Lemongrab. The two stared at each other for a few moments before Strika raised her fist and thrust it into his face. There was an almighty splat as the warden’s head exploded, spraying the wall with lemon juice. Strika shook the remaining juice off her hand and calmly walked towards the office doors, looking back at Eurobeat to gauge his reaction. He shrugged.

    “No complaints from me on that one.” He stated.

    Nif, Levi and Capt. Eurobeat stepped back as Strika began transforming into her alternate mode. When she finished, a large six-wheeled tank sat in her place, taking up most of the room. A hatch on the back of the tank opened up to allow the others in. Levi, Nif and Eurobeat walked inside and the hatch closed behind them on its own.

    “So, where are the controls for this thing?” Eurobeat joked.

    Strika’s disembodied voice spoke from the room around them. “You know, I can just as easily eject you.”

    “Just kidding! Whenever you’re ready, Strika, head towards Cell Block D. The pictures that the President of Earth gave us say that the men we’re looking for are there.”

    Without another word, Strika rolled into action. She ploughed through the doors of Lemongrab’s office, turning the guards who were trying to get in into bloody stains on the floor. Her passengers could only hear muffled shouts and alarms from where they were sitting as she tore through the facility, presumably following signs that led her towards Cell Block D.


    Ten minutes later, Strika ground to a halt, but Nif, Levi and Capt. Eurobeat could still hear hints of the war she was waging outside.

    “Strika, what’s going on? Are we there yet?” Eurobeat asked the air around him.

    “GET OUT!” Strika’s disembodied voice frantically replied. The world around her passengers instantly transformed as they were launched out of her body with considerable force. The three allies hit a wall and slumped to the floor, momentarily dazed.

    “Agh… what was that for?” Eurobeat whined. When his vision came back into focus, everything was made clear to him.

    Strika, back in her robot form, was immediately engulfed in the electrical explosion of an EMP grenade. She cried in pain as her joints froze up, and she fell forward onto her face, no longer able to move. Behind her, a platoon of guards advanced, drumming their stunsticks against their riot shields. Eurobeat looked around and saw that they were in the middle of a cell block, with prisoners cheering them on on both sides behind the bars of their cells.

    “Ever been in a prison brawl?” Eurobeat asked Nif and Levi, who both shook their heads. “Well, there’s a first time for everything.”

    Nif looked at the prisoners around him to see if any of them were aquatic, so that he could copy traits of their bodies to fight with. Sadly, none were, but he had already memorized some genomes from his previous adventures in another reality to fight with. Nif used his Evolve power to sprout a large tentacle from his left arm and move a chunk of his coral armor to his right arm to use as a makeshift shield.

    “What the hell…?” One of the guards muttered upon seeing Nif’s transformation. Nif swung his tentacle like a whip, striking the guard across the face. While he was stunned, Nif swept his tentacle across the floor, tripping up the rest of the guards. However, they were not so easily felled. When Nif moved his tentacle back to attack them again, the guards accurately predicted its movement and struck it with their electric stunsticks. Nif winced with pain and the tentacle withdrew on its own as a reflex action.

    Meanwhile, Capt. Eurobeat whipped out his laser pistol, which resembled a Mauser C96 . He opened fire on the guards, but the blasts ricocheted off their riot shields and back at his team. One of them hit Nif’s shield and broke a chunk out of it. The elemental glared at Eurobeat.

    “Don’t Ever do that again.”

    Eurobeat apologized and they turned back to face the guards. Their leader cried a battle cry as he charged at the team. Levi frowned and stopped them in their tracks by using her power of advanced water manipulation to hold them in place via their blood. Each of the guards felt immense pain, as you would if the blood in your body suddenly stopped circulating, and cried out in agony. Levi waited for their faces to turn purple, after which she released them. Unsurprisingly, they instantly dropped to the floor. Eurobeat walked over to the fallen guards and used obscure dance moves to knock them out with his hands and feet.

    “I was about to do that, you know.” Nif smiled at Levi.

    “You can’t have all the fun, Niflheim.” The booming voice of Leviathan replied.

    “Uh… guys?” Eurobeat interrupted, “Looks like there’s more ‘fun’ coming up just around the corner.”

    Indeed, another wave was approaching at the far end of the block. However, this one was not made up of just human guards. Five robotic boxguards were advancing ahead of the next squadron of guards, with the targeting lasers of their missile launchers locking on to the group.

    “Shit!” Eurobeat exclaimed. Time seemed to slow as the boxguards fired, sending a payload of missiles towards him and his allies. He crouched down, and, mustering all the willpower he had, Eurobeat summoned his Stand. The space in front of him rippled as the imposing figure of I Came Here To Laugh At You began to take shape. A mere microsecond after the Stand fully materialized, the missiles hit their target. I Came Here To Laugh At You was engulfed in a massive explosion that threw Nif, Levi and Capt. Eurobeat across the room and into chairs that weren’t there before.

    Levi instantly got up off her chair and ran over to Eurobeat, expecting him to be gravely injured. After all, she knew that if a Stand was significantly damaged or injured, the body of its owner would receive a portion of the damage. This was something that Capt. Eurobeat had explained to her a week or two ago.

    Yet, Eurobeat was not injured. There was not even a mark on his uniform. Levi breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing this, and Eurobeat began to laugh. When the smoke surrounding his Stand cleared, they could see that it had sustained no damage at all: I Came Here To Laugh At You was encased in a thin protective forcefield. The golden titan pointed a finger of its own at the boxguards and mimicked Eurobeat’s laughter.

    The blonde hero rose effortlessly to his feet and smirked at the opposing force. “Hahaha! Did you really think I would fall for such a pathetic move?”

    The laughter continued echoing across the block. For some reason, each of the guards instantly felt demoralized. Some of them felt ashamed for daring to challenge Eurobeat, while others had the urge to go home and rethink their lives.

    “I’ll give you this chance to turn back now, and forget this ever happened… or live with the shame of failure for the rest of your lives!”

    The guards, in their altered mental state, looked at each other, shrugged, and walked away. However, the boxguards were not so easily convinced to abandon their mission. Whatever power that Eurobeat’s Stand was using, it had no effect on robots. They loaded more missiles into their launchers and prepared to fire again.

    “Oh no you don’t!” Eurobeat said, pointing the index and middle fingers of his right hand at the boxguards in the shape of a finger gun. His Stand copied his movements, raising its massive rifle at the robots. When Eurobeat’s thumb dropped like the hammer of a gun, his Stand fired a massive laser at the middle robot which cut through its midsection, destroying it instantly. He did the same to the second, third and fourth boxguards, but the last was destroyed by a missile fired from somebody else.

    The last missile came from Strika, who was wearily getting up off the ground. She nodded respectfully at the captain.

    “Strika!” Eurobeat cheered. “You’re alive!”

    “Of course I’m alive. It was only an EMP. Those kind of EMPs are ultimately harmless to Cybertronians… but damn, they sting like a bitch...”

    Eurobeat smiled and nodded. He turned to look over the unconscious bodies of the first wave of guards in front of him. The enemy had been defeated, and surprisingly, the only casualty was that of the prison’s warden, which he felt surprisingly okay about. Now all that was left for them to do was recover the prisoners that the Affluent Man had promised them. He waved a hand behind him, dematerializing I Came Here To Laugh At You, and took the photos out of his pocket. Nif, Levi and Strika came over and stared at the photos, memorizing the prisoner ID numbers written on them: #299, #384 and #533, respectfully.

    “I’ll go and free the first one.” Strika said. She walked over to cell number #299, grabbed the bars, and pulled. To her surprise, the door to the cell was not torn off the wall like it should have been with her impressive strength.

    “How the heck am I supposed to open this cell?” Nif called down from one of the upper levels. Apparently, he was having the same problem.

    “What?” Strika muttered to herself. She punched the cell bars, hoping to make a dent, but nothing happened other than her nearly breaking her hand. “FFFFFFFFF-”

    “I believe I can be of assistance.” A calm male voice spoke from inside the cell.

    “After the trouble we’ve been through to break you out, you better be.” Strika replied through clenched teeth.

    “Break out? It’s about time. So, to whom do I owe the pleasure?”

    “I am Strika of Cybertron. My allies are Space Pirate Captain Eurobeat, Niflheim, and Leviathan.”

    “I’m not familiar with those names. Who do you work for?”

    “The President of Earth, apparently.”

    “Well well! That changes everything.”

    The man stepped forward into the light, revealing himself to Strika. He was a tall bald white man with chiseled features and the orange jumpsuit standard for Supermax prisoners.

    “I am 47. Agent 47. A pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Strika of Cybertron. I was wondering when Mr. President was going to send someone to break me out. Now, listen carefully. It is near-impossible to break into this cell, or any cell in a Supermax prison with brute force - after all, they have a reputation to uphold - because the doors are made of pure adamantium. Fortunately for both of us, there is a way around this. At the far end of the room, you will see a power box mounted on the wall. Destroy it, and the locking mechanisms of every cell on this block will fail, freeing all the prisoners at once.”

    Strika took a moment to let this sink in. Was it really a good idea to let all these criminals back into the universe? After giving it some thought, she decided that they were ‘small fry’ compared to the threat of Mazkertis, who they could only track down with the help of someone in this prison. A small price to pay for the help of a powerful ally.

    “Alright.” Strika responded. She stepped back from the cell and called up to her allies. “Captain, Nif, Levi, the only way to open the cell doors is to blow a power box. Are you ready?”

    “What?!” Eurobeat called back.

    “I’ll take that as a yes!” Strika said as she turned to face the power box at the other end of the room. Without further ado, she fired another missile from the second cannon on her back. The missile hit the power box, leaving a blast crater in the wall where it once was. Within seconds, every cell door on the block slid open. The air was filled with victorious shouts and cheers as most of the prisoners ran in the direction of the shuttle bay.

    On the upper level, Captain Eurobeat was pushed against the railing as countless prisoners ran past him. He looked around for prisoner #384, trying to find his face among the crowd, but to no avail. He considered summoning his Stand again to stop the prisoners and give him a chance to catch up with them, but something else caught his attention instead.

    Someone, somewhere on the level, was emanating a huge amount of pressure. Captain Eurobeat was one of the few people in the galaxy who could detect this kind of pressure; the kind that only exceptionally powerful beings gave off. He felt the pressure intensify as it got closer to him, so much so that it turned into a full-blown headache. Eurobeat pressed both his hands to his temple, closed his eyes and recoiled onto the floor in an attempt to negate the pain. It didn’t help.

    “Wow… so beta.” A voice muttered in front of him.

    Eurobeat opened his eyes to see who the voice belonged to. From this angle, he could only see a pair of black military boots standing in front of him.

    “What’s the matter, kid? Too scared to face me?”

    Eurobeat looked up to see the face of the man in front of him. He appeared to be a human man in his early-20s with pale skin, long black hair and prominent cheekbones. He wore the same orange jumpsuit as all the other prisoners, but his was covered in dried, faded blood.

    “Who… are you…?” Eurobeat gasped, still in pain from the immense pressure the figure was giving off.

    “What, you don’t remember me?” The man smirked. He teleported away for a split second, reappearing wearing a black leather trenchcoat with a katana and an anti-materiel rifle strapped to his back. “Why don’t you ask your HS crush?”

    Suddenly, Eurobeat’s thoughts travelled back to when he was at high school. A picture of the girl he had a crush on at the time formed in his mind, except this time, the man from the prison was there with her, and they were furiously making out.

    “No… NO!” Eurobeat exclaimed. It was impossible… wasn’t it?

    “Yeah… sorry.” The man said in a mock apologetic tone. Eurobeat reached out to grab him, but he teleported away before he could. On the plus side, the pressure that Eurobeat felt in the man’s presence had disappeared along with him.

    Nif and Levi came running up to Eurobeat and helped him off the floor.

    “What happened? Are you okay?” Levi asked him, with a genuine tone of concern in her voice.

    “I… I...” Eurobeat tried to explain, but he couldn’t find the words. “I don’t want to think about it. Did you get the prisoners?

    Nif nodded. “Yeah, follow me.”

    Eurobeat followed Nif and Levi to a cell on the lower levels, where Strika and Agent 47 were waiting for them. 47 shook Eurobeat’s hand and gave him a pleasant, but emotionless, greeting, introducing himself as a Hitman™ who was more than capable of killing Mazkertis, provided they gave him a time and a place.

    “So, where are the other two prisoners we were promised?” Eurobeat asked.

    47 raised an eyebrow. “Other two?”

    Eurobeat handed 47 the three photographs that the Affluent Man gave him. 47 looked at them and nodded.

    “Yes, the first one escaped, but he wouldn’t have been much use to you anyway. There’s a reason they call him the Joker . He definitely has talent, yes, but he’s unreliable and absolutely insane. It probably won’t be long before he’s caught again and put back where he belongs.”

    “And the other one?”

    “The other’s right here.”

    47 motioned for Strika to get out of the way of the cell. She shuffled to the right, revealing its bizarre occupant . He appeared to be a white man with a humongous head and disproportionate limbs. His massive jaw opened to form an ecstatic smile upon seeing his rescuers, and he pointed at them with an oversized finger.

    “SEE!” Prisoner #533 shouted.


    Meanwhile, the powerful prisoner who taunted Captain Eurobeat at the prison was embarking on a journey of his own. Right now, he wasn’t sure where he was. He only knew that he was falling.

    What he was seeing was impossible to describe with our limited vocabulary, and even more impossible to understand. Perhaps the seemingly-random colors and shapes that passed him by on his journey to parts unknown played some vital role in the workings of reality. Perhaps the Users, or the Chousin, or the Sorcerer Supreme was capable of understanding the alignment of dimensions that the man was falling through. Despite the fact that man was essentially falling through the fabric of reality and having all of creation to observe around him, he didn’t really care. All he cared about was getting to one place in particular before it was too late.

    Up ahead, the man saw the entrance to the dimension he was looking for. He grinned and positioned himself so that he would fall through it. He did so with ease, and felt himself flying through air, in a different direction this time, before he was unceremoniously slammed against a flat surface.

    The man groaned and got to his feet to observe the world around him. Lakes of lava and fields of fire were spread across the landscape. The red rock beneath his feet was scorching hot, and the distant screams of lost souls caught up to his ear from far beyond.

    “Ore wa… jigoku ni iru.” The man whispered to himself in Japanese, the language of a nation he had studied long ago. In English, the phrase was ‘I’m in hell’, and the appearance of the world around him certainly seemed to support that claim.

    Something shiny glistened in the corner of his eye. He turned to see it: a bronze temple sitting upon a rocky cliff. The man teleported inside. The next thing he knew, he was overlooking a meeting between various demonic races. A long wooden table stretched out across the room in front of him which the demons were all sat around, arguing in various demonic tongues.

    Their leader, who was naturally the tallest, was clad in green and silver armor and had huge purple wings draped around his back. After listening to the demons argue for a minute or two, he slammed his fist on the table.

    “Enough.” he commanded in a deep, eldritch voice. “I, your King, shall speak.”

    “Y-yes, Lord Mephistroth.” One of the demons stammered, slinking back into his chair.

    Mephistroth glared at the rest, making sure that they were all paying attention, before continuing. “By now most of you will have learned of the latest traveller to visit our realm last week, but for those of you who do not, I will fill you in. He claimed that his name was Raziel, and he had come on behalf of a sorcerer named Mazkertis, looking to forge an alliance with our united peoples.”

    “What for?” Another demon spoke up.

    “From what I can gather, Mazkertis is just another fool who wants an army of demons to subjugate the people of his universe. Raziel claimed that his master is working towards a plan to alter the timeline of his universe, which just so happens to be the one connected to ours.”

    “Why? What’s the point?”

    “Why he wants to do this is irrelevant to us. One of the reasons I gathered you here today is so that we can discuss the benefits of such an alliance.”

    “Alright then, let’s discuss it. What does he have to offer us?”

    Mephistroth opened his mouth to reply, but the escaped prisoner from earlier stepped out of the shadows to talk loudly over him.

    “LET GO! Stop trying to control everything and just let go!”

    The demons at the table instantly stood up and drew their weapons at the newcomer. Mephistroth’s eyes glowed green with rage as they fell upon the man who interrupted him.


    “Listen fucker,” the man, apparently named Chad, responded, “don't EVER talk to me again until you wipe that fucking neckbeard.”

    Mephistroth found that he was, in fact, stroking his admittedly less-than-clean neckbeard. He didn’t even mean to, it was just a habit of his. Mephistroth growled, rose from his chair, and generated a blast of shadow energy in his hand. After taking a few seconds to charge it to its fullest potential, he released the shadow blast, sending it straight into Chad’s chest. Chad recoiled momentarily, grabbing his chest, but then a smug smile spread across his face.

    “Nice try kiddo… but you cannot kill what breeds within…”

    Before Mephistroth could respond, a white portal tore into existence on the table, right in the middle of the two warriors. What appeared to be a golden 3D smiley face with disembodied hands and legs emerged. Upon finding itself in Hell, the smiley shook and split into two beings, one yellow and the other red. Mephistroth recognized the red one as The Heller, an extremely annoying creature that insisted on following him around and disrupting his meetings. The Heller looked around and saw that he was right where he wanted to be.

    “FUCK YES!” he cheered. He then realized something else: the anti-swearing spell that Stardust put on him had worn off. “OH FUCK YES! Eat a dick, Stardust! I’m fuckin’ back, bitches!”

    “Who the fuck are you?” Chad asked the Heller, with a genuinely perplexed expression.

    “Who the fuck am I? Why don’t you ask your HS crush?” The Heller sneered.

    A blood vessel in Chad’s eye burst. “THAT’S MY LINE, YOU LITTLE SHIT!” he screamed, diving over the table to grab the Heller. He and the Heller started punching and kicking each other, rolling all over the table.

    Meanwhile, the Heller’s yellow brother, the Heckler, shook his head. “Way too many hecks for me here,” he said as he jumped back into the portal he came from.

    Mephistroth had had enough. He reached over, grabbed Chad and the Heller, and threw them into the portal with all his strength.

    “AND STAY OUT!” The demon king shouted after them, his voice echoing through the portal and into the abyss. The fight between Chad and the Heller continued, and they grew smaller and smaller from the perspective of Mephistroth as they fell through time and space. It just got personnel.


    In a long-unexplored sector of space, a chrome silver figure soared through the void. The silver surfboard he was mounted on was pointed towards one planet in particular - one he had chosen to doom.

    Anyone who saw this figure at first glance could be forgiven for mistaking him for Kakamu. After all, they were both spacefaring humanoids who were completely silver from head to toe. A rare sight, especially in the depths of space.

    However, this man was not Kakamu. His name was Norrin Radd.

    He was once a man, like Kakamu. He was once free, like Kakamu. But Norrin had sacrificed his freedom aeons ago to save his world from an ancient, malevolent, all-consuming force. A force that, without competition from Unicron, was growing ever-more powerful in his absence. As one of its Heralds, Norrin’s duty was to seek out new planets for it to consume. He had already found a suitable candidate: a cold and currently-lifeless planet designated “JL-511” by the Galactic Government.

    Suddenly, the Silver Surfer came to a complete halt. In front of him was what appeared to be an asteroid field... but one which did not exist the last time he visited this sector of space. He slowly made his way through the field, expecting to find JL-511 on the other side of it. However, it was not so. He used his cosmic vision to look a light year around him in every direction, but the planet he was looking for was nowhere to be found.

    What manner of sorcery is this? He thought. Has my board finally led me astray after all these years?

    “Hey, what’s gucci my . Niger?” A voice called from afar.

    The Silver Surfer spun around and used his cosmic senses to home in on the source of the voice. He flew over to its origin point, one of the asteroids among the asteroid field, and witnessed its owner. To his surprise, it was a small furry creature that resembled a common housecat. The creature was sitting on top of an asteroid while taking a large bite out of another.

    “Who are you? What is your purpose here?” The surfer asked him. Apparently, how the creature was able to audibly speak in the vacuum of space was the least of his worries.

    “My friends call me Garfielf, and I gotta have a good meal,” the creature said matter-of-factly as it stuffed another asteroid in its face and gulped it down.

    At that moment, a terrible thought dawned on the Silver Surfer. What if the asteroid field was what was left of the planet he had come to find? Surely such a tiny creature could not destroy an entire planet… could it?

    While the surfer analyzed the situation, Garfielf got to work on consuming the rest of the asteroids in the field. The surfer was speechless. From the looks of things, Garfielf had a speed and appetite that could rival that of his master.

    “Cease your feasting, Garfielf,” The Surfer commanded. “I, he who serves Galactus the Devourer of Worlds, demand that you declare your power.”

    Garfielf stopped eating, but only because he had run out of asteroid bites. He looked around for an alternative, but found that the only other objects within a light year of himself were the Silver Surfer and his signature surfboard. But that gave him an idea. When the surfer made eye contact with Garfielf and saw the ravenous look in his poorly-drawn eyes, he knew that he had made a grave mistake even coming to that sector at all.

    “I’m am hungry I want some lasaga!” Garfielf stated as he opened his mouth. His maw was akin to a black hole, devouring everything in sight, even light and time. The Silver Surfer had no chance to react as he and his surfboard were instantly pulled inside, leaving the light of the universe behind.

    Thoroughly satisfied with his cosmic meal, Garfielf wrapped himself up in a blanket he brought with him and began to snooze as he drifted through space. He did not know how far he would travel, or even when he would wake up, but he knew that when he did, he would be in for the feast of a lifetime.

    Last edited by Kon on Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:17 am

    OOS: To make up for a TMP-less summer, I will post another chapter in a few days. Enjoy this one! Razz

    Chapter 13: Never Say Don’t Ever Again

    It took much persuasion to get the Wang Gang and the Dong Squad to split up and go their separate ways. Hungry-man was the most adamant of all, insisting that he get some food on the way to the Wanger mission, or else he would “FOKING faint from the bloody ‘unger”.

    Upon hearing about food, Pumkin decided to follow the Wangers briefly, as he was “very hongray” as well, and wanted to eat before any missions (even though he had eaten dinner 30 seconds prior to this comment). BONES and Jesse Ventura did not bother with any attempt to coax him to stay with the Dongers, as he would simply yell “No, I don’t want that!” constantly until he would get what he wanted.

    Thus, the Dongers were fewer in number, a situation that compounded the already stunning losses of life that they had faced. Many of them mourned for Yon, Shrek, See-Man, and Demopan, but knew that the best way to honor the lives of these heroes was to keep moving forward to accomplish the mission and stop Mazkertis.

    Lord Zrintch had revealed to the Dong Squad that he was originally from the Dark Mirror Universe, and that he had valuable allies there that could aid them in stopping Mazkertis, and boost their numbers. He also manipulated them into thinking that these new allies would help them bring back their fallen comrades using ancient and forbidden techniques. Thus, the Dongers needed to enter into the Dark Mirror Universe through a portal that the Sith Lord had discovered somewhere near the Edge Systems.

    As the Lasagan ship carrying the Dongers cruised by the Edge Systems, they felt something strange: a dark force emanating from thos; planets.

    “BRANT?!” cried a Tri-Daleli Ayy-Lmalium.

    “Aye,” said Randolph Moloch, with sorrow. Looks like the Kindred of Dawn weren’t the only threats to existence.

    When the Dongers arrived on the other side of the portal, they saw that not much was different, save for a few recognizable planets in different places. They jumped to lightspeed, and soon arrived at the coordinates that Zrintch had given them.

    Suddenly, the ship was shot down by beams of light. Merasmus screamed loudly with Moloch and the Shell-Shocked Cat, while Soldier laughed and Ainsley Harriot grinned. Ross Mandell and Jesse Ventura grunted. Billy Mays coped with the fear by thinking of selling Oxy-Clean at new, affordable prices. BONES, No-Image Guy, and Saitama said nothing.

    The ship crashed, but because everyone was wearing their seatbelt, they were all safe. The Squad emerged with their alium crew of about 10 LGAMs, and began to wander through the ruined city.

    “Look!” cried No Image Guy.

    The Squad turned to what he was pointing at, and they saw the being that had shot them down. It was a massive, green amphibian, with two black stars as pupils in large, white eyes. Its arms as multitudinous as those of a Hindu deity, this beast juggled bolts of energies, pistols, sharp objects, and a glass of iced tea. The monster’s neck was adorned with green frills that accentuated its face, which itself was designed by a bizarrely shaped snout.

    Some of the Dongers recognized him from their universe, but the one in their world had fewer arms and was a lot nicer. It couldn’t be him, they thought to themselves. Whoever this guy is he is nd ashole.

    “BY THE POWER OF WILIN….I am Kek,” declared the demonic being, as it glared at the Dong Squad several feet below. “You have illegally entered my domain. Prepare to suffer!”

    “FAAAAAAK you, you frog bastard!“ yelled Soldier. “This is none of your business!”

    Kek was stunned.

    “Dong Squad, EXPAND!” ordered BONES, as he prepared his trumpet.

    Merasmus and Moloch fired their own magic at the frog, but Kek was merely bothered by these attacks, nothing more.

    “You ain’t wilin…’re WEAK!” screeched Kek, as he blasted both mages away with his energy.

    Jesse Ventura pulled out his gun and started firing, while Soldier loaded up his bazooka. The aliums fired their own pasta guns, believing that hte spaghetti could kill the demon frog.

    Kek inched closer, blocking various attacks using magical shields. But before he could swing his arm down and smite the squad, he was suddenly hit from behind by an onion bomb.

    A green ogre with an eyepatch, a robotic arm, and various scars triumphantly walked up towards the battle scene, followed by the amazing Johnny Test, the shonen protagonist Cory Baxter (who was bearded and had a glowing left eye like that of a Witcher), rapper D-Reezy, a BLU Soldier wearing Sgt. Helsing gear, Jimmy Neutron’s dad Hugh Neutron, water filter salesman and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, NEET anti-hero Robbie Rotten and his clones, and finally bee activist Barry B. Benson (human-sized). Or at least, these were the versions of these characters from the Dark Mirror Universe.

    The Dongers could not believe their eyes. Was that...Shrek? Who were those other heroes? Why did one of them look like Soldier? It took them all a while to realize that this was not their Shrek, a morose discovery for the group.

    “Get out of this planet, Kermit!” DM Shrek warned. “Or you’ll face all of us at once!”

    “I told you to stop calling me that!” Kek shouted. “My name is Kek now!”

    “Hmm,’re still a damn BITCH!” retorted DM D-Reezy.

    Kermit flailed his arms and wailed, then teleported away.

    “Oi, you there,” boomed DM Shrek. “Who are yeh?!”

    “We’re the Dong Squad,” Jesse Ventura said, proudly. “We’re from another universe, and we’ve come to ask for your help. Lord Zrintch, that green furry mastermind, sent us. You got that? GOOD!”

    DM Shrek’s eye widened, and he turned to his fellow warriors of the Dark Mirror Universe. He turned back to Jesse and the Dongers bearing a clean, toothy grin (this Shrek did not eat as many onions and kept good dental hygiene).

    “We’re the Pennis And Also Dicke And Balls Bureau, or PAADABB for short,” bragged DM Shrek. “I’m the leader, Punished Shrek. Lord Zrintch formed this team many years ago. You might say we’re the Original Dong Squad.”

    “The first painis?!” cried RED Soldier (the Soldier of the OU), bewildered.

    “YEAH!” replied DM Cory.

    “Damn,” BONES said.

    All of the PAADABBers and Dongers introduced themselves, and acted as though they were brothers (and one sister, the Shell Shocked Cat). Merasmus and Moloch were okay now btw.

    “Looks like we’re all gonna work together,” noted DM Barry B. “That weird frog guy you saw was Kermit, or at least he used to be Kermit. He went mad once his show was cancelled and his pig girlfriend left him, and turned to dark arts to increase his power. His mind was twisted and contorted until he turned into a being known as Kek!”

    Merasmus screamed in fear.

    “We still call him Kermit, cuz he’s a HEFFAH ASS SON OF A BITCH!” DM D-Reezy screamed.

    “Ok,” Saitama replied, nodding.

    “Excuse me, my friend,” Ross Mandell said to DM D-Reezy. “Sorry to interrupt, but why are you so angry?”

    “Hmm, heh...” was all that DM D-Reezy said in reply. He didn’t elaborate.

    “Now, Ross, I think you and I both understand,” DM Alex Jones declared, raising his arm in an professorial fashion. “The globalists and the big megabanks turned Kermit into a traitor, and WE’RE SICK AND TIRED OF THIS BULL CRAP!”

    Ross Mandell smiled, and nodded. Jesse Ventura clapped.

    “Hehe, you know Nigel,” DM Hugh Neutron quietly noted to No-Image Guy. “Frogs are only 10% of this planet’s population, yet they commit 52% of the violent crime here! Now isn’t that just quacking crazy?!”

    “Oh,” No Image Guy quipped, pretending to ignore DM Hugh’s blatant racism.

    “Let’s go to the base to relax, compare notes, and prepare for the next fight,” DM Johnny Test suggested. “Maybe we’ll find a way to help you Dongs out.”

    “Yes, yes, please,” begged DM Robbie Rotten. “I’m missing my 4th afternoon nap!”

    The Dongers and PAADABBers walked all the way to the latter’s base, also known as “Panus and Asenis”, named after two fallen comrades whose lives were taken away by Kermit.

    Most of the Dongers and PAADABBers settled down, each engaging in different activites. DM Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura, BONES, and Punished Shrek all began to talk about strategies, as well as the reason behind the Dong Squad’s appearance in the Dark Mirror Universe. DM Hugh Neutron started playing with his wooden and rubber ducks, while Merasmus watched in fascination. Both Soldiers yelled at each other in distorted screams and smacked each other in the face. DM D-Reezy ranted about how much he hated Kermit to Moloch and the Shell Shocked Cat. Billy Mays and DM Cory tried to figure out how they would sell Dong-PAADABB merchandise in two universes. Ross Mandell asked Barry B. Benson for legal advice.

    Ainsley and the LGAMs entered much later, carrying a cart full of pots, glowing uncooked pasta, and various other materials used for their newest recipe.

    “What’s that?” asked DM Johnny Test, moving with a whiplash sound effect.

    “Special Mutation Spaghetti,” divulged an Ayy-Lmalium. “If you eat thes; food, you might transform into something else.”

    “Nice! Can I try?” Test begged. “I’m Johnny Test, after all! Test on me!”

    The whiplash sound effect was heard by the Dongers again as DM Johnny posed.

    “No, my friend,” Ainsley warned. “This could be very dangerous, you wouldn’t want to hurt yourself, wouldn’t you? Definitely not!”

    “Aww, come on!” whined Test. “It’s for fu-I! I’m sure everything will be fine!”

    “Just don’t use the water,” yelled Jones from across the room. “The globalists have tainted that too. I DON’T LIKE EM PUTTING CHEMICALS IN THE WATER THAT TURN THE FREAKING FROGS GAY!! ‘Drink your chemicals, drink your asbestos, BLUGGH! It’s good for you, BLUGH!’ AAAAA!”

    Jones kept making strange faces and sounds. Ainsley shook his head, then finally gave in.

    “Alright, but I’m not liable for what happens,” he countered.

    Deep inside the Panus and Asenis lab, Ainsley and the LGAMs silently began preparing their special, experimental dish. Test watched while strapped to an operating table.

    “What’s this, then?” Ainsley inquired about a test tube filled with a green formula.

    “That’s a DNA sample from Coach, one of our other members,” explained DM Johnny. “He used to be very active until a few months before Kermit went insane. Some weird humans came up to him and said that they were facing an apocalypse, and Coach took that to mean that there was a cheeseburger apocalypse going on. So he left, saying that he had to fight his own fight, and would eventually return. We haven’t heard from him since. Two more members, Asuka and Grant Gustin, left us months ago to find him. Shrek took some of Coach’s DNA just in case he wouldn’t come back….that way we could clone him.”

    Ainsley grinned at the Ayy-Lmaliums, who smiled back. The British cook turned his back to Test, and quietly added Coach’s DNA to the sauce. He also grabbed a vial full of green liquid labelled “Bob Frumm Food-Use,” and added it to the sauce.

    “Little bit of mixed spice, and a couple of teaspoons of sugar,” Ainsley commented, mixing those condiments into the sauce. “Just give that a really good mix there, mix that in.”

    The cooks started mixing. Test began hear menacing music start to play as he slowly realized that Ainsley was not what he seemed.

    Ainsley’s deep laugh echoed throughout the lab. He looked up at Test and excitedly spoke in reverse as he mixed the contents of his sauce. The LGAMs added hte spaghetti, and he continued stirring, dancing, and laughing. Test looked on in terror.

    “Lovely?” he asked DM Johnny Test, cackling. “Muscovado! HAHAHAHA! That’s it...”

    He finally ceased. The dark feelings of dread that were gripping at Test’s heart began to wither away.

    “Delightful,” Ainsley whispered to himself, smiling.

    The pasta dish was ready. Test devoured it quickly, grinning. Suddenly, he screamed in pain as his body began to transform.  Ainsley Harriot and the LGAMs lept back and hid behind lab entrance. What had they done?!

    An orb of light surrounded Test as his bones cracked and snapped into place, and his skin began to gurgle. He felt energy course through his veins, and numbers filled his mind.

    The light soon overshadowed Test. An explosion filled the room, and the operating table was covered by a mask of smoke.

    Ainsley Harriot and two of the Ayy-Lmaliums peeked over the door, and cautiously stepped into the foyer. The smoke cleared, and the man they saw in the operating table was no longer DM Johnny Test, but something else entirely.



    “So, we’ll help you kill that weird frog guy,” Jesse Ventura proposed. “As long as you give us what we need, and join us to stop our interdimensional threat afterwards.”

    “Aye, fair deal,” agreed Punished Shrek. “As a wee lad I had heard of Mazkertis trying to rewrite history. I thought he’d be dead by now, but I guess he’s up to his old tricks in another universe.”

    “He definitely is,” BONES added. “And he’s gotten stronger. If we don’t hurry up, well, we….lose...”

    “Once Kek is finished ravaging whatever is left of this planet, he will leave to other worlds,” DM Cory pointed out. “After he tries to finish us, of course.”

    “Both of them will fail,” Ross Mandell declared, having overheard the conversation. “Evil will never win, for the good guys will stop them! This is our time, friends!”

    Everyone smiled and raised their fist triumphantly.

    DM Soldier laughed for some reason. RED Soldier smiled at first, but as DM Soldier’s laugh grew more menacing, he began to laugh worriedly.

    The Dongers and PAADABBers all assembled, grabbing various weapons from the Panus and Asenis arsenal. Everyone marvelled at Joey, the new form of Johnny Test.  

    “Woo woo woo!” he proclaimed, happily.

    The Painises went outside to train in the rubble of the destitute city, when suddenly Kek materialized out of a black demonic whirlwind.

    “You have disrespected me for the last time, fools,” Kek boomed. “Your new numbers mean nothing to my power, which shall destroy you all. This universe has had many rulers….but now every being will bow to KEK! KEK WILLS IT!”

    “Krispy Kreme doughnut lookin’ ass FROG!” DM D-Reezy screamed as he teleported behind Kermit, swinging his staff at the back of the demonic amphibian.

    One of Kek’s many arms blocked the attack, as though at were catching a ball thrown by a child. Kermit’s head turned 180 degrees, and screeched at DM D-Reezy. The ex-rapper’s ears bled, and he crashed into the ground.

    Ross Mandell and DM Alex Jones hovered towards Kek, and furiously punched him. The demon frog blocked most of their fists, and cut them both down with his knife. The two humans collapsed to the ground, grunting in pain as they glared at the frog above them.

    Jesse Ventura fired a blaster and took cover, cursing as he realized he did not harm Kek. Merasmus crouched next to Jesse, muttering to himself.

    Saitama shrugged, and leaped into the air. But before his mighty fist could colide with Kermit’s face, the frog flailed his arms and telekinetically lifted a slab of concrete from the ground, slamming it into One Punch Man.

    “Is this the best you can do?!” taunted Kek.

    “YAMERO!” cried DM Cory, flinging a blast of energy at Kermit. An explosion engulfed the frog, and DM Cory smirked.

    However, when the clouds of smoke cleared,  the heroes discovered that Kek only had a few scratches on him.

    “Time to learn your ABCs,” Kek shouted, mockingly.

    Kermit flailed his arms and sucked his lips inward. He began reciting the alphabet and summoning magic blasts in the shape of each letter, one by one. Cory was overwhelmed by this attack, and by F he was blown back towards a pile of rubble.

    “We’re getting our asses kicked here!” protested Ventura. “We need a plan, Shrek!”

    “MAHNA-MAHNA!!!” Kek chanted, as meteorites made of pure energy rained down on the misfit memers. Most of the PAADABBers and Dongers scattered, taking cover where they could. However, two Ayy-Lmaliums were not so fortunate, and were vaporized by Kermit.

    “NO!” screamed Billy Mays.

    Ainsley Harriott grit his teeth, his mind running through various plans of attack. They had to fight back, and avenge their little green friends.

    DM Robbie Rotten was the first to make an attempt. He and his Rotten clones had snuck behind Kek, with Robbie holding a net.

    “Now look at this net that I just found,” DM Robbie explained to his group. “When I say go, be ready to throw. GO!”

    The clones threw it at DM Robbie.

    “Throw it at him, not me!” Rotten screamed. “UGH, let’s try something else.”

    RED Soldier unsheathed his Half-Zatoichi, and bellowed. He ran to the remnants of a wall, and kicked off of hit to leap into the air, slashing Kek in the arm. The frog howled, and shot Soldier in the leg with a ray of frog energy.

    DM Soldier fired a charged blast from his Cow Mangler 4500, and then released a blast of magic from his bare hands.

    Kek was blasted back by the combined attacks, his arms flailing through the air. He clawed at one of the surviving buildings, his hands dragging through the walls and instantly causing its collapse. Kek regained his composure, and roared.

    But DM Soldier’s attack gave Punished Shrek an idea...

    “We need to overwhelm him!” yelled Punished Shrek. “Multiple, long-range attacks at once! Punching him won’t do it!”

    Everyone nodded.

    BONES slashed Kek’s chest with his anti-materiel scythe (with extra calcium) at breakneck speeds. DM Alex Jones yelled, summoning energy and throwing volley after volley at Kek. DM Cory did the same. Punished Shrek fired his customized Ogre Minigun, which fired multiple rounds of weaponized onionium. Merasmus summoned bombs above Kek’s head, and Moloch shot out a beam of magic from his hands. Ainsley Harriott threw various pots and pans filled with irradiated spaghetti.

    No Image Guy possessed a damaged mech that just happened to be nearby, and fired all of its remaining missiles at Kek. Jesse Ventura’s rifle nearly overheated by how many times he fired it at Kermit, and such was the case with Joey as well. DM Barry B. Benson fired his stinger ray at Kek.

    The Shell-Shocked Cat threw various grenades at Kek, hissing. DM Hugh Neutron threw specialized grenades of his own: bombs shaped like rubber ducks. Billy Mays shouted in joy as he threw several cans of Special Anti-Frog Oxi-Clean (available for only 19.99 credits! Call now!)

    RED Soldier fired his bazooka and reloaded, repeating the process several times. DM Soldier flung more magic blasts. DM Robbie Rotten and his clones all threw banana peels at the frog demon.

    Kek screamed, becoming overwhelmed by the barrage of attacks from all the Dongers and PAADABBers. His shields shattered, and an explosion ensued.

    The smoke cleared, and everyone could see that most of Kek’s arms had been destroyed. He gasped and violently shook his head.

    “You’ve ruined everything!” Kek cried. “I’m supposed to be the Big Guy for you here!”

    “Nah,” One Punch Man replied, calmly. He leaped once again into the air, and slammed his fist into Kek, instantly knocking him down. The frog crashed through various buildings, finally landing in a pile of grey rubble.

    Ash filled his lungs as he coughed, realizing that most of his power was gone. DM D-Reezy suddenly appeared in front of him, menacingly swinging his staff. He hummed a bizarre tune.

    “Hmm hmm hmm! I’ll stick your ass like glue!” growled DM D-Reezy. “I don’t do no CPR, Kermit! KERMIT’S A BITCH!! HMM HMM HMM!!”

    “Kermit has...been dead….for a long time...” insisted Kek. “There is only Kek.”

    DM D-Reezy sneered, and stabbed his staff into Kek’s chest.


    “What a shame,” Jesse Ventura expressed, catching his breath after the battle. “In our universe, Kermit is a wonderful frog that brings joy to children. In here? He’s a monster...”

    “I imagine he’s a wonderful creature in most universes, and he was that way here for a while, but….the Kermit we knew is long gone,” Punished Shrek admitted. “There is only Kek. Twisted, and evil. Well….there was only Kek.”

    DM D-Reezy teleported back in front of the Squad, snickering.

    “The deed is done!” cried DM Barry. “Kek has been slain! The universe is safe once more!”

    “Time to celebrate, WOO WOO WOO!” Joey echoed. ”Those little aliens...those little green men, those little green aliens, going ayy lmao ayy lmao, they would have wanted this!”

    Ainsley and the remaining LGAMs nodded reluctantly.


    The Dongers and PAADABBers began to have a party back at the base. The joyous celebration was filled with wholesome Ayy-Lmalium Lasaga and boneless chicken, as well as various beverages from both universes.

    DM Robbie Rotten and his clones turned to the group, and put their thumbs into their overalls. It was time for them to take a nap again.

    “n,” DM Robbie said.

    At one point, nearly all of the remaining PAADABBers (save for Joey) excused themselves from the festivities. DM Hugh Neutron led Merasmus and Moloch to his Duck Room, while the remaining PAADABBers went down a corridor without any explanation as to where they had went. Even Jesse Ventura suspected nothing.

    The PAADABBers (sans Joey and DM Hugh) entered a secret room. DM Barry B. Benson punched various keys on a holographic device, summoning an image of Lord Zrintch himself. The Bureau members bowed in respect.

    “Lord Zrintch...Kek is dead,” Punished Shrek declared. “With all due respect of course, my lord, I still can’t believe it worked...turning Kermit to the Dark Side.”

    “Yes, yes,” replied Zrintch, communicating with Punished Shrek and the PAADABBers (sans DM Hugh and Joey) that were present through a hologram. “But to be fair, he was always WILIN enough to do it. I hope you understood why I made this ruse. I needed Kek to test your team, and have some fun with our universe while I was away. And when the time came, I used him in an attempt to end the Dong Squad….or at the very least draw them close to you.”

    “Wait, what?!” DM Alex Jones shouted. “This was all a conspiracy to kill our friends?”

    “Indeed, Alex,” Zrintch answered, patiently. “Either Kek would kill them, or they would kill matter what, an element of our plan that I have no use for anymore would be destroyed. Now it is up to you to clean up the mess.”

    DM Cory grinned sadistically as he crossed his arms.

    “Yes sir, we shall kill them all!” he affirmed, triumphantly.

    DM Barry B. Benson raised his arms in the air, and clapped. Punished Shrek smirked, a dimple forming in the cheek below his eyepatch. These villains laughed.

    DM D-Reezy and DM Alex Jones said nothing. The conspiracy theorist grit his teeth, while the rapper grimaced and looked down to the floor.

    Lord Zrintch quickly finished the call after this to save his Grinch Minutes. Interdimensional holo-calls were expensive.


