The Return of Talking Time

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Old 04-21-2016, 09:33 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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After a short hiatus, we have update:

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 51: "Alphys NEO":

"Pathetic."

When am I going to learn the dangers of lowering my own guard?

"You don't get it, do you?"

I definitely wanted to meet Dr. Alphys. But...not under these circumstances. Not like this...

"Let's say by some twist of fate you make it past me to Asgore's castle. What's your plan after that?"

Having come off of the triumph of seeing Asriel and company completely crush Violet's LYOKO simulation and that I now had an idea of how he was able to pull off the HUD summon in the dojo, I felt that it was the perfect time to bring the good times home by finally dropping in on Alphys and offering the laurel of friendship. I was hoping to find an ally as I had done with Toriel, Sans (maybe?), and Papyrus. And at least I had opened up the possibility that I could win Undyne over.

I was wrong.

I brushed the soot and ash off the burns on my labcoat then tightened my fists, the electricity crackling over them.

No stutter. No hesitation. No standing awkwardly, hanging on the end of every few words trying to make a complete thought. And definitely no lack of confidence. Yeah. I knew what this was.

"Do you think relying on that compassionate heart of yours is going to let you last even a moment against him once he figures out that you're not really one of us? That maybe...your soul might be even more compatible than the human's?"

I had modified the spare PKE meter using the updated schematic from my mentor, some seven or more years after his hey days; having taken 4 of his college class' students under his wing as the new "Extreme" successors to his old team. (The old team which was now long sicne retired). The arc of lightning between the two antennae conduits was all the proof I needed. And the display just hammered it home. Demonic possession confirmed.

"Oh yes. I know. I know you're not who you appear to be. You're not even supposed to be in our world, are you? Maybe in time...I'll discern where it is you really come from."

Not-Alphys pushed her glasses up a little further and grinned a devilish grin.
"As the Royal Scientist it's my duty to inform him of threats to the crown. He might even show leniancy for the failures of the Amalgamates and the son that couldn't be brought back to life."

That was a jab I couldn't ignore.

"Why don't we call this what this is? A rematch. And you're still not fooling anyone, Chara Dreemurr."

"Wow. You really are something special. How quickly did you figure it out?"

"From the moment you started prattling on, you specter infector."

"Cute. But I won't be falling to your slimy trick again. I made sure of that when I broke your little toy."

The loss of the modified proton pack was very unfortunate. Aside from losing a highly dangerous positron collider and neutrona wand, I also lost all the experimental technology upgrades--the Boson Dart collider systems, the Overload Pulse, the Shock Blast, the Stasis Beam, the Slime Blower mk II (which served me well during our first meeting. Again, I owed Toriel an apology that I could never give.), the Slime Tether and Slime Mines, and the Meson Collider parts. Egon and Ray would have words with me if this were a normal busting job.

"Too smart to give up your meat shield? Or just too afraid?" I taunted "Alphys NEO".

"You say such interesting things. I wonder what Undyne would say if anything happened to her precious Dr. Alphys? The self-mutilations I could do right at this very moment. I wonder if she would blame the human brat.....or you?"

"Your game continues to get more twisted."

"Someone's a bad sport when they're not winning."

"Like you're any better a sport for force feeding your apparent victory into your opponent at every turn."

"Now what kind of thing is for that for you to say? Didn't Smiley Trashbag's idiot brother have some sagely advice about acknowledging your own greatness?"
What the Hell...how could she know about that?

"Really trying to get me on the ropes, psychologically aren't you? When it comes to a battle of the mind games, you'll find yourself woefully naked by comparison."
"Again you say such amusing things. If you're going to match wits while running away from my attacks, you might as well put ya gunz on!"

Was that a shot at the fallen child that had carried a revolver?

I charged through the orange lasers and froze in place as the blue lasers swept through me.

"Asriel deserved better than you." A quick sting might buy me a moment.

"You had to go there, didn't you?"

Maybe it was the way that Chara had changed the position of the dino scientist's head, because at that moment I couldn't see Alphys' eyes behind those thick lens of her glasses.

The Gaster Blasters suddenly came out in full force. How much data and code has Dr. Alphys copied from others? This had to be the W.D. Gaster brand and not the ones I had seen from Sans in other timelines.

"Consider that some salt on those raw nerves." I didn't feel much like apologizing for that low blow.

She responded by dragging me down the corridor of lightning bolts. The shape vaguely reminded me of one of the old Pole Position race tracks.

"You fool! Haven't you figured out lightning and electricity have no effect on me!" I challenged, trying to push her buttons.

"I bet even someone as small and low level as Asriel could set you ablaze with even the simplest of fire magic!"

"You're not going to get me to lose my form with some petty insults and a walk down memory lane."

"We'll see. I'm rather anxious to see you sweat from a hot dose of the truth. And I have plenty more to say about how you made your brother suffer. You tore your family apart sin by sin. And then you made Frisk do it literally in each of your Genocide runs. How do you think Asriel would react to you butchering Toriel? Undyne? Everyone else he knew and loved? Everyone you knew and loved?"

My clothes were singed and charred from the multitude of Metatton drones, heart-bombs, and other explosives. I whipped out the XBTOCLC's and mowed them down, Space Invaders style from that point oneward.

"Loved? You really think I'm capable of love? Surely you must know how empty and colorless my soul is by now if you're half as aware as I think you are."
"It remains to be seen. And don't call me "Shirley"." I mused, trying to catch her off guard with something that might get a chuckle out of Sans.

"Your jokes are as bad as the Trashbag." Chara-Alphys clicked on the app on her phone, bring back an all-too-familiar color tile puzzle on the ground. I quickly navigated it to the checkered area, being mindful of the traps.

"You got a good memory, huh? Time to test that." The lightning bolts and the Mini Metatton drones and bombs rained out without letting up.
And then I saw the Rewind overlay materialize.

"You're going to tamper with time in front of me of all people?" I wrinkled my nose as I navigated the maze of bullet hell and explosion in reverse.

"We'll be having none of THAT." I clicked on the bracer and the hololythic overlay of the VCR "Record" and "Rewind" commands suddenly cracked and shattered.

"I should have known better than to match time cheats against a time traveller. That is what you are, isn't it?"

"Say what you will. It's not going to change the outcome of this."

"I guess if you control time that makes you the biggest cheat of all. And you suddenly became a lot more useful to me."

"How adorable that you think you can make me one of your playthings, Chara. I guarantee it won't get you any closer to finding Asriel."

"So he IS alive!"

"I'd love to see how you rationalize that when you must've felt his final moments...collapsing in the flower bed and dissolving to dust. It almost makes sense why he couldn't feel anything. You already stole his life...did you steal that from him too?"

"You're starting to get really annoying! I'm losing patience with you!"

Yeah. That was a "big surprise". The child thinks she has even a fraction of the patience I had.

"You didn't want a brother. You just wanted to turn him in to a clone yourself. If you'd succeeded at that, it wouldn't have even been a question getting him to slaughter the humans of the village. Anything to wake him up from trying to solve things diplomatically. To ask the humans for a peaceful solution and break the barrier for them that all of your differences could be resolved. Such a concept must really be alien to you. Were you scared that Asriel's method might have actually worked? Is that why you had him carry your corpse to the village to eliminate any possible way he might succeed without mass genocide?"

"You...you....!"

"All you do is bring pain to everybody!"

I sneered, anticipating what Alphys might say if she had been been in control and had been pushed to this point. It was becomming a regular thing turning around things said in difference circumstances throughout the other timelines.

"How many of your "playthings" need to die? How many times do they have to die before you're satisfied?"

I backflipped over the sweeping Gaster Blaster beams.

"They say the definition of madness is repeating the same thing over and over, expecting a different result! What is it that you hope is going to change?"
I dual-wielded the XBTOCLC's and made short work of the drones, the clones, and everything else raining death upon me.

"What even gives you the idea that Asriel will even come back to you? What makes you think you haven't completely burned this bridge to ash? Why would you insist on banking on his naevity...why would you let him forgive you for all you've done only to use him again and again and again until you finally get Asgore to wage a second war on humanity?! You need help, Chara! But you won't accept help! You just keep throwing it back in the faces of anyone who lifted a finger to make your life better! You're poison! You corrupted the Dreemurr family with pain, sorrow, and hate! And look what it's gotten you!"

By now I had started to lead Alphys far from the lab and across the maze of steam-blast arrows and conveyor belts throughout the corridors of Hotland. It was actually kind of epic how someone as uncoordinated as Alphys could be easily transversing all these one-slip-and-you-get-a-magma-bath instances with the finesse of a ballet dancer.

"Just DIE ALREADY!"

The heat was starting to get to one of us. I knew Alphys herself was adapted to this environment but even if she was dead, Chara didn't have much patience for the triple-digit temperatures.

I was starting to run out of places to go. Eventually I crossed a bridge into a dead-end island.

I backed away toward the other end of the island, stopping an inch or two away from the edge.

The possessed Alphys took her time crossing the bridge and onto the island.

"Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. At last. It's finally over."

"You're right...it is finally over..."

ZAAAAAARK!!!!!

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----



Sub-Entry 52: "Rematch":

"Wha...what?!?!" Chara-Alphys whirled as the multitude of techno-matter spires shot up out of the ground in a parimeter around the cirumfrence of the island.

"It's over for YOU." I looked up with burning eyes.

"You.......you weren't running. You were leading me into a trap!"

Not-Alphys turned to try to leave the area and smacked nose-first into the force barrier that suddenly crackled into existence.

"Like a rat in a maze. And you followed the cheese to the end...or was it the frozen spaghetti?" I crossed my arms and grinned a cocky, smug grin, eyes closed.

".....!!!!"

"You really ARE an idiot." I let fly with Flowey's favorite dissing.

"GAAAAAAH!!!!" The possessed lizard in a labcoat charged right for me. At that moment the Muon Emitters lining the spires snapped out, energized with a red glow and a 3-dimensional overlay of red lasers filled the area with wire-frame, piercing me harmlessly but searing through Alphys with a rather profound effect. She staggered about, unable to crouch down into a space small enough to avoid a single laser beam. Eventually slamming, back first, against the far barrier wall, sizzling for a moment...then passing out. I immediately sidestepped as Chara's ghostly form rocketed out of Alphys' body and flew right past me as I pivotted on my heel, not even uncrossing my arms.

"This is...this is inconsequential. You just trapped me in here with no way to hurt me."

She turned and glared at me with a sadistic toothy bloodthirsty grin.

"All I have to do is possess you and I'll have control over this barrier! I'll be able to escape this Timeline and find where you're keeping Asriel! You've just made my job easier--"

Chara sailed at me, her face melting into that twisted Gaster-esque appearance with the black ichor oozing from her eye sockets and mouth. She smelled like decaying buttercups. How fitting.

I didn't even move from my spot. I grinned super-darkly as she impacted my natural electromagnetic field and richochetted.

"What?!? Why?! Why can't I--"

"You foolish child. Did you really think I had anything to fear from you from the start?"

"So...now what..." Chara was fighting back the angry tears. "You just going to insult me and throw Asriel back in my face over and over. You can't just use the same tricks--"

"And that was your second mistake. That you were under any impression that I'd finish this battle with mind games. No, I've been playing mind games with you all this time. But you've learned nothing." I uncrossed my arms.

"You have haunted these timelines for far too long. You've acted without remorse and you've escaped punishment for so long you honestly believe yourself to be above consequence. No, Chara. That's not how the world works. You came here expecting me to show you a bad time. Well...as someone once said...you don't deserve a bad time. No. You deserve an equal. Someone who can match you for sadism. Cruelty. And PAIN."

I said clicking on a new E.N.G.I.N.E. dot I had put on the black belt. The device nanomorphically unpacked, becoming a different kind of pack with a very familiar but updated rig. Oh. Did you really think I'd enter this battle with only one proton pack?
My eyes were hidden behind the shadow of my bangs. But my toothy grin was as grim-dark as Chara on her worst day.

I snatched up the paired quantum mechanical devices from their holders and let them wrap around my hands and then I squeezed my fists tight with a crackle of positrons and tangles of lightning.

"Oh no. you don't get to have that bad time. Instead...I'm going to have LOTS. OF. FUN."

Somewhere a Papyrus that no longer believed was showing off a very toothy grin and a very neon orange eye socket.

"You can't--" She started before I SEARED straight at her, cocked a fist and SLUGGED the phantom for all she was worth. Her face buckled, distorting moments before she sailed through the air and into the other side of the barrier, letting out an anguished cry.

"But...but...that's...that's impossible! You can't...you can't...you can't...!"

"Why? Because you're a child? Because you're a spirit? Because it's not in the hero's nature? Or because you're just that damn clueless."

I tore off and started wailing away, smashing her into the barrier. I considered myself very lucky that I was able to convince Holtzman to borrow all this equipment. Thirty years legacy. Those women would have quite a lot to live up to. My mentors would be proud of this new generation of lady busters.

"This isn't even CLOSE to the pain and suffering you've caused with your mind games, your sick perverted view of the world, and every slash of that knife of yours! And even if it were it would STILL be too good for you!" I raged.

Chara fell to the ground and scrambled away in a crawl, on hands and knees, clearly scared.

"That's called fear. And that's called pain. And you DROWNED your brother, Asriel, in both. And you turned right around and did the same to Asgore and Toriel."

I let her get a distance before I pulled off the gloves and drew the twin Proton Pistols from the side of the pack, gave them both a cowboy spin in each hand and opened fire with positron bolts.

"You've been a bad ghost to us all. And you know what? I ain't fraid o' no ghost."

I bore down on her eventually draining their power packs and then casting them aside.
I drew the neutrona wand and heated it up, the lights and display in back lighting up and beeping. I lasso-ed Chara and blasted her quite a bit, using the Blast Stream to knock her P.K. Energy down a bit until I could slip the Capture Stream over her and wrangle her around.

I took the rest of the fight out of her by slinging her around and banging her into the force barrier as I had practiced with other evil spectres. Finally she was dazed enough for me to decompress the version 2 muon trap. Unlike the old rectangular boxes...this one was a flat dome with its doors sliced into four. How very "Extreme".
The barrier's power crackled out of existence, opening the arena up again.

"It's time for you to find your eternal rest, Chara. For the good of everyone...Toriel. Sans. Papyrus. Undyne. Alphys. Metatton. Asgore, all the other monsters....Frisk........and.......Asriel."

Chara gnashed her teeth.

"No...this isn't over......" She wrenched an arm free, drew back and threw her palm out. Suddenly by telekinetic force, Alphys was blasted up off the ground. For a brief moment I saw her unconscious form hover before the second psychic push send her flying over the edge of the island and toward the lava below.

"No!" I dropped the trap and electromorphed into my lightning bolt form and seared after Alphys. I grabbed onto both her wrists and pulled as I made my landing at the edge.

Chara weakly drifted off, her melted form whisping away gradually until she was gone.
Alphys' glasses were cracked and her labcoat a mess. She wasn't that injured by the ordeal was too much for her.

"Don't give up on me, doctor!" I pleaded as I made every effort to hoist her up. I didn't notice that Undyne had come running full tilt, discarding pieces of her armor. She was obviously suffering from the heat.

"Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!"

I managed to hoist Alphys up into my arms. She was a lot heavier than Asriel, that was for sure.

"Sorry about this." I magnetically moved her metal-framed glasses out of the way and pulled open her eyelids...and gave her a dose of the Neuralizer pan. "This is all just a bad dream." I found myself quoting Asriel but too preoccupied to question it.

Undyne skidded to a stop, now in just her black wife-beater/tube dress garment and red and yellow heeled go-go boots.

"Hotland *explitive deleted*-ing sucks!" She panted, getting her breath.

She arrived just in time for me to haul Alphys up and away from the edge.

"She's going to be okay."

"You...! You saved her?"

"Of course I did."

"Heh...bastard...why'd you have to go and do something like that...heh.....how am I suppose to have a rematch against your stupid face when you go and do something like this?"

I lifted Alphys up into Undyne's arms, Undyne not quite expecting it.

"But...she deserves a better rescuer than me..."

"What the Hell...?"

"She should be rescued by a TRUE HERO. Not a fellow dork in a lab coat." I picked up my discarded equipment and packed it up.

"You..."

"I was just...a casual observer." I walked off, leaving Undyne to tend to her.

"I know I don't have to ask you to take care of her. Get her home. Make sure she gets some rest. And make sure she doesn't hang around too many more lava pits."

"...if you're expecting me to thank you--"

"Nah. Not really."

"Heh. Y'know...I don't feel much like punching your teeth in anymore. Hey. If I see you around again...drop by my place. I'll cook you up a meal and we can bond and become besties and stuff!"

Er...generous offer...but I was going to have to pass on getting a meal cooked by the one person whose spaghetti was WORSE than Papyrus'. Now I knew where he got his cooking lessons from.

"If we meet again!" I gave a wave without looking back. I made my way back to Deloreon. It was the first fight I actually felt good about in the end. And I got to smack Chara around a bit. She wouldn't forget that any time soon.
Alphys started to stir at that point.

"W-what h-happened? I...c-can't r-remember. It's...!"

"You big dork. If you didn't want to spend time with me, you could have just said so and not go jumping off a cliff into lava."

"U.....U-Undyne! Did...did you save me?"

Undyne bit her lip for just a moment. "Yeah. Totally."

"Ohhh..."

"Hey. Let's go back to your lab. We can watch anime together."

"Y-you m-mean it? With m-me?"

"Say yes before I change my mind and dunk you in the trash can again."

"Y-yes! Yes! Yes! A thousand time y-yes...er...I mean...(Oh god...)...I'd be honored."

"Let's get out of here. And really...you might want to wash up or something. You smell like dog food..."

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
End Transmission...
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  #32  
Old 04-25-2016, 01:45 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
King of crossovers..maybe
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 122
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----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 53: "Please can I be...Colorful and Free":

I considered what my next move would have been had the fight with Alphys NEO gone badly. Simple answer? Double back to Napstablook and ask if I could join him in lying on the ground and feeling like trash. Chances are I probably would have. But all was well that ended well.

I took the Deloreon back to Miranda City and parked it in the vehicle bay at UCIAT headquarters in time for Violet to wrap up a second session in LYOKO. Mitzi, Gadget, Pit, and Rotor's little brother, Skeeter had gone with Asriel for the ride into the Forest Sector. This time Dr. Nikita Lynx was on hand to personally oversee the quantum data analysis.

Asriel's eyes were still green. For the first time I had a thought that I considered might be related. Back in the Underground, Asgore had acquired six souls from six children that had fallen after Chara...which actually made Frisk the eighth child...not the seventh as I had originally counted. But that was not what drew my interest. I remembered something from what appeared to be a golf mini game. The flag at the end had some interesting things to say about the color of souls.

"Hmm... Bravery. Justice. Integrity. Kindness. Perseverance. Patience." I thought to myself.

"In order of apperance...orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, and cyan." I continued thinking.

And that reminded me that a green soul was the color of "kindness". And I had noticed Asriel had been particularly kind above all other traits I could have used to describe him since the inscident. At that the strangest thought occured to me...but I didn't have time to think it through as I had entered HQ and headed my way toward the elevator. And just in time as the doors opened and Bunnie and Sally were already there with the company of Asriel, Pit, Gadget, Mitzi, and Skeeter.

"Volt-san."

"Had an unexpected...deterrence in the road. Didn't make it to my goal again. Seems that complications have become normal faire. Oh well. Sooner or later, Major."

I was actually speaking about trying to meet Asgore, without letting on in front of Asriel.

"Do not be discouraged. All things in time, Volt-san."

Asriel looked up at Bunnie as if if he was anticipating her sagely advice.

"I know. I of all people don't have to be reminded." I rubbed the back of my head.
Bunnie nodded.

"Patience is the jewel on the crown of wisdom." She completed my thought for me, reciting the advice of the Triforce of Wisdom as it had spoken through Zelda a generation before my time as UCIAT.

"Patience..."

Asriel cocked his head. He looked like he had started to ponder things at the mention of a crown. The implication of royalty caused a familiar chord to resonate. Asriel had spent a good amount of time on this world, having forsaken the life of a prince. And yet, as the song goes, there was always something there to remind him.

"Of course. Remember the feeling of when you meditate with Grand Master Splinter and myself by the waterfall."

"Hmmm." Asriel blinked but indicated he seemed to understand.

"I remember when I used to scold our mutual friend about being patient in our old Ecotropian days, Bunnie." Sally mused.

"Ah yes. Him."

There was an unspoken understanding among the Ecotropians. While they had reforged their circle of friends from the "before times" of their once beautiful city kingdom, one member had remained missing to this day; the group's unspoken leader. While he did have a name, once...everyone among the remaining circle had agreed never to speak his name. Not as a slight, but out of respect; as some strange means of preserving his memory and keeping it pristine.

"Once you were discouraged by his lifestyle...his personality...his very free-spirit, care-free, borderline arrogant way of life. And now...you practically walk every day in his shoes." Bunnie smiled warmly.

"Despite me wearing Overdrive Sandals all the time? I don't think I could stand wearing pointed red and white high tops." Sally mused, lifiting a foot and flexing her toes a little. Then she turned sincere again.

"Yeah. I've been this way ever since my epiphany back in Technopolis. That time following my escape from Vortex Labs. I...wasn't in good place and I shut myself off to the world. So much so I missed out on so much happening in the outside world. Including your testimony against the directors of Vortex Labs when the trial of the century was going on. Despite how much was being talk about it for some time...it completely escaped my attention."

Sally rested the back of her head in her palms, interlocking her fingers and putting her elbows outward.

"But I guess I got bored of being broken. And I went sane. Very sane. And I started rethinking my life. And as Nikita will tell you...everything changed with the "Bowl Metaphor"."

"Bowl metaphor?" Asriel questioned.

"A philosophical insight I had. In so many words, I asked what my life was missing and the answer I came up with was "speed". Nikita clarified that the line between haste and speed was paper thin. Haste was speed beyond one's control; and thus impatience was the enemy of modern politics. But...if one were able to attain speed within the limits of their control...then speed was an advantage to be sought. In so many words... If one's bowl is full, then the faster the speed, the better. Then for great cause, the one with the greater speed has the bigger bowl. Thus it was possible to have speed and still have patience if you truly understood the paradox."

"It sounds...very complicated, Miss Sally."

"Well. I guess I just lead a lifestyle which finds a way to uncomplicate it. For me...things just make sense when you're in that speed world. That speed finally makes me understand what it was like for him. All the times I thought he was reckless and impatient...we just...aware of his suroundings. Of his instincts. He just...felt things. I was wrong for brushing him off and chastising him for being cocky and rude and impatient. He just...understood how the world really was. I just tried to understand it as the facts of my studies and the advice of my peers had made it to be. I wish I knew then what I knew now about the speed world."
Sally one arm down and sort of reached out to the sky as if she was accentuating her thoughts.

"When I'm in that special place...I find myself falling free, in the wind. I'm free to be me in the wind."

Sally almost seemed like a different person in that moment, the Peppermint Patty tomboyishness giving way to someone more scholarly.

"When I was in my dark place I felt so ashamed...so constrained...so to blame. But now I"m breaking out. I'm finally free."
I listened in, staying silent.

"It is good that you are remembering this. And appropriate on your special day, Sally." Bunnie smiled.

"I knew I wasn't going to get through the day without someone wishing me happy birthday. It might as well come from you first, Bunnie." Sally smiled.

"Ohh! I didn't know today was your birthday, Miss Sally!"

"It's not something I spread around. When you get to be our age you tend to brag about it less and start lying about how old you are just to feel younger for a little longer. But Hybrids like us...we really don't have to worry about feeling our age until we're at the end of our lives and our youthful apperance starts running its course. Some of us last into our early 100's before we start to whither and stop looking like college guys and gals."

Sally was back to lite-hearted again.

"Anyway...yeah...I guess it's weird that I still practice the virtue of patience in spite of a lifetyle that encourages me to go at mach speed. That's where it pays to be an effective, methodical planner ahead of time. And be flexible enough to adapt on the fly."

"I guess I'll figure out what you mean when I get older."

Asriel kinda looked off on a cloud, like he was really trying to figure out what he was suppose to take in from all this complicated grown up talk.
We reached the main entrance by that point. As soon as we exited the doors, who should be standing there but...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 54
: "The Peace Offering":

"Lupe." Bunnie acknowledged.

"Lupe?" Sally cocked her head.

Lupe was just kinda standing there. I could tell she had been waiting for a while but...she didn't look restless at all. It was kind of the same vibe I got from Asriel inside the Core space. Like the vibe you got from a person who was waiting for a bus that was never going to arrive.

"Miss...Lupe?" Asriel looked up at her. Lupe's eyes were hidden under the shadow of her hair. I sensed sadness.

"Can we talk?" She uttered with a voice easily as soft and frail as Asriel that night we had splashed down in Miranda's fountain.

Lupe dropped down to her knees before Asriel and covered her hands with her knees, bowing her head.

"I feel...I owe you and apology, my child."

At that moment she sounded like Toriel the way she addressed Asriel as "my child".

"But Miss Lupe...you didn't do anything wrong." Asriel assured.

"I know. But...you had such a traumatic and unpleasant experience. I cannot help but feel responsible. I know I was not aware of the pain of your past life. Yet I feel that is still no excuse for what I put you through."

Asriel looked away for a moment as if to confirm what I I suspected. He was...actually afraid of flowers.

"We're...both a little broken inside, aren't we?" He asked.

"Yes."

I saw a tear run down each each, from underneath the shadowed eyes.

"Lupe." Sally placed a hand on her shoulder. "We're kindred spirits, you know. We have a lot of emotional baggage. But we wear our scars on our sleeves. Metaphorically I mean. What I'm trying to say is...today's not a good day for sadness." Sally stepped back.

"The heart feels what the heart wants to feel." Bunnie assured Sally.
Asriel reached up and wiped Lupe's tears.

"Miss Sally is right. I'm not mad at you. I don't want you to blame yourself for anything. It was just meant to be. If I hadn't been there, who knows how long it would have taken me to open up to you all. I feel like...I just didn't want to get better. I didn't want my broken heart to heal. I just...did whatever made you all happy, not caring about my own happiness. I know now. I know that it's not selfish to take care of your own needs every so often."

"You are...very wise, young Asriel."

"I get that from my mom. Both of them." He smiled. It was amazing that he hadn't gotten misty-eyed himself.

"Listen...this is a little embarrassing...but...I think I am actually.....afraid of being around flowers. But...I don't want to be afraid anymore. I don't want Chara's memory...I don't know how to put this...dirtying my experiences with them?"

"Believe me, child. It makes perfect sense."

"What I think I'm asking is...will you help me get over my fear, Miss Lupe? I'm willing to come by the Nature Preserve as many times as it takes for me to work through it. I want to be able to be around flowers again. I want to wear a flower crown like I used to with Chara. I don't want to feel like being a "flower child" is something to be ashamed of. Please. I'll work with you as long as it takes to beat this thing."

Wow, Asriel. Just wow. I knew you were smart. I knew Asgore and Toriel had raised someone special. But at this moment...you just outright impressed me.

"Of course, my child."
Lupe spread her arms. Asriel graciously accepted the hug and embraced for a good long time. Lupe stood up again and patted him on the head. As soon as Asriel opened his eyes.

"What the...?"

"Hmm?" Lupe squinted a little as if she wasn't sure...but then she saw it too.

"Asriel. Your eyes. They changed color again!" I gasped.

"They have? What...what color are they now?"
Out came my hand mirror.

"They're as ice blue as Lupe's...like a cornflower or cyan." Sally observed.

"The color of patience..." I muttered to myself.

Was it possible...Asriel was absorbing the very essence of virtue from us? Was it his "pseudo code" reacting to his emotions?

"They're very pretty." Lupe might have actually been blushing.

"This is...going to take some getting used to.......but...I think I have all the time in the world to do so. I'm not in any hurry." Asriel smiled.

"Oh! I almost forgot."

"Hmm?"

"I guess what I'm really saying is I came to you with a peace offering." Lupe reached into her druid bag of holding.

"Normally when I make a peace offering to someone I need to apologize to I bring flowers but...I think it's obvious why that wouldn't be appropriate so..."

Asriel kinda sweat bulleted at that.

"So...I came up with something I thought would work better. Do you like fruit? I grow my own garden and I have a lot of luck with it."

"Sure. Fruit is healthy and tasty." Asriel answered.

He had no idea what he was in for. That was when Lupe pulled out a strawberry...the size of fortune teller's crystal ball. Asriel's eyes widened and his jaw dropped.

"It's...it's...it's HUUUUUGE!" He slapped his hands over his cheeks in disbelief.

"I know it's a bit much but...we can all split it together. Is this an okay gift to you?"

"Y-y-yes. I mean...you didn't have to get me anything but...it's...greatly appreciated."

"Oh yeah. That's a peace offering." I smirked.

