Notice: The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. The correct title is “The Great VSP/WASTE Saga, Part III.”
Everybody Get Down Tonight
It was October 31st on the mean streets of Vancouver. The vile Strogg Gang was patrolling the streets, and harassing wayward citizens foolish enough to venture in to their territory with Rail Gun fire. But on the good side of town, at Canada High School, it was more of a festive occasion. The students were all gathered in the gym for the Annual Pumpkin Day (Halloween in the States) Dance. Naturally, a party cannot be allowed to exist in Vancouver without the presence of Vancouver's non-military version of the Navy SEALS, The Vancouver Street Posse.
The VSP had taken no small expense to ensure that the evening would be a success. They had flown in all the members, from as far away as Texas to attend, and had hired Auspex and Ytse's Band "Paradigm Blue" to play. For literary purposes, Zeus was in the band too, his job was to stand motionless on stage, and hit a tambourine every 18 seconds or so.
The band had finished setting up, and the students and VSP were anxious to get started. Auspex came on the mic and tried to get the crowd psyched for the show.
"Is anybody here ready to get uproarious?", enquired Auspex.
The students looked at each other, puzzled.
"Oh, uhh ... cool, let's rock it!", said Auspex after some time.
Rather than confuse the audience any further, Auspex nodded to Ytse, and indicated that they start playing. They opened with "Atlantis" and were really getting in to the music, while the VSP boogied down with their bad selves. All of a sudden, the entire gym was silenced when a solitary imbecile decided to open his mouth, and let noise come out in the form of words.
"I don't get it.", he declared as he slapped himself repeatedly across the chest, much in the way one does to mock another by indicating retardedness.
"This is stupid.", commented a student who listened to Eminem MP3s, in the deep, stereotyped sort of voice that is used when repeating something your idiotic little brother said, in a derogatory way.
"Starcraft sucks, too.", he added. "I play Deer Hunter which I downloaded for free from my l337 H4x0r website 'cuz I gotz m4d h4cking 5ki11z."
The VSP was astounded at the way he actually spelled out each 'l3375pe4k' word with numbers and letters. He actually said "L, three, three, seven."
Lambda immediately recognized that the situation had gone critical.
"Hey, check it out! A female!", said a proud Map Hacker. "Wanna dance, baby?"
Spooky knew what to do.
"To hell with this.", she said, and produced a small remote control, and pressed the single, red, shiny button right in the center of it. Almost immediately, the skylights shattered, and dozens of repelling ropes dropped down. Then, as the Lamers began to glance around, to ascertain what was happening, all the members of WASTE slid down the ropes to eradicate the gymful of wastes of human matter. With the grace of a ballet, the ruthlessness of a butcher, and the vigor of a Stimpacked, Bloodlusted Orc Grunt, they set to work, and in a whirlwind of missiles, machine gun fire, and frenzied katana slashes, the room suddenly fell silent, and was cleansed of all lamers.
"You work fast." said Spooky.
"We do what we must." said Seawolf, italicizing the next few words. "Besides, anything for a lady."
It has been three long months since the Vancouver Street Posse, WASTE, and their allies defeated Kurt Broker. Victory was achieved, but not without cost. MilkDuds, friend to all who knew him, was struck down; Mason Wheeler was wounded and stranded in the Antioch Universe; Broker, Bakjak, and TGF and the Banned Ones escaped death and are still at large. It was a stiff blow and a dark time for the Good Guys.
Now, Codebreaker, Dark_T_Zeratul, Auspex Turmalis, Seawolf, Jenni, Lambda Corps, Mark Brown, and all their allies seek to rescue their lost comrade. In doing so, they are sure to run into old and new foes, meet new allies, travel to exotic locales, and end the mightiest Saga of all time with a tremendous bang. It is time to begin the final chapter of...
...the Great VSP Saga.
She watched, powerless, as it happened again.
Mason Wheeler was running, advancing towards a shadowy figure with its back turned. She called to him, but he just continued moving, not seeming to hear. Small groups of marines popped up occasionally in Mason’s path, but he was able to quickly eliminate them with his Gauss Rifle. After a few short minutes, he reached the mysterious figure, who finally turned.