    (Meanwhile, on Kalta Thaea in the OU….)

    Mink smirked once Lord Zrintch was finished with his transmission. Raziel leaned on a wall nearby, quietly listening to everything. This was one of the few quiet rooms left in their base, which had recently become full of activity because of the squadrons of Rahkshi, Lurian, and Death Vanguard soldiers, as well as related personnel. Even the Kra’lythe were surprisingly talkative.

    “As much as I’d love to see a clash of the meme titans,” Mink posited. “Why would you turn your squads against each other? Why not have them team up to have a stronger force?”

    The Sith Lord’s face twisted into a grinch smile

    “They are not the strongest force,” he replied. “The strongest force will be the one that arises out of this battle. Such is the way of the Sith in my universe….only the strongest will survive.”

    “And if they wipe each other out? Or if both squads have massive casualties?” she asked cheerily.

    “Whatever remains will be combined into a newer force,” Raziel guessed. “One that I hope, for your sake Zrintch, is frighteningly loyal to our cause.”

    “They will be, Raziel,” Zrintch reassured his fellow Kindred. “Or they too will be purged, and I will seek fighters again. The price is bloody, but it is necessary.”

    “Yes,” Raziel admitted. “An old....'friend'... once said that nothing is free. Not even revenge.”

    Mink, Raziel, and Zrintch all suddenly felt something. The grinch thought it came from the Force, while the neko-girl and wraith thought it came from magic. Either way, they had all noticed that someone had just arrived.

    The trio went outside, and witnessed the arrival of Bitil and Barricade with Iris in chains. They handed her off to Genetoes, who pushed her towards a group of soldiers that rushed her away to her new prison.

    Zrintch’s eyes widened, and he brushed his fuzzy fingers through his head.

    “He wasn’t bluffing...Blackout wasn’t bluffing!” the grinch whispered to himself.

    “Who is that girl?” asked Mink.

    “That’s one of the last pieces of the puzzle,” Zrintch explained. “Mazkertis’s final plan is coming to fruition...”

    “And the wounds of time will finally be healed,” added Raziel, triumphantly.

    (Back at the Dark Mirror Universe….)

    After he was finished going through his wooden and rubber duck collection in excruciating detail, DM Hugh Neutron showed Merasmus and Moloch his outlandish political posters (some of them were blatantly offensive). A handful had a strange insignia at the bottom.

    One of them had phrases that praised Toa Tuyet, a tyrant from this universe whose empire collapsed many years ago. Although DM Hugh was not a BIONICLE™️  in any way, he was a huge fan of her fascistic rule.

    “Hehe, you know Randy,” Hugh noted to Moloch. “Those Matoran folk were doing much better under Tuyet, and more lives were lost in the ensuing chaos under her collapse….which my universe’s Klak was behind...than ever in her empire’s entire history! Now ain’t that just quacking crazy?!”

    DM Hugh then pointed to a photo of a Mean Old Man grinning maliciously.

    “Bring the Pain Barry did nothing wrong,” he cried, defensively. “He only wants us to stop being beta cucks!”

    DM Hugh then pointed to a handmade wooden statue. Merasmus screamed as he realized who it was, and Moloch leaped in fear.

    “I made this, Merazzy! It’s a model of good old Mazkertis!” DM Hugh uttered. “Hehe, you know, Merasmus, Merazzy, Meras, Merazzo. My universe’s Klak, and YOUR universe's Zev, formed a gang and just jumped Mazkertis when he was just minding his own business! Now ain’t that just quacking crazy?!”

    “Did you know that Zemnasu, the last name of my version of Klak, isn’t a Matoran name at all?” continued Hugh. “It’s a Kestora name!”

    Moloch gulped. They had never met D-Klak (aka Zemnasu Klak), but DM Hugh’s loyalties seemed to be lying with their enemy: Mazkertis.

    DM Hugh Neutron sighed and chuckled as he witnessed his magical friends shake in fear.

    “Now it is time for friendship bonding,” DM Hugh declared, as his eyes began to glow red. He pulled out a shotgun that wasn’t there before. “BOND WITH ME, GUYS!


    Most of the PAADABBers returned to the party, acting as though nothing had happened. Only DM Alex Jones seemed spooked. He tapped Jesse Ventura and BONES on the shoulder, and pointed his chin to a nearby doorway. Jones had to tell them something in secret.

    Jesse Ventura’s conspiracy theory senses were tingling. BONES simply wanted to find out what the heck Alex Jones wanted.

    “You’re gonna get betrayed,” DM Alex Jones whispered to the pair. “The Pennis And Also Dicke And Balls Bureau are nothin’ but a bunch of backstabbing sell-out traitors.”

    “What?!” cried Jesse Ventura. “You gotta be kidding me. Why would they betray us?”

    “Because you’re too stupid,” retorted DM Jones. He smiled, then laughed. “Nah, I’m just kidding. It came from Lord Zrintch, he went out and admitted it. Just like it’s now public that the globalists are putting omicron waves in our holo-transmitters, they’ve admitted it. It’s all becoming unraveled!”

    “Wow, really made me think,” BONES replied. “I’ll have to see it to believe it.”

    “I don’t think so!” Ventura barked. “Time to break up the fat party!”

    Jesse Ventura stormed up to Punished Shrek, and stood in front of him in a confrontational manner.

    “Well, well, well, I’ve been wondering about you guys,” Ventura hissed. “Now mentlegen, come on, you’re gonna stand there and tell me there’s not a conspiracy going on here?”

    “Well, if you’re gonna team,” DM Barry Benson stuttered in an attempt to fool Jesse.

    “Bullcrap!” the Bod interrupted, proving he wasn’t going to fall for their ruse anymore. “I’ll kick your asses!”

    Jesse Ventura swung his fist, but it was quickly stopped by DM Cory, who merely blocked it with his index finger. The anime character laughed.

    “Yare yare daze,” DM Cory merely said. “You fell for the ruse, and even when you found out, your attempt to fight back was useless. Muda-da…..”

    BONES sensed a huge increase in power. He rushed towards Jesse and DM Cory, but his skeleton legs were not fast enough for it.


    DM Cory’s fists slammed into Jesse while he chanted those words, the barrage of punches knocking Ventura back into a wall.

    Punished Shrek spun back and flung an onion grenade at BONES, the blast tearing through the spooky skellington’s armor.

    DM D-Reezy swung his fist at Billy Mays. The salesman blocked it, but he did not see D-Reezy’s other fist, which slammed into his stomach. Billy Mays gasped as the air flew out of him. He twisted and fell over, grabbing his sides to cope with the painful pangs. The rapper was stronger than they had thought.

    RED Soldier darted towards his doppelganger, angrily swinging a random piece of wood he found.

    “Are you trying for a Section 8?!” he fumed.

    “No, sir!” DM Soldier sneered, dodging his counterpart’s attacks.

    DM Soldier created a Half-Zaitotchi out of magical energy, and swung it around. RED Soldier pulled out his own sword, parrying the blows. They sliced into each other, both grunting in pain.

    RED Soldier tried to thrust forward to stab DM Soldier, but this attack was immediately blocked. They were evenly matched, for each doppelganger could predict the other’s movements.

    DM Soldier grinned and stabbed RED Soldier’s arm, causing him to wince in pain.

    Saitama sighed and stood up. He tried to punch DM Barry Benson, but the oversized bee flew away.

    “I’m part bumblebee, haha!” DM Barry joked, but no one laughed. “I can sting you as many times as I want!”

    And he did. Saitama couldn’t punch him in time. The bee venom made him go to SCHLEEP!

    Nigel and Ross Mandell attempted to fight against DM Barry, but Punished Shrek intervened, taking them both down with his own fists.

    “We’re gonna finish yeh nice and slow,” the ogre declared, menacingly. “I won’t waste onionium on you kids… least until we get bored of this.”

    Ainsley and the aliums threw pans at Punished Shrek, but they were all caught mid-air by DM Cory. The anime character teleported behind them.

    “MUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDA!” DM Cory shouted, knocking the Lasagans and the famous British cook down to the ground by hitting them all in the back with his palm.

    Suddenly, in the midst of this chaos, Asuka entered.

    “Bureau, we found Coach! Grant is staying with him to help him fight the Cheesebu-”

    She stopped once she noticed the fight in front of her. Before she could react, the Shell-Shocked Cat leaped into the air and slapped her down with a fish.

    All of the Dongers stood up, and assumed battle positions, ready to keep fighting back. DM Alex Jones noted this, and the rage inside him boiled over.

    “I REFUSE to go along with your plan, Shrek, you wicked, wicked DEVIL! HEEEAAAAAAAAAUHGHHHHHHUAAAAAAAAAA!!!”

    Radiant light surrounded DM Jones, and he transformed into a Super Saiyan. DM Cory teleported in front of him, and they punched each other at breakneck speeds.

    Ainsley limped over to Joey, who was confused by all the fighting.

    “C’mon then, bruv,” he begged the mutant. “I helped make you...I can give you a nice, tasty meal.”

    “Grr...I just wanna attack it,” Joey muttered, as he glanced from side to side, wondering whose side he would be on.

    “That’s right, get them!” Harriot implored.

    “Woo, woo. WOO WOO WOO WOO!!”

    Joey charged towards Punished Shrek, taking the ogre by surprise, and tackling him.

    Meanwhile, in DM Hugh’s room, both Merasmus and Moloch were awkwardly watching the Dark Mirror version of Spider-Man 2 with their maniacal host. Moloch was appalled at the film, as it contained many random offensive statements to enhance the villainy of some of the characters. He understood that it was a different universe, a Dark Mirror™ of sorts where everything wsa turned on its head, where good kino was corrupted, just like Hugh Neutron had been.

    As for the other wizard, Merasmus was intimidated by the shotgun, but he realized that there was only one way for them to escape: they had to fight back. However, he needed a boost in strength. Thus, Merasmus reached for a bottle of McYonald's brand peelz (hearing weird noises as he did so) and consumed them.

    “AIEEEAIIIIEEEAAAAAA!!!” he screeched, standing up and blasting DM Hugh through several walls with his magic.

    Moloch cheered triumphantly, and both magical characters ran out of Neutron’s room.

    They arrived at the Donger-PAADABB fight, expecting to help their fellow comrades, but DM Hugh Neutron fired a warning shot, injuring Moloch in the leg.

    “Ya shouldn’t have done that, Jimbo!” he lectured cheerily.

    Merasmus ran to RED Soldier and tapped him in the shoulder.

    “Shall we trade dance partners?” the wizard asked.

    RED Soldier nodded, and marched over to DM Hugh.

    “C’mere sweetheart!” Soldier taunted. He pulled out his bazooka, and fired it at DM Hugh, blasting him across the room.

    Merasmus sighed as he saw DM Soldier’s hands set themselves aflame with energy.

    The wizard channeled his rage, remembering all the horrible things Soldier had done to him all these years. Defecating in his car , filling his home with raccoons, burying his refrigerator, these were the many things Soldier had done to him, and now it was payback time.

    Merasmus’s spells overcame those of DM Soldier, giving him the chance to beat the Soldier with his wizard staff, over and over again.

    DM Robbie Rotten and his clones raised their fists, creeping towards Jesse Ventura, who had his back turned as he was loading his gun.

    Ross Mandell suddenly stepped in front of them.

    “Uhh, excuse me, gentlemen, sorry to interrupt,” Ross Mandell said. “But I am going to BEAT you...right now!”

    The Bad Boy of Wall Street began punching and kicking the NEET and his clones, a brawl of legends taking place near the entrance to the PADABB backyard.

    DM D-Reezy swung his staff (enchanted by the power of WILIN), successfully parrying BONES’s scythe.

    “Grim Reaper lookin-ass,” he jeered.

    “Shut up!” BONES yelled, his skeletal frame feeling offended.

    Billy Mays jumped behind the rapper, and shouted to get his attention. DM D-Reezy turned around.

    “Are you tired of Kermit being dead?” he asked. “Do you wish he was alive again so you could roast and destroy him again?!”

    “Hmm….heh….yeah!” DM D-Reezy shouted excitedly.

    “New, from the makers of Oxi-Clean, Reanimation Putty! The easy way to make frog zombies!”

    Billy Mays pulled out a small wad of putty (in reality, it had no reanimation powers).

    “Buy now, for only two payments of 19.99!”

    The distraction had worked. DM D-Reezy had attempted to reach for his wallet, but BONES cut him down with his scythe (lethal or not? You decide).

    Meanwhile, DM Barry B. Benson buzzed around menacingly near Ainsley Harriot, threatening to sting him. He was suddenly hit with spaghetti and meatballs, which had been fired from a cannon by the Ayy-Lmaoliums. Some of this fod got onto his wings, slowing him down.

    The bee cursed loudly, clearly changing his tone from a PG rating to an R rating.

    Ainsley swung a skillet, slamming DM Barry in the face. Nigel then picked up a table and threw it at the bee, pinning him onto the floor. Cartoonish noises filled the air, and all that could be seen of Benson was his leg, as the rest of his body was under the table.


    Outside, DM Cory Baxter and DM Alex Jones fought each other viciously. Cory gained the upper hand, backhanding Alex, then teleporting behind him to punch him multiple times.


    DM Alex Jones crashed through several walls of ruined buildings, landing with an explosion surrounding him. DM Cory teleported above him, pulled out drumsticks, and began beating drums made of pure energy. With every slam, darts of energy would be created.

    DM Cory finally stopped after creating a hundred energy darts. He grinned, then pointed his palm at DM Alex. The volleys fell like rain, all blasting into the conspiracy theorist.

    DM Alex Jones feebly gazed to the sky, noticing that DM Cory was no longer there. He could hear the anime character taunting him, slowly moving in for the kill.

    “You betrayed us,” Cory said, sneering. “And now you’ll die like the rest of your pathetic friends. weak, so fragile. I always knew you were useless!”

    Jones grunted. He had to fight back. He was the chosen Info Warrior, and he could not let Cory win! No, he had to fight back, because he was a pioneer, he was an explorer, he was a human , he was animated, and he was alive, his heart’s big, it’s got hot blood, going through it FAST!

    DM Cory laughed, his fist pulsating with energy. He lunged towards Alex, but what was meant to be a death blow was blocked by the conspiracy theorist.

    “Wh-wh-wh-wh--???” DM Cory gasped.

    DM Alex Jones bellowed, summoning more energy and increasing in size and power. He was now at Super Saiyan II mode. He kicked DM Cory up into the air, then teleported behind him to kick him in back.

    DM Cory smashed through several ruined buildings, but before he could meet the ground, he was punched thrice by Alex Jones, once in the chin, and twice in the face. Jones then kicked him into the ground.

    DM Cory struggled to get up, and was unable to hide the terrified look on his face. When he finally faced his enemy, he saw that he was in a fateful pose.


    A blast of incredibly powerful energy rocketed towards DM Cory. He tried to block it, but was unsuccessful, and was destroyed.


    Punished Shrek finally punched Joey off of him, knocking the mutant into a nearby wall. He roared, but was suddenly confronted by Randolph Moloch. The ogre grinned.

    “Your weak, kiddo,” he growled.

    “Weak in strength, strong in MAGIC!!” Moloch shouted.

    Randolph reeled towards Punished Shrek’s legs, slapping the ogre’s shins with his enchanted hands. Shrek grunted as he lost control of these appendages, and fell to his knees.

    Moloch grasped Punished Shrek’s metallic arm, using all of his Might and Magic™️ to pull it off. The ogre retaliated with constant punches using his other arm, and even bit into Moloch’s shoulder. The wizard screamed in pain, but finally ripped the arm off and collapsed.

    Punished Shrek growled, and began to crawl across the floor, hoping to enter into the secret quarters. Jesse Ventura, having loaded up a shotgun, came after him.

    “Would death be great?” he inquired, after following Shrek into the corridor. “Good question. Find out for me.”

    “I’ve felt pain all throughout my life. Do you truly think I will cower from it now?!” Punished Shrek interjected. “You bloody fool! This is only the beginning. Nothing you can do, nothing....will stop the inevitable. Mazkertis is going to change the past….for a better tomorrow.”

    “My Shrek knows the consequences of such actions,” Jesse Ventura asserted. “You? Well. Looks like you have much to learn, son.”

    Jesse raised his weapon, and Punished Shrek grit his teeth, with panicked eyes.

    “Come on,” DM Shrek begged. “Be reasonable! We can join forces, destroy Zrintch and Mazkertis together! Put down the gun, and we can be like brothers!”

    “Live like a traitor,” Jesse Ventura replied immediately, rejecting Shrek’s offer. “Die like one.”

    He fired twice, killing Punished Shrek.

    Jesse Ventura sauntered into the living room. All of the Dongers were catching their breaths, their puffs the only sound that could be heard. The PADAABB had been defeated.

    DM Alex Jones silently stepped into the room, and nodded at Joey and all of the Dongers.

    “We….” he huffed. “Won. Now it’s your turn to get out of here. We have a ship in the back, not much fuel but it has enough power for interdimensional travel.”

    BONES nodded, and motioned to the Dong Squad to follow him. Jesse Ventura came up to Alex Jones, and shook his hand.

    “You know, you can always come with us,” he offered. “Joey’s part of the Dongers now, and we have more open spots.”

    “No thanks, at least not for now. This Prison Universe needs someone woke to fight for them,” DM Alex Jones explained. “I’ll see you around, someday.”

    “Either you, or my version of you,” Ventura joked.

    The conspiracy theorists had a manly handshake, then parted ways.

    All of the Dongers, Joey from Joeysworldtour included, got into the ship, and flew off of the planet. They didn’t get any congratulatory holographic transmissions from Big Man Tyrone, as they were in another universe, and Tyrone was on vacation.

    Uncertainty filled their minds. Was Alex Jones right? Had Zrintch betrayed them? There was only one way to find out, and that was by confronting him back home.

    A portal opened, and they flew through it, setting course for their universe.


    Ross Mandell, BONES, and an alium shuffled through the busy, rusty city, finally arriving at the bar that would contain the information they needed. 18-LA was getting beaten up outside of it by a few gangsters, as he had taunted them earlier by calling them tiny cutesy men.

    “Alright, here’s the plan,” BONES ordered. “We go in, ask for where we can get fuel, and get out. Keep it simple.”

    Suddenly, Doug Walker bumped into Ross Mandell.

    “You!!” Walker screeched.

    “Wh-wh-wh--??” Mandell replied.

    The Critics walked up, shocked.

    “Who are you people?” asked BONES.

    TO BE CONTINUED...By the next person that writes a Dong Squad chapter :DDDDDDD

    Last edited by Klak on Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:03 pm; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : fixed broken link + formatting)

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Dr_pav11
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:54 pm

    Chapter XX: Holidays

    Twas the night before
    Christmas, and all through the Omniverse, not a creature was stirring, not even Lina Inverse.

    The poem would have continued, had Klak felt more creative, but the Europeans needed to sleep, their desires must be satiated.

    The Users felt festive, full of Christmas joy, so they convened their characters, every girl and boy.

    From the OU to Unending and every spinoff in between, all BZPB characters from every universe ever made sure they were seen.

    Dead or alive, that did not matter. It was break time, so they could all chatter. They exchanged gifts and celebrated with carols, as Terugans dragged around booze filled barrels.

    Foods of all types were devoured, as the Christmas party continued hour after hour. Because of the multiculturalism of the Users they celebrated three days, from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.

    In the midst of the feast came Father Christmas...Santa Claus himself. With GregF pretending to be his elf.

    "Merry Christmas to all!" said Santa Claus, standing tall.

    "Well done, Users," GregF said. "My legacy you've continued, great universes you've created."

    "Thank you Based Greg," all the Users replied, and hugged dear Santa, on this Yuletide.

    All the characters, evil and good, continued to celebrate as normal people would.

    Meanwhile, Sefer, The Shadow Operative, and the other Jewish characters walked away, to celebrate the holidays their own way. They lighted a menorah and sang happily, wishing each other a Happy Hanukkah merrily.

    And now this poem, comes to a close. Never Klak's best, but it's fun I suppose. All versions of characters all went home, then resumed their business as written in all tomes.

    Perhaps this is canon, perhaps it is not. But I hope the joy given by the story hits the spot.

    Merry Christmas to all. Razz
    Resident Klak Expert

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:21 pm

    Last chapter of 2016! Happy New Year!

    Chapter 14:  Spark

    Sefer Yetzirah silently sipped her coffee while standing before a window on the bridge of the Divine Providence. Her amaranth eyes scanned the surface of the blue-and-green planet a thousand miles below. They called it Gasuhigann, a world that had recently attempted to contact the Takemikazuchi Empire to enter into a dendrobium trade deal.

    Normally, they would follow standard protocol: the Takmiks would ship the dendrobium, receive the payment, and leave without saying much. All that was a method developed to avoid foreign entanglements while still receiving the benefits of trade (in this case, several tons of a special liquid found only on the planet with medicinal properties). But this was a special occasion. According to the Empress’ spies, the Gasuhiganni had also attempted to negotiate trade with the Lurians. Sefer knew that the Kindred of Dawn would kill for such rare medicine, especially in such a chaotic time.

    It was for this reason that her crew and she observed the planet, cooperating with Emperor Malygos, Toa Bob, and Dominion forces. As luck would have it, they had arrived at an opportune time: the Gasuhiganni’s pitiful military forces mentioned reports of a mysterious masked man, carrying a staff and quietly observing various cities.

    Malygos and Bob had volunteered to be dispatched to the planet’s surface to search for Mazkertis. Sefer had also sent some Tokubetsu Butai and Shinsengumi soldiers to aid them. The search party’s status report was due any minute now.

    “My Lady Emperor,” cried an ensign, breaking her trance. “We’ve received news. The search party has formed a perimeter around the target’s location. We almost have him.”

    Sefer smirked, and nodded at the ensign.

    “Thank you. I will join Lucrezia in welcoming the squad once they return,” she said, triumphantly.

    The empress made her way to the teleportation room, meeting up with Lucrezia Sephirah , leader of the β-Shinsengumi. Lucrezia asked for permission to speak freely, and it was granted.

    “You know, the optics of this aren’t necessarily in your favor, my lady,” she warned, “Emperor Malygos, taking matters into his own hands and trying to capture Mazkertis while Emperor Yetzirah sits on her spaceship, wholly removed from the action?”

    “It doesn’t matter,” Sefer replied, still smirking. “Let him take credit for capturing that wizard. I will be the one who interrogates him, per the agreement the Emperor and I made. Plus, accidents happen! Maybe Mazkertis won’t make it out of the interrogation room.”

    She winked at Lucrezia, who quickly understood what her empress was implying.

    “I see,” she said, hoping that the Emperor would not violate the Takmik’s law against the death penalty. “It’s a shame Lucy couldn’t be present for our victory. What was she doing, again?“

    “She’s in the Edge Systems, tracking down David Dalton,” recalled Sefer, smiling softly. “She would make her parents proud.”

    “As would you, my lady. Saving the universe from maniacs who want to rewrite history?” Lucrezia marveled. “That will make you a legend across the universe, and the Takemikazuchi will be recognized all over the cosmos for its grandeur. The Galactic Government is dead, and your New Order will be the model for all systems. Even the Fall of Cluster Empire will be forced to acknowledge that we are the utopia that they have never been able to create.”

    Sefer’s smirk grew, and she brushed her hair.

    “That’s one way of cementing my legacy. The other would be to have children to keep spreading the bloodline, but I’m too freaking young to think about that,” she said, quietly surprised at how open she was being. “Arc Kadmon and Evangelise are good names, come to think of it.”

    Sefer stood in the room and finished her coffee, waiting for the party to arrive.


    The leaves crunched under the feet of Malygos and Bob as they diligently searched for Mazkertis in the shadowed forest. The turquoise trees twisted and lurched from side to side, forming a natural canopy that allowed little light to peek into the ground below.

    “Have I mentioned how fascinating this forest is?” inquired Bob.

    “Only about 10 times,” Malygos retorted. “I am beginning to question why you were never a Toa of Air or Jungle. You clearly have a passion for admirable quality.”

    “It’s the little things. Even when we’re chasing a homicidal maniac, and even when I’m paired with the guy that tried to imprison me on a deserted planet so he could take over the universe,” Bob replied, glaring at Malygos for emphasis. ”I still have time to stop and smell the roses.”

    “My apologies,” Malygos said, with a hint of sarcasm in their voice.

    “Don’t worry, no hard feelings. I got to fight a golem! I just wanted to put it into perspe-”

    A rustling of leaves interrupted their conversation. Bob spun around, noticing something shimmering in the woods. Malygos tapped his forehead, reaching through the mana present in the natural setting to contact whatever figure was disguising itself in the forest. Sure enough, it was Mazkertis.

    The human wizard’s magical camouflage dissipated, his regular form revealed. Mazkertis blitzed through the forest, cutting past leaves at breakneck speeds and avoiding all the trunks he could. Malygos and Bob ran after him, the magos occasionally firing blasts of magic in an attempt to hit Mazkertis.

    Bob was about to smash his fists into the ground to cause a shockwave that would rip through the ground, uproot several trees, and fling Mazkertis into the air. But, as he raised his arms, Malygos spun towards him and yelled at him to stop.

    “Careful! There’s a village nearby!”

    The Toa nodded, and they continued their pursuit. However, the maze of winding branches and trees forced them to part ways as they ripped through the forest.

    Bob stopped near a person hunched over, a brown blanket cloaking most of their body. The person appeared to be weeping.

    “It’s alright,” Bob said, in an attempt to console them. “I’m a Toa, I’m here to help. Let’s get you out of here.”

    Bob placed his hand on the person’s soldier, and they quickly turned around with a hellish scream and punch that sent the Toa backwards into a tree. It was the Green Goblin himself.
    “You’re pathetically predictable,” Osborn said. “Like a moth to a flame.”

    Bob tried to stand up, but the Goblin ran up to him and kicked him down.

    “You are an amazing creature, Toa Bob,” he marvelled in a somewhat mocking tone. “Here’s the truth: there are billions of Gasuhigannis on this planet...and those teeming masses exist for the sole purpose of lifting the few exceptional people onto their shoulders. You, me, Mazkertis? We’re exceptional. I could squash you like a bug right now, but I’m offering you a choice: join me! Imagine what we could accomplish together, what we could great. The Kindred and us? We’re gonna have a hell of a time!”

    The Goblin cackled madly, feeling triumphant.

    “So are you in...” he inquired, pausing for effect. “Or are you out?”

    “It’s you who’s in, Goblin,” Toa Bob replied. “IN-SANE!”

    Bob smashed his fists into the ground, sending a shockwave throughout the soil below. The Green Goblin screamed as he was launched into the air. Before he could land, Bob jabbed at him multiple times, mid-air. The Goblin collapsed onto the ground, cursing multiple times.

    “What about my generous proposal?!” the Goblin yelled.

    “It’s been revoked,” quipped Bob.

    Before Bob could continue his onslaught, the Goblin threw several pumpkin bombs at the ground. The Toa reeled out of the way as shrapnel and sharp pieces of wood tore through the forest.


    Meanwhile, Malygos braked, noting that they was in the village that they had mentioned earlier. Most of the citizens had taken cover and were hiding in various buildings, an indication that Mazkertis was there. They quietly crept down the village’s path, peering into various alleys and corners to see if their target was there.

    Yes, pronouns are weird.

    They was about to prepare a spell that would reveal the wizard’s location, when they suddenly came before an alley full of armed soldiers. Malygos leaped in shock, but said nothing, knowing that they were Shinsengumi. Masuta Kira raised a finger to his lips, telling the Emperor to be silent.

    Kira then looked over to the rest of his squad, consisting of Original Zero, and several Tokubetsu Butai. He raised his palm up and began doing hand signals, giving them orders in the midst of the silence. The Takmiks nodded, and separated into two groups.

    Malygos followed Original Zero’s group, and they silently sped through a block of cottages, eventually reaching the corner of one of the paths of the village. Original Zero raised his arm and counted to three. On three, he and Malygos lept to the other side of the corner, expecting to find Mazkertis on the other side. Nothing.

    Mazkertis quietly watched as Original Zero’s group went past his building. He quietly climbed back down, shimmering back into visibility. As he darted past several buildings, he seemingly failed to notice that he would directly run into Kira’s squad.

    “Freeze!” Kira shouted.

    The wizard came to an abrupt stop. Guns and katanas were pointed at him. Kira’s shouting alerted the other squadron, which was already running towards Mazkertis several feet away from him. A third squadron emerged from a few cottages to both the east and west of the wizard. Even if he was able to dispatch of all of the soldiers, Mazkertis could sense Kira and Original Zero preparing to summon their Stands, and he surmised that a fight with Malygos would not be easy either. He was surrounded.

    Mazkertis crouched to the ground while raising his arms in the air, dropping his staff and surrendering himself to the Takemikazuchi. The soldiers quickly placed cuffs on him, and Malygos immediately grabbed his arm.

    “In case you try anything, fool,” they said to him, menacingly.

    The group also confiscated Mazkertis’ staff, placing it in a plastic bag to research on it later.

    You win,” Mazkertis replied. “You win..”


    Bob rubbed his head as he arrived in the teleportation room with the rest of the group. All the headaches caused by the Goblin’s attack and subsequent escape were worth it: they had finally captured Mazkertis.

    The wizard hung his head, creating a facade of guilt. He was pushed by guards down a corridor, where various ensigns and soldiers quietly watched him pass by with awe, anger, and fear. Mazkertis’s only reactions to these glares was to flick his restrained wrists at various locations. The guards ignored this, believing that he was approaching senility and was trying to conjure up spells in the middle of the ship.

    “Move along, old man,” a Takemik guard said, pulling him down another corridor.

    Malygos followed along, and smirked.

    “You will be punished for your crimes, Mazkertis,” Malygos said. “Once Sefer is finished with you, you will be at my mercy.”

    What vile crimes?” Mazkertis inquired. “I have no quarrel with you.

    “You have killed innocents and manipulated time all for a petty vendetta against a man that has done nothing!” growled Malygos.

    My Emperor, was it not you who trapped your universe’s Klak on a desert planet because he was too dangerous?” Mazkertis retorted. “Was it not you who tried to conquer the universe by taking all of its magic? If you have quarrel with me for my sins, then you ought to have quarrel with yourself for yours.

    Malygos stopped with widened eyes.


    The guards continued walking away with Mazkertis. After going up an elevator, they arrived in a dimly lit floor. The group entered an interrogation room, chained Mazkertis to a table, and shut the door. The guards all assembled near it, just in case.

    Sefer Yetzirah entered, with Malygos and Bob following her. She peered through window at Mazkertis, sitting quietly in his chair.

    “Most of the magic should be blocked, save for psychic attacks, just as the Dominion specified,” an ensign said.

    “Look how pathetic he is without his powers,” Sefer said, quietly. “This interrogation room had better work...”

    “Or else what?” scoffed Malygos.

    “Or you will have 128,000,000,000 people hunting for your head, Emperor,” she threatened.

    Malygos growled, then smirked. They would allow her to play games.

    “Be careful, Empress,” Bob warned. “Mazkertis is dangerous. Even without his magic he-”

    “I’ll be fine,” she said, interrupting him. “Mazkertis is weak without magic. The only thing that could kill me now is the pity I have for him.”

    She laughed at her own ‘joke’, and entered the interrogation room. Sefer instantly felt the connection to her Stand wither as she moved about the room, stopping directly in front of Mazkertis.

    The wizard was a lot more intimidating in person, his imposing height being noticeable even while he was sitting. Despite his old age, he was noticeably full of energy, and his unnaturally crimson eyes were filled with rage.

    Sefer gulped, slowly reaching towards Mazkertis’s face. She placed her hands on his mask, and slid it upwards, removing it and revealing the wizard’s true face.

    Sefer smirked triumphantly, presuming that her intimidation technique had now worked. It was a subtle way of discomforting him, of showing him that he was powerless.

    “You’re just an old man, aren’t you?” she observed out loud. “A sad old man yelling at the stars.”

    Sefer felt her mind grapple with an unseen force, as though two of the coldest hands in the universe wrapped themselves around her brain. She pushed back, settling things down.

    Time has not been kind to its servant,” Mazkertis admitted. “I have waited a long time to see my ideals come to fruition.

    “As many have, I’m sure,” Sefer added. She sat down in a chair directly opposite the wizard’s seat.

    “Now then,” she said, clearing her throat. “Let’s start from the beginning. Fifty years ago, you attempted to steal the Keruvim to rewrite history. Your universe’s Klak, or ‘D-Klak’ as we call him, was part of the team that stopped you, as was someone named…’Zev Raregroove’.”

    Among others,” Mazkertis said, the voice of his mind snarling.

    “You were imprisoned in a nether cell in The Void ,” continued Sefer.  “Kept under the name ‘Subject 08.’ One of the people in charge of you was Figlio di Armechio, who commenced a science project a year later. He and Dr. Earl Lascovitz tortured you, didn’t they?”

    Yes. For 50 years….a time you are far too young to even comprehend…..And now they’re both dead. One by his own hand, and the other….by mine,” the wizard replied, smiling in satisfaction.

    “But you seek more,” Sefer noted. “You won’t rest until you’ve had your revenge.”

    You insult me, Empress Yetzirah.

    “That’s Emperor Yetzirah. You don’t get to disrespect me, Mazkertis. Not you.”

    My apologies, Emperor.

    “Not accepted. So why attack all those innocents?”

    I never attacked them,” Mazkertis’s mind stated tersely. “They were unfortunate but necessary sacrifices. Perhaps that is something you are familiar with.

    “If you’re trying the whole ‘we’re not so different you and I’ spiel, then save it,” Sefer spat out. “It’s overdone.”

    But applicable,” countered Mazkertis. “Or have I been told lies about the Takemikazuchi? About how you have a siren song that dispels all dissent in your empire, crushing the concepts of freedom you state supposedly upholds.

    Sefer grit her teeth.

    I may be a magician,” Mazkertis continued. “But I am marveled by the progress of science, even if it’s less than ethical. Speaking of which, what sort of actions did your father commit while as Emperor to ensure that everyone was kept in line? What unspeakable horrors were unleashed by the leaders of your nation to keep a stability that wouldn’t be praised for another century? Or for science?

    Mazkertis smirked. the barrel of a gun.

    “Funny coming from a man allied with fascists!” scoffed Sefer.

    Ascheron can be extreme, at times,” conceded Mazkertis. “I shall not allow him to be ruler of the universe, but I will honor our agreement and grant concessions. A planet here, a resource there. But it is of no consequence. Your differences are meaningless, ergo you possess no moral superiority. You cannot lecture me.

    Mazkertis felt like 20 needles had stabbed into his brain. He strained, knowing that Sefer was using her psychic powers to torment him.

    “Do not compare me to Ascheron, Mazkertis,” she warned. “It won’t make things easier for you. Now, why don’t you simply kill your Klak, kill our Zev, and be done with it?”

    Because many years ago I learned that the source of problems in the Omniverse iis Klak,” Mazkertis answered. “Not simply your Klak, or mine, but all of them. There is a quantum resonance cascade effect created from the birth of a Klak, an anomaly that fills each universe with evil.

    “Sounds like bullshit,” jeered Sefer.

    Mazkertis then explained the Utopian Universe to Sefer…


    “What’s going on in there?” inquired Bob.

    “Mazkertis must be telepathically communicating with Sefer,” Malygos clarified. “She’s trying to slowly find an entrance into the weakest point in his mind so she may attack. Her Excellency is playing cat and mouse.”

    “But which one’s the cat, and which one’s the mouse?” Bob replied.


    “So to solve all this, you want to erase both of our Klaks from history….kill them as children...and somehow this will save the universe?” Sefer said, raising an eyebrow.

    Do not mock me, Emperor,” chided Mazkertis. “As my actions carry significance. You rule a state that is nothing more than a small piece of the cosmos, a state that may or may not function after your death. In time, the Takemikazuchi will be nothing more than a memory. Individuals like Eclipse, Ynot, Blackout, and Malygos, all titans of this universe, will outlive you and your descendants, until they too perish. There are beings that dwarf even them in power, quietly controlling things behind the scenes as though life were a game. And even they, I assume, answer to a higher authority. There are demons that make even Mephistroth tremble in fear, and angels that make the Chousin seem like ants. The Omniverse is vast, and we are mere particles in it. The only truly meaningful actions are those that manipulate its various facets: like time and space. All else...feels meaningless.”[/i]

    “You don’t actually believe that, do you Mazkertis?” Sefer said, expostulating. Mazkertis and Ascheron were more alike than they thought.

    For now, I do,” he replied. “Thus, I beg of you Emperor. Understand my struggle, and allow me to go my way. You will be left unharmed, and your empire will survive.

    The wizard’s mind suddenly felt as though it was being pulled down by an unseen, vast weight. He felt dreams form before his very eyes, displaying varied moments in his life. All of the dreams quickly unraveled into horrific figures, and dissipated. Metaphysical knives shredded through Mazkertis’s conscious, tormenting him as he screamed distortedly.

    Sefer spoke calmly through this chaos.

    “No deal, Mazkertis.” Sefer declared. “You will face punishment for your crimes, no matter what pitiful excuse you had to commit them. The Takemikazuchi Republic has goals that are diametrically opposed to yours, one we happen to share with the Dominion.”

    Sefer played with the wizard’s mind, sifting through various memories and pieces of information that she could find. One piece of information regarding a “secret Kindred member” was kept under tight defenses, so she decided to force Mazkertis to reveal this individual’s identity later (she knew that this was likely the mole that had disrupted Klak’s plans three weeks earlier). For now, she would keep looking. This effort was not in vain, as she discovered the location of the Kindred’s hidden headquarters.

    She paused to reflect, realizing that her pride was catching up to her. Why would Ascheron allow Mazkertis to go to Gasuhigann with minimal backup, knowing that he ran the risk of getting captured? The wizard was certainly powerful enough to face off against legions on his own, but why take the risk for a planet full of important resources? Unless….

    Unless getting caught was part of their plan.

    The realization hit Sefer like a brick. She heard a guard run into the viewing room (adjacent to the interrogation room) and yell about an army suddenly appearing on board.

    When Mazkertis was being paraded around the Divine Providence in handcuffs, he had flicked his wrists several times, creating minute cracks in space time that were small enough to not be noticeable, but large enough for someone to open them from the other side and run through. Now, throughout the ship, squadrons of Lurians appeared and fired at unsuspecting members of the Dai-Takemikazuchi Teikoku Kaigun (the Takemikazuchi Navy). They were joined by ASF members Vance Vangelis and Hell. A battle broke out as soldiers from both sides fought against each other in the hallways.

    Sefer panicked. She had been played. Before she could react, Mazkertis took advantage of the confusion and turned her psychic attack against her.

    This is the price of not joining us, Empress Yetzirah! You stand in the way of history, and you and all your allies will be punished by the servants of time itself!

    Sefer screamed in pain. A Lurian soldier burst into the interrogation room and fired at Mazkertis’s restraints. He stood up and kicked Sefer, knocking her down. The Kindred members emerged and saw that two other soldiers were engaging Malygos (Bob and the Tak-miks that were previously in the room had left to fight against the other invaders in the halls).

    Malygos quickly dispatched the Lurians with rays of light, but Mazkertis disappeared before he could beat him.

    “No matter,” they said to themself. “The fool is leaving a trail, and has likely been weakened by what Sefer did to him.”

    Sefer emerged from the interrogation room, growling.

    “Well, don’t just stand there!” she yelled. “Let’s kill the bastards!”


    In space, several Lurian frigates appeared and immediately firing at the Takemikazuchi ships. Out of both fleets emerged mobile suits and fighter ships, locked in a brutal conflict that would be spoken of for ages to come. But this is a story for another time, another chapter.


    Meanwhile, in one of the engine rooms, the head engineer shouted orders at the engine maintenance, compelling them to hold their positions as the rest of the ship descended into chaos. He knew that a Lurian squad would likely attempt to shut down the engines to completely immobilize the ship, preventing an escape.

    Suddenly, Mazkertis materialized in front of him and fired an energy blast from his hand, killing the head engineer instantly. The other engineers and crewmembers reached for blaster pistols holstered at their sides, but before they could shoot the human wizard, he stunned them with a sonic spell that disrupted their senses. One by one, Mazkertis absorbed their life force, the energies coursing through into his only organic arm, until he was finished. He then shifted his body towards the control panel, his eyes browsing it with a determined gaze.  This concentration distracted the wizard from noticing Malygos, who had teleported themself to the room.

    “The engine room? How utterly predictable,” scoffed the magician. “I discovered your whereabouts in minutes by merely sensing your aura, but I had firmly hoped that you would be in somewhere less…clichéd.”

    I require energy for my grand spell, Emperor. You of all beings in this universe would understand the price of magic,” responded Mazkertis. “Perhaps it’s best that I remind you that I have no quarrel with you, Emperor Malygos. No Saskanan blood was shed, and I haven’t touched your Dominion.

    Malygos’ laughter boomed throughout the engine room, dwarfing the noise of the ship’s engines.

    “Oh no, Mazkertis,” they growled. “You declared ‘quarrel’ with me the moment you threatened my domain. And then you had the audacity to desire to absorb ambient magic in the universe! Something that is MINE!”

    How unfortunate for you,” Mazkertis replied. He raised his arm in the air, and a few seconds later his staff crashed through a nearby wall and plopped into his hand.

    Perhaps, in time, you’ll see my reasoning,” he continued. “That is, if your irritating existence persists.

    Mazkertis and Malygos charged at each other, magical energies crackling all around them.


    Meanwhile, Sefer and Lucrezia made their way to the ship’s bridge, accompanied by various Tak-mik soldiers. Malygos and Bob went their own way to fight off as many enemies as possible. Sefer herself hoped she could take charge in the midst of the chaos and turn the battle around.

    Sefer noticed the beads of sweat dotting Lucrezia’s face. This was an attack unlike any other they had faced. Even the leader of the β-Shinsengumi was nervous.

    “Breathe,” she said, in an attempt to console Lucrezia. “This too shall pass, and all that.”

    It was the best motivational speech Sefer could come up with at the time. She had to focus on annihilating the enemy.

    Lucrezia nodded, and gulped as the lift arrived at their destination. The remaining soldiers braced themselves.

    The doors of the lift opened. Squadrons of Lurian troopers turned around, eyes widened. The motherload of high value targets just appeared before them. They raised their rifles, and so did the Takemikazuchi. Sefer smirked and crouched.

    The blaze of gunfire rattled through the corridor, as many soldiers from both sides were killed instantly. In the midst of this chaos, Lucrezia shouted.

    “Beware my Stand「Nearer My God To Thee」, fascist menace!”

    Behind her materialized a muscular crimson humanoid with flowing black hair. The humanoid leaped in front of her, and used aerokinetic constructs to lift the Lurians in the air. Lucrezia then kicked off of the ground as 「Nearer My God To Thee」lifted her as well. Both her stand and she then sliced into the guards, killing them one by one at breakneck speeds. In seconds, the hallway was clear.

    “Let’s keep moving!” Lucrezia ordered. The surviving Takemikazuchi created a box formation around Sefer, and rushed forward with her.


    Mazkertis slammed through purlins and floors inside of the ship, making audible yelps of pain. He recomposed himself and grit his teeth, glaring at Malygos from afar.

    So, you wanted to become God?!” his mind boomed. “Allow me to arrange your meeting with the real thing!