Mitzi and the others had already gone their separate ways, not wanting to interrupt the conversation. But I knew Mitzi had headed back to Rock-Afire Pizza for another reason.

"Well. I suppose we should head to Rock-Afire Pizza. Mitzi should have your birthday cake ready, Sally."

"Oh joy. Another hour or two on the treadmills!" Sally snickered with a goofy grin.

"Now, Sally. You said you wouldn't complain about breaking your strict diet for a day." Bunnie prodded.

"I guess that's true. Okay. No age jokes and no whining about too much sugar and too many empty calories." Sally said, drawing an X over her heart just to drive the point home.

She then looked around at her surroundings.

"You know who needs to be here with me right now? My favorite mechanical partner."

Sally put two fingers to her mouth and gave a shrill whistle.

From around the block, the UCIAT Systems communication van, SWV-016 was parked--a navy blue and gold color schemed Scion xB. Violet nicknamed it "Soundwave". I had a feeling I knew why. It was probably the kind of think I probably wouldn't be bringing up around Professor Isaac Sumdac back in Neo Arcadia any time soon. Some...case history wasn't worth dredging up. But on that note, I wasn't against the notion of introducing Asriel to Sari.

At that the back doors open and a large black and silver panther robot with glowing red eyes charged out of and sprinted up to Sally and seated itself. Violet insisted on nicknaming him Ravage because of his laboratory designation and his unncanny appearance to...something else.

"Ahh! What's that?!" Asriel about jumped out of his sandals.

"This is UCIAT Systems Support Unit, RVG-Gamma. He's also my partner when I perform as D. J. Aelita."

"Partner?"

"Show him, Gamma. Convert and prepare to throw down and spin up!" Sally winked, giving a "number one" gesture in the way as Nintendo Power's own Nester.

With that Gamma took off running toward the park, then leaped into the air. The robot puma/panther began folding up and nanomorphically changing shape until he had mechanically metamorphed into a very large panel consisting of mixer boards and a pair of phonograph turntables at each end. He landed on a nearby picnic table across the way to the park and Sally walked over and set up some makeshift speakers and audio equipment she decompressed from her CHRONUS bracer. Once eveyrthing was plugged in and powered on, Sally slipped a set of vinyls onto each table and gave a quick demonstration of her D. J. Hero skills.

And soon we had a small dance party going. Asriel didn't waste a moment getting into it. We'd...get to Rock-Afire Pizza. It just might take a bit for Sally to wrap up her music mashup.

And wind down it did. And we were off to Rock-Afire Pizza where Mitzi had the cake and ice cream ready. As was traditional with the Hybrids, each of their birthdays was celebrated with a cake of their specific color and flavor request. For Mitzi it was always a lime flavored one that was as green as her cheerleader dress and sandals. For Gadget, it was purple grape. For Sally, blueberry fudgecake. For Bunnie, pink strawberry. For Lupe, white mint chocolate chip. For Violet, it was orange carrot cake. For Rotor it was always a set of cupcakes in the shape of a fish.

And it completely escaped my attention until that moment in time. When was Asriel's birthday? How old was he...I mean minus the 100 years? And related but offhandedly...would we really have to get him a snail pie for when we DID celebrate it?
Oh well...I'd debate these questions...another day. For now...I felt this day wasn't a good day for sadness. No. This was a good day to celebrate life and freedom. And this life was made of love and peace as a certain red-coated, spiky blondhaired donut-scarfer would say.

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Old 04-29-2016, 01:34 AM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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With this update, the story continues...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 55: "Odd Couple, Rabbit Edition":

By this point Callista and Scott had gotten Asriel enrolled in a proper school. I was nervous and had about a hundred worries about him going from home-schooled to public education. I'm sure Callista shared at least some of my concerns about what he'd pick up from the other kids. Violet joked that it would consist of butt and fart jokes. I of course responded to her in the appropriate manner...by thwapping her upside the head and letting her know she was not helping.

I had only gotten back from taking a short road trip in the 57' Chevy. School had likely let out so that meant if Asriel hadn't gone straight home, he probably headed to either Rabbotou Dojo or Computer Valhalla. As just a formality, Callista had gotten him a cell phone......I was beginning to suspect there was an unseen umbilical cord linking our world with the UTPR world. This was a textbook Toriel move. All I had to do now was overhear Callista on the other end saying that an annoying dog had run off with her phone while grocery shopping. I'd come to the conclusion things stopped being "coincidence" a long time ago and Lady Destiny and Madam Fate were just messing with us all.

I laid back in a lawn chair in front of my shop, propping up my bare feet, having just lowered my shades.
That was when I saw the wooden O-frame of the "Senkaimon" gateway materialize in midair with a hazy pink aura. The gate opened and out from the pure white light stepped a familiar rabbit-eared silhouette. Bunnie came forth, clad in an all-too-familiar black kimono, tabi toe-socks, rope sandals, and personlized accesories. While she was likely invisible to everyone else, I could see her having been a substitute shinigami myself at one point. But what really drew my attention was that she was wearing her metal kenseiken hair pieces in her bangs.

"Business in the Seireitei, Major?"

"Just a soiree amongst the four noble houses of the Soul Society, Volt-san."

"I see the Kuchiki clan still acknowledges you as nobility."

"Do not let Byakuya-kun's emotionless demeanor intimidate you. He really is a sweetheart underneath it all. Deceptively impatient. Even more stoic than myself. But he does truly care about his sister."
"Did you give my regards to Rukia?"

"She says hello. And something about giving Ichigo a bop on the head?"

"Ugh...some friendships couldn't be stranger, huh?"

"I should know considering the time I've invested in my friendship with Violet." Bunnie mused.

"Anyway." Bunnie gave a sudden snap of the fingers as her physical body suddenly came running up.

"Welcome back Way-dee Bunnie! I missed you wots and wots! Did you bwing back candy and tweats? Pweeze say yes!"

Erf...it was...undignified hearing Bunnie's physical form use such baby-talk.

"Major? Are you still using Chappy the Rabbit soul candy?" I said with a sweat bullet the size of Asriel's hand.

Bunnie only gave me a sly smirk.
A quick merge and replacing of the soul candy back into its container.

"I'm not going to say anything."

"Good. Because I'm not going to explain anything."

Bunnie retied her Zero-esque ponytail. Then she checked her Shodouphone.
"Callista-hakase messaged me. Asriel went to Computer Valhalla after finishing his homework at school."

"He finished his homework at school? Kinda defeats the purpose of calling it "home" work, doncha think?"

"I suppose it is unusual compared to the average child his age. But I would like to believe that it is Toriel's influence. I shall have to meet her some day."

"Some day, Major. You're the first person I'll bring there. Screw the rules. I've already made my mark in UTPR-3224. I'll avoid interaction when A.E.O.N. tells me the chronal contamination is enough to cause a major paradox."

"You are definitely one to trust your insticts, Volt. I respect that about you; no one knows what's feasible to the space-time continuum as well as you."
"I should thank you and Violet for being professional about how much I've let you know about my outside world."

"No more talk about work. Let us consider the art of play."

"Major! Please don't tell me you're into Segata Sanshiro worship, too!" I whined, trying to sound serious but failing.

"Segata Sanshiro will forever live in our hearts."
She said with a sly smirk.

This had to be the most jubilant I'd seen her in a while. I guess her time with Yoroichi Shihoen, Byakuya Kuchiki and the other two noble houses did her some good. I guessed that Megami handled the martial arts lessons with Nikita Lynx serving as translator while Bunnie was out.
We headed to Computer Valhalla.

Bunnie's moments of whimsy soon returned to stoic.

"Not subtle." She lowered an eyebrow.

"Brace yoruself." I pressed the doorbell button. And we were immediately greeted by more Skrillex.

"I swear, Bunnie, if I have to listen to more of that I'm going to bang-a-rang that bunny girl to pieces."

The door opened with the lights, display, fog and of course the end credits music to Tron Legacy.

"At least she's not taking the MRC-Zero gyrocycle out at night for illegal drift races again." I rubbed my eyelids.

I picked up the red quill and signed in.

ACKNOWLEDGED, USER VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE. PASSWORD: WISEFROMYOURGRAVE

I let Bunnie sign in next.

ACKNOWEDGED, USER BUNNIE MEIRU RABBOTOU. PASSWORD: OHMYSTARSWHATTHEHOOHAA

"And I thought my password was bad."

"Sometimes I wish she wouldn't make light of mamma's Southern drawl."

There was Violet on stage with her cosplay troupe.

"This one goes out to all you 80's babies! We're gonna take you back to the Sun Beneath the Sea!"

I about face-palmed at the mohawk wig and the fat suit. And I soon recognized the familiar "La Danse des Fi Pirates: Hymn of the Sacred Pirates" from Les Mondes Engloutis. Better known as the "Pirates Upon the High Seas" song from Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea.

"Ugh...of all the things she'd cosplay as today, Mass Media was the last person I would have pegged her to be on stage as." I muttered as she took her place with the other three cosplaying as Mighty Matt, Nasty Max, and Sleazer Phil.

"Consider yourself fortunate you weren't here for the tribute to Silverhawks." Bunnie replied as the show went on.

"Bunnie, I want that image stricken from the record... ...and my mind."

I shuddered at picturing Violet in that much skin-tight metal. I could only imagine what kind of things she'd do with Metatton's fashion sense.

[U]----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----[/B]

Sub-Entry 56: "Violet's Thing for Memes and S***posts":

The show wrapped up and Vi hopped of stage and made her way to us.

"Enjoying yourselves, beauties?"

"You were in rare form, Violetton."

"I sense tension. What's wrong, Commander? Did I get the proportions wrong."

"First of all, Violet I'm not about to have a discussion about Mass Media that I know you'll turn into something NSFW. Second of all, where's Asriel? You were supposed to be watching him."

Violet disappeared behind a folding changing station, tossing out the outfit, fat suit, and wig. She seductively kicked out a bare leg, in what I could only assume was an attempt at a Metatton kick.

Violet then ducked back out in her usual cyan and blue kimono and sandals. She took a moment to adjust her tiny crown.

"Relax, Commander. I gave him a stack of tokens and turned him loose on the pinball arcade over yonder. Told him they were low-tech puzzle games and he took to them like a cop in a donut factory."

"If you had said a goat to garbage I would have slugged you." I smoldered.

Violet wheeled herself over to her bank of workstations and tinkered around, shuffling through windows and then picking up a graphics tablet and stylus. And then my jaw about hit the floor.

"V-Violet?! What in the actual Hell, girl?! Is that a picture of...Toriel...VAPING?!"

"I know, right? This meme is gonna be huge--"

"Violet Usako Tokugawa!" Bunnie snapped.

"Oooooh. She middle-named you."

"Do you not understand how inappropriate this is? If Asriel-kun sees this, do you have any idea what kind of complications this will cause?"

"What? Not cool? Because I crop it so you don't see the--"

"うるさい, ばか!" [Urusai, baka!]. Which I knew translated to "Shut up, you idiot!"

"Violet, I swear to Thomas Alva Edison if I see one pixel of this on the Miranda Internet."

"Okay, okay. Relax. I hear you. Nobody's going to see--"

"Oh wow, Aunt Vi! Did you make this? It looks just like mamma!"

FFFFFFFF--!

"Er...Azzy!" I whirled.

"I...I can explain."

"You sure have a lot of talent. It looks like she must be in Snowdin on a cold day because you can see her breath."

What.

"Yes. Yes, that is exactly the case." Bunnie suddenly spoke up.

"I still have a lot of questions about how you guys know so much about my old life and my old family...but it's nice that you think of me every now and then. Thank you for being so thoughtful!" Asriel said with a big, bright, closed-eyes smile then hurried off to one of the other coin operated machines.

"You dodged a bullet this time, Violet." I smoldered.
"I suggest you make modifications to this little artwork of yours before you even think about posting it."

"Awwww, maaaan. I just know someone's going to beat me to the punch on this."

"You need to get your priorities straight, "best friend"." Bunnie put her hands on her hips. Then she lightly booped Vi on the snoot.

"Tell you what, Violet. You can make it up to us with fruit smoothies. I know that juice bar over there isn't just a carry-over from Angel Grove."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 57: "Fruit and Ice Ice, Baby! It's Nice Nice, Baby!"

"Well it was either a tribute to Ernie's Gym and Juice Bar or our own Ernie's Brain Freeze."

I didn't press it further.

"So what'll it be? I know what I'm making for me. Good ole orange-carrot."

"I'm thinking something with blueberries, blackberries, a banana, maybe a bit of honey to sweeten. Some odds and ends of the vegetable kingdom. You know a nice little B-complex cocktail."

"Hmm...strawberry. Kiwi. Maybe some dragonfruit. A bit of banana and a squeeze of lime. Add a couple cherries with the pits removed."

"And make one up for Asriel. Not really sure what his preference is."

"I'll try something tropical. Orange, pineapple, throw in some starfruit, a little honey and some coconut milk. Maybe a guava or two with a papaya."

Violet got to mixing.

"So. You going to tell Asriel how the two of you met?" I asked Bunnie as I had a seat at the bar.

"I think it's only fair. After that...I'll consider an appropriate time to show him my...big secret." Bunnie said, rolling her gi's sleep down and clenching her fist slightly. I could see the neon pink nano-circuit tracks seem to carve their way out of Bunnie's flesh and fur. But she decided not to complete the transformation and let the cybermorph fade back.

"We all have a lot we need to reveal to him in time, don't we?"

Soon enough Asriel had gone through the last of his tokens and joined us at the bar.

"That was really fun, Aunt Violet. We never had anything like pinball machines back in the underground."

That was logical. I couldn't imagine the humans dumping an entire pinball machine among the rest of the throwaways of their world that ended up in the trash dump not far from Napstablook's place. Alphys had spent a lot of time in that area, herself when she wasn't staring down into the abyss overlooking the waterfall. Really...when I saw her doing that it made me really nervous.

I had seen Asgore...do the cowardly deed when his own sins were too much for him to bear. The thought of Alphys finally breaking down and making a very permanent end to a temporary problem...this was the kind of thing that I wouldn't hesitate to spend all night trying to talk her out of it if it ever came to that. Oh gods...subject change. Like NOW. My worrywort side was in full-on overload and I wasn't doing my stress levels any favors thinking such morbid thoughts about people I now considered friends.

The whir of Violet's blenders however broke up my morbid train of thought. And my potential panic was calmed by Bunnie's hand on my shoulder. There was just no hiding my emotional state from her Sixth Sense.

Asriel had a seat on the stool between Bunnie and me. Violet served up our drinks and plopped down on Bunnie's right.

"Cheers, my ho-mies and bro-mies."

Bunnie gave a scolding look which indicated that was dangerously close to crossing the line of inappropriate.

"What is this, Aunt Violet?"

"Fruit smoothie. Blend of different fruits and vegetables. A little shredded ice for consistency."

"Fruits...AND vegetables?" Asriel cocked his head a little unsure.

"Of course. The taste of the fruit overpowers the taste of the vegetables. The result is quite delicious and nutritious." Bunnie assured.

Asriel looked at it then took a sip. And his eyes just lit up brighter than the pinball tables. And he started sipping away at curly straw.

"And there you go." Violet grinned.

"So. Want to hear the story of how Bunnie and I met?"

"Do I?!"

Asriel brought his knuckles up under his grinning mouth in that gleeful starry-eyes look I had come to recognize.

His response reminded me of Freakazoid habitually accepting the invitations of on police officer named Mike Cosgrove to take part in random outings such as the honey festival and the offer to watch a bear on a unicycle.

And at the same time I was beginning to draw parallels between him and Steven Universe that were only slightly uncanny.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 58: "A Tale of Two Rabbits, second revision":

"I had joined the Ultra Crew Institute after a time of recovery, having been rescued from the illegal military laboratory, Vortex. Neo Arcadia built a case against them and was soon able to legally prosecute them for war crimes toward the end of the Vorostov Conflict. As a means of cooperating with our government, what was left of its leaders decided to cut loose their secret society's brainchild, metaphorically throwing them to the wolves."

Bunnie began.

"In the months after, I began as a rookie field agent on the condition I could travel the world and seek out various masters of the martial arts to complete my training and hopefully fill in the gaps of my father's teachings. I had a lot of legacy to learn about if I was going to be the heir of all that belonged to the Rabbotou Clan. I absorbed what I could from my family mansion-temple--a gift of the Shiba Family that we had served under for eighteen generations. When I left my beloved Jang for the second time I left it in the care of our family's ward and bodyguard--the ronin samurai, Miyamoto Usagi. Known in our circle as "Usagi Yojimbo". Which means "rabbit bodyguard", fittingly enough."

"Or "bae" as I know him." Violet interrupted.

"Bae?"

I sighed. "Boyfriend."

"We have a long-distance relationship." Vi said with a wink.

"May I continue, Violet?" I could almost see the anime throbbing vein on her forehead.

"By all means, best friend." Vi said with a cheesey grin.

"As my skills, knowledge, and wisdom grew, so did the emptiness in my heart. I had many peers and collegues but I was too broken inside to accept friendships. Which only made me feel sad and alone inside."

"Ohhh..." Asriel looked wistful.

"I completed my missions flawlessly. It was then when the C.E.O. of Arcade Industries, the head founder of Ultra Crew Institute Action Team, and Volt-san's father figure called me into his office with an...unusual assignment for me."

Violet was already grinning.

"It was to be a diplomatic mission to Little Tokyo, Edoropia. As a gesture of good will and a means of mending a fractured allience with the country following complications with the Vorostov Conflict."

"As I recall I wanted to hang them all by their--"

"Ahem." I cut in, interrupting Violet from getting very gruesome.

"I was to meet with its active ruler, its princess. But Dr. Arcade neglected to tell me that I had an unspoken advantage as a Jangese. It seemed the princess of Little Tokyo was what we call "weeaboo". One who is obsessively respectful of another country's culture to the point of forsaking their own."

"I prefer to think of it as ambitiously otaku."

"What none of us knew was how much of a firecracker and tomboy you were, sneaking out of the palace in disguise to avoid a boring diplomatic meeting where some stranger would attempt to....how did you put it?"

"As I recall the same thing that politicians do when they're around the voters---lie to me and kiss my butt."

Asriel sweat bulleted.

"She means patronize not...literally doing...that."

"Oh."

"So. It was complete chance that we literally bumped into each other because we were wrapped up on our own thoughts and not paying attention to where we were going. We crashed into each other with such force we knocked each other down. Back in those times Violet was...much angrier and her fuse was a lot shorter."

"Oh I was PISSED. I got in her face and got all vindictive and demanded an apology. I talked all that trash like I was Veronica from the Archie Comics. And you know what happened? I got into a fight."

"I would hardly call it that."

"Oh I came out swinging and winging and singing song of your impending loss. If I had known wat Mercenaries 2 was back then I would have done a whole bit to "Oh No You Didn't!"

"I'm glad you're finding humor in it, Vi. As I recall I subdued you in three moves and had you trying to save face by asking if we could call it a draw."
"Eheh...you're totally ruining my street cred, Buns."

"WHAT street cred, Vi?" I crossed my arms.

"Did you...get hurt?" Asriel looked sad.

"Only her pride."

"Well...afterward we made up and when I was thinking clearly again I noticed she was Jangese and I just got all fangirl on her. Well. To make a long story short I'd meet her again at the palace and things just went swimmingly from there."

"It was...the beginning of an unusual friendship, I admit. But...."

Bunnie looked at Violet.

"I don't regret a minute of it."

She put an arm around Violet and Violet put an arm around Bunnie. And the two of them touched their foreheads together and closed their eyes, just taking in the moment of silence. It was a sisterhood that I rarely saw. Just two rabbits knowing each other. Understanding each other. Respecting each other. It was what it was and nothing more. This was all the proof anyone needed how close they were as best friends. The oddest of odd couples--a straight arrow and a firecracker. Opposites attract and form the strongest of bonds.

"That's an amazing story, Bunnie-sensei. Aunt Violet."

"Glad to share it, Cinnamon Roll."

"Still...not crazy about the nickname."

"It'll grow on you. Promise."

"I...have kind of issues with promises. Just...give me your word and that'll be enough."

Asriel's awkward expression told how much he was trying to be polite about it.

"Deal."

By then we had finished our drinks.

"Thanks again, Violet. For being actually responsible."

"Come back any time, beauties! And remember--"

"Stay fresh!!!" We all said in unison.

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Old 05-04-2016, 06:31 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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UPDATE TIME!

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 59: "Preparing for a double-celebration":
"Volt? How come everyone is so busy lately?"

"Well, Asriel. We're making a lot of long-term plans right now. And at the same time we're getting ready for Bunnie's birthday this week. It's on May 5th which is kind of a big holiday in her native land of Jang."

"Her birthday is a holiday? That's so lucky!"

"Yes. The Jangese call it "Kodomo no Hi". In old times it was called Boy's Day but now it's more commonly called Children's Day. And wouldn't you know it, that date is also the day of Cinco de Mayo in another country. Both are unique celebrations in themselves."

"Woooow. That's so c-- ...er...amazing."

"Starting to feel like you're wearing the word "cool" out?"

We both laughed at that.

"So...how is Kodomo no Hi celebrated?"

Asriel's pronounciation had really improved. As soon as he figured out the vowels, everything else fell into place. I had a feeling Bunnie would have him versed in the katakana and hiragana alphabets before long. And that made me think back to what I had jokingly pondered about him being a potential child prodigy.

"Well..." I reached into my pocket and found the pamphlet from last year's celebration.

I cleared my throat and recited word for word the pamphlet's description.

"Originally known as Tango no Sekku (seasonal festival of the edge/first noon), it was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth moon of the Xing calendar. It was then moved to May 5th after the Jang calendar system was amended. Before this day, families raise the carp-shaped "koinobori" flags (carp because of the Xingese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon, and the way the flags blow in the wind looks like they are swimming), one for each boy (or child), display a Kintarou doll usually riding on a large carp, and the traditional Japanese military helmet, kabuto. Kintarou and the kabuto are symbols of a strong and healthy boy. Kintarou is the childhood name of "Sakata no Kintoki" who was a hero in the Kyouto period, a subordinate samurai of Minamoto no Raikou, having been famous for his strength when he was a child. It is said that Kintarou rode a bear, instead of a horse, and played with animals in the mountains when he was a young boy."

I continued.

"Mochi rice cakes wrapped in kashiwa (oak) leaves—kashiwa-mochi (just like regular mochi, but is also filled with red beans jam) and chimaki (a kind of "sweet rice paste", wrapped in an iris or bamboo leaf)—are traditionally served on this day. The black carp (Magoi) at the top represents the father, the red carp (Higoi) represents the mother, and the last carp represents the son, with an additional carp added for each subsequent son with color and position denoting their relative age."

I rubbed my chin.

"Despite being the only surviving member of the Rabbotou Clan, Bunnie continues to fly the traditional colors of the koinobori, using the black and red to represent the memory of her parents, and the additional carps to represent her dojo's male students rather than herself and her sister, Bunnette."

"That's really neat!"

"Y'know...with you here, she just might have another koinobori to fly in your honor."

"For me? I...I...I..." Asriel looked overwhelmed. "I...don't know what to say."

"How about when you see her..."thank-you"." I smiled.

"Hmm-hmmm!" Asriel gripped his fists with and nodded with that determined look.

Well...no sign of him liquifying or anything...but then again his eyes were still icy cyan so I guess it was okay. It still made me nervous wondering how natural determination was affecting him.

"If we had anything like this in the Underground I--"

Asriel stopped short. Then he kinda looked down, noticing he was grasping around his neck, like he was expecting something to be there.
Oh. Chara again. Probably had his thoughts on the heart-shaped locket. But...Chara's spirit had it...not sure how that was possible for a ghost. Unless...unless it was like those Horcruxes from the Hogworts School that Lord Voldemort had divided his soul into. And brother, Chara had to be guilty of more acts of murder through Frisk's hands than I could ever calculate. I guess in that world, it didn't divide the soul. But it was a sure-fire way to increase one's level of violence. But...why would Asriel be subconsciously expecting it around his own neck?

"Sorry. For a moment I...expected something to be there."

"Was it something precious to you?"

"Yeah. You remember when I told you about the locket I gave to Chara?"

"...oh...that. Umm...yes? What about it?"

"It was...well...one of a matching pair."

What? There were two? Why didn't I know about-- And then I almost gasped when I thought back to all the instances, all the timelines, ever time I had watched Asriel abandon Flowey's form. Something golden around his neck... And then again...that same locket but...it had turned into a red energy form when he had become the Absolute God of Hyperdeath. And yes...it seemed as though it completely merged with him in his final form...

"Oh. I see."

Son of a gun. If Chara had one...where did the other disappear to? In the other instances where Asriel had turned to dust it had to have dropped into the flower bed. I don't remember seeing it anywhere in the Core. He had to have been wearing it the time before he dropped into the void. Which meant it must've been scattered to...somewhere else in time and space. Was there a chance it still existed despite the timeline being destroyed?

"Nevermind. It's...it's just part of my past now."

Asriel tried to smile...and I could tell it was faked pretty hard. It was the smile of someone trying to cover up their pain and regret to spare others the same feeling.
"What...were you going to say? About the holiday, if it's okay to ask?"

"Just that...even though Chara was a girl I'd still celebrate with her. But I guess it's okay since Bunnie told me about Hina Matsuri on March 3rd. Doll Festival, I think? It's like a Girls' Day, right? We would each have our own holiday to celebrate, y'know."

"Asriel...are you okay...thinking about her right now?"

A moment of silence.

"I guess...it's harder to let go than I thought. I...just want to remember the good in her. Sure she was mean to me and tricked me a lot but...she could also be...kinda..."

"I get you. Yeah. Even someone like Chara has to have some goodness in them. This is just one of those days it's hard to put the past under lock and key, right?"

"Right." Asriel's gaze fell.

The mood was somber only for a moment because at that time.

"Asriel!!!" Gadget's voice broke the moment as she tacklehugged him from behind.

"Gaaah!" Asriel's look of scared surprise was beyond priceless.

"Hey, Asriel." Rotor waved as he made the scene.

"Oh, hey, Mr. Rotor."

"Rotor. Just Rotor. "Mister" makes me feel old."

"I hear that a lot around here."

"You'll understand when you get to be our age."

"I guess so." Asriel looked on. "So...you really haven't said much about yourself, Rotor. You're kinda quiet compared to everyone else."

"I guess I am. Not a lot to talk about I guess...I'm just...me."

"Mr. Rotor is just modest. He used to be the the assistant of the Minister of Science back in Ecotropia!"

"That sounds really important! Is that anything like a Royal Scientist?"

"Kinda..." Rotor looked pink in the cheeks and was getting pinker the more Gadget was flattering him.

"Gadget, I'm just a humble plumber."

"Here, let me show you the Tesla turbine blender we're working on--"

"Uh...maybe you better not, little sister."

"I've still got yogurt and blueberry stains in my other coveralls from the last "dry" run..." Rotor muttered offhandedly.

"Huh?"

"Oh uh...nothing."

"Huh...I guess I didn't pack it. Oh well...I'll tinker with something else."

Gadget fished out various broken pieces of electronics, junk parts, and recyclables. Some of...not quite normal size; like thumbtacks the size of coffee cups, and an engine's intake manifold the size of an art eraser.

"Resized them before you packed them, huh?"

Gadget nodded.

I would have to tell Asriel about Gadget's hybrid ability and her need to use her Reduction Belt in order to even use it. Violet often joked little sister was our world's version of Ant Man or the Atom. Maybe it was time for UCIAT to begin correspondence with Henry Pymm and Ray Palmer...but that would be another science project for another time.

"Well if you're going to build something new, I have something to contribute."

Rotor hurried over to his plumbing van and opened the back before pulling out a large, complicated-looking piece of machinery.

"It's...kinda big. I can't use all of this--"

"I'll give you a hand with that." Rotor said as his eyes lit up with a hazy neon aquamarine glow.

At that the machine lifted up out of his grasp and suddenly dismantled into all of its parts at the same time; each screw, wire, and component hovering in an exploded mass in mid air. The components lowered to the ground and mixed with Gadget's pile.

"Neat!" Asriel looked very impressed. "You've got super powers, too!"

"Many Hybrids do, Azzy."

"Here. Let me try a magic spell that Mom taught me." Asriel cupped his hands together and focused...and focused...and focused...

"...it's...it's not working." He sounded surprised and disappointed.
A bit more trying and Asriel gave up with the saddest look I had seen on him in a while.

"I...I can't use magic anymore..."

I could tell how upsetting it was. I guess it was time for Sarina to have another look at him.

"It's okay, Asriel. We'll figure out what's going on. Don't let it upset you."

"O...okay..." Asriel said with a sniffle.

"Maybe his magic is incompatible with our world or something." Rotor scratched a tusk.
"I can't say I understand much about it."

"Asriel...don't be hung up on what you've lost. Be thankful for what you've gained."

