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 5.”
The Great VSP Saga:
Revenge of the Good Guys
Phoenix sat down...or rather, FELL down...in the oppressive heat, exhausted.
‘So THIS is how it ends,’ he thought gloomily. ‘Always wanted a hero’s death, like being gunned down saving my friends or something. But this is how it ends for me...at least, as a human. Dying of thirst and heat in a friggin’ desert. Just great.’ He would always live on as a phoenix, but once his human “shell” perished, he would have to be reborn again...a very painful process...and inhabit a new human body. He would cease to be ‘Phoenix’ and be someone else entirely. Like a ‘Fred’. Or a ‘John’. Or a ‘Bob’. “Bob is Bob,” Phoenix said aloud, smiling at the Antioch forum inside joke.
He began thinking about his friends. About how much he’d miss them. The VSP and WASTE and Seawolf...he had to fight back tears. Seawolf was one of the best friends he’d ever had, and he could hardly bear the thought of never seeing him again.
Same with Mason Wheeler. ‘I haven’t had a chance to rescue him yet,’ he thought.
No. He wouldn’t just give up and die here. He had friends in need.
With new resolve, Phoenix got back up. Ignoring the pain in his legs, the swirling in his head, and the dryness in his throat, he walked on.
But he had only gone a few steps when he heard a strange sound. He stopped and strained to hear. It was coming from the direction of the blazing sun, and he couldn’t see what it was past the bright light. It sounded like a ship. And it was getting closer.
Hoping that HE could at least be seen, he started waving his arms around and shouting at the top of his lungs. This lasted for a couple good minutes before he could finally make out a blurred shape appearing from behind a sand dune. It slowed and came to a stop in the air, and then hovered for a few moments before coming to a landing in front of him, blowing sand in every direction.
Now that he had a good look at it, Phoenix wasn’t sure WHAT this ship was. It looked like a cross between several ships from Starcraft, with the sleekness of a scout, the basic shape and size of a valkyrie, and the thick armor and large drive engines of a battlecruiser.
For the first time since hearing it approaching, Phoenix began to wonder if this ship was a friend or foe. ‘Too late now,’ he thought, as a loud hiss indicated that the main hatch was opening.
He held his hand over his eyes to block out the sun as a single figure came out of the ship. Phoenix could see a small group huddled at the top of the gangplank.
As the figure got closer, Phoenix was finally able to make out his face. He smiled, and the other smiled back, also recognizing Phoenix.
“Hello, Codebreaker,” Phoenix said, holding out his hand for the Posse member to shake. “Nice ship.”
Codebreaker shook his hand and smiled. “Thanks. It’s the new PossePlane.”
“Had some trouble with the Falcon?” Phoenix asked, releasing his grip.
“Um...yeah. Long story. Whaddaya say we get on board while I tell it, though? We’re on our way to Auspex Studios. Mark Brown’s orders.”
Phoenix’s neck tingled. “Trouble?”
Codebreaker looked back intently. “Like I said, long story. Let’s get outta here, eh?”
The two climbed into the ship, and the PossePlane was off again.
As the ship sped off again, the sun was blotted out for a moment as another ship regained its pursuit. That ship was the Millennium Falcon.
And in the cockpit were Little Timmy and his BIG brother Sam.
Being the big-time gamer and Star Wars fan that he was, young Timmy knew all about the inner workings of the Falcon and, from the Star Wars games he’d played, how to fly it. His brother Sam was pretty good with tools, so after the VSP had departed for Edmonton, it had been a rather simple task for the pair to fix up the Falcon’s sublight engines and follow the Posse.
They didn’t intend to let the VSP go without a fight. And this time, they had more than a Pokemon or Starcraft 64 game in mind....
Will the VSP have to destroy their former PossePlane, the Falcon?
Why are Timmy and Sam so Hell-bent on fighting the VSP?
What plan, if any, do Tarun and Bakjak have in mind for rescuing Seawolf?
How will the VSP and Phoenix react when they are caught up to what they missed by the others at Auspex Studios?
What’s happening with Mason right now?
All this and more next time...same Posse time, same Posse channel!
