Notice: The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. The correct title is “The Great VSP/WASTE Saga, Part III, Chapter 15.”
The Great VSP Saga:
Revenge of the Good Guys
With three parts of VSP Saga worth of constant action scenes and near-climax moments, the heroes gathered their various bruised selves in one of the many spacious halls of the VSP Headquarters later that night for a well-earned denouement sequence, Mark Brown-style.
There would not be a celebration involving the VSP and WASTE without an ample supply of pretzels, and pretzels there certainly were. Flyspeck and Mack were taking on all comers who wanted to lay hands upon their sacred, never-ending pretzel bowl, happy to be able to goof around without the fate of their entire universe in the balance for once.
Mark Brown himself just stood back and watched the whole scene unfold, proud of all the work he had finally completed to bring things back to the way they should be in this crazy world he had somehow ended up narrating.
Blaring out of the speakers was some of the best (worst?) techno music that Canada had to offer. Flare and Fenrir, crazy fellows that they were, were getting down with their bad selves on the center of the floor, mostly just rubbing in the fact that they were still in good health while Seawolf and DTZ could not move due to their wounds...assuming they had any moves when they weren’t wounded, but that shall be another debate for another time.
Other assorted snacks and drinks filled the room. In other parts, though where the parts came from nobody knew, CB and LC had set up various carnival-style games and were letting the Good Guys go to town – for a modest fee to all non-VSPers, of course.
Suddenly, the ghostly personage of Deos Arcana appeared in a flash of light. “Hey Deos, come to join the party?” called Mason.
“I only wish I could,” said Deos gravely. “Auspex, when was the last time you examined the Antioch Universe?”
“Right before the battle, I was THERE.” Auspex looked confused. What was wrong?
“Yeah,” piped up Ytse. “We ran into the Great One there.”
“You’d better check again. Nannoth/Taeradun is in the middle of releasing the Baphomet.”
“WHAT?! How can that be?” Auspex stood up so fast that he knocked over his chair.
From Mark Brown’s jaw dropping, it was obvious he was just at surprised at his apprentice’s sudden news. “Has it begun already, Deos?” he asked. “I felt nothing. How have you found out about this?”
“I had the feeling that all was not right, Master.”
“What do you mean ‘already’, Narrator?” Zeus asked. “You knew about this and didn’t tell us?”
“This entire chain of events—everything from Mason Wheeler calling the DragonSlayer to himself in the Antioch Universe up to the battle you just fought—was set up by the Baphomet’s manipulations,” Mark explained. “As you now know, it tried to use Nannoth/Taeradun and Mason to destroy me so that the victor could use the Narrator position to release the Baphomet from its prison. But in case that failed, it had a backup plan: to create a situation in which we were all distracted for long enough not to be able to prevent Nannoth/Taeradun from releasing it. But I thought that after he was defeated by Mason and Deos that he would be too weak to finish his plan.”
“How long has he been at it?” Auspex was close to panic.
“Twenty minutes now,” replied Deos.
The TAC Staffers blanched. “It’s too late!” Auspex cried, completely panicking now.
“The ritual is almost complete!” Zeus said. “If the Baphomet is released, its power could create thousands of Crossover rifts with strength to spare!!”
“Auspex, Zeus...calm down. It can still be stopped. You and Desler get to computers and do whatever you can to slow him down. You too, Master. That’s the easy part.”
“What’s the hard part?” asked Endarire.
Deos Arcana looked at the rest of the Alliance members gravely. “To stop the release of the Baphomet, an immense amount of energy is needed. Much more than even a nuke can generate.”
“How much?” asked Lambda Corps.
“Approximately two orders of magnitude,” Auspex said from his terminal.
“Remember how Tassadar killed the Overmind?” Deos added.
Typhoon groaned. “Where are we gonna get THAT much energy?”
“I need to go into the Antioch Universe with a spaceship large enough to recreate Tassadar’s feat. I can perform the energy channeling, but I’ll be too insubstantial to fly the ship.” He indicated his spectral form somewhat apologetically. “I need a pilot to come with me.”
“Are you telling me,” asked Zeratul, “that you need one of us to enter the Antioch Universe in a warship and crash it into the Baphomet’s prison?”
“Err...well...” Deos fidgeted and stammered, then said “yes.”
“And what are the chances of the pilot surviving it?” Flyspeck asked.
“Umm...next to nil.”
“Meanwhile, you come away from it all safe and sound, since you’re a projection and won’t be hurt in the crash?” Zeratul seemed outraged that Deos would dare to make such a suggestion.
“I apologize. If there were any other way—”
“And why isn’t there?” Auspex asked, also visibly upset. He was finally starting to really like having these fans around. “You and Mark are Narrators, aren’t you? Can’t you just...” he waved his arms around in frustration “...de-contrive it or whatever it is you Narrators do?!”
Mark Brown shook his head as Deos explained. “You don’t understand how the Plot works. There are ramifications to everything. Pull the wrong thread and the entire fabric unravels.”
“A contrivance of that magnitude would disrupt the entire Saga,” Mark spoke up. “We had plenty of huge contrivances back when Mason was Narrator, and look what that did!”
“You’re right!” Mason stood up, a note of grim determination in his voice. “If it weren’t for me, this whole mess would never have happened. I’LL go with you, Deos.”
“Mason, what are you doing?” asked Seawolf.
“Cleaning up after myself. Because of me, everything’s gone wrong; it’s my responsibility to fix it. I’ll be the pilot, the ‘Slayer’ll be the ship.”
“Wait,” said Mack Kilimaro. “This whole mess came about because of the Crossover, right? We weren’t able to seal it entirely because you were trapped in the Antioch Universe. We do have another warship that needs to go BACK...”
“The Falcon?” asked Mason. “You’re right. Fine, I’ll go in the Falcon then,” he said resolutely...not quite the reaction Mack had been hoping for.
Everyone started talking over the top of each other, saying that Deos’s plan was a stupid one, or that Mark Brown should find a way to fix it, or that they had dealt with other foes before and the Baphomet couldn’t be that bad (mostly WASTErs were saying the last thing). None of them seemed to want Mason to go.
Codebreaker fired a round in the air with his Desert Eagle pistol (which embedded itself in the ceiling of the VSP HQ cafeteria), and everyone quieted down. “Mason,” he started. “You heard what Deos said. You can’t survive this. We don’t want you dead. Not anymore, at least.”