It was Mason Rockwell. The two Masons shook hands.
She knew what was coming next and shouted out a warning, but it was far too late.
Rockwell didn’t release his grip. He held Mason Wheeler close, laughing, and pulled out a pistol as his face changed...to that of Kurt Broker.
She screamed as Broker fired shot after shot into Mason’s chest. Mason fell, turning to see her for the first time as he went down.
He spoke, a trickle of blood coming from the corner of his mouth...
“Noooo!” Jenni screamed, sitting up with a start.
She was disoriented at first. It took her a moment to remember that she was in the Hyperion’s crew quarters...in the captain’s quarters, in fact. Seawolf had insisted she stay there while they were in space, since it was the biggest and nicest room. The “grand suite”, he called it. Her protests had done little, though she now asked herself why she had ever fought it in the first place.
Without a doubt, the room had the nicest view on the whole ship, with the exception of the nearby bridge. Its viewport was unblocked by nacelles or other hull features. Jenni slid her legs over the side of the bed, noticing it was damp with sweat from her nightmare. She wiped tears from her eyes and grabbed her robe, wrapping it around her night clothes. Involuntarily, she shivered a little as her bare feet touched the cold metal floor, vibrating slightly from the ship’s massive engines, generating tremendous power even on standby. Slippers solved the coldness problem, and she walked over to the viewport.
Out in space, the Millennium Falcon hung off the Hyperion’s port bow, close enough that Jenni could see figures moving around in the smaller ship’s cockpit. It was probably Codebreaker and MysteriousGuy, she reasoned, since they usually flew the Vancouver Street Posse’s new ship.
She looked around in nearby space, hoping beyond hope to see the familiar bluish white vortex of a Crossover rift, but there were none. The VSP and WASTE had been out here for two days now, testing out various patches that Auspex Turmalis and a few others had made, hoping to tap into the Crossover. They had come very close with one of them...it had actually opened a couch-sized rift, but it had almost immediately collapsed in on itself, much to everyone’s disappointment. That had been several hours ago, and Jenni had retired to Seawolf’s old room (now HER room) afterwards, feeling very drained physically and even more so emotionally.
Jenni jumped as the door suddenly slid open and two men rushed in.
The first was toting a smaller-than-normal Gauss Rifle, specially customized to fire even more firepower than the typical rifle and yet small enough to be fired one-handed. He had a look of both alarm and concern on his face as he ran a few feet into the room and scanned around with his gun. He was tall, and though his face was unshaven and scruffily and his eyes were a bit baggy from lack of sleep, Jenni still found him handsome.
The second man was a little shorter than the first, but also a bit more muscular. It was clearly evident that this man, even more than the first, was a warrior by the fire in his eyes and the scars on his arms, lit by the yellowish-green warp blades he had strapped to his wrists. He too began searching the room with his eyes.
It only took a couple seconds before they both realized there was no one else in the room except Jenni, and they turned to her.
The first one’s face flushed a little as reality dawned on him. “Ummm...” he started, “You okay?”
Jenni couldn’t help but grin. Seawolf and Dark_T_Zeratul, even more than most of the rest of the WASTE guys, had a tendency to do stuff like this. But that was what made them such valuable allies and good friends, wasn’t it?
“Yes, I’m fine,” she replied.
“We heard you scream,” Zeratul said, still not fully letting his guard down.
“It was just...just a little nightmare. That’s all.”
“Another one?” Seawolf asked with concern.
And that was the thing about Seawolf. She couldn’t help but be at least somewhat attracted to him. He was about the closest she had seen to a knight in shining armor...even closer than Mason in many ways. Always rode in to save the day, guns blazing, and yet he always found time to lend some advice or offer his shoulder to cry on, which she had done a number of times since Mason had disappeared.
Mason. She felt guilty for having the feelings she was starting to have for Seawolf. She loved Mason, even more now that he had sacrificed himself the way he had.
Her thoughts, and the pause that came with them, was not lost on the two leaders of WASTE. “Jenni?” Seawolf asked.