Dark_T_Zeratul had been training a long time now. Several weeks, in fact. It had taken a long time to come to grips with the fact that time flowed differently in the Patch World, but eventually he got the hang of it. Yet after a few days he began to wonder about what he had seen in the short time he was out of the Patch. The entire WASTE crew with Bakjak as their ally. Seawolf was the only one missing. But why was Bakjak helping...? Well, it didn't matter. He would be back in his own world soon enough (at least, in the time of his own world) and would learn everything. In the mean time, he was doing a lot of training. He had learned several new tricks with his Illumina Warp Blades. In fact, he had come to dislike using guns. As Kryptus had said, "The Warp Blade is the weapon of choice for a Dark Templar. It is not as clumsy or random as a gun, and is just as if not more useful." After a few days, he had begun training with other weapons. The Psimitar, for instance. And then there was one weapon which had really caught his attention. The DeathScythe. Right from the start he had loved the weapon. In fact, he had received one of his own. It was called "Mortis," and was specially attuned to him. When not in use, it folded up into itself in order to fit in a small sheath at his side. When he needed to use it, he would remove it and will it to open, which it did. The weapon would not work for any other person, and would most likely have ill effects on the user if it sensed evil in them. Dark_T_Zeratul had become quite proficient in the use of the magnificent blade, and was currently in training with various vehicles.
Zeratul got up from his bed and donned his gear, ready for another day of lessons. He had already learned to utilize a Corsair, and was currently in the process of learning to fly a Scout. As he exited his room into the Temple hallway, an explosion shook the building. Dark_T_Zeratul, sensing danger, removed the Scythe from his side and opened it. His eyes glowed slightly as he raced down the hallway to discover the source of the problem.
Arriving in the laboratory, he was horrified at what he saw. Dead Templar lay everywhere. Everything was in flames. All the experiments had been destroyed, and corrosive chemicals burned the floor. Knowing that the room could explode at any moment, he sealed the door he had just come through. He did the same for all the others, sealing the last door from outside. Continuing through the hallways, he saw several more Templar lying dead. One of them was still alive, so he bent down to see what had happened.
"I... it wa-was the Dual... Archon... He... wants... you de-de-de-dead, and everyone else. Now is y-your ch-ch-ch-chance, Dark_T_Zeratul. Finish him... avenge... our... deaths..." the Templar died as he spoke his final words. Rage filled Dark_T_Zeratul at the destruction the DualArchon had caused, all because of him.
"You will pay for this, evil one!" he said out loud. "You will pay severely! Even if it means my own death, I will stop you. This time, I shall prevail! You will die a traitor's death, evil one! I will strip the flesh from your bones, and watch you die in agony! You will suffer all the pain and sorrow of the Earth's entire history! You will perish slowly, and I will be there to kill you. There's no escape this time. Drancil/Kharadun, prepare for the end!"
And with that, he ran down the halls, eyes blazing with hatred.
The whine of a ship’s engines brought everyone at Auspex Studios outside again. They had begun to plan how to find TGF, but hadn’t gotten very far.
They all got outside and stared. Typhoon, not surprisingly, was the first to speak. “What is THAT thing?!”
No one else answered. The ship now landing was unlike any they had ever seen. It looked like it was built like a tank, with thick armor plating and several weapon emplacements sticking out the front and sides. It was smooth and sleek like a Protoss ship, but clearly human-built. Something about it made them think of a valkyrie.
And then they saw a group of people come from the other side of the ship where the main hatch was, wearing very familiar leather jackets with both ‘V.S.P.’ and ‘W.A.S.T.E.’ inscribed on the back with a semi-transparent ‘Alliance’ overlaying them.
There were nine of them: Phoenix, the seven members of the Vancouver Street Posse, and someone else that no one recognized.
Auspex, taking charge, walked forward to greet them, followed closely by Flyspeck, the elected interim leader of what was left of WASTE. The others followed.
The two groups met and shook hands all around, as well as a couple quick masculine hugs (you know the type).
And then a flurry of questions all sprung up, almost simultaneously.
“Where have you guys BEEN?” Mat-Def asked.
“What happened to Auspex Studios?” Lambda inquired.
“Where’d you get the new ship?” Orange asked.
“Where’s Seawolf?! And Zeratul...and Tarun...?” Phoenix demanded.
“Who’s the new guy?” Lucainan queried.
“Didya bring me some more pretzels?” Flyspeck hoped. “I’m almost out....”