There was a general chorus of “Yeah”s from around the room. Mason was touched by his comrades’ concern for him. He knew what he had to do, but he didn’t quite know what to say to them. So he did what he always did when he didn’t know what to say. He quoted something. “We all gotta die; I’m the one who gets to do it saving the Antioch Universe.”
“No, Mason,” said Jenni pleadingly. She was close to tears. “I can’t lose you again.”
Mason hugged her. “I’m sorry,” he said into her shoulder. “but it’s the only solution. Remember me and I’ll be with you. Always.” He squeezed her tight and then let go of her, quickly turned to Deos Arcana, and then walked away, forcing himself not to look back. “Let’s go, Arcana.”
Mason and Deos left the room, ignoring everyone else. It was, as Mason had said, the only way.
Seawolf and Codebreaker exchanged a Significant Glance™, and then followed them. “Mason, you can’t do this,” Seawolf said, jogging to catch up.
“Yes I can, Seawolf. We’ve already discussed this.” Mason kept walking.
“You’re being selfish!” CB added. “All that this is going to do is make you a hero, but you already are!”
Mason stopped and turned around for a moment. “I don’t care! This isn’t about me being a hero. This is about me fixing a problem that’s my fault in the first place.” He continued on.
“Who CARES whose fault it is?!” exploded Seawolf furiously, grabbing Mason’s arm and spinning him around. “Are you totally BLIND or something? Jenni loves you. If you do this, it’s gonna hurt her worse than anything!”
“She’ll be left with you. Isn’t that what you want?” Mason said bitterly. He knew exactly what he was giving up.
Codebreaker’s jaw dropped and Deos’ eyes got big. They couldn’t believe Mason would say that.
But Seawolf’s reaction was worse. His face turned red with fury and his voice was a deathly quiet whisper. “You little...” Seawolf couldn’t think of a strong enough insult to describe his feelings. Forgetting the deadly whisper, he raged at Mason. “You don’t care about ANYTHING, do you!?! You just want to be the big main character hero of this little Saga, and what better way to do it then going out in a blaze of glory? Besides, you know full well that you being gone won’t do me a bit of good. As long as you’re still around, I have a chance, but I can’t compete with a...a memory! Nobody can!!”
“I’m sorry, Seawolf,” Mason said, and meant it. “This is something that has to be done, and I’m the one to do it.” Mason quickly walked away and reached the hangar bay. He started walking up the Millennium Falcon’s entrance ramp. “You’ve gotta go now.”
“NO,” Seawolf said. “Besides, you’re not trained to pilot the Falcon, and for maximum efficiency we need a copilot and a gunner as well.”
“So what are you saying?” Mason asked in frustration. He turned to see Seawolf and Codebreaker exchanging another glance. Then CB nodded slightly and they both turned back.
“We’re coming with you,” Codebreaker said.
“WHAT?! We’d all be killed.”
“Not really. Aus will be able to Crossover us back out at the last second.” ‘I hope,’ he didn’t add.
Mason considered this for a moment. “OK then. C’mon...we’ve got a dark ritual to stop.”
The ritual would be complete soon. Nannoth/Taeradun was trembling with excitement. (The exact mechanics of a being composed mostly of energy being able to tremble are unknown, but N/T was doing it, so it has to be possible.) Another fifteen minutes, and the Baphomet would be freed from its long incarceration. (Like all horribly evil dark rituals involving the release of great sealed powers of evil, this one took an extremely long, long time to accomplish.) Simply being in the vicinity of the Baphomet, Nannoth/Taeradun’s powers were heightened fivefold, similar to the way his powers had been diminished while in the vicinity of the Psi Cocoon. This was true power! Power overwhelming!
Several Good Guys from the Antioch Universe, mostly forces sent by that obnoxious do-gooder Turmalis, had been slaughtered almost instantly by his great power. Nothing could stop him now. The Eyes of the Xel’Naga began to glow. Energy sparked between them in an arc. N/T blasted a psionic shockwave into the middle of the arc, infusing his energy into it and manipulating it just so. Perfect!
The arc bent towards the tomb of the Baphomet. The ancient Xel’Naga runes on the surface of the tomb glowed furiously to life, repelling the energy, for now. But it would not last indefinitely, and once these guardian runes had been overwhelmed, the Baphomet would be released!
The four heroes found themselves in the Antioch Universe on the dead world of Umbra. Nearby, they saw Nannoth/Taeradun standing (hovering?) before a large obelisk, surrounded by a crackling aura of energy. Seawolf checked his scanners and saw that N/T had many, many more hitpoints and shields than he should, and his psi shockwave was capable of 255 damage.
“Deos, how will we get past him? He’s too powerful; he’d destroy the Falcon in seconds.”
“You forget...” Deos said, smiling, “...I am the Master of Illusion, Delusion, and All-around Confusion.” He muttered in the arcane language of Narration, and six Hallucinations of the Millennium Falcon sprang into being, surrounding the true ship.
“I must begin the channeling now. Set a collision course for that obelisk and don’t deviate from it. Don’t stop, even to defend yourself, and whatever you do, don’t disturb my concentration.”
Seawolf laid in the course and brought the Falcon’s engines to full power, Mason manned the copilot’s station, and Codebreaker said his farewells and climbed down the ladder to the lower gunnery turret.
“I commend you, mighty heroes. It took a lot of courage to do this.” With these words, Deos Arcana left the bridge and stood in the hallway behind it. Even in times like this, he wanted to stay somewhat distant from the heroes and let them appear to do the heroic things. It was just the Narrator way.
His eyes closed and he began to chant. The air became energized with a strange power that set the heroes’ nerves on edge.
The Millennium Falcon and its hallucinatory escorts flew forward.
Mark Brown had returned to the Uberworld, where his power was stronger and he would be better able to manipulate the Plot. Auspex, Zeus, Desler, and Lambda Corps were sitting at computer terminals, trying frantically to stop Nannoth/Taeradun. Sending armies against him did little good; this close, N/T was able to draw upon the power of the Baphomet, strength and power before which the Overmind would have trembled. And manipulating the Antioch Universe more directly near the site was difficult. Too difficult, it seemed.
“Hey, Narrator,” said Auspex. “Why can’t I manipulate the Antioch Universe around the Falcon?”
Mark Brown’s reply was tight with stress. “The energy that Deos is channeling through it is the inverse of the Baphomet’s energy. That energy could be used to create Crossover rifts, so its opposite power suppresses them.”
“You can’t just let them DIE in there!” Lambda called out.
