Notice: The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. The correct title is “The Great VSP/WASTE Saga, Part II, Chapter 9.”
The Great VSP Saga:
The Bad Guys Strike Back
'MY NARRATOR COULD BEAT UP YOUR NARRATOR'
The Narrator had finished assembling his arsenal. It was sitting on top of his table, right next to his computer. It did not look like much, a small pile of wooden blocks that might have come from any child's toy chest, small pieces of candy tied in knots or twisted into spirals, and other miscellaneous, harmless-looking trinkets, but they were all he had to guard against the total destruction of his story. And he was sure they would be enough.
He cast his senses outwards, then began to laugh. The poor fool was coming to him on a bus. Oh, this would be too easy. Due to parental obnoxiousness, a force even stronger than plot contrivance, the Narrator had no driver's license. Everywhere he went that was out of town, he used public transportation to get to. He knew the local bus system inside and out.
He mentally searched through his stock of movies and books for an appropriate scenario in which to meet Mark Brown. *Let's see... 'Star Wars' would give him the home-court advantage... 'Lord of the Rings'... tempting, but no; too magical for Real Life; same for Xanth and Ryetelth... 'Aladdin'... perhaps, but I'm not quite that agile... Starcraft is already taken... 'The Music Man'... no; he isn't that gullible...*
Suddenly it came to him. *Of course! 'The Shadow'! Yes, that would be perfect!!!*
With the bus routes Mark was using, he wouldn't arrive until about 1:30 tomorrow afternoon, and that would give the Narrator plenty of time to prepare. Satisfied that all would go well, he turned his attention back to the story.
Broker was in a rage at his men's cowardice. "I don't care how powerful the ship is, or how clever the pilot! That Proto-Cruiser is severely damaged. He has no bumbling Avatars to help him now. Destroy him!!! Send the Fenix and the Battle Platform." His voice dropped to a deadly degree of sarcasm. "That should be enough, don't you think?"
"Y-y-yes, sir" said Kautarn #8.
Effective though it may be, Mason didn't care all that much for torture. WASTE members assassinating lamers was just fine, but tormenting them was not something he cared to watch. So he sat back and worked on a few triggers in the latest Common Foe map and waited for something to happen. Half an hour and many ignored screams later, he was right on the verge of balancing a delicate timing situation when something did.
Frustrated, he closed StarEdit and checked to see why his computer was beeping at him. "Hey guys, I hate to break up your little interview, but we've got company. The Fenix and the ConFed Battle Platform are coming our way."
"What?!?" said Codebreaker. "We're not ready for them yet. It'll take at least another twenty minutes for the ship to repair itself."
"Our shields are up, the last missile launcher has been repaired, and HPs are at 823/1024. We'll be fine. Especially since I don't plan on taking the DragonSlayer into combat again.
"You don't?" asked Lambda incredulously. "I don't see anything else around that can help us."
"Hang on a sec," said Mason, tapping at his computer.
"I think he means it's time to summon that Davis person," said Zeratul.
"That's right. Now, I need all three of you to work together with me here if we want a chance at winning this. You need to input stuff into your consoles, and don't worry if it doesn't make sense." Mason told them each the figures to input, which ranged in complexity from calculus to hexadecimal. None of them knew quite what it was, but they trusted Mason. It was his ship, after all. When they were all finished, Mason completed the equation at his keyboard, and a sensor-distortion field sprang to life around the DragonSlayer. Nobody could have detected it, though, because the false sensor data it was currently set to show was exactly the same as what the DragonSlayer had been showing all along. To an outside observer, nothing had changed.
The Crossover flared to life, and two units appeared. Outside the ship was an obviously modified, yet easily recognizable Wraith. And standing before them on the bridge was a Protoss High Templar, Artanis.
This is where the outside observer's would begin to have faulty data. He would still only notice five life-signs aboard the DragonSlayer. And, indeed, that was all that Broker's scanners detected.
Mason opened a channel to Davis's Wraith. Onscreen was a young man wearing a cowboy hat, and his cockpit was filled with medium-loud country music. "This is Johnny Davis, please ahdentify yerself, unknown vessel."
"Nice to see you, Johnny. This is Mason Wheeler aboard the DragonSlayer."
"Mason... you mean yer the Implemenner?"
"Yes, I am the Implementer. I have summoned you because I need your assistance." He quickly explained the details of the mission and laid out a course of action for Davis. Artanis heard all that was happening and stayed silent, preparing his psionic energy for what was to follow soon.