    Mazkertis flung himself towards Malygos, his fist of swirling magical energy ploughing into the gender neutral being’s face. He pivoted and punched Malygos with his metallic fist, then clasps his hands together and bludgeoned them in the chest.

    Mazkertis called to his staff once more. Once he caught it, he swung the staff to the ground, in hopes of smacking Malygos with it. However, the magos disappeared and teleported behind him. Malygos kicked Mazkertis in the back then blasted him into a wall with rays of light. They summoned a few balls of flame and threw them at Mazkertis, but the human wizard blocked them with balls of water.

    Malygos used a repulsion spell to pull the other wizard from the wall and into his hand. They then attempted to strangle Mazkertis with their own fist.

    Mazkertis gasped for air, but smirked while choking, placing his organic hand on Malygos’s wrist. All he had to do was wait for the signal.


    A young Takemikazuchi soldier was cut down by Lurian fire right in front of Sefer’s eyes. This provoked rage in her, and she leaned around the corner that the soldier was previously using for cover. Sefer used her psychic power to put the Lurian into a coma.

    “My Lady Emperor, we are pinned! We need backup to get to the other side of this hallway!” yelled another soldier as the rest of the battalion was taking cover.

    On the other side, the Lurians set up a turre and began firing at Sefer. The empress reeled back and crouched in front of a door to one of the ship’s laboratories.

    “Hurry up and call them, for fuck’s sake!” screamed Sefer.

    Suddenly, the door behind her opened, and two hands encased in white gloves grasped her. Before the Takemikazuchi could react, she was pulled into the darkness. The door closed as the soldiers desperately tried to follow her. Despite their efforts, it was being blockaded.

    “Hello darling,” Sefer’s kidnapper said.

    She could recognize that voice anywhere, for it was the voice of Gabriel Ascheron. Sefer tried to struggle, but he strengthened his grasp.

    “Now, Mazkertis!” Ascheron bellowed.

    Suddenly, Sefer, Ascheron, Mazkertis, and Malygos were all on the Gasuhiganni surface. Malygos and Sefer backed away to observe their surroundings. They were in a flat plain of tall, turquoise grass.

    Vance Vangelis then appeared, kicking Toa Bob to the floor.

    “Now we have enough privacy to ourselves,” Ascheron cackled.

    “Vance Vangelis!” groaned Sefer. “I should have known you were the type to side with these two!”

    “I’m finishing a mission, Sefer,” replied Vance, nonchalantly. “Besides, they’re paying me well.”

    Bob rolled his eyes.

    “What a weirdo,” he jeered.

    “All three of our empires clash among the stars,” Ascheron declared. “As we ourselves fight to the death here, now!”

    Both trios assembled themselves, assuming battle positions. They all charged at each other ferociously, in a battle that would shape the fate of the universe.


    And now for something completely different:


    The Yonbots posed after defeating the forces of Yur Wai-Fu, an anime city somewhere near the remnants of Makuhero City. Boltman went up to them, and high fived them while dancing. First the victory at Pokotan, and now, the citizens of Yur Wai-Fu. So many victories!

    One of the Yonbots turned around and pointed in fear, noting that a powerful group was approaching them. They were all dressed in elaborate clothes, and were led by a man wearing a red, white, and blue polo, jeans, sneakers, and a long flowing black cape with a massive collar. He rode on a chariot being led by horses that looked like dollar signs. Boltman and the Yonbots immediately recognized him as one of the most powerful anime characters this side of the galaxy: Cory Baxter.

    The man smiled and extended his arm. Beams of light extended from his fingers, and he vaporized the anime-killing robots before they could react. The rest of the group surrounded Boltman, flinging minor attacks until he was knocked to the ground.

    “hanatoro xD” said Meena Paroom.

    Boltman’s typical smile flipped into a frown, and he gazed up at the heavens. The crescent moon lit the night sky, and seemed to act as a spotlight on the Yellow Fellow.

    “You….” he cried, as the cast of “Cory in the House” began to restrain him. “You did this! YOU DID THIS!!”

    On that very same moon, a man with a crescent shaped head played piano. Moonman smiled and raised his arms up in victory. He was going to push Boltman over the edge, and make him slipp.


    Meanwhile, on Sojourn V, Ross Mandell raised his arms up defensively, knowing Doug Walker was upset.

    Doug sighed and turned to BONES, to reply to the question he asked at the end of the previous chapter.

    “Hello I’m the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don’t have to,” he said, introducing himself to the former avatar of death.

    “Spoony,” Spoony continued, and pointed to the rest. “That’s Linkara, that’s Malcolm, there’s Dr. Amasiv Bedge, and over there’s Paul Latza. We’re the League of Super Critics.”

    Originally, there were more members of this league: a Jedi named Seran Dol-Abi, a deranged UNATCO augmented individual named JC Denton, a 90s Kid, a magician named Mortimer Moloch, and a quasimorph named Spanha. Seran left to face his fears in an adventure that perhaps will be dealt with in a spinoff story or a separate chapter, 90s Kid went to Tievie to see if they liked 90s kinos, Spanha got kidnapped, and Moloch stayed behind with JC on Kråvenhold.

    “Ross Mandell here scammed me out of my money!!!” screamed Doug. “Figures we would find you on such a sketchy planet!”

    “Is this true?” asked the alium that was accompanying the two Dongers.

    “Perhaps it is, perhaps it is not,” replied Ross Mandell. “Let us not focus on the past, but on the smiles of the present.”

    Ross smiled, and posted, fists raised. Doug screamed angrily, and raised his fists as well. The other Critics assumed battle positions, ready to fight.

    “Time to shuffle,” Malcolm quipped.

    BONES skullpalmed. They were going to need backup against yet another antagonistic joke character team.

    But before they could come to blows, someone yelled at them.

    “No!” the creature yelled, his voice echoing ethereally.

    Everyone was immediately taken aback by this newcomer, even the gangsters that were beating up 18-LA. Disgust and rage filled their minds as they saw him. Even BONES, who had reaped many an abomination in his previous life, wanted to violently vomit his nonexistent intestines.

    You see, the beast was incredibly bizarre. His body was furry, and he wore only sneakers and a loincloth. His mouth was that of a feline, but with human teeth. On his head there was a mop of blond, human hair, with braids adorned by Native American beads in the front. One of his eyes was blue, while the other was brown, and instead of a nose he had a bird’s beak. His knees bent backwards as he walked forward, introducing himself as “Xavier.” His voice no longer had an echo.

    “Stop your fighting!” Xavier cried. “Do not allow yourselves to come to blows on each other’s faces! Resolve this method cordially, not morbid-ially. Let the hot release, of this huge peace, satisfy your conflict.”

    “Uhh, what?” inquired Paul Latza. No payment of $521 could ever remove the awkward innuendos that Xavier had forced into the conversation.

    “It’s not as simple as that,” Dr. Bedge noted.

    “We don’t cotton to freaks around these parts,” said one of the gangsters, ignoring BONES, the alium, and 18-LA. “So scram, weirdo!”

    The two gangsters ran up to Xavier, punched him down, then body slammed him.

    “Take that,” shouted one of the gangsters. “Taste the pain!”

    Xavier got up as though nothing had happened. He mumbled to himself about how it was his destiny to save the Dongers and Critics and make them like each other.

    “Guys, he’s probably not going to leave until we make nice, so let’s just play his game, and then we can kill each other when he’s gone,” suggested Linkara.

    “Ok,” BONES replied in agreement. BONES just wanted fuel, but he was willing to play along, at least until Xavier and the Critics were done bothering them. “I’ll call the other Dongers.”

    “Dongers? Oh boy, here we go,” Doug complained.

    Doug just wanted a vacation ever since Bring the Pain Barry disappeared, and right when he thought he was at peace, he found himself running into a scammer and countless freakish joke characters. But this was only the beginning. The beginning of this bizarre adventure.

    Last edited by Klak on Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:17 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Dr_pav11
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:40 pm

    Chapter 15: Beyond Time: The Search Begins

    The universe is old now.

    On the planet Earth, in the time before its Integration into the Multiverse caused “The Day the World Went Mad”, the human race dreamed of a life beyond the stars. However limited their comprehension of the larger universe was at the time, these dreams inspired them to work towards wonders of their own. Unfortunately, most proved impossible to achieve with the limited resources and obstructive politics of this lonely world and were left unfulfilled when its eventual day of reckoning occurred. Earth perished, and most of its dreamers died with it.

    ...The operative term being “most”, for fate had other plans for some. The moment that Earth ceased to exist, it was instantaneously replaced with an almost identical copy of itself, with almost identical people from a parallel world, but there were some from the original who survived to witness the death and rebirth of their civilization. These brave explorers, whose dreams had sheltered them from the apocalypse, chose to see the destruction of their homeworld as an opportunity to further study the mysteries of the new reality that they now found themselves in. For the first time in recorded history, the people of Earth spread out into the stars and made contact with others with dreams like theirs. One man named Nakamura led the expedition into the great unknown and shared his dreams with nineteen other organizations from across the stars.

    The Galactic Government was born.

    Its mission statement: to unite the scattered planets of the universe and pool their collective resources to 1) Create a safe and prosperous future for all sentient beings, and 2) Protect the worlds and civilizations that could not protect themselves, as Nakamura and his kin had vowed to prevent other inhabited worlds from sharing the terrible fate of the First Earth. These secretive founders, known as the "Gorosei", rarely elaborated on their intentions more than was necessary to sway more planets to their cause, but they seemed genuine in their vow to bring peace, progress, and protection to every planet that joined them, and for the most part, they succeeded.

    Of course, some were suspicious of the Gorosei’s motives, mainly because of the immense power they had begun to amass in their positions as the leaders of the largest planetary alliance of all time. However, in these dark, early days of BZPB’s Original Universe, there was nothing to stop advanced civilizations of conquerors or scavengers from pillaging less advanced worlds that had just begun to glimpse the stars beyond the clouds. Whenever the Galactic Government extended an offer to incorporate one of these fledgling worlds into their protective network without war or bloodshed, it was often an offer that could not be refused. The Gorosei sealed their vows in ink and magic and promised to keep their word until the end of time.

    Almost a hundred and fifty thousand years later, that promise was broken.

    In the year 150,084 CMT (Central Mariejois Time), Galactic Government Commander-in-Chief Akoran Zicks announced his intention to disassemble the entire infrastructure of the Galactic Government in the wake of the death of its previous figurehead. This announcement was music to the ears of the Revolutionaries, pirates, scavengers, and all other lifeforms who thrived in the absence of law, but to most of the rest of the citizens of the universe, it seemed as though Zicks had gone mad. Raito Nakamura, the man who wore the honored name “Akoran Zicks” in the chamber that day, seemed to be not only unaware of how the Galactic Government actually functioned, but also the legacy of his family and the promises they had made to bring peace to the universe in its most turbulent times.

    This sentiment was shared by Zicks’s father, Masahito Nakamura, who was a respected “Celestial Dragon” (the name of the descendants of the original Gorosei, who had inherited the Galactic Government homeworld of Mariejois) and one of the five current Gorosei. When Masahito heard the news that his son had announced his intention to destroy everything that his family had worked towards over the millennia, he ordered a manhunt for him to be taken dead or alive.

    But while he waited, Masahito had an announcement to make.


    There were many disagreements in the early days of the Galactic Government, but there was only ever one contender for their soon-to-be shared homeworld: the “Holy World” of Mariejois, a planet with almost mystical properties at the edge of known space that shined in the skies of their colonies like a beacon calling them home. When the first settlers set foot on its surface and saw its natural towering spires, crystal plains, and the thin layer of sparkling mist that seemed to amplify its natural beauty, they knew that they had found the first true Wonder of the Universe, and that it would be their home as they worked to unite the rest of their universe in harmony.

    Now, inside the Royal Palace at the center of Mariejois, Pangaea Castle, one man stood in front of a camera crew as he prepared to broadcast a message across galaxies. His technicians tuned their equipment to the same wavelength that Malygos had previously used to announce his declaration of victory earlier that year in the “Ascension” fiasco so that everyone could hear.

    “3… 2… 1… we’re live,” a worker said.

    For the second time that year, every visual and audio transmission in much of the universe was hijacked by a broadcast - but this time, the broadcast came directly from Mariejois. Those with visual devices saw a brief haze of static that preceded the appearance of the stern face of a middle-aged Japanese man with cropped hair, a goatee beard, and bushy, heavy eyebrows. His dark brown eyes seemed somehow older than the rest of his face, as if they hid more than one lifetime behind them. The man opened his mouth to address the universe, and for once, the universe listened.

    “Citizens of the universe,” he said, pausing to take another breath to prepare himself for the importance of what he was about to say. “This is a public announcement on behalf of the Galactic Government. As one of the five current ruling Gorosei, it is my duty to inform you that the man who identified himself as Raito Nakamura, more commonly known by the honored name ‘Akoran Zicks’, in the 3784th Assembly of the Reverie has been evicted from the Galactic Government and a full investigation into his illegal actions has been launched. Almost three weeks ago, this man announced that he would enact a section of our charter to ‘disband’ the government in the wake of Kong’s death, apparently unaware that the position of Commander-in-Chief holds power solely over certain governmental divisions and not the entire organization itself. In addition, his decision had not been shared with or approved by any of the Gorosei, the Reverie, the High Courts of Mariejois or any Celestial Dragons beforehand; thus, his attempt to needlessly destroy our sacred alliance has been declared illegal by all of the aforementioned parties and vehemently rejected. His position as Commander-in-Chief has been terminated and his honored title of ‘Akoran Zicks’ has been revoked.”

    He continued, “I, Masahito Nakamura, representative of the Nakamura family and lifelong benefactor of the Galactic Government, carry deep shame for the reckless actions that the man who claimed to be my son has committed. I, Masahito Nakamura, on behalf of the Galactic Government, formally acknowledge that the commanders of some of our outposts made the decision to immediately cease operations in the wake of Raito’s announcement without first seeking our approval. Regrettably, this means that some of the worlds that were supposed to be under our protection found that that protection was absent in the confusion that followed. We offer our deepest condolences to the survivors of XTR-378, Yoon-Ta, SD-349, and New Vourah, planets that were devastated by the Yautja, the Sycorax, the Space Pirate species, and the New Dalek Paradigm respectively when our stations should have been active to prevent such travesties. The Intergalactic Red Cross Movement has volunteered to aid us in restoring stability to the lives of the survivors of these and all other worlds under our supervision that have been devastated in recent times, while other assets will be mobilized to find and arrest the culprits responsible for these unspeakable crimes.

    “I acknowledge that this incident has cast suspicion on the Nakamura family, so in the meantime, the position of Commander-in-Chief will be filled by one of our finest Fleet Admirals, Sakazuki, more commonly known by the ancient honored name “Akainu”, while the Nakamura family and the Galactic Government recover from this attack from within. Raito Nakamura remains at large, but I have received a report from our finest operatives who say that they are closing in on his position as we speak. Finally, I would like to thank all of our loyal benefactors who have helped to realize our dream over the millennia, and request the patience of our citizens in resolving this terrible matter, for it will be resolved soon.

    End transmission.”


    In another corner of existence, Niflheim opened his eyes but found that he could see nothing but an indistinct, blurry white haze.

    Assuming that this lack of focus was just the result of morning tiredness, he rubbed his eyes and tried to focus his vision, but the view ahead of him was unchanged: a fuzzy, white expanse that stretched on for miles around. He mentally suppressed the sudden instinctual feeling of panic that crept up from his subconsciousness and forced himself to not give a heck, at least until he found out what the FOK was going on.

    Suddenly, gravity shifted, and he now felt like he was standing up instead of laying down. He looked at his feet in an attempt to determine what kind of surface he was standing on, but they were submerged in the same white blur. He kneeled down to touch the floor of his environment, but he did not feel anything brush against his palms. He knew that his feet were not the problem: he could sense his blood circulating through them, and the sensation of pins-and-needles typically associated with numbness was not present. Instead, he realized that he could not feel the world around him. There was no floor, yet he was standing.

    Nif closed his eyes and tried to activate his telepathic ability, hoping to locate the mind of another water-based lifeform, but again felt nothing. If his suspicions were correct, the realm he was in was dead, or at the very least, there was no water-based life to be found for miles around. In a way, his current environment reminded him of the Dreamscape: a realm of pure consciousness that Nif had spent some time in back in his home universe.

    The "Dreamscape" back in Niflheim’s World was essentially the plane of reality in which human consciousness existed, and as such, it was occupied by the thoughts of every sentient being in his universe, whether they were consciously aware of its existence or not. Powerful espers drew upon its energy, referred to as “Kø”, to manifest amazing superhero-like abilities in the real world. Telepaths could even project mental avatars into the Dreamscape and interact with it like they would a physical plane. Unlike the Dreamscape of Niflheim’s World, however, the plane of existence Nif now found himself in was empty: there were no thoughts spinning around him but his own.

    Eventually, Nif gave up trying to solve the mysteries of his intangible prison, and called upon his familiar, Leviathan, in the hope that she could bring him answers.

    "Okay, where the FOK am I, Levi?" he shouted aloud.

    "Oh my god, Nif, is that you?" responded a familiar voice - but not the voice of his familiar.

    Nif was frozen in shock. He would recognize that voice anywhere: it was the voice of Mina Bjork, a time traveller who he had befriended back in his home universe. Together, he and Mina had fought in countless battles against agents of the new world order that threatened the liberties of the people of their world, but he had not seen nor heard of her for some time, even before his accidental transportation into BZPB’s Original Universe.

    "What to heck, Mina?!" Nif gasped.

    "The one and only!" The disembodied voice of Mina cheered. “You’re in the Dreamscape, Nif, just not… our Dreamscape. You know when you have an absolutely badass dream, but you start to forget the details when you wake up? Well, you’re gonna need to remember this one, so shut up and concentrate."

    "What..." Nif sighed. None of this was making sense.

    "Listen," Mina snapped, "When you disappeared from our world, I figured that you must have been transported to an alternate reality, because I couldn’t use my powers to locate you anywhere. I scanned the Dreamscape, but traces of your consciousness had vanished like you no longer existed. I went to Hell to investigate what had happened in case you’d been killed, but it seemed more like you disappeared mid-battle. It was like you had literally fallen out of the universe. So I figured I’d try something else: project my consciousness across the Dreamscape in every timestream in case you’d travelled backwards or forwards in time somehow. And it worked! I found you here! I finally found you!!”

    Nif thought for a moment and nodded. “So you’re saying I’ve been stuck in... another time period of our world?”

    “Not quite. I don’t know how it happened, but I have a theory,” Mina continued. “Somehow, the current timeline was changed and our world was changed with it, but because you were in Hell - a dimension that exists outside of time - when the change occurred, you were thrown into a different timeline altogether when you tried to leave.”

    “Mina,” Nif said sternly, interrupting her.


    “Do you have any idea where I ended up?”

    “Ooh, no, tell me about it!” Mina exclaimed. “What’s it like? Am I there? What am I like? I mean, the other version of me. If there is another version of me… is there another version of me?”

    Nif took a deep breath and continued. “Mina, the world I ended up in is not our world. It isn’t a world where someone’s name is slightly different because someone made a different decision one time. It’s a nightmare bizarro world like a million fanfictions smashed together. There’s comics characters and Transformers and demigods just walking around like it’s normal. I’ve seen World of Warcraft NPCs and living 3D smilies die and come back to life in the pits of Hell while I stood there and watched. Hell, just last week I was almost arrested by fucking Lemongrab from Adventure Time and got shot at by robots from Deus Ex. I don’t see how any of this could have come from our world, unless I’ve been stuck in a coma this whole time and gone freaking insane, but if you’re telling me this is an offshoot of our world, some version of events where someone made a decision that went horribly wrong, I believe you. Just get me the heck- no, get me the hell out of here.”

    Silence reigned for a while.

    Then Mina burst into laughter. “Lemongrab, seriously?”

    “Believe me, I wish I was joking,” Nif muttered.

    "Well, one thing I can say is that someone really fucked up somewhere," Mina laughed. "Fortunately, our timeline still exists alongside the one that you've been trapped in, which means that it could be possible for you to get back here with the help of a very experienced time traveller. I know this because I'm a time traveller myself, so I can usually notice when something's wrong with the time stream. It also helps that I worked out how to project telepathic communications into other timelines to let people know when shit's gone - or going - or will go down."

    Nif narrowed his eyes. "Wait, what? I don't remember you having that ability."

    "I’ll explain how I did it when you get back," Mina replied. "I could be wrong about all this, but... you're just going to have to trust me. Have I ever let you down?"

    "You have a point," Nif admitted. "So let me guess what's gonna happen. You're gonna come pick me up, and then we're-"

    "Not so fast," Mina interrupted. "I can't take you back to our timeline at the moment, but someone else might be able to..."


    "Me!" Mina exclaimed, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. She quickly realized her mistake, and added, "I mean, the version of me that exists in your timeline. I don't know anything about her, but if she's anything like me, she'll be willing to help you. But she won't be able to do it alone."

    Nif stood in silence, deciding to wait for her to continue her explanation instead of potentially waste his time by saying something that she would probably contradict. Unfortunately, this caused Mina to move to another topic instead.

    "Oh by the way... you're going to need to get home soon. Something bad is going to happen to us unless we have your help to stop it. Something really bad."

    "Well, if you want me to get home, you're going to need to tell me what to do," Nif pointed out.

    "I was getting to that," Mina grumbled. “But fine. It’s been established that some forms of time travel can be dangerous to the human psyche, potentially fatal unless the traveller has a ‘constant’ - something that is present in both timelines - to focus on to strengthen the mind. You were a human once and you still have a human consciousness, so this is something you should keep in mind. This ‘constant’ is usually something that the traveller has a deep emotional connection to, like your friends or family. It’s how I kept it together while searching the Dreamscape, Nif. You’re my constant in this case.”

    “Gay lol,” Nif laughed.

    “Uhhhhh not gay if it’s the homie,” Mina replied with a laugh. “Anyway, if my theories are correct and our two timelines are connected, there should still be a version of me out there. Maybe even Chad, Drepp, and EEEEEE. Find them, then-”

    To Nif's horror, Mina's voice abruptly faded, as if she had been sucked into a black hole. At the same time, the whiteness of his environment began to distort and swirl around him, getting closer and closer to his body.

    "Wait!" Nif shouted. "How can I find them? How do I get back home? What's gonna happen over there? MINA!"

    Unfortunately, Nif's protests were met with silence, and the world around him continued to swirl. After a few moments of this, the whiteness under his feet collapsed, and Nif plummeted into a black hole beneath him.

    In a reflex action, Nif jolted upright as he woke from his dream, finding himself back in his small but comfortable quarters on the Night of Fire. Upon detecting Nif's upright movement, the electric lights that lined the walls activated, welcoming him back into the waking world. Realizing what had happened, Nif cursed and laid back down.

    "...Well shit."


    It is now Day 76 of The Mazkertis Paradox arc. On Day 56, President Donald Trump of Earth directed Nif and his allies to Supermax 282, a space prison that housed two unique assets who could provide additional assistance in their search for Mazkertis. These warriors were Agent 47, one of Earth's greatest assassins, and Seeldier, a deformed clone with the power to "see" anything or anyone in the universe just by thinking about them.

    Unfortunately, Seeldier was incapable of communication beyond the word "SEE!", and his labyrinthine mind proved impossible to navigate, so the only way he could tell the group where their targets were was to point at their physical location with his finger, which served as a kind of compass for the crew of the Night of Fire. Though Seeldier was always able to successfully direct this alliance to Mazkertis's whereabouts by (literally) pointing them in the right direction, they always arrived too late: wherever they landed, all they would typically find around them were the dead bodies of Mazkertis's victims and the remains of temporary Kindred of Dawn encampments. Even with some extra intelligence provided by Captain Eurobeat's Project D connections, Mazkertis and his Kindred were always one step ahead.

    Having just woken up from his dream-like communication with Mina, Nif felt more conflicted than ever before. If what Mina said was true, he would need to return to his home timeline as soon as possible. But if this timeline and his home timeline were connected, what would happen if Mazkertis succeeded in rewriting the history of this timeline? Nif wasn't sure, but he knew that he still had a strong desire to kill Mazkertis in the most over-the-top way possible. His thoughts dwelled on that for a moment, before the memory of Mina's voice returned, reminding him that finding his old friends in their new lives was of the utmost importance.

    As he began to wonder how to approach this task, his familiar spirit and constant companion Leviathan materialized next to him.

    “Hello Master!” she said, her ethereal voice catching his attention immediately. “You seem troubled. Is there anything I can do to help?”

    “For once in my life, I have no idea what to do,” Nif replied somberly.

    Levi floated behind him and embraced him in a hug, nuzzling into the gills on his neck.

    “Do you remember what User Nif told you?”

    “User Nif? What-” Nif trailed off. He was about to ask Levi what she meant when he realized that he had heard that phrase, or name, before. He wracked his mind in an effort to remember where, but when he neared the memory, it was as if it slipped away from him, close but just out of his grasp, like forbidden knowledge… or subliminal programming.

    “It’s okay, my love, I thought that this might happen,” she replied, tenderly stroking his face. “This world is not our own. There are certain rules that must be followed, certain knowledge that cannot be held for the planets in the sky to continue to turn. Follow your heart and instincts, and you’ll know what to do. I’ll be with you all the way.”

    “Forbidden knowledge? What are you talking about?” Nif snapped, anger building in his voice.

    “We do what we’re meant to do,” Levi replied with a sad tone. “I learned that when we were separated. I will fight and die by your side, but I couldn’t tell you what to do even if I knew the answer. Your purpose and your destiny are yours to discover. The only true answers you find will be your own.”

    She kissed him on the cheek and disappeared, leaving Nif to face his thoughts alone once again.


    Over the next few hours, Nif wrote down as much of his dream-like communication with Mina as he could remember into an empty journal that he found in his quarters. He then immersed himself in water in the form of a bath, which helped to clear his mind and focus himself on the task at hand. Once finished, he dried himself off, put on some fresh clothes, and left his quarters in search of Captain Eurobeat.

    While Nif walked down the central corridor, several ensigns passed him by and joked about an incident involving the Captain and a ruined chocolate cake. These people seemed real enough to Nif, but he could not be sure what was real and what wasn't anymore. He admitted to himself that he hvvvvvvvvvvvvad been questioning reality ever since he had first arrived in the BZPB Multiverse, and though his encounters with The Heller in Hell and Steven Pinker on Supermax F### B##### certainly did not help, Mina's communication had thrown him off even more. Nif began to suspect that, if it was not for the fact that he was firmly anchored to reality by his constant connection to water-based life (including the humans on the ship, whose bodies were mostly composed of water), he would have already begun the descent into madness.

    The door to the bridge slid open, revealing that the command crew of the Night of Fire were hard at work monitoring communications and examining star maps. At the very front of the bridge, Seeldier stood proudly, with the forefinger of his right hand pointing straight ahead into the blackness of space, which was displayed on the central viewscreen. Thankfully, Captain Eurobeat could be seen in the command chair, resting his legs on the workstation in front of him and casually sipping on a can of Faygo with a straw.

    "Captain, we need to talk," Nif said as he entered the bridge, breaking the relative silence.

    Eurobeat lazily swivelled his chair around to face Nif, the straw still hanging from his mouth. He looked much the same as he always did, but somewhat more unkempt: strands of his vibrant blonde hair were sticking out in various directions, and his shades were missing, revealing that there were visible bags beneath his eyes caused by stress and/or tiredness. It seemed that the search for Mazkertis was taking its toll on everyone, even someone as usually energetic and optimistic as Eurobeat.

    "You might not believe me," Nif paused, "...But I've been contacted by someone from my home universe."

    Eurobeat raised an eyebrow. "What? I haven't been notified of any incoming communications addressed to you."

    "That's because there were none, sir," the bridge's communications officer interjected.

    "It was a telepathic message," Nif clarified.

    "A telepathic message from another universe?" Eurobeat's eyes visibly widened. "Is that even possible?"

    "Honestly…” Nif began, “...At this point, I can believe that anything's possible."

    "Yeah, anything except finding Mazkertis," Eurobeat groaned. "So what was this message about?"

    "Well… It was from an old friend, Mina, a time traveller. Remember how I told you that I was from another universe? I guess I was wrong. She seems to think that the world I came from is an alternate timeline of this universe instead of another parallel universe altogether. Anyway, she said that my friends back in my timeline will soon face a major threat and probably die in the process unless I return to help them.”

    “Wait, so that means-”

    Nif sighed. “It means a lot of things, but the most important thing is that this timeline, your timeline, must be home to its own versions of my friends, too, and that finding them is apparently the only way I can get back home. But if Mazkertis alters the timelines of a bunch of universes, mine could be affected too and I might not have a home to go back to in the and."

    Captain Eurobeat nodded solemnly, processing this new information. "So what will you do?"

    "I think I need to leave the Night of Fire to find and gather my friends. Hear me out: the Mina of my timeline can pinpoint changes in the time stream and follow them to their source, so if I can find her again, she could teleport me straight to Mazkertis’s current location and let me end this once and for all. Rest assured, I won't leave this universe until Mazkertis is dead."

    "Hmmm..." Eurobeat replied, obviously deep in thought.

    "But... I think I should do this alone," Nif added, with a sombre tone. "It's been fun with you and your crew, but I wouldn't want to complicate your mission with my own personal affairs."

    "What? It’s really no problem," Eurobeat said, confused. "We’re all in this together."

    “Okay, I’ll rephrase. I wouldn’t want to complicate my mission with your affairs. Captain, I’m from a completely different world from you and your crew, and the more time I spend here, the more I feel my own world drifting away. When I talked to Mina a few hours ago, it was the first time in a long time I felt like I was home.”

    Eurobeat bowed his head in sadness.

    “It ties in with what Mina said,” Nif explained. “I need to rediscover my connection to my homeworld by finding familiar faces from that world, but in order to do that, I’ll need to spend time away from you. No offense. Mazkertis is a threat and I’ll gladly kill him if I see him, but I need to feel like I’m making progress towards my own goals at the same time.”

    “SEE!” Seeldier shouted, with a finger pointed at Nif.

    Eurobeat nodded. "You’re a guest here, you can do what you want. But I have to ask: are you absolutely sure about this?"

    "No lol," Nif laughed nervously. "But if Mina was right and I can find my friends here, I can leave this bizarro world, and maybe kill Mazkertis on the way out. Everyone wins... well, apart from a certain P.A.N. wizard."

    Eurobeat stroked his chin in thought. "Now that you mention it, I thought I sensed more beings emanating large amounts of pressure than usual over the past few weeks. I met one when we caused the breakout on Supermax 282, but he disappeared before I could get a hold of him."

    "Oh yeah, you mentioned that earlier. Who do you think he was, and should I be concerned?"

    Eurobeat shook his head. "I don't think so. He seemed to be more of a spoiled brat than a universal threat in the making. Plus, the members of Project D who can sense the same pressure I can are keeping tabs on a lot of other powerful beings. None of them come close to the level of immediate danger that Mazkertis poses… yet."

    Nif nodded and forced a smile, which Eurobeat returned.

    The eurobeat-loving captain then leaped out of the command chair and grabbed a microphone connected to the ship’s intercom. In that moment, all his energy seemed to return to him and erupt from his body in the form of multicolored fireworks, which harmlessly exploded over the bridge, gaining everyone’s attention. Eurobeat danced around the bridge for a moment before returning to the command chair, still excitedly holding the microphone in his hand. His gaze fell on the viewscreen as he brought the microphone to his mouth.

    “Attention, cast and crew of the Night of Fire!” Captain Eurobeat exclaimed, his signature sunglasses magically teleporting back onto his face as he did so. “Our favorite fishman has a new lead on Mazkertis, so I’m sending him on an away mission! Come to the briefing room in half an hour to say your farewells and prepare for a new assignment! Over and out!”

    Eurobeat then tossed the microphone over his shoulder and walked over to talk with Nif privately. A loud smash could be heard as it collided with the wall and fell into a small pile of similarly-discarded microphones next to Lieutenant Parrish’s workstation. Parrish glared daggers at Eurobeat, but he ignored her and gave Nif a friendly fistbump on the shoulder instead.

    “So, where do you want to be dropped off, Nif?” Eurobeat asked.

    “Just the nearest space station will be fine, I don’t really have a preference,” Nif murmured. “Although… I’m gonna need money for food and transport.”

    As if on cue, Eurobeat reached into one of his chest pockets and whipped out what looked like a flat metal stick, with numerous circular indents and small bumps that looked almost like Braille. Nif hesitantly took the object in his hand and examined it.

    “Don’t spend it all on sweets,” Eurobeat chuckled. “Let’s see, we’re in Grid 775-A, so the closest space station should be…” He waited for a response, but none came. “I SAID, the nearest space station should be…”

    “Oh, the nearest space station is Atuar Sadiares, sir!” a bridge ensign nervously replied.

    “Honestly, I don’t know what I pay you people for. Or with. What is this, anyway?” Eurobeat snatched the object out of Nif’s hands to examine it himself.

    “That’s a credit stack, you dolt!” Parrish shouted from her station. “It’s probably been so long since you earned some you’ve forgotten what it looks like!”

    “No, Leslie, it’s been so long since I needed some I’ve forgotten what it looks like! After all, who needs money when you have looks like this?” he said, swishing his beautiful golden locks and flashing her a grin.

    Leslie responded by pulling out a pair of P90s from beneath her station and levelling them with Eurobeat’s head.

    “Point taken. Crew, set a course for Atuar Sadiares and activate the v-NRG drive!”

    “SEE!” Seeldier shouted excitedly.

    As the Night of Fire’s v-NRG drive started to power up, sending vibrations throughout the ship, Eurobeat returned the credit stack to Nif, who expressed his gratitude with a thumbs-up.

    Time will crawl tonight, we’re getting closer to the end, boy…” Eurobeat sang quietly as the Night of Fire rocketed into hyperspace, leaving a rainbow-colored trail in its wake.


    Nif hadn’t heard of Atuar Sadiares before, so the Night of Fire’s computer interface informed him that not only was it the most populated commercial station in the area around the Helix Nebula, it was also the closest inhabited location to Teruga Prime, which provided its vendors with large amounts of revenue from customers travelling to and from the planet. One downside to its galactic position, however, was that its lax laws, state neutrality, and relative isolation from the rest of the galaxy made it a hotspot for pirates and criminals fleeing the arm of the law, as well as a perfect target for any interstellar empire to conquer and assimilate.

    So no-one should be surprised that Atuar Sadiares would fall to the ZFT.

    When the Night of Fire dropped out of hyperspace to see that the once-teeming civilian flight space around the station had since been replaced with a massive ZFT blockade, everyone was shocked - apart from Nif, of course, whose stoic demeanor was unaffected. He recognized the name “ZFT” from the Battle of Saskana - a conflict that he had stumbled through not long after his arrival in this bizarre universe - but as far as he knew, the ZFT were just another faction vying for power, with little relevance to him and his mission.

    One of the communications officers squinted at his workstation. “Captain, we’re receiving an audio transmission from...”

    “SEE!” Seeldier shouted, pointing at the blockade ahead.

    “...Yeah, I guess it’s from the blockade.”

    “Play it,” Eurobeat ordered.

    “Attention, visitors to Atuar Sadiares. This is a pre-recorded message from Governor Shockwave of ZFT. The ZFT have come to a mutual agreement with Lan Calris, the sole proprietor of Atuar Sadiares, to assume the responsibilities of Atuar Sadiares’ security team in light of its recent invasion by members of the Argenta Guild and the conflict surrounding the Terugan Civil War on Teruga Prime. All ships will be subject to a full scan and registry and ownership history of all ships will be verified before you can proceed. Refusal to comply with these new regulations will not be tolerated. A preliminary scan of your ship for hostilities has been performed and you have been cleared to proceed into Platform 068-D. Do not deviate from this flight path unless you are leaving Atuar Sadiares’ airspace. Enjoy your visit, but observe the laws of the ZFT.”

    Eurobeat shook his head in bewilderment and turned to Nif. “Sorry, I had no idea that the ZFT had taken control of Atuar Sadiares. Guess we’ve been so focused on tracking Mazkertis and the Kindred of Dawn these past few weeks that we’ve missed what’s on the news. It’s not too late to leave, so we can take you to another station if you like.”

    “404 heck not found,” Nif quipped. “As long as I can get in, get a ship, and leave, I’m set.”

    “Are you sure?”

    “Yeah, the sooner I start, the better.”

    “Alright then, your wish is my command,” Eurobeat acquiesced. “Crew, take us in.”

    “Copy that,” a member of the navigations team replied as he entered the commands on his console that sent the ship on its path.


    The two ZFT soldiers stationed on Platform 068-D had seen many strange things in the course of their lives, but nothing like the Night of Fire - a flying WW2-era naval battlecruiser that seemed to have been outfitted with an FTL propulsion system and other space-age modifications. Both quietly agreed to act professionally in spite of such weirdness and stood to attention as the ship descended onto the platform, deployed a set of landing gear, and touched down. Moments later, a ramp extended from the side of the ship that carried Niflheim and Captain Eurobeat to the floor of the platform in front of the soldiers.

    The soldiers, who were both male humanoids clad in full ZFT armor with visored helmets, stepped forward to assess the newcomers.

    “Welcome to Atuar Sadiares,” the first soldier said with a bored tone. “Please state your full name, place of origin, and business aboard the station for official record.”

    Eurobeat smirked. “Space Pirate Captain Eurobeat. Eurobeat. Fun,” he replied, answering all three questions.

    In response, the soldier shook for a moment and made some kind of choking sound. To the others around him, it sounded like he was suppressing a cough, but Eurobeat could tell what it really was: stifled laughter.

    “No, seriously though, I’m just here to drop my friend off,” Eurobeat clarified, with a knowing look at the soldier.

    “I see,” the soldier grunted, turning his attention to Nif. “In that case, please state your full name, place of origin, and business aboard the station for official record.”

    “Niflheim,” Nif mumbled. “I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s what I’m here to find out.”

    The second soldier, whose gaze had been fixed on Nif since the beginning, raised a finger to ask him a question: “Are you one of those vampires?”

    “God damn it, Dave!” the first soldier snapped at his partner. “That’s not one of the questions we’re supposed to ask!”

    The second soldier seemed somewhat taken aback. “Actually, Mike, you’ll find that we’re authorized to probe arrivals for as much information as we want, especially if we suspect they may have illegal or questionable motives…”

    “We’ve talked about this, Dave,” the first soldier huffed. “There are no vampire death cults out to get us!”

    Dave crossed his arms. “Then why did we join the ZFT and leave Earth in the first place?”

    “Because helping out a bunch of aliens cost us our jobs, numbnuts! It had nothing to do with vampires.”

    “But there are vampires on Earth, though. I’ve seen them!” Dave exclaimed.

    “No there aren’t,” Mike growled.

    “Yes there are!”

    “No there aren’t!”

    “Yes. There. Are.”

    Mike and Dave stopped and glared at each other for a moment before they both realized that Nif and Captain Eurobeat were still there in front of them. Both soldiers, clearly embarrassed, cursed under their breath and stood back upright.

    “Sorry about my partner,” Mike said, facepalming. “He’s a headcase, and it’s our first day here. Please don’t report us! We really need to keep this job.”

    Nif looked at Mike, then Dave, then back again. He opened his mouth to respond, but could not help but burst out laughing.

    “Report you? Of course I won’t report you… if you let me in right now.”

    “Oh, of course, sir!” Mike grovelled, stepping aside to allow Nif to pass.

    Nif shook his head and suppressed laughter of his own. Even in this galactic space-age and a totalitarian empire like the ZFT, there were still incompetent workers to be found - something that was so undeniably human. He looked over to the entrance to the station, but before he could proceed, he had one last matter to attend to. He turned back to Captain Eurobeat and extended a hand in offer of a handshake, which Eurobeat gladly took.

    “I’ll miss having you around, fishman,” Eurobeat said, smiling sadly. “I hope this isn’t goodbye.”

    “I hope it is. No offense, but this universe, timeline, whatever it is is far too weird for me,” Nif replied. “And I have a world of my own to get back to.”

    “Don’t we all?” Eurobeat chuckled.

    Eurobeat produced a pen from a pocket on his uniform and gestured for Nif to hand him his journal. Nif obliged, so Eurobeat scribbled something on the last page and handed it back.

    “If you need some help or change your mind, that’s an address to a MacDaniel in Bourba City on Malchior IV - one of Project D’s headquarters. Ask for Eurobeat.”

    Nif nodded, slipped the journal back into a pocket in his jeans, and faced the two hapless guards again.

    “Thanks,” he said simply as he pushed past them into the station.


    The interior of Atuar Sadiares was much like Nif imagined it would be - a metropolis teeming with all kinds of human and alien species, some of which he recognized from works of fiction on his homeworld, and some he didn’t. Ahead of him was a massive courtyard filled with bustling crowds that moved between countless shops and vendors. ZFT soldiers vigilantly patrolled the area, watchful for any trouble or disruption. Beyond these sights and sounds, the massive metal numbers “068” were affixed to the far wall of the complex, which Nif surmised was the number of the floor he was on. He started to doubt that he could ever find a ship suitable for his mission in this chaotic place, but he dispelled these thoughts and decided to search the floor in the hope that he was wrong.

    Nif scanned the signs of all the shops closest to him, but none of them looked like spaceship dealers, even the ones whose signs were written in alien runes instead of the Common alphabet (the most widespread language in the universe, which was suspiciously similar to Earth English). Nif moved forward through the crowd to get a closer look at the rest of the shops, but the results were the same, so he resigned to the fact that he was probably on the wrong floor altogether. For all he knew, the station had a whole floor dedicated to spaceship trading. In order to proceed, he would have to do something he truly hated: ask for directions.

    Nif recalled that the ZFT soldiers outside had been helpful enough to let him in, so he thought he’d take a chance and ask the ZFT for help again. He walked up to another pair of masked soldiers and waved to catch their attention.

    “h,” Nif said somewhat awkwardly. “Can you tell me where to find a spaceship dealer?”

    The two guards slowly looked Nif up and down, then at each other, then back at Nif again.

    “Can we see your identification, please?”

    “Identification?” Damn, he thought. He hadn’t been asked for or received any identification papers on arrival, but then again, the two soldiers who assessed him weren’t exactly professionals. A worrying thought then dawned on him: by impatiently rushing to get into the station, he could have actually screwed himself over by skipping an important part of the process.

    “Yes, your identification,” the soldier replied irately. “All arrivals to Atuar Sadiares must be marked. Please display your identification.”

    Nif hesitated, so both soldiers produced stunsticks - metal batons that ignited with stunning electric charges - from holsters around their waists and prepared to advance. Likewise, Nif activated his Evolve power to manifest a thick carapace-like armor across his chest and braced himself for an attack. Here we go, he thought.

    But before either side could strike first, a hooded man in brown robes stepped between them and waved his hands in front of the soldiers' faces. “Here you go!” he cheered.

    The soldiers instantly stopped in their tracks and deactivated their stunsticks. “Thank you, that'll be all,” they spoke in unison; the irritation in their voices vanished as if they had been put under some kind of spell.

    “Okay, bye!” the hooded man replied, waving his hand in front of their faces again. In response, both soldiers turned away and continued on their patrol.