“I’m doing all I can just to keep the Baphomet contained longer. Once someone has been as close to the Uberworld as Nannoth/Taeradun has, they are forever attuned to it, and he is using this to directly interfere with my work. He’s as much of a threat to me as he is to you.”
“How?” Desler asked.
“Even Deos doesn’t know this, but I think the Baphomet had more lofty goals than simply killing me. It is trying to reach the plane ABOVE the Uberworld and find out who narrates the Narrators.”
“WHAT?!” almost everyone in the room shouted.
“It is a rumor among Narrators that there is a being, or perhaps several beings, known as Authors, greater than even the Narrators, controlling the story of the Narrators much as I control your story.”
Auspex’s head was spinning. “Mason mentioned them once. But he said they’re just a myth.” He paused... “They are just a myth, aren’t they?” Merely contemplating the thought of Mark Brown himself being controlled by an even greater power made him dizzy. And what if there were writers above the Authors, and others above them...
“We’re not sure.” The Narrator’s voice brought his thoughts back to reality. “Many say so, and there is evidence to support both points of view. But the theory says that if the answer were ever found out for sure, a paradox would be created that had never been seen before. It could rip apart both the game world and the Uberworld.”
He paused for a second, and they all heard him curse silently. When his voice came back it was tense. “I must go. If you want Mason, Codebreaker, and Seawolf to survive, you’ll have to save them yourselves.”
The seven Millennium Falcons flew onward. The six hallucinations began firing at Nannoth/Taeradun. The archon reached out with a psionic shockwave, whose range had been extended several times over by the Baphomet’s aura, and began to sap the essence from one of the hallucinations. Inside the real Falcon, Seawolf was doing his best to keep the ship on course as it was began to vibrate with the great energies coursing through its hull. The very air had begun to hum unpleasantly.
Mason also had his hands full at the copilot’s station. There were seventeen different types of energy being manipulated nearby, each of them in constant flux, and keeping the ship adequately shielded so that they did not fry the inhabitants was not easy. To make things worse, the interactions produced sporadic graviton outbursts, warping the fabric of space-time in the vicinity. Whenever one manifested near the Falcon, it would rock the ship violently. And then there was the problem of structural integrity...
In the back of the ship, Codebreaker got a clever idea and began firing across the path of the energy lines arcing in front of the Baphomet’s prison. The new energy from the laser beams disrupted the delicate powers of the ritual, forcing Nannoth/Taeradun to concentrate harder on the ritual and distracting him from firing upon the hallucinations of the Falcon. Deos noticed what CB was doing and caused the hallucinations to do so as well.
And then an eighteenth type of energy began swirling around the area, causing a more permanent disturbance. No one really knew where it came from for sure, but they had the feeling that Mark Brown was responsible.
Despite the distractions, Nannoth/Taeradun finished his assault on the first hallucination, which vanished in a puff of psi-smoke (or whatever it is they were made of). The archon chose a new target, luckily another hallucination.
Auspex and the others with him were beginning to despair. The immense energies involved on both sides were creating distortions in the fabric of the Antioch Universe. It was growing increasingly difficult to do anything for the heroes in the Falcon...Auspex began to really wonder if they’d be able to save even one of them, much less all three. The interference was making any attempt to “Crossover them out” less and less likely every second.
Mark Brown was growing more and more concerned as well. He had picked up on Codebreaker’s idea behind disrupting the energies around the Baphomet and added a persisting disruption into the mix, but it hadn’t had the strong impact he’d been hoping for. Even in creating contrivances, the narration came out distorted due to the warped space-time in the vicinity.
The second hallucination was destroyed, and Nannoth/Taeradun refocused his attack, this time on the true Falcon. Seawolf cursed and took evasive action (earning a glare from Mason as the ship shook), but N/T tracked them and continued his onslaught.
Seawolf knew it was time. He punched the engines up to full and got close enough to the obelisk now that he could make it. He hit a few controls and the ship began to descend.
Realizing that they had not been teleported out yet, Mason stopped trying to stabilize the ship (it was doing no good anyway) and began frantically typing on the computer. He loaded the Narrator Tools quickly and tried a few emergency contrivances, but had the same problems as Auspex and Mark.
It was too late. Auspex tried a last-ditch attempt to teleport the heroes from the ship, but the distortion retargeted it and a group of small stones near the obelisk suddenly found themselves several miles away, to their great confusion. Agony played across Auspex’s face. It hadn’t worked!
The Falcon shook under Nannoth/Taeradun’s assault, its shields sapped, but its heavily armored hull held. As the ship descended in slow-motion (of course in slow-mo; this is a very dramatic scene), Mason desperately hit keys, trying everything he could think of. Finally, one last burst of inspiration came to him. He hit a couple of buttons, typing away in half Narration/half Crossover-code. The slow-mo gave him a few precious extra seconds; he just hoped it would wo—
Suddenly, everything went white.
The obelisk began to crack in the front, and a light as bright as the sun shone out from inside. The ground began to shake violently and the sky became dark as night.
The time of Baphomet had come.
Meanwhile, Mark Brown was so lost in concentration, trying to stop the Baphomet, that he almost didn’t notice what Mason was doing. He was feeling extremely drained already, but this might work. Mason would not be able to accomplish it alone, though. The Narrator used all of his remaining energy to try to assist his former arch-rival. ‘Would it be enough?’ he wondered.
Suddenly the Millennium Falcon crashed into the Baphomet’s prison, and Deos’s energy web was released. The bodies of Mason Wheeler, Seawolf, and Codebreaker were vaporized instantly, and the narratorial feedback from being directly involved knocked the already-weakened Narrator out.
The Falcon’s engines impelled it downward and it crashed into the giant obelisk with devastating force. The arcane energies contained within the ship poured into the tomb, nullifying Nannoth/Taeradun’s efforts and creating a massive explosion of pure energy. The shockwave was powerful enough to throw Nannoth/Taeradun a quarter-mile from the obelisk.
A horrible, unearthly psionic scream shot from the cracked obelisk as the crack began to reseal. Something massive began pounding on it from the inside, but to no avail. With one final, defiant roar ripping through the air, the crack was fully shut.
Auspex and the others quickly returned Nannoth/Taeradun to Scion and implemented a few controls to keep him from ever leaving Aiur without being inside of an SCX or Antioch Storyline component.
The Baphomet remained sealed, but at what cost?
“The Baphomet has been stopped,” Auspex reported. Everyone breathed half a sigh of relief. “Now to close the Crossover once and for all.” He tapped at a few keys, and his computer beeped. “It won’t close!” he said.