"Sure thang. Fightin' them little bitty warships ain't nothin' like wrasslin' steers. That's a real challenge. Davis out."
Artanis gathered his psionic energy and created hallucinations of Mason, Lambda, Codebreaker, Zeratul, and Tyrel. When it was finished, Mason opened a portal and sent Artanis back to Shakuras. "OK Zeratul. You can resume your interrogation now."
Time to have some real fun with Broker's men.
"Sir," said Kautarn #8, "we've just detected a transport. All five lifesigns have been beamed from the DragonSlayer to the unidentified Wraith. It has cloaked and vanished from our scanners, and the DragonSlayer is backing away, apparently on autopilot."
"Send our science vessel to find that Wraith. I'll not have this base infiltrated like the last one. Have the Fenix and the Battle Platform target the Wraith; we can worry about capturing an abandoned Proto-Cruiser later."
Mason watched from the bridge of the DragonSlayer as Broker's single Science Vessel moved to join the action. He announced, "They've fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker." He cut the ‘Slayer's engines and brought the ship about to face the upcoming battleground.
Davis was beginning to sweat. He had flown plenty of dangerous missions before, for the Confederacy and then as leader of his private band after Mengsk took over, but never had such a small margin separated victory from utter defeat. He flew past the ConFed Battle Platform, barely slowing down as he launched a small volley of missiles at it. The targeting scanners on the platform picked up a shimmering distortion heading towards the Fenix and fired. At the last possible instant, Davis veered out of the way in a 6G turn. The Fenix got hit by the huge blast; Davis did not.
Zeran being the hothead that he was, and having missed the distortion, thought that the platform had changed sides yet again and was attacking him. He quickly launched his interceptors at the platform and moved in to fire deck guns.
Davis flew by the Fenix and fired a volley of missiles. He then turned and flew by the battle platform, skimming the surface. The Fenix's missile turrets on the deck detected the tiny wraith, and the deck guns flared into action. Once again, Davis moved out of the way and the giant guns impacted against the huge platform. The battle platform instantly counterattacked, its computers having been programmed to recognize anything that fired on it as an enemy. Davis watched the Fenix begin to counter savagely and started laughing. It was like watching a hound chase its tail. The five hallucinated heroes in the cockpit vanished in puffs of smoke, and Davis flew through the wormhole that had just opened in space in front of him.
The DragonSlayer started to broadcast broadband communications jamming field, making it impossible for Broker to order the two titans to stop fighting each other and continue the attack against the now-forgotten Wraith. Broker's science vessel was just beginning to move into range to find the Wraith, but a Yamato Beam ended all threat of the giant ships seeing through the ruse. And on the bridge of the DragonSlayer, the four heroes sat and watched and laughed their heads off as the two giant warships pounded on each other.
SIX MINUTES LATER
The ConFed Battle Platform had been utterly destroyed, and The Fenix wasn't doing that well either. Scanners read its HPs at 1739/8000 and shields at 7/5000. Now it was time for the DragonSlayer to clean up the remains. Mason checked his HP readout. 884/1024. Good. The Yamato Gun was fully charged, so that would be more than enough.
Broker watched in horrified, enraged embarrassment as those blithering morons who called themselves his allies pounded each other to pieces, completely ignoring the true enemy. He tried to order them to cease this infantile duel and go after the DragonSlayer, but the ship had somehow managed to jam his communications. He winced as he watched the battle platform be destroyed by the Fenix's deck guns. He knew without needing to watch that the Fenix would now be destroyed by the DragonSlayer. He activated the general base intercom, and everybody in the fortress waited and listened as their commander's voice came through.
"Our defensive fleet has been crippled, and the DragonSlayer is sure to land here. But we must not give up hope. Scans show only five lifesigns aboard the ship. Mason Wheeler is a cunning tactician, but even he cannot win against such odds. We have four hundred soldiers, he has only five. All men, prepare to repel invaders. Never give up the battle, and be prepared for any tricks that Wheeler or his friends may have up their sleeves. Broker out."
This was nothing but a minor setback. He was still sure to win; the world was his for the taking. When this pest had been dealt with, he would rebuild his fleets and conquer the World of the Implementers. And then nothing could stand against his power. Broker smiled evilly at the thought.
What cunning plan does Mason have to destroy the Crossover Device?
What cunning plan does Broker have to stop him?
All heroes must survive, so which plan will succeed in the end?