I felt compelled to search for the missing locket in the Timelines. But a gut feeling compelled me to believe any attempt to restore Asriel's magic powers was futile.
I guess none of us were prepared for--

"OOF!!!" Asriel was suddenly knocked down by something small, furry and...racoon-like.

"What the...!"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 60
: "Fantanstic Beasts and Where to Find Them (in Miranda)..."

"KUMA!!! KUMAAAA! KUMA, COME BACK HERE! Oh...Violet's gonna decompile me and turn me into a Tamagotchi if you stray too far from the matter-wave holo-projector! You know you can't exist beyond the range of my holo-puck! Your energy will give out and you'll fractilize and become scattered photons and ions! Kuma! Kuma, come on! Don't do this to me now!"

I knew that voice.

"Glitter?"

I saw the young, winged girl coming toward us. SHe was human-sized but she was unmistakably a faerie. Glitter sort of resembled Olivia Newton-John from the old "Let's Get Physical" music video. Pink cut-off blouse with shoulder cuffs, matching pink tights with a an outer swimsuit bottom over top of it. Pink headband. And pink legwarmers with slip-on shoes. And sparkly wings which only made her name fitting.

Asriel looked at what had landed on him. It appeared to be some breed of raccoon and a small albino monkey. Light greyish and white, yellow-green eyes.

"Violet's digital construct get loose again?"

"Digital...construct?" Asriel questioned.

"Yeah...an artificial life form. He's not made of flesh and blood like you and me. He's made of computer code, compressed magnetism, and quantum-entangled photons."

"That's...a lot of...big words I don't understand."

"It's...like illusionary magic. He's an illusion that can be touched."

"He feels solid...but...something's...off about him. I...think.." Asriel looked up at me.

"Is...is he...souless?"

My face fell.

"There...used to be a real Kuma once. A pet of the members of anti-crime/anti-terrorism organization, Pole Position, long before my time. Even before the N-Division. But...he passed on a long time ago. Violet...recreated him with her computer technology and made him as real as possible but...you...can't really give a soul to something like Kuma. He's just a computer program. There isn't a way to digitize a soul."

Kuma chittered a little and reached up with his tiny paws and wiped Asriel's tears.

"But that's not to say he doesn't have intelligence. Violet made him as lifelike as the original Kuma as possible."

"I guess I have that in common with him." Glitter said as she landed, resting her faerie wings.

"I'm a construct, too. A virtual intelligence. I'm the operating system to one of Violet's mission-type computer gauntlets. Oh, my name is Glitter, by the way."

Glitter's shape and form kinda flickered, a haze of television static washing over her the holo-projector puck experienced a minor glitch for a second.

"Hello, Miss Glitter."

"Anyway....Violet's out at the moment so she left me to look after things. But I'm not alone."

"Hmm?" Gadget looked up as if she recognized something.

She turned just in time to see the craziest make-shifted vehicle arrive in the square; made of odds, ends, and an ivory bathtub...?

"Uncle Gyro!" She suddenly hopped up and greeted the newcomer. A conspicuous red-haired, white feathered goose-hybrid. He was dressed a bit...old-timey and wearing tiny spectacles.

"It's good to see you, Gadget!" Came the response of one Professor Gyro Gearloose.

He and Gadget were no more related than Gadget and I were but he'd always been like an uncle to us both growing up. Perched on his shoulder was Lil' Bulb. His makeshifted robot assistant made from small robot parts. As his name suggested, he had a light bulb for a head. The bulb glowed as the tiny machine purred a bit.

"Violet asked me to keep an eye on her constructs while she was out. I hope they haven't been too much trouble."

"Professor, you're not eating and driving again, are you?" I asked.

"Oh, how rude of me. Did you want a bite of my broccoli, pickle, kale, tomato, bok choy, and cheese sandwich? I also have an eggplant, savoy, mung bean, and endive smoothie if you'd like."

Ick. That's way too much vegetable for a person to consider normal.

"Er...no thanks, Professor."

"So many new people arriving." Asriel seemed a bit overwhelmed.

"So are you holding up, okay, Glitter? Any glitches or sub-routine problems?"

"No, all is well." Glitter said, re-sizing herself, shrinking her faux body.

It was then I could actually see the holo-projector puck that was normally installed in Violet's GTR-084 CyberDrive Gauntlet. She assumed her more familiar Tinkerbell size and hovered over to Kuma.

"Bad raccoon-creature! You get off that poor boy, right now!" She said hopping up and down on Kuma's nose, gently.

Kuma scampered off Asriel.

"I'm sorry about that. He gets that way after someone uploads a virtual E-Can or a digital soda binary to him."

"Heh. We can't give you guys a soul but we can still simulate the process of eating, drinking, and such."

"Speaking of which." Glitter opened a file much the same as one of our hololyths.

From it decompressed a box of saltines...at least they looked like them. But they were just so many lines of code. Glitter popped the box open and helped herself to the electronic crackers.

"Well glad to see it, but now that leaves me with a cleaned out in-box." It was obvious the Professor felt like staying busy with his science.

"Maybe you could help Rotor and Gadget with make-shifting some new things." I suggested.

And so they did. It wasn't long before Tithius had managed to find his way to our little mini soiree. He was no doubt hoping for another lunar cycle cookout so he could snag some steaks. Or maybe convince one of us he was adorable enough to deserve some free treats. Asriel cautiously welcomed the wyrmling dragon over and petted him though he was quite lacking in the food in treats department.

I saw Chameleon out of the corner of my eye, arms crossed and eyeing us all...but otherwise he made no indication that we were in for a bad time. I had a feeling it wouldn't be long though before he did decide to acknowledge Asriel. I hoped he at least kept it civil. I know he didn't like rabites, and I know that he really didn't like Violet. And if I caught him in a bad mood after something like David paying him a visit to voice the Dragon Council's concerns or worse his loyal adrenaline junkie subordinate, the wolf abhuman known as Ripper pulling some reckless stunt involving skates and rocket boosters, then the only course of action would be to send Asriel running for the hills before things got real.

I was beginning to worry that the attention Asriel would be getting was going to snowball. But eventually things quieted down and everyone went their separate ways.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 61: "Hope Comes in Many Forms...Sometimes From Hopeless Ones..."

No New Year's Day to celebrate. No chocoate candy hearts to give away. No first of spring, no songs to bring. In fact...the next day proved to be just another ordinary day. One more day until Bunnie's big day.

Speaking of, it seemed as the Ecotropians had the same idea to join us at the fountain. Whether it was Bunnie deciding to meditate, Sally challenging herself with sports-stacking cups, Lupe sharing another bounty of impossibly large fruit, or Rotor working on the nearby drinking fountains an sprinklers with Skeeter, each fell into his or her own comfortable niche.

"AIIIIIYIIIIIIIIIIIIE! Sacre bleu cheese!" The sound of a French coyote sailing through the air after being literally thrown out of a restaurant was...sadly nothing new. And even more sadly expected by this point.

So of course the peace would be broken up by the unexpected arrival of UCIAT's own public annoyance and borderline offensive foreign stereotype, Antoine D'Cooliette. I probably should have warned Asriel in advance that out of everyone in UCIAT, Antoine was the only person harder to put up with than Violet.

At least Vi had her usefulness and resources. Antoine was an Ecotropian refugee and thus we had to ensure him shelter and asylum or it would look very bad for Miranda's image to kick him out.

"Mon dieu...what a terr-ee-ble experience. I am think-eeng zat' they are not appreciating my greatness. Hah! I say to them and hah again! Those fyoo-els will rue ze' day they cast out Antoine D'Cooliette!"

Bunnie, Sally, Rotor, and Lupe all face-palmed at the same time. I just shook my head. And Asriel just sat there with his mouth hanging open, not sure what he just saw.

To be very blunt, no one in his old Ecotropian circle had enough patience to outlast his snotty and rude personality or his tendancy to be a blowhard.

Even Bunnie had her limits to what she would tolerate. But the one who had it worst was Sally. Unrequited love was a killer and frankly Antoine couldn't take the hint that she wanted nothing to do with him. Ever since he was 8 or 9, Antoine had a crush on her. And he just could not stop smothering her.

It was a mystery what all had happened after the fall of Ecotropia.

Obviously he never ended up in Vortex or Bunnie and Sally would have known.

Rotor never saw him during his family's trek through Vorostov's badlands.

Lupe never really met the others until after UCIAT had discovered where her people had carved out a life behind the borders of the secret Vorostovian Reservation that hid them away from the world--she wasn't introduced to us until Bunnie had personally overseen the relocation of the Wolf Tribe to Neo Arcadia City. So the big question is...what happened to Antoine aside from witnessing his own family assassinations that broke him even further?

Technically Antoine wasn't even cleared for active duty. He had yet to pass Violet's psychiatric examinations. Besides Callista, Violet was the only one of us with a degree in psychology in addition to her doctorates in mathematics, computer science, and genetics. And she just found more and more creative ways to entertain herself while borderline psychologically torturing him in the name of medical science. It wasn't that she enjoyed tormenting him with couch sessions, ink blot tests. He just made it too easy to write it off that he had it coming.

It was a lovely day. Until now.

Sally quickly zipped to the closet available hiding spot, hoping to ride out whatever we were in for.

"Antoine, does Violet know you're out of your rubber room?" I prodded, knowing that Violet had let him out and into normal sleeping quarters a while back for good behavior following the last time he was "committed" to the psychiatric ward under Violet's orders.

Antoine, I could describe as being one part Papyrus and one part Metatton, and all grating on your nerves.

"I am not spend-eeng another moment in zat' terr-ee-ble place. So unsanitary! The bed sheets were 5 degrees uneven and a centimeter out of place! And I found a speck of dust on the bathroom floor. And the clothing I was assigned was two shades too pale! My eyes are not to be offended by such blatent disregard for proper color coordination!"

I knew he was going to complain about the food next.

"And when I ordered ze' crepe suzette, they used far too much batter! What slop art-eest cooked such a horr-ee-ble abomination! Such incompetance should be rewarded with the swift justice of zee' guilotine! And zee escargot? How DARE zey' use margerine?! You only use real butter on such a delicassy! Zee are an-ee-mals I zay! AN-EE-MALS!"

Oh brother. I had to wonder if real Frenchmen found him as annoying as the rest of us did. And Antoine kept talking and talking and talking and complaining and complaining and complaining.

"Is this about Queen Brooke not letting you into the Royal Guard again? You realize you wouldn't be guarding--" He cut me off before I could mention Sally's name. I could have sworn Sally groaned by that point.

"I am a soldier of Ecotropia! Am am being zee born to be a military genius, no?"

"He's right about the no part..." Bunnie frowned.

"Sorry, guys. I didn't think he'd actually try to go out job-hunting on his own. I just can't be his wingman for these things anymore. When I tried to get him employment last he got hired and fired more than 50 times in a single day for...reasons."

And I had a feeling most of those reasons involved no one in town having insurreance coverage that great. Aside from Antoine's personality faults there was also the issue of him being...accident prone. Very accident prone.

Violet described him as having the worst combination of "Cervantes Syndrome" (Our own little Don Coyote...er...Don Quixote) with the worst case of PTSD with bad luck and accident causing that made Fackler from Police Academy seem like a good luck charm by comparison.

Just weeks ago he had caused an incident involving a hot dog cart that resulted in a 15 car pile up, a broken fire hydrant, downed telephone poles, and several hospitalized.

"Maybe...Royal Guard duty isn't for you--" Lupe tried to reason with him.
We hadn't noticed that Violet had joined us at that moment. She was muttering complex algebra and calculus equations to herself.

"...which makes the moment of instance..." She said with a grin as she calculated where Antoine would be at just the right moment in time.

"I will 'ave you know, madamoiselle that Antoine D'Cooliette is no stuffed shirt."

"Now." I heard her mumble. "HEY, SALLY!" She hollered out in her loudest voice.

"Zee princess? Where--" Antoine whirled moments before...

SPLASH!!!

It was mean of us but most of us couldn't contain our laughter.
Antoine emerged from the fountain a lily pad with a frog on his head. He spit out a large amount of water.

"Maybe not, Antoine...but you're definitely a wet blanket." Violet mused.
Antoine climbed out and sloshed away, grumbling.

"That guy...seems...very strange." Asriel said with a tinge of sorrow in his voice.

"Antoine's...kind of the oddball around here."

"I'd call him the black sheep of the flock." Violet followed up.

"Even back in Ecotropia he was...hard to deal with." Bunnie looked off to the side.

"He had a one-sided rivalry with our mutal friend." Rotor explained. "One he was always on the losing end of."

"And it really annoyed me how I was always the prize." Sally crossed her arms with a sour look.

"It's always been him against the world and nothing seems to meet his impossibly high standards."

Okay...two comparisons to Papyrus in a row. But between the two of them, I'd gladly spend all day with Papyrus over one hour with Antoine.

"He's just too irrate at everyone and everything."

"I don't really see it that way." All eyes were suddenly on Asriel.

"He just seems kind of...sad."

A moment of silence.

"Yeah...I guess so." Sally looked off to the side like she suddenly realized she felt kind of ashamed for being hard on him.

"I know he doesn't really serve a purpose around here but...maybe his low performance in a way...gives us all hope."

"How do you figure, sensei?"

"I'd say it's because we're glad we're not him." Violet sneered.

"Aunt Vi, that's not very polite." Asriel sounded almost like he was scolding.

"I think what Violet means is...when each of us has his or her moments when we feel down and lowly...someone always has it worse. And if they can keep on going and stick to their guns....if they can keep persevering in the face of their own failures and rejections...then maybe things aren't so bad. I mean...Antoine keeps trying to impress Sally even though it's clear it's never going to work. To keep trying like that takes a special kind of...determination." Lupe volunteered.

"That...kinda makes sense." Asriel looked a little more sympathetic.

"The point is...none of us hate him. It's just that we can only take him in small doses. Antoine is just...Antoine." Rotor acknowledged.

"Hope comes from the suprisingly hopeless. What a concept!" I mused.
The rest of the day became uneventful.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry: 62: Kodomo no Hi/Happy Birthday, Bunnie Rabbotou

Thursday came around sooner than we thought. The Koinobori carp-shaped windsocks were flying at full mast on the flagpole erected at Rabbotou Dojo.
Bunnie, Megami, and Asriel stood outside looking up at them.

"That one at the bottom, Asriel-kun. That one is meant for you. The ones above it are for my students and the top ones are in memory of father and mother."

"I feel....honored." Asriel felt like he was grasping for the right words as it was starting to set in that the holiday was beginning to feel special to him as well.

"My birthday has always been on Children's Day. I suppose it's a strange irony as I've...never really felt like a child even in my youth. I would always be too stoic to fully appreciate the time for recreation."

"But now you're grown up, sensei. Does it get sad that you can't enjoy those things anymore?"

"It does. But it also takes other forms. February 2nd and 3rd I herald the coming of spring with Setsubun--my country's annual roasted-soybean scattering festival. Last March 3rd was Hina Matsuri--the Jangese doll festival--also known as Girl's Day and Gadget's birthday falls on it. For a couple of days I can display my doll set in accordance to tradition. And Festival of the Rabbit holds great joy for me and all the children I celebrate with. And even when it rolls around to Tanabata on July 7th, I enjoy my country's traditional star-gazing festival. And Otsukimi in September where we appreciate the Harvest Moon. And there are so many birthdays and other things to celebrate."

Bunnie looked at peace.

"Having a proper childhood was never something I could enjoy. But with age comes growth in all interests and with it, the things that are precious to you evolve with you. You appreciate them more. You understand fully the reason why you liked or loved things to begin with. I guess one way of putting it is that life is like a fine cheese...it grows more precious with age."

"I wish I had such memories to call my own. Most of what I remember has...turned pretty dark and faded. And for a hundred years I had...nothing to remember but being sad and lonely."

"Asriel. I understand where you're coming from. So maybe this bit of insight will help us both. The loneliest people...are the kindest. The saddest people...smile the brightest. The most damaged people...are the wisest. All because they...we...don't wish to see anyone suffer the way we do."

Asriel looked up at Bunnie with tears in his eyes...but a big smile.

"That's so beautiful, sensei. And...it helps a lot."

Bunnie gently patted Asriel's head, turning it into a gingerly, motherly rub.

"You're a good friend, sensei."

"You're a good friend as well, my student."

Later that day we were all present at Rock-Afire Pizza. Sure enough Mitzi had made the most impressive strawberry birthday cake I had seen yet.
Everyone even remotely acquainted with Bunnie attended. From her highness, Queen Brooke all the way to Asriel and his circle of friends.

As a special surprise Mitzi got to show off her talent...in song. Even at her age, she still had the most enviable set of pipes I'd laid ears on. Such a singing voice.

It was the first time Asriel had heard Mitzi show off her musical talent.

And I could tell he was as deeply moved as Bunnie.

As a special treat, Mitzi brought in her old band mate, Rick "Beach Bear" Bailey. With collaboration between Mitzi and of all people, Master Splinter, they wrote a special song for her. Something about skipping stones. It was a beautiful song and Beach Bear performed it incredibly beautifully. Splinter had some insight to give before the song started.

"Have you ever skipped rocks on the water? Skipped them when the water is flat and calm and watched the rings and watch the rings grow around the place where the stone touched the water? Each of you is like that stone. And everything you do--good or bad--makes rings. All of us must work to make good rings, because just like the water, the rings that go out will affect all that they touch."

Splinter turned to Asriel.

"Young Asriel, you remember the day you came home from the park so excited? The story you told me. The truth always lies here. It is the smallest things which makes the biggest difference."

Asriel smiled brightly, closing his eyes and cocking his head to the side. There was a tinge of embarrassment from being put on the spot.

"As you progressed in your teachings, Mitzi-chan, you became aware of a great truth through a form I didn't expect. You learned that one could transcend violence, and achieve a higher spiritual awareness through the sounds of music."

Mitzi turned pink in the cheeks but remained smiling.
And the song had ended and I couldn't just see but feel how lit up Bunnie was by it all. I'd never seen her so moved by so many friends present.

"This is truly a wonderful day, Soul-Twin."

Even Bunnie's half-sister, Bunnette Von Rabbotte had attended. There would be time to explain her complicated backstory another day.
There was of course cake and the usual celebration and even presents. Everything was just wonderful.

With memories such as these so perfectly preserved in digital medium and memory, now seems like a good point to leave things as as they were and continue these mission reports another day.

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
End Transmission...
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:31 AM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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P:LD Massive Update!

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 63: "Shadows of the Truth Behind Her Lies..."

"Give up. You can totally stop this bloodshed. You don't have to keep being a sucker for punishment. You know how you can stop all this, don't you?"

Chara's eyes burned bright red as she twirled the knife as she stood amongst the fatally wounded ranks of the Boss Monsters of the Underground.

My gods...it was painful to look at them. The massive slash across Toriel's body, the slices across her cheek and right ear. The tears in her eyes. The horrid look of disbelief on her face; the look of a mother betrayed by her own daughter. She was already starting to turn to dust at her horns, the bottom of her ears, and her claws.

Papyrus, beheaded, the dust flaking off his battle body while his severed skull in his hand. Smiling like a loon. It was heartwrenching to see he still believed. No. He didn't deserve this. Chara, you dirty brother kill-- *gasp*

Undyne...so that's what was underneath your eyepatch. I know that this was a wound from long before even Chara fell into the Underground...but it only made the imagery worse. Oh, Undyne...this isn't right. Those horrid lacerations. How much of you did Chara carve away? She was partially melted, indicating she was determined enough to at least get a second wind and try to fight for her life. But the dust was starting to wisp off of her.

The trembling fear. It was more than I could take. And seeing it manefested on what was left of Alphys...this was true horror. Even though she wasn't a Boss Monster, the effect it had on me was no less than the others. Her broken glasses. The bruises. The deep cuts. Her labcoat hanging on in tatters. And the worst part was that look in her sullen eyes that said "I'm okay with this. I deserve this. Don't cry for me. I'm trash." She was already dust up to her ankles.

Muffet. Sure she was creepy. Sure she was a little off. But no. She wasn't a bad person. Despite how hard it was to supress screaming every time I got wrapped up in her webs, poured me a brimming cup of spiders, and scared out of my skull from becoming a giant spider snack... ...all I could feel was sorrow. Even spiders deserved better. I'd gladly buy out every baked good on her menu if it'd take away the pain. Each arm was starting to erode away into dust.

Metatton. I know he was a ghost and you can't really kill a ghost. But his robot body...that was another story. And Chara had hurt him where it counted. Wrecking such beauty. I hadn't seen a machine so badly mangled, mutilated, and desicrated since...since ever. I'd see Casshern tear robots afflicted with the Ruin apart. I'd seen Haruko make a mess of Medical Mechanica's cybernetic creatures. I'd seen Zero's rampage when he was a Maverick infected with that virus. But I'd never seen something this disrespectful. She made this personal.

Monster Kid. Another creature who wasn't a boss but... This was waaaay over the line. He was an innocent. Just a child. Was Chara really this depraved? I couldn't help but think his last moments was his confidence completely shattered when trying to avenge Undyne.

Sans. That gash across his whole body. That apathetic look like he didn't even care. And really...I bet all he really wanted to do was go to Grillby's one last time. Oh gods...

And yes. Even Asgore was not safe from her wrath. I knew his punshiment was coming sooner or later. I knew his sins were many and despite the support of nearly all of his people, he stood alone. In the other timelines he either ended his own life or it was Flowey... *sniffle* ...who sent him to his death. I knew it could be no less devastating to be butchered like this by his daughter than it was for his son to pierce him with "Friendliness Pellets".

All of them so wounded...so...wait....something was...? What was off about this picture? Deep red cuts and slices but...no blood. That was when I thought all the way back to Toriel's sad story of Asriel's death when it hit me what was off about it. The blood. I had always thought she had said that Asriel was bleeding but...if what I was seeing was right, it couldn't have been his blood. I'd reached an undeniable fact: Monsters don't bleed. Then that meant... And then I remembered. The arrows and weapons that had pierced Asriel had went right through him and impaled Chara. That was Chara's blood all over him. It was her blood he was trailing! It was her blood and Asriel's dust that covered the Golden Flowers in all the timelines.

"Aww...having a moment of reflection? How touching."

I looked up at Chara and snarled, my werewolf instincts taking over for a brief moment of anger. I then saw what was among the fatally wounded Boss Monsters and company.

While there were countless mounds of dust...it was the remains of Omega Flowey and the crumpled remains of his tiny Golden Flower core at its epicenter that really finished the job of destroying me emotionally. The poor soulless creature looked up at me, his white face stretching and shape-shifting to that of Asriel's long enough for him to say it tears in his eyes and scared to the point of shaking.

"I don't want to die..!"

Chara was suddenly behind Flowey, the knife hovering over him.
"Choose, Arcade. Life. Or Death. Asriel. Or..."

"I know you better than that. At what point would you even entertain the notion that I was ever in control. That I ever had a choice."

"Smart little mongrel aren't you? I guess there's just no reasoning with you..."

I squeezed my eyes shut as I heard Flowey's scream and then silence.

"How heavy are your sins, I wonder? I feel every one of mine and I have no problem standing under their weight." Chara licked the blade.

It had to happen again. The great equalizer between several good times and Madam Fate's incessant need to spice things up. When she couldn't mess with me on the physical plane with the likes of Chara's sadistic torture of monsters she would possess, she'd attach my heart strings to a freight train and drag me for an emotional Hell through the moments like the scare in Lupe's garden or Violet's unnanounced Magna Centipede simulation. And of course...the nightmares which still hadn't stopped. I was beginning to get worried why I was even having them. There had to be an explaination. And until I found what that was...I was going to suffer. But at least one thing gave me comfort. Better me suffering than Asriel.

"You can run from this all you want. I'll just come back again. And again. And again. I can go on as endlessly as you can. It's only a matter of time before your mind breaks."

"Why do you want him back so badly? What could you possibly need him for if all you want to do is destroy the world over and over? What? Are you so perverse that you'd make him watch? As if he'd ever see things your way. As if he'd ever accept your twisted philosophy."

"And what's he to you? You're not his father. You're not even a Monster. He's not even useful to you."

"Useful?! What the Hell is wrong with you?! Why do you always feel like the only attachments to people are that they serve a purpose?!"

I gripped my fists. I was pushed to the end and about to drop off.

"Okay. No more games. No more lies. What the Hell happened in your childhood that made you a heartless scourge upon this world."

I lunged at Chara and grabbed her by the shoulders.

"Who or WHAT are you?!"

Chara closed her eyes and chuckled darkly.

"Power." She said plainly. "Together with my partner...you call them Frisk I believe...we erradicated the enemy and became strong. HP. ATK. DEF. GOLD. EXP. LV. Every time a number increases...that feeling... That's me. Now I've reach the absolute. There is nothing left for me here."

Chara's face started melting again and the black ichor poured out...and kept flowing. This was new. It eventually completely enveloped her until her form was nebulous.
"Now. Get out of my way so that I may destroy this world and move onto the next. Let me erase this pointless existence around us."

"No."

"Hmm... How curious. You must've misunderstood me. I repeat myself... SINCE WHEN WERE YOU THE ONE IN CONTROL?" The knife headed toward my head.

*GRAB*

"Since I CHOSE to be." I snarled as I siezed her wrist and stopped the knife. "Now. Answer. The. Question."

"I answered you."

"You answered with a lie. Truth. Now."

"You really are an idiot!" The last word seemed to echo everywhere. But that wasn't what drew my attention...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 64: "My name is...":

Wait...just now...something...faint... Chara's insult was overlapping something...else?
"What?"

"I said you--" "..lp....e......Pl....he...m.......so...b...dy ..." "-.idiot."

"I...I can't hear you!"

"Are you deaf?! You're a fu--" "He...lp...me! Calling for....lp....but...no...dy......came...!"

"Ugh!" Chara's face suddenly looked suprised and confused...then in pain...her monstrous mouth widened and threatened to overtake her whole face...and something was deep inside the blackness.

A face. A child's face? Copper eyes. Rosey cheeks. And...crying.

"I'm so...rr...y...! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry."

Okay. This was messed up. Chara was inside...Chara?

"Who are you?"

"I'm...Chara."

"Tell me another one." I crossed my arms, convinced this was one of Chara's sick mind games.

"I AM Chara! The real me."

"Then you've got a lot to answer for--"

"I know. It's time. My judgement is finally upon me. I'm done."

"Wait, what?"

"I'm finished...it's over. There are no more options left for me. Everytime I turn around something...or someone dies."

I remained unwavering...but at least willing to listen.

"But what do you expect from a child nobody wanted...whose only possession was the real knife? Whose very name is just an abbreviation for "character". Like she wasn't even a real person but just a...throw-away."

That got my attention. All the way back to one of the earliest log entries I had submitted to STC. Throwaway character. It couldn't be coincidence.
Chara wept buckets of tears looking at me with that sad, frustrated and extremely pained expression.

"I tried everything. I really did. Making sure I didn't do anything to hurt my new family. Trying to fit in as a human among a family of monsters. And suppressing my anger to make sure I didn't KILL anyone..."

Chara's face scrunched up in a look of rage.

"But no. Even now as I look at you, you're just like the others. All I ever get is rejection and hate. For what crime? Being ME. Just being myself."

Chara pulled further out, yanking her arm out and wiping her eyes with her sleeve.

"When...when Asriel died...I watched as a spirit. Everyone mourned him. Everyone was devastated by his loss. Everyone cared so much about him. What made him so special? What made him worthy of a second chance?!?" She outright shrieked at me.

"What about me? None of them cared about me! I know they didn't give a goddamn about me."

She looked up at me.

"I know...because I'm naive. I'm just a stupid child...that can't love or be loved. I'm a terrible person...who loves...and despises her own murderous nature."

It was at this time I noticed I was no longer gnashing my fangs or knitting my vaguely lightning bolt-shaped eyebrows.

"I...I didn't mean to hurt anyone. Not Mom. Not Dad. But..." Chara's lip was quivering.

"I did it."

She pulled free a little more and it was about that time I saw it around her neck...a golden heart-shaped pendant. But...wasn't it in Chara's pants pocket? One of them...had to be Asriel's. Both lockets were with the same person?

"It just hurts so much knowing that I hurt them. Even....even my.......my best friend.....oh god...Asriel...what have I done? I'm sorry... These stupid human emotions...they're like KNIVES. Knives that I can't unthrow."

I stopped looking at her with accusing eyes. My pointed ears had drooped like a scolded puppy's. And my jaw was starting to quiver. I wanted it to be a trick so I could retaliate. But at the same time...I really wanted this to be true.

"Let me fade away. Even trash has value in the Underground. I can't even make that claim.

"Listen." I said rather calmly. "You needed to let this out. You've been keeping this to yourself for a while, right?"

"What do you care?" *sniffle*

"You know...things die to make room for new life. Maybe...the two of you died so that that someone else could continue the story."

"So we're just stepping stones? Is that it? What kind of existence is that for us? That can't be it. So tell me why. Why am I here?"