“What about Seawolf?” asked Phoenix. “If he’s still there, it can’t be sealed.”
“And what about Mason?” asked Jenni, her face filled with hope.
“Yeah,” said Lambda Corps. “If CB and the rest are still alive in there, then the Crossover wouldn’t be able to close.”
Auspex’s hesitation answered the question better than any words could have. After a second, in which everyone knew the answer already, he quietly said “I’m sorry. The Falcon was vaporized entirely and there are no life-forms anywhere nearby. I don’t know why the Crossover won’t shut; I didn’t design it.”
Deos Arcana appeared in the room, his head hung in sorrow. “Auspex is correct. I was unable to save them. I grieve with you at the loss of three of your most valiant companions.”
Mark Brown awoke, his head swimming. Luckily, he had attempted to sever his touch on the Antioch Universe right before the crash. Otherwise, he might have been unconscious for hours. As it was, it was not yet too late. At least he hoped not.
Caught up in their grief, nobody in the control room of VSP HQ noticed Mark Brown appear. He took Jenni aside and whispered something to her.
“You want me to do what? At a time like this?!” she asked in an are-you-crazy tone of voice. Everyone turned to look at whatever had caused her outburst.
“It’s the Narrator!” said Ytse-Jam, in his most hostile Rockwell-style voice. “It’s your fault they’re dead!”
“You should have told us about this a while ago!” Tarun shouted.
“We might have been able to do something then to prevent this!” Fenrir added.
Hostile murmurs of assent rippled through the crowd. Only Mack Kilimaro and a couple others seemed to be holding their tongues.
“Hold it!” Mark said in a commanding, yet weary, voice. “Now Jenni, if you will just do as I told you, much of this will become clear.”
Hesitantly, Jenni walked over to one of the computer terminals, sat down, and logged onto the Internet. Still not quite understanding why she was supposed to do this, she checked her email. Inside was...
...she gasped in sorrow. It was a final message from Mason. She opened it and read.
By now I see that Auspex won’t be able to get us out. I am sorry for the grief this must be causing you, but this had to be done. Auspex has probably realized that he cannot seal the Crossover. That is because although the Falcon was destroyed, it is not the final thing still in the wrong reality. Use this patch to make everything right again.
Her hands shaking, Jenni downloaded the attached file, “Crossover’s Final End.exe”. She ran the patch and turned around, waiting to see what appeared, what had been forgotten or left behind.
Three figures appeared: people, two of them looking quite surprised. Everyone except Mark Brown gasped at the same time.
“MASON!” Jenni yelled, rushing to him and throwing her arms around him.
“Hey, how’d I get here?” asked Codebreaker, sounding for all the world like a Terran Civilian.
Seawolf blinked hard and shook his head clear. “What a rush!”
“If you EVER go and get yourself killed like that again, I’ll never speak to you as long as I live!” Jenni yelled in a mixture of distress and joy. She held Mason tightly for a few more seconds, tears streaming down her cheeks, before moving on and doing the same to Seawolf and Codebreaker.
“So how did you get back?” asked Zeus.
Mason smiled. “We were inside the Antioch Universe, in Aus’s computer, right?” He paused dramatically. “Well, every good computer guy makes a backup.”
About a day later, after all of the victors had cleaned up, gotten their ‘dress’ clothes, and some medals were ordered, there was a huge celebration in what remained of the grand hall of the Auspex Studios.
Most of the heroes crowded in the back towards the huge stone doors. On either side of the grand hall were many deep rows of forumers, including Kultcher and Big Dave (specially invited by Mark Brown). Also present were several VSP and WASTE support personnel, as well as assorted others who couldn’t quite be considered heroes but weren’t necessarily bad guys either. At the front of the room stood Jenni Booth, Auspex, and Zeus, with Ytse-Jam and FistOfGod hanging back behind them.
The huge doors swung open and speakers in the ceiling kicked in at full blast to the temple throne room theme from A New Hope as the guests did a right-face (or left-face for those on the right side) to face the middle, where the heroes began walking out to the music.
Codebreaker and Dark_T_Zeratul led them, walking side-by-side. They were closely followed by Seawolf and Lambda Corps, and then Phoenix and Mason Wheeler. Others were in the procession, of course, like the entirety of the Vancouver Street Posse and WASTE and some other assorted good guys, like Bakjak and Fenrir. Mark Brown tried to hide in the middle until Mack propped the narrator up on his massive shoulders.
The room broke into applause as the procession passed each row, though it quieted as the heroes made their way to the front of the room and lined up in two single-file lines. To more applause, the TAC staffers and Jenni made their way up and down the lines giving a medal to each hero who had participated in the Saga – though different sizes depending on which parts of the Saga each was in. The four leaders—Codebreaker, Zeratul, Lambda, and Seawolf—were also given a pin looking much like the Medal of Honor. Someone snapped a Polaroid which was given to Mark Brown as it developed; they figured he wouldn’t have much use for a medal in the Uberworld.
When it was all over, the heroes did an about-face and saluted the support troops, who saluted back and began cheering. It grew louder and louder, and heroes began shaking hands, hugging one another.
The heroes were victorious, and at long last everything was right with the universe.
A blue visage stood on top of the huge sculpture at the front of the room. It might have looked like a tear was dripping down his cheek, but no, MilkDuds wouldn’t cry, he was just happy to see everything turn out okay.
Seawolf and Flyspeck turned, though neither could say why, to look at the sculpture just then. MilkDuds waved at them, and they waved back. When they turned back around the spectre was gone.
About an hour later, Seawolf stood alone outside in the wreckage of a certain ship while the others prepared for the big party back at VSP HQ.
He looked down at the plaque in his hands as he walked around what little remained of his old room on the Hyperion. The FIRST Hyperion.
He knew he’d be visiting her quite a bit in coming weeks, getting parts to repair and enhance his new ship. The commissioning plaque he held would be the first thing to make the switch, mounted above the bridge door as it had been on this ship.
But before he started tearing her apart, he wanted to roam what remained of her one last time. This room was his last stop.
But he wasn’t alone.
The WASTEr turned, and in an eerily familiar scene, there sat a friend. The chair he was in was a bit more burned then last time they had both been here, but the man was the same.
“Hey, Deos. What are you doing out here?”
“I came to say goodbye.”
Deos Arcana smiled. “Do not act so surprised. You knew I could not stay.”