    The hooded man then turned to Nif and pulled back his hood, revealing his face. He was an adult human with light brown skin, short black hair, brown eyes, and a large, goofy grin. He laughed loudly, grabbed one of Nif’s webbed hands, and shook it with great enthusiasm. Nif was vastly confused (but what else was new), so he just went with the flow in the hope the man would explain himself. Fortunately, he did… sort of.

    “Hello, I am Seran Dol-Abi! That Jedi mind treeck, works every time!” he chuckled. “Well, almost every time. Anyway, eet ees so good to meet you!”

    “Likewise, I think,” Nif replied, dissolving his carapace armor but keeping a cautious hand over the credit stick in his right pocket in case ‘Seran’ tried anything funny. “What do you want? All I have are my clothes and a worthless journal with nothing of value to anyone else.”

    “I’m here to help!” Seran explained. “I see your future een the Force! I’m here to help you go and find Meena and your friends!”

    Nif gasped. “You know Mina? Wait... you said ‘Jedi mind trick’. You’re a Jedi that can see the future?”

    “Only beets and peeces,” Seran replied modestly. “But the veesions I had guided me to you. Contrary to what you believe, you can’t do thees alone. Come, let’s walk and talk.”

    Seran beckoned Nif to follow him through the crowd towards a row of elevators at the far side of the courtyard, so Nif complied and followed his lead.

    “So what’s the status of the Jedi and Sith in this galaxy?” Nif asked, chuckling. “What period is this? KOTOR? Clone Wars? Rise of the Empire?”

    “What nonsense are you talkeeng about?” Seran snapped, his grin disappearing. “The Jedi and Seeth are mostly gone from this galaxee. For manee people, Jorten Karzdus was the last beacon of hope for the Jedi, but he was keelled hundreds of years ago. There are rumors that hees speereet leeves on, and has even gained a new bodee, but I don’t know. The Seeth are the same story. No-one knows. Any more questions?”

    Nif nodded, processing this information. “Loads, but first let’s talk about why you want to help me.”

    “That’s easee,” Seran replied, his smile returning. “I sensed your comeeng een the Force. You are Niflheim, a man from another world whose desteenee radiates all across the Force. Eenveeseeble threads connect all liveeng beings in thees uneeverse, but so manee seem to converge on you. On your quest alreadee, you have met manee people who have alreadee been featured in the chroneecles of the Users. Eeven the two soldiers who let you een had been featured before, and weel posseeblee be featured again. As one of the last Jedi een thees galaxee, I weel be your guide as we meet others on the same path through desteenee.”

    Nif was stunned. The fact that Star Wars: The Last Jedi wanted to help him instead of rob him hardly seemed possible, but if there was one thing he had learned, it was that in this universe, anything was possible. He would continue to give Seran the benefit of the doubt… for now.

    “Well, someone who can tell the future could come in handy.”

    “I can’t see the future… especially when time is collapseeng so fast,” Seran replied with a frown. “Eet’s more like I eenterpret eet from the vague veesions that I see.”

    “Time is collapsing… yeah, it sure seems like it,” Nif replied, sharing Seran’s concern on that subject. “Alright then Seran, if you’re right, what do we do now?”

    “Eesn’t it obveeous? We find a sheep!”

    Nif and Seran then arrived at the elevator and entered it. Seran peered at a numbered keypad inside and, after a few moments of what looked like hesitation or concentration, typed the number “137”. A cheerful tone sounded and the two wanderers felt the elevator rocket up through the station towards Floor 137.

    “A sheep?” Nif asked, raising an eyebrow. “What would we need a sheep for?”

    “Not that kind of sheep! A sheep that flies, you know!” Seran sighed. He then mimicked the flight of a spacecraft with his hand, complete with whooshing noises.

    “Right. No offense, but your accent is… difficult,” Nif pointed out. “What accent is it, anyway? I’ve never heard accents of other worlds before… much.”

    Seran gave a sad smile. “You know, out of all the people I’ve met thees year, not one of them has asked where I’m from,” he chuckled. “I was born on Dantooeene as Seranithus Ahumaliahu Khazav. Early een my life, I joined the Dolissima Orthodoxee and became a Servant of Abirthan, so both these names were added to my own. I left the clan when I stumbled upon a horreeble conspiracee and went eento hideeng on Tatooeene, but kept the names they gave me and contracted them to spite them. Anee more questions?”

    Nif nodded, processing this information. “Sure. You didn’t tell me what your accent is,” he pointed out. “If I’m gonna be stuck on this world for a while, I might as well learn as much as I can about it.”

    “Veree observent of you,” Seran beamed. “My accent ees part of the geeft that was geeven to me by the Orthodoxee, said to be eenhereeted from the great EEEEEE heemself.”

    “WHAT?” Nif almost shouted, unable to conceal the surprise in his voice. “EEEEEE, with six E’s?”

    “Oh, you’ve heard of heem?” Seran gulped.

    “I…” Nif began, but found himself trailing off as he considered the implications of EEEEEE’s existence in this timeline. EEEEEE was the name of one of the most powerful beings on his homeworld: a disembodied consciousness with the power to crush reality around him on a whim - and was one of his most trusted friends and allies. If he existed in this timeline too, Nif’s journey home just got a lot easier. Nif composed himself and muttered “Yeah, you could say that.”

    “Then eet seems we have more een common than I thought,” Seran smiled.


    Meanwhile, in Pangaea Castle, two helmeted Judoon policemen hauled Akoran Zicks through what seemed like an endless series of ornate marble corridors. Zicks himself was trapped in stasis lock: the stasis cuffs around his hands prevented him from moving any part of his body below his head, so all he could do was reluctantly “admire” the architecture around him and ask fruitless questions as his custodians dragged him across the carpeted floor. On both sides of the corridor stood countless marble statues of ancient aliens, presumably previous figureheads of the Galactic Government, who seemed to stare down at him in accusation or shame.

    “Remind me where I’m being taken?” Zicks asked with a smirk.

    “YOU WILL BE TAKEN TO LORD NAKAMURA,” the senior of the two Judoon grunted.

    “Sorry, could you repeat that?”


    “Got it, thanks,” Zicks muttered. He had hoped that he would be escorted by droids that he could have fun trying to short-circuit with paradoxical questions, but he was not surprised to be handed over to a platoon of Judoon instead.

    Judoon, humanoid rhinocerids that originated from the planet of the same name, were far from the most respectable species on the Galactic Government’s payroll, but they were among the most dependable. Obedient, strong, and most importantly, dumb, the Judoon would complete almost any task if the money was right, which in the Galactic Government’s case, it almost always was. That, coupled with their excellent track record in the service of the (now long-since defunct) Shadow Proclamation, the Judoon made perfect soldiers for the Galactic Government - on the condition that they did not remove their helmets in the presence of nobility; after all, Judoon were far from the galactic standard of beauty. The Judoon who took offense to this tended to keep away from Mariejois, but others swallowed their pride to complete missions there for a few thousand extra credits.

    Earlier that day, Zicks had been handed over to the Judoon and taken to a station in orbit of Mariejois to be “processed”, which had to be done before he could be allowed to land on the planet’s surface. He was not told where he was being taken or why he was being taken there, but as a prisoner of the Galactic Government, he was given no choice but to comply. “Processing” was a tedious and time-consuming process that had resulted in Zicks having to complete four “authentications”: a blood test, a full-body X-ray scan, a scan for irregular chronon particles to verify that he originated from the current time period, and a tissue extraction to verify that he had been born naturally and not grown in a clone tank. These tests had left Zicks tired and irritated, but he was relieved by the knowledge that the Galactic Government’s own identification machines had, in their own words, admitted that he was ‘Akoran Zicks’.

    Zicks was about to ask how much longer the journey would take when a massive set of double doors, adorned with a massive golden “G” and a plaque that read “CHAMBER OF THE GOROSEI - MASAHITO NAKAMURA”, came into his line of sight. He breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that he had finally arrived and that if Nakamura-sama had any mercy, he would soon be freed from this nightmarish paralysis.

    “So, father wants to know how his son could betray his dream,” Zicks mused. “I’ve been looking forward to this.”

    The Judoon ignored him and pushed open the door, revealing one of the most elegantly decorated rooms that Zicks had ever seen. A crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling and the walls held huge, lavish paintings depicting what Zicks assumed were major historical events. Masahito Nakamura stood before a window at the far side of the room, looking out at the court of Pangaea Castle and the crystal mountains on the horizon as light from the roaring fireplace radiated over the back of his white suit.

    Before Zicks could say a word to his father, two muscular, male, blue-skinned humanoids appeared in front of him and tilted their heads to the side in curiosity, watching him with an emotionless but unsettling stare.

    “Oh,” Zicks muttered, the disappointment evident in his voice. He recognized these beings as “Psymancers” - members of the Guild of Psymancers, an ancient organization of psychic beings whose purpose it was to protect members of the Galactic Government (in addition to other local governments) from the influence of other telepaths. In a universe where telepaths, shapeshifters, and people with other duplicitous powers were allowed to roam free and participate in every level of society, it was not hard to see why the Guild of Psymancers’ existence was necessary.

    Zicks had already completed all the authentications he needed, so he assumed that the Psymancers were there to help determine why he had betrayed the Galactic Government. He felt uncomfortable around Psymancers, so he often secretly ingested ‘Psyblock’ - a drug that strengthened and protected the mind from telepaths - in their presence, but he had encountered much fewer Psymancers than he expected. Perhaps the rumors that the guild’s numbers had been thinned in recent years by parasites that fed on mental energy were true.

    The two Psymancers in front of Zicks held out their hands towards him and approached. He knew what that meant: they would soon clasp their hands over his face and invade his mind, to sort through his thoughts and memories like files in a cabinet. Zicks closed his eyes, took a deep breath and braced himself for what was sure to be an unpleasant experience.


    Zicks opened one of his eyes in surprise. That voice belonged to Masahito Nakamura, who ceased his musings at the window and turned his furious gaze to his son.

    “Thank you, Psymancers, but I’d like to hear my son explain himself in his own words, if that’s alright with you,” Nakamura said through gritted teeth, his professional demeanor barely concealing his inner rage.

    The two Psymancers nodded and stood down, but the Judoon marched over to Nakamura for further orders.

    “Put him in that chair over there,” Nakamura instructed, gesturing at one of two lavish chairs in front of a fireplace in the center of the room. “Then your mission will be complete. You’ll receive your payment within the hour.”

    Without a word, one of the Judoon hauled the still-immobilized Zicks over to the chair and shoved him into it while the other handed Nakamura what looked like a metal business card. “Thank you for your business,” he grunted.

    Nakamura nodded and silently watched as the two Judoon turned around and marched out of the room. Now that he was alone (save for the Psymancers, who knew of all his business anyway), he took a seat opposite his son and glared at him in silence.

    The tension in the room was almost unbearable, but every time Zicks opened his mouth to talk, his estranged father planted his finger on his mouth and grew even angrier. Minutes passed that felt like hours, so Zicks felt a wave of relief wash over him, albeit one that was accompanied by confusion, when Nakamura finally spoke.

    “Who are you?”

    Zicks returned a confused look. “What?”

    In response, Nakamura grabbed Zicks’s face and held it in place threateningly. The stasis cuffs on Zicks only affected movement below the neck, so he could still move his head, but was uncomfortably prevented from doing so by Nakamura’s tight grip. Zicks tried to hide his fear as Nakamura’s own furious eyes burned into his own.

    “I know my son,” Nakamura whispered, his thick Japanese accent even more noticeable. “Raito Nakamura lived his life by my side. He shared our dream for the Government and vowed that he would uphold his duties whatever the cost. Our machines say you are my son, but you cannot be. So... who are you?”

    “I’d be a lot more direct if you took off these cuffs,” Zicks bargained.

    “It would be even more direct if I had my Psymancers extract the information from your brain,” Nakamura pointed out with a chuckle. “I’m giving you a chance to explain yourself first. If I were you, I’d take it.”

    As much as Zicks hated to admit it, Nakamura was right. “Fine,” he sighed.

    “So… continue,” Nakamura said. He let go of Zicks and sat back in his chair, the tips of his fingers pressed together in anticipation.

    A smug smile spread over Zicks’s face. “I thought you’d never ask. Your machines were right. I’m not a time traveller, or a clone, or a shapeshifter. But there’s one more thing that your authentication machines don’t check for. Your Psymancers can see it thanks to the Cortexiphan that was pumped into them in their childhoods. But when it comes to this, even you, in your infinite power and wisdom, are blind.”

    “What?” Nakamura asked, uncertainty creeping into his voice.

    “Can’t you see?” Zicks gloated, throwing his head back in laughter. “I shimmer!”

    Chikushō!” Nakamura cursed, jumping out of his seat. “Is this true?” he asked the Psymancers.

    Yes...” the Psymancers spoke in unison. “You instructed us to be silent.

    “Scan him!” Nakamura raged.

    “Scan all you like, it won’t work!” Zicks laughed. “I’ve swallowed enough psyblock to give Sefer Yetzirah a migraine!”

    “Psyblock is but a shield, and shields can be broken,” Nakamura threatened. “Scan him.”

    The Psymancers nodded and planted their hands on Zicks’s face. His smug smile disappeared as he felt the overwhelming force of the Psymancers’ mental power slam against his mind, like someone was repeatedly punching his brain. The pain caused him to scream internally, but he continued to scheme even now: he knew that even if the Psymancers discovered the secrets in his mind, his mission could still be completed.

    “Where is he from?” Nakamura asked the Psymancers while pacing around the room.

    “I’ll tell you that myself!” Zicks shouted between the thin blue fingers of the Psymancers, hoping to get one last word out before his mind was overridden. “You and your people have laid ruin to my universe for thousands of years! No more! Your evil destroyed our Galactic Government and scattered us across the winds. No more! Provoke a lion for too long and that lion will attack! We will enact on you a thousand times the pain you caused us!”

    “Name yourself!” Nakamura shouted.

    “I am Raito Nakamura-” Zicks began, but his following words were garbled as the pain of the mental invasion became too overpowering to continue. Instead, Zicks’s thoughts were transferred to the Psymancers as they processed his entire mind and all his memories. Details of his life became visualized as a series of mental images that flashed through the Psymancers’ minds. With their enhanced brain power, the Psymancers processed all of these memories at rapid speed, as if seeing Zicks’s life being played on fast-forward.

    As far as the Psymancers could tell, the memories of this Zicks were mostly what they were supposed to be, with a major divergence point in his early adulthood, where some kind of cataclysm obliterated the Galactic Government in this version of events. The effects of the still-lingering psyblock prevented the Psymancers from looking much deeper into these events to learn more, but wherever they looked, one image seemed to always linger in his mind: a large prismic black monolith that they knew all too well. Both Psymancers withdrew from Zicks’s mind and turned to their Gorosei to deliver the news.

    Nakamura-sama, we believe this man originates from the Shattered Mirror Universe.


    Back on Atuar Sadiares’s Platform 068-D, Mike and Dave prepared for the end of their shift by packing away the various scanners and cataloguing equipment that they should have, but failed to, use to process new arrivals earlier that day. Mike groaned despairingly as he realized his mistake, but Dave remained oblivious, humming a tune to himself as he polished a sidearm that he had never and would likely never use. For a moment, Mike considered telling Dave to look out towards the stars and think about a rabbit farm as he put him out of his misery, but he knew that he couldn’t fire a gun either, especially not on someone who was no more to blame for their bad luck as he was.

    At that thought, Mike looked out at the stars himself: after all, with his current luck, he could use a shooting star to wish upon.

    As if on cue, Mike noticed something glittering among the stars that seemed to shine brighter and get closer with each moment that passed. He snatched a pair of binoculars from the ground and zoomed in on the object. He blinked and rubbed his eyes in disbelief, but what he was seeing was real.

    “Dave, are you seeing this?”

    Dave stopped tinkering with his sidearm and followed Mike’s gaze out into open space, where he also saw what was was sure to be a Christmas miracle.

    Somehow, in the blackness of space, six reindeer pulled a red and golden sleigh with Santa Claus himself at the reigns. Sat at his side was GregF, a man who also lived in the hearts of (admittedly now adult) children across the universe, and FAAAK-Cupcake, a bizarre, cartoonish bald man who Santa had saved from an untimely fate on Meme World in Christmas 2014 when he fell out of the falling Log Cabin and crashed into his sleigh. FAAAK-Cupcake stood at the back of the sleigh with his arms outstretched, screaming warped versions of Christmas melodies at the top of his ear-splitting voice. Mike wasn’t sure if what he was seeing was a miracle or some kind of evil omen, but Dave had never heard anything so beautiful in all his life. A single tear fell from his eye as FAAAK-Cupcake’s melodies reached his ear.

    “I DON’T WANT A LOT FOR CHRISTMAAAAAAS, there is just onethingIneeeed… I don’t care about the presAAAAAAnts under the FAAAAKing ChrAAAAAstmas tree… I just WAAAAANT you formyown, more than you can ever knOOOW… make my wish CAAAAme true… all I want for ChristMAAAAAS is… CRAAAAAaaaAAAAAAACK! MERRY FAAAAAAAKING CHRISTMAAAAAS!!”


    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Mazkertis Paradox team!

    Last edited by Kon on Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : name change: Pinnacle > Pangaea Castle)
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:00 am

    Chapter 16: Void

    OOS: Most of this chapter was written by Zev, and he deserves the credit! You can probably tell where my additions come in: it’s where the quality starts dropping. Anyway, thanks again for taking time to contribute to this, Zev. I wish you the best in all your endeavors, because you deserve the best. You’re one heck of a writer!

    Two weeks after the Battle of the Second Heaven…

    On an empty, dead world, deep in the bowels of the planet’s cold mantle, a network of catacombs and crypts had been dug out in ages past. The residents of this world had poor technology when they were alive, at least when compared to the likes of the Malchiorans or the Juraians, meaning they had no means by which to escape their planet’s orbit. When their sun began to grow old and die, their prophets discovered their demise was nigh and told their people to ‘prepare.’ Their final years were spent excavating these tombs, in which they died when their far-flung star went out not with a bang, but with a whimper. They wasted away in the cold and the darkness, and their bones now littered the many tunnels and tombs, the walls of which were forlornly carved with some last memorial to their culture and edifices.

    Here is where a stirring in space and time arose, casting the dust of millennia into small cyclones and streams. At the center of the effect was a blot of blood red-tinted blackness, studded with imitation stars and planets as the seething redness coursed and pulsated, all growing in size and magnitude. It stretched upwards and into a sort of oval shape, though never growing more than a centimeter thick. First to emerge was the tip of a rusty staff, followed by the rest of it, the crook on top clutched by a hand cased in a metallic black glove. His form was draped in the blackest of cloaks, clinging to his deceptively frail body, drooping like the broken wing of a dead crow. His face was hidden behind a skull-like mask, pitted and scarred and turned ruddy with age. Out of the two eye sockets glowed a pair of hateful red pinpricks, two crimson points of light that made the bones rattle when his gaze swept over them, searching to see if he was safe.

    As he dragged himself out of the portal, Mazkertis bore a visible limp that forced his weight heavily onto his staff. Behind him, the hand not occupied with his staff dragged a knight with black armor, knobby fingers wrapped around a bluish plume atop the helm. “What a monstrous effort it took to put you down down,” Mazkertis literally thought out loud, hauling his body through the portal with a glowering red ripple across its surface. With his chronic loneliness gnawing at him, and his old injuries rendering him mute, Mazkertis often made a habit of telegraphing his thoughts outward to feel just a bit less isolated and break his usual silence. It didn’t help much, but it was still something.

    He dragged the armored body through the portal with him, tossing it brusquely to the floor and revealing a wound in the chest, blood spattered on the shorn metal around the edges. “You nearly did me in, there,” the time-wizard commended the prone form of the knight with non-specific telepathy, sitting heavily on a sarcophagus carved out of the floor. “Luckily for me,” Mazkertis gave a scratchy wheeze, leaning his staff on the wall so he could massage his leg, “you’re not so bright. Well…You weren’t.” He began to set to work mending his leg, working his time magic through his fingers to undo the rent flesh and bone. Little blood red Roman numerals drifted around his fingers, as he labored slowly to rewind the time in and around his wound so he could heal it.

    One must work carefully, using time magic to heal,” Mazkertis explained the nature of his slow going in continued telepathy, ostensibly to the fallen Dire Knight’s madness-polluted mind. “Since we’ve arrived in a different place, I must do it just a little bit at a time, else I might just put the repaired portion back where exactly I lost it. Since I’ve had a while to get in practice, though, it’s not so difficult for me. Just have to take time with it.” His bony leg was already seeing marked improvement, those careful fingers knitting the flesh and bone back in place. It took several minutes, but he was able to get his leg serviceable to rise up, and pace around a bit. “Now, let’s see where we are,” the time wizard thought, getting quite chummy with his fallen foe. “You chased me up and down the local spacetime, somehow. I think we passed by these people when they were alive, as a matter of fact. Like little lizards they were, or perhaps salamanders.” He rubbed his slender fingers through the heavy dust on the walls, taking a look at the relief carvings. “Ahh, see? I was right!” Mazkertis beamed from behind his pale mask, tapping the tip of his staff’s crook on the carvings. There were images of little salamander-like creatures working laboriously, digging the tunnels deep and leaving corpses as they fell to the work.

    With a sigh at the morbid depictions, Mazkertis fiddled with the crook atop his staff. Either end of the bent adornment had a rough contour, as if it a significant portion of the whole had been snapped off. There were embellishments along the outer arc reminiscent of cogs on a gear, and the crook sat atop a thick, squashed-looking spheroid base which affixed it to the haft of the staff. “You know,” Mazkertis telepathically addressed the unmoving body of the speechless Dire Knight once more, “I never contemplated it much, but I suppose it’s fitting that a wizard such as myself be equipped with a staff. I formed this trinket a few months before our fateful meeting, as a matter of fact, and decided to furnish myself with it to aid my cause.” As Mazkertis continued to ramble to himself, he failed to notice a sudden glimmer of red in Dire Knight’s visor. He did not take notice until the clanking of the dusky plate armor signaled Dire Knight was rising. Then, he turned to face the abominable figure, who rose with a growl like some rabid beast.

    Snarling and screaming, Dire Knight snatched a spinal cord off of the floor. It was quickly engulfed in a black mist, its surface traced by strange writing that glowed blood red. Howling with rage, Dire Knight lunged at Mazkertis, trying to take a swing at him. The wizard used a portal to deflect Dire Knight’s strike into the wall nearby, before striking out with his staff. A dull clang rang out as he connected, followed by the first twelve Roman numerals surrounding the armored figure. Glowing red clock hands formed as well, rapidly ticking by with accelerated hours and minutes. Dire Knight was suspended in the clockwork glyph for a prolonged moment, but when it faded away with sparks of hazy red light, the armored figure was sent flying down the cave. Smashed into the wall so hard it cracked for meters all around, Dire Knight was still for a few moments. As Dire Knight struggled to free himself, Mazkertis made haste to escape through the tunnels towards the surface. There was no telling what awaited him there, but if he stayed down here to fight, he wasn’t certain he could weather Dire Knight’s rampage and slay him without taking an unacceptable amount of damage.

    For several meters Mazkertis hurried along, occasionally making short hops through portals to accelerate himself. He could hear Dire Knight bellowing up after him, but he still had no idea how close the surface was! All of a sudden, a jawbone went whizzing just over his shoulder, transformed by the same effect as the spinal cord from earlier. It embedded itself deeply in the wall, and Dire Knight howled with fury that he’d missed. Mazkertis knew he was lucky to be alive right then: from what he’d gathered of Dire Knight’s abilities, what he’d used on those bones was called Knight of Honor: No Knight Dies Empty-Handed. He could turn any object he picked up into an enchanted weapon, powerful enough to cleave the stone of these caves extremely deeply. Mazkertis tried to hurry to get out of Dire Knight’s effective range, and eventually made it to a large, dusty cavern. He had a hunch he was close to the surface, but there were no more tunnels to go higher up! Just as he tried to wrack his brains for his next move, Mazkertis was forced to dodge an enchanted rib bone that barely whiffed his head.

    Stood in the tunnel’s mouth was Dire Knight, issuing a black mist and glowering an angry scarlet behind his visor. Seething with fury, Dire Knight raised his gauntleted hand overhead, fingers outstretched. The black mist around him coursed and fluctuated violently, struck through with red beams of light. A single shard of crimson energy formed and elongated itself in Dire Knight’s hand, before it was bound tightly by pitted black chains. A sword was thusly summoned to Dire Knight’s hand, its darkened, pitted blade etched up and down its length with glowing red characters. Wrapped with chains about its guard, the sword oozed with a vile red radiance that cast distorted shadows on the walls, as if there were many more figures in the room than just Dire Knight and Mazkertis. Crouching and snarling, Dire Knight bounded towards Mazkertis with sudden and shocking force! The stone floor was gouged by his boots, the air split with a scream by his savage sword. He was upon Mazkertis far too soon, and only a spell to hasten the wizard’s own progression through time allowed him to dodge.

    This spell took a lot out of Mazkertis, however. Panting raggedly through his mask, he realized he needed to quickly devise a strategy to defeat Dire Knight. As if detecting the attempt to strategize, Dire Knight howled with rage as he loped after Mazkertis. A spell to conjure a fireball was enough to slow the berserker down, so that Mazkertis could navigate behind him via portal. He believed himself to be close to the surface, and would need to ascend to get his bearings for a proper departure. So, as Dire Knight wheeled on him yet again, Mazkertis gripped his staff tightly. Armor clanking with a horrible din, Dire Knight made ready to leap on the time wizard sword-first. However, he suddenly found himself caught in another time snare, but this was not all. Tiny balls of fire formed around Dire Knight, frozen in time with him so they could not explode. As the spell freezing him in time began to degenerate, Mazkertis readied another Haste spell to replace it. It required expert timing, but that was one of Mazkertis’s most integral skills.

    As soon as the time snare faded, Dire Knight was released, only to find the Haste spell rapidly accelerating time around him! The fireballs all exploded as well, plus a sneaky land mine-style trap spell Mazkertis had frozen in time underneath Dire Knight’s feet. The explosion sent Dire Knight rocketing into the air, bellowing and screaming with pain and fury. When he reached the ceiling, he hit with an outrageous amount of force, shaking the cavern at the sheer magnitude. Dire Knight busted through several meters of bedrock, and ended up flying through and through to the surface! Mazkertis could see the stars twinkling, he could feel the stale air of the cavern replaced by the slightly-less-stale air of the world beyond. Forming a portal up to the edge of the hole in the ceiling, Mazkertis strolled on through with a stretch and a yawn.

    When he finally made it to the surface, he gazed at the ruined, dead world around him. Mazkertis was in what appeared to be a guard tower, a jump he made to survey his surroundings before absorbing the life force of the Dire Knight. The tower’s roof had broken apart, with much of the sky visible from where he was standing. Mazkertis did not see anyone near him, so he prepared to leap down to the dying Knight at the base of the tower.

    Suddenly, a magenta orb of plasma knocked him down. Mazkertis spun on the ground to face his attacker. Underneath his mask, his eyebrow cocked upwards in confusion at the humanoid standing in front of him. The creature had crimson skin, a silver right eye with no left eye, a short, blunted muzzle, shoulder-length, messy white hair, horns, and narrow limbs with white talons on his hands and feet. His torso and lower arms were draped in gray robings that were little more than rags, and he wore loose brown pants tied down at the shins with gray, dusty bandages that also wrapped around the middle part of his feet. His name was Wekiga.

    “You took the bait,” Wekiga said, jeering at Mazkertis in his ethereal voice. “I’m rather astonished.”

    Mazkertis reeled away from his new enemy once he saw dark fire form around Wekiga’s hands. The wizard stood up and walked backwards, reaching for his staff and twirling it. He was not out of the woods just yet.

    “I planted the thought of the Nightmares and of the Dire Knights, and brainwashed your little friend down there to leave a trail,” Wekiga explained, cackling. “You moronically followed, and you have come right to me. I’ve heard of your little crusade, Mazkertis. As much as I despise this universe, the fact that you want to kill Zev conflicts with my own goals. So, you must be disposed of.”

    Wekiga charged at Mazkertis, streams of searing magenta-colored plasma fluttering out of his palms. He swung his hand, the blade-like meta-carpals rushing towards the wizard’s neck. Mazkertis quickly ducked, then kicked at Wekiga’s legs. The creature seemed to fall but quickly teleported away before hitting the ground.

    Mazkertis jerked his head around, searching for Wekiga. The creature reappeared behind his back and jabbed into it. The wizard was knocked back, dropping his staff once again. Wekiga dashed to Mazkertis and attempted to place one of his burning hands on the human’s face. However, the wizard blasted him back with a shadow bolt.

    Wekiga staggered. Mazkertis reached for his staff and used it to cast a spell of green lightning. His enemy seemed to be taken aback at first but shortly began to resist, inching closer and closer to the wizard. Wekiga assumed a spectral form, and the lightning passed through him. He smiled, disappeared, then reappeared in front of Mazkertis. He swung his energized fists at breakneck speeds, each hook more intense than the last. Mazkertis blocked a few of them and crossed his arms in anticipation of the last one. Despite his success in blocking the final blow of this assault, he could feel his the Magitek in his prosthetic arm buckling under Wekiga’s raw power. If he had time, he would have been thankful that his other arm was enchanted enough to withstand such an attack.

    Mazkertis was pushed back by the aforementioned punch, nearly crashing into the wall. He quickly ducked as Wekiga’s leg swung above him, bursting through brick and stone. The wizard disappeared and reappeared several feet away, searching for better ground. Wekiga teleported as well, materializing in front of Mazkertis with hands coated in dark flames.

    Wekiga’s knee jabbed into Mazkertis’s. The wizard cringed in pain, and his staff once again fell, this time through a crevice that sucked it into an unknowable abyss.

    Mazkertis could not react in time to the impending, flaming fist that barrelled towards him. He felt a jarring pain that was compounded by searing, unholy burn. His vision blurred for a second, and he saw the white blob of half of his mask fly away. The cool air seeping into his face confirmed that his hood had been damaged. The wizard pulled it back and focused.

    Roman numerals surrounded him as he conducted his discordant symphony, the one that would reverse time to give him a better footing. The piece of the mask returned, as did his staff. Mazkertis blinked, and he was once again at the point where Wekiga was about to knee him in the chest.

    Wekiga halted, his leg hanging in the air.

    “Well played, well played,” he said, laughing. “But that won’t save you!”

    The fist opposite of his leg sent a plasma blast cascading forward, but Mazkertis easily blocked it with a swing of his staff. The wizard repelled Wekiga using his magic, flinging the creature to a rocky plain several metres away.

    Mazkertis flew towards Wekiga, the latter teleported behind him, kicking him to the ground. The wizard rolled and forced himself back up to his feet, running from a barrage of black flames that crashed all around him.

    Wekiga darted at Mazkertis, his hands blackened.

    “And now, I will devour,” he screeched. He then tackled Mazkertis and attempted to grip his face, crushing the wizard’s mask with his thumbs.

    Mazkertis charged his arm with magical energy and jabbed at Wekiga in the face repeatedly until the creature relented. He then threw a shadow bolt at the monster to keep him at bay, using his robotic arm, waist, and legs to crawl away. But it was in vain. Wekiga slammed his foot into the ground and created a shockwave that jettisoned Mazkertis into the air.

    The wizard flipped around, but took back control, flying away from Wekiga. The latter rocketed upwards and followed Mazkertis. They traded volleys of flame balls but kept blocking each other’s attacks with magical shields.

    Both of the men landed on the ground, forcing it to quake and buckle. They hardly noticed that they had arrived at the open-air throne of Nabonidus . Nightmare soldiers quickly summoned their weapons, and Ravat leaped to his master’s side. Suddenly, the throne floated into the air.

    Mazkertis and Wekiga dashed at each other, both with enchanted hands. The wizard attempted to punch the creature but found that his hand simply went through his body as though it were thin air. It was that damned spectral form again!

    Wekiga grinned. Mazkertis then saw, for a millisecond, flurries of hand movements and slashes, all enhanced by enchantments. Suddenly, he felt as though a hundred punches and cuts hit his body, and was knocked back by an unrelenting force.

    It took several seconds for Mazkertis to recover from the sheer shock of such a devastating attack. He coughed out blood and looked up at his foe. Wekiga had charged himself with magical energy, creating a menacing aura of dark flame. The fiend turned to face Nabonidus.

    “Observe!” he wheezed. “Look upon his death, and despair, son of Void!”

    Suddenly, perhaps out of his survival instincts, Mazkertis flashed back to his fight with Axalara on Saskana. He remembered how she used a wind storm to keep him at bay. This also reminded him of a lesson he had learned so long ago at a mage’s college in the Dark Mirror Universe. Certain magical energies could affect spectral forms!

    Mazkertis flinched as he stood up, feeling the pain of his wounds. He only had one chance, and he had to wait for the right moment. His staff flew towards him, and he caught it, glaring at Wekiga with his crimson eyes. This was not over, not yet.

    He fired an energy blast at Wekiga. Just as predicted, the creature turned himself into a ghost to avoid getting hit by the attack.

    Mazkertis summoned a powerful gale that blew into Wekiga, nearly sending his ghost-like form flying away. The creature returned to his physical form, and gritted his teeth. Wekiga then gasped in surprise. Mazkertis was right in front of him.

    A bright light flashed from the wizard’s staff, blinding Wekiga. Mazkertis’s knee jabbed into the creature’s chest.

    The wizard then charged his staff, purple, green, and black energies visibly coursing through the weapon. He then flipped it and stabbed Wekiga in the chest twice.

    Wekiga slumped to the floor, short of breath. He looked up at his foe and chuckled.

    “So be it,” he cackled. “This is only a part of be it!”

    He laughed maniacally as the light disappeared from his eye.  

    Mazkertis collapsed, gritting his teeth in pain. He had to hurry before his wounds would make him share the fate of his enemy. He sighed, and placed his hands on Wekiga’s “corpse”.

    As Nabonidus, the powerful servant of Void, looked on in shock, the ethereal haze was sapped from Wekiga’s body, wending its way in warped streams to flow through the orifices of Mazkertis’s face. He inhaled them deeply, ravenously consuming part of Wekiga’s life force, and all the power inextricably woven through it. He was consuming the very quintessence of the Nightmare general, leaving Wekiga’s body to slowly wither away, reduced to dust and ashes. At last only his head was left, but without the essence of Wekiga’s being, it was unrecognizable: the horns were splintered, the skin was a mummified grayish-brown, the eye socket hollow and the leathery lips tugged taut in a rictus grimace. As Mazkertis shuddered at the power now flooding his body, he dropped the withered skull to the ground, rupturing into yet more dust as it did so. Hunched over, Mazkertis was aquiver at the astounding power now hammering, coursing through his body. Everyone and everything within a two-hundred meter radius could hear his telepathic snarl, an undulating and distorted noise which now bore the distinct timbre of Wekiga’s voice melded into Mazkertis’s own.

    Astounding,” Mazkertis boomed, his entire body seething with power. His form oozed a hellish red-and-magenta aura, radiating with starry black rays, which now were tinted in faintly-pulsating purples and greens due to Wekiga’s absorbed power. Mazkertis’s body contorted and writhed, undertaken by a terrific sort of warp spasm. His body seized upwards into the air, bent and contorted in the most inhuman of fashion; one knee bent in on itself completely, his fingers twisted as he clawed at the air, his neck bent ninety degrees to one side before righting itself again! Great arcs of starry blackness scythed through the ground around him, trailing blood-red energy as they scattered the army of Nightmares and demons all around. A horrific transmogrification was underway, exploding into being with such force the ground beneath Mazkertis was ruptured, casting stones and bones with such force they tore the bodies of a few unlikely Nightmares in twain.

    At last the terrible energies converging in Mazkertis’s body were tamed, and the warp spasm subsided with agonizing slowness. Without projecting anything, Mazkertis silently thought to himself of how ecstatic the sensation was. He had absorbed the life force of a nigh innumerable about of beings, and taken energies from the attacks of individuals such as Kakamu, Fourteen, Sachiel, and others. That said, few things came close to the utter potency of what once was Wekiga. He felt flawlessly and impeccably full of strength, even greater than how he felt 52 years ago when he was on the brink of rewriting the history of his home universe. He flung one of his arms through the air, whipping up a gust which bowled a few Nightmares over.

    Simply excellent,” Mazkertis addressed Nabonidus, patting off his coat and causing ripples in space by doing so. The Nightmare General was still levitating in the air, protected by a bubble forcefield which had yet to completely give under the time wizard’s newly-displayed power. However, cracks had begun to show in more ways than one, so Nabonidus allowed Mazkertis to saunter exuberantly whilst he tried to strategize in the lull.

    I must say, I’d not anticipated such a rush from that risky effort,” Mazkertis mulled over his strapping power, leaving Nabonidus to try to repair and reinforce his failing barrier. The latter noticed that he could also hear some of Wekiga’s voice in the wizard’s telepathic broadcast.

    That fellow, you called him Wekiga, yes?” The robed Nightmare nodded almost imperceptibly, appraising the time wizard’s new form with worry. “He was a “monster superior to monsters,” indeed. Merely absorbing him nearly had these robes of mine ruined and my body destroyed! But the energies found a way to satisfy themselves, as they know that their previous owner's death was not in vain. It is for the purpose of saving both of our universes.

    Mazkertis raised his left arm, sending fiery crackles of red light around his perimeter. It was an intimidation move, of course, meant to deter any other Nightmares from approaching him. He obtained what he needed, and had no more business in this realm.

    Stand back! I have no quarrel with any of you,” he declared, his telepathic projection resounding through the minds of the beings surrounding him. “I leave to fix this universe.

    Nabonidus ominously stood up, his regal robes swaying as he moved his arms.

    “You trespassed in my domain, that I recently acquired,” Nabonidus replied in a calm tone that belied his facial expression. “You attacked the Nightmares of Lord Void...and yet….”

    He started to step towards Mazkertis as he continued.

    “An individual can try to wind the clock back a thousand times and exercise in futility, for these actions will never erase their Nightmares,” Nabonidus declared. “Your plan will not conflict with mine; in fact, you will be helping me. You killed a part of Wekiga, a traitor, and plan on killing Zev, one of my greatest enemies. What you do with the timeline is of little concern to Lord Void, or to me.”

    Nabonidus stopped, standing at a cautious distance from Mazkertis. Ironically, the wizard’s eyes mimicked this caution.

    “But if you interfere with any of our plans, we will kill you,” he warned.

    Mazkertis forced a smile under his broken mask and wheezed laughter. He turned around, creating a portal in front of him to leave. Ravat leaped towards Nabonidus, gritting his teeth.

    “You’re just going to let him get away?!” he hissed. “At least punish him for trespassing, for Void’s sake.”

    Nabonidus quietly sighed.

    “And yet, you trespassed!” he yelled, firing a bolt of energy at Mazkertis. The wizard was knocked back into his portal.

    As soon as the portal closed, Nabonidus seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. This sentiment was no doubt echoed by Mazkertis himself.


    Two days later…

    Lord Zrintch sighed as he entered the Kalta Thean infirmary, closing the window of r/grinch_meetups on his holographic device. The Sith Lord had to visit his friend far too often in this room, a fact that worried him for multiple reasons. Hopefully, this would be the last time.

    Mazkertis coughed as he sat up in his bed. He turned towards Zrintch and smiled. The wizard was wearing a medical gown supplied by the Kindred of Dawn. His broken mask sat on a small table next to him.

    “I lost count of how many times I’ve had to visit you here,” Zrintch chided.

    That’s the price to be paid,” Mazkertis said, smiling still. “Yet, we have made progress. Blackout gave us Iris, and now with Wekiga, the plan has accelerated immensely.”

    “Oh, we’ve made tremendous progress, but you keep hurting yourself,” Zrintch lectured.

    The technology of our Kindred combines well with my magic, and they have all given me miraculous remedies,” Mazkertis explained.

    “Certainly,” Zrintch granted. “But some scars can’t be erased.”

    He glanced at Mazkertis’s robotic arm, a magitek prosthetic formed after Quolas dismembered him on Malchior IV over two months ago. Mazkertis’s eyes quietly darted towards his own arm, then back to his friend.

    I didn’t know you cared, Zrintch,” Mazkertis said.

    Zrintch scoffed and grinned.

    “You know our plans are practically useless the moment you are killed. Acting like you’re invincible doesn’t really help. Those mercenaries from the Red Queen and those weird creatures... ‘Cadmus’ or something, gave you a run for your money.”

    Not exactly.” Mazkertis noted. “All but one are dead.

    “Sure,” Zrintch said. “But the survivor just so happened to catch you off guard and nearly blew your leg off.  Combine all of these encounters with recent events, and you can understand why so many of the Kindred are uneasy. They doubt you can...deliver.”

    The wizard’s forehead crinkled. and his eyes narrowed in confusion.

    My tasks are almost complete. We are this close,” Mazkertis growled, making a motion with his fingers. “Forget the past and the errors that came with it. We are still moving forward, so it's on them to deliver right now!

    “Maybe, maybe. But some of us have sacrificed more than others,” Zrintch muttered, referring to all the Cooperative resources diverted to Mazkertis’s crusade. “I just don’t want you to suddenly fail when everyone’s counting on you. I’ve seen the reports, how you’re growing soft. You spared people on Datrio and other planets, didn’t you?”

    Zrintch glared at Mazkertis. Silence hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity.

    They were not necessary, it is as simple as that, Zrintch,” Mazkertis pointed out.

    “If you say so,” Zrintch sighed. “Just remember what Klak did to you. Let your vengeance fuel you.”

    Mazkertis nodded with a half-smile. He and his longtime friend acted as dark counselors to each other for as long as any of them could remember.

    Zrintch smiled, then left the infirmary. He quietly hoped that Mazkertis’s erratic nature would not erode everything they had worked for, and that that the wizard would finally change reality itself.

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Dr_pav11
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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Klak Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:04 am

    Chapter 17: Elated: Into the Mind’s Eye

    I know, I know. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy, very busy. Anyway, I started working on this chapter on and off last year(?), but ended up having to stop for IRL reasons. Now that I have some time over the holidays, I’ve resumed working on it. I attempted to finish it up before 2019 rolls in, but alas. Anyways, here it is. Apologies if the chapter seems rushed or messy.

    Since it’s been so long, I’m going to include a recap. I’ll probably do the same for the next chapter, whenever that will be.


    In his vengeful rage, Mazkertis had placed Klak under some sort of bizarre spell, transfixing the Makuta’s body in a coma-like state, and condemning his consciousness to an unending dream of destruction.

    After spending days dealing with Datrioan rescue and recovery efforts, the Claws of the Phoenix decided to convene to discuss how to rescue Klak, as well as how to recoup after their recent losses. It was decided that Kakamu would continue leading his squad, and that Nu-13 would remain with them. Meanwhile, Tezzeret would lead Klak’s squad in searching for Mazkertis while The Norman would lead a team of Malchiorian and Nynrah scientists to search for ways to end the coma. Anzu, Tezzeret, and Nadle all protested the latter option, claiming that they needed a fusion of both the arcane and the technological to overcome Mazkertis’s strange and black magic. Either way, the group split apart once more, and Anzu left to the Dominion to prepare its strategy to tackle the sudden instability of the Galactic Government and the rise of the Kindred of Dawn.