"..."

"When I was adopted into the Dreemurr family...Dad said I was the future of this world. Mom said I was the angel that would save us. I didn't quite know what they meant. What was I supposed to do? Was it my destiny to free all the monsters? It would be the best way to repay them for their kindness. Asriel and I studied at the library to try to find a way to do it...that was where I learned about how a monster could absorb a human soul and cross the barrier."

Chara's gaze fell.

"I never imagined that 100 years later, I would be the one telling the eighth child to kill everyone. I made the excuse that I was...just following my nature but...that was a lie, too? Wasn't it? Ever since I made up my mind to go ahead with the plan and get Asriel to agree to it...since the day it failed so badly...what have I done since then? I'm the girl that destroyed the world...a hundred...a thousand...maybe a million times over. And I've manipulated Frisk over and over to make it happen. Sometimes Frisk would listen. Sometimes Frisk would ignore me. Sometimes half and half. And this kept going on until..."

"Until I interfered."

"So...the other me asked a question that...I want to know the answer to. What is Asriel to you? But more than that...what are you to him?"

"What is he to me? Hope. Dreams. Wishes. Destiny. Legacy. And the little sibling I always wished I had. I never meant to take him away from anyone. Not Asgore...not Toriel...not you. I just wanted...to save him from his fate."

I sighed.

"As to what I am to him? I...don't want to say this because...I'm afraid you'll feel.......replaced."

"Tell me. How does he see you?"

"He told me...I'm his best friend."

"...he really did deserve better than me. I guess...he got it."

"Chara..."

"It does hurt a little. But I understand why. Anyway. I'm glad he's happy--" Chara suddenly turned aghast. "No. Not now...I still have things to...no, please! I...I..."

The ichor suddenly started pulling Chara back into...well...Chara.

"That's enough out of the peanut gallery. You've said too much." Chara's eyes inverted to black sclera and red irises. Just like the God of Hyperdeath....before being sucked completely back in.

"You weren't supposed to see that. Now I guess I have to resume my attack on you. This time be a good fleabag and no more dodging or catching my knife. It's going to stab you and cut you into so many pieces. I'm sure if I chop you up into enough tiny bits even you won't be able to regenerate from it."

"Heh. This has been eye-opening."

"Why so smug all of a sudden?"

"Well. I guess I lost this battle. But there's one thing I know that's escaped you."

"And what would that be?"

"All this time...I've know that this was all just a bad dream."

Chara looked stunned for a moment.

"N-no! This is happening for real! This is--"

"Well. You've amused me enough and I've learned plenty. Sorry. But I'll be leaving now." I mused as I suddenly lifted off the ground, hovering up into a white shaft of light, the world turning brighter as the dust and the remainder of the corpses started turning to sparkling gold light around me. As I flew up higher into an every-whitening sky I could see Chara screaming in rage but her voice got quieter and quieter until it disappeared. And then I felt the world shake and everything turned completely white...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 65: "The Request/Happy Mother's Day"

I slowly opened my eyes and sat up. I looked pensive. Was it really all just a dream. Or was this some kind of...omen?

I immediately contacted Bunnie and Callista.

"Commander."

"What is the matter.

I looked at them both and asked plainly.
"I need you to dive my subconscious and see the dream I just had."

A momentary silence.

"Dr. Arcade. I'm sure you're well aware of the unwritten rule of psionics." Callista cautioned.

"That most reputatable psychics of the world will not enter a person's mind without permission, barring a really good reason to do so. It's just common ethics. Well. I'm giving you permission to peek."

"Commander." A pause. "Very well then.
Bunnie took her place on one side of me, Callista on the other. Both held their hands over top of my head as I knelt down, tea ceremony style. Both focused and looked deep.
After a while had passed.

"So. What do you think?"

"It's...hard to say if it is merely just a dream. But...if it is some kind of clairvoyant message or warning...it certainly changes perceptions about Chara."

"I still have no doubt that if I face her again, she'll be quite evil and murderous. Whatever I...think I felt in there...it felt like something buried so deep even Chara doesn't know about it. If it even exists at all."

"If it's true...then there's hope for your other goal. Saving Chara next and getting her into a better state of mind."

"Good to have hope. But still no practical way to do it yet. It's...probably going to take more time than I thought. And besides...it'd get too complicated tending to two rescued lost souls from doomed timelines. Not to say how much of a complication it would even be reuniting them."

"Agreed."

"Anyway. Off to Computer Valhalla again."

"Commander."

"Hmm?"

"I pray that this turns out for the best. It has been some time since your last clash with Chara. I have the feeling she'll be on the move in the Underground before long."

"She's not ready for her end game. And I can predict what that'll be."

"The strongest monster to do her bidding."

"Asgore."

"In his fragile state of mind, he'd have next to no mental defenses against spiritual possession."

"Maybe. Just maybe I can make it to him first. I've gone so long without meeting the king face to face. I need to know the monster who took the lives of six children and then collected their souls. I need to know whether he is...a sage or murderer."

Callista covered her heart with her hands and bowed her head in sorrow.

Bunnie closed her eyes, understanding.

"I sense that you'll have a few more obstacles in the way before you make it there."

"Typical." I shrugged it off. I started to head off before I looked over my shoulder.

"By the way. I'm sure someone's already mentioned this to Asriel and he's probably already said something. But...Happy Mother's Day, Callista."

"Awww. That's so sweet of you to remember."

"A thoughtful gesture. But I wonder if everyone can celebrate it?"

"Don't worry, Major. I'm one step ahead of you..." I smiled warmly.

Elsewhere in the universe...at a certain quaint little home inside the ruins...

"Hmm? What's this?" Toriel opened the doorway and saw it right in plain view on the ground. She knelt down and picked it up the box and read the note attached.

To: Toriel Dreemurr. On behalf of all the children in your life who you've ever cared for and everyone who might be thinking of you. In honor of a holiday my research has shown is celebrated in the human world. Happy Mother's Day from the Arcade Family. Signed: Volt, Lisa, Elektra, Stephanie, and Penelope-Anne.

"Ohh..." Toriel smiled with tears welling up, reaching up and lightly touching her cheek.

A quick unwrap of the box and inside was a framed photo of Volt, Lisa, Elektra, and the twins, Stephanie, and Penelope-Anne. Each of them held their hands together such that it made a heart-shape from the fingers; thumbs at the top, the rest of the fingers at the bottom.

Choking back a sob, Toriel wiped her tears and took the items inside. She made her way to her room where she moved aside her diary and other items, finding another framed picture face down. She placed the Arcade Family photo next to it...hesitated a moment then stood the other photo frame upright, revealing the Dreemurr Family; Asgore, herself, Asriel, and Chara.

"What a wonderful thing you've done for a tired old woman, Doctor." She uttered.

"May your family be blessed. Toriel got up from the chair, looked back longingly at the desk before turning the light off and closing the door.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Section 66: "Violet Just Can't Help Herself..."

I of course braced for the third time for the random Skrillex track programmed into her doorway and of course the score of Tron Legacy. Girl really liked her Skrillex and Daft Punk.

I signed in and of course found Violet working at a laptop computer. And I immediately wished I hadn't seen what I had seen at that moment.

"Really? Really?" I crossed my arms and wrinkled my nose.

"Come on. Tell me you don't see it."

I pinched the bridge of the beginning of my muzzle, between my eyes a moment before clasping my empty palms, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath.

I inhaled deeply then responded with a very Papyrus exclaimation and expression.

"OH MY GOD!" I scolded in disbelief in the same way Papyrus would express his disgust toward Sans for making a bad pun.

"First Toriel. Now Asgore? Are you TRYING to completely disrespect his dead parents?"

"Disrepect? This should be considered an gesture of great honor, my favorite spark wolf."

"Violet. You CG'ed a picture of Asgore as WWE Superstar, Daniel Bryan doing his YES chant. As much as I'm sure you've taken artistic license and as much as you're amused by exposing his furry chest, and even more amused by the whole obsession with goat memes, this is not the kind of thing you should be wasting your talents on."

Violet just grinned.

"Don't you have ANYTHING to say to that?"

"Fear the beard!" She giggled. "Feeeeeear the beeeeeard!" She said a second time, this time making it sound like a goat's bleat.

I facepalmed. Then I slapped the laptop closed, not taking any chances that Asriel would see it.

"So where is he?"

"He's with Pit over there."

I caught sight of the familiar wings, olive branch wreath, toga and sandals and hustled over.

"Hey, Pit. Is Asriel with--" I stopped short as he turned around and my eyes widened.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 67: "Angel With a Purty' Face":

Hi, Volt! Do you like it?" Asriel beamed grasping the bottom of the toga gently...almost in a girlish fashion.

I was speechless.

That was when Pit soon joined him.

"Miss Violet asked me if I wanted to try a little cosplay and I thought it would be nice to dress up in unusual clothes. You kinda missed it earlier. For some reason she had me wear a giant banana costume. Not sure what that was about but she got it on tape."

Asriel handed over the JVC camcorder and hit the playback button. And I was of course greeted by Asriel in said banana costume, shaking a pair of maracas and dancing while chanting "It's peanut-butter-jelly time! Peanut-butter-jelly time!"

Granted. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. But that still didn't let Violet off the hook. I'd have to discipline her...later...maybe. This was just too much adorbs. By far the best thing I'd ever laid eyes on. I had a feeling that in some other AU cube, this was probably something huge.

"I liked Pit's outfit so much that he offered to let me wear one of my own. So what do you think?"

Asriel did a little spin on the heel of his sandal so I could get a look. As I suspected the wings were fake. But wow. This really sold the image of Toriel's sweet, little angel.

Pit stood next to him and I was about ready to squeal like a high school girl.
"Wow. You look...amazing." Was all I could get out without it turning into something awkward or embarassing.

I decided to snap a photo with my T.A.O. link's camera. This was going in the scrap book. And yes...I would show this to Toriel some day.

"It's really comfy. Even the sandals feel nice." Asriel said, looking down at his feet and wiggling his toes.

" I feel kinda heroic in this. Can I please keep this? For maybe a costume party or something, Pit? Pretty please?"

"It's yours, my friend." Pit beamed brightly.

"Alright!" Again with the clenched knuckles under the chin with the eyes shut look of giddyness.

"As long as you've got--" Violet started.

*THWAP*

"No. No." Bunnie was suddenly behind her with a folded up tessan fan. She gave Violet and extra whap with the fan just for good measure. There was one YTP reference she didn't get to make.

"It was worth a shot."

"Hey. Let's show this off to Gadget. I'm sure she'll just be tickled pink by it."

"And Mom and Dad, too?" Asriel asked.

"Sure."

I took Asriel by the hand and led him out of Computer Valhalla, each of us signing out for the day.


CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
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  #36  
Old 05-11-2016, 10:17 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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A small...or is that smol...update!

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 68: "Lupe's Story":

"...Yes, just like that."

Asriel dug the hole in the soil deep and dropped the seeds in then covered it up.

"They're not so scary when they're like this."

"It will take time but I think we can get you back to your happy place around flowers, my child.

"When you call me that...it reminds me of my mom, Toriel Dreemurr."

"Is it...okay if I do?"

"Yes."

"I'm glad. I...used to dream of being a mother and having children of my own but..."

"Was it...because of the soldiers?"

"A part of it, yes." Lupe sat the watering can down.

"A long time ago...my people were part of the same kingdom as Sally, Bunnie, Rotor, and Antoine. It was a good life but we wolves...felt like we weren't close enough to nature. Ecotropia was a nice balance of science and nature....technology and plant life. But the wolves of the kingdom; my ancestors felt we were slowly straying too far from our place on this green planet."

"Wow."

"So...with the King's blessing we decided to embark on an exodus to new lands to call our own that we might call our own. Start a simpler life, not as a structured society but a simple tribe. In those days most of the land of Vorostov was lush and green and full of life. A paradise untouched by the Vorostovian humans. As we traveled, our tribe began to form philosophies about life. About nature. About coexistence. About loving our planet and treating it with respect. We became in tune with the pulse of the planet. We took only our fair share and left no mark on the land except the footprints of our sandals."

Lupe watched as Asriel patted the soil down.

"We formed connections with flora and fauna alike. We forged deep bonds with our genetically pure, unevolved brethren. We synergized with the trees and plants of this world. We studied the rocks and minerals of the earth, only taking our fair share. We purified our hearts, minds, and bodies in nature's bounty. And in doing so we became druids; the sages of this world that love and embrace life itself in all of its forms."

Asriel listened in fascination.

"We learned how to channel their powers and abilities. We had a symbiosis with the plants allowing us to influence or even control them. With the discovery of certain gems and crystals we found a way to channel the spirits of animals and borrow their abilities temporarily. Some of them even allowed us to make the call to mother nature and summon the elements themselves--fire, earth, wind, water, lightning, thunder."

"Tending to nature. That sounds...kinda like what Mom, Dad, and I used to do back home. Maybe...not as fancy as that. And definitely not the whole...superpowers thing. We just had our magic. And the Dreemurrs have always been the most powerful magic-users."

Asriel looked at his empty hands for a moment, flexing his fingers a little. There was the undertone of disappointment, as he had reminded himself of his lack of magical power.

"There's more to the story but...it's not a very happy one. I can finish it another time. What about you, my child? What is your connection to nature?"

Lupe offered a towel, water, and some organic, non-toxic hand cleaner of her own making. It had a lovely peachy blossom scent to it. Asriel accepted and watched off the dirt as he explained his own story.

"Well...it's a story that starts before I was even born. I'll try to remember how Mom told it to me. They say the first Golden Flower came from the human world outside of Mount Ebott. From that one flower, all Golden Flowers came into being and spread throughout the ruins and into the Underground. Even to the Capital. Mom and Dad's throne room was covered ended to end with them. I loved them. I would lay amongst them for hours. I almost felt like I could be...one with them."

Oh you had no idea, Asriel. And I prefered it stayed that way. Alphys' intentions were good...and yet... This was a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone.

"But something changed all that, didn't it?"

Asriel began to tear up.

"Chara."

"Your adopted human sister."

"Long before my time......way before Mom and Dad's time...there was a war between humans and monsters. We monsters...lost...and were sealed away inside Mount Ebott. Their spell casters created a barrier around Mount Ebott and sealed us inside."

"And Chara found a way to break the barrier."

"We both did. We found a book in the library that told how a monster could absorb a human soul and gain great power. Enough to cross the barrier. And with seven human souls a monster could ascend to an absolute god and have the power to destroy the barrier completely."

That's how it starts. It begins as an idea. It grows into a dream. Mistakes are made. The dream turns dark.

"Oh my..." Lupe looked meloncholy.

"I was...shocked that she wanted to go through with this...and wanted me to be the one to take her soul. I tried to refuse at first but...she talked me into it."

"But...it looks like the plan didn't work."

"Chara got the idea after we baked a cake for Dad together...but we used buttercups instead of butter. It made him really sick. He explained things when he got better. Chara finally had her answer how to get her soul out of her body. And so she told me that she was going to eat as many of them as it took. I was too scared to stop her. And when she did fall sick, I wanted to go back on the promise and just forget about it...but it was already too late." Asriel's gaze fell. "So much of the poison had gone through her that she was bleeding from the mouth. I was terrified and all she could ask was if I was excited...I was finally going to be free."

Lupe choked back a sob. Perhaps this was the darkest truth that freedom wasn't free. How could Asriel be expected to pay the price of freedom when going free up onto the surface...meant going alone...without his best friend?

"On the day I was supposed to absorb her soul...I...I fell...into some place dark. I thought I was alone but...there was a man...I think he was a man...he looked kinda like...the Royal Scientist that disappeared when I was really young. I tried to ask him for help but...he wasn't very helpful. After a while he just ignored me...no matter how much I cried. So I stayed in the corner. For a while I cried out for help...but no one came. So...I stopped calling for help...and just cried. All I could do was cry. I didn't get hungry...I didn't get tired. I just felt like I was...stuck."

"How tragic!"

"I...gave up on myself. I lost hope. I just wanted it all to end. There was a point when I just wanted to reset everything but...I stopped wanting that. I didn't want to experience it all again if there was nothing I could do to change the outcome. I remembered hearing something about the human world...that some humans believed in something called an afterlife. It was the last hope for me to cling onto. Maybe if I...stopped living...I'd be with Chara again. But I just kept going on. And. I started to believe I was being punished for betraying Chara...for leaving Mom and Dad behind...for everything that she wanted me to do once we were outside the barrier. That last hope...started slipping away, too."

"Oh, Asriel..." Lupe clutched her heart.

"I thought it would be that way forever but then...then someone finally came."

"Ex-Commander Volt Arcade." Lupe beamed. "He is...truly a god-send."

"Ever since that horrible experience...watching Chara suffer in bed from the buttercups..."

"I understand now. And we'll get you through this. Together. Okay?"

"Okay...Miss Lupe."

"For now...one step at a time." Lupe smiled and gently placed the crown of flowers in her grasp around Asriel's head. Asriel smiled brightly...then returned the gesture with his own flower crown as Lupe knelt down and bowed her head.

"You look very lovely."

"You do as well."

We hadn't noticed Bunnie, Sally, Rotor, and Mitzi had arrived and brought with them, Lupe's birthday cake-- white, mint chocolate-chip. And sure enough they kept the birthday celebration small, quiet, and understated.

"Smile for the camera." I beamed as I brought the image into focus.

Asriel stood as tall as he could as Lupe draped her arms around him from behind, crossing her wrists and leaned her head gently on his right shoulder; cheek to cheek. It was such a beautiful pose together. For a brief moment, Toriel's image almost seemed to superimpose over Lupe's. But it was just my imagination.

*CLICK*

"Happy Birthday, Miss Lupe."

"Thank you so much, everyone. This....this is just what I wanted."

Lupe closed her eyes and savored the quietness of the nature preserve...and soon after the taste of her favorite flavor of cake and ice cream.

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
End Transmission...

Last edited by Volt Alessandro Arcade; 05-11-2016 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 05-15-2016, 03:28 PM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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Time for updates!

Sub-Entry 69: "The Twice as Nice Mice: Gadget":

"...okay here goes!"

Asriel readied to duck and cover per Rotor and Skeeter's earlier advice.
Gadget lead the hose of the compresser tucked in her backpack of holding to the Tesla Turbine Blender.

Gadget twisted the wires together on the hand grip trigger then flipped up the shield on the thumb switch.

"And...we...have...POWER!" She pressed down on the switch.
The compressor in her pack roared to life and the pressure gauges on the blender spiked.

"And now for the finest blended smoothies you'll ever try." Gadget pressed the smoothie button.

Asriel squeezed his eyes shut as the machine spun to life with a super loud whir like a muffled jet engine. And then...it stopped.

"Huh?"

Asriel opened one eye.

"Golly! It worked!" Gadget said with sparkly eyes.

"Congratulations, Gadget." Asriel relaxed his tensed state.

"Thanks for believing in me, Asriel. You're so wonderful to have faith in me!"

"Y-y-yeah. Wonderful..." Asriel blushed a little as he looked off to the side. Skeeter was suddenly nowhere to be found.

"...Gadget, I--"

Asriel wasn't prepared for the sudden hug.

"You're a wonderful friend!"

Asriel's expression softened.

"I...don't know if I'm the best person to turn to for a confidence booster. To be honest...I really don't have that much faith in myself. I haven't really found any interests besides--"

"That doesn't matter. You're nice to me and that's all I could ever ask for."

"I'm...nice to you?"

"Super nice!"

'Well...if you think so. But that's all I've ever known how to be."

"You'll figure out what you're good at. Just as I did."

"How...did you figure out what you were good at?" Asriel asked.

"Maybe...I need to start from the beginning. The very beginning. Gadget said as she unhooked all the apparatus and poured herself and Asriel the finely blended fruit concoction.

Asriel accepted and tried it. His expression brightened. If anything Gadget could make good juice drinks with science. When here inventions worked, they worked great.

"I didn't always used to be a Hybrid. Once...I was a normal mouse. I was one of two groups of laboratory animals. My group was "control specimens". That's a fancy way of saying we got only food, water, and exercise. The other group was the "experiment specimens". They were the group that was experimented on...tests were run and weird complicated things done to them that they'd use us to compare differences to."

Gadget's story had an underlining tone that reminded me of Alphys' work on the Amalgamates and on Flowey. When you experimented on life itself you had to be ready to accept the consequences of your results; good or bad.

"Big brother was always nice to me. He treated me more than a lab mouse and more than just a pet. While...I can't quite remember what I thought but I...remember what I felt. It was...a feeling of being loved."

"Awww."

"So...what happened to you?"

"In Neo Arcadia City...it's a bad thing to create new life...new creatures from already existing life. If that makes sense. THey call it "genetic engineering". It's against the law to transform creatures into different creatures?"

"Does transformation magic really exist?"

"Well...I guess. But...I don't really know anything about magic. But in science I guess it's possible. Because that's what happened ot me. But...it was an accident what happened."

"Hmm?"

"There was equipment being moved around and...stuff got accidently broken and released a bunch of weird chemicals which got exposed to different kinds of energy and radiation...sudden changes in temperature and pressure and a whole lot of other things I still don't understand."

"Oh my goodness!"

"The lab was evacuated and we were all left to perish because we were...contaminated. The staff there locked down the room, shut down its power and utilities then...flash sterilized everything."

"Sterilized?"

"Purged. Removed all traces of life."

Asriel got a little misty-eyed, knowing what that meant.

"They...didn't do it to be mean. It's just that...in all likelyhood we wouldn't have survived the chemicals...it would have been......a slow and painful way to go if left alone. At least...it would be quick and we wouldn't suffer."

"Ohhhh..." Tears. Definitely tears.

"But...out of all of them, I survived the bleach protocol. And I was...changed by it. It affected my growth...my...evolution, I guess? I started...changing slowly. Becoming more...human like. I started getting smarter. And then I started standing on two legs and talking."

"That's...really something."

"I won't pretend I don't know what kind of trouble it must've caused Professor Arcade...that is Volt's first mentor and co-founder of the UCIAT. He must've had to go through a lot of ethics committee tribunals and such. But in the end...he came out of it without losing his creditials or his reputation. And...big brother got to hold onto me. I could be his little sister now."

This was a rare moment. Gadget abandoning her rose-tinted-glasses, ditzy, innocence for deep insight. Just because she acted like she was naive didn't mean she actually was.

"I grew. I learned. And I found I was good with mechanics. With machinery. And I always felt strongly against throwing things away carelessly. So...I recycled what I could. I reused anything that looked like trash...junk. I think brother called it "makeshift technology". He said it was what someone named...Angus Macgyver used to do in a pinch. That when you were in a tight spot, you had to think your way out."

Heh. Gadget acknowledging the Phoenix Foundation's best and brightest. Peter Thorton found a genius when he crossed paths with Mac. I wish I had been old enough to understand our anti-terrorism agency allies back then.

"I was sad when Volt left for Fontraile. Sure Uncle Gyro would visit every so often and Professor Arcade would check up on me...but it wasn't the same."

"You must've been so lonely."

"I was. But I was also...determined. When I came of age, I made a decision. So I asked the founders if I could go to Miranda City and join my brother's team. After some...debate...they agreed. And they trusted me to take care of the rest. And so I came here and joined at the same time as Miss Lupe. And now here I am."

"That's a wonderful story, Gadget! You're so amazing."

"Hey, you want to see something really amazing? I discovred I had a Hybrid Ability a while ago but it was also an accident how it happened. Professor Arcade had to invent a way to control it since it normally stays dormant. But that's why I wear this."

Gadget pointed to the Reduction Belt. It's G-shaped motif resembled the "Go-Onger" emblem used by Dr. K's "R.P.M." Rangers of our own Corinth City.

"What does it do?

"Guess!"

"Uhh?"

"Go on, guess?"

"I'm...afraid I really don't know."

"Awww. That's no fun. Well then. I'll show you!"

Gadget adjusted the dial and activated it...and she suddenly began shrinking, clothes and all.

"G-G-Gadget! You're....you're getting smaller! Much smaller!" He cried, stepping back. "What's happening to you?"

Gadget shrunk down to the size of an actual mouse!

Reluctantly, Asriel inched over then squatted down on hands and knees. He got as close as he could. Gadget smiled and reached up and pet his nose gently with her tiny hand.

"...!"

Gadget stepped back a ways, adjusted her Reduction Belt and resumed her normal size.

Asriel stood back up.

"Wow! That's an incredible super power!"

"You really think so? It doesn't seem like it would be useful in battle or anything...but it's great for working with microcircuits and such. And that's not all."

Gadget tinkered around with the switches and the dial and from the belt projected a beam of neon G's as she swept it over the small tumblers of smoothies...expanding them to easily the size of a large ice tea pitcher.

"Whoaah. It works on other things, too?"

"I use it to resize spare parts. Or in this case, supersize our drinks at no charge."

"That's really amazing!"

Gadget beamed and proceeded to pick up her supersized drink and sip away.

Asriel did the same.

"I guess it's no "small" boast that your power is really "big"? Don't mind my "volume" but my emotional "size" (sighs) say it must really "grow" on you." Asriel grinned a big cheesey grin, rubbing the back of his head.

Gadget quickly broken into laughter.

"Gee whillikers! That was really clever! You're so funny! I can't stop giggling.

"My mom, Toriel really liked puns. I'm trying to get back in the swing of being as good at them as she was."

A happy sigh from both sides. Then silence. Asriel looked down a moment.

"Gadget I have to tell the truth. Skeeter warned me that your blender might...blow up so I--"

"Asriel. You don't need to apologize. I know. I know sometimes my inventions...don't always work out. The truth is I was ready to brace for a big explosion or worse. I just didn't want you to see me doubt myself."
Well. What do you know?

"I'm glad to spend time with you, Gadget. You're really fun to be around. And you know something...I feel like...I can just be myself around you and not feel like I have to be on my best behavior or feel like a dork like Chara used to call me all the time. I can just be...me." Asriel closed his eyes.

"That's such a nice thought. And you know what? I like you just the way you are."

"To thine own self be true as Miss Sally says."
Asriel opened his eyes.

"Oh wow, you have a special power too! Your eyes changed color!"

"Oh no...not again! What color are they this time?!"

"Blue. Really blue. Like Sally's and my own! We're a match!"

Blue. The color of Integrity. Honestly I would have figured it would take something a situation like not too long ago at Computer Valhalla where some kids thought they'd be smart and try to hack their data cards with an illegal card reader/writer to get unlimited credits on the V.R. machines. Of course that quickly de-escalated when Violet happened to be standing right behind them, snatched up both cards and rewrote their data, banning them from the building for an unspecified time.

If they had made him the offer to get in on this, I'm sure he would have declined and probably tried to tell Violet. They'd probably try to bully him about "NARC-ing" on them. And then Violet would hav intervined anyway. Either way...end result was that in that theoretical moment or this real one, Asriel displayed Integrity; being true to yourself and who you were. Being honest.

"Do...do they look nice?"

"Very nice." Gadget said in that sisterly way.
So now Asriel had gone through three eye colors. Four if you countered his original copper red.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 70: "The Twice as Nice Mice: Mitzi":

Later that day...
Mitzi took over watching Asriel in Gadget's place.

"So. You ready to learn how to make your own pizza?"

"I always thought that the first thing I'd make would be mom's snail pie but...this is just as good."

"I like your new eye color."

"Thanks. Volt says it represents Integrity. I guess that's another word for honest?"

"Well you're an honest soul. That's something to be proud of."

Mitzi watched her hands and encouraged Asriel to do the same. As a courtessy she provided him with an apron bearing the old Showbiz Pizza Place logo.

"Everyone I've talked to has such wonderful stories about their past. Do you have a good one to tell, Miss Mitzi?"

"I do if you'd like to hear it."

Mitzi powdered her hands up with a little flour and let Asriel do the same. She snatched up a mass of dough and began kneeding it. Asriel followed.

"Please."

"Well. I got my start in music...in singing at the age of eleven or so. My older sister, Molly Madelline Mozzarella...we called her "Mini" for short. After the girlfriend of that mouse with the big amusement park and the cartoons. What was his name again? Anyway...she got picked to be in an experimental new kind of rock and roll band as the main act for a new family pizza restaurant called Showbiz Pizza Place. It was an attempt to try again after the poor success of Charles Entertainment Cheese's more adult-themed Pizza Time Theater. It wasn't...very appropriate for kids your age and I don't think I'd be comfortable with you around all the cigars he smoked. But...I'm getting ahead of myself."

"Go on."

"Well...Molly's group called itself the Wolf Pack Five. They were made up of Master of Ceremonies, Rolfe "Wolf Man" De Wolfe, Piano-playing gorilla, Fatz Geronimo, guitarist Mick Bailey, the former member of the Beagles and drummer Dingo Starr. And before a late change in lineup the position my sister was going to have as its female singer was originally held by a veteran named Queenie the Fox. But it didn't pan out so Mini took over."
Mitzi took a deep breath.