“I have been instated as a full Narrator.” Deos’ smile grew wider.
“You...wow! Congrats!” Seawolf crossed the room and shook his hand.
“Thank you. I begin in two days.”
“What about Mark?”
Deos’ smile faded, just a little. “I will be narrating a different storyline. A different group.”
Seawolf raised an eyebrow. “Oh...oh.”
Neither spoke for a moment. “Well,” Seawolf said finally, “good luck.”
Deos’ smile returned. “And to you.” They grasped hands one more, shook, and then Deos turned to leave.
The Master Of Illusion, Delusion, and All-Around Confusion turned, his cape swirling around him. “Yes?”
“If Mark ever needs a...uh...stand-in, and you...um...have time or something...well....”
“I’ll be back,” Deos said. “And I look forward to it. Until then....” He sketched a quick bow and stepped into the shadows.
Seawolf smiled and sat down in the same chair, sighing.
Within moments, Mason came walking up.
“Hey,” Seawolf said, rising.
“It’s time to go,” Mason said. “The ‘Slayer’s all warmed up.”
Seawolf nodded. “Be there in just a sec.”
After Mason had left, Seawolf took one last look around, taking a long route as he walked past the bridge one more time.
“So long, old girl,” he said as he finally walked away towards the Proto-Cruiser in the distance. “And thanks.”
With three parts of VSP Saga worth of constant action scenes, near-climax revelations, and not to mention times where the whole gang thought everything was all settled but it turned out that there was just one more thing that the Good Guys would need to fix to make all right with the world, each and every one of the Good Guys and their assorted groupies were gathered a couple of days later in one of the many spacious halls of the VSP Headquarters for a doubly well-earned denouement sequence, Mark Brown-style.
“I swear, this is really The Party! No interruptions this time! Crossover is all gone, it’s time to celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music!” the reigning narrator called out to the assembled, although several decided to pelt him with some vegetables from the previous party attempt due to his trying to sing. And then he, himself, stood back to watch the real party, just like he had tried to do days earlier.
It did not look much different in that room as it did two days prior, what with the never-ending pretzel bowl occupying choice space on a table near the middle of a far wall. Although only Flyspeck stood guarding the sacred trove, with Mack deciding to spend this celebration elsewhere.
There were several complaints from some of the whiter Good Guys about the choice of music, still those breaking it down on the middle of the dance floor were grooving to Canadian techno coming from the VSP HQ’s state-of-the-art speaker system. This time, though, there were few Good Guys who did not take the opportunity to frighten the world eternally at their whiteness. When Seawolf, DTZ, CB, LC, and Mack were all on the floor at once attempting to break dance, it was perhaps the most disturbing sight that any of the gathered Good Guys had ever witnessed. Quite a bit considering their recent experiences.
Most of the Good Guys begged Mark Brown to stop it, but he just stood around laughing at them all. Regardless, the onslaught lasted for far less time than it seemed to, and the floor cleared again much to the relief of all.
With that excitement out of the way, the Good Guys broke off into small groups, as they tended to do from time to time. Endarire stood around philosophizing to several others, including MG, who passed out repeatedly during the lecture. The alliance of campaign-makers – the TAC staff and Desler – traded autographs with each other, and other Good Guys who were interested. Having finally settled the bad blood between them, Seawolf and Mason laughed and joked around as though nothing had ever happened. Jenni stood at Mason’s side, the person in the room who could perhaps most enjoy the reprieve from the constant fighting, being as she was not used to it in the first place. Phoenix eventually came over and joined in their light-hearted conversation.
For the sake of memories, Spooky chased Zeus all around the room screaming, “ZEUSIE!” That little escapade interrupted most of the others’ activities at some point or another, but it was necessary for nostalgia. After all, that very chasing had gotten them into so much trouble in the past.
Odin, Nova, and Ixyon kept continually buying rounds of drinks for one another, and anyone who walked past and was interested. Eventually they were drunk off of their gourds, and not long after that they were doing their best impersonation of floor tiles, to wake up in the morning so hung over that they were not even sure if the massive headache they felt was a hangover or not.
Something happened that caused Tarun and Aklan to start throwing drinks at one another. Nobody was quite sure what, but they kept alternating between drink-throwing and scenes that are not appropriate for mention in this child-friendly story.
Lucainan, after he made sure his surviving kitties were all taken care of and safe, began meandering around, asserting to anyone who would listen that the mailbox was gone and that there was something wrong with his pee. None knew just what to make of it.
For the most part, Mat-Def played the part of wallflower, blending against one of the walls in the shadows.
Throughout all of this, Mark Brown went from group to group, sharing his memories of what he and Deos had seen from their perspective in the Uberworld and the various things they’d been through with one another.
Eventually, even this became boring for the Narrator, and with a snap of his fingers the party instantly was transported to the outside of the expansive VSP HQ building, and decked out in their battle outfits, to boot. “That room was getting boring,” the Narrator announced. “Let’s pile up some of these old Robo-zerg and set ‘em on fire and tell some stories!”
Considering all of the Robo-zerg that had been put down outside of the VSP HQ, it was not very difficult to find some mechanical parts to make into a huge pile. When that was all finished, the gathered group stood back and Mack and Flare stepped forward and blazed the pile, keeping it burning as long as necessary thanks to a little narrator trick.
“Speech! Speech!” cried a chorus of Good Guys as they gestured to Codebreaker.
The co-founder of the VSP stepped up and with the fire at his back, launched into his spiel. “You know, it seems like only last week that I met Lambda Corps and we started the Vancouver Street Posse, and only yesterday that had us witness bakjak’s fateful kidnapping of Rockwell and chasing him in our tank. What a long road we have traveled to end up here!”
“The journey is more important than the destination,” said Endarire in a seeming non sequitur, drawing blinks from several.
“Uh, anyway,” CB continued, “I guess we kind of have a bonfire here, so let’s make like there’s an open mike here and hear some campfire stories.” Then he stepped back into the crowd to let someone take center stage.
Bakjak hesitantly stepped up. “I guess it has been quite a while. You VSPers have been in this thing almost as long as me. Longer, really, since you’ve been Good Guys for longer than me. Hey, I still am sorry about that whole thing, it was just sort of a joke that ended up turning serious. Kinda weird how that worked out that way. Besides, Mark Brown was always looking after us!” He gestured to the Narrator, and then there was a grand round of applause. “It’s not like this is farewell or anything, so thanks for everything and I’ll be seeing you around.” With that bakjak blended back into the mass of gathered Good Guys.