She blinked and turned back to them. “Thank you, but I’m fine. Really. Just a dream.”
Neither of them believed it, and they made little attempt to hide it. But they also knew when NOT to proceed with conversations like this, so they finally stowed their weapons and relaxed.
She decided to change the topic. “Any luck with the Crossover?”
Seawolf frowned sadly. “None. The best we can do is to look through the keyhole, but the door’s locked tight.”
Zeratul shook his head a little...Seawolf and his metaphors.... “We have almost finished testing all the patches we have, but it doesn’t look good,” Zeratul said. “We tried the most promising ones first. Looks like Auspex and Desler are going to have some more work to do.”
Desler had been contacted by Auspex shortly after Mason had been sucked into the Antioch Universe, starting this whole mess. It hadn’t taken much to convince Desler, a man of the people and an all-around nice guy, to help. He, Auspex, and Zeus Legion were working overtime making various patches, hoping to break into the dormant Crossover and get Mason back.
The whole problem was that Mason’s Crossover discs were the only record they had of how to access the Crossover, and they had been destroyed by order of Mason himself. The search of Broker’s old base by the heroes that had gone there in the Hyperion at the end of Part II had found the data logs of neutrino surges from Crossover accessing, but that did nothing except show them what the end result of a successful test should look like. Auspex and the others were shooting in the dark. They had been for three months now.
‘Three months....’ Jenni could hardly believe it. In some ways it seemed like it had been yesterday, and in other ways, it felt like it had been years. She missed Mason so bad....
A call from the comm interrupted her thoughts. “Bridge to Seawolf,” Flyspeck’s voice came over the speaker. “The Posse’s ready to test the next patch.”
Seawolf tapped the room’s comm box. “Roger that, we’re on our way there.” Zeratul nodded to Jenni and Seawolf and left for the bridge. Seawolf hesitated. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Jenni smiled again. “YES, Seawolf. Get to the bridge, you goof.”
He smiled back, half-embarrassed. “Er...right. Aye-aye, ma’am!” He mock-saluted and left.
She sighed and turned back to the viewport to watch. ‘Maybe this one will work....’
Hidden in a sensor shadow created by the moon they were hovering near, several members of the Banned Ones watched the two Good Guy ships with the long-range sensors of their brand-new carrier, the Nemesis.
“I don’t understand what they are doing,” Vank Tar remarked.
“Nor do I,” TGF said. “Why are they trying to crack open the Crossover?” he asked rhetorically.
There was silence for a few moments as another neutrino burst was loosed from the Millennium Falcon. “Where’d they get that ship from, anyway?” one of the newest Banned Ones asked.
“We’re not sure, Mr. Bond,” TGF replied. “We missed that part, too.”
“$#!t, what DID you all do in the last part of this Saga, then?” Jamz Bond asked, eliciting a quiet growl from TELE, still bitter over how they had been knocked out of the last Part.
‘Bond’s like Halo in a lot of ways’, TGF thought of the immature new Banned One. But he could shoot, and he could draw fire, and he HATED the VSP and WASTE, and that, he reasoned, was enough.
It was the other two new FEMALE members of the Banned Ones that were his most useful new acquirements....
The neutrino burst, like all those before it, failed. The Crossover remained unbreached.
‘But WHY...’ TGF asked himself again, ‘...are they trying to get into it?’
This required further investigation.
Unknown to the Good Guys OR the Banned Ones, Bakjak was watching the unsuccessful patch testing as well, silent in space in his enhanced, cloaked scout.
And he knew why the Good Guys were trying to get the Crossover open. He had seen Mason Wheeler sucked into the Antioch Universe with his own eyes.
And though Bakjak was most definitely a Bad Guy, he had a heart. He didn’t want to see Mason just left for dead. He had no qualms with Wheeler...just with the VSP and WASTE, who with their other allies had taken to calling themselves the “Alliance” now.
Well. Let the ‘Alliance’ rescue Mason. THEN he would have his revenge.
After all, as he had learned at the end of the last part of the Saga, even his enemies could be most useful for helping accomplish his own agenda.