“What is the average flight speed of a male swallow?” NovaSeaker wondered.
“What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?” Odin’s Eye pondered.
“How many other synonyms are there for ‘asked’?” Typhoon...um...solicited.
The questions all came to an abrupt halt as Auspex put his fingers in the corners of his mouth and whistled loudly. They all looked at him, and he smiled. “I see we have a LOT of catching up to do. Whaddaya say we go inside and talk? Besides guys,” he looked at the newcomers, “there’s someone in there I want you to meet. A messenger...from Mark Brown.”
“First, let me introduce the ‘new guy’,” Codebreaker spoke up, waving his arm back dramatically at Nemesis. “This is the newest member of the Posse...The Nemesis!”
Several of the WASTErs pulled their guns out and scanned the sky. “Where?!” some asked.
The VSPers stared. “Um...” Mack spoke up. “He’s right here.”
“Who is?” the long-forgotten Flare asked.
“The Nemesis,” Endarire said.
WASTE immediately went back to looking upwards. “I don’t SEE it anywhere...you sure it’s back?” Flyspeck asked.
Phoenix saw what the problem was first. “Ooooooh....” he said, laughing. “No no no...this PERSON, the newest member of the VSP, is named ‘The Nemesis’,” he explained to WASTE, then turned to the VSP. “WASTE thought you were talking about TGF’s carrier, which is ALSO named the Nemesis.”
Everyone stared at him for a long moment, then shrugged and pretended to get it just so they could move on.
Spooky came up with a temporary solution. “Just call him Nemmy,” she said. The others quickly agreed.
With THAT over with, the team went back inside to catch each other up and plan their next moves...reunited at last. “Our powers combined,” Typhoon joked as they went back inside, referring to one of the most annoying cartoon series in history.
Everyone else just groaned.
A few hours later, they still didn’t have a definite plan, but they WERE ready to get out there and do SOMETHING. And the most productive ‘something’ they could come up with was getting ready for battle. That meant getting fully armed and getting all the ships they could scrounge up. And THAT meant making a trip back to the only location so far to appear in both previous parts of the Saga: VSP Headquarters, the ex-fortress of the Bad Guys and home to two (so far) great showdowns.
In the HQ’s hangar sat the DragonSlayer II and Mat-Def’s still-unused Mat Cat OmniMech. Unfortunately, they were only going to have two ships—the ‘Slayer and the new PossePlane—at their disposal, since Auspex and Desler were waiting back at Auspex Studios to bring Zeratul in the arbiter Judicator (which had somehow been forgotten in the battle with TGF) once he was done with his trek in the Warpsphere. In the meantime, they would work on a new patch, one that he thought would finally work.
The idea that had come to Desler was so ingenious it just HAD to work. Phoenix, he had learned, had somehow been sucked into the universe of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer after the Hyperion had exploded. He and Auspex had checked the Studios’ computers logs of the explosion and made an interesting discovery...when the Hyperion blew up, it created a massive neutrino surge flux, which in turn had briefly opened the Crossover! Phoenix had somehow fallen into the Crossover rift, which had closed back in on him and sent him to the Buffy universe. The point was that finally, they knew how to access the Crossover...he simply had to create a patch that simulated the explosion of the Hyperion, and they would be able to go into the Crossover and rescue Mason Wheeler!
Desler hadn’t explained his idea, or the sad event that triggered it, to the others...yet. He didn’t want to get their hopes up in case the new patch, which Auspex had already dubbed ‘Hyperion’s Revenge Patch’, didn’t work. All he and Auspex had told them was that they had SOME idea they wanted to try, and wished them the best of luck finding TGF and rescuing Seawolf, and that they’d join them with Zeratul in the Judicator as soon as possible.
So the others were, as has already been said, on their way to VSP HQ. It was quite a trip with everyone crammed into the suddenly very small-seeming PossePlane.
“Whose hand is that on my leg?” Mack asked everyone packed into the cargo hold with him like sardines.
“Don’t touch me there!” Fenrir shouted.
“Jenni, you smell nice...what shampoo is that?” Ixyon asked, his face smashed into the back of Jenni’s head.
“Okay, WHO farted?” NovaSeaker demanded.
Up in the cockpit, MysteriousGuy and Codebreaker shook their heads. “We better get there soon, or they’ll kill us,” MG said.