"For a year they performed, one show over four weeks for a total of twelve in all. But corporate decided the image needed to be refined a bit so...Wolf Pack Five disbanded, my sister went on to other things and they signed me on as her replacement after reviewing a demo of me signing "Tomorrow" from Little Ophan Annie with dad accompanying on guitar. Mick handed the guitar over to his cousin, Rick--you met him before. Beach Bear? And Dingo Starr left his drumset to our new drummer, Duke Chaupetta who performed under the name "Dook Larue". Our act expanded into a three stage show with Wolf Man now performing as our comedy act under his real name opposite A.I. driven smart puppet, Earle Schmerl. And finally the act was complete with our new host and our pizzaria's frontman mascot, William Robert Brockali. Known affectionately as "Billy-Bob". And beside him his loyal companion, Looney Bird."

Mitzi slowly walked Asriel through the process of spinning the pizza dough. It took a few tries and a couple landing on the floor before Asriel got the hang of it.

"This is fun!" He beamed. "Keep going! This story is really interesting!"

Mitzi giggled.

"Well. Once the new concept was revealed we took off as the newly christened "Rock-Afire Explosion". And we were a huge hit for over ten years. We had a lot of hit songs, most of them covers of other people's works. But we had some of our own originals like "Too Shy", "Baseball", and "Strain Your Brain". He had a lot of fun on tour and had a lot of laughs and memories."

Mitzi took a moment to reach up and snag what appeared to be a spaghetti strainer--a collander--off the wall that had been decorated with lovely girlish odds and ends. It looked very personalized for MItzi...and then put it on her head, splaying her ears slightly from the notches cut into it so it would fit.

Asriel covered up his giggle.

"I wish you could have been there for the Crazy Colander nights on Wednesdays. It's a pretty long story but it's a fun one for another time."

Mitzi resumed working on the pizza, showing Asriel how to scoop out servings of pizza sauce and spread it around on the dough.

"It was all so wonderful. We shared a lot of birthdays. Had a lot of on stage skits, jokes, and moments. I'm...embarassed to admit I even had a meltdown when Billy Bob told his story about getting to meet the King of Pop, Michael Jackson at Disney World and I didn't get to go because I had cheerleader practice. I was such an M.J. fangirl back then. I'm getting all pink in the cheeks thinking about it now."

"I don't know who that is but he sounds like he was really talented."

"I have a lot of his music in the jukebox if you'd like to hear it sometime. It's worth a listen."

"Uh-huuh!" Asriel nodded with the knuckles under the cheeks expression of determination.

"The time Beach Bear grossed me out on Trivia Night about how much saliva human mouths produce in a day...the time Fatz made me freak out and almost lose my lunch over the Monkey Man Chewing Tobacco thing...the duets with Dook. And so many more. But...all good things...must come to an end." Mitzi's smile faded as she finished spreading the sauce and looked at the shredded provolone and mozzarella cheese bins.

"What happened?"

"My ex-boyfriend ruined everything. He was a rude and crude rat in a derby, red vest, and always smoking cigars and insulting his guests. He was...even less nice than your Chara friend."

"Oh. I see."

"But I was head ove heels for him because I was at that age when I thought people like that acted out only because they were misunderstood. Turns out he was really just a big jerk and an opportunist. He worked with an old high school friend I thought I trusted. ANd they used me to get their hands on corporate secrets and such under my nose. And then one day they revealed they were rebranding Pizza Time Theatre as "Chuck E. Cheese."

A sigh.

"At the press conference when we saw the big reveal under the banner of

"Corporate Unification" our hearts sank and our dreams crumbled. But what really hurt was watching Chuck E. and my high school friend, Helen Annagrey Henny share a romantic kiss. I felt my heart break. I stormed on stage and kicked Chuck in the...well...nevermind. And then I slapped Helen across the face and stormed out. It was...headline news the next day. And it looked bad for us."

"That's terrible!"

"Helen turned it personal over the next few days and pretty soon she skewed the Corporate Unification in C.E.C.'s favor. We tried to walk out and go on strike. Somehow Chuck and Helen were able to hire impersonators in our place. When we tried one last time to fight to keep our band and restaurant chain...we finally got phased out."

"Rolfe...tried to reboot us under New Rock-Afire Explosion. But...it failed. And it was an unpleasant time for all of us. My...wardrobe was vastly inappropriate. And to top it off Rolfe had tried to lighten the mood by playing practical jokes on us. But the last one went too far. I shampooed my hair with a bottle of conditioner he...replaced with hair remover. I performed the next show...bald."

Mitzi turned deep red as she spread the cheese around.

"What a mean thing to do!"

"We tried one last time as New Rock-Afire Kids...but we actually got hate mail for that. And our Dance-A-Tronics theme made us a laughing stock. It was a good idea but a terrible delivery and an even worse promotion thanks to Rolfe screwing things up. So...we broke up for good and went our seprate ways.

Dook gave up trying to be a space dog and go into space and bought a junkyard and a tow truck.

Beach Bear took up residence on Technopolis Beach not far from where Sally lives. He tried his luck under his own band, "Heart Attack Diner".

Fatz took to the airwaves in his own Not Safe For Work radio morning show with our old guest Jeff "Uncle Klunk" Howell.
Earle became an excutive in a media conglomerate. He makes big money now.

Rolfe was last seen in Bingo's Bet-It-All Casino Paradise with debts in the hundred-million credit range. When you owe that much money you're usually never seen from again.

Which left Looney Bird investing in a laboratory complex to research drinkable "Gas-o-hol" fuel alternative and Billy-Bob returning to Southern Bluegrass terrritory.

I went off on my own and joined an all mouse band, Toxic Audio. Older, wiser, and knowing the business I was prepared when we stopped being famous again and broke up. I collected royalties from both careers after a while and lived off of them, turning the old Showbiz Pizza Place location at 328 Electric Avenue in Neon City into a residence and a museum. I found the old pizza recipes there and I never went hungry."

"So...?"

"Violet actually found me. She communicated with me over the internet. She was...a bit of a die-hard fan of all things nostalgic so...she made me an offer to join UCIAT. I said I'd need a year to get ready. I whipped myself in shape and studied a book on martial arts that Bunnie-sensei had published. Then I was recruited during a short hiatus between tiers at the Raxis Battle Tournament when eveyrone had a chance to fly out to Neo Arcadia. I packed my bags and said goodbye to Kaeleron and found myself roped into a sudden field mission. And afterward I set up shop here in the old Fechter's Drycleaning store. The rest is history."

Mitzi finished topping her pizza appropriately. Asriel did the same choosing only pepperoni. A goat kid after my own heart.
Mitzi set the egg timer and helped Asriel load the pizzas in the oven.
"You've had quite a story, Miss MItzi."

"It gets better every time I tell it."

"I see you and Gadget together a lot."

"We bond pretty well despite me being old enough to be her grandmother. But you'd never know just looking at me, huh?"

"It's kinda like how Monsters don't age when their families break up." Asriel mentioned...then his expression fell when he realized how sad that was.
"Asriel...don't think about sad things."

"Hmm?"

"Think happy, not grumpy, not angry, not stinky! Think happy! Cause' happy thoughts are better!"

I'm sure that was a reference to something...but it escapes me what it could be.

"Okay, Miss MItzi."

"You did a fine job on your first pizza, Asriel. You're going to be a fine chef some day."

"That would be nice. Maybe some day I might even figure out how to make some of mom's old recipes...I...kinda miss the taste of her snail pie."

"Snail...pie? Wel...um...whatever your heart desires, I'll...try to make it happen. Some day."

MItzi was trying to cover up the fact that she was easily grossed out by some things. Snails and slugs happened to be one of those things.

Time passed the timer went off and pizzas were allowed to cool before being sampled.

"This has been a good day. And I got to spend it with my favorite mice."

"That makes it twice as nice."

"So that makes you and Gadget..?"

"The Twice-As-Nice Mice." MItzi beamed.
"I like that."

There was no debating it. Asriel had the best role models a kid could ever ask for in this town. Moments like this made me hopeful for what lay ahead for me in the Underground.

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
End Transmission...
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:39 PM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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Big update plus Sub-Entry number 75 Milestone!

Sub-Entry 71: "Back to Hotland":

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. My first outing to try to make Dr. Alphys' acquaintence didn't end well, no thanks to to my least favorite ghost. I'd let this go for a spell, it was time to attempt to befriend another potential ally.

Back to Hotland again. Boiling hot lava. Flame pits and technology. A wrong step into 9,000 degrees of searing pain. Bridges and conveyor belts and steam-driven vents that served as springboards. Elevators leading up and down several levels.

The acrid scent of molten carbon, sulphur, melted rock, trace minerals and such. The sound of magma bubbling, the roar of the rising air currents, the hiss of the steam vents, and the overlapping cacophanies of machinery and electronics. The sight of a world warped and wavy from the intense heat waves; a dark, black atmosphere illuminated and contrasted by ambiant yellow, orange, and reds amonst the silvery steel among the dry and cracked ground. And all. That. SWELTERING. Heat. I loved it. Loved it to death.

I don't know why a werewolf such as me, covered in this much fur, wasn't dying of heat stroke. And I didn't care. This environment suited me. It fueled me. Drove me. Compelled me. I never felt so alive in a place like this. I got to enjoy it now that I was no longer being hunted by Chara in Alphys' body. In short...just being here filled me with DETERMINATION.

I stopped long enough to bump into Sans at that hot dog stand. In the human world they were made from anything ranging from pork to beef to chicken to turkey to...questionable mixtures of mystery meat.
I know what they were made of in the Underground but when hunger is the best spice...I just didn't care. Slap some mustard on a water sausage and a starving man will shove it down his throat long before he complains about where it came from. As much as it would have been whimsical, I didn't feel like taking the hot dog stacking challenge.

And yet...I felt an unease around Sans despite the fact I hadn't done anything to incur his wrath or draw his suspicion. It bothered me that I just couldn't figure out how to get the same friendly vibe as everyone else...and feel like it was the genuine article and not a clever act to hide something more...sinister beneath the surface. I could never quite tell whose side he was on. And why he of all people was judge, jury and executioner just before Asgore.

Sure he was Frisk's external conscience but I couldn't picture him as a cricket giving a little whistle. Besides...I knew how the unabridged version of that story ended once a little wooden-head became a real boy. Suffice to say it would make Muffet quite horrified had it been a spider instead of a cricket.

A stroll down the paths finally lead me to the fork in the road. The left path lead to the Royal Guards. I'd deduced they were a rabbit and a dragon underneath the heavy armor. But I wasn't about to make that the focus of my journey. Straight ahead was Alphys' lab.

During all this time I hadn't given any thought back to W.D. Gaster. I wonder what this instance's version of him was like? I hoped a lot more benign than the emotionless entity that kept his back turned to a crying Asriel for 100 years. I envisioned a more stable incarnation of him, sipping a cup of coffee or tea while proudly displaying "Number 1 Dad" button on his coat. Uh-oh. Was this another instance of channeling another AU? Out of the sandbox. Back-pedal, Arcade! Or suffer the Council's wrath.

I could see the outline of the lab ahead. Now the trick was getting Alphys to answer the door or at least unlock it. I had to get my story straight. Alphys might be a ball of nerves and barely any semblance of self-esteem, but she was no idiot. Conversing with her and leaving key details out or covering things up would be a lot more delicate and touch-and-go task than Toriel or Papyrus. And a little less hands-on than Undyne. And hopefully less weird than encounters with Onion-chan, the Mad Dummy, Monster Kid, and of course Muffet.

"Well, better get started practicing some kind of cover story, Volt." I said aloud to myself.

"It's only the only other reputable scientific mind in this known Underground...who just happened to meld fallen monsters together, turn Asriel into a nightmare death flower, and create a robot game show host who'd be too crazy and violent for the position of Smash TV's host."

I must've been really lost in my worries to be talking to myself and bringing up obscure case files where there was big money and big prizes and a Mutoid Man. There was a case that would cause contorversy if brought to other worlds.

"I mean...how hard could it be to win her over--"

"S-SOMEBODY H-HELP MEEEE!"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 72: "Alphys, Take Two":

Oh. We were doing this again. At least she wasn't the attacker. Just once...I'd like something to go off without an unexpected hitch.

I saw the yellow-scaled pangolin in the lab coat and glasses running toward me, stumbling awkwardly every so often and quite out of breath; not from the heat but from being terribly out of shape.

Going at me full tilt, I took a knee and braced for impact. Alphys found herself tumbling into my arms.

"Whoah there. Where's the fire...I mean besides all around us?"

"Oh! I'm s-sorry, sir! I wasn't watching where I was g-going and...hmm?"
Alphys adjusted her spectacles, looking me over.

"C-curious...I d-don't recall a m-monster species like you in my xenomorphology database. Are you a m-mutation or--" She cut herself off.

"Oh! You're wearing a lab coat! Another scientist! Oh thank goodness. M-mabye you can help me. The safety of the entire underground d-d-depends on it!"

I had a chance to examine her a little closely. Honey mustard yellow scales. Stubby but pointed lizard tail. Tiny little nostrils I could barely make out on her snoot. Elongated eyebrows. The back of her head spiked outward, reminding me vaguely of Lisa Simpson. Her front teeth sported a heavy overbite which only made her awkwardness even nerdier in apperance. The huge eyelashes that even her tiny hornrimmed spectacles didn't manage to cover up. A lab coat that absolutely reeked of body odor, shame, and...dog food?

"Yeah. I'm a man of science. And what do you mean? You look like you're in trouble. Is there something wrong, Miss...?"

"Doctor." She corrected. "Dr. Alphys. I'm er...the Royal Scientist."

"Oh! Forgive me. I didn't expect to come across someone so important."

Liar.

"Look, there's n-no time. I'll explain on the way, uh...?"

"Arcade. Dr. Volt Alessandro Arcade. Scientist from...well, elsewhere."

"D-Doctor, what field of study do you specialize in?"

"All of them, really."

"Robotics?"

Oh crud. This was about Mettaton, wasn't it?

"Y-yes. Y-you see I've been tasked with a l-lot of responsibilities under the kings orders. Most of my research is...er...well...classified (yeah, that's it. He won't suspect). B-But a long, long while back I w-worked on a personal project which I though would...m-mesh well with my current objectives. But...there's become a...tiny issue..."

"Hmm?"

"A long time ago I made a robot named Mettaton. Originally I built him to be an entertainment robot. Uh, you know...like a robot TV star or something. Anyway...recently I decided to make him more useful. You know...just some small practical adjustments."

I knew where THIS was going. This would probably get glares from the ethics commitees back home in Neo Arcadia City.

"Like umm...anti.......anti-human combat features? Of c-course from my recent studies of the latest human to enter the Underground in question...I decided immediately that I had to remove these features!"

"Seems contrary to the King's agenda. I guess you have your reasons. So? What's the problem?"

"Unfortutunately I may have made a teensy mistake while doing so. And um..."

Just say it, Alphys.

"Now he's an unstoppable killing machine with a thirst for human blood? Eheheheheheheh...heh..."

"Well if its target is the human why is the whole Underground in danger?"

"Well, you see...I was able to convince him not to go through with his new purpose. At least I thought I had. And we were going to agree to remove the features and should we encounter the h-human, it'd just be harmless puzzles and such...y'know--"

I really didn't want to point out that the whole scenario was Alphys being manipulative and creeping on Frisk; trying too hard to make a friend and have adventures but not for any sinister reason. But this was exactly the case as Mettaton would pretty much confirm over the course of the TV adventures Frisk was in for.

The laser hacking, the bomb-diffusing, the jet pack in the cell phone...everything was Alphys masterminding to try to win over a friendship under false pretenses........exactly what I was doing. Oh gods. I'm trash, aren't I? It pains me to admit we really were kindred spirits underneath our bad choices and mistakes.

"But...?"

I sensed something was off. Something was not progressing normally. I couldn't put my finger on it but something told me that events had and were happening that shouldn't be in a Pacifist Timeline.

"I got too...cautious and p-paranoid when I learned that the human got into a battle with Undyne and...I got s-scared and may have...overreacted. I was g-hoing to contact her but...something compelled me to t-t-take action instead; I was afraid that Undyne would beg me t-t-to stay away from the human if she l-lost."

"Action?"

"Mettaton normally has a second form...an EX form. Y-you see his current form is more like a m-mechanic i-incubator. It has an incomplete auto-repair s-s-system that would allow him to return to this form if his EX form is badly damaged. But...considering the possibility that his EX body could be destroyed I...set about creating yet another body for him."

Another...body. Oh no. No. No. NoNoNoNoNoNo...!

"I c-c-called this form Mettaton Neo."

"And it was armed to the teeth, wasn't it?"

"Er...well actually even his teeth could be a weapon if I fully activated that feature but...yeah. Dangerous amount of firepower and such. But...I was worried that his defense would be far too low and this form was far more vulnerable than the EX form. I failed to reenforce it as time was l-limited. So...I eventually abandoned it without telling Mettaton."

"Let me guess. It woke up and went rogue."

"In s-s-s-so many w-w-words." Alphs shrunk back into her awkward pangolin hunch; her arms hanging with hands overlapping one another over, one foot on top of the other. Very much as normal pangolins did in the human world.

"I found Mettaton's EX body badly d-damaged, particularly around its main core, and his boxy shell also damaged and discarded. It wouldn't do any good, its auto repair wasn't working and it would be incompatable with the Neo body. Seeing that both were unoccupied--"

"Unoccupied?"

We hurried through the lab to the other doorway and back out into Hotland

"Um...yes...y'see...at his core, Mettaton is acutually a ghost--"
Suddenly I had my answer as to where Napstablook's cousin had gone.

"He's literally a Ghost in the Machine?" I raised an eyebrow.

"Y-yes."

"What your saying is that--"

"Obviously. Since the Neo body is missing and since Mettaton isn't occupying the two damaged bodies...he most've found the Neo body and gone after the human. But I think it's more than that. I-I think he may destroy the core in the process."

"It would be total genocide for the Underground."

"Worse. THe core going critical wouldn't just affect our world. In all l-likelyhood it will cause a geothermal chain reaction that will reach all the way to the center of the planet and--"

"Judgement Day." I muttered. I saw the big picture and what was really going on. "Come on, Doctor. We have a robot to stop." I charged ahead.

"W-w-wait for m-me!" Alphys struggled to keep up.

I stopped long enough for Alphys to open the door to her lab. There wasn't time to sight-see. We ran out the back door and deep into the bowels of Hotland.

"I d-d-don't understand. I thought Mettaton was happy. I thought he l-liked the body I made for him Why? Why w-would he do this? Why is he acting so--"

"Strange and horrible?" I cut in.

"Exactly!"

"Guess we can ask him when we deactivate him."

"D...D-Deactivate?"

"If he's become a threat, Doctor, we have to take him down."

"Ohhhh...what have I done?! Why did I m-make this infernal machine? Why couldn't I...j-just be happy with the EX body? I'm s-such a failure. I don't fix things, I only b-b-break things worse than they were. I'm such t-trash."

"Don't be hard on yourself, Alphys. We all screw up."

"But no one else has made a mistake that could explode the whole world."

"It hasn't exploded yet. We still have time to fix this."

"Why are you s-s-so confident? We have less than 0.001 percent chance of success when we c-catch up to him--"

"I don't give up. A little determination goes a long way--" Crap. Wrong thing to say.

"......" Alphys stopped in her tracks. She pulled out her cell phone and started accessing apps. There was a sudden gasp.

"This much determination being radiated... You...you should be..."

"I'm sorry. I said too much."

"Do...do you know what Determination does to monster bodies? Why? Why aren't you... If anything...y-you...you're actually gaining strength. Your composition...it's all wrong. I can't find any magic in you."

I heard Alphy's cell phone warbling. She was...scanning me?

"These numbers...they're n-not consistant with--" Alphy's eyes widened. "What...what are you?"

"...something that shouldn't be on your world...but someone who can't afford to not care what happens to it...to everyone. I'm sorry, Doctor. But I'm neither human nor monster. I'm something in between. And if you're as intelligent as I think you are...you have a good idea what that might be just from those scans. By now...you've pretty much figured out the nature of my soul. So...I'm going to leave it to you to decide whether you trust me or not."

"My god....your soul isn't monster. And it's not human. No...it's something far more powerful. And the equipment on you... This energy...some kind of symbiosis of tachyon and chronoton.....*GASP*......t-t-t-time traveller?!"

"You are more intelligent than I would have ever imagined. I'm sorry, Doctor but--"

"What's...really happening to our world? There have been sightings of weird...glitches and...strange cases of intense deja vu. I think...I think Papyrus' brother, Sans...knows something. Dr. Gaster knew something but--"

"It's...not something I can talk about freely. My organization limits me from interacting with recorded history on other worlds."

"Then there's...proof of other worlds out there? Other civilizations?"

"More than that. There are other timelines. Other universes. Your timeline is just one of millions. I'm sorry. But If I reveal anything more to you, Alphys......you know the knowledge is dangerous in the wrong hands."

I faced her.

"You of all people understand why secrets have to be kept."

Alphys turned away, sadly.

"You know. Don't you?"

"I know. About them. About...him. He...is the reason I'm here. It's...complicated."

"I tried. I really did...but I can't bring back what was lost. I let the King down. I let the Queen down. And...I've let our poor fallen prince down. I just keep letting everyone down. The moment the kingdom finds out what I've done...they'll...they'll......." Alphys buried her face in her hands and started crying.

"I'm sorry. I can't say any more. But...I'd like to think if he were still...himself. He'd forgive you."

By now we were getting closer to the core. It was...a lot less marvelous to watch Alphys navigate the conveyors and steam jumps when Chara wasn't in control of her. I had to intervene several times to prevent her from meeting an early end.

Finally I saw the island before the main super-tower in sight. I could make out the figure of...something or someone.

"Dr. Alphys. Wait here."

"B-but I'm his creator. I should--"

"Not endanger yourself needlessly."

"By y-yourself?"

Alphy's eyes widened as I generated to large spheres of crackling electric plasma in each hand.

"I'll manage." A wash of lightning wrapped around me.

"That's...that's not...that's not magic, is it?"

"No."

"Good luck to you, Doctor. And......I promise I'll keep your secrets safe."

"And I will keep yours, Alphys. For as long as you need me to."

I walked across the bridge to the main island. There was plenty of space to battle. More than enough. But the main machine tower...it was as glaring a target as anything. I'd have to be on my A-game......no....my S-game to keep it from being damaged.

I stopped behind the villain in question. He didn't turn around but he knew I was there.

"Welcome, beauties...the show is about to start. And I promise it'll be a show where I'm absolutely...killing it."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 73: Mettaton Neo:

"Don't be shy, introduce yourself to our viewing audience--"

"Save it, Chara."

"Ohhh. Such a buzzkill." the mechanical being shifted his huge arm cannon.
"Stopped trying to possess the living and you've downgraded to machines, now?"

"Downgrade? This is an upgrade. A body that doesn't get tired. Stronger, faster, and better than anyone out there. And it won't turn to dust when it falls. Slap in new wiring and it gets right back up and keeps going."

"Well. You're a big time villain now. Regicide. Multiple homocides...multiple genocides over multiple timelines. And now total global extinction. You couldn't dig yourself any deeper with the drill from a oil derek."

"That's all a matter of perspective, Arcade. From where I stand I have a lot high ground to ascend to once I make it off world."

"You're not getting anything out of me."

"Ohhh, I don't know about that. There are plenty of ways to get to the truth. And the truth will set you free...or maybe it'll set Asriel free from where you've imprisoned him."

"So you're still convinced."

"Don't try to deny it. He's alive and you're harboring him."

"You must know he's not your Asriel. You killed your Asriel when you led him to the human village with your dead body. What part of you had no clue that he wouldn't fight back? Just because you made him promise to do something that goes completely against who he is as a person? You don't get a second chance with him. You don't get a new Asriel after you broke the first one then destroyed him."

"Doesn't matter what Asriel he is. I will have my brother back simply because he IS Asriel. Just the simple fact of who he is will be enough for us to fulfill our destinies."

"And you still learn nothing--!!!" I drew back and smashed both electric plasma orbs together, fusing their energies and then unleashing the resulting Lightning Laser; a river of electric current. More than enough to carbon score Mettaton's electronics down to the last Zener diode.

But to my horror, the beam washed around something...invisible and spherical around Mettaton NEO's body. A force barrier?!? How?! Alphys didn't have this kind of technology--

Not-Mettaton grinned devilishly before licking his mechanical tongue over his teeth, like he was savoring the taste of something sinful.

"I've learned plenty."

"What have you done...?" I growled angrilly.

"How was it that you put it? About me going up against your mental prowess? About being mentally naked? I'd say you're the one who's the dirty, naked beast."

"I asked you a question."

"What? You can't figure it out?"

"All that time in Alphys' body...after destroying the Proton Pack...the giant head start you gave me. You didn't just have control over Alphys' body...you had control over her knowledge and memories, too. You used that to reverse engineer the pieces of the positron collider and reconfigure it into--"

"Into a device that could compensate for Mettaton NEO's pitifiul defense." Mettaton NEO turned around and integrated into the armor was the four-light accelerator unit from the Proton Pack, flashing in sequence as its internal rotors and magnets spun.

"So tell me now, Dr. Arcade...who really is the idiot here?"

In a rage I charged blindly at Chara-ton NEO. And I most certainly reached the pinnacle of stupidity...

I found myself grabbed by the throat...then the arm cannon shoved into my mouth. And then my thoughts, memories and everything else just stopped for...who can say how much time. THe next thing I remembered was everything blinking back into existence...nothing but total white light everywhere... and then fading back to blurry images...and searing pain in everything from my fangs to my throat. I could feel every cell pop pack into existence in a stampede. I could only image how gruesome it must have looked.

"That felt good."

I gurgled and tried to whisper. My vocal chords were still raw.

"WAT?" Chara taunted smugly. "Speak up."

"Oh no...oh no." Alphys covered her cheeks and shuddered.

"Why do you exist? What reason could this world have for allowing a megalomaniac like you into it?" I strained me voice as the last patch of fur resurfaced. Gods, I hated when my immortality worked against me.

"Somebody's got to call bulls*** when people talk about how great this world is. You know when the little ghost that confronted me after I kicked him out of his body...he had the gall to say I wasn't completely evil. That he took comfort that both Alphys and humanity on the surface would survive. Said that I was holding back when I destroyed that pink nightmare he called beautiful."

Not-MTT flashed another wicked grin.

"Oh sure, he acknowledged I'd wipe the floor with Asgore...but to doubt my power so callously? Well...challenge accepted. When I'm done with you, I'll chuck you into the lava where I know you'll never be able to swim your way back out after sinking to the center of the planet. And then I'll just have to tear the Doctor limb from limb."

I finally got a look at Mettaton NEO's form. Almost entirely black. The shoulder armor extended into impossibly lengthy pauldrons with bent spikes. The right half of his white face covered with black plating. THe right eye looking like cross-hairs minus the circles. The impossibly impractical wings that look ed like they were cut out of black sheet metal.

Where there would normally be two hearts--a black one on the chest and an upside-down white one underneath...the white one was covered up by the Positron Collider which was wired in layers of cables and hoses leading into multiple circuit patches.

The next few moments were filled with pain of various kinds. Brutality which should not be described. Body parts...regenerating that should be kept to myself. Torture that I cannot in good conscience describe in these logs.

"You going to take me to Asriel or not?"

"...N....N....N-Not...." I coughed up a splatter of blood, soaking the automoton in it.

"Hmm...wrong answer." Mettaton NEO hoisted me up and smashed me down in a backbreaker over the knee. I felt my spine sever for only a moment...and then feeling return to my legs almost instantly.

This was messed up. MTT NEO shouldn't be able to dish out this much and not at least get scratched in the process. How effectively had Not-Alphys re-engineered my equipment?

"I've dreamed about doing this for so long. Do you have any idea how much I wanted this? I just so want to kick you in your perfect teeth. And now. I can."

I caught sight of a few broken fangs flying out of my jaws, trailing blood. A few moments later, the broken and missing teeth were healed up again.

Iago the Parrot said it best: It's amazing what you can survive. I'd hardly call this amazing, though...more like prolonged torture.

"That should be enough toying around with you. I want you conscious when I tear your secrets out of your head." Again I felt the cannon shove into me. This time underneath my jaws. At that angle it would completely take my head off and not just the back of my throat and brainstem.
Mettaton NEO hoisted me up on the blaster.

"I just might have to force the Doctor to invent a way to read your memories. One way or another...it gets me closer to Asriel."
Alphys was fixed on my limp form, debating to cover her eyes or watch every gorey detail.

Neither of us noticed the arrival that went unnoticed.
Chara started energizing the cannon again, diverting all power to the weapon.

"Smile you son of a--!"

None of us heard the spear whiz through the air so it took us all by suprise when it impaled through the robot bbody from behind, spearing straight through the Positron Collider assembly.