Bakjak smiled at the memory.
“Chalk up failure number seventeen,” MysteriousGuy said glumly.
Codebreaker frowned from the captain’s seat. This was getting depressing.
“Setting up the next patch,” Lambda Corps said from one of the passenger seats behind them in the Falcon’s cramped cockpit. He punched in a few commands into the panel beside him. “Should be ready in about...” he checked one of the displays, “twenty-three minutes.”
Codebreaker sighed and stood. “I’ll be back in a few minutes,” he said to the other two. “Gonna go grab a quick bite...want anything?”
Lambda declined, but MG requested some pretzels. ‘Flyspeck and Mack must be rubbing off on him,’ CB thought as he walked back towards the galley.
He passed by the other Posse members. Spooky and Endarire were sitting next to the Dejerik hologameboard watching Mack Kilimaro and Odin’s Eye playing a game of Go Fish to pass the time. They all looked up with glimmers of hope in their eyes, but slumped when Codebreaker made a tight smile and shook his head slowly. They looked at him for a moment more and then went back to the game.
Codebreaker reached the galley and rustled around for something decent to eat. While he searched, he started thinking about the amazing situation he’d ended up in, as he often did.
It had all started with such a simple mission...beat up Bakjak and rescue Mason Rockwell. The whole Saga should have only taken a couple pages of narrating.
But Rockwell had not been so easily rescued. Bakjak and TGF and then an infested clone of Mason Wheeler and a bunch of forum lamers had stood in their way, but the Posse had defeated them.
It could have ended there, but then Mason Wheeler had forced them to go out and save Rockwell, and A3 itself, again. They had angered none other than Kurt Broker, and further incensed TGF and Bakjak, among others. But they had picked up a lot of new allies along the way, including their good friends in WASTE. And now WASTE was four members stronger, with Ixyon, NovaSeaker, Lucainan, and Typhoon coming into the fold. A little more trigger-happy than CB might prefer, but no doubt a good bunch to have at your back. The WASTErs were even more valuable allies now, more determined than ever due to loss of one of their own: MilkDuds. A true heartbreak, that was.
Codebreaker sighed once again, took the food he had rustled up, and headed forward to the cockpit.
At his home in real life Maryland, Mark Brown, reinstated Saga Narrator, watched the story unfold. He wished desperately that he could help his favorite heroes crack open the Crossover, but that would require plot contrivances so fantastic and downright WEIRD that he, as a good Narrator, could never stoop to such infantile levels, as much as he might want to do so.
He looked down (or whatever direction narrators looked to see the characters in their stories) at the VSP in their new ship. They were probably his favorite heroes, though he wasn’t really supposed to have any. The VSP (well, five of them, anyway) had been there since the beginning of the Saga and had a greater “reverence” for Mark than probably any of the other heroes. They had fared quite well on their own at the end of Part I (when Mark had forced himself to turn the heroes loose and not interfere unless absolutely necessary) and throughout most of Part II (when Mark had been fighting to regain the Narrator seat from an evil Narrator clone of Mason Wheeler), and yet they had welcomed Mark back with open arms and smiling faces. As South Park’s Eric Cartman would say it, “he loved these guys”.
Not that he didn’t like the other heroes. He just had a special place in his heart for the Posse, especially Mack Kilimaro, who he seemed to have an unexplainable special connection with....
Mark, as an almost-omniscient (about the Saga, anyway) Narrator, had known exactly when to start narrating this, the last Part of the Saga. It’s not like many exciting things had happened between Part II and now anyway.
The heroes that had departed for Broker’s first deserted base in the Hyperion at the end of Part II had found the data logs they’d gone to find, but little else. Seawolf had pirated the hulk of the original DragonSlayer and found a working shield generator and some other technological goodies he had installed in the Hyperion, the other heroes had found some extra weapons and armor that they had “liberated” for their own use, but that was about it. There’d been nothing exciting THERE to narrate.
And all that had really happened since then was Auspex, Desler, and the other patch-makers working on the twenty Crossover test patches that the VSP and WASTE were now testing. Nothing worth narrating there, either.