    The Claws of the Phoenix largely spent the next few weeks training, searching, and fighting low-level members of the Kindred. Despite their various attempts to capture Mazkertis, he eluded them repeatedly, much like he did before the Battle of Datrio. The only positive side of this was that they were able to cross paths with various groups, such as Captain Eurobeat’s New Fighting Force and a group of suspiciously familiar looking individuals claiming to be from “Cadmus”. All of these groups were new, big allies for the Claws in the war against Mazkertis, though a certain Niflheim kept saying “Fuck No and Fuck U” whenever Caiaphus would attempt to recruit him.

    Meanwhile, Klak remained in his comatose state. Most of the team was baffled by this, but Anzu came up with the clever idea that they had to enter into Klak’s mind to force his subconscious to break the spell. The Norman brought up the existence of an old device, one that was used by the Nynrah Ghosts and the Malchiorian government over 50 years ago to conduct “secret dream walking experiments.” However, it could only retain connections for short periods of time. Anzu then surmised that, with the aid of the machine, he could forge a strong telepathic link that would ensure that multiple Claws members could enter Klak’s mind and help his subconscious break the spell.

    When she was finally able to obtain the device from the Malchiorian government, The Norman called together a meeting of the Claws of the Phoenix in neutral space. The group assembled on Anzu’s ship 21 days after the Fall of Datrio, and prepared for their mission, their last desperate hope…


    Axalara softly rubbed her hand on top of the plasteel surface separating her from her beloved. She leaned on the tube-like device as it blinked with various numbers and letters, each describing the medical status of the patient locked within it. The Toa then glanced up at Klak’s face through the window pane, noting that his eyes were still as shut as they were when she visited him only a day after the Battle of Datrio.

    After a morose sigh, she exited the room and made her way to where the remaining Claws had gathered.

    “That’s what I mean, Kakamu,” The Norman explained. “The link is tenuous, even with Anzu’s magic. Klak’s subconscious may turn against you once it recognizes you as a foreign mind.”

    “Not to mention the fact that Mazkertis’s spell will attempt to sway you,” Anzu added. “You will enter new levels of the Dreamscape Dimension created by both Klak and Mazkertis. And if the spell is powerful enough, it will start adding some of your own thoughts, fears, and desires.”

    Kakamu cursed in his native language.

    “I take it we’ll start to have trouble distinguishing what is or isn’t a dream?” D-Klak asked. “That certainly doesn’t make this any easier.”

    “We signed up for these risks when we joined this fight,” Tezzeret declared.

    “Agreed,” Cassius Calm added. “How will we determine who goes in first?”

    “I suggest those with the strongest bonds go in first,” Nadle surmised. “That way Klak’s subconscious will see you as less of a threat.”

    Everything went quiet. Caiaphus sneered and his eyes narrowed.

    “I’m in,” Kakamu said, breaking the silence. “I’ve been his friend for years.”

    “All due respect,” Tezzeret hastened to say. “I’ve known him longer than most anyone else in this room.”

    “True, true,” Kakamu conceded. “But we need another magic-wielder to be awake, just in case.”

    Tezzeret nodded.

    “I’m in too, for obvious reasons,” Axalara declared.

    Anzu suddenly widened his eyes, and stood up.

    “I will return in a moment,” he informed the group, and rushed out of the room.

    Once he saw that he was far enough, he waved his hands, summoning a magically induced hologram of Malygos. The wizard appeared to be storming down a corridor.

    “We captured Mazkertis here on Gasuhigann, and that fool Sefer let him escape!” they screeched at Anzu. “We’ve also been ambushed!”

    “Insolence! I will join you,” Anzu declared.

    “No, no,” Malygos said, brushing the declaration off. “The Claws need you, and you need to gain their trust. Besides, the universe will rightfully revere me once I slay Mazkertis. It will be worth it.”

    Malygos grinned.

    “And it shall be done while our rivals are either distracted, or asleep” they cackled.

    Anzu nodded, reluctantly.

    “As you wish,” he replied. “Le melin

    “You too,” Malygos responded.

    The hologram disintegrated, and Anzu spun back towards the conference room.

    “Then it’s agreed,” Perseus said. “Kakamu and Axalara will enter Klak’s mind.”

    “Let’s get to work,” The Norman replied, nodding.

    Moments later, she prepared the old Malchiorian device. When she saw Anzu enchant it, she quietly thanked The Shepherd that the Malchiorians were willing to let something like that anywhere near a consort of Malygos (it helped that it was over half a century old).

    Axalara and Kakamu both made their way down the corridor to the infirmary. They each privately hoped for the best, mentally preparing themselves for whatever nightmares they could face.

    Kakamu lowered his glance the moment he saw Klak in his healing tank. It was hard seeing his friend in this state. He clenched his fists, determined to remedy it all.

    The Norman connected tubes to the bodies of both Axalara and Kakamu. The latter’s biometallic arm morphed around the tube, allowing it to swiftly meld into his system.

    “You’ll feel a slight pinch as you go under,” Anzu said. “Proceed with caution, we have no idea what you may encounter.”

    “Bring my son home,” The Norman pleaded to Axalara and Kakamu with shimmering eyes.

    Axalara nodded, grunting as she felt the aforementioned pinch. She felt something pulling at her brain as she saw everything blur. And then, darkness.


    Elsewhere, in the ship’s lounge, Perseus rapidly tapped his fingers. The Red Lantern Toa was desperate to get back out there to find Mazkertis.

    Caiaphus sauntered over to him.

    “Patience, Toa,” he taunted.

    “Go to hell, Caiaphus,” Perseus growled. “Don’t waste my time with your mind games.”

    “You’re letting that ring control your emotions,” Caiaphus replied, calmly. “Normally, I would see no problem with it, but now? I see the irony in it.”

    “What are you saying?!” Perseus shouted.

    “You obtained it when Ynot defeated you, yes? Your rage overcame your pride,” Caiaphus said, referring to the events that transformed the Toa from a Platinum Lantern to a Red Lantern. “Somewhere in your heart, you desire vengeance, and you lust for the glory of battle. A hunger that grows until it is finally satisfied, but then returns stronger. All this zealousness you’ve shown in our fight against HYDRA and the Kindred is just a part of it…if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were becoming Mazkertis!”

    Perseus fired a blast from his ring at Caiaphus, the Makuta blocking it away with his arm, and cackling. He then walked away, leaving Perseus alone in his seething rage.


    Kakamu and Axalara drifted through the darkness as a pulsating beat came at them from all sides. They eventually found themselves inside a classroom with black and white tiles covering its floor. Both the Makuta and the Toa were seated in their own desks, accompanied by a human girl carrying an apple in her hand. She looked at her apple uneasily, almost as though she were hoping to have to let go of it soon. Additionally, every time Axalara blinked, she saw the girl’s face change. Kakamu turned around and noticed that faceless statues were sitting all around them.

    In front of the “class” were two scarlet single-chair sofas with oval backs. One of the chairs was occupied by a man with jet-black hair, a snowy cravat, a crimson coat, an ebony shirt, and equally dark pair of pants Kakamu recognized him as Mazkertis, as he had seen the wizard unmasked in previous battles. However, this version was much more youthful and vibrant.

    OOC: Outfit based on something Zev came up with, credit goes to him.

    This manifestation of Mazkertis glanced at the empty chair near him, then laughed, as though he had just shared a joke with an unseen person. The mystery girl smiled. Mazkertis then began laughing in reverse, the girl’s grin widening.

    Suddenly, another man in robes entered the classroom, carrying with him a platter of pita bread and merlot. He presented the platter to Mazkertis, but the wizard reacted in horror. The man left, as Mazkertis gripped his face and jerked from side to side in agony.

    The girl looked at her apple with dread as a sickly green creature emerged and bit her wrist. She placed her delicate hands on her cheeks, her mouth agape as though emitting a blood-curdling shriek. Kakamu watched as she faded away.

    Mazkertis lept from his chair and ran out. Kakamu and Axalara felt compelled to follow him, and they were immediately whisked into the air, witnessing the wizard’s journey across a corridor filled with black and white tiles surrounded by pine-colored lockers. One of these lockers said “Here lies ███”  

    The hallway seemed interminable until Mazkertis tripped on what Axalara recognized to be the Keruvim. Mazkertis turned around and grabbed it, marveling at its brilliance.

    Suddenly, a demonic creature wearing a hood materialized behind him. Mazkertis twisted and looked at it, gasping. The monster removed its hood, revealing its vile visage. It’s cold, icy eyes were accompanied by sharp fangs, A swirling pattern of red, black, and purple adorned its skin.  Kakamu was instantly shocked by this, as it nearly matched the visions of the Kestora from his nightmares, themselves echoes of his own past.

    The demon flicked its wrist, a hooked hand jutting at Mazkertis. This sequence repeated itself, with the sickening blows, and all accompanying sounds of agony, occurring slowly. Mazkertis was then pulled away by what appeared to be a human man with incredibly messy black hair and a nearly skeletal body. The words “Prince of Jurai” appeared on his forehead. The man shouted continually at Mazkertis, and beat him to the ground.

    Suddenly, both the Juraian and the Kestora disappeared. Mazkertis placed his hands on his forehead, and knelt down. Behind him, four separate visions materialized, each separated from each other like different images on a mosaic.

    The first to appear was on the furthest left. A warlord that looked similar to Klak sneered at a burning city below him, pondering his victory. Axalara immediately recognized this as the Utopian Universe that Mazkertis had told her about back on Saskana.

    The second vision to appear was another version of Klak, though he looked nothing like the ones they knew. Here, Klak appeared to be a little boy, kneeling in a dark alley. He screamed as purple runes and flame-like markings appeared all across his body. Klak’s eyes glowed red as he unleashed swirling chaotic energy all around him, levelling an entire city block. The boy fell to the ground, but woke up as a man carried him away from the wreckage.

    The third vision was of Klak--the one that was known to both Axalara and Kakamu--surrounded by a grassy meadow. They watched in horror as he mercilessly fired a blast of energy into the chest of a human warrior standing in front of him. The human’s helmet fell off, and they recognized him as Praepositus. Klak slowly transformed into F-Klak, and raised his fist. Suddenly, the meadow became charred, and F-Klak laughed maniacally. He flew into space,  charging at Atuar Sadiares with an army of Dark Lanterns surrounding him. They all raised fists that blazed with ancient energies, and fired, obliterating the city in minutes. Axalara clenched her fist, hoping that she would someday prevent such a tragedy from coming to pass.

    The fourth, and final vision, followed the theme of its predecessors. Here, Klak was once again portrayed as a warmonger; but unlike the ruthless barbarian of the Utopian Universe or the psychotic killer of the future, this Klak seemed to be calmer, more calculating. He leaned forward in his chair, which was situated in the bridge of an unrecognizable spaceship. On the back of the chair was an emblem that showed a shadowy bird rising out of an orange flame, with the words “Claws of the Phoenix” in block type on top of it. This Klak appeared to be watching a battle between various forces in the vacuum of space. Axalara and Kakamu did not recognize the man at first, but a voice inside them informed them of his identity. His face appeared emotionless, but they could both see the pain in his eyes; his soul was tainted by countless years of bloodshed and the horrors of war.

    After witnessing all of this, Mazkertis yelled in pain. Magic energy radiated from his hands and he" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">covered his face . The horrifying images drifted away like grains of sand in defiance of the wind, and both Axalara and Kakamu found themselves on a beach.

    They both turned around and saw Mazkertis on the floor, unconscious, with tattered clothes. Surrounding him were pieces of his suit, runic inscriptions, and a ragdoll with blonde hair. The doll itself seemed to be holding a glowing orb of light. The wizard stood up, and began reaching around, searching for something. Suddenly, Mazkertis found the doll. The orb appeared to speak to the wizard in a voice that both Axalara and Kakamu recognized as his own. Mazkertis then hugged the doll, seemingly consoling it while rocking and weeping. Suddenly, the doll disappeared along with the orb. He stared at his hands, noticing that one was filled with green ink, and the other with black ink. An arrow formed in the sand, pointing to the ocean. Mazkertis stood up, and gazed upon the sea of destiny, as his old familiar mask floated across the sky to meet him.

    Suddenly, violent winds began to pick up the sands on the beach. A tornado formed, sweeping up both Axalara and Kakamu. The Toa of Air attempted to counter the wind using her own power, but to no avail. They were flung into the ocean by the storm, and sunk rapidly. Kakamu felt the weight of the seas on his biometal form, the powers of the deep slowly crushing him. Axalara screamed, releasing her last breath as a series of bubbles. Her corpse descended into the blackest of trenches as Kakamu’s vision darkened.


    Axalara and Kakamu woke up inside of an elevator, finding a hooded figure staring at them. Kakamu angrily stood up and removed its hood, showing a battered, largely mechanical face with sunken, crimson holes as eyes. The figure bowed, and smiled.

    “You have entered into the world of the dream, the vision of the mind's eye,” he said.

    “Who are you?!” barked Axalara.

    “You have never met me, yet you have met one of me. I have been, while not being. And now, I am merely a reflection of what was,” he replied, then grinned. “And what will be.”

    Axalara was about to yell at this man some more, but Kakamu raised his hand. She quickly took this to mean that they should play along with whatever was going on here.

    “Are you a representation of Klak’s subconscious?” she asked.

    “One of many,” the man replied, nodding. “I am the Last Ember that remains unaffected by Mazkertis's spell, desperately trying to return to the waking world.”

    “We’re here to help,” Kakamu replied. “Just tell us where to go.”

    The Last Ember cackled.

    “You must first descend down the levels of his mind,” he said. “You just experienced the first level, corrupted by the spell. You must now explore memories until you find Klak. I am simply a guide.”

    Kakamu and Axalara nodded as the man turned over to a console that wasn’t there before. He pulled a lever, and the lift descended.


    Various early memories of Klak appeared. The moment of his creation, wonderful moments “growing up” on Malchior IV, and more.



    Two warriors trained on a grassy hill. Axalara gasped as she realized that this Last Ember was someone that had known Klak many years ago, long before she had met him...

    “You should quit!” The Last Ember mocked, dodging Klak’s swing with a quick sidestep. “You’ve no reason to go on!”

    Klak ignored him, swinging his kendo stick at his opponent’s body. The Last Ember blocked it effortlessly.

    “All that anger,” he continued. “It can drive you, but you must control it. The darkness inside of us is a force we must harness, but only if we FOCUS!”

    The Last Ember knocked Klak down, and appeared to smile.

    “Again!” he shouted. Klak rolled his eyes.

    Axalara blinked, and then realized that night had fallen. Klak and the Ember were sitting in front of a fire. They were on a cliff that overlooked a vast valley.

    “...fear can be reasonable, but sometimes unreasonable,” The Last Ember explained. “Caution can help us survive, help us avoid unnecessary danger. For example, you cannot fight this Blackout until you are ready. My team and I prepared well for our fight with MECH many years ago, and you should do the same for all forms of battle.”

    “What do you fear, Simurgh?” Klak inquired.

    “A number of things,” The Ember admitted. “But there are two people I fear most. There once was this cold, dark presence that I felt peer into me many years ago, during a battle. It was filled with hatred, insanity, and sorrow. Such a tormented soul can only bring anguish to itself...and to others. Another being I fear is a Makuta named Kakamu.”

    “Wait, I’ve heard of Kakamu, or at least a few stories,” Klak noted.

    “I refer to the Kakamu of my universe, Klak,” The Last Ember warned. “You must not hold his sins against the one from your universe. The Kakamu in my world is intelligent, ruthless, backed by powerful allies. They call themselves the Church of the Ascendants. They were a match for so many factions in my universe, and will stop at nothing to achieve their vision of the future.”

    “What’s his goal?” Klak asked.

    The Last Ember sighed. “To put it simply, he wants to kill the gods.”



    Klak and The Last Ember stood in the ruins of a city. Two werewasps named P’moq and K’tt menacingly approached them. They raised their stingers, when suddenly Klak and his master twirled, beheading them both.

    A Ta’har and an Agori laughed at them. The Ta’har, named Photinus, raised his fists, shooting blasts of plasma at The Last Ember. An explosion knocked Klak back. When he regained his footing, he saw The Ember on the floor, with damaged armor. Antidermis appeared to be leaking from his wound.

    Klak gasped and ran up to his mentor.

    “Klak,” The Last Ember breathed. “Find...someone to finish your you...Become...who you were meant….to be….”

    The Last Ember fell unconscious. Klak saw the Ember’s antidermis seem to stay near his corpse, but paid no mind to it as his emotions overtook him.

    “NO!” he screamed in pain. He then looked up at Photinus and the other Agori, and charged at them in rage.

    The vision dissipated, but the Agori twisted his neck towards Axalara, and leaped at her. His face appeared to be rotting.

    Axalara slammed her fist into his gut, shattering his armor. The Agori’s face suddenly began to melt, and drops of it started falling on her face, when...



    Kakamu saw a young Tezzeret jutting out his hand at him. He noticed that he appeared to be seeing things from Klak’s point of view.

    “Name’s Tezzeret,” he said, with a smile. “Nice to meet you!”



    Kakamu and Axalara were placed inside of a room with grey stone tiles and cobalt stones growing all around them. Tezzeret and Klak ran past them, seemingly ignoring them.

    A one-winged man with silver hair chased after them, brandishing a masumene that stretched to incredible lengths.

    “Sephiroth...” gasped Kakamu.

    “Klak!” pleaded Tezzeret.

    “I know, I know, I’m thinking!” Klak insisted. He stopped and observed his surroundings. Klak flung a ball of shadow at one of the stones, and it ignited.

    Tezzeret’s metal fist glowed with magical energy. He fired it at the stones to the left, and Klak fired more shadow blasts at the stones to the right. An incredible explosion of blue filled the room, and Sephiroth grunted in pain. Klak and Tezzeret jumped into a portal and disappeared.

    The dust cleared. Axalara and Kakamu then realized that Sephiroth was in front of them, unscathed.

    “Heh.” Sephiroth jeered. “How can he forget, when you’ve beaten it into his head?”

    Sephiroth charged at them, swinging his sword madly. Axalara tried to block it with air blades, but he sliced into her arm. Kakamu threw various energy volleys as Sephiroth charged at him. The one winged angel blocked all of them, and was about to swing his sword into Kakamu’s face, when...


    Tezzeret and Klak were at a spaceport. Tezzeret was noticeably older now, closer to the age he was when Kakamu had met him.

    “Lots of sites to see in the Dominion, good employment too,” he explained.

    “Make sure to stay in touch, buddy,” Klak said.

    “Will do!”

    Tezzeret disappeared.



    Klak stood in front of Zev Raregroove near a spaceship on an unidentifiable planet.
    “Wait, what was your name again?” Zev asked, scratching the back of his head. He felt slightly embarrassed that he already forgot the name of his new friend.

    “Klak,” the Makuta replied.

    “You’re good at fighting, kid,” Zev noted. “Need some polish, but you’re good. We’ve a few open spots here, so feel free to tag along anytime. You’ll know where to find me.”

    Zev saluted Klak with two fingers, then entered his ship.



    The Last Ember smiled and once again pointed at the elevator doors. Axalara and Kakamu exited the lift, realizing they were entering into a small forest. Kakamu recognized it as Malchiorian, but then reminded himself that it was a vision of one, and not the real thing. A series of bulbs strung across the branches suddenly lit up, revealing a multitude of people all sitting at various tables and conversing.

    Both Kakamu and Axalara recognized most of the faces present. Nearly everyone they had ever met was there.


    Kakamu spun around.


    They embraced. Part of Kakamu’s mind was warning him, but his heart rejoiced. He had been worried ever since he was kidnapped by DU Monarch, and had been attempting to contact Trantoshen by sending a signal to Archon-7. Unfortunately, none of these efforts were successful.

    “What happened?” he gushed. “What was Archon-7 like? Did you find out what sent that distress signal?”

    “Oh man,” Trantoshen laughed. “What didn’t happen?”

    He started telling his father about Archon-7. Axalara was about to interrupt the conversation, when she felt someone’s hand on her shoulder. She turned around, and gasped.

    “Lancer!” she cried.

    “Hey, boss!” replied Lancer, cheerily. “Good news! We finally found the Keruvim!”

    Axalara’s felt her heartlight glow intensely. Before she could reply, Lancer grabbed her and took her to a large, wooden rectangular table. All of the Knights of the Keruvim that were still alive were seated on each side, enjoying their revelry.

    “This isn’t...” Axalara tried to say, but was suddenly interrupted by Perseus, who appeared next to her. He was clad in Platinum Lantern armor, as opposed to the rage-filled crimson Red Lantern armor he had been wearing when she last saw him.

    “Axalara,” he interjected. “Good work. You led this team to victory. I’m so proud of you!”
    She stepped back, gasping slightly.

    “Thank you, sir,” she replied in overwhelming joy.

    Time passed. Both Axalara and Kakamu slowly began to forget why they had come, as they felt themselves reliving golden memories, and creating new ones. The figments felt all too real.

    Suddenly, a raging army of darkness charged towards them, consuming everything in its path. Ghosts of the past screamed and cackled, a whirlwind of death travelling with them. Kakamu could recognize some of the silhouettes of these faceless horrors, like Akzer, Blackout, Caiaphus, Eclipse, Krika, Nabonidus, Set, Ultron, Xemnas, and many more. Others he could not recognize, only assuming that they were nightmares from another’s past.

    Klak ran towards the chaos, the cloud of death and despair. He passed both Axalara and Kakamu. Kakamu and Axalara’s eyes met in the midst of the crowd.

    “Klak!” they both shouted at the same time.

    They then chased after him, calling out his name as the light grew dim.

    “I have surpassed all,” they could hear F-Klak boast. “I have ascended to perfection!”

    They then heard Mazkertis cackle victoriously in the distance.

    Suddenly, Axalara found herself in the middle of a swirling sandstorm. The grains smashed into her armor fiercely as she vainly fought against the wind.

    “Kakamu!” she screamed, her voice nearly drowned out by the tyrannous wind. She cried out again. No response. Again, she yelled, moving forward and attempting to see through the storm.

    “Axalara!” the response came, finally.

    Kakamu stumbled to the side, nearly crashing into Axalara. The wind propelled them both forward, and they landed a few feet away from Klak, who was morosely lying on the ground covered in sand.

    “All gone,” he muttered in dejection. “All because of me.”

    The sands sifted and swirled. Axalara and Kakamu felt reality change, and then…


    Kakamu woke up in a grassy field. Axalara was not with him. Neither was Klak.

    “What...what happened?” he inquired, to no one in particular. He had trouble remembering how he got there exactly. He remembered a sand storm, and something about an invasion, was it? Saving Klak from...something. Or was it all someone’s dream?

    Before he could stand, he found himself surrounded by a group of armed individuals, all pointing rifles at him. Kakamu looked up at his captors, and was shocked to find that one of them was none other than Keichi himself!

    “Get up, slowly. No sudden moves!” the Pirate Lord growled.

    “I thought you were dead,” Kakamu said, standing up with his arms raised.

    “Could say the same about you,” Keichi quipped. “Walk the other way, slowly.”

    As Kakamu turned in an about-face, he noticed the identities of his other captors: the late Pirate Lord Treskis, the mysterious alien rancher “Quick” Billy, and the Shattered Mirror counterpart of Treveya. He quietly plotted an escape plan from the no-longer-deceased as he walked forward.

    “I’m not sure what you want with me, really,” Kakamu scoffed. “I barely know you people.”

    “Klak is nearby. We need you as leverage to make him come out and fight us, des.” Treskis replied.

    Kakamu stopped, and started laughing.

    “That’s the dumbest plan I’ve ever heard!” he jeered. “You realize you can just approach him, right?”

    Keichi raised a metallic finger, but then lowered it once he realized Kakamu was right. SM Treveya facepalmed.

    “I told you your plan was foolish, Keichi,” the witch chided. “We should have just gone with the disguises.”

    Keichi stomped angrily and raised a pointed hand at SM Treveya, preparing to unleash another one of his famous tirades.

    “We’re taking an awful risk here, folks,” Quick Billy interrupted. “Our friend here is strong enough to take us all on at once.”

    “Oh, right, about that-des.” Treskis slammed the butt of his rifle four times into Kakamu’s face, knocking him out.


    Axalara landed on the snowy surface of the mountain’s crest. She turned to look at the vast expanse of rock and snow visible from her perch, the warm vapour of her breath surrounding her jaw. She then looked to Perseus, who had come up behind her. He and a group of other Knights of the Keruvim had been waiting on the mountain for her arrival.

    “Mission accomplished,” the Platinum Lantern said with a smile. “You’ve taken down the enemy and secured the Keruvim. Good work.”

    Axalara saluted Perseus and nodded.

    “I learned from the best,” she replied.

    Perseus chuckled and smiled. Suddenly, his expression changed.

    “It’s not over yet,” he gasped, lifting his arm.

    Axalara spun towards what Perseus was pointing at, and widened her eyes. She recognized the man floating towards them with raised arms and moonstruck eyes. It was Mazkertis, dressed in his red coat.

    He said something in a language she could not understand, and flicked his wrists, pulling the Keruvim towards him.

    Lancer flew upwards, firing his weapon at Mazkertis. The laser beams were caught in the air by an unseen force, and were flung back into the gun. The weapon exploded, and the shards sliced into Lancer’s wings. Mazkertis teleported in front of him, and kneed the Knight in the chest. Lancer fell into the abyss below.

    Three of the other Knights scrambled, all flying towards Mazkertis from different directions. The wizard grabbed one, shocked him with electricity, and flung him at one of the other Knights, burning them both. Mazkertis blasted the other one down into the cliff with a shockwave, causing the rocks to crumble beneath the feet of the two remaining Toa.

    “Oh no you don’t!” Perseus shouted, reforming the rocks with his power. But before he could react, Mazkertis teleported in front of him and stabbed him with a conjured sword.

    Axalara screamed. The rocks crumbled and an avalanche formed. She tumbled down the mountains until she finally settled underneath sheets of snow.

    The Toa blasted them away, shivering as she did her best to run to safer ground. She needed a new strategy, especially in an environment not meant for Toa of Air.


    Meanwhile, back on the ship, The Norman paced the room. Nadle and Anzu both watched the sleeping bodies like hawks, hoping that they would all be free of the spell soon.


    Theme for part of this section

    Kakamu jolted awake, scaring a group of pigeons that were pecking at his body. He blinked under the moonlight, realizing that hours had passed since...why was he here again?

    He slowly stood up and observed his surroundings, attempting to answer this question. Apparently, he was in an alley of sorts, surrounded by grey brick walls blackened by dirt and soot. To his north, he saw that the alley continued into interminable darkness. He then turned to his south, noticing that it led right to a city street.

    Once he emerged from the alley, Kakamu realized that he was in some sort of metropolis. The imposing dark skyscrapers in the street were painted with arrays of lights at each floor, all reaching into the heavens. Not willing to be outdone, massive purple neon signs joined this light show with glows of their own, all displaying advertisements in languages Kakamu could never hope to understand (save for one that said “Temple of Syrinx” in Basic). Kakamu felt someone bump into him, but the person was long gone before he could say anything to them. Various individuals of a variety of species all passed by him, either unaware of, or intentionally ignoring, his presence. Hovercars cruised several feet above Kakamu, while other vehicles calmly drove past him on the street.

    Kakamu’s eyes narrowed, and he decided to walk down the street to further investigate his new location. He stopped at an intersection and looked to his right, noticing that he was next to a restaurant with the label “Sushi Bar”. It was barely bigger than the bedroom of a poor man’s flat, but that wasn’t what was on Kakamu’s mind. What he had noticed most of all was the person sitting at a table facing the window.

    “Etende?” he whispered to himself, opening the restaurant’s door with his hand. He sprinted over to her table.

    “Etende!” he shouted in joy, feeling as though he had not seen his friend in years.

    Etende smiled up at Kakamu, but the rest of the customers glared at him for his loud greeting. Kakamu pulled out the chair that was across from Etende, and leaned on the table.

    “Where are we?” he asked.

    “This city sure beats Rhadan,” she replied softly, seemingly ignoring his question. She turned her head to face the window, the lights of a nearby neon sign reflecting on her faceplate. “Compared to my world, this place is a dream. But the question is, whose dream is it?”

    Kakamu was taken aback, but before he could reply, Etende continued in her absent minded monologue.

    “It’s raining outside,” she quietly noted. The raindrops that were assembling onto the window formed dotted shadows on the light that was adorning her face.

    Etende gasped, her trance broken.

    “Look over there, other side of the street” she whispered urgently. “That’s Mink, from the Kindred of Dawn. Now’s your chance….”

    Kakamu jerked his head to where she was pointing. He noticed the presence of a woman with bright red hair and black cat ears dressed in a clear raincoat. She made her way down the street like a woman on a mission.

    Etende shook her hands, motioning for Kakamu to hurry up. The Makuta leaped out of his chair and ran into the street, running towards Mink.

    Mink turned around, noticing her pursuer. She gasped and started jogging. Kakamu inched closer. She broke into a desperate dash, Kakamu speeding after her.

    “Stop!” Kakamu warned. “You’re under arrest, Mink!”

    Mink pulled out a pistol and fired at Kakamu blindly. The Makuta reeled away from the bullets that ricocheted across the road. Civilians screamed and ran in the opposite direction, but Kakamu was able to dart up to Mink and tackle her to the ground. She fell facedown.

    He stood up, then kneeled to move her to face him.

    A wretched face, not one belonging to Mink, screamed at him the moment he glanced upon it. Kakamu jumped back. The haze of shock cleared, and he realized it was the Last Ember’s face.

    He heard a disgusting, demonic cackling that was all too familiar to him. The Last Ember smiled, but this wicked laughter was not his.

    All across the city, lights were snuffed out. Hands from this new darkness grabbed and tugged at Kakamu, soon lifting him as he screamed in confusion. He was violently tied to a chair that was under a streetlight. The hands and the Last Ember both disappeared.

    Directly across from Kakamu was an all too familiar figure. Somehow a light glowed underneath him, making him apparent in the midst of the darkness.

    “It’s you,” Kakamu shuddered. The face of his kidnapper was just as unsettling as it was less than a month ago. “Dukamu!”

    Dukamu laughed, then began to speak unintelligibly.

    “!sehcaorppa sunimreT !emoc llahs noitaixyhpsA !dloh tonnac retnec ehT !riapsed dna ,ythgiM ey ,skroW ym no kooL”

    He grit his teeth and approached Kakamu menacingly.

    “Į͠͏̫̹͎̭͇̩̻̩̣͍͖̯ͅT̵̻͓͉͔͖̣̞̟͔̗͉̘̳̙̟͞ ̶͉̺͓̯̭̦̰̠̻̻̺͉̬̦̹̫͢͡A̶̢̖̣͎͈̞̘̙̗̻͜͢͞L̨̻̦̺̬̥̞͍͓͈̤͉̳̺͍̖͈̩̹̀͡Ĺ̨̡͕̣͉̣̦̣͎͔̻̜̱̣̳̟̮ ̵̨̨̲͚̼͖͘͢È͘҉͚̺̳̳̱̦̥͚̀ͅŅ̷̵̦̳̳̰͙̝ͅD̸̨͉̙̲̼͉͍͇͚͈̭͢͡S̢̤̥͈̝͚̫͙͙̤̗̫̙̻̀͟ ̴̴̖͇̟͈̪͉̩͖̥̣́͠Ì̡̧͚̟̪͚̮̗͈̟͍̹̙̗͖͢ͅT̵̵̢̞̰̝̯̬̗̲̣̟͈̣͕̰͉̤̰͠ͅ ̸̫̣̞̟̟̯̕͟͜͢A҉̶̴̭̘͇̞̰͎̳̲̯̳̖̞̻̮̹̗̟̻͢L̴̶̷̜̫̘̪͕̗̤̤͚̰̩̹̞̖̳͢͡L͘͞͏̗͕̥̘̙͍̜̬͖̳ͅ ̵̴̨̱̗͓͎͇͍̜͠Ȩ̳̯̹̪̦̣̙̬N̵̫̰̫̲̪͖͇̟̗͠͞Ḑ̸̤̫͎̰S̴̴̵̢̺̤̱̞͓͚ ̕͢͡͠͏̳͖̗̬̲̟̬̳ͅĮ͢͏̭̙͔̞̯͘Ţ͍̼̝̼̦̘̠̟̲̞̭̙͓̱̭̣̣͠ͅͅ ̷̛̰̬̖̲̥͙̰̙̹̠̭̗̩̯̪͎̰͢ͅĄ͉̯̻͘ͅL̛͓̥͇̫̰̤̕L̶̨̢͍̱͈͇̩͖̕ ͡҉̥͔̮͔͔̙̘͓̘͎̮̮̟̠̥͕̹͚͘͟E̷̪̲̭̩͢͝Ṋ̸̨̮̟̱̜̞͢D̨̛͓̘̗͓͚̞̣͍̱̹͉̫̼̜̬́͡S͚̹̯̮͞͡,” he screeched as he inched closer to Kakamu.

    “Begone,” Kakamu rasped, barely finding his voice.

    “Begone!” he repeated, louder than the last time.

    “BEGONE!” Kakamu screamed. Dukamu screeched as he was pulled back by an unseen force. Light tore through the darkness. Its warmth permeated throughout the world.


    “What’s taking them so long?” Nadle asked desperately.

    “Well, I assume a chapter that references and is “inspired” by Gotham, Heroes, Arrow, Death Stranding, Twin Peaks, Inception, Blade Runner, and other media should probably run a little long,” D-Klak surmised.

    “They must be trapped under the spell,” Anzu surmised. “Now they’re inside of their own Dreamscapes.”

    “Then it’s my turn,” Nadle declared. “Prepare everything.”

    Caiaphus grinned and sauntered in.

    “You’d be a fool not to include me, Anzu,” he stated.

    Everyone in the infirmary turned to Caiaphus and shouted “No!”. The Makuta shrugged and walked away.

    “I’m in,” The Norman said. “I’m practically his mother.”

    “I’m practically him,” D-Klak added. “Put us under, Anzu. That is, after we’ve found someone to keep an eye on you. You did work for an enemy of Klak’s not too long ago.”

    “Allies, formerly enemies,” Anzu clarified. “But do as you wish.”

    “Tezzeret and I will make sure he doesn’t try anything,” Perseus said, clenching his fist.

    Anzu raised an eyebrow, then rolled his eyes.

    A few minutes later, D-Klak, Nadle, and The Norman fell asleep under the spell’s sway. In their mind’s eye, they witnessed the surreal retelling of Mazkertis’s origins, and arrived in an elevator with The Last Ember.

    “…that remains unaffected by Mazkertis's spell, desperately trying to return to the waking world,” The Ember said to them.

    “A piece of Klak’s subconscious,” Nadle replied, nodding. “Lead us to where the rest of Klak is. We need to rescue him and the others that came here.”

    The Last Ember nodded, and pressed various buttons on the elevator. D-Klak rubbed his chin, feeling as though he recognized this mysterious individual from somewhere, but…no. That person was long dead and gone.

    While the group witnessed some of Klak’s memories, they also saw some of their own this time, as well as those of Kakamu and Axalara. The visions ranged from Kakamu’s service to the Order of Mata Nui to The Norman’s service as a Toa war hero, with a variety of other moments in between.


    D-Klak witnessed himself fighting in the ruins of Metru Nui. He recognized the battle as one in the war that erupted after Tuyet’s fall. Nadle and The Norman perceived the battle as though they were seeing it from D-Klak’s eyes.

    D-Klak cut down a Rahkshi, then turned towards Zaktan. The Piraka swung his scissor blades towards D-Klak’s head. The Kestora quickly crossed his hook blades and blocked Zaktan’s attack. He then used a sonic scream, one so powerful that Zaktan disintegrated into his protodite form.

    Nearby, Teridax broke free from Karzhani’s chains. Lesovikk flew in the air, dodging the Rhotuka of a Dark Hunter. The Shadowed One and Helryx charged at each other, while a Toa of Iron threw metal knives at Krakua.

    In the midst of all this warfare, a Shadow Toa rose into the sky, and summoned a series of shadow hands. One of them grabbed the Toa of Iron and dragged him away.

    Nadle blinked, and they were suddenly on top of a tower. He realized that they were on top of what was once the Metru Nui Coliseum. The sky was dark, save for two incomprehensibly massive red eyes. Nearby, a monstrous mass of fused bodies lumbered towards them, roaring intensely.

    “It’s the only way,” an unseen raspy voice said. Helryx, who was standing near the group, nodded.

    “Right,” D-Klak replied, catching his breath.

    The Norman blinked. Suddenly, they were in front of a crystalline building. A being she recognized as the being known as “Ancient” nodded towards them.

    “We had to wipe their memories. Helryx believes no one must ever know the horrible thing we were forced to do,” he said. “How we saved our universe. But I disagree with her….we-”


    More memories flooded to their minds, including the infamous fight against Mazkertis over 50 years ago.


    Finally, the group made it to the location of the aforementioned “party.” D-Klak rubbed his head, as he felt strange after seeing all of those memories.

    “Fascinating,” Nadle said, as he passed by various recognizable individuals.

    “Indeed,” The Norman replied.

    “Let’s try to find the others quickly,” D-Klak said, “Before this place messes with our minds…again. Where could they be?”

    Nadle looked around, and saw Kakamu being dragged away by the Pirate Lords.

    “I see them, come on!” he shouted. The group ran through the crowd, bumping into several people.

    A group of Malchiorian soldiers suddenly appeared before them, blasters raised.

    “Klak’s subconscious,” Nadle advised. “Take them down.”

    The Norman dreamt up a Nynrah Ghost Blaster and used it to shoot at the Malchiorians. D-Klak and Nadle used swords to defeat the remaining soldiers. The group dashed away from the scene towards the Pirate Lords.


    Anzu abruptly screamed in pain and clenched his head. Tezzeret and Cassius Calm, both startled, ran toward him to see what was the matter.

    “I can’t hold this spell on much longer,” he grunted. “The technology is helping, but having to keep all these minds under while trying to fight Mazkertis’s spell is draining my mana. If this keeps up, some of them may be lost to the Dreamscape.”

    Calm desperately looked at all of the sleeping team members. They were running out of time.


    Suddenly, Nadle, D-Klak, and The Norman found themselves in front of a cave. The trio rushed in, and realized they were in the Pirate’s base! Rahn, former Apprentice of Caiaphus and twice revived servant of Blackout, bolted towards them, firing a blaster.

    Nadle quickly formed a shield, blocking the blasts. The Norman fired with a volley of her own, damaging Rahn’s armor. Before the latter could recover, D-Klak slashed upward into his face, killing him.

    Déjà vu,” Nadle muttered.

    “What?” D-Klak asked.

    “Nothing,” Nadle replied.

    The group continued down the corridor and arrived in a large chamber full of computers. In the center of it all was Kakamu tied to a chair, unconscious. Keichi, Treskis, Shadow Blade, SM Treveya, Quick Billy, and 553 were all standing nearby in attack stances.

    “Aw crap!” Keichi shouted as he saw Nadle. He raised a blaster and aimed it at Kakamu. “Nobody move, or he gets hurt!”

    “I told you idiots that this plan wouldn’t work!” 553 screamed.

    “I’m improvising, damn you! I’m adapting!” Keichi said, defensively.

    “Adapt to this,” D-Klak taunted, throwing his hook blade across the room. Keichi’s gun was cut clean in half.

    The other villains began firing their weapons, save for SM Treveya, who began summoning magical constructs. One of these constructs was a massive Kikanolo, which charged towards D-Klak.

    He leaped into the air to dodge the creature. Although he was successful, he was immediately caught by a series of magical construct vines. The vines pulled at D-Klak’s limbs as he screamed in pain. Another vine wrapped around his neck and began to squeeze.

    Nadle kicked Treskis in the chest and blasted him away with his laser eyes. Suddenly, 553 stabbed him with an energy spear. 553 pulled the spear out of Nadle, then pulled out a pistol, firing it at The Norman.

    “No!” D-Klak shouted. “STOP IT!”

    The vines squeezed harder, until…

    D-Klak woke up, realizing the vines had squeezed him so hard he briefly lost consciousness. He looked around the room and noticed Nadle struggling with 553, both using energy spears as batons. Meanwhile, The Norman was holding her own in a fist fight against both Shadow Blade and Keichi. D-Klak noticed that she truly was a The Norman after all.

    D-Klak summoned his strength and ferociously glared at SM Treveya. His jaw dropped and he released a powerful sonic scream that shattered the vines and knocked Treveya back into a rock formation.

    The Kikanolo turned around, and D-Klak spun to meet it. He began walking back slowly, inching towards SM Treveya, until the Rahi charged. He reeled away from the monster at the last minute, timing it just right so that it would hit a new target: SM Treveya.

    Nadle’s arm darted under 553’s spear, then moved upwards, disarming his foe. He then roundhouse kicked 553 into Shadow Blade, knocking them both out. Keichi fell to the ground alongside them.

    D-Klak turned to the group and nodded. His eyes suddenly widened when he noticed that Nadle’s antidermis was leaking from his left flank. It appears that he had sustained an injury during his fight with 553, but pushed on. Nadle grabbed his flank and nodded, slightly wincing.

    “I’ve been through worse,” he coughed. “Just wake him up already so we can get out of this place.”

    D-Klak shook Kakamu. No response.

    He shouted Kakamu’s name twice. No response.

    Nadle’s antidermis continued to leak, this time in exorbitant amounts. The Norman tried lightly tapping Kakamu’s face, but she received no response either.

    Suddenly, D-Klak raised his finger.

    “Stand back! I have an idea!” he said. “There’s no way this won’t work. He’ll experience a flash of light, and that’s sure to wake him up.”

    D-Klak energized his fingers with Force lightning, then placed them on either side of Kakamu’s head. He delivered a jolt of electricity that crackled throughout Kakamu’s body. The Makuta stood up, energized, startling the group.

    “A dream…all a dream…” he muttered. “Wh-where am I?”

    “Inside another dream, I think” The Norman explained. “We need to find Klak and Axalara and get you all out of here.”

    Nadle collapsed, grunting. The others quickly crouched to help him up.

    “Don’t worry about me, damn it,” he scolded. “Go find Axalara, I’ll be fine!”

    “Not a chance, Nadle,” Kakamu said, putting his shoulder around that of his comrade to help him walk. “We’re all getting out of this nightmare together.”


    Axalara dashed through the various trees, the crisp snow crunching loudly underneath her. She noticed that Mazkertis was approaching, then leaped behind a tree. When the wizard was close, she blasted him with a gust of wind, knocking him backwards.

    But in less than a second, he was back up again. He floated after Axalara, faster this time. Mazkertis then flung a lightning bolt of red magic that slashed into her arm. She darted away from Mazkertis, feeling her searing wound feel chilled by the frigid air.

    Axalara stopped in a clearing to listen to a sound. In the midst of the snowy forest, she heard the laughter of the party she had been in earlier. All she needed to do was reach the other side of the woods, and she would find her team, one that could help her destroy Mazkertis once and for all.  

    Suddenly, a hand grabbed her back. She gasped.

    Axalara woke up in a cave, and realized that the hand belonged to The Norman. Surrounding them were Nadle, D-Klak, and Kakamu.

    “Th-the mission…” she whispered. “I remember it now, the mission.”