"What?!?" I was dropped suddenly as the sudden power losses fluxuated througout the robot's circuits. I coughed violently, losing another untold amount of blood.

"Who...!" A whirl. "YOU!"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 74: The Team-Up We All Knew Was Going to Happen:

Undyne flashed a menacing grin as the spear quickly turned to water and sparks began shooting out of the ruined assembly.

"This is why nerds shouldn't get into fights! I leave you dorks alone and this crap happens. Hey, Arcade! Leave this to a TRUE HERO!"

I barely made out her form as my vision wa still a little blurry. Definitely sailing through the air across the length of magma separating the main island from where she arrived. And most assuredly the sound of her landing on the ground. Another spear in her grasp...I think.

"Yo, listen up, punk! You messed with the wrong pup and now you're going to get my fist through your skull."

"Undyne! Y-you came!" Alphys looked so relieved...all four of her...wait...that was just the dizziness.

"Hey. You're not taking a dust nap are you? Gonna be a lot more pissed at this walking trash can if you fall.

"Just give me a minute to er...let my healing spells take effect and I'll help you kick its ass."

"Hope you're better at fighting machines than you are fighting royal guards, fluffy."

"Show some respect for your elders, tall, dark and scaley. I'm not the one who smells like sushi."

"I don't know what sushi is, but it sounds like something that should piss me off!"

"Are you two done with your play date yet? Because I'm really in the mood to kill something."

"What's your damage, freak? If anime has taught me anything, robots are supposed to be cool. You're a total loser! And losers get their faces smashed in and crushed under boulders!"

"Oh dear, sweet Undyne. Always trying to prove how tough you are. Still the butch bully you ever were."

"Sorry. I don't speak crazy, messed up, machine. We supposed to know each other?"

"Think it over when I send you back to Asgore in an urn--!"

Mettaton NEO suddenly lurched forward with four pained grunts in a row as each of the quartet of colored electric plasma balls of my Voltage Orb Lightning and Thunder (V.O.L.T.) Strikes hit home; each a ball of red, yellow, green, and blue plasma marked with the letters V, O, L, and T respectively.

Admittedly...it was a vain signature attack. But it left an impression. One that never let my enemy forget who just electrocuted them. Sometimes being a "superhero", as Asriel described me, meant puffing out your chest, flexing your ego and being a little arrogant.

"I got my second wind. Time to reenact Captain America and Winter Soldier beating the snot out of Iron Man in Civil War..."

I cracked my knuckles then sailed forth with a cocked fist charged with dense magnetism which had the same effect as boxing gloves loaded up with mercury. Mettaton NEO went flying into Undyne's next punch and then flying straight back at me. We traded off pounding the bolts out of the machine for a bit until a discharge of the cannon sent us both in opposite directions.

"This tin can fights dirty!"

There must've still been enough energy left in the Positron Collider's main capacitor bank to keep MTT NEO's defenses up. But without a generator to keep them charged, they'd burn out eventually. And the more attacks the bucket of bolts threw at us, the less energy Chara would have.

"We're draining his power but it's not enough. Maybe if I draw its fire--"

"No way. You're not doing something reckless after I saved your furry hide."

"ANd you think I'd be okay if he kills the Head of the Royal Guard after she just saved my life? I have issues with sacrifice plays on the field of battle."

"Don't you get self-righteous on me!"

"THis isn't the time to argue!"

We bickered back and forth, not noticing that Chara was about to take advantage of it. But we were all quickly silenced when of all things a cascade of bones shot up out of the ground like spikes, impaling the evil winged machine.

"What the--"

"Dammit, Papyrus! What the Hell?!"

"Nyeheheheheh! I have come to the rescue, Undyne! Be amazed as I prove once and for all that I have what it takes to join the Royal Guard."

"Papyrus, this isn't a sparing session! This guy means business! You mess around with him and--"

"You there! Evil robot! I challenge you to a duel! When I defeat you, you will be so moved by my greatness that you will turn over a new leaf and reform! This will surely prove that I am skilled and powerful yet merciful! Nyeheheheh!"

"Of all the times...is it too much for Papyrus to y'know...not be Papyrus for just a few minutes?" I asked Undyne.

"I swear if anything happens to that bonehead, I'm going to lose so much sleep at night!"

"Oh! It's you, strange Greater Dog! I didn't realize you and Undyne were on such friendly terms!"

"Well uh..."

"I knew it! I'm assembling quite the circle of friends! Nyeheheheheh! I never miss a moment. I have a sharp eye for details............but really. Has your fur always been that color? And what strange clothes you are wearing. I've never seen fashion so...unique."

Good grief.

"Three on one? You're still no match for me! I'm going to completely dust you all!"

Another swarm of bones followed up by Water Spears. It was slowing Mettaton NEO down and damaging him but it wasn't stopping him. And despite being outnumbered he was still evenly matched against us all--

*CHUFFFF!* My ear twitched as soon as I heard it rocket through the air then impact with a sizzle. Whoah...the size of that fireball.

I looked in the direction it came from and sure enough there was a cloaked figure on yet another island near the main one we were battling on. I could make out a furry white hand with claws on the fingers.

"Who the Hell are you now?"

"What a terrible beast. Terrorizing these wonderful people. And so foul-mouthed. Cease your attack. This is your only warning."

"Screw you, lady!"

Chara was quickly answered by more fireballs and sweeping wands of flame. Only one person could control fire with this much power, speed, and range.
I sniffed the air and despite the acrid stench of the lava and such, I could make out her scent. Hello again, Toriel. This was a familiar side to you. I was so glad I wasn't on the receiving end.

At some point Undyne hesitated after watching another barrage of fireballs.

"...wait...is that...? Is that you, Queen Toriel?" She blurted out. But her words were drowned up by the noise and battle. It was probably something that shouldn't be revealed to Papyrus at this point or Alphys at this point.

"Four on one. Fine. I'll take you all on. You won't have time to turn to dust once you drown in the lava pools. But before that I"m going to make you all hurt and suffer."

Between Undyne and Papyrus fighting in close quarters, me in the middle ground, and Tori sniping from long range, we stood a good chance of taking Chara down. But I realized the moment that happened, she'd spill the beans.

There would be questions. Toriel would especially be impacted by this. I don't know if I could properly neuralize them all within reason. And if I did it would be like a mini reset. I'd have to start over on friendships.
And so the beat down went full force. The tide had turned. She was on the ropes, now.

Not-Mettaton clutched its sparking arm, having lost power to the cannon. "So this is what you're about. Four idiots have to gang up on one robot? I see how it is. Some honorable beings."

"Why you--!" Undyne snapped.
"No. That's just what this tin can wants. But he fights alone. There's no one in his corner. No one's got his back. He's just a sad, abandoned, pile of malware and virus-laden chips and dipswitches."

"I don't WANT or NEED anybody!!!"

Mettaton NEO pointed his arm cannon straight down and forced the electric current to jump the gap in the broken wiring, giving it power for one last shot. The resulting explosion threw us all in separate directions. WHen the smoke cleared, Undyne and Papyrus were out cold and it was just me.

The shock of it all even caused Alphys to pass out. Toriel began circling back around to try to get to Alphys, intending to check to see if she was injured and needed healing before daring to cross the bridge over to us.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 75: Battle's End.

The massive energy release had drained the last of the positron collider's power. Mettaton NEO swayed a bit, trying to keep balanced.

"Okay. Fess up. What have you done with the real Mettaton?"

"Why so worried? You can't kill a ghost, now can you?"

"I won't ask again."

"Heh heh...he's...around. But I don't think he'll be in any mood to show his face."

"THat body is barely holding together."

"It'll hold long enough."

"You're not getting away this time."

Chara staggered the machine toward me, attempting to slip by me.

"You're in my way."

"After all that...you still keep coming."

"Now do you understand my determination? I won't stop until every last one of you is dead. I'll find Asriel. Then we can finish the plan. And then...then...then I can make the human race extinct."

"You really don't get it, do you? How can you insist on underestimating your own species?"

"You shut your filthy mouth! You can't understand what it's like to be part of the human race!"

"Oh...can't I?"

It was time to take the biggest of risks. One last mind game for the road. I had a little bit of time before Toriel would wind her way back to where Alphys was. It was at that time Alphys woke up again and saw the changes to the battlefield. And it wouldn't be long before she had company. But it wasn't Goat Mom...

"Doctor! Doctor! There you are!"

"Wh...what? Mettaton?! You can't be here."

Sure enough it was the ghostly form of Mettaton. A ghost not that different from Napstablook but pink instead of blue. And with a noticeable spit-curl in his...er...hair?

"It's definitely me, deary. Why can't I be here?"

"If you're here...then...who's that fighting--!"

"Oh my! That's her! That's the evil spirit that did this to me! Destroyed my body and hijacked that......." A pause.

"That body. Doctor...you and I need to talk. Why is there...another robot body tailored to my image but so...badly scarred and twisted? Was my EX body not perfect? Not beautiful enough?"

"N-no! No, that's not it at all! I'm s-sorry. I overreacted when I got scared of the human's progress through the Underground. I...I...I had a nightmare that Undyne wouldn't survive her encounter with the human. I feared for us all s-s-so I made a new robot body with more advanced anti-human combat f-features. But...its defense was so low that it wouldn't have stood a chance againt the human despite its incredibly high offesnvie c-capabilites. S-s-s-so I abandoned it. But if you're not in control of it...who is?"

"I know not her name, but this spirit is quite malevolent. I think...I think it was once human."

"H-H-Human?!"

"It really has it out for someone named...Arcade, I think? There was a room in the...well...True Lab which only you had access to...but somehow she was able to use it for her own purposes. Such anger and hatred...the walls are covered with all kind of disturbing things. This Arcade's name comes up a lot in them. Along with...one other name I don't quite recognize. Maybe you know what it means?"

"Hmm?"

"Doctor...does the name "Asriel" mean anything to you--?"

A huge gasp.

"Oh no...it...can't...be..." Alphys' eyes widened.

"Doctor?"

"The first fallen human...the Prince's best friend and sister...the Dreemurr's adopted princess... Ch-Ch-Chara?" She uttered.

Back on the island...

"So you don't think humans are capable of compassion, selflessness, and love and friendship. That it's impossible for a human to comfort a broken mother longing for her dead children. To befriend a skeleton whose belief in people is unconditional despite them being friend or foe. To earn the respect of the head of the Royal Guard in battle? To save the life of a reptilian scientist who has to really try to find reasons to go on living in spite of all her sins......all these things are something a human wouldn't understand? Is that it?"

"We eat creatures like you for breakfast. Tell me I'm wrong."

"No. You tell me that that I'm wrong." And with that I demorphed, taking the risk.
"Wh...what the f--! No...no...no this is some kind of trick...!"

I put my glasses on and stared through her, arms crossed.

"Don't feel bad for losing to someone who's both monster and human. You don't even have a body to call your own."

With that the robot body just stopped moving and collapsed. Must've used up the last of its power. Chara's spirit form rose up out of it. She was ominously silent for a bit, just hovering there, with a stunned expression. ANd then...she started laughing...really laughing. Her laughter became more and more disturbing and maniacal. She grabbed handfuls of her hair and continued laughing. She threw back her head and laughed toward the heavens. She just kept laughing and laughing and laughing, tears starting to pour out of her eyes.

"I can't...I can't believe...I can't believe...I can't believe..."

"Sad. This is just sad--"

"I can't believe...you're SO STUPID!!!" She snapped her head back down, her face distorting into its Gaster-like ichor-dripping incarnation.

"You just made my job a cake walk! Without those powers of yours I'll easily possess you!

Crap. This was where the risk came in. But I was prepared for this. I brushed a new E.N.G.I.N.E. dot and released the weapon I had brought along...the bow of a Quincy Archer. Resembling a neon cyan spider-web in construction, this sucker had plenty of firing rate to go around. It could give my vulcans a run for the money.

Let's just say...I didn't spent all of my time traveling abroad in the Karakura Town only learning the ropes of a substitute Soul Reaper. Let's just say...I had just as much experience as a substitute Quincy. Let's just leave it at that and let the situation spell itself out.

And so I unleashed 1,200 rounds per minute of Reishi-powered arrow HELL! They were small and very low potency but they'd wear Chara down and keep her at a distance for the time I needed to set up, altering the battlefield to my advantage.

I kept the pressure on, every so often charging up for a large blast. It seemd though the large blasts would miss their target each time. I managed to squeeze off 5 charge shots before Chara's next slash with the Real Knife knocked my weapon out of my grasp. I landed in a crouch.

"No more tricks. This time it really is the end. I'll take good care of your body. Who knows what sights I even see with it. I'll be sure to repay all of your friends in kind for eveyrthing you've done to me."

"Y'know...for a slow learner? You just surpassed a certain orange-headed numbskull in Karakura Town." I taunted.
"Defiant to the end."

I suddenly grinned darkly as I slipped the Sprenger weapon from behind me where I had it tucked in my black belt. I unfolded it and stabbed it straight into the ground.

"What are you doing?"

I opened the tiny vial of clear liquid. Holy water? I'd never tell.

"Hey, Chara."

"What?"

"You lose again."

I let a single drop of the liquid splash down on the head of the dagger as five neon cyan lines of energy tore through the ground and formed a run. A large circle formed around each of the Charge Arrows that had missed and impaled in the ground in a ring. And then the next thing Chara knew the world turned white as a shaft of light erupted into the "sky" of the underground, going up and up and up, as high as the Core tower...maybe higher.

Chara opened wide and screamed but there was no sound as everything went silent.

When the light cleared Chara was face down, attempting to crawl away. As far as a spirit went...she was in very bad shape. She hastilly dove back into the metal corpse of Mettaton NEO and brought it back to life with what little power it had left. As she was doing that I re-morphed and approached as she tried staggering away across the bridge.

"You never figured it out, did you? There was another reason transformed into my human form other than to screw with your mind. I needed to be in human form to access my substitute Quincy powers. It was the only way to use Sprenger and Selee Schneider. And everything else in my arsenal."

"It's...not...fair...why can't I...win?"

"You've learned nothing. You can't win."

"You can't kill me. I'll fight you as many times as it takes to get Asriel back."

"And I'll fight you as many times as it takes to keep him away from you. And right now...I feel like punching you in your perfect teeth."

"Because you can?"

"Because I can."

I charged up, wrapped a hand around my fist and swung into the broken robot.

"I'll double-fist-punch you, you slave-making b****!"

I battered the machine repeatedly. It almost lost its footing several times.

"Now. Take your genocidal ass. Off. My. BRIDGE!"

I gave my strongest roundhouse kick and sent Mettaton NEO flying off and into the magma below. It liquified near instantly. I saw the hazy traces of Chara's weakened form escape amongst the smoke and steam.

In the aftermath, Toriel, still maintaining the hooded cloak to keep her identity secret with the help of Alphys and myself managed to get Undyne and Papyrus back to the lab to recover. As a thank you, I offered to help Alphys with the repairs to Mettaton's EX body. She accepted and we toiled away, making the repairs in record time berfore the skeleton and the fish-girl awoke.

The final repairs would have to be done by Mettaton's boxy computer shell body. It would be a while before we could flip his switch again.

Toriel, however didn't stick around. She hadn't been a queen for some time. It was better this way...better that her people didn't know her identity. She did however give me a sign of thanks. I could make out her forming a heart with her hands the same way my family and I did in the photo we gave her for Mother's Day. You're verywelcome, Tori.

"Doctor...?"

Alphys pulled me asside while she had a moment.

"Thank-you." She wrapped her arms around me and hugged longingly, streaming tears.

"No. Thank you." I smiled and placed a hand on her head. "I have to get going but...I'm glad I could help."

"You can c-count on me if you ever need...y'know...a f-friend."

As soon as Undyne and Papyrus were on their way...

"The human child will be arriving soon. Try...to go easy on them. They haven't hurt anybody and...I think they could just use a friend."

"I'll...try not to do anything rash."

"Good luck to you, Doctor. And...let's just keep those secrets between you and me. Okay?"

"Okay."

A wave good-bye and I was en route to the Deloreon.

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Old 05-30-2016, 09:35 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
King of crossovers..maybe
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Memorial Day Update. Enjoy.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 76: "Even the One Who Stands Can Still Be the One Who Falls..."

I returned to town and piloted the Deloreon back to my shop's garage and exited. Bunnie, Mitzi, Callista, Scott, and Asriel were already waiting.

"Volt! You're back!" Asriel looked so eager to see me.

I made my way over.

"Asriel! I'm so glad...to...to..."

What...why am I...so......dizzy...vision...blurry...

"Volt...?"

"Commander?"

"I....I...." I staggered and swayed... "...I don't...feel...so..."

Everything...going...dark...ground coming up--

"Asriel...looking so...aghast...no...can't...do this...to him......please...no..."

"VOOOOOOOOOOLT--" *thud*

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CRYPTOSMASHER LINK REESTBLISHED.
TRANSMISSION RESUMED.


Voices...muffled but getting clearer...

Is that...is that Asriel? I hear him...sniffling...sobbing......pleading...

"...w...k....p......Pl...s....wa....up....co....ba ....ple....c....ack..."

Open your eyes, Volt. Open your eyes! Open your eyes, dammit! Open them, now!

"Please......wake up...."

And then...eylids...fluttering open. White light...blurry images...a face......Asriel!

I heard his gasp. I saw his eyes widen. I saw his cheeks already stained with tear streaks. I saw his face scrunch up and his eyes well with more tears.

And then he tacklehugged me and just bawled his eyes out.

"You came back! You're okay!"

I moved my gaze around. I was definitely in the medical bay, bed-ridden. How long had I been out-- Oh no. No. No. No. NoNoNoNoNoNo...!

My eyes snapped completely open as the realization set in.

No. THis can't be. How could this happen? I...I...I put Asriel through the exact same thing Chara did. I made him worry. I made him suffer. I made him feel that same thing again.

And then I began to cry. Really cry. Really, REALLY cry. And it didn't take long before I was completely wailing as bad as a defeated Absolute God of Hyperdeath when his cries of demanding Frisk to stop were no use.

"Volt?" He stopped crying, noticing that I was more upset than he was.

"Volt, what's wrong? WHy are you...?"

"I'm sorry..."

"Volt?"

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I...I made you worry. I made you sad...I...I...I didn't mean to...I--"

"Volt, it's okay. You didn't die--"

"But I put you through the same thing that Chara did. I...I feel so terrible...I swore to myself I'd never let you feel that again."

"Volt...I...I'm okay. Everything's...everything's fine now."

"But...but..."

"I knew you wouldn't die. You're nearly immortal, right?"
Logic told me Asriel was right.

"You really pushed yourself, didn't you, Dad?" Elektra was on hand, in her human form. That medical uniform was unmistakable. Candy apple red hair that really stood out whether she was in her fair-skinned human form or her fiery red-orange furred werewolf morph.

"You just can't stop working yourself until you drop."

I heard Lisa's scolding tone next. That cute dress and strappy heel sandals that I went ga-ga over. Blue-haired, blue-eyed; styled into the same hair-bowed, pony-tailed style as Roll Light; the sister of Pit's old partner, Mega Man. Also in human form. But when she was morphed, that blue fur of hers...that slender wolfess build, that magnificent tail...gods she was beautiful. Even when she was angry at me she was beautiful.

"What...what happened?"

"You got into one of your battles to the "death" that you can't really die from but you pushed your regeneration and your strength so hard you completely exhausted yourself. Just because you don't die doesn't mean you can't collapse form exhaustion. About the only thing you're not suffering from is heat exertion. I'll never understand why you don't get heat stroke like normal people do in volcanic temperatures."

Elektra shook her head.

"You overexerted so much it slowed your ability to recover a little. But fortunately I have a prescription to get you back up and on your feet. A nice session in the RAIDEN mk-17 should perk you right up."
That made me smile weakly.

"What's...a RAIDEN mark seventeen?" Asriel questioned.

"It's the general name we use for the Lab's underground orbital cyclotron." Elektra explained.

"Cyclotron?"

"A new-age particle accelerator. Well...let me explain it like this. Have you ever watched a thunderstorm?" Elektra went on.

"Yeah...it rained really hard not long ago. And there was thunder and lightning and...I got scared and hid under my bed. We...don't have anything like that in the underground."

"Your first clash with the weather. Anyway. Lightning is just big bolts of electricity. Well. Particle accelerators are used in science to create new kinds of matter; new materials by spltting or fusing their atoms together in chain reactions. One like the RAIDEN is designed such that the energy released is converted into massive amounts of electricity." Elektra explained.

"And by now you know Volt absorbs electricity. It strengthens him and speeds up his healing process. He can also generate and store it for incredibly powerful attacks. He was born with this power so...it's as natural as breathing for him. So in other words...instead of a small snack, he's going to have a huge banquet feast. It'll get him on his feet and feeling better than ever in no time."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 77: "Lightning Strikes With Raging Thunderstorm Force":

With Lisa and Elektra steadying me and Asriel following behind, we went down several levels below the main lab and sub-labs, deep underground into the RAIDEN chamber. A massive hollowed out cavern that had been covered with heavy metal, EMF shielding, polished to a mirror shine and able to withstand the intense electromagnetic energy buildup while keeping it from leaking outward and causing problems above ground or to anything buried nearby.

Asriel was asked to wait in the observation deck. Heavily insulated, lined with equipment and powerful magnets and static accumulators to generate a damper field to cancel out the electromagnetic force radiation and absorb any electric arcs or plasma discharge. Plus it would give a safe view of what was by far the biggest artificial lightning storm on the planet.

As a precaution, all three of them were suited up in heavy EMF radiation suits. I could see how uncomfortable Asriel was but it was for his own safety.

I walked out onto the catwalk into the center of the modded aparatus at the core. Cables, lightning arresters, spark gaps, glass tubes filled with crackling lightning, huming coils, and all kinds of other industrial tech wrapped around everything and filled the room. It was a sight to see.

It amused me that the particle accelerators on Earth Prime had to be so ridiculously big by comparison. Several miles of long track to accomplish what we could do in a compact cavern this size. The CERN Particle Accelerator was the 21st century's pride and joy. Heheheh...how quaint. But I suppose it was hard to be modest when the technology level on our world was as high as it was...and yet the Galvans still turned up their nose at it and looked upon us like we were some peasantstock, backwater mudball in the universe.

Again, Asmyth. You continue to stay on your high horse. I wonder how long it would be before you came knocking to express your displeasure at me adapting Unitrix cores for...certain purposes. Well. If he could find easier ways to allow Hybrids and Lycans to walk around planets that were entirely human populous, he was welcome to give us a clue. Now I felt inclined to take you down a peg the next time Benjamin Kirby Tenneyson was around. I'm sure he'd be on board just to mess with you.

I strapped in, buckled up, and locked down my limbs. The majority of the electricity would be focused straight through this center point. Admittedly it was hard to stay conscious. I guess Elektra wasn't exhaggerating how bad I had drained myself.

The final lockdowns, shieldings and protections were engaged and then the machinery started up with loud roars that kept building and building. And then the arcs of purple lightning began the fill the room.

I think saw Asriel step back a big, bumping into where Elektra and Lisa were standing. Elektra put her hand on his shoulder, reassuringly.

The thunderstorm grew and grew, increasing in intensity; becoming quite erractic and violent. The density of the tangles of lightning became more like a magnified view of a neon sponge. THere were soon too many tangles and mini tangles of purple lightning spider-webbed together to even think about counting. And every moment or so massive bolts ripped across the room, harmlessly dissipating across the mirror polish and the shielded and fielded layers of glass of the observation deck but definitely giving jump-scares.

The energy began gathering at the epicenter where it poured through me.

If I may borrow one from Mettaton:

"Ohhhhhhhhh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!"

Every folicle of my fur was now rippling and bristling wildy from the energy. Every nerve felt alive but not in pain; quite the opposite. From the time before now, when my body kept telling me I can't wake up, at this very moment I could feel it..I could feel it wake me up inside.

And I immediately felt I was channeling something again. Eh. Too good a mood to care. Worry about it later. Electricity now!

To say the feeling was like a trillion GP still undersold it. This feeling. Nobody could understand this feeling. This was mine to feel and mine alone. As much as I wanted to, I could never share it with anyone. Asriel would never know what it was like to be me at this moment in time. All the problems, Chara or otherwise just melted away. It was the purest, cleanest, most unspoiled thing I could feel at this moment.

To be one with the electricity. To bond with it. draw life from it. This was what it meant to be elemental werewolf; with the power of electricity and magnetism at your fingertips. Much as Sally had her speed world. Much as Lupe was connected to the very essence of life itself. Much as Bunnie became one with the cosmos through meditation. And much as Violet could emerse herself in a world of 1's and 0's at such speed, in such volume that would kill a normal person's brain. This was where my nirvana lay.

"At last. I am reborn!" I cried to the heavens...maybe overselling it juuuuuust a bit. Y'know. For dramatic flair. Hey, Violet can't have all the moments of being questionably overzealous.

"I'M ALIIIIIIVE! I'M ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!" And then I threw back my head and laughed like a mad man.

And before I knew it...seemingly as soon as the feeling began...it passed. The Cyclotron slowed and its energies subsided.

"Was that really necessary, Dad?" Elektra rubbed her temples.

"Let your father have his fun." Lisa was a little more jubilant about it.
It took a few moments for Asriel to snap out of being stunned by the biggest, most intimidating thunderstorm he ever saw.

"Volt? Are...are you okay? Talk to me. How...how do you feel?"

The locks and restraints opened, allowing me to get myself out of the machine and back onto the metal walkway. The excitement faded to completely laid back and mellow. In short...suddenly very chillax.

"Groovy." I said with a blissful grin, channeling a little bit of a mood-slime soaked Raymond Stantz following Vigo the Carpathian's defeat. It was then he noticed I was completely lit up and glowing with an almost blinding gold aura of energy, latent static coursing over my fur to the point of humming with a 60 cycle-per-second transformer buzz. Violet would joke I was about to go SSJ Goku. Add another to the thwapping total I owed her.

"It might be a bit before his energy levels calm back down. I'd recommend waiting for that to fade before hugging him; for your own safety, Asriel."

Asriel just nodded.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 78: Luck of The Fox-ish.

Later on, as everyone else waited outside of UCIAT HQ, I came back out, still glowing and huming with the energy aura and feeling like I was walking on air...which I actually was as I superconducted just to show off a little. It brought me back to my encounter with Sans.

Mitzi was standing by with one of her Co-workers, Foxy "Colleen" Flannigan.

"I knew you'd be okay, Commander."

"But a wee bit o' luck certainly didn't hurt your chances, laddie." Foxy mused after adjusting her shamrock-buckle sandals from where she was sitting at the fountain.

"Oh, Asriel, this is Foxy Flannigan. She's one of the workers at Rock-Afire Pizza and an old friend of mine."

"Howdy, Miss Foxy. I'm Asriel."

"The pleasure is mine, wee nipper." Foxy's thick Irish accent was as distinct as ever.

"How did you and Miss Mitzi meet?"

"Well, I"m glad ye asked. Back in the days of Pizza TIme Theater, when Mitzi's ex was starting out, he started booking guest acts to draw more attention. I was his first guest act. I sang and conversed with him and his group. Mostly folk songs from me home country. But as time went on, I began to feel sniped by his commentary. I was soon dropped and the next acts were lined up. Soon they were feeling the sting of his insults on stage and in many cases it got uncomfortable on stage."

Foxy looked on.

"I tried to keep my career going but I didn't really get a second wind until I got to be part of the production of Riverdance. Got to meet Michael Flatley himself. I danced my heart out and even had a few instances I could pick up a violin and fiddle away. A few months after Mitzi was situated in UCIAT, she thought to contact me and I gladly came over after spreading to word to any of Pizza Time Theatre's previous guest acts. Many answered the call like Harmony Howlette and Sal Sashay the Disco Skunk. The King Cousins. And more. And so here we are, helping out at Rock-Afire Pizza during the busy hours."

"Foxy's been a wonderful friend and is great for holding down the fort when UCIAT needs me on missions and such."

We hadn't explained...UCIAT's continuing missions in assistance to the crown; whether Miranda or our alies in Raxis, De Midian, Augustgrad, etc. But I figured I'd wait until Asriel was older before I involved him with our more dangerous action adventures.

I smiled.

"So. Feel like dancing a jig, Foxy?" I asked.

"Wouldn't be much of a colleen if I didn't." Foxy beamed. She reached down and clicked on her sandals and activated the tap-soles that had been modified into them. She got some distance from the fountain. Mitzi opened her smart phone and accessed the soundtrack to Lord of the Dance, putting on its title music. And Foxy proceeded to dance her heart out. Girl was good. What Mitzi had in singing talent, she easily had in dancing ability. And Foxy excelled at Celtic. In seconds she went from zero to a complete storm of high speed taps and stomps.

Asriel was quickly absorbed in the improptu show. Admittedly, I was a little mesmerized myself.