Codebreaker nodded, trying to hold back his laughter.
Will the Alliance be able to find TGF and rescue Seawolf?
Are Bakjak and Tarun already THERE?
Will the Hyperion’s Revenge Patch work?
What happened to Timmy and Sam in the Falcon?
What’s going on in the Land of the Banned?
And who DID fart?
Find out next time in...The Great VSP/WASTE Saga: Part III!!
"How are we going to find the Nemesis?" asked Tarun over the radio. "Also, why do you not sound like yourself when you respond?"
"I prefer that people do not know who I am when I pilot this ship... although everyone and their granny probably knows now. As for your question, I'm tracking the Nemesis via heat signatures," replied Bakjak. "I'm going to cloak now."
The Magius needed the cloak...not the Havoc Wreaker, though. With a full load of weapons, Tarun wasn't the least bit concerned about being seen. His shields and armor plating would hold their own against the Nemesis' defenses, although whatever they had in mind would have to be done quickly or he'd be overwhelmed. "How are you tracking their heat signature?" he breathed heavily in the comm.
"I bought these expensive military thermal goggles," Bakjak shot back in that odd voice. "Ever tell you about how I got so much money? Auspex bribed me a long time ago, so I've been able to buy a lot of great stuff."
"Oh yeah, I think Seawolf might've told me about that," Tarun said.
"I already have a plan in motion. I'm going to go in first while you stay out of detection range. I'll launch a volley of anti-matter missiles at the shield generator, then break off. Then you come in and fire everything you got short of a tactical nuke at the same spot. I will circle around and follow behind you as you draw the Nemesis' fire and provide cover from smaller ships. After the generator is destroyed, we will make a beeline for an entry spot located near the beam cannon of the Nemesis. We’ll launch our escape pods straight at it and enter Installation style. Our ships will stay in orbit near the Nemesis until our pods attach to draw the attention of the flak cannons. After we’re in the Nemesis, our ships should automatically engage autopilot and retreat," Bakjak's odd voice breathed a huge sigh of relief after his long speech.
Back in the cramped cargo hold of the PossePlane with no air-conditioning, air fresheners would have been extremely helpful. As it happened, Spooky had a can of some of that new, "Spring-time-pine-woods-minty-evergreen-used-to-counteract-your-brother's-gym-socks" variety, but smushed as she was between Flyspeck and Lambda Corps, she couldn't reach her backpack (yes, of course she has a backpack, hasn't that been mentioned before?) to get it.
Flyspeck himself was in an even worse position, with his leg twisted around Fenrir's arm, and his nose smashed against the metal floor.
Codebreaker and MysteriousGuy, on the other hand, were quite enjoying themselves. Up in the cockpit, they had cranked the A/C up to max, and were pretending they had been caught in a bad thunderstorm. This, of course, called for evasive maneuvers.
The "Augh...." sound was all of the Alliance members—except for CB and MG, who were strapped in their seats—tumbling around in the cargo hold as Codebreaker yanked the flight stick hard over to the right. MysteriousGuy, in one of his mischievous moods, yelled back to the rest of the group. "Hold on, guys! We're in for some rough weather!"
As Codebreaker straightened the PossePlane out again, the Alliance members in the back all got jammed together even tighter than before, this time their legs and arms all twisting together into cute little pretzel shapes.
"How're you guys doing back there?" Codebreaker hollered. "That was only a preliminary evasion tactic!" He was answered by a muffled groan from the direction of the hold. "Great, just making sure!" CB, having read Star Wars books extensively, suddenly executed a smuggler's reverse, sending the hypothetical "sardines" in the back of the PossePlane to crash into each other, and generally find themselves in unpleasant positions and locations.
"Wow,” MG remarked, "This is great. Now we can really practice our flying skills, eh, Codebreaker?"
This time, instead of groans, there were several OTHER sounds of discomfort....
Dark_T_Zeratul rushed angrily through the halls of the temple. Blood stained the walls, which were burnt in many places. Members of the Temple Order lay everywhere, dead or mortally wounded. The DualArchon really wanted to get back at him! Zeratul rounded a corner...and froze. He was staring into the face of his archenemy: Drancil/Kharadun, the DualArchon!