    “We’ll finish it soon, now we’ve got company.” D-Klak warned. Mazkertis, Sanox (the aforementioned Toa of Shadow), and Blackout stood in front of them, grinning.

    Kakamu grit his teeth.

    “There’s no time! We’re losing Nadle, and we might not be able to find Klak!” he said.

    “But…” Nadle gasped. “We have to…”

    “I remember the mission now,” Kakamu declared. “And none of them are a part of it, Klak is! Let’s go!”

    D-Klak hesitated. He was sure Mazkertis was real. After all, he may have been using this Dreamscape spell as an illusion. But if that were the case, why would Blackout be alongside him? D-Klak was sure that Blackout was on their side.

    Nadle raised his arm weakly, then blasted the villains away with gravity. They shattered instantly. The group passed through their remains.

    Suddenly, the villains were reassembled.

    “Run!” Kakamu said. And they did.

    Before the group knew it, they were in front of the forest party again.

    “Find Klak, quickly!” Nadle shouted. He collapsed to the floor once again; his eyes began to fade.

    Kakamu and Axalara rushed through the crowd, but just when they came upon Klak…

    A raging army of darkness charged towards them, consuming everything in its path. Ghosts of the past screamed and cackled, a whirlwind of death travelling with them. Kakamu could recognize some of the silhouettes of these faceless horrors, like Akzer, Blackout, Caiaphus, Eclipse, Krika, Nabonidus, Set, Ultron, Xemnas, and many more. Others he could not recognize, only assuming that they were nightmares from another’s past.

    Klak ran towards the chaos, the cloud of death and despair. He passed both Axalara and Kakamu, who both ran after him. They called out his name as the light grew dim. The voices of The Norman, Nadle, and D-Klak could be heard, but they all were nowhere to be seen.

    “I have surpassed all,” they could hear F-Klak boast. “I have ascended to perfection!”

    They then heard Mazkertis cackle victoriously in the distance.

    Suddenly, Kakamu found himself in the middle of a swirling sandstorm. The grains smashed into his armor fiercely as he vainly fought against the wind.

    “Axalara!” he screamed, his voice nearly drowned out by the tyrannous wind. He cried out again. No response. Again, he yelled, moving forward and attempting to see through the storm.

    Kakamu tripped and fell in front of Klak, who was morosely lying on the ground covered in sand.

    “All gone,” he muttered in dejection. “All because of me.”

    A sullen sigh escaped out of Kakamu’s mouth. He kneeled down next to his friend, and patted his shoulder.

    “I know,” he replied. “All the suffering and destruction we’ve seen in this fight, all that we’ve lost. It takes its toll, Klak. And we can’t help but blame ourselves for it….”

    Kakamu looked up as memories of all those he lost in his many journeys flooded his mind.  

    “But it wasn’t your fault, Klak. Many of them were taken from us by monsters. You did what you could to protect them….” he said, reassuringly. “Besides, we would do them a great dishonor if we didn’t push on. If we didn’t get up and fight…”

    Kakamu then remembered the battle between User Kon and Dukamu back on that dead world  over two months ago.  

    “We’re just a small part of it, aren’t we? Darkness and light. It’s a war that’s gone on long before we were born, and will go on long after we’re dead and gone, until the end of time,” he said, in awe. “We’re just a small part of it, but we have a role to play. Mazkertis was wrong about you, about all of us. You’re not an aberration or a wound in the universe. None of us are. We all choose what to serve…and you and I made a choice…”

    Tears streamed down Kakamu’s face as he saw a vision of his son. Klak looked up at his friend, not saying anything.

    “There’s good in this universe, Klak. And as long as that’s true, then there’s something out there worth fighting for! So get up, Klak. Get up and fight!”

    Klak grit his teeth and punched the ground. He slowly began to raise himself off of the ground, shaking uneasily. The sandstorm began to increase in intensity. Its rage matched Klak’s as he forced himself to stand triumphantly.

    “No more,” he cried. “No more!”

    The storm raged violently. A monstrous growling noise purred behind them. Klak raised his Keyblade and charged it with light energy. The bright light consumed all around it.


    The entire group woke up at once. Anzu sighed in relief as he quickly finished the spell. Tezzeret, Perseus, and Calm cried out in joy, while Caiaphus stood nearby and said nothing.

    “We did it…” Nadle said, touching his uninjured flank. “We did it!”

    As the group cheered, Anzu stepped away.

    “Thank you, everyone, for saving me,” Klak expressed, smiling. “We…we made it out of there.”

    “How do you feel?” Axalara asked.

    “Bittersweet,” Klak replied rather morosely. “But I feel a sense of peace, resolve…and hope. Mazkertis and his Kindred won’t stop us, not with a spell, not with anything! Let’s get to work to find him, and put an end to his rampage!”

    The group stood up from their bed capsules, hugging and greeting each other.

    Axalara walked with Klak down a corridor, passing by a nearby window that showed the vast expanse of space before them. Out of the corner of her eye, Axalara thought she saw the Last Ember following them. She blinked, and noticed him inside of a small spacecraft, winking at her from afar.


    Axalara jumped, startling Klak.

    “Woah, what is it, Axalara?” he asked.

    She blinked, realizing that she was gazing into nothingness. The Ember appeared to have just been a hallucination. The booming noise she heard was Anzu on the ship’s intercom.

    “Attention all Claws, please report to the bridge,” he exclaimed urgently. “A…complicated situation has developed on Gasuhigann.”


    Meanwhile, on a planet near a Red Giant Superstar, a Stardust Crusader fashioned a longsword in a laboratory. He looked almost exactly like his predecessor, Stardust the Superwizard , and even kept his namesake in his honor. The only difference was that he had a toothy grin and black hair at all times. He had consulted with his predecessor’s soul, and was informed about a way to finally destroy Mazkertis. He looked so happy because he finally made it!

    Nu-Stardust slammed his blacksmith’s hammer on the longsword, energized it with his Anti-Healing ray, and held it up.

    “This sword will prevent anyone stabbed by it from healing themselves!” he explained, to no one in particular. “It will be instrumental in ending Mazkertis! I must use it, then give him an even more suitable punishment!”

    Suddenly, Nu-Stardust realized something terrifying. Two months ago, when the Original Stardust fought the Heckumvirate, he focused all of his “hecks” on defeating his enemy, which he believed was one of the many threats to balance in the universe. However, while the Heckumvirate mocked him over what he cared about, they secretly neutralized one of Stardust’s very own hecks. At first, it seemed to be over something trivial, but it soon became the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Though Original Stardust’s essence lived on in the Red Giant Superstar, and though he took an active role in the affairs of his people, he still had a small part of him that did not care about something. He accidentally transferred a piece of hecklessness when he imbued Nu-Stardust with the Super Scientific knowledge on how to destroy Mazkertis. The Nohex was like a virus, and it consumed a piece of New Stardust.

    Essentially, Nu-Stardust now cared about developing the method of defeating the evil that threatened time and space. But he lost the hecks he gave about doing the deed himself! Even worse was the fact that the sword was missing a key component, one that he would have to ask someone else to get! He couldn’t use the sword anymore! No, he thought to himself, I don’t want this! Not like this!

    Nu-Stardust’s facial expression changed to the stoic one often worn by his predecessor. This expression remained as his jaw dropped, and he screamed.



    On Kalta Thaea, Raziel walked towards one of the Kindred’s ships. He was about a mile away, as he had spent some time training with some Cooperative drones to prepare for the incoming battle.

    A small squadron of Kindred members was preparing for a surprise attack on Ynot on a distant world. They believed that this offensive, coupled with the attack on Gasuhigann, would cripple more of their major enemies to prevent anyone from interfering with Mazkertis’s plan. It also would provide more energy for the wizard, meaning that he could cast his spell to travel back in time and rewrite history much sooner than expected.

    Of course, if none of the attacks were successful, they could always use Iris .

    As for Raziel, the offensive would have the added benefit of feeding his soul reaver blade. It had grown hungry over the past few days, and needed sustenance. As the bond between them was unshakeable, Raziel felt its pangs torment his mind.

    Suddenly, he was pulled aside by an unseen being. When Raziel realized who this person was, he summoned his sword and assumed an attack stance.

    The man had dark green skin, and flowing white hair. His face was cracked, full of millennia-old wrinkles and scars. He wore a red cape and leather pants, as well as leather glovers that covered his clawed hands.

    KAIN?! ” Raziel shouted, in anger and disbelief.

    “What a wonderful new home you’ve found for yourself, Raziel,” Kain replied, sarcastically.

    “Why are you here, Kain?” Raziel spat in seething rage.

    “To urge you to return to Nosgoth, Raziel,” Kain plead, a serious expression coloring his face. “Your absence has engendered dire consequences. Hate me as much as you would like, but insulting me by running from your destiny in such a drastic and puerile way is beneath you.”

    “I have met one almost as despicable as you, Kain,” Raziel growled. “He won’t rise to power for several millennia, but the spell cast by Mazkertis shall change both past and future of this realm. The wounds our mistakes will be erased once and for all. Should I encourage Mazkertis to look upon Nosgoth next?”

    Kain rolled his eyes.

    “How ironic it is that, in your search for power and free will, you always end up falling under the spell of charlatans,” he replied. “Moebius, Caiaphus, and now Mazkertis. All of them have mesmerized you with deluded panaceas and visions of a supposed better tomorrow. But in reality, all of their plans end in the same way: a rotted world, one against the interests of our vampiric race.”

    “You would be surprised,” Raziel muttered. “Either way, am I supposed to ignore your blatant hypocrisy?”

    “Insult me all you like, Raziel,” Kain chuckled. “I know that you will make the right choice.”

    Kain walked away from Raziel and towards a portal. He looked up into the sky, noticing an incredible array of constellations remarkably different from those visible on Nosgoth. He made a mental note of eventually exploring the possibility of expanding his vampiric empire beyond Nosgoth, and into the stars.

    Raziel cursed his former master as he disappeared, turning towards the Kindred ship. As the other Kindred members entered in after him, he quietly went over what Kain had told him.


    Kakamu glanced at the windows on the bridge of the spaceship he was in, noticing something flying in the distance. It looked like some sort of flying sled! But that was impossible, especially in space! Unless…

    Sure enough, on this sled were Santa Claus (or Father Christmas, if you prefer), Greg Farshtey, and FAAAK-Cupcake, singing merrily (in space, EVERYONE can hear you sing Christmas Carols). They were accompanied by Mike and Dave, the two ZFT employees we encountered last year. Santa smiled, as he was proud over another successful Christmas. The sleigh would now make way towards Russia, Space Russia, characters controlled by Red, and all Orthodox areas of the BZPB Omniverse for Russian Christmas. After that, Santa would drop off Mike and Dave on Atuar Sadiares, Cupcake on Meme World, and GregF on the User World, all on his way to the North Pole of the Omniverse.

    Realizing that 2018 was FAAAAKING over for you, FAAAK-Cupcake began to sing a new song.


    Hope your holiday season has been merry and bright! Happy New Year, BZPB! May 2019 be a year of many blessings and joy!
    The Chronicler
    The Chronicler

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:32 am

    OOS: After almost two full years and more false starts than I can count, it’s finally here! To anyone still reading this, I can’t thank you enough for your continued patience and support. I’m just as frustrated as you are that it took me so long to get another chapter done, but miraculously some recent changes to my routine IRL (as well as some fantastic inspiration from Klak that I also incorporated into this chapter) gave me the push that I needed to finish this. Now that I’ve hopefully gotten out of my slump, I’m confident that it won’t take me nearly as long to write the next one, but for now, enjoy:

    Chapter 18: Critically Planned

    Exactly one week ago , the Dong Squad had decided to sever all ties with their mysterious Sith benefactor, Lord Zrintch, after he ordered the Pennis And Also Dicke And Balls Bureau to turn on and kill them for reasons that were not made clear. In the climactic battle that followed, it was discovered that both the PAADABB and Zrintch himself were actually followers of the evil time-manipulating wizard named Mazkertis, who the Dong Squad had been led to believe was the threat that they had been formed to defeat in the first place. Up until that point, the Dong Squad had worked towards this goal by collecting objects of great power that Zrintch had previously explained could be used to counteract the final spell that Mazkertis planned to cast to alter the timelines of two universes, though the team did not know what to believe anymore.

    Whatever Zrintch’s motive, the Dong Squad had emerged from the battle unscathed, with the PAADABB ending up dead or scattered instead. The only casualties of this mission for the Dongers related to their equipment: the spaceship that the team had used for all of their original adventures had been destroyed along with most of its on-board technology, including the Dedotated Wam that had powered its engines since the mission on Meme World, but the Dongers were able to salvage most of their personal belongings and equipment from the wreckage in addition to the contents of the ship’s high-security vault, which contained the three main artifacts of power that they had collected thus far: the Travel Glove, the Mask of Loki, and the Keruvim. Fortunately, DM Alex Jones had been gracious enough to provide the Dong Squad with the PAADABB’s spaceship, which the team was able to use to return home to the Original Universe.

    The Dong Squad had set a course for Cooperative space in order to confront Zrintch, but their spaceship had started to run low on fuel in the middle of their journey, forcing them to take a detour to the nearby planet of Sojourn V and touch down in the outskirts of a city while they figured out what to do. A decision was made to send BONES, Ross Mandell, and one of their chief LGAM engineers out into the city to search for a fuel source that would be compatible with the ship’s engines. Barely ten minutes had passed before Jesse Ventura received a call from BONES asking him to bring the rest of the Dong Squad to a bar in the center of the city. When Ventura asked why, BONES had merely replied that there was a ‘situation’ that he needed Ventura to take care of before promptly ending the call.

    Jesse Ventura strolled confidently down the grimy, crowded streets of the bustling alien city, flanked by his teammates on both sides. The Dongers were mostly as composed and silent as he was, with the exception of Merasmus, whose incessant drug cravings were causing him to sweat and shiver, and Joey, who continually moaned that he was hungry despite having just eaten back at the ship a few minutes ago. It seemed that Joey filled the gap in the team that had been left by Pumkin quite perfectly.

    “Are we there yet, gang?” Joey complained, his stomach audibly and visibly rumbling despite his immense size. “I just don’t know how much longer this muchacho can go without, y’know?”

    “I share your pain, mortal,” Merasmus replied, sweat dripping onto his robes from beneath the tall animal skull that was strapped to his head. The wizard was struggling with withdrawal symptoms because his stash of drugs had been among the possessions lost in the destruction of their previous spaceship, and with only one Cooperative Maker left, the Ayy-Lmaliums had to prioritize what they used it for, meaning that recreational drugs was out of the question. Merasmus feebly leaned on his hooked staff like a crutch as he followed his teammates down the street.

    “You’re doing fine so far, Merasmus,” Saitama quipped sarcastically, shooting a sideways smirk at the third-rate wizard.

    Merasmus was about to respond with equal sarcasm when he bumped into Soldier, who had suddenly stopped walking without warning. The wizard angrily raised his staff and prepared to inflict an appropriate curse upon his former roommate to punish him for his transgression, but paused when he realized that the Dongers had arrived at their destination: beside them was a run-down looking establishment that was designated with the very stained, grimy sign that BONES had told them to look out for: The Backdoor to the Manhole.

    At the forefront of the group, Jesse Ventura proudly adjusted his back leather jacket. “We’re here,” he said, pushing open the creaky wooden door and stepping into the bar.

    He was not prepared for what he saw inside.

    Jesse Ventura had lived many lives. He’d been the Governor of Minnesota, a street fighter, and a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus, to name a few; but never, in any of his adventures, had he ever seen anything quite as abhorrent as this.

    The creature that stood on the other side of the room looked like a grotesque, shambling hybrid between man and beast, though Ventura couldn’t begin to fathom what kind of coupling could result in such an abomination. The creature, though mostly humanoid, was covered in a thin layer of filthy, matted brown fur with six pink nipples lining its abdomen. Among its various animalistic features was a yellow, bird-like beak that protruded from the centre of its face, but there was also a feline mouth below it, albeit one that had human teeth. Despite these horrors, the creature’s most disturbing attributes were its legs, which bent backwards like the legs of chickens despite being shaped like human legs themselves. Additionally, the creature’s left arm transformed at the elbow into a functioning bright green-colored snake neck and head, which excitedly moved around to examine its surroundings apparently independently of its host. The host creature’s eyes - one blue, one brown - bulged in their sockets as it cheerfully shambled its grotesque form across the room to approach Ventura, its knees sickeningly bending backwards in the process, and held out its snake arm in what Ventura assumed must be an offer of a handshake. Ventura also noticed that the abomination’s only garments were a tattered loincloth around its waist and a pair of white sneakers.

    “Greetings, traveller!” The creature said cheerfully. Its voice sounded surprisingly normal in a way that did not match its horrific physical appearance, with its pleasant tone and naive expression suggesting that it had to be unaware of its own repulsiveness.

    In what was sure to be a long, drawn-out and awkward moment while the creature waited in vain for Ventura to accept its offer of a handshake, the conspiracy theorist quickly averted his gaze to examine the rest of the bar. BONES, Ross Mandell, and the LGAM engineer could be seen in an awkward standoff with a group of five greasy-looking human men that Ventura did not recognize. Behind the bar itself, a gruff bartender raised a wary eyebrow as the remaining members of the Dong Squad entered the building and took up positions around their leader. Various alien patrons looked up from their tables to give the Dongers similar curious glances, but soon returned to their business. After all, this was a planet in the Sojourn system, where travellers from all across the universe stopped and refuelled on long intergalactic journeys. The Dong Squad were not the first strange creatures to visit Sojourn V, and they would certainly not be the last.

    “Now what the hell is going on here?” Ventura bellowed.

    He firmly pushed past the six-nippled creature in order to confront Ross Mandell directly, but one of the human strangers interrupted him by stepping over to Mandell and jabbing an accusatory finger into the Bad Boy’s chest. “Ross Mandell here stole my freakin’ money!!” the man screeched, poking repeatedly while Mandell defiantly stood there and rolled his eyes. “$200,000, all raised by my fanbase, stolen in broad daylight! Who knows what this filthy crook ended up doing with it!”

    The man went in for another poke on Mandell, but this time his finger was grabbed by Ventura before it could touch its mark. Ventura painfully twisted the man’s hand, causing him to drop to the floor in pain. The Bod was done messing around. “You interrupt me again, little boy, and I’ll kick your ass!” Ventura threatened, intentionally talking down to the man despite his tall frame.

    “Bu-bu-but-” the man protested, wincing in pain while Ventura continued to squeeze his trapped hand.

    “I’M JESSE VENTURA! You got that?”

    When the man nodded in protest, Ventura let go, sending the stranger scrambling for safety among his allies. “Good,” Ventura said with a smirk. “Now, like I said. Does someone want to tell me what the hell is going on here, or am I going to have to investigate this conspiracy all by myself?”

    “I’m Doug Walker, the Nostalgia Critic,” the man whimpered as he rose to his feet. “I remember it so you don’t have to, and we… we’re the League of Super Critics!”

    At the mention of their team name, the other four humans did eccentric, superhero-esque poses around Walker, while Walker himself triumphantly crossed his arms and smiled. He continued: “We’re the finest Critics in the universe, taking a break on Sojourn V while we search for some compatible fuel for our ship. There’s five of us here, with another taking his sweet time in the toilet across the room. I don’t know what’s taking him so long...”

    “Me neither,” said a greasy white man with long black hair who wore a yellow shirt with a faded graphic. “I’m Spoony, by the way. Meet Linkara, Malcolm, and Paul,” he continued, gesturing in turn to a slightly overweight man wearing glasses and a trilby hat, a black man in a chequered shirt, and another white man with a rapidly thinning hairline and an unsettling smile. Linkara, Malcolm, and Paul all nodded at the Dongers and raised their hands in succession.

    Ventura sneered. He had seen better looking men sweep the floors of his studio back in his Conspiracy Theory days, but he had to admit that there was something... different about them. Perhaps Walker’s claim was true, but that didn’t explain why the Dongers had been summoned to this run-down bar in the middle of nowhere.

    “Hello? Perhaps you did not hear me,” a deep, ethereal voice chimed in, accompanied by the disgusting creature from before coming back into Ventura’s line of sight. Once again, it extended a hand to Ventura in an apparent offer of peace.

    Ventura recoiled in disgust, casting a suspicious glance at the Critics. “What about this godforsaken thing? Is he with you?”

    “Quite the contrary. We haven’t been able to get him to leave,” Linkara said exasperatedly, shaking his head. “He appeared just as Doug was about to give Mr. Mandell over there the mother of all beatdowns, saying that it was his destiny to save us and make us all like each other. Now I’m as big a believer in destiny as any Star Wars fan, but I can’t ever see that happening, heh.”

    “That makes two of us,” Ventura replied through gritted teeth.

    Sighing, Ventura forced himself to face the snake-handed creature head-on. He hoped that he could engage it in conversation for just long enough to get some answers and then leave before its monstrous visage eroded his sanity, but now that he was facing it again, he could swear that he could taste the sweat that was breaking out on its brow, trickling down towards its beaked nose and onto its nonexistent lips. When faced with such a living affront against the Shepherd himself, Ventura just knew that he could kill every single person in the room before the bar's security could put him down, but he chose to stand there and endure it, because he was fucking Jesse Ventura. He wasn't going to lose his Dong Squad membership rights over this. Just bear it, he thought. Hide your face and bear it.

    Eventually, in what felt like a near-Olympian feat of willpower, Jesse Ventura grasped the head of the creature's outstretched right hand (which was thankfully human-like, unlike his snake-headed left hand) and gently shook it up and down.

    "I'M JESSE VENTURA! I've been governor. A prison warden. Leader of the Dong Squad. But what in the- who in the hell are you?"

    The creature smiled, revealing two rows of immaculate human-like teeth.

    "Who am I? Well mister, that’s a loaded question, so I'd appreciate it if you unloaded your pent-up streams (of consciousness) onto someone else's face… but as for me? I'm just a humble spirit-seeker pursuing a deeper strata of truth. I'm on a quest to answer a question as old as time itself… 'Who am I?’ Since my journey began, I've walked many realms and thrust my large persona into the tight, enticing areas of space and time that no man was meant to enter. Some dimensions I've had the pleasure of pleasuring even attack the sentient mind, but don’t be alarmed, mindfields are nothing to a certified Wahockamana mind-sweeper!"

    Ventura groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “In English?”

    “English Shmlinglish!” the creature confidently replied. He began to stroll around the room, making eye contact with the Dongers and Critics and raising his arms as if to demonstrate something, though it was unclear exactly what. “True words come from not the mouth, but from the lower lips!” he continued, deliberately placing his hands on the tunic wrapped around his waist, mere moments away from lifting it up and revealing what was underneath.

    “Oh please god no,” Randolph Moloch protested, instinctively covering his eyes. Most of the others did the same.

    However, the creature lifted the tunic to reveal something that no-one in the room expected: an unmistakably large, spherical, brown-irised human eye, which sat on the creature’s crotch in place of genitals. The eye pivoted around to peer at the gathered characters and unfortunate bar patrons in turn, its unsettling gaze seeing into their very souls. At this point, the few remaining patrons decided they had had enough and promptly left in order to escape from the weirdness, hurriedly pushing past the bewildered Dongers and Critics and flocking out onto the street. Even 18-LA checked out, willingly fleeing back under the legs of the gangsters who had assaulted him outside. The Dongers and Critics, however, were too entranced to move, each frozen by a combination of horror, confusion, and enlightenment. The ethereal eye then blinked six times in total, and with each blink it projected a four-dimensional letter that floated into the air in front of the delegation. After the sixth letter manifested, the completed word spelled X-A-V-I-E-R.

    “The lower lips are the lips of the soul!” Xavier continued, tapping his snake-arm on his chest. “Hear my soul speak to you now, just as yours will speak to each other once the day is done. Can you feel me inside you now?”

    However, instead of a warm embrace, Xavier’s message was met with a punch to the face. “The only thing I’m feeling right now is the urge to send you back to whatever hellhole you crawled out from, demon!” Ventura bellowed, following up by connecting several more punches and kicks to Xavier’s visage for good measure. Eventually, Ventura noticed that he had spontaneously started to say “Take that! Taste the pain!” while beating up the pseudo-shaman, though he had no idea why.

    As Linkara had predicted, most of the Dongers and Critics soon re-assumed their battle positions and turned against each other, each preparing to fight to the death if necessary. The sole exception was Saitama, who looked no more bothered than he usually did. The caped baldy knew that he could take out all the Critics, and probably Xavier too, within seconds using rapid light taps if he wanted to, but he chose not to for several reasons: he didn’t want to undermine Ventura’s authority or upstage his teammates in broad daylight, and he also had to admit that the sheer absurdity of Xavier’s existence made him curious enough to want to see what would happen if the situation ran its course. He had encountered plenty of geeky villains like the Critics during his superhero career, but none that were anything like as bizarre or as mysterious as Xavier. Saitama doubted that Xavier could be the worthy opponent that he had been searching for ever since he had departed from his homeworld, but he was at least interesting enough for Saitama to want to learn more about him - and for that he had to survive.

    Moving faster than the eye could see, Saitama instantly appeared between Jesse Ventura and Xavier, separating the two. “Listen, Jesse, I’ve seen some pretty disgusting monsters in my time, and this ‘Xavier’ is definitely one of them. But something tells me that he’s here for a reason, so let’s at least listen to what he has to say. If we don’t like the reason he gives, you know that I can vaporize him with just one punch, but I’d rather know why he’s here before turning him into red mist.”

    “Fine,” Ventura replied, letting go of Xavier and allowing him to fall onto the ground. Surprisingly, Xavier got back on his feet within moments, as he was apparently used to sustaining beatings, and his expression remained one of naive cheerfulness.

    “Dong Squad and Critics, I have come to you a peace of my mind!”, Xavier proclaimed, once again pacing around the room. Despite his relaxed demeanour, the Dongers and Critics remained on edge. “Last night, I got so high on life that a terrible vision of the future reared its ugly head in the middle of my headitations! Once I gave it head in return - my own, of course - and rode it to completion, I realized what must be done to abort this terrible love-child of the future before it consumes everything we hold dear!”

    “What the devil are you talking about?” Randolph groaned, rolling his eyes.

    “DOOOOOOM!!” Merasmus suddenly screamed, flailing his arms around in panic.

    “Shut the FACK up Merasmus, or I will rip off your tiny painis!” Soldier screeched, threateningly shaking his fist at Merasmus’s crotch.

    “And why should I believe any of you?” Doug hissed, becoming more irate by the second. “For all I know, you’re all in this together and this is just another one of Mandell’s crooked schemes!”

    The rest of the Critics agreed, murmuring among themselves and casting suspicious looks at the Dongers.

    “Looks like we’ve got a really a tough kind of situation here gang, hehe,” Joey said, laughing. “This muchacho’s like ‘ooh they scammed me they scammed me!’ And I’m like ‘Okay man! This isn’t Burger King! You can’t have it your way!’ You know? HEHE! Have a little milkshake and cool off! You know, cool off, muchacho! Anyways, As Luke Skywalker said, ‘p-pass…where’s the…mustard gravy, I like it. WOOWOOWOO!!”

    “The comic where he said that wasn’t even good!” Linkara yelled desperately. “I reviewed it months ago!”

    “Easy for you say!” Merasmus bellowed. “You are under a spell that rrrrrrrrequires you to view things critically! But you are unaware that thou hast not defined reason!”

    “Oh yeah? Well at least I’m not a third-rate wizard addicted to drugs! Plus, the comics you appeared in weren’t even sold on shelves!” Linkara retorted.

    Merasmus clutched his chest in pain as if Linkara had just landed a critical hit on him, but Billy Mays was ready to jump to his teammate’s defence.

    “Even if you were a wizard, no amount of magic would clean the stains on your shirt!” the salesman bellowed, reaching into his pocket and producing a small, transparent canister filled with clear white liquid. “But now, with the power of Faygoclean, you can burn away those stains as you sit atop your favorite wall. Faygoclean will clean the stains so you don’t have to!”

    “Let’s all just take it easy, eh?” Ainsley Harriott warned with his hands raised, positioning himself between Mays and Linkara. “There’s no point in mucking about. We still have to find Zrintch and that nasty Mazkertis fellow, and these good Critic friends of ours have to do… whatever it was they were doing before we arrived here.”

    “Please, stop your bickering!” Xavier pleaded. “You’re all in terrible danger!”

    Unfortunately, no one heeded his admonition.

    “What’s going on? I have no freaking eyes.” No Image Guy said, sarcastically. Paul Latza rolled his eyes, yet Spoony seemed troubled by the statement.

    “Oh screw it!” Doug screamed and pointed at Ross Mandell. “No matter how many times we confess our freaking feelings it won’t change the fact that this guy scammed me!”

    “Was it really a scam,” Mandell inquired, “Or was it a growing experience that all of us, despite our diverse experiences and origins, shared and learned from?”

    “Ross Mandell may be a criminal, but he’s one of ours!” Jesse Ventura barked, scowling at Doug. “You’ve got a problem with the Dong Squad, pal? You’ve got a problem with me! You got that?!”

    “Look, Governor,” Spoony explained calmly. “I’ve watched you wrestle. I know your moves. You’ve met your match.”

    “Those are the moves on TV, buddy,” Jesse scoffed. “This? This is the real world. And when I meet someone in the real world? They’re no match for me!”

    “Judging by what I’ve been told, Tommy Wiseau would disagree,” Latza quipped.

    “That’s it!” Jesse Ventura raised his fists. Malcolm stepped in front of him while wielding an umbrella he used last time they did the supervillain shuffle. BONES skullpalmed. Joey took out a hatchet and started muttering about boneless chicken.

    Soldier went up to Xavier and slapped him across the face.

    “Now hear this! Your therapy is not working! You have 3 seconds to stop me from kicking your ass!” he screamed.

    “There will be no ass kicking or ass touching,” Xavier replied calmly, raising his hands in the air. “Instead, let ass grab and kick away our feelings of negativity and lovingly caress the bond of friendship!”

    And there it is again. Another lame sex joke, Ventura thought, angrily raising a fist. “If I hear one more innuendo out of you…”

    “What’s that, Mr. ‘Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus?’” Linkara jibed. “If you’re not into innuendos, why is your team named the Dong Squad?”

    “Don’t test me, four eyes!” Ventura roared, aiming his fist at Linkara. The comic book critic did nothing but sneer in response, already knowing he was right.

    Paul sighed, rolling his eyes at the commotion. “This entire detour is turning into chaos. Just wait until Dr. Bedge sees this...”

    At the mention of a certain Alasaskan, Ventura’s whole demeanour changed. He placed his hands on his hips and walked up to Paul, a massive, smug grin spreading across his face. “Well well well, we’re out here in the wilderlands of Sojourn V and I’m gonna meet Dr. Bedge? What do you know, it’s my lucky day after all!”

    “Oh… right,” Paul laughed nervously as the realisation hit him. “You two already know each other.”

    “Damn right!” Ventura boasted. “Me and Dr. Bedge go way back - back to my days doing Conspiracy Theory, in fact. I went to his home in Alasaska to interview him about the HAARP Complex, but we ended up talking about something else...”

    “Let me guess, his wife?” Spoony groaned, visibly cringing.

    “It’s as simple as that. She’s Anedie Bedge in more ways than one!” Ventura roared, throwing his head back in laughter. However, the laughter soon stopped when an obvious question occurred to him. “Wait, how do you know that little weakling?”

    “Dr. Bedge’s been travelling with us for almost an entire year now!” Doug asserted, leaping to his friend’s defense. “He doesn’t have his own YouTube channel, but he’s earned the right to be one of us. As it so happens, we originally met because he was a big fan of my work.”

    “Of course a bottom feeder like Bedge would latch onto the likes of you!” Ventura huffed, getting up in Doug’s face once again.

    “Actually, I’d say that he’s more qualified than any of us,” Malcolm pointed out. This statement earned him a glare from Doug, Spoony, Linkara, and Paul, so Malcolm hurriedly justified himself by saying “W-well, he did teach at the University of Alasaska!”

    “So what’s the deal with Dr. Bedge, and why is he locked in the bathroom?” No Image Guy asked, the question mark on his face growing in relation to his curiosity.

    "That's a good question," Malcolm replied. "When Dr. Bedge laid eyes on Xavier, he freaked the hell out and ran into the washroom, muttering something about how the ‘crimes of the past’ were catching up with him and that he needed to undo a mistake he had created. We tried knocking on the door, but he refused to come out. As far as I know, he’s still in there.”

    “Dr. Bedge is one of the harmless people I know… maybe tooharmless,” Doug commented, chuckling dryly. “But a criminal? No way! That’s why he’s one of us and not one of them,” he concluded, casting a suspicious glare towards the Dong Squad. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

    “No, it IS sense!” Xavier replied with enthusiasm. He threw his arms around Doug and Malcolm in an attempt to congratulate them for their insights, though both men wriggled uncomfortably in the creature's grasp. “It is the sixth sense, in fact… the sense of self! It sounds to me like Dr. Bedge had a crisis of the soul and needed some soul-itary time to work it out. It could have been a flashback, or a flash-forward, but I’d bet my third eye that it was a flash-inward. Fear not, for he will emerge from that washroom a reborn man, having bathed in the waters of truth! As my Chief Master Guru used to say, ‘Open your mind and truth will follow behind’. I’ll tell you now, my behind never felt the same after that day!”

    Some of the Dongers chuckled awkwardly, but the Critics facepalmed in unison.

    “But our business here today is ultimately forward, not inward!” Xavier continued, waving his hands at the Dongers and Critics with urgency. “Well, inward then forward, like a back-and-forth motion. Anyway, I have experienced a terrible prophecy about the fate of creation, one that can only be prevented if you all work together! How do I know this is true, I hear those unasked questions say? Because the future is merely a prophecy that has yet to be prophesied! You see, by definition, all prophecies are true, from a certain point of view. I’ve been trying to tell you this since you got here, but you haven’t been making it easy for me with all your dong-measuring contests! Luckily for you, I’m the easiest man in town!"

    “Oh yeah, real easy,” Randolph muttered, his voice practically dripping with sarcasm. “Perhaps if we had the slightest idea what you were talking about, we’d already be on our way home by now!”

    “It helps no-one to be reductive,” Xavier replied cryptically, wagging his snake arm in front of Randolph. The snake’s tongue suddenly extended from its mouth and licked the man’s nose, causing him to jump back in surprise. “Shortcuts only serve to cut short your journey into the realms beyond, leaving you pent up and dissatisfied without a satisfying spiritual climax!”

    “Buddy, this is admirable and all,” Spoony said as he put his hands together to beg. “But there’s no way this is going to work. You’ve seen the results.”

    As Xavier’s mind processed Spoony’s words, he was suddenly captivated by a flashback that took him back to his adolescence. The Critics, Dongers, and the beer-stained walls of the grimy bar faded away in a haze, his surroundings transforming into an outdoor environment that strongly resembled the Australian outback, with an overbearingly bright sun at the top of the reddened sky and desert that stretched on for miles in all directions around him. Xavier gasped when he noticed two familiar figures sitting in front of a flimsy tent: his teenage self, and his mentor, adoptive father, and the closest thing that Xavier had ever had to a friend: the Chief Master Guru. He was an elderly, olive-skinned man with a sly expression who wore a headdress and more beads than Xavier had ever been able to count.

    “Youuung man,” the Chief Master Guru told the Teenage Xavier in his ancient and ethereal voice. “To begin a friendship, one must first plant the seeds, For a garden to grow, one must water it. Maintenance leads to the proper countenance in the face of a friend! And as long as you are in the same garden, and live under the same sky, you will always be friends!”

    “Wow, thanks Chief Master Guru!” Teenage Xavier replied enthusiastically. “That sure is swell advice! Say, am I your friend?”

    “S-sure, kid,” the Chief said nervously. He suddenly looked behind Xavier and pointed somewhere just out of sight. “Oh look, a deer with a cantaloupe on its head!”

    “Where?!” Teenage Xavier turned around. He looked far across the horizon, but he could not see what the guru had described. “Uhh, Chief Master Guru, it left!”

    When the Teenage Xavier turned back around, he saw that the Chief had disappeared. He gasped and started to shout the guru’s name while walking around. Little did he know that the Chief had hidden himself behind a large rock that Xavier did not think to look at. The Chief chuckled to himself.

    “Too easy,” he said ethereally.

    The flashback ended, and Xavier found his consciousness being pulled back through the winds of time and being returned to his body in the present. The first thing he noticed when the grimy bar came back into focus was that most of the Dongers had since occupied themselves with other things: Merasmus was desperately combing the bar for traces of drugs, Ainsley, Joey, and the LGAM had disappeared into the kitchen to see what was cooking, and Soldier was practising his juggling skills with the grenades that were strapped to his uniform while Paul looked on with mild interest. However, the rest of the Critics remained in a tense standoff with Jesse Ventura and Ross Mandell, each determined that their point of view invalidated the other’s.

    “WRONG!” Xavier shouted in response to Spoony’s statement a few minutes prior, regaining everyone’s attention. Ainsley, Joey, and the LGAM returned from the kitchen just in time with a large helping of food, plus a few bottles of ALILA-brand tequila, that they consumed as they sat at the bar, heads turned towards Xavier. His voice became affected by a strange echo as he delivered his explanation. “We need to plant! Friends always help friends farm. Maybe we can plant reeds. Our reeds will grow, get longer and more firm, just like our bond. Let’s bond until it’s long and hard!”

    “Listen, Xavier, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but we’re not going anywhere without Dr. Bedge,” Paul insisted, pushing his rectangular glasses back up the bridge of his nose. “We work as a team here, and though he may be a prominent Alasaskan, plus a well-respected author and actor for the past fifteen years, he can barely find his way around our ship without getting lost. There’s no way we’re leaving him alone in an alien city.”

    “Nonsense!” Xavier proclaimed, carelessly dismissing Paul’s concerns with another wave of his snake-arm. “He’s in good hands, on a noble quest to put the ‘self’ back in ‘himself’. Hell, if he plays his cards right he might even end up like me one day!”

    “I’d like to see that happen,” Ventura commented with a smirk.

    Paul opened his mouth to protest again, but before he could finish, Xavier produced a long, didgeridoo-esque wooden instrument from seemingly nowhere that he held up to his mouth and began to play. While he played the shakashuri, visual depictions of otherworldly notes manifested in the air like a kind of synesthesia, captivating the Critics and Dongers with their otherworldly lull. With the exception of one symbol that was accompanied by an alarmingly ominous tone, all of the notes that Xavier played were inexplicably pleasant to listen to, in stark contrast to his repulsive physical appearance. Enraptured by Xavier’s music, the Critics and Dongers found themselves following him out of the bar and into the busy, rusty city, leaving Dr. Bedge and the thought of him far behind.


    After a considerable amount of time, the Critics and Dongers slowly snapped back to reality, gradually regaining cognizance of their whereabouts and purpose on this backwater junction planet. Judging by the position of the sun in the sky, hours had passed on Sojourn V since they had first arrived on the planet, with the singular city that they had spent most of the past day in now fading into the horizon miles behind them. It seemed that the group had been following one tarmac road that led far out into the desert, with only one building to be seen in front of them...

    “Doug, if we’re in another chapter like this, I’m killing myself,” Linkara said to Doug, quietly.

    “Easy, Lewis,” The Nostalgia Critic replied. “I’m sure this isn’t going in the way we’re predicting aaand we’re already here.”

    Two humans with cartoonishly pastel yellow-colored skin sat on the porch of the convenience store, both regarding the travellers with equally condescending looks. The first man, named Chuck, leaned back and smiled, his red hat adorning his head like a crown. When Xavier and company began to ascend the steps that led to the store, Chuck removed the pipe from his mouth and sarcastically commented “Well, well! Look at the city slickers rolling up in their fancy German cars!”

    “We’re not even driving!” Doug replied, taking a moment to catch his breath by leaning on the porch.

    “Well, pardon us, Mr. Oliver Peoples glasses!” the Farmer’s portlier companion, Farmer Too, replied.

    “I got these glasses after I saved a planet!” Doug protested.

    “You guys are jerks!” Linkara interjected, pointing an accusatory finger at Chuck and Too.

    “Ignore ‘em,” Jesse Ventura assured. “They’re just some of the local tough guys.”

    Randolph Moloch sneered at the farmers. “Fools! We’ve saved your lives countless times, and you dare mock us?!”

    “Well la-di-da, Monsieur Cote’Di Xeq Ltd. Top Hat!”

    “Hmph! Excuse me for taking care of myself!” Randolph scoffed defiantly. Though his pride was admittedly wounded, he decided to swallow it in order to save face, and proceeded into the store after his comrades.

    Inside, Xavier purchased some 'soul seeds' from another human with pastel-yellow skin named Sneed. Sneed explained that he owned the store now, but that it formerly belonged to Chuck. Chuck had sold it to Sneed, who turned it into his own Feed and Seed store. Remember this, this is important.

    Having acquired their seed, the Dongers and Critics followed Xavier into an empty field next to the store that was filled with dry-looking soil. Though most of them continued to question why they were going along with Xavier’s routine in the first place, they knew that they had come too far to turn back now. Saitama nodded at the uncomfortable-looking Ventura as if to remind him that he had already agreed to follow Xavier to wherever this journey would end. Ventura simply rolled his eyes and groaned in response.

    “Now spread your seed,” Xavier ordered, gesturing out at the field. “But please, take care of what is born.”

    Everyone rolled their eyes and began to plant their seeds in the soil. To their surprise, the seeds seemed to mature into fully-grown plants that sprouted out of the ground within seconds, with each one bearing some resemblance to an aspect of its planter’s current personality, hopes, dreams, or desires. This was first observed when Randolph’s plant bloomed into a strong and sturdy rose with sharp thorns, which amused him because of his affinity for beautiful but deadly things. BONES’s plant grew similarly fast, but it immediately died and turned to ash; presumably a reference to his state of undeath.

    Billy Mays’s plant grew into a rare type of flower that he instantly recognized as a secret ingredient of Kaboom. In an effort to protect that company’s trade secrets, he quickly tore it out of the ground and stuffed it into his pocket, attempting to deflect the subsequent inquisitive looks from his teammates with an innocent smile.

    Merasmus’s plant grew into a South American-esque coca plant. He excitedly pulled it out of the ground when he realized what it could be used to make, only for his hopes to be crushed when it was immediately burned to a crisp in his hands by a blast of magical energy fired by Randolph. Next to them, Jesse Ventura’s plant grew into a skinny but fruitful corn stalk, while Doug’s plant turned into a bush that looked a lot like Jesse. Both of them found this amusing, but for different reasons.

    Ross Mandell’s plant grew into a money tree, but unfortunately, it had no money. Although Ross Mandell thought he heard the Jesse bush say it had gambled all of the plant’s money, he chalked it up to another prank by No Image Guy.

    The Shell-Shocked Cat’s plant grew into a potato that somehow spontaneously turned into a mass of potato peelings when it ripened, which triggered a traumatic wartime flashback in the feline war hero. Upon witnessing this, Joey waited with anticipation for his own plant to undergo a similar transformation, for it was also a potato. However, no such transformation occurred. He wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or insulted by what this was implying.