Faster and faster the moves came until Foxy came to a complete and total sudden stop on the last note, holding her position like a statue. From a kinematics stand point it was absolutely remarkable how she managed to transfer and disperse all that motion for such and instantaneous stop. But for someone watching a show...it was definitely a showstopper.

Asriel, Mitzi and I rewarded her with a round of applause. Foxy broke position to catch her breath and take a little bow then click off the tap extensions. This girl would be an instant hit on Mettaton's show.
After a bit my electric aura faded and I was safe enough to touch. There was that overdue hug that Asriel owed me. It was good to be me at that moment in time.

Sub-Entry 79: "The Overworked are Overdue for Some Rest":

Per doctor's orders I was grounded from making any more trips to the Underground any time soon. Which meant the meeting with Asgore that had already been delayed was delayed yet again. I wonder if William White had this much trouble finally getting his ninth creation, Beck off the ground after...multiple setbacks. But that was a mission for another time...provided Dr. Sanda had any intention of making that little mechanical skirmish public. It was one "mighty" big problem let me tell you what.

As much as I wanted to check in on Doctor Alphys...as much as I wanted to shoot the sh-(Flowey Cackle) with Undyne...as much as I wanted to enjoy a moment with Papyrus and challenge myself to not chuckle good-naturedly from him being...well...himself...as much as I wanted to thank Toriel for everything......yeah. I guess it could wait.

As for STC, I had Command simulate a "convenient" ion storm that would keep the Council off my case for a while while rerouting A.E.O.N.S. omni-telemetry logging for my I.D. signal. It would go straight to planetary memory colony, bypassing the Council's viewing stream. What happens in Miranda City or elsewhere in the continuum stays in Miranda CIty or elsewhere in the continuum.

There were a number of off world places I wanted to show Asriel but......I had decided he was still too young and vulnerable for that. The risks outweighed the benefits. Besides. There was more than plenty on this world for him to explore and experience before I considered having a little buddy along for the ride on visits to old territory. And hopefully the first place he'd get to see was Neo Arcadia in Kaeleron on the other side of this world; my other adopted home. And brother...there was more than plenty to explore and exprience. From Neo Arcadia City itself to MItiz's homes in Green Meadow and Neon City to Sally's place in Technopolis, maybe South Plumbington where Rotor called his hometown, and more. Already I was pondering the sights to see.

Obviously there was meeting the family. The ten founders. Arcade Industries C.E.O. and UCIAT founder--Dr. Garfield Powerhouse Arcade, my father figure; Professor Odie Megabyte Arcade, my first mentor and teacher, Dr. Nermal Stephanie Gamepro M.D., mother-figure and Mitzi's high school friend; General Arlene Williams "Sarge" Pinball, my source of discipline and gym teacher (and drill sergeant); and Edward Theodore Videomax, automechanic and the source of my sense of humor (Sans would love this guy). They were the core five and the best family i could have ever asked for.

Of the secondary five, there was rarely seen B. J. "Spellman" Wizardman the Third, one of the very few hybrids gifted with magic; Kitty Rosetta Dimitir, our own paper wizardress and legal council; Kimiko "Shin" Kazama, UCIAT's spiritual guru and one of Bunnie's many senseis over the years; Ariel X. Rastajive, UCIAT's party-centric master of extreme sports and outgoing, spontaneous thrill-chaser; and finally Ivan Vectorgraffinski, UCIAT's on Russian Intelligence Agent who could rival James Bond.

Beyond the meet and greet there was seeing my world away from my world. UCIAT Corporate and Industrial HQ was even bigger and more impressive than our own Miranda HQ. Plus there were everyone else's homecoming and sights. Like the very 1950's throwback of parts of Neon City--the City of One-Hundred-Million Lights and One-Hundred Billion Smiles or the small and quiet town of Green Meadow where she spent her childhood. Sally would most certainly want to show off the Turbotropolis Speedway, Technopolis Beach where her condominium was, and of course Gravitron Park--biggest amusement park in Neo Arcadia. And Rotor might have a few photo op locations in his home of South Plumbington; at the very least Plumber's Peak was worth a climb.

My mind was made up. This coming month I was taking Asriel and as many of us as I could swing to Neo Arcadia for a much-deserved summer vacation for at least a week. I was looking at the week of the 19th. Father's Day to start the week out. It was perfect. Now how to get the hustle behind the scenes without defying doctor's orders? I'd...have a few favors to call in. But if it went according to plan...it would all be worth it. I vowed I'd give Asriel a vacation...no...a life's experience he'd never forget...or ever want to.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 80: "A Simple Drive":

I figured I owed Asriel some bonding time. But I had to choose something low stress or Elektra would lock me out of the workshop and the lab. So I figured...what was less stressful than a nice road trip to nowhere in particular. I called Asriel to the shop and opened up the garage and got the 1957 Chevy out. It was the first time I ahd really showed it to him. He was impressed.

"So...shiny!" Hands on the cheeks, eyes like dinner plates. Yeah. It wasn't that hard to wow him.

"C'mon kiddo. You got shotgun." I opened the passenger's side seat for him.

Once he was in and buckled up I hopped in the driver's side and started her up again, gave her a few revs, slipped on a set of shades and we were on our way.

I'd brought bottle water and snacks. Asriel of course made sure he had his cel-phone and his cam-corder.

It was just the two of us. Just a drive up and down roads, highways, through towns and cities. Just sight-seeing. Exploring the landscape. Having some bro-time. Whatever whas the appropriate way to describe it.

I stole a glance of Asriel enjoying poking his head out the window while we were on a lone stretch of highway with very little traffic to speak of and letting his ears flop in the wind. So much laughter. So much happiness. This was what it was all about. This was the cure for that bad experience I put him through while bed-ridden.

We of course got caught up on things as well. Granted there was a lot I couldn't discuss with Asriel. He wasn't ready to know the true nature of his world; the multiple timelines. I honestly don't know how I was going to keep him in the dark for years to come with the hopes he'd be ready to know some day.

Along the way we visited small tourist traps and musem stuff. Spent the night at a motel along the way.

"I'm glad you came into my life, Asriel. I've met and bonded with a lot of people over the years on my missions. All of you are special to me."

"Will I get to meet any of them some day?"

"I won't rule it out. It's very possible. But it may be some time before that happens. There are...complications to sort through."

"And...I'm still young, aren't I?"

"I....well...yeah."

"I understand. That's what being patient is all about, right? All good things in time?"

"Well said, kiddo." I patted his head.

That night we watched some old movies on the motel room television. We uploaded some of our trip pictures from my smart phone and video from the cam-corder to my and Asriel's online blogs via the laptop Violet had given us (after I made sure she didn't slip anything NSFW onto it that would cause me to freak out and Asriel to cover his blushing face with his ears like he did when he was embarassed.)

The next morning we enjoyed a hearty continental breakfast and set out for home.

I dropped him off at Scott and Callie's place and headed home. They're be other adventures down the road and opportunities leading up to our summer vacation. And hopefully before then I be cleared to resume the quest to see King Asgore.

Until then...I'd have to find ways to fill the void. And I'm sure it would be lots of laughs, cries...and hopefully no hurling (Damn you, Violet.). Until next time...

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
END TRANSMISSION...
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:09 AM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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PROJECT: Lost Dreemurr update in progress. Please stand by and stay behind the white line...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 81: "Lessons of Life, Self-Defense, Survival and the Grey Area Within":

"...per your specifications, Bunnie." Lupe presented the massive, vaguely banana-shaped object. It was completely wrapped in white cloth and quite heavy. In order to lift it she had to use her Spirit Meld prism to merge with the spirit of a mighty gorilla.

"It was quite a collaboration, wasn't it?" Bunnie accepted the heavy object and began unwrapping it.

Asriel watched with fascination. The three of them were at Miranda City's outdoor target range. While I was still confined to low stress activity and lounging in lawnchairs until Elektra was comfortable with letting me resume active duty. And Command was certainly instrumental in keeping the wool pulled over the Council's eyes.

"What is that, Miss Lupe? Sensei Bunnie?"

Bunnie explained as the wrappings came off and the wooden object was revealed. To be very frank, it was less banana and more gigantic boomerang.

"In Feudal Jang they called this a "hiraikotsu". Roughly translated...flying bone. It was a weapon used by demon hunters of days old."

"Demons?"

"Very unfriendly if not murderous evil spirits. Beasts of the underworld. They plagued humans and hybrids aliked in more chaotic times. The Commander has been to a world where such things are still a problem." She was of course speaking of Inuyasha's homeworld.

Bunnie sighed.

"Most of them couldn't be reasoned with. Couldn't be shown mercy. It was a brutal period of war and sin. I won't pretend to understand the toil and strife of that period. Into every era desparation breeds the moments where people decide they have no choice but to survive. But in order to prevent further bloodshed, warriors had to put the evil demons down in order to protect the innocent; the people who could not defend themselves."

"Ohhh." Asriel definitely knew what she was getting at.

"All living creatures have the right to live. But we should not have to live at the expense of other creatures. It's such a sad excuse to justify self-presevation. But there there is no honor in letting an aggressor species decide that we must forfeit our lives without resistance. The gift of life must never be thrown away so callously. Sometimes as much as we try to avoid it...it does come down between you and your opponent."

"I know it's wrong to kill. But why do we? Flytraps swallow flies. Spiders catch insects in their webs and devour them. Cats chase and eat mice. Other animals fight each other to the death. It's so horrible." Asriel let a tear run down his cheek.

"Even in nature, animals...kill for sustinance. It is a horrid, ugly truth but it is not without reason." Lupe acknowled. "For intellgent creatures such as ourselves just as our animal breathren do...we hunt, we gather, we forage. We survive. But it should never be for sport. For malice. For no reason at all."

Asriel nodded, wistfully. He looked like he wanted to ask about the martial arts' very contractive nature. Why fight when the goal is not to?

"Life is a precious gift. One does not abandon it for no reason. That is self-defense. If you must fight a battle, if you do not wish to harm your opponent, then do not go on the offensive. But do not allow him to bring harm to you in the process. Block. Dodge. Duck. Subdue. Use pressure points. Take away their mobility without causing permanent injury."

"When you said for no reason...?" Asriel picked up on what was graced over.

"Making the Ultimate Sacrifice..." Bunnie sighed. "Truely the most heroic of deeds but...it is a choice that does not come lightly. Violet would say something like the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...and then I'd have to thwap her for giving the Vulcan Hand Salute. But that said... I've often been quoted saying, when I've gone on the most dangerous of missions...if it is to be my time...I pray that it is FOR something...and not OF something. The measure of a hero is in the lives they save that will never even know of what they gave up so that they may go on."

Bunnie located the holding strap behind the hiraikotsu and slid it over her arm. It was the most cumbersome of shields. But it wasn't just for defense.

"No more talk of unpleasant things. There will be time to discuss them and decide where we stand on them. What shade of grey we consider acceptable. For now...let us see what we have crafted in action."

Bunnie took her place at the target range where she had erected sets of bullseye targets. THere were quite a few of them. She gripped the strap of the hiraikotsu, drew the weapon back, focused all her strength and slung it forth with a mighty battlecry. The giant boomerang sailed forth, it's large size and propellor like nature, kicking up a small breeze underneath it. It scattered the dirt and dust on the ground as it indiscriminately tore through the clusters of targets in groups and continued its orbit back toward its sender. In a split second Bunnie snagged the weapon and then draped it over her shoulder.

Sango would definitely approve of the Major's form. It was a flawless projectile attack.

"Wow."

"Any weapon is merely a tool. Neither good nor evil. It is all a matter of how it is used. Even something as deadly as a katana can be used to prepare a wonderful grilled Xingese dish on the hibachi. Yet a simple pair of chopsticks can rend a person's Jugular Vein and Carated Artery asunder in the hands of a skilled assassin. I trust when you begin training with them you will use appropriate judgement."

"Yes, sensei." Asriel bowwed formally.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 82: "The Rabbotou Legacy/Bunnie's Story":

"That weapon looks incredibly heavy. Are you really that strong?"

"For a simple throw like that, it takes a bit of spiritual pressure and inner strength. But if I were to have to use it for real...it would require more."

"More?"

"Young Asriel-kun. Many of us have revealed much about ourselves. Personal things. Things that go deep into our pasts...our very natures. Volt has already shown you his big secret. As has Scott. Perhaps it is time to show you mine."

"Sensei?"

"Lupe. If you would please." Bunnie cast off her gi jacket and trousers, leaving her one-piece pink bathing suit underneath. There was a wide belt around her waist. The discarded clothing had somehow folded up neatly in the air and dropped into Lupe's hands in a pile with her sandals landing last.

"M-Miss Bunnie?"

"It's not what you might think, young one. I trust I do not have to warn you about entertaining the same thoughts as Violet."

"I don't know what you mean but I guess if you say it's okay."

"This is only a preventative measure as I do not wish to visit Jonathan for unnecessary clothing repair."

Bunnie closed her eyes and tightned her fists.

"What the Vortex Laboratory did to her changed her. Watch and learn what she can do."

With that the pink neon light carved its way out of Bunnie in complex pseudo-circuit tracks, dividing her golden sienna tan fur into patchwork as her eyes snapped open with piercing neon green light. And then the nanomachines began the transformation as her the circuits and nanowires and biomechanical began to overtake everything and and spread outward.

Flesh and blood, bone and fur all became nanocircuit and complex machinery, micro-gears, pistons, and fiber optics. Nerve impulses became signals. This went far deeper than roboticization. This was a symbiosis of living tissue at an atomic level with technomatter. It was like no transformation anyone had ever seen. And yet despite it all. It was still Bunnie. She retained her powerful soul. Her mind remained hers.

It was definitely the full cybermorph and not a partial. She wanted Asriel to know it wasn't just a single limb. This was completely inside and out.
When it was finished, Bunnie's form was sleek and shiny. Dr. Lynx's latest nanomachine revisions and program colony patches had made it so she wasn't just monochrome gun metal.

Now her flesh and fur and clothing colors carried over into the metal; highly polished and lusterous and only the largest seams and sectioned joints really showing. The form was definitely larger and bulkier; it had to have slowed Bunnie's movemetns. But just looking upon it you could tell she was on a whole different level of power, strength, and defense.

"This is my Cybermorph Form. A completely cybernetic body, inside and out. A form I control at will to any level. This is the power I was given.....the power I do not want that cannot be taken away from me."

Bunnie's voice had a mechanical reverb to it both otherwise still felt pretty organic.

"Oh my goodness! You're a superhero, too!" Those starry eyes. That expression of completely euphoria. There was no question. Asriel accepted the truth and embraced it. This was more of that pure admiration.

Bunnie demorphed from eartips to neckline, the machinery receeding like something out of a Michael Bay's Transformers sequel.

"Well. I would not entertain such egotism...but I suppose it does have its moments. In all seriousness...I am the embodiment of Jang's philosophy of blending the ancient with the modern. I practice techniques and disciplines which go back eighteen generations of my clan. And yet this nanotechnology within me...there's nothing more advanced known on this whole world."

Bunnie converted her right arm into its arm cannon mode and unlocked the D-Chip selector drum, letting it rise out of the chamber and open its four chip sockets.

Megami was immediately on hand with Bunnie's case of more than 64 D-Chips. Bunnie made her selections and plugged them into the sockets, retracted the ports and slammed the drum back down into her arm cannon, Omnitrix style.

"This is a responsibility I don't take lightly. I defer leadership to our Commander despite multiple attempts to convince me to lead the UCIAT. But it is not my place. It is not what I was destined to do."

Bunnie grabbed the grip of the rotary drum and twisted it, pointing the arrow to the approprate L.E.D. marker as the digital LCD readout displayed "Fire Razor". Bunnie pivoted sideways and pointed her arm cannon's barrel at the next available target down the range and sharpened her nano-assisted eyes before lightning up the weapon.

As she ignited Fire Razor, a rapid-fire hail of crescent-shaped claws of flame seared out from the weapon in a sequential, clockwise spiral pinwheel formation! Like a tunnel of blades but made of fire, the fully automatic stream of projectiles poured into the face of the target, not just BURNING through it but SLICING holes through it, eventually carving a sizeable hole through the center of the target.

Bunnie stopped firing and converted her arm back.

She closed her eyes and sighed deeply, bowwing her head.

"That's...that's really...!" Asriel stammered for words. "You're so...so...SO COOL, SENSEI!"

"Please. Go easy on the praise." Bunnie stepped back from the target range and demorphed as Lupe handed her back her attire. And in a coil spin of sakura petals she was clothed in gi and sandals and pink headband once more.

"I'm glad I could finally be honest with you."

"To thine own self be true?"

"Wise words from Sally-chan."

"So...there's more story to this isn't there?"

"Yes. I was born Bunnie Meiru Rabbotou to "Akira" Shiroshi Rabbotou and Anna May Fields-Rabbotou. Father was a proud Jangese who fell for mamma, a Southern Belle from a region to the south of Ecotropia's city kingdom capital. They moved to Jang and spent many happy years there. When I was born I was given rigorous tranining and teachings. I was instructed in the martial arts from the moment I could walk and taught to speak and write Jangese and Common simultaneously until I was fluent in both.

From an early age I was a tomboy. I didn't like girlish things. I lived as though I were their son rather than their daughter but...Mamma insisted on a little feminine charm and those accursed hair bows I had to wear on my eartips. By the age of five our family decided to move to the Ecotropian capital where father would accept a position as General to King Maximillian Acorn; Sally's father."

"Wow, your friendship goes back that far?"

"Indeed it does. Father forged his own comradery with the king and his other two Generals--Amadeus Prowler and Pierre D'Cooliette, Antoine's father. They were like...the Three Musketeers."

"The...Three...Mosquitos?"

"Sorry. Three Musketeers. A fictional story about a close-knit group of swordsman friends who were rogue justice-seekers in service to the crown. I shall have to bring you a copy from the local library."

"Okay."

"Mamma was friends with the ladies of the royal court; her highness, Queen Alicia, Rosemary Prowler, and Anique D'Cooliette. While she wasn't much into croquet and tea time she had her moments where she could teach them the more...rustic facets of Southerner life." Bunnie was likely very pink in the cheeks from talking about such embarassing things.

"And you, sensei?"

"I was the new foreign kid. I asserted myself early on so that garnered a lot of attention while also spread the message I was not one to be picked on or bullied. But beyond that I was assigned to be Sally's personal "Lady-in-Waiting". That's...like a servant. It didn't mind. I was trained at an early age to be submissive to royalty and authority.

But...Sally wasn't looking for a servant. She was more interested in a friend. And she tried so hard to get me to come out of my "robotic" personality and express myself. Be more outgoing. She did eventually win me over and I was slow and reluctant to embrace her own unique tomboyish ways."

Bunnie's face fell.

"For a while we were very happy and the days seemed to go on...but then it came crashing down the day Ecotropia was infiltrated and destroyed from within. Our family had one job to do; protect the Royal Family but...father was too late to save the King and Queen.

I went on ahead, grabbing my father's katana before he could protest. I arrived just as the assassin had cut down Lady Acorn, drenching Sally with her blood. Before he could butcher the princess I took the blade and drove it through him. I had taken a life...but I had also saved one in the process. It would be some time before I could beg Amaterasu's mercy for what I had done. I had...fullfilled my family's duty to the crown and saved at least one family member."


Bunnie was actually streaming tears but her voice remained steadfast and not breaking even the slightest.

"In the aftermath of the city exploding, quite literally...I brought her to surviving members of the Royal Guard where my family entrusted them with getting them to Neo Arcadia's borders far to the north of Vorostov. Which we had to cross through."

"Goodness..."

"It was a long exodus in which droves of what survivors were left of the city suffered more hardship than was ever thought possible. In the time that passed, Vorostov had fallen under scrutiny for the mysterious destruction of our kingdom. But nothing could be proven. And things got worse when the Secret Society within their capital decided there could be no witnesses. That we had to be put in our place.

It was the private security teams that rounded us up and stopped our progress to Neo Arcadia and brought to the illegal military laboratory, Vortex. There we would forced into our place as useful test subjects to be converted into bioweapons or euthanized if we couldn't survive the processes. And there we learned a new definition of cruelty."

Asriel's expression got all the more sadder.

"As time went on, father tried to organize a rebellion. He was close to his goal to unify us all in overthrowing our captors. But...an unexpected complication happened when I learned Sally had been captured and was to be a special test subject for a new kind of cybermorphic nanoplasm. I couldn't let the Rabbotou Clan fail our duty. So...I jeopardized everything and sabotaged the lab while breaking Sally out and recovering her "Royal Portable Mainframe" pocket computer. I helped her escape and I was united with a half-sister I never knew about. But then I was recaptured and my family and I tortured for information."

"Oh no..."

"When the director of the facility couldn't get our cooperation he decided to make an example of us. That...bald, bloated, handlebar-moustached...psychopath. He made father and mother part of a nanotechnology infusion experiment and made me watch every horrific moment. Nanomachine plasm strain 11 and 12 were used on each of them...and I cannot in good conscience describe the gruesome horrors that ensued as they were killed from the inside out. I watched as that madman grinned sadistically and whispered in my ear that I brought all this upon myself. ANd then I was the final victim. I would be getting Cybermorphic Nanoplasm strain 13."

Asriel was already in tears and looking a little panicked even though he knew the outcome of the story.

"Fortunately...Sally made it to Neo Arcadia's borders in record time and...somehow called for help. The UCIAT Founders decided to undertake a black ops rescue mission. "Off the Grid" as they called it. THey couldn't allow even a word of this to leak to the public or it would be an international incident which would have made everything worse.

So they secured stealth craft. Went into the secret facility. Freed as many as they could that were in one piece and in any semblance of stable. And then its founder chose to keep the promise he made from Sally's plead for help coupled with all of the information she had somehow smuggled out of the facility. The founders breached the main lab and locked it down while trying to shut down the machine that I was encapsulated in. That's when my story took an unbelieable turn."

"What happened?"

"None of us counted on the weather. A rare thunderstorm which seemed like the wrath of the gods itself erupted outside the facility. At the most crucial moment when Professor Arcade had successfully breached the security programming of the machinery with his laptop, a massive bolt of lightning struck the main power grid of the facility. I was caught in the circuit loop of the machine and the professor's computer as the nanomachines were injected into me. There was an explosion, blinding light and searing pain...and then nothing.

The UCIAT founders endured the strike and managed to save me while covering their tracks and making sure the staff that survived would't be able to remember what happened. I was rushed to a medical facility deep underground in a safehouse. I awoke and my rescuers told me everything. And explained how I had been changed. It was a long process to learn how to be rehabilitated and learn how to control my powers. The res as they say...is history."

"That is some story, sensei. Yours might be the most impressive yet. So sad. It couldn't have been easy for you."

"I do not yearn for an easy life, Asriel-kun. Only a just one."

"I think I understand."

"Thank you for hearing my tale. And being so accepting."

"Thank you, too, sensei. For sharing it. And don't worry. If you need someone to dry your tears, I'll be happy to." Asriel reached up and wiped Bunnie's face, drying it as best he could.

"I am forever grateful, Asriel-kun."

There would be more target practice later on but for now Bunnie and I could rest easy knowing Asriel was not only accepting us but embracing us.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 83: "More of Violet's (FLOWEY CACKLE)-Posts and Memes":

"Okay. I'll bite. Care to explain this one?"

Violet grinned in response.

"Umm...is it okay, Volt?"

"Explain, Violet."

"Come on. Don't you get it?"

"I'm going to make this simple. Why is Asriel dressed up in a rusty brown cat suit?"

"Just wait. It'll make sense. Hey, Scott! Are you dresed yet?"

"This is...degrading, Violet."

"We are SO going to have a talk about this."

At that Scott came out wearing a short, mostly-balding dirty black wig, a ridiculous prosthetic nose extension, a single-protuding fake tooth, an ugly black, ankle-lenth robe with a conspicuus red patch on it and big ole red shoes.

"Say your line, Scott." Vi prompted as Scott took his place next to "cat" Asriel.

"I'll get you Smurfs! If it's the last thing I dooooo!"

"......" I face palmed and suddenly felt ilke Peyo was rolling over in his grave.

"Get it now? Because his name is--"

"I get it but you can KEEP it." I groaned as I headed to the back to get the equipment Violet wanted me to pick up and take to her sub-lab. It took me a while to pack it all up in the crate and get it on the two-wheeled jack. I wheeled it back out.

"Okay, Violet have "Azriel the Cat" get changed back into his normal clothes.

"He's not Azriel the Cat anymore he's "Ah-zzy Osborn"." She grinned as she pronounced Azzy with a long-A sound so it sounded like...wait a minute...oh gods...

"Aunt Violet? Do I really have to bite a bat?" Asriel peeked over the shades while holding the fake rubber bat.. In the amount of time it took me to pack that up, Violet had gotten him changed into a costume of Ozzy Osborn from Black Sabbath.

"He's just a little sin-namon roll, isn't he?"

"Volt? What's...Black Sabbath?"

I took a deep breath, counted to ten...

"Violet. Assume the learning position."

"Aww maaan." Violet frowned. Violet started to bend over--

"NOT THAT!" I snapped.

Violet stood back up and took off her crown and leaned over.

I rolled up a newspaper that Violet just happened to have nearby to use as a cosplay prop and gave her a good number of thwaps on the head.

"No. No."

"Come on. Take a joke."

"If I walk over there I'm not going to find anything objectionable on your computer screens, am I?"

"Errr....noooo...?" Violet siddled over to the laptop where she tried to clear the screen of one of her MMD's of Asriel, Frisk and Chara reenacting that infamous "Chocolate? DID YOU SAY CHOCOLATE?!?!" meme that she had lifted off of MeScreen.

"Violet. You're the worst. The woooooooooooorst!" I rubbed my temples.

By this time Asriel had instictively chosen to get changed back into his ordinary clothes and waited for me at the Power Glove to sign out.

"Anything ELSE you want to hide from our view, Violet?"

"Why would you think that?" Violet looked up from the computer monitor which was displaying a side by side comparison of Frisk with Noodle from the band Gorillaz. And the very large caption. "Separated at birth?"

I gave her a glare before Asriel joined me and we signed out together.

We exited Computer Valhalla and went on our way.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 84: "Back to the Lab Again":

Again Asriel and I had to suffer through another of Violet's themed entrances and WWE references. I had started to explain the concept of professional wrestling to him prior to this meeting. He wasn't into it. I couldn't blame him, in spite of reassuring him it was all fake. Although he did think John Cena was pretty cool. I'm not sure what to say to that. But if he started copying his "U can't C me" gesture, I was going to tie Violet's ears in a knot.

"Violet skip the showmanship and--"

And she was already seated at the synthesizer bank and banging out the Modern Remix of "Chemical Plant Zone" from Sonic Generations.

Again Asriel couldn't help but dance.

"I know you're not encouraging her..." I face-palmed.

"Look I'm waiting on Sarina to get back to me for an appointment to check Asriel's magic levels and mantra...or...whatever." Gods I felt like a such a dunce when I tried to talk about aspects of magic. "So can we make this actually painless for a change?"

And she was already picking up a remote control and scooting over to a table filled with copies of Benjamin Javreti's toys made in Johnny Five's image; the lone Nova Robotics S.A.I.N.T. prototype to survive destruction. Okay that was partly true. I kept the body of S.A.I.N.T. prototype number four in the X-Vault on Mobius after I had Violet blank the EEPROMS and wipe the memory boards. In her opinion eleven million dollars worth of research and development was too much of a waste.

She clicked on the remote and a boom box on the table switched on, playing a cassette tape of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by the California Raisins as the robots all sprung to life and did a synchronized dance to the music. Again Asriel was intrigued.

"Will you stop distracting my best friend for a moment and listen?"

"But what's life without distractions, Commander?"

"Safe and sane." I replied.

"Just let me finish up here and I'll be right with you." Violet said as she switched the robots and tape player off and checked her blogs and message boards.

Kuma slept nearbye where Violet's Cyberdrive 084 Gaunlet was recharging and its holoprojector iris was open.

Glitter's image was on the nearby workstation. On neighboring computers plugged into server towers were real-time feeds of Patamon and Gatomon interacting in a digital cyberscape Violet had linked to File Island in the Digital World.

Violet had left the door wide open so we got a momentary glance of Gyro and Gadget passing by en route to the recycling sub-lab to raid parts to exchange with Vanessa, Queen Brooke's genius sister.

A little bit more work on her side projects and Violet was up and about, opening the gate to the Supercalculator.

"Not that I don't trust you, Violet...but I don't trust you, Violet." I entered first, certain that she wouldn't have time to go on ahead and set up an unexpected surprise.

"By all means. Superior officers first." She let Asriel and I enter the hallway. The door opened and I stepped through...and stopped my foot in midstep.
I slowly turned to Violet.

"Violet...?" I started.

"Yeeeeeees?"

At that Asriel lost his balance and yanked me forward.