There are no evil narrators; which good one will win?
Find out on the next episode of The Great VSP/WASTE Saga, Part II!
Before the team had time enough to reach the top of the VSP HQ a running Phoenix caught up with them.
Seawolf turned to ask Phoenix what had happened, but before he got a word out, Phoenix said:
"We don't have much time, but I'll explain it shortly."
The team turned and gave their attention to Phoenix.
"Inside this shell I am a silver phoenix. The last living phoenix in the world. Once every millennium, I fight an adversary in my true form. This time it was this Alpha weapon. The weapon was pretty much like me, it sought the world for great fighters. We dueled, and I won. It's dead."
"So, why don't you just turn into a phoenix and kill Broker and all those enemies? We could have used your... ability." asked Endarire.
"I can't turn into a phoenix just like that. It only happens once in a millennium, unless I'm at my homeworld. Look, I'm still the Phoenix you knew. I still fight in my Zealot armor, and I still intend to free Rockwell and put Broker out of this Crossover. We can't kill him, there wouldn't be any villain in A3, right Auspex?"
"Yeah. I need him. But I also need Rockwell." answered Auspex.
"Alright then, let's kick some banned butts! Are you with me?" exclaimed Seawolf.
The team cheered.
"It's ass-kicking time!" shouted Odin.
"Uhh, yeah. I guess." said Jenni.
Dark_T_Zeratul paced around the room in which Tyrel Dvorak sat, handcuffed to a chair.
"Sooo...let's review what we already know. You are the clone of MysteriousGuy. Correct?"
"Y...y...yes, sir," replied Tyrel, staring at the large, glowing sword dangling from Dark_T_Zeratul's right hand.
"And you work for Broker, correct?"
"What do you do for Broker, by the way?"
"I... I... can't tell you. Broker would kill me!"
"AND I WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER FOR ETERNITY!!!" shouted Zeratul, suddenly pressing the Ragnarok against Tyrel's throat.
"Alright! I'm the chief of security. I'm also one of the only four people who are carrying a copy of the cross... er, crossbow laser rifle grenade shooter blueprints! Yeah, that's it!"
"Liar," said Dark_T_Zeratul. "You will tell me everything, NOW!!!" Zeratul grabbed his throat. Tyrel swallowed hard, and remembered that he had been prepared in case of an emergency. He had a suicide pill under his tongue. He crunched down on it. Hard.
"I won't...uhh...t...te...lllll...uuuuuuuuuuuh..." Tyrel choked out as he slipped into darkness.
"#&$#!" yelled Dark_T_Zeratul, as he dropped Tyrel's lifeless body onto the floor. Then he decided to search him. In his coat pocket, he had a disk. He took it and went to the bridge. Ignoring the sights of battle for the time being, Dark_T_Zeratul headed towards one of the computer terminals. He inserted the disk and looked at it. It had a lot of weird symbols encrypted onto it, and appeared to be tagged by Mason Wheeler and Kurt Broker. Since Broker was unavailable, he called for Mason. Mason asked CB to take over and came to look at the disk. Zeratul explained where it had come from.
"Amazing, simply amazing," remarked Mason. "This disk contains 1/5 of the Crossover program. Broker must have split it up in order to protect it! This is just great! We can do so much with this fragment! You see, this fragment alone can access the entire UNIVERSE of Final Fantasy games! We can send wave after wave of monsters at Broker!" Zeratul considered for a moment, then smiled. Fiendishly. He was, after all, a big Final Fantasy Fan. Things would be getting very interesting. Very soon.
Dark_T_Zeratul typed away madly at the keys. His vast knowledge of Final Fantasy would make this program fragment worth every byte! First, he glanced up to see how the battle was going. It seemed that the group was winning. the Yamato blast than Mason had recently fired had practically ripped The Fenix apart, and had completely severed the deck guns from it's hull. Another few shots from the laser batteries would destroy them entirely. Zeratul decided to help finish off The Fenix. He used the Fragment to summon some of Final Fantasy's most powerful creations:
Emerald weapon (7)
Diamond weapon (7)
Ultima weapon (8)
Ruby weapon (7)
And every single summoned monster from the entire Final Fantasy Series. The battle would get very, VERY interesting soon.