    Ainsley Harriott’s seed grew into a cluster of coriander, which he delightfully picked and stored away for use in a future recipe. Soldier’s seed grew into a large poppy flower, which caused him some confliction: he wasn’t sure whether to crush the poppy, because flowers were for hippies, or let it live out of respect for what the symbol of the poppy meant to all the soldiers that had fallen in battle before him. Eventually, he decided to let it live, cementing his decision by standing upright and saluting the air.

    The plant that Paul Latza’s seed sprouted into had a long, thick stalk that resembled a cane and terminated in a bush of leaves that was shaped like a top hat. Paul proudly placed the hat of leaves atop his head and pulled the stalk out of the ground to wield it like a real cane. Meanwhile, Malcolm’s seed grew into a full-size fursuit which resembled a giant humanoid cat that was made entirely of leaves and branches. Despite judgmental glares from the Dongers, especially the Shell-Shocked Cat, Malcolm gleefully put the suit on over his clothes and posed in it proudly.

    Spoony’s plant grew into a bush that was shaped like a roll of film, which for some reason filled him with rage. Shouting “STOP TELLING ME TO MAKE THE DAMN MOVIE!”, he furiously ripped and tore the plant to pieces with his bare hands. Next to him, Linkara ignored Spoony’s tantrum to focus on his own plant instead, which grew into a thick, bristly cactus that seemed to emanate a strange humming sound for a reason he could not explain.

    As for No Image Guy, he waited for so much longer than his teammates for his plant to grow, to no avail, that he decided to find and replant his seed, thinking that he must have planted it incorrectly. However, when he went digging for it in the same spot that he had planted it in, he could find no trace of it anywhere. He chalked this up to being a reference to the fact that he may or may not really exist in the physical world, either.

    “You see, like true Dongs, each of you have the capacity to create life!” Xavier preached, walking around the Dongers and patting each of them on the back. He then gestured at Malcolm, who was still wearing the suit made out of foliage. “Look at what the seed of this beautiful creature has become! Mother Nature works in mysterious ways… I’d really like to get to the bottom of her, starting with her bottom. I’m coming, Mother! Ooh, frittata!”

    “Actually, this is kind of starting to itch,” Malcolm admitted, ruining Xavier’s moment. “It was cool at first, but can I take it off now? I like fursuits for a reason. It’s fur. Very comfortable to wear, and-”

    “Oh, fine!” Xavier snapped. With his snake arm, he grabbed onto a twig that was poking out of the plant-suit and pulled, which caused the entire suit to unravel and collapse into a bundle of sticks on the ground.

    “We came all this way out into the desert for this?!” fumed Linkara, angrily kicking his cactus. “What the hell are we supposed to learn from this?!

    The air was filled with the sound of agreements from both Dongers and Critics alike, who immediately began to pelt Xavier with whatever items they could find in their pockets while jeering and booing him. “Please, think peaceful thoughts!” Xavier protested. He instinctively tried to shield himself from the projectiles with his arms, but the sheer number of people telling him to ‘taste the pain’ was overwhelming. He was knocked to the floor and sent crawling back towards Sneed’s store.

    “Here’s a peaceful thought: You, gone!” Doug bellowed.

    “Amen to that,” Jesse added, hurling an empty can of Bat-Germ Repellent at Xavier. The can collided with Xavier’s beak, making a loud clanging noise that made him and Doug laugh with satisfaction. Ironically, this was followed by the two men looking at each other and nodding in approval - the first friendly gesture that they had ever shared.

    “My seed just disappeared altogether!” No Image Guy shouted, emitting a loud electronic signal from his hand that caused Xavier’s ears to painfully ring. “These seeds are bogus!”

    Bogus?” Out of all the insults that the group had thrown at him, that word stuck out the most. “Bogus? I should have known!” Xavier replied, climbing to his feet and brushing the sand off his inverted legs. “That shifty storekeeper took me for a chump and sold me defective produce. Well I’ve got more than enough chump change to show him who’s boss!”

    Moments later, Xavier burst back into the store and confronted Sneed. This time, none of the Dongers or Critics accompanied him, but he was content to let them wait outside.

    “Your seeds were weeds, insufficient for my needs.” Xavier grumbled. “I want all my time or my money back, either now or in the indeterminate future!”

    “Well I tried to warn ya earlier, you’re not gonna grow anythin’ mind-blowin' in that dead-ass soil outside!” Sneed replied in his thick Southern accent.

    “What do you know, you’re just a salesman with a bad pitch!” Xavier quipped obstinately.

    “Well, I know your soil PH is up around 9.6, and you need a 7-8 max!”

    “Oh, that’s just superstition!” Xavier replied, backing up towards the door. “I’ll plant something out there that’ll blow some minds, just you wait!”

    “Not if you’re planting those seeds out there. But if it’s minds you want to blow, perhaps I should recommend some of our Feed instead of our Seed. Take a look at our produce over there,” Sneed said, smirking and pointing at another shelf.

    Calling Sneed’s bluff, Xavier followed the direction of his finger and found himself in front of a row of trays that contained dozens of bluish, crystalline edibles beneath a label that read “DO NOT EAT IF SANE”.

    “Computer, what are these?” Xavier said curiously.

    Inside Xavier’s mind, another entity emerged from his subconsciousness and flickered to life. Seen by no-one but Xavier, an overweight man with a black bob haircut and a red jumper appeared and smiled jovially as he began to input a set of calculations into a mental image of a computer, apparently analyzing the contents of the trays in front of Xavier. The man, who was apparently named ‘Computer’ himself, twitched and spoke jerkily, as if he was merely a recording of someone else whose movements and dialogue had been edited to create something new.

    “ANALysis COMpletE!” Computer exclaimed. “ConTENTs are KÖkainUM, an experiMENtal PSychoACTive drUG POTent enOUgh tO INstantLY TRANSport iTs conSUMer INto tHe DReamSCAPE!”

    “Just what I need,” Xavier said with glee as he lifted an entire tray off the shelf. “I’ll take twenty!”


    In the capital of one of the largest nations on Earth, an entourage of bodyguards escorted a certain Affluent Man through a series of well-furnished, white-walled corridors as he proceeded on his way through the White House to the Oval Office. Though some of the bodyguards that surrounded him were of the standard human fare, others were imposingly tall, blue-skinned Psymancers who scanned everyone and everything around them with their pale white eyes, on a constant lookout for shapeshifters, impostors, or anyone who so much as daydreamed about causing trouble where they should not. President Trump found the Psymancers an unnerving but necessary presence in the White House, for without them, the continued existence of his presidency would be impossible in such a mad, mad multiverse.

    In fact, the existence of his presidency was one of the matters he wanted to discuss with the foreign head of state that would be meeting with him today. It was not a usual subject to discuss with foreign leaders on their first meeting, but Trump knew that this particular guest was unlike most of the other Earth leaders he had met, for he had participated in, and sometimes even been the cause of, many more widely-publicized intergalactic events than any other Earth leader he knew of.

    When Trump and his entourage of bodyguards and Psymancers passed through the door to the Oval Office, a slightly overweight, middle-aged man wearing a black suit with a long blue tie stood up from one of the sofas and politely grinned at the party. He was instantly identifiable by his awkward slouch and the messy mop of light blonde hair atop his head, though the Psymancers that accompanied him had also needed to verify his identity through telepathic means before he was allowed to interact with the President - just in case. Once Johnson’s Psymancers had passed the information that they had gleaned from his mind to the Psymancers that accompanied Trump, who in turn nodded at Trump to give him the all-clear, Trump returned Johnson’s smile and warmly shook his hand, having been assured that both he and his guest were in safe hands. Johnson reciprocated Trump’s gesture with enthusiasm, vigorously shaking Trump’s hand. This continued until Trump had to almost peel Johnson’s hand away, which caused Johnson to laugh awkwardly and proceed to rest his hands at his sides, as if he was not quite sure what to do with them.

    “Boris Johnson, what a pleasure it is to meet you. A privilege, even,” Trump said diplomatically, gesturing at the sofa behind the new Prime Minister. “Please, have a seat.”

    “The pleasure’s all mine, Mr. President,” Johnson replied sheepishly. As instructed, he promptly sat back down in order to not offend his host. “I’m just as honoured as you are, not to mention, um, more than a bit surprised. I certainly didn’t expect that it would turn out like this, but I’m prepared to do what needs to be done. To think, three years ago I was fighting for my life on some godforsaken desert planet in the middle of bloody nowhere, and here I am now as the Prime Minister!”

    When Trump processed Johnson’s words, his smile vanished and his demeanour changed, his eyes darkening with gravitas. He walked over to the main window behind his desk and parted its curtains, allowing him to gaze out at the pristine garden of the White House, and beyond that, the city that was home to millions of his citizens while he considered his response. “Three years?” Trump replied, his voice taking on a solemn tone.

    “Well, that’s what the calendar says, though sometimes it feels like much longer than that,” Johnson replied with a resigned chuckle.

    “I see.” Trump looked over his shoulder at the PM, the setting sun on the horizon casting a shadow over his brow. “And do you believe it?”

    “I don’t follow,” Johnson answered honestly. He did not understand the President’s words, but he did understand his grave tone, adjusting his own to match.

    Trump sighed, lowering his head in contemplation. “Do you believe it’s been three years?”

    Johnson instinctively opened his mouth to respond with a jovial quip, but he stopped himself just in time, choosing instead to take a moment to seriously consider what Trump had said. Trump’s words sounded mad - of course it had been three years - but then Johnson remembered that the same thought had also occurred to him earlier that day, accompanied by a constant, nagging inkling that something was not right with the world.

    Though countless extraterrestrial civilizations among the stars (and a few foreign countries on Earth) used different calendars to track the progress of time, most space-age worlds of the modern era had adopted the Galactic Government’s calendar of CMT, or Central Mariejois Time, which measured one year as one revolution of the G.G.’s homeworld of Mariejois around its sun. Because Mariejois was almost identical to Earth in both size and distance from its respective star, days and years were about the same length in both CMT and the Gregorian calendar, so 150,080 CMT had been asynchronous with 2010 AD on Earth, 150,081 CMT with 2011 AD, and 150,082 CMT with 2012 AD, et cetera.

    But something was amiss. Johnson recalled that, upon his departure from Supermax 282, he had learned that the current date was now 150,084 CMT in most of the universe, and 2014 AD on Earth. This did not surprise him, because it did feel like his time in prison had lasted two years (he was arrested at the conclusion of the Bike Saga in ‘082 and escaped from Supermax 282 in ‘084), but what did surprise him was that, when he returned to Earth, he learned that reality TV star and businessman Donald J. Trump had become the President of the United States.

    Though this choice of President was unbelievable enough in itself, the thing that most concerned Johnson was that Trump had become President in 2014, halfway through what was supposed to be Barack Obama’s second term. Of course, Johnson had done plenty of online research to learn how this had occurred, but the answers he found were strange and conflicting: news sources that he had previously known to be legitimate now seemed to be reporting nonsense that appeared to contradict facts that he knew to be true. However, the most unsettling thing of all was that all of these disagreements and discrepancies had one thing in common: they all seemed to be about the order that established events had occurred in and the passage of time in general.

    “The matter I am about to discuss with Mr. Johnson is a TKX-class scenario,” Trump suddenly said with a commanding tone, interrupting Johnson’s train of thought. With a serious glare, Trump turned back around to face the assortment of bodyguards who were scattered around the room. “Anyone who does not have sufficient clearance to know what that means should leave the room now.”

    Without a second thought, all of the human bodyguards began to file out of the Oval Office one by one until only the Psymancers were left. Trump then made his way over to Johnson and took a seat on the couch opposite him, resting his elbows on his knees and placing his fingertips together in a position that reflected his thoughtful mental state. While Trump considered how to break the news to Johnson, the four Psymancers around them moved in and formed a circular formation. Unknown to Johnson, the Psymancers were pooling their psychic energy to create an invisible psychic barrier around the two men that would ensure that no thoughts could be projected in or out of the bubble.

    “Boris.. I can call you Boris, can’t I?” Trump said, breaking the silence.

    “Of course,” Boris replied, nodding.

    “I’m just going to be honest with you. Something has gone very wrong with time,” Trump sighed forlornly, checking the digital watch on his wrist. It was mid-afternoon, even though the time on it read 08:08. “You see, time is beginning to unravel like a cat unravelling a ball of string. Temporal anomalies are being reported at an unprecedented rate all across the universe, with some places being affected more strongly than others. I’ve got a team of scientists who are working around the clock trying to determine the origin point of this disruption, or if there even is an origin point at all, but so far we’ve got nothing.”

    Boris was speechless, the potential ramifications of such a catastrophe hitting him like a train. “S-so, what do we do?”

    “Special Containment Procedures are already in effect. Our friends at the Foundation have been suppressing the spread of this information among the public in order to prevent mass panic, but we can only blindfold the world for so long before they realize that they’re being duped. If this problem is not stopped now, it’s just going to get worse and worse until plausible deniability is no longer an option.”

    “I was b-briefed on the existence of the Foundation this morning,” Johnson stammered worriedly. “Honestly, I‘m still coming to terms with it.”

    “I wish they weren’t necessary, but you of all people should have expected that they would be in a universe like ours,” Trump replied, eyes narrowed.

    “Expected? Yes. But I had hoped not.”

    Trump nodded in sympathy, then shifted the conversation back to the matter at hand. “As far as we can tell, these anomalies are random and sporadic. By the time we’ve detected them, they’ve already vanished, but sometimes… they leave things behind… like me, for example.”

    “You?!” Johnson blurted out in shock.

    Trump sighed. There was no easy way to say what he was about to say. He slowly rose from the couch and walked over to his desk to pour himself and his guest each a glass of whiskey. Johnson accepted the glass hesitantly, holding it while Trump started to drink his. Once Trump had finished his gulp, he began to explain.

    “To keep things simple: I’m a time traveller. One of the very first time travellers from Earth, I might add.”

    Johnson was aghast. He glared suspiciously at Trump, beginning to wonder if he was being humiliated. “If you’re pulling my leg…”

    “I swear on my life, the American flag, and all that I hold dear that what I’m about to say is true,” Trump replied sternly, pouring himself another glass. Johnson looked incredulously at one of his Psymancers, but they nodded back as if to confirm it. “I built my fortune, my enterprise, and eventually my presidency on information I gained from the future. Russians? Pah! As if! My real secret is far better than that. When I was just a child, my father showed me scientific notes that he had inherited from Nikola Tesla, one of the finest minds of his generation. He was limited by the technology of his time, but I knew that the magnum opus that he had outlined in his documents, a time machine, could be completed once technology had progressed to the right level. By the time I had reached adolescence, we had reached that level, and with the help of my father, we fulfilled Tesla’s dream and built what he could not.”

    Still baffled but undeniably invested in this story, Johnson took a swig from his glass as he listened.

    “At first we used the time machine for personal gain, yes,” Trump continued, “But the more we used it, the more apparent it became that time travel was more than just a larking fantasy: it was a sacred responsibility. After my father passed away, I began to use the machine to gain knowledge of future events and use that information to increase my wealth in the present so that I could more easily steer the direction of the world away from catastrophe and towards prosperity.”

    “So… that’s why you became president?” Johnson asked.

    “I decided to become president due to a mixture of greed, vanity, and a desire to do the right thing,” Trump replied honestly, placing his empty second glass back on the desk. “At last, I was in the ultimate position of power over my world. I could do anything I wanted and stop any disaster I needed… or so I thought.”

    “Go on,” Johnson said with continued interest.

    “Overflowing with arrogance due to my victory, I travelled further into the future than ever before, even beyond Earth and to the stars. This future… was a nightmare. I don’t… no, I can’t reveal much more than that, but I knew that fixing this future would be a responsibility that I could not carry on my shoulders alone. After months spent revisiting this nightmare, I thought that I had traced the cause of it all to one man: an alien renegade turned war hero named Klak. I returned to the present and offered my services to an enemy of his named Mazkertis in the hope that we could kill him and restore the future, but after Mazkertis rejected my offer, I discovered something much worse.”

    “Go on!”

    “That whatever happens in the future, whatever changes we, or I, or he, will make… it ends up affecting the past as well.” Trump shook his head in sorrow. “I fear the timeline is already damaged beyond repair. You see, I don’t exactly come from the future. I lived through Barack Obama’s entire term: it was not interrupted; it was concluded exactly when it was supposed to be, in 2016. The events up to the year I come from, 2019, have already happened in some parts of this world and the universe, but the time stream has become so degraded now that those events have been compressed into the year of 2014. What some see as hours, others see as days, with both observations being correct to some degree...”

    Johnson placed his head in his hands, with a fearful look in his eyes. “What about the Galactic Government? Can’t they do anything to stop it?”

    “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, my friend, but the Galactic Government is in chaos. Even before Akoran Zicks turned out to be some psycho impostor from another universe, they weren’t prepared to listen to reason. A month ago, I was standing at my podium as the representative of Earth in the central senate chamber of the Galactic Government, attending the 3784th Assembly of the Reverie. I was about to bring this matter before the Reverie myself when four aliens teleported in, somehow bypassing the teleport shields, to deliver the very same warning that I was going to. And guess what? They were ignored and ridiculed.”

    Johnson shook his head in dismay.

    “But there is still hope yet, my friend.” Trump smiled, walking back over to the couch to place a hand on Johnson’s shoulder. “Just as these aliens were about to leave empty-handed, I approached them and made them an offer they could not refuse. Pretending that I wanted Mazkertis dead for petty, prideful reasons, I instructed them to break out a certain selection of prisoners from Supermax 282 who had the abilities that would be needed to track down Mazkertis and kill him. In return, I promised that I would give them any of the resources that Earth had to offer."

    At the mention of Supermax 282, Johnson raised his head incredulously, beginning to put this part of the puzzle together himself. “You… it was you?!”

    “Sort of,” Trump chuckled awkwardly, retaking his seat opposite Johnson. He was unsure whether to tell Johnson the truth, which is that his escape from Supermax 282 had been a fortunate, but completely unintentional, consequence of the deal he had made with Captain Eurobeat, Strika, Niflheim, and Levi.

    “Well, it was a smart move having them only blow the power box on Cell Block D and not the block that I was in,” Johnson said, smiling. “I was being held in Cell Block F at the time, so if I was in one of those cells that were unlocked in Cell Block D, I would have been very tempted to just make a run to the docking bay and escape like that. If that had happened, I probably would have been branded a criminal fugitive and moved onto the Galactic Government’s most wanted list instead of what actually ended up happening.”

    “Which was…? I know the story already, I just want to hear it from your perspective,” Trump asked, clearly intrigued.

    “Supermax 282 was shut down,” Johnson continued. “Two prolific breakouts in less than a year was more than the G.G. was able to tolerate, and due to its recent instability, when an investigation opened into the management of the prison, it was unclear who it actually belonged to. You see, minutes after that impostor pretending to be Akoran Zicks announced that he was gonna pull the plug on the entire Galactic Government, he started working on a deal that would sell the Supermax line of prisons to the Blackwatch Corporation. That deal was still being finalized when the breakout happened, so the two organizations started squabbling about who actually had custody of the prisoners at that point. In the end, because the G.G. already had their hands tied with all the other dramas going on, they decided that they would relinquish custody of the prisoners to Blackwatch. Now here’s the kicker. The Blackwatch didn’t even want us. They only wanted the prison structure for some ‘unannounced development project’. So, they ended up letting a lot of the less dangerous prisoners, like myself, go free. I guess nobody made a record of that time I threw a bike at the Vice-Warden’s head!”

    At the latter statement, Trump and Johnson both burst into laughter together.

    “I heard that the G.G. themselves immediately sentenced the warden to death as soon as they got wind of the second breakout, though,” Johnson continued, mockingly clenching his teeth and running his finger across his neck. “Ended up getting his lemony brains splattered all over a courtyard on Mariejois. I didn’t see it, mind, but that’s what I heard.”

    “Grisly,” Trump commented. “So, back to what we were discussing before…”

    “The whole time travel origin story?”

    “The Mazkertis paradox,” Trump corrected him, walking back over to his desk to pour two last drinks for himself and his guest. “So my predicament is this. My title in the Reverie may be ‘President of Earth’, but, as you know, I merely serve as a representative of this planet; I don’t control it. Despite that, I somewhat foolishly promised those aliens that they would have the entire Earth on their side in their quest to kill that wizard. Now I’ll be honest with you, Boris. You’re the first person I’ve told my story to, because I like you. I see a lot in you of what I saw in myself back when I first started building my legacy, and I know that people like you are just what this planet, hell, you’re what this universe needs right now, more than ever. So, what do you say? Will you work with me?”

    As Trump placed the other freshly-refilled glass in Johnson’s outstretched hand, the British Prime Minister could not help but laugh.

    “After a story like that, how could I say no?”

    Trump grinned and toasted Johnson by gently clinking his glass against his new friend’s. “To the future.”

    “To the future!”
    The Chronicler
    The Chronicler

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:04 pm

    Chapter 19: Missing Information

    I feel a change in the continuum. A vague request for information.

    Oh. It is you.

    Welcome. I am the Instructor, the primary interface program and narrator of the Akashic Records.

    For the first time in my existence, it seems that I have been instructed to inform you, the reader, of the true nature of Akasha, in order to clarify the nature of the multiverse and establish a contextual reference for events to come. Imagine the BZPB Multiverse as a glass ball filled with marbles. Each one of those marbles consists of a spherical core and several outer layers, with each core representing one instance of a universe and the outer layers representing that universe’s associated dimensions. The empty space between each marble represents the Void or interdimensional space; the space between universes. When a new timeline is created, it appears as a bubble that grows on the outside of a parent marble before splitting off into its own; but it remains connected by a thin temporal thread, a string that connects the first marble to its child. Now imagine that the glass ball that contains all marbles has outer layers of its own. The outermost layer of that glass ball, the BZPB Multiverse, is Akasha.

    Akasha is the “soul of Creation”, a dimension that the Users designed as a repository for the creative energies that continue to fuel all things in the multiverse. At the highest points of Akasha, conventional physics fall to the wayside in awe of the immense creative energies stored there; thus making it near-incomprehensible to mortal minds, but if one were to enter Akasha and proceed down to its bottom level, they would find themselves at the entrance to the Knowledge Dimension, a realm inhabited by once-mortal beings who have since ascended to a new purpose: maintaining and preserving the integrity of the Akashic Records - records of everything that has ever happened, is happening, or could happen in the BZPB Multiverse. Directly below the Knowledge Dimension is - dxee3zexcuse me, I have not been authorized to describe this area. However, if one were to continue downwards through this model of reality they would eventually find themselves at the top of the “Eleventh Dimension”; also known as the Hyperdimension, which is the home of the three Chousin sisters, stalwart guardians of the concepts of Time, Space, and Balance in the multiverse below. Below the Hyperdimension are the lower ten dimensions of the BZPB Multiverse, which contain all regular universes, their associated dimensions, and the entirety of everything else.

    Yet despite the vigilance displayed by the Preservers, Archivists, Librarians, and Chousin, the multiverse is in more danger now than ever before. The energies of Akasha run thin and sinister forces wreak havoc on the web of time, creating fissures that disrupt entropic balance and threaten to unravel creation itself. The Knowledge Dimension is frequently breached by villains who search for forbidden knowledge that could empower them to reshape their home universes to their liking, while most of the Living Stars and Time Guardians across the multiverse have abandoned their duties in pursuit of a greater power instead. To make matters worse, knowledge of the true nature of the multiverse has been spreading among mortals at an alarming rate.

    But there is hope. In response to the increasing raids on the Knowledge Dimension, its Archivists have created the “Canonical Directive”: a creed that states that, from this moment onward, any information that is stolen from the dimension will be erased and whatever effects that the stolen information had on any universe will be undone by one of the Knowledge Dimension’s “canon agents” through careful, responsible manipulation of time. As I speak, the Senior Archivist named Guinan has already taken the initiative to resurrect one of the Reborn Universe’s most powerful leaders and turn her into one of the first canon agents.

    I now close the fourth wall once again, to the relief of its most constant guardian, so that you may look upon our multiverse once more. Regardless of what impressions the following events may leave upon you, remember that this no beginning, nor is it an end to this endless feud. This is simply one life out of trillions... but the right man can make all the difference in the world.


    Mount Lei'himelin
    Deep within the Aedana Star Cluster
    A very, very long time ago...

    A million bodies were dragged into the blackened sky, desperately screaming and clawing for the ground as their souls were pulled from their eyes.

    No, I won’t start here. I need to go back further, just before the Damnation. I have to see the rise before the fall.

    A moment earlier, the only sound on Aedis had been the resounding chants of the army, each warrior gathered on the highest peak of the tallest mountain of their world, spears thrust in the air, ready to fight the eclipse that had dared to cast a shadow over their home. It was the most tremendous demonstration of strength that Aedis had ever seen; all six of its nations drawn together in unity to rage against the dying of the light. As the soldiers took their place in the formation across the mountains, the beautiful emerald snow that the valley had previously been known for was lost, trampled into nothingness beneath the weight of millions upon millions of boots.

    Though the exact nature of the enemy was unknown, its arrival had been prepared for. The stargazers had seen it cross the heavens on a dreadful trajectory, continuing to grow in size after each visit to one of their celestial neighbors. “The stars are going out,” preachers had proclaimed to an increasingly scared audience. “Our reckoning is soon.” Though the arrival of the black sun, the final omen that heralded the death of Aedis, had not been predicted in their prophecies, Aedis itself had been on the verge of death for longer than any one Aedisian could remember.

    Indeed, it was a fact that both men of science and men of faith agreed upon: the star who had bestowed life upon Aedis at the dawn of time, the holy Aedana, was nearing the end of her natural life. For aeons, Aedana had nurtured Aedis with her warmth and had shielded the noble world against the dark forces of the primordial cosmos. Ever since the stargazers had turned their eyes upwards and embedded their fingers in the creation of their annals, they had watched and recorded as every malignant force that had ever dared turn its ravenous gaze upon Aedis had been vaporized by Aedana’s holy light. But even she could not live to protect her children forever. Because the Aedana Star Cluster was one of the oldest stellar groups in the known universe, being situated close to the very center of existence, Aedana and her sisters were on the verge of becoming supernovae.

    Yet that was not what troubled the Aedisians that day. Their sun had been dying for as long as their legends existed. What troubled them was the arrival of the eclipse that was more than just an eclipse; the rogue black shadow that moved across the stars, leaving each one dimmer in its wake, because that shadow had now enveloped their world in an unnatural darkness while Aedana lay helpless beyond the shroud.

    One of the soldiers who stood among the army gathered on Lei'himelin was a simple man, one who had never faced battle or bloodshed before that day. He nervously clutched his crystal-tipped spear as he stared upward into the unnatural night, faced with a terror of cosmic proportions that neither he nor the people around him could possibly hope to understand. He focused on what would be his reward for surviving the battle: a proper name for himself; for in Aedisian society, a name was one of the highest honors that a man could receive. He had already chosen one that his friends and family could call him by, though he wasn’t sure whether he would survive the day to hear it from their lips, for the longer he stared into that terrible blackness, the more he began to feel something evil stare back.

    “What do you think it is?” The soldier whispered to another on his left.

    “The end, for all of us,” he heard in reply. “This darkness has obscured us from Aedana, severing the threads of light that connected us to the heavens. Which means… even if we survive... there will be no Sha’lythe born this day.”

    Like all species with a knack for imagination, the storytellers of Aedis had decorated their mythology with a vast web of lore, telling tales that described the history of Aedana and its surrounding stars beginning with the creation of the universe and ending with the prophesied end of time. Among the legends that rose to prominence in the region were claims that the stars in the cluster were, in actuality, the still-immolating remains of a once-great species that had ruled over time itself. It was said that members of this celestial species could save the most willful and vigilant residents of Aedis from death by carrying their spirits into a different kind of afterlife on beams of sunlight, purifying their souls and turning them into “Sha’lythe”, their personal Guardians of Time. However, this afterlife could only be achieved if the bodies of the dying heroes were left within direct view of the stars. Thus, this eclipse over the world, which obscured Aedis from Aedana’s light, jeopardized more than just the lives of the Aedisians; but their afterlives as well. Though this thought disparaged the soldiers even more, there was at least one among them who remained resolute to fight until the bitter end.

    “I am ready,” the first soldier said with conviction, gripping the handle of his spear with such force that his blue knuckles turned red.

    “As am I,” the second replied. “We should-”

    Before the second warrior could finish his sentence, a wave of chaotic energy erupted from the heavens that washed down over the earth, telekinetically launching both soldiers and their comrades miles into the air. The first of the screams began before the last of the chants died, filling the once-triumphant mountains with a cacophony of confused wails. The soldiers who still had their wits intact braced themselves for a downward impact that never came, instead finding themselves suspended in the air like flies caught in a web - and like a spider’s feast, black tendrils reached down from the darkness that struck the warriors and stripped away their flesh, ravenously tearing through the mediums of their bodies in search of their still-conscious souls. These souls, which the still-conscious soldiers could see visualized as yellow lights, were left splattered across the unnatural night.

    Amid this nightmare, the eclipse erupted again, sending down another wave that rippled across the world. As the unnatural shimmer washed once more over the petrified soldiers of Aedis and the rest of their planet, those whose minds could withstand the terror noticed that time began to crawl even further, stretching the moment of their demise out into infinity. Meanwhile, the dark tendrils continued their feast, absorbing the light of Aedis’s failed heroes.

    The resolute soldier was one of those souls, trapped in a nightmare he could not understand. In what felt like a gargantuan effort, he attempted to stab at the tendril in front of him with his spear, only to find that his most trusted weapon, and by extension his entire arm, was gone. As the darkness began to spread around him, blotting out the light at the corners of his vision, he realized that even his very body itself was no more. The darkness had consumed him and there was nothing left but his mind and his soul, and the screams of everyone he had known.

    But then, he heard a voice amid the chaos.


    The former soldier felt a new dart of panic flare into his still-conscious mind. He did not know where the voice came from, but at the same time, he knew that a voice as deep and as dark as that could only be from the entity responsible for this nightmare - and he also knew that it was speaking only to him.

    “Your destiny is mine. What is your name?” The voice continued, drilling directly into the soldier’s mind. The physical screams of the soldier’s former allies began to recede, as did the other sounds of the once-thriving world, to be replaced with nothing but that dreadful voice. ”What is your name?”

    Still paralyzed with fear, the fallen soldier instinctually opened his mouth to respond, only to realize that he had no mouth anymore and that the only words he could muster were in his thoughts. ”I have no name. I failed. I died,” he responded. ”What are you? Is this death?”

    ”I am the Eclipse that blocked out your Sun,” the voice replied with a tone of grim delight. As the final lights in the soldier’s vision faded to black, he felt the tendrils encroach into his mind and sift through his memories before plucking out a certain name - a name that he had failed to earn the honor of using that day. The tendrils retreated, but the voice returned: ”Will you serve me to escape this hell.... Quolas?”

    The soldier retched and tried to cry, but even his tears had been taken from him.

    ”I will.”


    The Forest of Lights [Pocket Dimension]
    Original Universe
    76 Days after the Battle of Saskana…

    Awakening from his meditations, Quolas let out an instinctual scream of terror and lurched forward, pressing both hands against the surface of the rocky platform that he had chosen to sit on to stabilize himself as he floated through the weightless space that was the Forest of Lights. Though he had buried that particular memory so deeply he had hoped to never revisit it again, nothing stayed buried forever in this realm.

    It was true: Quolas had spent much of his first few millennia in existence in the service of Eclipse, a rogue Living Star who had somehow become infused with the universal element of Chaos and had wrought devastation on hundreds of worlds in an attempt to reshape the future to match his own twisted vision. As a part of the Kra’lythe Sect, Quolas had reluctantly supported Eclipse’s campaign until he could no longer bear to be complicit in his crimes. When even death began to seem like a preferable alternative, Quolas had surrendered himself to the Living Stars, expecting to be condemned to incineration for his transgressions against the fabric of time. Though some of the elder Living Stars certainly intended to carry out this sentence, a blue sun, or rather the blue sun, chose to adopt Quolas as his protegé, believing that his search for redemption was genuine. Once Quolas had proven himself worthy of joining the Sha’lythe Sect, he had been taken to the Forest of Lights to learn and begin his duties.

    Back in the present day, Quolas groaned and looked around as he climbed to his feet, taking a moment to appreciate the immense beauty of the dimension in order to calm himself. Under normal circumstances, the Forest of Lights would provide him with all the solace he needed, but these were extraordinary times. It had been over two years since the Living Stars and the Sha’lythe Sect had abandoned the Forest of Lights and their duties as a whole to embark on a mad quest to steal power from their counterparts across the multiverse, and ever since their disappearance, Quolas had gazed into the beautiful starscapes but felt nothing but loneliness in return.

    Thanks to Lady Tokimi of the Chousin, Quolas now understood the full story behind the Living Stars’ disappearance. Over two months ago, Tokimi had manifested a three-dimensional form to converse with him in a church on Malchior IV, where she revealed that her sister Tsunami, the Goddess of Time, had looked into the past and had discovered what had caused the Living Stars to desert their posts. Quolas remembered standing incredulously in the middle of the church as he listened to Tokimi’s description of how his once-esteemed masters had abandoned their duties in order to embark on a vain quest to increase their strength by absorbing their counterparts across the multiverse. Even the fact that Living Stars could absorb their alternate-universe counterparts at all was forbidden information that Genetoes had illegally stolen from the Knowledge Dimension and had divulged to the Living Stars during the Kra’lythe’s attack on the Forest of Lights. This meant that, by using this knowledge to travel across the multiverse and empower themselves, the Living Stars were now profiting from knowledge that was never meant for them to wield. Like Tokimi, this fact caused Quolas to seethe with anger and quake with fear for the future of his masters, for he knew better than anyone that specific knowledge, in the wrong minds, could lead to certain catastrophe.

    Ironically, while Quolas had stood there in the church processing the wealth of information he had been given and attempting to predict an outcome on his own, Mazkertis had arrived and attacked them, also seeking forbidden knowledge to further his own twisted goals. After temporarily defeating Quolas and removing him from the church, Mazkertis had used telepathy to extract a universe-shattering secret from the mind of Tokimi’s three-dimensional form: the identity and location of the Counter-Actor, a god-like being created by the Users to serve as an antithesis to the Chousin’s actions, intended to be released at the conclusion of the Reckoning. Quolas had rejoined the battle just in time to cut off Mazkertis’s arm, but the wizard managed to slip through his fingers, escaping with everything else intact.

    Overwhelmed by the Living Stars’ betrayal and ashamed by his failure to stop Mazkertis, Quolas had retreated to the Forest of Lights immediately after the battle in order to recuperate and consult the elder lights about what to do next. In the months that followed, Quolas had avoided all contact with the Claws of the Phoenix, vowing not to return to them until he had a definitive plan. He had hoped to seek the council of Tokimi or one of the other Chousin in the meantime, but none had approached him since, and he had no means to contact them by himself anyway.

    While Quolas ruminated, a bright red particle floating in the aether caught his attention, for it seemed to glow brighter than any of the other lights in the nebulae that decorated the vast expanse before him. Quolas climbed to his feet, and, in one swift motion, effortlessly leaped from his platform towards the crimson light, using the weightlessness of the dimension to propel him forward with ease. Got you, Quolas thought, catching the ember in his right hand. Twisting around in mid-float, Quolas purposefully placed his feet on another nearby floating asteroid that he used to launch himself back towards his original meditation spot. With all the finesse of someone who had traversed the dimension in this manner thousands of times, Quolas grabbed onto the first rocky platform with his left hand and carefully brought himself down to a sitting position on top of it, still cradling the crimson light in his right hand. Despite Quolas having carried the ember, it did not actually come into contact with the surface of his hand; instead, it slowly orbited around his fingers like a smaller celestial body orbiting another. This light was what the Living Stars called an Ember: the remains of a deceased Living Star.

    Like their sister species, the Stardust, the Living Stars were effectively immortal in that, even when their bodies were destroyed, their knowledge would survive and be transported back to their home realm so that their memories could be used to educate other Living Stars and their apprentices about their lives and demise. Many of the lights that were on display in the Forest of Lights were actually the deceased remains of ancient Living Stars, whose knowledge could be accessed by any other Living Stars or Sha’lythe who chose to connect themselves to these ‘Embers’ through telepathic communion.

    Quolas continued to meditate. Despite his opinion of them at present, the Living Stars were a strong-willed species with an unparalleled stubbornness, having come into existence as some of the first sentient cosmic entities in the newborn universe. When these living stars discovered that they could manipulate the matter that constituted their bodies for a variety of effects, including the power to travel through time, they decided that that they had a responsibility to harness that power to protect the integrity of the time stream in order to ensure that future life in the universe would be able to thrive and prosper without the possibility of time distortions altering the paths that their creators, whoever they may be, had intended for them to travel on. However, the ‘Living Stars’, as they had so named themselves, were not unopposed in their noble goal. Some among them rejected the proposal of using time travel to protect the universe, deeming time travel too much of a temptation, and instead decided to remain in the present to punish beings that threatened life on a smaller scale. These Living Stars broke away from the rest and renamed themselves to ‘The Stardust’, embarking down a slightly different evolutionary path. To further separate themselves from their Stardust cousins, the Living Stars used their newly discovered abilities of time travel to isolate themselves in a temporal pocket dimension that existed one second out of synchronization with the rest of the universe. The Living Stars proceeded to fill this dimension with their cosmic energies, transforming it from an empty void into a vast Forest of Lights that became their new home.

    Sighing calmly, Quolas carefully removed the white tunic that covered his upper torso, revealing his naked blue chest. Quolas’s lower abdominal muscles moved in synchronization with his breathing underneath what was the most distinguishing feature of his species: a cavity in the center of his chest that was protected by two pairs of what could only be described as ‘claws’; two on the left side and two on the right. As Quolas inhaled deeply to control his breathing, the claws on his chest opened up to reveal a core of intense yellow light within, itself appearing like a miniature star. Quolas brought his right hand up to the cavity and released the crimson Ember he held, allowing it to drift towards the yellow light at his core. When the Ember touched the light, there was an explosion of energy that surged through the Sha’lythe’s body and caused the transparent runes that decorated his skin to radiate with a combination of red and yellow light, merging to become a violent shade of orange.

    This was a process that the Sha’lythe called “Communion”. By connecting his soul to the Ember he had retrieved, Quolas could access all of the knowledge and memories that the Ember contained. The reason that Quolas had decided to Communicate with this Ember in particular was because he had not noticed it in the Forest of Lights before, which meant one of either two things: either he had not noticed it before because, well, he had not noticed it before, or the far more exciting possibility that this Ember represented a Living Star that had only recently become Emberated and transported to its final resting place in the Forest of Lights. If the latter possibility was true here, it meant that the Embers of deceased Living Stars could travel across universes; a notion that Quolas was unsure of.

    One of the things that concerned Quolas the most about the Living Stars’ travel across the multiverse was that, if any of them were killed and Emberated in another universe, he did not know whether their Embers would travel back home to his universe’s version of the Forest of Lights or instead to the version of the Forest that existed in the universe that they were Emberated in - if that Forest even existed at all. It was a very real possibility that the Living Stars’ Embers - which would contain the knowledge to travel across universes but would lack the raw cosmic power needed to actually perform the jump - would be left to drift endlessly in some unfamiliar battlefield, never able to return home. The prospect caused Quolas to shudder, too terrible to truly imagine.

    Quolas continued to pray while he entered into Communion with the Ember he hoped was new. Despite his inner dread, Quolas exhaled calmly and turned his focus inwards in order to compose himself to make a good impression on the Ember. This was important because the process of Communion was not instantaneous: Embers could refuse to Communicate with Sha’lythe if they felt that the Sha’lythe in question was unfledged and unworthy of receiving their knowledge. After all, Embers were former Living Stars - and they still carried all the characteristic arrogance that was so typical of their species, even in death. “I seek knowledge,” Quolas said assertively, deliberately absorbing more of the lingering energies that shared his meditation space to strengthen his resolve. He relinquished control of his conscious mind to the Ember, and in response, he felt an ancient power enter his subconscious and rifle through his memories, no doubt to evaluate his worthiness.

    After what felt like an eternity, that power gave its verdict, speaking with a female voice that echoed in his mind.

    “You are the right man… in the right place… but this is not the right time. We will talk… soon. But first, you will have a visitor.”

    And then the Ember withdrew, unhooking itself from Quolas’s consciousness and launching itself out of his chest cavity, disappearing into the field of stars that floated in the other side of the forest.

    “NO!” Quolas shouted in desperation, madly grabbing at the Ember that was long since out of his reach. In his mind, that Ember was his last hope of meeting his masters again. He collapsed on his rock, pressing his hands to his eyes and succumbing to despair.

    After what seemed like another slice of eternity, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

    “Rise, Guardian of Time.”

    Quolas gasped. Placing his hands on the ground, he pushed himself up to his feet and summoned the courage to face his visitor. The first thing he noticed about her was her eyes: red jewels that seemed to reflect every star, Ember, light, and hope that was present in the dimension, instantly disarming him with awe. Her intricately-designed lilac robes billowing out around her, the visitor set her feet down onto Quolas’s platform and transferred her hands to his face, examining him with each of her cosmic senses. Although she somewhat resembled a human with pale skin and blue hair, her otherworldly aura could not be more obvious... and beautiful.

    “I’m Lady Tsunami.” The woman giggled in excitement, even though her voice radiated the kind of power that Quolas had only encountered once before, when he met Lady Tokimi on Malchior IV months ago.

    “Lady Tsunami!” Quolas exclaimed. He immediately dropped to his knees and bowed his head in awe.

    Tsunami chuckled again. “It’s about time we finally met, isn’t it? I apologize… not even the caretakers of the multiverse can be everywhere at once. My sisters and I have been much busier than usual… and our latest challenge is reaching its zenith. The forces that once existed to preserve the fundamental forces of reality are being removed, one by one....”

    “The Living Stars?” Quolas queried.

    Tsunami simply smiled. “Come with me.”

    She took his hands in hers, and before a second had passed, Quolas was elevated to a place higher than he had ever been.


    Within the Hyperdimension, a boundless and infinite space that was located above and around the standard ten dimensions of the multiverse, Quolas and Tsunami floated through the expanse on an invisible path.

    As a third-dimensional man with a three-dimensional mind, Quolas could barely comprehend the appearance of his current environment, let alone describe it. When he concentrated, he could make out light of every color of the spectrum, twisting and swirling around him like paint dripping into water; but if he tried too hard to make sense of it all, the world around him seemed to “switch off” and revert to an empty, white space until he let his mind innocently wander again. Not even the appearance of his own body was consistent in this realm: Quolas could still see the pale blue patchwork-like skin of his hands when he brought them up to his eyes, as well as the long white sleeves that covered them, but there were now new angles to his form that he could not understand. Height, length, and width were merely concepts in this place, not rules; and the same seemed to apply to the humanoid form of Tsunami as she floated through the colors beside him. Quolas could see multiple Tsunamis; one was vaguely human-sized and was drifting through the dimension parallel to him; but another was so colossally huge that she seemed to encompass everything around him, including her smaller self. Quolas noticed that the large golden sequins on the Chousin’s robes seemed to shine as if reflecting lights that he could not see, and her purple dress-skirt billowed out behind her as if it was being blown by a breeze that he could not feel. Quolas’s ponderings were interrupted when his gaze fell upon Tsunami’s kind red eyes and he received a sympathetic smile in return.