The purple being of energy moved towards him, glowering. "We knew you'd be here, Dark One. We knew that you would come! We expected you to give in to your rage! Just like all the other times. Now, we shall finish this. Here and now. There will be no one to intervene and save you. No portal for us to slip into. Nothing can stop this. The time has come... for the final battle. EN GUARDE!"
And the DualArchon struck.
Dark_T_Zeratul felt like a brick wall had just punched him in the chest. He went flying through the wall behind him, landing inside the laboratory. The DualArchon followed through the nearby door. Though it was sealed, the DualArchon blasted it open as if it were paper. He entered the room.
"Come out come out wherever you are, Dark One! The Reaper is knocking, and you must answer! Don't think you can hide from us, for in due time you shall be season-ferreted out like the prey you are! This is it. We had hoped for you to put up more of a fight, but oh well. You get what you can get. Now, come out and fight like a man!"
Dark_T_Zeratul leapt out from behind the counter and with a mighty scream impaled the DualArchon through the back. While the great being was distracted, Dark_T_Zeratul raced towards a still-sealed door, grabbed a beaker of highly explosive chemicals (it was amazing that they hadn't ignited, the room was still consumed by a raging blaze) and smashed it onto the door. Then he opened it and stepped through.
"Hey ugly! Over here!" he yelled. "Betcha can't hit me!" The plan worked. As the DualArchon charged a Psionic Blast, Dark_T_Zeratul quickly sealed the door. By the time Drancil/Kharadun realized their mistake, it was too late. The blast hit the door, and the entire room ignited. Dark_T_Zeratul barely had time to get away before the entire section exploded with the force of a nuclear bomb. Those chemicals must have been quite potent! Dark_T_Zeratul turned and stared at the enormous blaze that had all but consumed the research area of the Temple. He had to know if the DualArchon was dead, he just had to! And this time he wouldn't rest until he was sure...
The PossePlane had arrived, finally, at VSP Headquarters. Codebreaker hit the release button on his restraints and stood. Beside him, MysteriousGuy did likewise. Codebreaker jumped down to the floor of the hangar bay, preferring to not use the ladder. He decided to go around to the hold to check on the rest of the group, and maybe, just maybe, with their help, finally figure out what the hell they were going to do about TGF, Seawolf, and the newly forged Tarun/Bakjak alliance. Tarun HAD been acting strange lately, Codebreaker had been told, even before Bakjak showed up, but with the more pressing concern of Mason Wheeler and the patches, the VSP and WASTE members had taken little notice of it.
Once around the back of the Plane, MysteriousGuy opened the cargo hold, to shouts of relief from the Alliance members. Well, all except Ixyon, who had enjoyed having his face smashed into the back of Jenni's head. Jenni, on the other hand, was rather glad to be rid of him. Two men falling for her was quite enough, thank you.
As everyone piled out of the back of the Plane, Flyspeck asked, while munching a mouthful of pretzels, "Tho, waht ah way gowah oo ow?"
Codebreaker looked at him strangely. "Excuse me?"
Flyspeck swallowed his mouthful. "I said, 'So, what are we gonna do now?'"
"Really, that's what you said?"
"Yes, that's what I said."
"Uh, yes, well...herm...I haven't really figured that out yet. As the acting leader of WASTE, I was hoping maybe you'd have a few insights?"
Fenrir, ever vengeful, broke in with a thought of his own. "I say we raid the weapons locker, grab some firepower, and go hand TGF his ass on a silver platter!" Fenrir tightened his grip on his Bashing Bat meaningfully.
Hearty agreements followed his comment.
"Yeah, TGF's had it coming for a long time..."
"I'll sic my kitties on him!"
"He's going down!"
"I don't care how many crappy carriers he's got, WASTE'll make him curse the day he crossed our paths!"
Flare, who, deep inside had always been something of a softie, (he just hides it well) said, "Why can't we just give him a cute little puppy with soft brown eyes and little black spots? He'll be so happy that he'll agree to sit down and talk about his past wrongs with us, and he'll stop being a Bad Guy, and we'll begin to form life-long bonds of trust and friend—"
"Uh, Flare?" Lambda Corps interrupted. "Is something wrong with you?"
Flare quickly recovered himself. "Er, I mean, let's go kick some ass!"
Everyone agreed that that was a good idea, but everybody knew that they still needed a plan...