The Narrator felt a titanic shockwave shake the fabric of the Plot. He scanned the story and couldn't believe what had just happened. *You just can't leave these characters alone for five minutes without them making everything worse for themselves.* He had carefully crafted a difficult situation that would stretch his characters' ingenuity to the limits, but it was still supposed to be possible. But he would have never imagined that Zeratul could be so naive. He just summoned nearly the entire gamut of FF villains, thinking they would help him. But they were villains. Simply being summoned wouldn't change that fact. And the paltry assortment of Summons he got as well would be of little use now. Everyone knows that almost all Summons are useless against final bosses. He couldn't let his characters get wiped out like that; he had to make some sort of plot contrivance quickly.
"ZERATUL! NOOOOOOO!!!" cried Mason, but it was too late. A gigantic hole opened in space and out floated Ultimecia Castle, filled with all of the villains, as well as the giant apocalyptic Meteor. A second hole opened, and out flew a large group of Summons. They lined up to do battle with their foes.
"What's wrong? You said to summon monsters against them."
"I meant Summoned Monsters. You just summoned villains! They're bad guys!!!"
"They'll help us, won't they? We summoned them."
"That doesn't matter. They're villains. And those Summons you got are useless against final bosses; everyone knows that." Mason felt a strange sense of deja vu, as if he had just said that. He knew he hadn't, so he just shook the feeling off.
"Didn't Omega weapon help us?"
"Yeah, but it was sent by Mark Brown, so it had to help us. Sorta like a plot contrivance."
Zeratul paled as he realized the magnitude of his folly. "You mean... you mean I..."
"Yeah. I suppose I shouldn't blame you; I should have been more specific. But now how do we defeat them?"
"Just a thought, but could we summon all the FF heroes?"
"That wouldn't work. All heroes must survive, and some of them would be bound to get killed in that battle."
"LOOK!" said Codebreaker. "They're ignoring us!"
It was true. A pitched battle was lining up with the valiant Summons against the villains inside Castle Ultimecia.
"They'll never make it," said Lambda.
"You're right. But maybe we can sneak past them while they're distracted." said Zeratul.
"That might work," said Mason, "but they'd still be there. What'll we do then?"
"I got it! We could...no, that wouldn't work." said Lambda.
Codebreaker suddenly got an idea. He called out "Hey Narrator, can you help us out a bit?"
"AS MUCH AS I HATE TO CREATE SUCH WORTHLESS PLOT CONTRIVANCES, I WILL DEIGN TO SAVE YOU FROM YOUR OWN FOLLY SO THAT THE STORY DOES NOT GRIND TO AN ANTICLIMACTIC HALT."
One of the more obscure tricks in FF6 is the "Vanish/Doom" technique, in which invisible monsters, including bosses, are highly susceptible to instant-death attacks. The Phantom Esper cast its spell and turned all of the villains invisible. Then Odin readied his mighty sword Zantezuken and sliced them all into pieces. Castle Ultimecia dissolved and the Espers were returned through a portal. Now all that was left was the Meteor. A Yamato blast and a few volleys of anti-matter missiles from the DragonSlayer vaporized most of it quickly enough. A (relatively) small fragment, which was still quite huge, of the meteor tore off and hurtled through space, hitting the slow-moving Fenix dead-on. The collision breached what little hull integrity was left, and the warship exploded. The Meteor fragment was completely vaporized in the explosion.
"THERE. IT IS DONE. BUT I WILL NOT SAVE YOU FROM YOUR OWN FOOLISHNESS AGAIN," the narrator chastised them.
Mason smiled. Now the way was open for them to land at Broker's fortress.
MysteriousGuy was roused from his clone-induced somnolence by the sound of a loud explosion. He woke up, tried to remember how he got into a holding cell. He remembered Broker taking him captive and calling him Dvorak, and wondering who that was. Then suddenly his head exploded with pain as the memories flooded back into his mind all at once.
He remembered his work for Broker.
He remembered the laboratory and his research into cloning.
He remembered his banishment and the erasure of his memory.
He remembered the mental wall Broker had told him would be installed to make him faint at the mention of clones.
He remembered everything.
And he remembered this holding cell. He had once had a prisoner thrown into this very cell. He knew this fortress. It must have been moved in its entirety to wherever Broker was now in this reality. Either that, or perfectly reconstructed. He recognized everything about the detention area he could see on the other side.
He also remembered the faulty wiring inside the wall, and how he could short it out from here and deactivate the forcefield. He remembered having warned Broker of that once, but Broker dismissed it by saying that nobody would ever figure it out.