A few others got up. Dark_T_Zeratul stood and reflected about how quickly the VSP had accepted him, and how fun it had been, and then gave a special salute to Bakjak, who he then sat next to and slapped on the back. Seawolf stood and gave a typical Seawolf speech full of stories and “you-remember-when”s and such. Lambda talked about Xeno, and gave a tribute to MilkDuds which resulted in hearty applause.
One by one, people continued to get up and speak until almost everyone had spoken. Then Mark Brown produced a huge bag of marshmallows, seemingly from thin air, and they all spent hours just talking amongst themselves quietly, unwinding.
THE NEXT DAY....
All the Saga heroes were gathered around the DragonSlayer, which was already powered up and ready for takeoff. All except one.
Mason Wheeler came out of the ship and stood at the top of the entrance ramp for a second. Dozens of pairs of eyes looked back up at him. He felt a slight smile cross his face, and he sighed softly and walked down to meet them. It was time.
Not surprisingly, Seawolf and Jenni were both at the bottom of the ramp waiting for him. Mason gave them a slight nod and then turned to the others.
“Uuuuh, I don’t have a speech prepared or anything,” he said, which elicited a few chuckles. He paused, trying to think of what in the world to say. “I...uh, well...hmmm.” His confusion brought out a little more laughter. He smiled and shook his head a little. “There isn’t one person here I’m not going to miss.” He paused again, looking around and realizing how true it was. “You all are...well, the best group of friends I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I let some of you down sometimes, I know, and I know I can never make that up.” He ran out of words again for a moment, and looked at the ground. What did you say to people you cherished but were about to leave for who knew how long?
“We know, Mason,” a voice spoke up. “We know.”
He looked up to see Mack Kilimaro step forward.
“I was one of the first to lose faith in you,” Mack said. “Early and often.” Mason nodded somberly. “But you know what? I don’t like the thought of not seeing you again for a while either. You...you did so much for us. Sure, you made mistakes, but we all do. In the end...well, you’re not half bad.”
Mason raised an eyebrow, but then Mack gave a disarming smile. “Seriously, though, I was wrong about you. I thought you were in it for yourself. Sure, you liked to be at the forefront of any and every major event,” he gave another smile, “but unlike before when I thought it was to feed your ego, I understand now. You weren’t doing it for yourself. You were doing it for US. All of us. Your attacks on Broker, your sacrifice to get him back in the Antioch Universe, your assault on Lavos, you riding in here in the DragonSlayer right when we needed you most, you volunteering to reseal the Baphomet despite a high probability of not surviving it...all of that was for us. For me. I’m not used to having someone lay it all on the line for me like that, and...well, let me just say that you’re not the guy I thought you were. And that’s why I, and so many others, am so sad to see you go.”
Mason was overwhelmed. If he didn’t know what to say before, he was certainly at a loss for words now.
Mack extended his hand towards him, and Mason shook it. “Thanks, buddy,” the VSPer said, then gave one final, friendly nod and stepped back to join the others.
For a moment there was no sound except the humming of the DragonSlayer’s engines. And then, one by one, the heroes stepped forward and shook hands with, nodded warmly to, or hugged Mason.
Codebreaker gave him a big hug and slapped him on the back a couple times. “Miss ya, buddy,” he said. “You decide to attack any more power-hungry crime lords from game universes, you give me a call.” They both laughed and CB walked back. Mason wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw a tear in his eye.
Lambda and Zeratul both shook his hand and said their final goodbyes, also joking about their past adventures together and promising that they would always remember them—and remember him—with fondness. Zeratul even went so far as to give him a friendly pat on the shoulder before turning away, a rare show of emotion that touched Mason more than probably any other action Zeratul could have taken.
Spooky smiled wide before she hugged him. She turned and gave him a little friendly peck on the cheek before she too stepped back, trying hard not to cry but having little success. She giggled at herself and shook her head, sniffling and wiping her eyes.
Phoenix seemed unsure whether to hug or shake, and he and Mason went back and forth for a few seconds before Phoenix finally just went in and hugged his friend. “I’m gonna miss you,” he said afterwards. “A lot.” Mason nodded. “Ditto, Phoenix,” he said, then leaned in close. “But now YOU get to do all Seawolf’s tech work for him.” Phoenix snorted and gave Mason a soft punch in the shoulder before grabbing him again. They hugged again for a second, and then Phoenix stepped back and quickly walked away, trying not to look back.
Next came most of the other heroes from the Alliance, all expressing their best wishes in their own unique ways. Some goodbyes were brief, some were long-winded, some were a simple warm handshake and a “take care...we’ll miss you”, but all were heartfelt and had Mason fighting off tears by the time Auspex and Zeus, the last two from the group, came together.
Zeus gave him a hearty handshake, followed by Auspex. “You have shown a true love for Antioch, Mason, and for that, and your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to protect it, we thank you,” Zeus said. “Now, all professional-like B.S. aside, I will miss you, really. I only wish I had been able to get to know you better.” Mason was blown away, and Zeus yielded to Auspex before he could say anything back.
Auspex looked at Zeus for a moment, then looked back at Mason. “He always says these things so much better than I do,” he said, chuckling. “I really can’t add much, but...I also wish I had been able to spend a little more time getting to know you. Your kind of devotion to Antioch and the protection of it, and us, is rare...and moving, in a way.” He pulled out a small package. “Here...someone wanted you to have this.” Mason took it, and with a questioning look in his eyes, started to pull the cloth open. “No no,” Auspex said. “Not yet. Wait until you’re on your way.” Mason reluctantly slipped the gift into his pocket and exchanged final handshakes with the two Antioch staffers, who said their farewells and joined the other heroes.
Mason smiled and turned to the DragonSlayer, and Seawolf standing there at its ramp.
The two walked up to each other, opening and closing their mouths as they both realized they had nothing to day.
“Well....” Seawolf said.
“Well,” Mason replied.
Mason held out his hand, and reminiscent of Part I, Seawolf knocked Mason’s hand away and gave him a big bear hug.
It was then that the tears started forming in his eyes. “I’m gonna miss you, man.”
Mason slapped him on the back and let go. “Not as much as I will you.”
“Oh, don’t be too sure of that,” Seawolf said, wiping his eyes and chuckling. He slapped Mason on the shoulder and nodded at him. “Get going, you. You’re making her wait.” He pointed over at Jenni.