Though the Good Guys HAD picked up a few new heroes along the way. First there had been Desler, who was brought onboard almost as soon as Part II had ended to help with the patch-making. He was a nice guy, and his famous Starcraft projects made him a celebrity to the other heroes almost on the same level as Auspex and the TAC staff.
Then, WASTE’s Ixyon had returned from vacation (which kept him notably absent from Part II), and he and the three new WASTE members—NovaSeaker, Lucainan, and Typhoon—had been caught up on what they’d missed. They were ready (and eager) for some action.
And finally, Fenrir had come seemingly from nowhere and asked to be able to “reenter the Saga and give Bakjak and TGF what they deserve,” as he had put it. At first no one had known what the heck he was talking about, and then Mark had remembered that Fenrir had indeed played a VERY brief role in Part I. Fenrir’s home had nearly been destroyed by Bakjak and TGF’s battlecruiser, and he had retrieved his Bashing Bat™ and gone to make the two Bad Guys pay. But Fenrir’s mom had cut his adventure short, calling him inside to finish a 10-page essay on dirt. Mark had explained all this to the heroes, who had been happy to welcome the well-armed (with the Bashing Bat and an anti-personnel mini-missile launcher) Fenrir into the fold.
Mark looked (again, whatever direction) at Fenrir, gathered with Phoenix, Pure Orange, and WASTE on the Hyperion’s bridge and went back to narrating “his” story.
“How much longer on that next test, LC?” Phoenix asked over the intercom.
“About three more minutes,” Lambda’s voice came back.
“Hear that, boss?” Phoenix turned to Seawolf, sitting in the captain’s chair and staring off into space.
‘ANOTHER nightmare,’ Seawolf thought to himself. ‘That’s three this week.’
“Boss?” Phoenix called again.
‘They seemed to be going away for a while there...why is Jenni having nightmares again now?’
‘Three in a week. And that was quite a scream she did. Could hear it all the way here in the bridge....’
“Seawolf?” Zeratul chipped in.
‘I hope she’s okay...she said she was...’
“Yo, Wolf Man!” Tarun tried.
“Seawolf!” Phoenix nearly shouted.
‘...but she looked pretty shaken....’
Everybody on the bridge looked to Zeratul, who counted down from three on his fingers. As the last finger curled up, they all shouted “SEAWOLF!!”
“Wha...what is it?!” Seawolf suddenly snapped out of it, nearly jumping out of his chair.
The others all stared for a minute, and Seawolf scanned around the room with sleepy eyes.
Zeratul chuckled a little. “Um...you okay now?”
“Fine,” Seawolf said, still a bit out of it. “Just fine.”
“Why don’t you go get some sleep, boss?” Flyspeck suggested.
“Yeah,” NovaSeaker said, a little concern in his voice. Man, the second-in-command of WASTE looked really tired all of a sudden.
“Sleep is GOOOOD,” Fenrir chipped in with a crooked smile on his face.
Seawolf yawned and rubbed his eyes. “Nah. Only a couple tests left.”
“You’ve been up for over two days now, Seawolf,” Mat-Def said.
“Since before the tests started,” chimed in Pure Orange.
“I’m fine, though,” Seawolf said defensively. “I’ll just wait until the tests are all done....”
“No, you won’t,” Zeratul cut in, his voice suddenly backed by a little steel. “Go get some rest. That’s an ORDER.”
Seawolf started to protest, but changed his mind. He WAS pretty tired.
“Okay, okay,” he grumbled, standing. He was a little wobbly at first, and supported himself on his panel for a second. ‘Yeah, a little tired alright,’ he thought, yawning.
“Um...Phoenix, you have the bridge,” he said, turning to his faithful “lieutenant”.
Phoenix nodded. “Sweet dreams, man.”
Seawolf walked out of the bridge, heading for his quarters.
After he was gone, everyone turned to Zeratul.
“He’s just tired,” Zeratul explained. “He’ll be fine. I’ve seen him like this before.” The others nodded understandingly and turned back to what they’d been doing.