He was right about to do it when he remembered that he was unarmed and unarmored. He wouldn't get very far like that. Besides, he had weakness, and he wasn't sure if it was gone or not, now that he had remembered everything. He had to know, and now, so he spoke the fateful word.
He felt his head begin to spin, and it took a conscious effort of will, but he was able to retain his consciousness. He said it again, and it was easier this time. After the fifth try, it didn't affect him at all. He mentally rejoiced, for now he knew the truth and the truth had set him free!
Now he just had to find a way to get a weapon and escape this cell.
It was barely 7:30 that night, but the Narrator was going to bed. The mental exhaustion was such that it had overloaded his capacity and begun to drain him physically. This was the worst of all possible times to have to make two extreme plot contrivances. There was a duel to be fought tomorrow over the fate of his story, but at this rate if he kept maintaining his story he might not have any energy left for the duel. What he needed most of all was sleep. He pulled the covers up and was asleep within minutes.
How will the heroes fare against the Banished Ones?
How can the four characters in the DragonSlayer possibly survive against Broker's legions?
Will the Narrator's role be usurped by Mark Brown?
How many of Mark Brown's allies will change sides when they learn the identity of the new Narrator?
Find out on the next exciting episode of the great VSP/WASTE Saga, Part II.
The Narrator, Mason Wheeler, had made a key error in his judgment earlier that day regarding Mark Brown. He had assumed. And as everyone knows, assumption is the mother of all foul-ups.
The Narrator assumed that Mark Brown would be relying on public transportation the entire way up to Washington and thus Mason's domicile. This, however, was inaccurate. Mason, having not done his homework, didn't know that Mark Brown had relatives in Northern California, and that that was Mark Brown's actual destination. What Mason also hadn't considered was that those relatives were expecting his arrival, and had their own private plane. Despite being only Mark Brown's second cousins, they were more than happy to fly him to the nearest airfield to where he needed to be.
Another thing Mason forgot to consider was that game world time wasn't equal to real world time, so while Mason slept, almost no time passed in the game world. The final battle, it seemed, would happen without any narrator influence from either side.
The kicker was that while Mason wasn't expecting Mark Brown to show up until around 1:30pm local time, Mark Brown was there and ready for the duel bright and early at 9:00am.
The Duel of the Fates was about to begin.
What could possibly happen in this duel?
Will the DragonSlayer heroes be able to defeat Broker?
What about the Banished Ones?
Find out in the next exciting episode of the great VSP/WASTE Saga, Part II.
Commander Wallace called out to his troops under his command to quiet down. He did not want Broker to be angry with him after the foul up at the platform. He put two fingers to his eyes, and pointed them forward to his lead recon man. The recon man looked back and held up one finger indicating, one enemy in the circular room up ahead. Wallace gave out the command over radio to encircle the enemy.
Commander Wallace took out a sniper rifle and looked through the scope. The man standing there looked exactly like Bakjak, but changed drastically. He wore a black robe adorned with runes and carried a staff with a mysterious orb on top of it. Wallace could also see the handle of Bakjak's big gun protruding out of his robes. Wallace took aim and fired a single shot at Bakjak's heart. An energy shield of some sort sprang up and deflected the shot.
"Weaklings!" intoned Bakjak furiously. He raised his hands and started speaking.
Wallace looked a little nervous, but he had a total of 100 troops in his command at this very moment. He sent his first column of troops at Bakjak. Bakjak released a fireball from his fingertips and it exploded in the middle of the column, instantly killing 4 troops in the middle. Two firebats came in close to engage Bakjak. Bakjak took the sharp end of his staff and poked it into the tank of a firebat, causing a spark. The tank blew up along with the firebats.
Broker was extremely occupied with the battle going on with the Mason Wheeler and the VSP that he had not noticed the monitor emitting a huge glow every few seconds. He finally looked at that direction and what he saw amazed him. "Bakjak, huh?" questioned Broker. "Commander Wallace, how are things going down there?"
Wallace crackled through the radio, "Sir, I've lost over 78 men and have only reduced Bakjak down 3 hitpoints. His shields regain impossibly fast. My remaining men are taking cover, some of them are cowering."
Broker started to speak...
...and the radio went dead.
“Wallace?” Broker called out into the radio.
“Commander Wallace, respond if able.”
Broker swore and turned to one of his officers.
“Mr. Kautarn!” He was now up to his fourteenth doomed clone of the late Kautarn.
“Send three squads to help. I want Bakjak detained...NOW!”
“Yes, sir!” The young officer made the appropriate calls.