    “Maddening, isn’t it?” she chuckled.

    “Maddening?” Quolas replied, still shocked. “I once thought that each movement of the winds of time, in their infinite variations and complexities, would be the greatest conundrum I would never fully understand. I now realize that time is just one component in a multiverse larger than I will ever know.”

    Tsunami gently took Quolas’s hand into her own and began to float in a slightly different direction. Quolas wasn’t sure whether it was the new direction or his closer proximity to Tsunami, but he noticed that he could now perceive the general structure of the dimension with less effort and concentration. The hazy whiteness in front of him began to explode into ripples of multicolored light as he and Tsunami proceeded onwards through the vast web of the infinite.

    “You will succeed where your masters have failed, Quolas,” Tsunami called behind her as her speed increased.

    “What makes you say that?” Quolas replied, struggling to keep up. Fortunately, he was used to traversing dimensions without gravity in which one’s own thoughts alone could also dictate their movement, such as the Forest of Lights.

    “You cannot comprehend the true nature and appearance of this dimension, and you know that you may never will, but you accept that. You understand that one does not need to know everything - just enough to succeed.”

    “Just enough to do what’s right,” Quolas corrected her, re-aligning his movement with hers. “It is one of the first lessons I was taught upon my induction into the Sha’lythe Sect.”

    “Yet it seems that your teachers have forgotten the importance of that lesson. When the Living Stars saw that Eclipse had discovered a new power that could be used against them, they were so terrified that they abandoned their sacred duties in order to search for this power instead to adequately oppose him, with no thought to the potential entropic consequences of their actions. Entropic equilibrium is my younger sister’s area of expertise, but I know as well as she that knowledge is power, and because the Living Stars of your universe have succumbed to the pursuit of power above all else, they’ve spread the same sickness to their counterparts across the multiverse. The tidbit of information that triggered this chaos in the first place - that Living Stars could use their energies to cross universes and absorb their counterparts - was stored in the Knowledge Dimension because a convergence of this kind was supposed to happen eventually - but not yet.”

    Quolas nodded, recalling what Tsunami’s sister Tokimi had told him on Malchior IV months ago.

    “Lady Tokimi mentioned the Knowledge Dimension when I met her in the white church three months ago. All I know about it is that I’m not supposed to know about it. Although, I assume that it contains vast knowledge about the future and the nature of all things, correct?”

    Tsunami gradually slowed her momentum, eventually coming to a full stop in what seemed like nowhere in particular. Quolas abruptly halted his own movement and floated towards Tsunami, who from his perspective had touched down in a shallow pool of reflective, cyan-hued water. Even in the comprehensible form that Tsunami had chosen to present herself in for Quolas’s benefit, she was still about twelve feet tall compared to his mere six feet in this dimension, with an imposing posture befitting of a resplendent goddess. As she turned around to face him, Quolas could see that she still wore the same composed, neutral expression on her pristine face, but in the reflection of the pool beneath her, there was an alternate Tsunami with a visage of what could only be described as extreme anxiety, with visible bags beneath her crimson jewel-like eyes.

    “Is this our destination?” Quolas asked innocently, parking his feet on the ‘ground’ opposite Tsunami. He looked around at the bizarre Euclidean formations that littered the dimension in another attempt to find order in the abstract, avoiding staring at Tsunami’s disconcerting reflection, though his eyes found their way back to hers eventually.

    “Our destination is this conversation,” both Tsunamis replied in synchronicity.

    Stretching her hands out in front of her, Tsunami formed several strings of blue light between her fingers that she began to weave into the shape of a vertical, rectangular prism. She then divided the prism into eleven levels, each with numerous subdivisions, and used the tips of her slender fingers to decorate the third level from the bottom with hundreds of circles by prodding and poking at the diagram. Once she had finished, Tsunami said “These are the bottom eleven dimensions of the multiverse, and we are here, in the Hyperdimension.” She pointed at the topmost level in the diagram, which she had not bothered to decorate beyond its general shape, while Quolas looked on hesitantly.

    “This is knowledge beyond what I was ever taught,” he interjected. “Are you sure I’m supposed to know all this?”

    “Always so concerned about making the right choice, you forget to whom you speak,” Tsunami replied sternly, narrowing her eyes in judgment.

    “Of course, I apologize, Lady Tsunami,” Quolas grovelled, bowing his head in shame.

    After a few tense moments, Tsunami wearily sighed and lowered her hands from the diagram, placing them together in a peaceful gesture. “However, I understand your apprehension. I know why these last few years, and months especially, have been so hard for you, and why it is you so adamantly seek to follow ‘the rules’ above all else...”

    “A lifetime of guilt, and an endless longing for atonement,” Quolas said forlornly. “Yes, I know.”

    “Not just atonement for the crimes you committed against the natural order in the service of Eclipse, I think,” Tsunami remarked, placing both hands on her chest. “You still carry an impossible weight on your shoulders; one that is not even yours to carry. Even with all the power in the universe, your homeworld could not have been saved. Its destruction was-”

    “A fixed point in time… yes, I know.”

    “Which is why I could not save it either,” Tsunami smiled sympathetically. “I can do many things, but I cannot disobey the will of the Users.”

    “The Users?”

    “Please attend carefully,” Tsunami continued, gesturing at the still-lingering diagram.

    As Quolas watched obediently, Tsunami returned to her work and added several squiggly lines directly above the top of the eleventh level of the diagram. She explained: “These lines represent the dimension or dimensions that are located above the Hyperdimension, but below the Knowledge Dimension in terms of multiversal hierarchy. These dimensions may or may not exist… we cannot be certain either way. What we can be certain of is that the abilities of the Chousin cease to function in dimensions above the Hyperdimension except in very specific circumstances, such as in areas of the Knowledge Dimension that have been specifically configured to accommodate our visits. The Chousins’ attempts to explore other locations above the Hyperdimension have been inconclusive for this reason, but it is important that you do not discount their existence because there is room for them to exist in our current hypothetical model of the multiverse.”

    At last, the penny dropped.

    “The Chousin aren’t the supreme beings, are they?” Quolas concluded.

    “Make no mistake, Time Guardian, we are supreme beings… but we are not the supreme beings,” Tsunami remarked with a knowing smile, tracing a horizontal oval shape above the aforementioned squiggly lines. “Anyway, this oval shape you now see before you represents the Knowledge Dimension, the largest repository of knowledge in the entirety of comprehensible existence. It is a dimension that runs on its own independent branch of time, containing information about the past, present, and future of the eleven dimensions below. Most importantly, it was breached two years ago by the Kra’lythe known as Genetoes, who arrived there via a temporal fissure of unknown origin, and left with forbidden knowledge that it seems will cause the gradual demise of the Living Stars, who are now scattered across many of the alternate universes that exist in the third dimension of the multiverse… unless we save them.”

    “Did you ever find out how Genetoes got to the Knowledge Dimension? I mean, what caused the temporal fissure in the first place?”

    “Of that, I am not certain… and as the Goddess of Time, that makes me very, very concerned.” While Tsunami considered this, some of the anxiety that had been visible on the face of her water reflection all along began to reflect back onto her own face too. “Quolas… the reason I’m imparting all this knowledge onto you now is because something has fundamentally changed in how the multiverse works. Up until now, for hundreds of thousands of years, the Chousin have been allowed access to certain areas of the Knowledge Dimension to retrieve information needed to assist in our duties. However, on the very same day that you were introduced to my sister Tokimi on Malchior IV, Washu and myself were arrested and removed from the Knowledge Dimension for a reason that was not shared with us. Ordinarily, being denied access to the Knowledge Dimension would not be a major concern for me because I could simply use my inherent abilities to look through time to find the answers I seek, but the destabilization of timestreams across the multiverse is making it harder and harder for me to use my vision with any kind of clarity. All we were able to discern from the Knowledge Dimension situation is that its Preservers are now taking measures to reclaim stolen knowledge that has been used to unjustly reshape the development of the multiverse - such as the knowledge stolen by Genetoes, which was used to devastate the Living Stars and Sha’lythe - and do everything in their power to revert those changes.”

    “Slow down,” Quolas pleaded, visibly pained by the onslaught of information. “If I’m understanding you, and believe me, I am certain of none of this... you’re saying that these ‘Preservers’ of the Knowledge Dimension are going to hunt down anyone who has ever stolen one of their books, wipe the contents of the book from their memories, and revert any changes that the offenders have made to the multiverse as a result of the stolen book or books?”

    “In essence, yes.” Tsunami nodded and smiled, satisfied that Quolas was keeping up. “Any questions?”

    “I’m assuming that you’re not one of the Preservers’ targets. You’ve borrowed knowledge from the Knowledge Dimension before...”

    Borrowed, yes,” Tsunami clarified, raising a slender finger while making her point. “That’s the difference. Like I said, up until very recently, the Chousin were permitted to enter the Knowledge Dimension and access certain knowledge that would assist us in our tasks. So far, there has been no indication that the Preservers have changed their minds about that prior arrangement and would want to take back knowledge that we used - but if they tried, we would have some serious objections.”

    Quolas sighed. “Lady Tsunami, forgive me if this sounds presumptuous, but Lady Tokimi already informed me of the nature of the Chousin. You are the one who has near-infinite power over the flow of Time in all dimensions below the Hyperdimension, so if these problems trouble you so, why not simply fix them by altering the timeline to remove Mazkertis and Eclipse from the equation entirely?”

    “Like I said, I cannot disobey the will of the Users,” Tsunami replied matter-of-factly. “Without straying off-topic, the Users are another power superior to us. The Users control all that we can and cannot see, and all that we do and cannot do. My purpose is to preserve the natural flow of time whenever necessary - except in certain circumstances where the Users have instructed me to turn a blind eye to temporal… how did they put it… ‘shenanigans’. So, as you may have gathered, in the months leading up to these events, they forbade me from directly rewriting the timeline myself to remove Mazkertis and his minions, instead ordering me to act through intermediaries such as yourself to remedy this crisis. With all due respect to the Users, I do not see what they hope to achieve by restricting my influence over this situation. Even as the multiverse hangs in the balance, it’s as if they see this as nothing more than some kind of game.”

    Quolas groaned, exasperatedly pressing a finger to his temple in a futile attempt to quell a rising headache. “Then what was the secret that Mazkertis extracted from Lady Tokimi’s mind back on Malchior IV? The Counter-Actor? She would only tell me that the Counter-Actor was a god-like being that had the power to oppose the Chousin.”

    More of the anxiety that was visible on Tsunami’s water reflection began to reflect back onto her own face in response to Quolas’s question. “The premature release of the Counter-Actor has put the lives of me and my sisters, and by extension, the entire multiverse, at risk. Understand this: for each and every action the Chousin take, there must be an equal and opposite reaction in order for multiversal equilibrium to be maintained. The Counter-Actor is that counterbalance personified. She is an irremovable focal aspect, inseparable from the fabric of the multiverse, whose purpose is to revert every action that the Chousin have ever undertaken for the collective betterment of reality by causing untold destruction and chaos. From what little information about the Counter-Actor that we were allowed access to in the Knowledge Dimension, we learned that she was supposed to be activated and released towards the end of the Reckoning, the final war for all creation - but Mazkertis’s meddling changed all that. She is like a wild animal; unable to be reasoned with and unwavering in her determination to follow her instincts until the bitter end… which will surely result in the deaths of the Chousin.”

    Quolas gasped, standing in shocked silence as his mortal mind attempted to grasp the scale of the stakes at play.

    “So as you can see, the rules have changed, Quolas. What began as a fairly simple vendetta by Mazkertis against D-Klak and Zev Raregroove, which once only threatened the timelines of two universes, has since spiralled out of control to endanger the whole of reality thanks to the blindness of his rage. Time has been torn asunder and the Knowledge Dimension has been closed to us. I’ve been trying to correct as many paradoxes as I can in order to maintain some semblance of order in your universe, but now that the Counter-Actor has been unleashed, almost any direct usage of my abilities is instantly detected and negated by her presence somewhere else. I’m afraid to say that I’ve summoned you here because what happens next is up to you, and you alone. For us to succeed, I need someone infused with the time-altering magic of the Living Stars and an unrelenting determination to save the multiverse. That someone is you, whether you feel up to the task or not.”

    “I…” Quolas made to form words with his mouth, but instead stopped to press his hand as hard against his temple as he could in an attempt to calm the blazing headache behind it. The incorporeal, psychedelic appearance of the Hyperdimension was doing nothing to soothe his already strained mental state, let alone this outpouring of multiversal secrets from the Goddess of Time. For thousands of years, Quolas had been certain that the universe worked one way - being told now that it worked in another was something that he would need some significant time to process. And even if he could, he could not let a responsibility of that magnitude weigh on his conscience again.

    “I… I can’t,” Quolas pleaded. “I don’t know what you expect me to do. I’m not a Living Star, a Chousin, a Preserver, a User, or a god. I’m just someone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You know, if I had been paying proper attention to what was happening in the Forest of Lights two years ago instead of taking an undue vacation on that damned Island on Earth, I wouldn’t even be here right now - I would be right next to the rest of the Sha’lythe, where I belong. Perhaps if I had been in the Forest when the invasion happened, I could have convinced them all to stay their course and fight back against Eclipse and the Kra’lythe the right way; the fair way, which didn’t involve succumbing to their same dimension-destroying desires. Instead, I just had to get it wrong. I had to fail, again-”

    “Guilt, guilt, and more guilt.” Tsunami shook her head and waved her hand, dismissing the diagram in front of her, the reflective puddle beneath her, and the strange colors and geometric shapes that had orbited them both. Now accompanied by nothing but empty space, Tsunami floated up to Quolas and determinedly placed her hands on his shoulders. “Quolas, I am the Goddess of Time. Listen to me when I tell you that your life has been, is, and always will be defined by more than just failure. The guilt you feel is not even yours to feel, but if you insist on carrying the weight of the worlds on your shoulders, the right time to make amends is the same as it’s ever been: right now.”

    Quolas looked up to meet Tsunami’s gaze, feeling a smidgen of renewed confidence thanks to her comforting words.

    “If I can do right, I will.”

    A fresh smile began to form on Tsunami’s lips. “That is why I chose you.”

    “So, where do I start?” Quolas said determinedly, gripping the hilt of his still-sheathed sword with his right hand.

    “We start with Genetoes.” Tsunami began to pace around the void in a circle, pressing the tips of her fingers together, speaking her thoughts out loud. “All this began when Genetoes stumbled upon an apparent dimensional tear in the fabric of reality that led him to the Knowledge Dimension. Due to the placement and timing of that tear, I have reason to believe that it was no random occurrence. Everything that has happened since that day has been deliberately orchestrated. The question is, by who? Though we can no longer access the Knowledge Dimension ourselves, and the dimensional rift that led Genetoes there has since been sealed, I was still able to retrieve some information that pertains to the future before I was evicted - at least, what is left of the future.”

    “What kind of information?” Quolas asked, following intently. He wasn’t sure why, but his newfound confidence in his mission seemed to have caused his headache to evaporate along with his mental fatigue.

    Tsunami’s hands disappeared behind each of her immense purple lapels and reappeared holding what looked like dark gray, circular stone tablets, which were approximately a few inches thick and slightly larger than her hands. Large hexagons were inscribed on their surfaces that contained numerous symbols that Quolas did not recognize. Inside the first hexagon was a smaller hexagon that was colored yellow, which itself contained even more symbols etched around a wide hole that ran straight through both sides of the tablets. “These are Memory Seals, also known as Memory Tablets, depending on the age and the owner,” Tsunami explained. “They are ancient devices that one can use to inscribe memories on and share them with others.”

    “I know, I’ve used one before,” Quolas responded, curiously eyeing the tablets. “What are on these ones?”

    “As the Goddess of Time, I can simply look into the future and see all the possible outcomes of the coming conflict. However, on past occasions where the timestream has been unstable, and my visions have been clouded or unclear, I scoured the Knowledge Dimension for information that would help me to make more accurate predictions. I transferred some of this onto these tablets.”

    “You didn’t answer my question,” Quolas pointed out.

    “Very observant.” Tsunami smiled. “For me, these tablets contain my findings. For you, they contain your destiny.”


    Sefer awoke from a sleep she hadn't closed her eyes for.

    She found herself in a room she had no recollection of; a futuristic bar at the edge of the universe, the vastness of space laid out through the windows behind her. She blinked - unintentionally, which generally didn't happen to espers with burned-out autonomic nervous systems - and cast a confused gaze outwards. Outwards, nowhere in particular, but it met another set of eyes in reply.

    The barkeep cast a knowing glance back towards her. She walked over, poured a glass, and began to idly mop down the bar. Silence hung in the air as Sefer looked down to the drink, then back up to the dark-skinned woman, her face concealed beneath the large, conical hat she wore.

    "I died, didn't I?"

    "Sure did," replied Guinan, her face reappearing from beneath the brim of her hat. Sefer looked around, her expression back to its usual level of nonchalance. "Well, to be more specific, you simply stopped existing."

    "And this place is the afterlife?"

    "The afterlife?" replied Guinan, a bemused expression on her face. "No, child, but it is your afterlife. Welcome to the Knowledge Dimension. First one's on the house."

    Sefer raised an eyebrow. Then, looking down to her drink, she lifted it up and downed it in a single motion, wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand.

    "I can already tell this is gonna be a long day."

    “Oh, you have no idea,” Guinan chuckled. “So… another?”

    She watched with a knowing smile as Sefer apathetically banged her empty glass on the counter. Needing no further indication of what to do next, Guinan gently took the glass and took it down to the other end of the bar, purposely holding it beneath one particular tap marked ‘Agresian’, which was Sefer’s favorite drink - well, aside from coffee, of course. As Sefer watched the unfamiliar bartender fill the glass up to its brim, letting the froth slowly bubble over the top, she realized that only Lilith knew what her favorite brand of ale was. It was a private and personal thing, one of many shared interests that she had used to bond with her future girlfriend when they had first met and fallen in love on Yamato all those years ago. It was something that this bartender could not possibly have known.

    Yet there was something about this strange woman that made Sefer feel safe, secure, as if she had known her for her entire life. But she hadn’t, had she? Sefer tried to place Guinan’s face among the few memories that she could summon to the forefront of her weary mind in that moment, but she came back empty. In fact, this unplaceable feeling of security didn’t just apply to the bartender - it extended to the entire bar and the plain white walls above and around. The more rational side of Sefer had already locked the fingers of her right hand into summoning position for the Lance of Avalon, but she wasn’t sure that she could summon the weapon now even if she wanted to - especially if what the bartender said was true. Besides, she didn’t seem like any kind of immediate threat.

    “So, what are the drinks for?” Sefer called out, breaking the silence.

    Guinan’s kindly smile turned into a solemn frown as she brought back Sefer’s refill, placing the glass on the bar in front of her. She tried to think of an easy answer, but couldn’t. In fact, none of this would be easy. “The drinks are for what comes next,” Guinan sternly replied, nodding her large circular hat in the direction of the bar window.

    Following Guinan’s gaze, Sefer turned to look at the incredible array of stars that hung in the blackness of space beyond the strange bar she had ended up in. It certainly wasn’t a constellation she recognized… but… there was something amiss. A strange blue speck, a different color to all the stars, caught her attention. Leaving her seat, Sefer curiously approached the window for a closer look.

    “And here we go,” Guinan muttered under her breath, closely trailing behind Sefer with watchful eyes.

    Sefer placed the palm of her hand on the window, gazing out at the bright blue speck that seemed implacably familiar. It was something about its exact hue and brightness: she could have sworn she had seen it before in another life or another time; perhaps even in another dimension altogether. It wasn’t a star or an anomaly. It was something that she had known personally. If only her memory would cooperate. It was like the worst hangover she had ever had. She remembered her name, her power, her friends and her family, but what exactly had happened in the past few weeks?

    And then she remembered.

    Sefer screamed uncontrollably, overwhelmed by a sudden flood of memories pouring into her mind. Even though she was completely devoid of emotion, the sensation was too much to bear without lashing out. As one of the most powerful espers in her home universe, Sefer was no stranger to scanning the memories of others and imprinting them to her own mind in order to further her goals - but these new memories were her own, having been lost in time in the climactic moments before she had awoken in this strange afterlife. As Sefer desperately tried to process the hundreds upon thousands of memories that rose to the surface level of her subconsciousness, the plexiglass window in front of her suddenly started to reflect her memories back at her like a colossal television screen.

    At last, the voice of Guinan broke through. “Oh honey, let it happen,” she said calmly. “Just let it happen.”

    “What are you talking about?!” Sefer snapped, stumbling against the window as her life literally flashed before her eyes. She desperately grasped against its smooth surface, trying to find some solid part of the world to cling onto, but she wasn’t sure whether she would be able to feel it even if she did - in fact, her brain was so scrambled that she wasn’t sure about anything at all.

    Guinan couldn’t help but chuckle at the flailing sight before her, tempted to crack a joke about Sefer’s drinking habits, but she quickly restrained herself to make her sympathy appear as genuine as it really was. “Memory retrieval,” she said rather calmly and clearly. “I’ve heard it can be quite rough on your first time.”

    “Keep… talking…” Sefer spat as she continued to writhe against the window, unable to do anything but watch the images that flashed across the colossal screen in front of her, projected back onto her eyes.

    “Well kid, there’s no easy way to say it, so I’m just gonna come straight out and say it. You’re dead. As in, deceased.” Guinan disappeared from view for a moment, but returned with the untouched drink she had poured for Sefer earlier. She carefully placed the drink on top of a coaster on the floor next to Sefer and continued, “We were able to construct an accurate resemblance of your persona through data extracted from your memories, but that’s all we have of you now. Your real body, well… I don’t even know where that ended up. I think some of the archivists are still looking around in that area in the Void in case the rest of your body survived the temporal destruction event intact, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.”

    While Guinan talked, Sefer found herself lost in an ocean of madness. She tested the ability of her arm, reaching out towards the drink that stood on the floor in front of her, but found that she could not touch it. Instead, images that she associated with Agresian ale flashed before her eyes; mainly TV commercials, stressful sheets of paperwork, and that cute smile that Lilith wore whenever she had a bit too much to drink. Sefer screamed, closing her eyes, but the stream of memories would not stop. Eventually, the theme of the flow changed to other, random events from her life, stretching from some of her earliest memories, including her adoption by Emperor Shingen, to her climactic battle against Arc Blair at the very end of it all. The rapid onset of memories and emotions was overwhelming, but Guinan’s voice broke through. Sefer latched onto it like an anchor, tuning out everything else.

    “Pull through, kiddo. You can do it. You’re goddamn Sefer Yetzirah. Remember who you are and pull through.”

    Sefer felt the sensation of her left palm touching the ground. “I-I remember-”, she stammered, still struggling to make sense of it all.

    “Yes!” Guinan cheered, thrusting a hand in the air.

    The memories came in faster and faster, filling in gaps in Sefer’s mind that she didn’t even know she had. Visions of long-forgotten occurrences rushed to the forefront of her mind before slotting themselves back into the depths of her subconsciousness once more. In this madness, no moments were forgotten or left abandoned. Sefer cringed as she re-experienced a minor childhood trauma that had been suppressed, but smiled upon viewing a joyous memory of playing with her adoptive parents. Old birthday parties, holidays, illnesses, tragedies, education, graduation, coronation; every beginning and ending that ever was in her life returned to flash before her eyes.

    And then the final chapter played. Before the bar, before all of this insanity, Sefer had been stood on a spacecraft in the heart of the Sixth Arc Crusade, the last attempt by the malignant Arc Blair to conquer the universe and bring about a new age of tyranny on the behalf of the Kanos Jai Brotherhood. Sefer remembered having to make a difficult choice - one that only she could make - one that would save the universe at the cost of her own life. Tears rolling down her cheeks, Sefer had reminded herself that the ends always justified the means - and watched herself step in front of the Lance of Astraea, wielded by her own daughter. As Evangelise drove the Lance through her mother’s heart, Sefer had channeled her life essence through the spear, creating a tear in the space-time continuum that engulfed Arc Blair and his apprentices, banishing his evil influence from the universe forever - or so Sefer hoped. Sefer’s last thought had been that she hoped her daughter would understand why.

    Realization dawned. If her predictions had truly been correct, and her sacrifice had not been in vain, her lover and her daughter would still be alive somewhere out there. “I need to get back!” Sefer hysterically blurted, no longer caring about what she looked like to Guinan - after all, her usual cool and composed ego had just been destroyed and rebuilt from scratch. She stumbled in an attempt to regain her footing, her head still swirling with the last wave of memories as she collapsed onto the ground. Guinan rushed over to help Sefer to her feet, though the enigmatic bartender did not seem alarmed in the slightest. Instead, she took Sefer’s hand in her own and lifted her up.

    “Sefer Yetzirah, you are reborn!”

    And then the madness was over, almost as quickly as it had begun. A new woman rose to her feet, now feeling incredible power surging through every atom of her body. Form-fitting, white-plated armor materialized over her feet and all the way up to her neck, becoming woven into the near-indestructible fabrics that covered the rest of her body. Her silver-grey hair floated gracefully around her shoulders as her radiant red eyes flared to life, curiously examining her environment in more detail. The bar was still there, as was the enigmatic bartender staring at her with a proud grin like a mother who had just seen her infant daughter take her first steps, but Sefer could now perceive much more with her eyes than just the physical appearance of her surroundings. Like some kind of advanced psychometry, she could now see the entire history of whatever surface or object that she looked at - but she instinctively decided to tune out this extra information to focus on what was important: the present. And she had lots of questions for the woman who had pulled her back from the blackness. “I…”

    “Yes, honey?” Guinan said warmly, that proud smile still spread across her face.

    “I remember it all. I died...”

    “Yet here you are,” Guinan boasted, snapping her fingers. As if on cue, the features of the bar itself faded away, immediately replaced with two infinitely long rows of plain white bookshelves that rocketed towards them from an indiscernible horizon. One of the rows stopped and settled into place behind Sefer while the other came to a halt behind Guinan, allowing the purple-robed woman to intuitively pluck a particular book from one of the shelves. “But this is a new beginning for you,” Guinan continued while handing the book to Sefer, “and it’s time for Lesson One.”

    Sefer turned the book over in her armor-plated hands. It was a thick white hardback that was completely featureless with the exception of three words on the front, printed in plain black text: ‘THE CANONICAL DIRECTIVE - FIRST EDITION’. Curiously, Sefer started to open the cover, but Guinan slammed the book shut. “Not that,” she said coyly. “That’s homework. Your first lesson is a practical.”

    Before Sefer could respond, she felt the cold handle of the Agresian drink that Guinan had poured her earlier enter her hands. Sefer looked down and saw that Guinan had placed the glass into her grip. Without a second thought, Sefer brought the glass up to her lips and drank until she was sipping on air, then handed the glass to Guinan. Guinan chuckled and took the finished glass into her own hands, staring into Sefer with her ageless brown eyes, no doubt coming to a conclusion about her new subject that Sefer could only guess. Guinan quipped, “I said the first was on the house. I didn’t say anything about the second.”

    Sefer’s eyes narrowed into a glare. “Seriously?”

    Guinan laughed heartily, wiping a tear from her eye. “I’m glad I chose you, kiddo. Follow me. We’ve got work to do!”


    Standing before one of the many windows on the bridge of Anzu’s ship, Kakamu let out a bewildered laugh at the ridiculous sight beyond the window. Out there, in space, a red sleigh was pulled through the void by a set of flying, harnessed reindeer. Holding the reins was a jolly fat man in a red and white coat, who laughed merrily while his friends sang songs. Despite never having met them, Kakamu knew that the man in front was Santa Claus, and his passengers were named GregF, Mike, Dave, and FAAAK-Cupcake. But how? Was this information that had crept into his subconsciousness during his time in the Dreamscape? Whatever the reason, he felt a sense of comfort at seeing these characters share the spirit of the festive season together. The five jolly men smiled and waved at him before the sleigh turned and flew out of sight.

    “It’s begINning to look a lot like CHRISTMAAAS!!! EverYYwhere yoUUU GO! TAke a LOOk at the FIHVE and ten, it’s GLISTening once AGAAAIN!! WITH BAGS of COHKAINE and silver PAINUS that GLOOOOW!! IT’S BEGINNING to lOOK a FAAAKING LOT LIKE CHRISTMAAAAS, CRACk in every STOOORE, but the shEEEtiest sight to SEE will BE the COW SCHET on my own front DOOOR!!! DAMN IT!”

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    The Chronicler
    The Chronicler

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    The Mazkertis Paradox Empty Re: The Mazkertis Paradox

    Post by Kon Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:57 pm

    OOS: Partial credit for this chapter goes to JS, who wrote most of the introductory segment (although I made one edit/addition to better fit it into the story of TMP), the entirety of the second segment, and the third segment up until and including the words “Glad to be here”. I wrote the rest. JS originally intended his contributions to be used in the original version of BZPB’s 10th anniversary special a few years ago that went unfinished, but he was gracious enough to allow me to use what he had written in TMP. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it!


    Chapter 20: The Butterfly Effect

    Sherwood Forest
    Nottingham, Earth
    Circa 1500 AD.

    King Uterio peered out of the window of his carriage, and sighed. The weather outside was pleasant; a gentle breeze rustled through the trees, and the swaying branches cast shifting patterns of light and shadow on the convoy beneath. He sat back against his couch, rolling his head back.

    "Not the same with him gone, is it?" asked the carriage's sole other occupant; a dark-haired man dressed in a black slashed doublet, a dark cloak hung over his shoulders fastened with a silver brooch identifying him as the High Sheriff of Nottingham.

    "What's that, Ser Edward?" replied Uterio, tilting his head forwards again.

    "Robin Hood, my liege. Not the same with him dead. I'll admit it does feel odd being able to travel without the constant fear of ambush and robbery."

    "Mhmmm." replied Uterio, rolling his head backwards again in a vain attempt to find some form of sleep. After a while, he relented. "What is the name of that fellow we have to thank for all this?"

    "Ser Dallas of Dalton, my liege." replied Ser Edward, pointing out of the window. Beyond, a warrior in the flamboyant armor of a foreign mercenary sat atop a silver courser, an extravagant rapier sat upon his hip. His blonde hair was cut short, slicked back across his head, and he cast a hard glance at the edges of the forest surrounding them.

    "He looks like he's not sure he got them all."

    "Oh, he's certain he got them all. But I don't pay him good money for complacency. Robin Hood wasn't the only bandit in Nottingham."

    Uterio sat up straight, a little less comfortable. "I should be happy when we arrive at the-"

    An explosion shook the carriage, and Uterio reached for the walls of the cabin to brace himself. Ser Edward kicked open the door and jumped out, revealing an inch of steel from his scabbard as he wrapped a hand clad in lobstered steel around the handle of his blade. Uterio emerged from the carriage, visibly shaken.

    "Stay back, my liege. One of the carriages ahead has been attacked."

    Uterio turned his head towards the direction the caravan had been heading. A plume of smoke rose from the end of the highway; he grimaced, then turned back to Ser Edward, before screaming:

    "ABOVE YOU!"

    Ser Edward darted out of the way as an arrow impacted the ground where he had stood. Klak stood in a tree high above him, clad in a tunic of lincoln green; he readied another arrow, then aimed it Uterio.

    "By the gods, it's Robin Hood!" exclaimed Uterio, gasping. "I thought your mercenary had him killed!" he added, pointing angrily to Ser Edward.

    "I did." interrupted Ser Dallas, charging towards the commotion atop his courser. He threw a man to the ground between them; clad in red velvet, beaten and bruised badly. "Impostors. I suppose this one thinks himself Will Scarlet."

    "Kakamu!" cried out Klak, pulling back on his bowstring. "Let him go!"

    "After that gunpowder stunt he just pulled?" replied Ser Dallas, tutting. "No chance. Surrender, or he dies."

    "I've got a better idea!" replied Klak, aiming his arrow skywards and firing. It exploded mid-air in a flash of light, and then from either side of the highway surged the merry men, overwhelming the convoy. Ser Dallas and Ser Edward formed up around King Uterio's convoy, cutting down the bandits as they approached. Klak swooped down and helped Kakamu to his feet.

    "The gold! Let's steal it!"

    "Not if I have anything to say!" replied Ser Edward. He drew his sword, pointing it menacingly towards Klak and Kakamu.

    "Ser Edward of Blackout... we meet again!" replied Kakamu, picking up a nearby spear and swinging it around.

    "You'd best surrender, boy... I'm known as the best swordsman in all of Nottingham!"

    "Then I should probably let you know..." replied Kakamu, thrusting towards Ser Edward with his spear. As he did, the oil he had applied to the tip ignited. "...that I'm not from Nottingham!"

    Ser Edward gasped, jumping backwards, then surging forwards with a thrust. Klak had used the distraction to get behind him, and readied another arrow.

    "This is for Robin Hood!"

    He fired, and then nothing else happened. The arrow froze in mid-air; the battle paused, and even the gentle rustling of the leaves around them came to a halt.

    "...Give an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters, and one of those monkeys is going to end up re-writing Robin Hood. I suppose the same holds true for alternate universes, then?"

    Guinan looked up from the battle towards Sefer, who was perched in the same tree beside her. She smiled and shook her head. “That’s how it usually works in stories, isn’t it? Well, not this one. Our multiverse can support a maximum of exactly five hundred universes - for a new universe to come into being, another must be destroyed. It’s the law of equivalent exchange, but on a multiversal scale. This doesn’t exactly apply to alternate timelines, but that’s a can of worms I’d rather save for a later lesson. You’d be forgiven for the monkey theory, but in the case of this universe, I guess one of the Users just felt like writing Robin Hood.”

    After taking one last look at the scene below them, Guinan closed her eyes and willed Sherwood Forest away, the two of them reappearing within the featureless white existence of the Knowledge Dimension's natural state. She materialized a doorway for them to walk through, and when they did, they were in a familiar-looking starship corridor, making their way nowhere in particular.

    "In an infinite multiverse, everything lasts forever, but suffice to say..." Guinan continued, casting a knowing glance towards her, “We don’t. I may look immortal, but don’t let appearances deceive you. As beings of the Knowledge Dimension, you and I draw our strength and energy directly from Akasha, a pure metaphysical repository of the Users’ creativity and willpower. As you’ve probably guessed by now, even though the energy of Akasha is responsible for creating everything you and I have ever known, it is not an infinite resource. Whenever the Users stop caring about us, the energies of Akasha run too thin to sustain us, and we either break down and die, go into stasis, or simply cease to exist altogether.”

    “So… we’re not immortal after all?” Sefer asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “We are in the sense that we don’t age, but we are not everlasting. Although we are powered and sustained by Akashic energy, which cannot be created or destroyed by anyone but the Users, our physical bodies themselves can still be destroyed, releasing the energy that once powered us. So, you see, we are immortal and mortal at the same time. Plus, eventually, at the end of all things, we will all return to the Source.”

    “The Source… right. I’m guessing that’s-”

    “Akasha, the Swirl of the Root, the Source of all facets of existence. Anyway, any time one of us is created - or recreated in your case - a portion of Akashic energy is consumed. That’s why, even now, there are only a limited number of us. Siphoning lots more energy from Akasha to create more of us would benefit our goals, sure, but it would also threaten other parts of the multiverse that need that energy to continue to exist. That’s why, when we recruit new operatives like yourself, we go for quality over quantity.”

    “Thanks, I guess,” Sefer replied, still processing all this new information.

    Guinan smiled and nodded. “As Akashic beings, we also happen to be the only forms of life in existence, apart from the Instructor, who can ‘read’ the Akashic Records and translate them into a comprehensible form so that we can chronicle the history of the multiverse without physically inserting ourselves into it. Well, that’s one of my jobs, anyway. Yours will be a little different.”

    “The Instructor?”

    Guinan chuckled. “The personification of Akasha. Oh, she’s a hoot! Maybe I’ll take you to see her some day.”

    Sefer came to a standstill, leaning against the wall. Guinan paused, then turned to face her.

    "You'll forgive me if this is all a little hard to take in. I woke up this morning thinking I was Emperor of the Takemikazuchi Empire, and now I'll go to sleep tonight realizing I'm... well, a fictional character."

    "No, I won't forgive you."

    Sefer cast a confused look towards Guinan. "What?"

    "I won't forgive you, that is. Anybody else? Sure. But you're Sefer Yetzirah. I hand-picked you because I can't think of anyone else who'd be able to process all this-" she replied, gesturing to the hallway around her, "-so quickly. Now, you've had your time to mope. It's time for you to get your head in the game; you've got work to do."

    Sefer raised an eyebrow. "You want me to be a researcher?"

    "Researcher? Hell no!" replied Guinan, laughing. "Oh, child, I've got something far more exciting in mind for you."

    Sefer pulled away from the wall, folding her arms. A smirk formed on her face.

    "You have my attention."


    Supermax 282
    Dark Universe
    10,000 Years Later - 7108 ADP (After Divergence Point)

    An explosion rocked the station. Then another.

    Within the central core of the station, a row of armed Makuta guards took up positions around Cell 001, plasma rifles trained on the corridor leading up to it. The door at the end of the corridor began to glow white - then it exploded, sending a column of smoke rolling down the corridor. When it cleared, a huge, muscular figure stood before the guards, smirking.


    The Makuta opened fire; bolts of plasma coarsed down the corridor, sliding off Bojack's body like droplets of rain falling sideways; they did nothing to impede his progress as he calmly walked towards them, a ball of energy in his hand. He lifted it up and threw it like a grenade - a few guards tried to jump out of the way before it exploded, blowing open the cell behind them. The intruder stepped forth over the dead and dying guards, pulling open the cell wall to create a larger opening, before gazing in.

    "Who dares disturb my meditation?"

    "The Dominion sends for you, Lord Jones." replied Bojack, as a mysterious figure entered the corridor behind him and began to hover down the length of it. The individual was a man of vampiric appearance; pale white skin, long black hair framing both sides of his face, with a body concealed within a black silk cloak arranged in a way that suggested an impossibly large pair of shoulders beneath them. Alex Jones rose from his meditative pose, turning to address the new arrival. Years of captivity had reshapen him; his bald head glimmered in the dim light of his cell, whilst his bulky physique outclassed even Bojack's. He pushed past the blue-skinned mercenary, then came to stand opposite the vampire.

    "Thomas Wiseau. I assume you have very good reason to come here."

    "Very good reason." came his reply, in a Thespian tone. From under his robes, a slender hand emerged containing a mechanical device of impossible complexity, yet no apparent function. "Pure knowledge. This will even the odds in our war against Sefer."

    "And you want me to fight by your side? Even after I betrayed you?"

    "Everybody betrayed me. We all have skeletons in our closet, Jones. You controlled your population with secret drugs and radio signals; suppressed the media to generate propaganda and usher in a new world order. You sold your planet out to Sefer for profit, even as she made her plans for us joke characters clear. For that, you've spent the last years of your life rotting in a cell. I'm here to offer you redemption. With Malygos gone, the Dominion is mine to rule. But I can't rule it alone."

    "Power is all I crave. I was born to rule - to bring order to the uneducated masses who can't be trusted to think for themselves." replied Jones, pacing. "All Humans will bow to me?"

    "Of course."

    "Then I will stand by you, once more."

    Wiseau and Jones grinned, and began making their way down the corridor, when Bojack stepped out in front of them, grinning.

    "Out of the way, Bojack." ordered Wiseau.

    "I think we need to renegotiate my contract. This is far more dangerous work than I signed on for."

    "You're right." replied Wiseau, a wry smile forming in the corner of his lips. "It is."

    Alex Jones disappeared in a blur of motion; before Bojack could comprehend the blisteringly fast show of speed, Jones was behind him, his fore and middle fingers pressed into the man's spine.

    "Shun Goku Satsu!"


    Bojack exploded in a storm of white liquid energy, which pooled on the floor around where he had stood, burning into the metal floor. Thomas Wiseau nodded in approval, as the two turned to head down the corridor.

    "It looks like captivity hasn't dulled your powers, Lord Jones."

    "Quite the opposite. Meditation has afforded me focus; Isolation has afforded me clarity. The hatred I feel for Sefer has condensed to a single point of power, which now fuels me. I will make her pay for her arrogance - her hubris. She thought us joke characters were too weak - too whimsical, too disunited - to ever pose a threat to her grand narrative. I intend to demonstrate to her the full consequence of that error in judgment."


    Tybion Primaris, capital world of the Ta'har-Makuta Empire
    Dark Universe
    2 weeks later

    Dukamu had left a power vacuum. The Empire had risen to fill it. Sefer had risen to rule it.

    The capital world was an endless city of obsidian, wreathed in smog. Vast holographic billboards hung from the sides of the huge complexes that clustered together throughout her cities; the gargantuan towers loomed over a sea of magma thousands of feet below, where the very mantle had begun to give way under the strain of Imperial civilization. As Sefer stepped through a portal, materializing on a rooftop overlooking the expanse beneath the city; all around, transport vehicles flew through the sky, darting to and fro like white and red fireflies barely visible through the smoke.

    "...the sacrifices made by Emperor Sefer..."

    Sefer turned her attention to the billboards, which all displayed the same video; a human man was reading out an announcement to the entire populace.

    "...have brought true peace and stability to the Galaxy for the first time in its existence." continued Gordon Freeman, resplendent in the black-and-red uniform of the Imperial intelligence corps. "The price we pay, in turn, is constant vigilance in face of efforts by canon individuals to undermine social order. Ensure that you report all non-registered canon individuals to your local district Overseer, and remember that the penalty for aiding or abetting such individuals is a punishment far worse than death." he added, thrusting his arm forwards in what Sefer hoped was only a ­Roman salute. "The Emperor protects."

    The transmission cut out. Sefer sighed. Her job was to clean up intracanonical contamination - a way for the researchers of the Knowledge Dimension to fight back against constant intrusion without taking up arms themselves. This dimension's Sefer had seemingly rebuilt the entire galaxy with the assistance of stolen knowledge; declared a genocide against anyone important enough to warrant intracanonical existence, leaving only the background characters too unimportant to affect the narrative of her reality, as well as the canon characters foolish enough to risk collaborating with her.

    So, a lot of intracanonical contamination to clean up.

    Sefer turned, raising a hand to summon another portal - the best place to start would be a few years ago, before the Empire's rapid expansion. She clenched her fist to generate it - but nothing happened. Her brow furrowed; she tried again. She had hundreds of lifetimes’ worth of experience at this; she didn't usually mess up.

    Still, no portal.

    She looked up, and realized why. The billboard transmissions had resumed - only now it wasn't Freeman's face, but her own.

    "Did you seriously think I didn't know that you'd come here, Sefer? That I was ignorant to your ambitions of undoing all that I've accomplished here?" came the announcement, echoing throughout the city. "Did you not anticipate that I would take measures to protect this new order that I've created?" she added, as Sefer fumbled, trying to generate another portal - no luck. Somehow, this universe's Sefer had reharmonized the fourth wall - it was going to take time to break back through. Sefer sighed, then turned to the nearest billboard.

    "I guess not." she replied, unsure as to whether or not she'd hear herself.

    "Truly, there aren't words to express the level of disappointment I feel for you. But when I do think of them..."

    Sefer saw her surroundings suddenly disappear, and in an instant she was rematerialized within the throne room of the Divine Providence, a containment field flicking into existence around her. The other Sefer sat across from her, slouched back in