Seawolf had a tendency to forgo sleep when he really wanted something badly, Zeratul knew. He also knew that Seawolf wanted VERY badly to get his good friend Mason back. Seawolf would have stayed up until they broke through the Crossover. Or he collapsed.
His zealousness was his biggest strength...and his biggest weakness.
Zeratul shook his head. Heck, it was that way with EVERYONE in WASTE.
He looked around the bridge with pride. Aaaaah...WASTE. They were a great group.
Tarun. Strong, brave, and...well, zealous, sometimes overly so. That sometimes got him into trouble. ‘Much like a younger you,’ Zeratul thought to himself.
Mat-Def. He wasn’t the toughest WASTEr, at least physically, but he had a keen mind and a great fighting spirit. Not to mention that wonderfully useful Mad Cat OmniMech.
Flyspeck. He was a good man, very resourceful. Very loyal. ‘And very fanatical about pretzel-eating,’ Zeratul thought with a grin.
Flare. He was a bit young, but definitely had “the right stuff”. He was almost as zealous as Tarun at times, but tended to...think before leaping better than his fellow WASTEr.
Ixyon. He was bitter about missing the last part of the Saga while on vacation. He had promised the others, and himself, that he would make up for it.
Lucainan. Zeratul had yet to understand his...obsession with cats, but he understood very well Lucainan’s love for face-to-face fights. He used flamethrowers AND psi blades interchangeably.
NovaSeaker. He was a quiet guy normally, but when the fighting started, he could go into quite a frenzy with his two swords Azurewrath and Shadowfang.
And, of course, Typhoon. He was a jokester, and that was a very good thing for the team to have. Zeratul had convinced him to use a Gauss Rifle rather than the bag full of rocks he had been armed with when he first joined WASTE, but he still carried those stones with him. That’s just the way he was, Zeratul supposed.
He sighed and sat down in the command chair. The bridge WAS Phoenix’s now, but Phoenix always preferred to stay at the weapons/comm console. “Time to next test?” Zeratul asked.
In his new quarters near the engine room, Seawolf was thinking about WASTE also in an effort to stay awake long enough to get ready for proper sleeping in his bed.
‘Yeah...maybe the guys are a bit...um...overzealous sometimes,’ he thought to himself, shaking his head at all the trouble they sometimes got themselves into, ‘but I’ll keep em.’ He finished his thought with a proud smile. What a team they were.
And the rest of the Alliance was great, too. The Posse members were some of the coolest and nicest folks he had ever met. It was a true honor for him to be able to work side-by-side with them. Same with the TAC staff and Desler, all of whom he still revered a bit, despite himself.
And there were the other Good Guys, too.... Phoenix, his “Vice Admiral”, was a good man for many reasons, but mainly for his loyalty and honor. Same with Pure Orange, who still vowed to fight on despite the fact that his true nemesis, Optiplex (who had been the reason for Orange getting banned from the forum), had already bitten the dust at the end of Part II. Fenrir was a great addition to the team, so zealous and trigger-happy that Seawolf regretted WASTE having no more open positions.
And then there was Jenni. His thoughts began to wander....
“Oh no, don’t you go thinking that,” he said quietly to his reflection in the mirror. “She’s Mason’s, you know that, and you don’t want to wreck any relationships here.”
Since Mason had disappeared, Seawolf had taken it upon himself to be her comforter and protector until he could get her and Mason back together. She had needed someone to cling to, and he was it. They’d spent lots of time together these past few months just talking and getting to know one another. She was simply a delight to be around. Somewhere in that time, he’d begun to fall for her. He tried to convince himself it was silly, and that it was just a crush or something, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized he liked her. He thought about it now....
‘Stop it!’ he thought to himself. He shook his head clear and climbed into bed.
He’d get Mason back for Jenni, and then there would be no temptation. ‘In fact,’ Seawolf tried to convince himself, ‘I’ll probably realize that there really ISN’T that kind of attraction at all.’
He thought of his friend Mason as sleep took him. He’d get him back. If they could ever break through the Crossover....
The Great VSP Saga:
Revenge of the Good Guys