“Oh...quiet, you goof,” she said, giggling. She came over and hugged Seawolf as well, giving him a little kiss on the cheek before moving to Mason’s side. Seawolf nodded.
“Thank you,” Jenni said. “Thank you so much.”
“Oh stop,” Seawolf waved her off. “It was nothing,” he said with a big, silly grin. “Now you two have a plane to catch.”
With one final squeeze of Mason’s shoulder, he stepped back with the others.
Mason and Jenni, hand in hand, walked up the ramp and turned back to wave.
“You can’t leave yet!” Mark Brown shouted.
“Yeah!” several others said.
“Why not?” Mason asked.
Everyone replied only with a knowing grin.
Jenni got it first. “They want us to...uh....” She blushed.
“Oh!” Mason said. “Well, I guess that...um...is that...?”
Jenni grabbed him and kissed him.
A cheer went up from the others, and the pair broke apart and giggled. Then they DID wave, and entered the ship to leave.
Inside, Mason sat at the helm and set the ship to lift off. Then he pulled out the package Auspex had given him.
Inside the wrapped cloth was a Reboot disc. Mason knew without activating it that it would allow him to contact the other Guardians...including Steve. Such a thing had never been given to a non-Guardian before.
Mason smiled and took Jenni’s hand as he moved off.
With a roar, the DragonSlayer’s engines glowed bright, and then the ship shot away, fading into the distance.
All the Good Guys watched until it was completely out of view, and then a sad silence fell over the group.
“Wait a second,” Codebreaker said. “What are we all so depressed about? It’s not like he’s dead or anything.”
“I know, I know,” Seawolf said. “But it’s just that...well....” He stopped. “You know what, you’re right.”
“I am? I mean...of course I am!”
That got everyone laughing.
“You know, I think one thing is for sure,” Mack said.
“What’s that?” Codebreaker and Lambda Corps asked simultaneously.
“No matter the enemy, how long it takes us to do it, or what kind of crap they throw at us, one thing always remains clear with us,” he continued.
Endarire, Odin’s Eye, Spooky, and Nemesis were curious. “And that is?”
“We, the Vancouver Street Posse, always emerge victorious!” he exclaimed.
“Hear, hear!” The call was echoed.
The VSP as a group did a high-five.
A cheesy 70s trumpet fanfare kicked up, the screen froze, and the credits rolled.
THE GREAT VSP/WASTE SAGA
THE BAD GUYS
*** THE BANNED ONES ***
...TELE: “Foiled again! And it didn’t even smell like butterscotch....”
...VANK TAR: “All of that work and everyone still hates me. Gra!”
...JAMZ BOND: “If I hear one more ‘Mr. Bond’ joke, I swear....”
...RUAQUICK1: “From the Uberworld to a Banned One in only two Parts. Only me. And I bet you all are wondering what HAPPENED to me too, huh? HUH?”
...OPTIPLEX: “I died, but I still get to be in the credits? All right!”
...HALO 14: “You know they just COULDN’T have the credits without me! Hahahah—”
(Gunfire is heard from offscreen, and Halo topples mid-laugh.)
(The remaining five exit, dragging Halo with them, and a block of 9 more suspicious figures enters.)
...TROUBLE: “Trouble – that starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for tool! Er, wait, that’s not right....”
...LITTLE TIMMY: “I challenge you...to a Pokémon battle!”
...SAM: “The bigger they are...the harder they smash your face!”
...MAKGRAF: “Really, nobody cares about me. I was created on a whim and died. Yay for bit characters.”
...JACK FROST: (scratchy, barely understandable voice) “At least you had lines! Do you realize I didn’t have ONE lousy line in Part II?”
...TYREL DVORAK: “Hey, why am I on THIS list? I wasn’t all THAT bad....”
...STUART: “I’m living proof that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Except I’m dead. And I hated the person I imitated.”
...PYRO: “ZERATUUUUUL! I’ll get you next time!!”
...BOB: “Bob is...uh...um...Bob forgets. Duran?”
(These nine exit. A cloaked unit enters the screen and becomes visible.)
...TGF: “I’ll get you next time, Rockwell! I’ll get all of you! Mwahahahahaha!!”
(He exits. A tall Marine and a large Archon enter the screen.)
...KURT BROKER: “Power. It’s what...ah, screw it, I’m tired of this damn speech.”
...NANNOTH/TAERADUN: “I’m listening. No, I’M listening! Well, at least one...one of us is....”
(The screen blanks out and the music changes to a cheesy 70’s fanfare.)
THE GOOD GUYS
*** THE VANCOUVER STREET POSSE ***
(Eight units, larger-than-life, enter to widespread applause.)
...CODEBREAKER: (a hero Ghost flashes) “C’mon, guys! Let’s look good for the camera!”
...LAMBDA CORPS: (at his side another Ghost flashes) “Aren’t we already adored enough?”
...MYSTERIOUSGUY: (a hero Marine flashes) “Um, I didn’t know that was possible. I’D like to be adored a lot more.”
...MACK KILIMARO: (the hero Firebat flashes) “Was I the only one who noticed the dreadful similarity between myself and Mark Brown?”
...SPOOKY: (the female Ghost flashes) “Mackie! Come here, I’ve got some cold water for you!” (She chases the Firebat off.)
...ODIN’S EYE: (a Zealot in the formation flashes) “I’m still wondering if I should come in with the next group, too. I could be applauded twice! Hmmm....”
...ENDARIRE: (another Zealot flashes) “Does nae anyone have time for Brood War anymore?”
...THE NEMESIS: (a Marine morphs into a carrier and flashes) “Haha! See, look, I’m the Nemesis now! Funny, ha ha!” (Everyone groans.)
(Mack and Spooky re-enter; all flash a “V” sign. The eight exit and make way for a procession of twelve.)
*** THE WHINER ASSASSINATION, SILENCING, TERMINATION, & EXTERMINATION TEAM ***
...DARK_T_ZERATUL: (a Dark Templar marches forward and flashes) “You know things are good when you survive a three-part fiction by more than a dozen authors.”
...SEAWOLF: (a Marine marches to his side, flashes) “Yeah. Too bad my ship didn’t. Oh wait, it wasn’t in Part I...uh...um...space crack!” (He hides behind Zeratul.)
...TARUN: (a Zealot flashes from out of the formation) “I do battle for Aklan!”
...FLYSPECK: (a male Ghost marches behind the leaders, flashes) “On to a world of infinite fame – and hopefully, infinite pretzels!”
...MAT-DEF: (from its place, the Mad Cat flashes) “En Taro MilkDuds! As if we hadn’t said that enough times already....”
...FLARE: (a Firebat crosses to Seawolf and flashes) “You know, I think we ALL need to pick up chicks.”
...IXYON: (a Ghost off to the left flashes) “Maybe life will get more interesting now. All of this fighting gets boring. Wait a second...what am I saying?!” (He snipes a nearby critter.)
...LUCAINAN: (a Firebat hops up and down, flashing) “God is crying kitties! He really, really is!”
...NOVASEAKER: (a Zealot joins the procession and flashes) “I still wish I had a bigger part in killing Lavos.”
...TYPHOON: (a High Templar flashes) “I’d whip out my wang in celebration, but everyone in this room would get crushed.”
Z-47: (a unique robotic unit flashes and imitates the Close Encounters of the Third Kind tune) “Bleep bloop bleep...bloop bleep.”
...AND MILKDUDS: (another Ghost uncloaks in the middle of the group) “You know, if I had it to do over again, I would have pretended I had to tie my shoe or something. Being dead sucks.” (He cloaks again.)
(All exeunt. Five demigods enter behind them.)
*** THE ANTIOCH CHRONICLES STAFF ***
...AUSPEX TURMALIS: (Judicator Turmalis flashes) “I just HAD to have a forum, they told me...”
...ZEUS LEGION: (Moloch flashes) “Reader, you’ve already answered the next question you will ask me.”
...YTSE-JAM: (a Ghost hero flashes) “Everybody forgets about the Great One!”
...FISTOFGOD: (a Civilian flashes) “Me, I still have no clue how I got dragged into this mess. It was fun, though.”
...AND DESLER: (Rond the High Templar flashes) “What, nobody told you what the Celestial Irruption content REALLY is?”
(These five laugh and tons of question marks follow them off screen. Five more people make their way on.)
*** THE ALL AROUND NICE GUYS ***
...PHOENIX: (in his human form, a Civilian makes his way across, flashing) “You guys remember when I killed Alpha? That was really fun.”
...PURE ORANGE: (a Marine marches across and flashes) “Hey, at least with the new forum I’m unbanned.”
...FENRIR: (a Civilian with his Bashing Bat™ comes in, flashes) “I finally finished that essay on dirt...again! Alright!”
...AKLAN: (a female Zealot – away from others – flashes) “I wonder...do we call this a happy ending?”
...GUARDIAN STEVE: (a Civilian dressed as a Guardian flashes) “Our sector will continue fighting to stop the Users!”
(These five walk off. A Civilian in a black robe with a staff makes his way in.)
...BAKJAK: (he flashes) “Shirak!” (he flashes brighter, his staff lit) “I’m not even sure how I got the Staff of Magius back...”
(He exits as a Vulture and Science Vessel, bickering all the way, head up the path. A Siege Tank follows them.)
*** ANTIOCH HEROES ***
...DECLAN ANDUIN: (the Science Vessel flashes, pacing back and forth over the Vulture) “Pick me up, you said. It’ll jus’ take a few hours, you said. But nooooo...I have to fight angry Terrans an’ Protoss on Tornod III and now THIS mess....”
...IAN ANDUIN: (the Vulture comes to a rolling stop, then flashes) “Ach! It wuzn’t MY fault! I jus’ did it for the case of scautch! *hick*”
...MASON ROCKWELL: (the Siege Tank flashes) “That’s three times Rockwell has lived through one of these Jabroni-fests. Still laying the Smackdown!”
(Still bickering, they exit. Five more units enter.)
*** THE UBERWORLD GANG ***
...BIG DAVE: “How quickly my part has been forgotten. Come on...Part II, Blizzard HQ, helping Mark Brown...any of this ring a bell?”
...KULTCHER: “Heck, even I forgot we did that it’s been so long....”
...DEOS ARCANA: (a figure suddenly fades into existence, walks across, and flashes) “They don’t call me the Master of Illusion for nothing!”
...MASON WHEELER: (the DragonSlayer flies across, a Marine seen on the bow) “A battle for supremacy of a different flavor. The rights to a woman’s heart...”
...JENNI BOOTH: (a Medic next to the above flashes) “You won, you know. And all because of that promise! Speaking of which, where is Mark Brown...?”
(The music grinds to a halt as the entire cast rushes on. Slowly silence pours over them as Mark Brown begins floating down from the sky. The credits resume.)
...AND MARK BROWN: (the Narrator flashes) “I just want you all to know how fun this has been – narrating this whole thing, I mean. But I can’t take all the credit. As much of it was you heroes as much as it was me guiding the tale. I also wanted to let you all know that things are going to be a lot different around here now. With the end of this comes the end of the tale that is the Saga – there will be no more of The Great VSP Saga, I’m afraid. However, the universe will live on. Because what we’ve created is more than just a story. We’ve created an entire virtual world of StarCraft, self-inserts, crossovers, romance, cheesy plot contrivances, obscure references, and general fun. And that’s the kind of concept that can never die. So long as there are fans of Auspex and Zeus and their works, the Saga universe will live on. I’ll still be narrating, don’t worry. And now, heroes, let’s finish celebrating the close of a wonderful era, and the beginning of another!”
(Massive applause breaks out. Mark Brown continues lowering, until eventually he makes it down to ground level, where he is promptly hoisted onto the shoulders of Seawolf and Mack Kilimaro. The entire assembled cast walks off as they sing. Before they disappear, they stop as everyone forms a giant “W”, with the WASTErs making up the middle part. After a few moments, they walk down and make the shape of a larger “V”, which the group holds for several seconds before walking off.)
THE VSP/WASTE SAGA
Copyright 2000-2003 by authors:
(order based on approx. amount written)
SPECIAL THANKS TO...
SAGA AUTHORS (for letting this masterpiece grow)
BAKJAK (for starting it all)
SEAWOLF, MACK KILIMARO, & DARK_T_ZERATUL (for moderating Parts II and III and keeping all three Parts in order on their computers)
AUSPEX TURMALIS, ZEUS LEGION, AVATARPRIME, and the TAC crew (for TAC, and for the forums where this all happened)
BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT (for Starcraft)
YOU, THE READER (for suffering through it all and especially for waiting so bloody long for it to be finished)
This has been a work of fiction. All of the characters herein are entirely fictional, and any resemblance to any real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (Exception: Mark Brown, who appears with his own permission.)
*** THE END ***
...or is it???
CREDITS by Mack Kilimaro & Seawolf