"YOOOOOOOOU SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK...!" My scream faded as we fell straight down

TO BE CONTINUED...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 85: "With the Quickness" or "I Never Stop Rushing Because I'm...!":

"OOF!"

I landed flat on my face. Seconds later, not sure how I managed to hit ground before him, Asriel landed butt first on my back. And I swear I felt my heart jump out of my throught and then slingshot back down into my chest cavity.

Asriel quickly got off of me givng me time to stand up.

"She did it to us again!" I gripped my fists and stopped my foot in exactly the same way as Papyrus.

"Where are we this time?"
I looked around. Oh yeah. This was even more familiar than the Central Computer. I knew immediately where.

"Quick Man's stage. Mega Man 2."

"She likes putting us through video game simulations doesn't she?"

"Too much for her own good."

"Can we make it through?"

"Well under normal circumstances I have a 99 percent success rate at making it through Quick Man's stage..."

"But?" He could sense a 'but' coming.

"But usually I have the Time Stopper and at least two other weapons before entering here.

"And without them?"

"Ten...percent chance of success, maybe?" My ears drooped

"Are you scared?" Asriel was clearly shaking when he understood the situation.

"Very. You?"

"Uh-huh."

"I know this doesn't help much but...do you know the meaning of the word courage?"

"That's when you're not afraid, right?"

"No, the REAL meaning of courage. It's like this. Courage, a noun. A virtue expressed during times of the emotion of fear. Courages exists when action is taken in the face of being scared. Contrary to believe it does not mean absence of fear. Only the absense of reciprocation from an otherwise intimidating situation."

"You mean...?"

"Yeah. True courage is to face what scares you."

Asriel closed his eyes and tried to get a hold of himself. He was clearly scared out of his wits.

"You ready for this?" I asked.

"No. But as long as you're here...I'll be brave." Asriel looked up and opened his eyes again. And sure enough they had changed to amber yellow. Ironically enough the color of Courage.

"Well. Your eyes changed color again. Amber yellow this time, kiddo. The color of Courage. I guess that's all the proof I need."

"I think I'm not surprised by it anymore." Asriel gripped his fists in that determined way like he was tightening his gi's black belt.

We finally had a look at our surroudings. Silver and cyanish layers of sheet metal and machinery lining the floors and surrounding arrea. Ugly brown walls made of vent-panelling, overlapping layers of machine panels, and rouded square breaker panels with orange domes in the center; piping running up and down and sideways from it, wrapping around the vent panels in rectangular patchwork. It was quiet. Too quiet.

"Well. Onward and downward." Asriel climbed onto my back and hung on for dear life.

I dropped down fthe elevator shaft and landed on the platform below. To my expectation in the pitfalls in the floor lay a pair of Scworm automated pipe cutters. The elbow joints they spat out would sting like the dickens. I avoided them, deciding not to confront them.
Another drop down let to a mini staircase that became an overhang. I was dreading what was next.

"This doesn't seem so bad. Why do they call this Quick Man's stage?" Asriel asked in mid jump.

And then that distinctive huming/whirring noise rang out as Asriel sensed something just graze the tips of the folicles of his head fur.

"Eeep!" He yelped as the first of two death lasers streaked across the area, missing us.

A second one seared past, coming even closer but missing, this time Asriel shrunk down a little squeezing his eyes shut.

"I take it back! I take it back!" He whimpered.

I steered us throught the paths landing on the platforms long enough to hop over the Springers and down the larger gap, ignoring the side shaft toward the left. We droped into an alcove where I immediately spied an E-Tank, a weapon capsule and a 1-UP in Mega Man's likeness.

"That was scary, Volt."

"Take a breather. That wasn't even the worst of it. Hold onto both of these for now. We may or may not need either. And if we do need either of them we'll never hear the end of it from Violet." I handed him the 1-UP and the E-Tank.

"Okay...I hope this works." Asriel attempted the breathing/focusing exercise Bunnie had taught him then concentrated...and low and behold the H.U.D. appeared and he quickly accessed the ITEM option.

Quickly the extra life and the energy can digitized into 8-bit form and reappeared in the inventory as mere text. I also caught sight of his cell phone, among a few other nick-nacks such as Lupe's flower crown, a thermos filled with Gadget's smoothie, and his Rabbotou Dojo training gi, folded up.

"Looks like you're figuring out that power of yours, finally."

"Just the ITEM one, Volt. The other two don't seem to work or they don't do much of anything."

"Got your wind back?"

A nod.

"Okay, let's drop down."

Asriel grabbed on again and I dropped into the rooms below. And the lights went out after only a few steps. I could smell something burning up ahead. And sure enough there were the Changkey Makers; robots with flaring heads like hibachi grills. And they were spewing massive flames. A nod toward us and the Chankeys--robot orbs wrapped in flames which looked like they had scowling faces and were wearing sunglasses--spat out in low arcs.

Fortunatelly I was carrying a littles something extra this time. It deviated from my usual weaponry but it would fit Lisa like a glove--the Ice Gatling. Exactly what it sounded like, a rotary machine gun that shot ice at full auto.

Our resistance was quickly cut down. The lights went off and on as we navigated the lone patch of horizontal pathway until we came to the second dropoff. And this I had very little faith in getting through in one piece.

What happened next was quite a blur. It was one of those times I wish I had Sally's hybrid power of Time Perception Manipuation; the ability to change how I or others perceived time. Whether freezing someone's perception entirely such they they weren't aware any time had passed when she stopped the effect or seeing the world in "Matrix Bullet Time". That was one power I wish I had as a time traveller.

Beam after beam after beam shot by us as I plunged straight down, the soles of my sandals barely touching the few overhangs and platforms along the way. I tried to steer toward the right but found myself zig-zagging back to the left and then the right again. I ignored the lone 1-UP that sat perched in the barrel of a laser path. I could hear Asriel whimper and felt him shuddering as he clutched tighter.

And finally we landed on solid ground...only to be greeted by Walker Joes. Dr. Wily's sniper robots that piloted long-legged mech suits that made powerful, squashing stomp-jumps. I took the opportunity I could to freeze them to the ground where necessary and dive under them as fast as I could. I was quicker that the blue bomber so getting us past wasn't as much a leap of faith. ANd there were the gates. I charged through them.

"Home free--"

I stopped short when I realized.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 86: "The Quick and the Deadeye Shot":

"Sorry, Commander. But you cheated me out of a boss battle last time. No freebies." I heard Violet's voice echo over the P.A.

"I'm starting not to like you..." I growled.

Seconds later Quick Man dropped down. Wrapped in maroonish red with heavy body armor that flared over his shoulders. He had a yellow boomerang across his chest, a yellow belt, and yellow kneepads. His helmet looked more like a baclava but with a disnctive yellow boomeran across the forehead that vaguely looked like horns at his unnatural high speed.

"Scatter!" I dove in one direction as Asriel dove in the other. Quick Man shot straight forward, smashing into the wall...and kept running. Asriel looked at me with a confused look.

"He moves faster than his visual circuits can process the information. That's a flaw his maker never ironed out. As well as the faulty hardware that protects him against Time Stopper. But...that doesn't do us any good if we don't have any Master Weapons."

"I didn't say you couldn't use Master Weapons." Violet's voice boomed out.

WAT.

My brain shifted gears without the clutch when I realized we had been hauling the entire MM2 arsnenal all this time.

"You are in so much trouble when we get out of here, Violet." I held up my arm and shouted out "WEAPON EQUIP: AIR SHOOTER!"

And sure enough a blue copy of the Mega Buster arm cannon formed over my forearm. I took aim and blasted back with trios of rising tornados.
Quick Man dodged most of them but one of them caught him and spun him around as he flew upward from the updraft. That ticked him off.
I felt a retaliating swarm of Quick Boomerangs slice into my right shoulder, left arm, and right side. I didn't even see them leave his weapon, they were so fast.

"Volt!" Asriel cried.

Dammit. I realized Asriel was basically defenseless. If Quick Man suddenly went after him...!

I kept shooting Air Shooter blasts until I depleted the weapon. I knew what his real vulnerability was but I didn't have much ammo for it. I'd have to even the odds.

"WEAPON EQUIP: TIME STOPPER!"

The cannon turned purple and the barrel was replaced with the face of an analog clock. With a distinctive SHING time itself stopped as Quick Man and Asriel were frozen in place. Little sparkles twinkled in and out of existence all around. That would cut his life span in half. Plenty of time for me to set up the Crash Bomber. The face of the clock began to darken in the form of a pie chart slice that continued to get larger as the second hand steadily progressed in its rotation. Once the second hand reached the 12 mark again, the energy would give out.

I steadied to shout out my next weapon change the moment Time Stopper expired.

And as soon as it did...

"WEAPON EQUIP: CRASH BOMBER--"

I suddenly doubled over as I felt Quick Man's fist slam into my stomach then his foot crack upside my jaw. The Arm Cannon turned pinkish orange but I felt it being jerked off my arm. I watched in horror as Quick Man cast it aside with a snide grin. It scattered across the ground, rolling until it stopped in front of Asriel. He muffled his whimper with both hands as he watched me get mercilessly brutalized.

"Life meter's ticking down, Commander. Tick-tock, tick-tock!" Violet mused.

Quick Man hoisted me up by the neck.

"I this town I am the law." He taunted.

CA-CHAK!!

"Huh?" His expression suddenly turned to horror as he heard the beeping coming from his back.

And then he was riddled with explosions.

"GAAAAAAAAH!" He cried as he lurched forward and dropped me.

"You little...!" He whirled around in a surge of rage and stared down a very scared Asriel with the Crash Bomber loosely fitting over his arm, the barrel smoking. He struggled to steady his aim and squeeze the internal trigger.

"I'm gonna--!"

CHA-CHAK! Another Crash Bomber latched onto his right arm. This time the explosions ripped across his main weapon, rendering his Quick Boomerang inoperative.

Quick Man zipped in front of Asriel in an instant.

"You lose, little goat." He said as he prepared to swing but he found himself off balance. That was when he noticed his feet frozen to the floor.

I gave Asriel a thumbs-up

"Heh...heh...heh. Guess there is no law in this town..." He chuckled moments before one more Crash Bomb embedded itself smack dab in his forehead.

With a final splash of explosions, Quick Man burst apart in that familiar spread of fireworks-style particle balls.

"Well. You just made a new record, Commander. Though technically the victory is Asriel's." Violet clicked the stopwatch while in the doorway that just appeared on the other end of the room.

The whole simulation faded to black and wire-frame before it dissolved to the familiar gate leading to the Supercalculator.

"Violet. Assume the learning position..."'

"Aww..." Violet took off her crown--

"Not this time."

Violet turned around and bent over...and about jumped as I booted her right in the rump.

"Owww! That smarts!"

"In a fair world that would be the only kind of smarts you would have."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 87: "Back to LYOKO":

"Scanner: Asriel. Transfer: Asriel. Scanner: Gadget. Transfer: Gadget. Scanner: Mitzi. Transfer: Mitzi. Scanner: Pit. Transfer: Pit. Scanner: Skeeter. Transfer: Skeeter. Virtualization."

This time Violet materialized them in the Ice Sector.

Violet had uploaded the handshaking protocol into her cerebrum in advance and she was already hooked up to the V.R. gear.
Skeeter had gone along for the ride this time as their fifth member. His suit was almost entirely black with nothing particularly standing out save for the lone pair of black buckled bands around the upper left leg. But what did stand out was his giant halberd sword, magnetically clamped to his back, which easily towered over him in height.

"Well. We know what to do, right?"

"Not a problem." Mitzi gave a thumbs up.

"Gadget, I reactivated Aelita's "Petrification" program. You can now freeze enemies in block of ice. It'll come in handy when you need a stepping stone."

"Cool! I got a new power! Isn't that awesome, Asriel?"

"Yeah!" A quick family hug.

There was a suprising lack of complaints about the slippery ice and the cold weather. In my humble opinion ice areas were even worse than snow areas. Yet they all adapted remarkably.

Asriel led the charge, relying on his swords' ability to cut down invisible barriers and his Triplicate power. Skeeter's halberd became quite the...ice- breaker. Pit had his time to shine climbing walls only his cat paw claws could scale; and he discovered his secondary ability to temporarily slow down time for short bursts, making vanishing platforms and quick enemies manable. Mitzi was fast to take out flying enemies with her Tessan Fans and she made short work of large rock barriers with her telekinetic lifiting.

"That ledge is too high to to reach and too smooth for Pit to climb. And none of us can jump that high."

"I can't load my wings here, either."

"Hmmm..." Asriel crossed his arms and cocked his head to the side with a big-eyed but otherwise overly obvious look of contemplation.

"Wait...that enemy over there...the one that keeps spawning in front of the overhang that Mitzi and Pit keep taking out..."

"What are you getting at?" Skeeter asked.

"Ohhh! I get it!" Gadget suddenly spoke up.

"Why don't you try your Petrification on it and make a platform we can reach the overhang?"

"I'd be delighted, Asriel!"

And low and behold Gadget focused and in moments the lone polymorphic creature started freezing up in a block of ice from the ground up.

"Nice." And onward they went.

Sub-Entry 88: "Violet's Analysis Reveals...?":

Violet was ominously silent

"Violet...when you're this quiet, I get nervous. It's...not natural for you to be this--"

"I see. Interesting."

"Vi?"

Violet switched off communication with LYOKO at that moment. She didn't want Asriel to overhear.

"Each time I check him in Lyoko...the numbers...they change a little more. They change in a a familar pattern that I can't quiet identify. It's on the tip of my tongue but I never put my finger on it. It's fascinating."

"Vi...any clue to his magic deficiency?"

"No. But I have semblence of a theory that might be related...but...I just never seem to have enough data to make a hypothesis let alone get anywhere NEAR a conclusion. It's probably going to take several more of these before I can take an educated guess."

"Speculation? If any?"

"That'll be up to Sarina's analysis."

"Then perhaps I may offer my insight."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 89: "Dr. Nikita Katherine Lynx":

"Gah! Dr. Lynx! When did you get here?" Unlike Bunnie, whom I had come to expect sudden apperances from, you NEVER saw Dr. Lynx ender or exit. She had stealthy apperance down to well beyond a science.

Dr. Nikita Katherine Lynx. Easily as intelligent than Violet. Maybe far more so. But by far much more of a straight arrow. Completely straightforward and lacking of any semblence of a sense of humor.

"His xenomorphology has since been logged. Quite a fascinating species. He continues to display more anomalies than science can properly evaluate. I suppose that is why we entrust appropriate authorities to give their professional opinion on mysticism and sorcery."

Standing the exact same height as Sally, with fur color only slightly darker but with patches of black wrapping around the tips of the ears, the hands minus the fingers, and the feet minus the toes; Dr. Lynx was...well...a hybrid lynx. Those distictive three-pointed forks of fur from the top of her eartips. The black face markings under the eyes similar to Lupe's wavey scar. Her very black hair was done up such that her bangs nearly covered up her eye while the back was done up in extremely long blade-like quills. The longest of which were braided up with alternating orange and purple beads. She was wearing a white labcoat over what I described as a "spiral-cut" pattern purple dress with matching purple, transluscent stilleto-heel sandals. Her eyes were just as blue as Sally's but her expression considerably more dour.

There was always something...off about her but it was overshadowed for her capacity for knowing anything about everything...or seemingly everything about anything. Multi-lingual, skilled in many other activities, and versed in more facts; Nikita often seemed more like a living encyclopedia than a person at times.

Little did anyone save for Sally know her big secret--that she wasn't a Hybrid at all. She was a nanomorph. Made from the collective of Cybermorphic Nanoplasm strain X that Sally had been spared from when Bunnie broke her out of Vortex lab. Bunnie's sabotage had caused a massive influx of all of Sally's biometric scans, combined with the ENTIRE collective and A.I. of her Royal Portable Mainframe pocket computer the lab's supercomputer was attempting to decrypt to be imprinted on the nanoplasm...and somehow in that instance Sally's very soul and genetic data was copied, randomized, and merged with it all. The end result was the birth of a new life unlike anything the world had ever seen within a completely artificial shapeshifting body.

In the years that followed their escape Nikita had learned to devise hundreds of methods of simulating the processes and nuances of a living body; from 98.6 degree body temperature, to a pulse and breathing, to skeleton and internals so indistinguishable from real, organic versions that even Elektra and Velaska's complete physicals and various medical tests couldn't tell the difference. Even Bunnie and Callista's psionics couldn't tell she was a living presence in an artficial form.

"What have you got, Doctor?"

"First let me chastice Violet for her continuous insistance on being whimsical in a facility of science and insist she take her role more seriously. Second, let me get to the point. Asriel's intial scans three months back seem to indicate very little descrete substance to compliment his...ahem...unknown composition. That ratio has slowly been shifting."

"What are you saying?"

"Put simply the unknown component has slowly been...seeping out while it's being replaced by more of the tangible substance. And as it has done so, the matter component has been reconfiguring into something more complex but overly familiar."

"Are you going where I think you're going with this?"

"There is insufficient data to substantiate that theory at this point."

"What about the solar quantum computing?"

"The...H.U.D. interface quantum code is quite remarkable. It's a scientific discovery of unprecidented impact on what we know as intelligent species. To think that it is a...and I hesitate to say so...naturally occuring phenominon."

"Far be it for me to say, Doctor, but could you dial back the objectivity a bit? I never thought I'd actually want to hear some of Violet's colorful commentary."

Dr. Lynx lowered an eyebrow. I knew it wasn't her fault. Despite genius level intelligence and that she basically had a modified copy of Sally's very soul...her nanotechnology still had trouble interpreting the things called "emotions". And she had to pour a lot of effort into acting...natural.

"Commander Arcade. To be very straightforward, the code is evolving along side his physical form. However it has nowhere near the evolutionary potential as Colonel O'Conner's own Kabuki Quantum Fighter program. If my theory is correct it will reach its maximum specifications eventually and remain whatever form it takes from there on out."

"And there's little more you can tell me about it, isn't there?"

"I only have one last piece of insight after a lengthy discussion with Miss Kobayashi. While the concept of a "soul" is...abstract to me...I won't dispute scentific evidence proving its existence. But noting young Asriel's eye color changes, his most recent makes four in total. If what you've described is correct he has three virtues left to absorb."

"Yeah. Justice, Perseverence, and the big one...Determination. The one that causes so much trouble for Monsters. Especially once they've fallen. I saw it happen to Undyne in Geneocide Timelines. I saw the end result with the Amalgamates. And finally...I saw what it did to......Asriel or rather the first Golden Flower that had absorbed his dust and Chara's blood. A horrible souless creature that answered to "Flowey the Flower".

"I'm fairly certain that the quantum evolution and the final composition ratio will be finalized upon the final final virtue. What this will mean...is anyone's guess. But I can assure you that he's not going to metamorph into some other species despite your worries he'll turn into a human. And he's not going to simply cease to exist. What I do believe is that save for that eye color, I doubt he will physically change at all. As to when his growth process will resume...I have no answer to give."

"Well. Thank-you, Dr. Lynx. Your explanation was probably the most help I could have asked for."

Before we knew it Asriel and company had wrapped things up and keyed in the LYOKO password. The scanners opened up and our team was obviously tired out but in good spirits.

"So...what now?"

"I have...a suggestion." Violet mused.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 90: "Breakfast for An After-school Snack?":

"Why are we back at Computer Valhalla again and at your Juice Bar, Violet?"

"I figure we might as well treat ourselves to something that breaks convention after a hard day's work and play."

"Well...I guess we could eat and drink. But--"

That was when Violet rolled down a false wall behind the counter, revealing a whole line of bulk foods hoppers...filled with breakfast cereals?

"Uh...VIolet? What's up with--" I stopped short when I suddenly recognized the cereals and their respective labels in question.

"Vi...tell me I'm dreaming. Are those...?!" My eyes widened.

"Every 80's baby's dream come true, Commander."

"But...but...these were all discontinued DECADES ago. How...?!" I was suddenly feeling my inner child awakening.

"C'mon, Commander. Give me credit. I have my ways. And my connections."

"Violet......this may actually be....the BEST thing you've showed me in a while..." I was finding it hard not to pant like a dog that head been exercising hard all day. And even harder not to drool.

"Aunt Violet?"

"Uh...are we having...er...another breakfast?" PIt cocked his head.

"There's nothing weird about having breakfast for a snack...is there? I mean...wasn't your first meal in town pizza for breakfast, Asriel?"

Asriel nodded, a little confused but indications that he was accepting of this.

"LIve a little. Break convention. And serve yourself up some Saturday Morning." Violet said as she dropped a 4K monitor out of the ceiling and loaded up a playlist with every old school cartoon I could name.

"So what's your pleasure?" She asked as she got the bowls, spoons, cups, and such readied. She checked to see if the milk and juice dispensers were good to go.

I looked over the various hoppers of various cereals I hadn't seen or tasted in so long. Nintendo Cereal System; both SMB fruit and LoZ berry. Ghosbusters cereal. Classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal. Rocky Road. Ice Cream Cones. C-3PO's. Smurfberry Crunch. Mr. T cereal. Pac-Man cereal. Donkey Kong cereal. Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo-Berry, and Yummy Mummy. Anything that had a cartoon tie-in. They were all here.

"And as a special treat, I got a certain fruit drink on tap. You know the one." Violet said as she pointed to the "No-Ghost" emblem on the Hi-C label.

"You didn't."

"I did. I totally did. Ecto Cooler on tap, my good man."

"Violet...you've redeemed yourself. For at least a year or two."

"I knew you'd see it my way--"

"But any new transgressions still go on the list."

"Aww...oh well. Take it or leave it; I guess I'll take it."

"Pour me some of that GB cereal and a glass of that orange-and-tangerine green dream."

Asriel tried out the TMNT and became quite fond of the ninja nets and ninja marshmallows. Pit found himself alternating between good ole Nintendo Cereal System fruit and berry. Skeeter was down with the Mr. T. And Gadget enjoyed the Smurfberry Crunch. All this with all the cartoons we could fit into a day.

If ever there was a high note to leave off on, this was it. A day of appreciating childhood...or rediscovering it.

Until next time...

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
END TRANSMISSION...
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:36 PM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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(OOC: MILESTONE SUB-ENTRY 100! If you made it this far, thank you for reading along. The journey only gets bigger and better from here. Big things are coming soon. Keep watching and waiting. This has only been the warm-up. The real stories and adventures lie ahead... - Dr. Volt Alessandro Arcade, author)

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 91: "The Things in Common We Share":


Feeling like I cheated a little with Elektra's orders for rest and relaxation with my unexpected speed run through Quick Man's turf, I decided to make up for it with a relaxing snooze on the edge of the fountain.


The fountain was so large and the surrounding perimeter was easily wide enough that it would really take a lot of effort to roll off and either onto the pavement or into the drink. It was also pretty deep as Antoine had reminded us with his unexpected bath (snicker). The sheer size of the fountain was pretty darn impressive and the top of it was adorned with a statue of Brooke's predecessor, Queen Victoria.


I got comfy, slipped off my sandals and laid them in front of the fountain and laid my head back in my palms, interlocking my fingers and putting my elbows out. I started to drift off when I noticed Asriel deciding to follow my example in exactly the same way. I didn't mind him copying me; it was kinda flattering really.


The cool mist of the fountain was refreshing and soothing. Any aches, pains, or discomfort I had was gone before I knew it. This was as Fountain of Youth as it got.


We both drifted off for a bit and let time just keep on slipping...slipping...slipping...into the future, as the song went.
I'm not sure how long it was but I was suddenly awoken by Asriel's laughter. In fact it he wasn't just laughing, he was howling uncontrollably.


"C-Cut it out! Stop it! Stop it! Please! Come onnnn! S-S-Stop!" He managed to say in between fits of laughter.


I opened my eyes.


"Aunt Vi! STAAAAAAHP!!!"


And the giggle fit continued. I suddenly saw what the fuss was as Violet had snuck up and started tickling Asriel's feet, just to be mischievous.


"And goat son begged the Tickle Monster to stop! BUT IT REFUSED!" Violet cackled and tickled more as Asriel squirmed and laughed even harder.


Heh. He was as ticklish as I was. Who knew?


"Them's the breaks, BFF." I couldn't help but say slyly.


"Ohhh you think so?" Violet slow turned to me.


"Oh no. No! No, Vi! No! I forbid you--" I started up before the tickling began. And then it was my turn to laugh until it hurt.


Violet was weird when it came to feet. Part if it had to do with her Aunt Rita being a legendary masseusse back in Edoropia and she made sure Violet learned her craft well and practiced it often on us lycanthropes when were were morphed. She claimed it was just a hobby but most of us were sure she had less than pure reason for it.


Oh well. Better to just dismiss it as much-needed therapy after spending all day standing up, despite doctor's orders to take it easy; than to think too deep into territory that probably belonged on 4Chan or DeviantArt. But if Violet got "cute" with it, I'd make sure she'd get dunked on...by getting dunked in (the fountain). Why was it so hard to keep the things around Asriel family friendly?


"Okay, Violet that's enough." I managed to gasp out.


Asriel and I sat up at the same time.


"You guys practice being in sync or what?"


"No...just coincidence." I said rubbing the back of my head as Asriel did the same. "A lot of coincidence."


"I guess his best friend is most certainly his favorite role model." Vi mused.


Asriel kinda nodded a little, not even trying to deny it.


It was kinda nice that he was patterning himself after me. But I didn't want him to be too much like me. He should be his own person. I foresaw the dangers of admiration when it came to heroes. And I really tried not to encourage it. He was young and impressionable.


But at least he was surrounded by good examples...well, maybe except for Violet. But he hadn't started taking after her which was a relief. Still...as the old wisdom said 'admiration was the state furthest from understanding'. I'm sure Asriel wouldn't understand what that mean...I never figured it out, myself.


While I did see sparks of each of us in him at some very faint level, my influence was pretty obvious. He learned to like many of the same foods as me. His favorite color was green, just like me. I noticed he started using some of my own mannerisms and body language.


"Uh-huuuuh. I'd buy that for a dollar." Violet said with a mischievious grin.


"Don't be a smartass, Vi."


"Better a smartass than a stupid-(FLOWEY CACKLE)."


"Whoah. Language."


"...okay, Captain America." Violet sneared, sticking her tongue out.


"Captain America...that's the superhero with the shield, right?"


"Violet, are you getting him started on your comic book collection?"


"I prefer to think of it as a library of valuable graphic literature. You know those mint condition issue 1's are worth big moolah, don't you?"


"First video games, then cosplay, now comic books. I'm not even going to get into this discussion."


"Hey, kid likes superheroes. Might as well get him versed in everything Marvel, DC, and so forth." Vi mussed Asriel's head fur a little.


"I feel I should be wary, Violet. If you get him started on manga, too, I feel inclined to police it with a fine toothed comb."


"Relax. I got the NSFW ones locked in my Naughty Vault." Violet mused.


"Just the fact that you admitted you HAVE a naughty vault in front of the both of us makes me die a little inside."


Asriel just sweat-bulletted, not saying anything. Chances are if he thought too deep into it he'd end up wrapping his ears around his face to cover up the blushing.


"Maybe we should find out if you're ticklish!" I got a devilish look as Asriel waggled his fingers a little.


As we dove for her she flew straight up as she fired up the jet pack built into her kimono, flying up just out of our reach.


"Hey! That's cheating, Aunt Vi!"


"When you get to be rich enough to afford jet packs and butlers it'll all be fair game--" Violet started before something zoomed over head and shoved her back down into our grasp.


"Oh sh--(FLOWEY CACKLE)..."


"You said it." I grinned before Asriel and I got our revenge.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 92: "Princess' (and Prince's) Night Out":


"Keeping out of trouble, Princess Tokugawa?" Came the cocky taunt of Sally.


"Until you got me into it, Princess Acorn."


"Hey, I stopped being a princess a long time ago. Call me Sally or Lightrunner."


"Man, I can't believe you'd forsake a royal heratage so callously." Violet pretended to be hurt after we let up on the tickling so she could talk.


"Well when you don't have a kingdom to call your own anymore then I'm sure you'll find it easier to discard things you don't need. As Lupe would say "the only royalty besides Brooke is Mother Nature. Around here, titles are meaningless."


"Weirdo."


"Says the girl who claims to have a throw pillow stuffed with Keanu Reeves' chest hair--"


"Da-da-da-da!"


Violet waved her hands in a pleading look. "Ixne on the irty-de uff-stey in front of the ormer-fey oss-bey!"


"Your Pig Latin is as subtle as a brick, Vi."


"What did she say, Volt?"


"Uh...I don't know." I lied. Was I really this lucky that Asriel hadn't figured out how Pig Latin worked?


"Anyway. I thought I'd drop in and see how you way shway hipsters were crashing the mode."


"Just a lazy day today, Sally. Doctor's orders."


"Well that sounds no fun. I know you have to abide Elektra grounding you from action, but that's no reason for Asriel to be bored."


"I"m...not that bored." Asriel rubbed the back of his head.


"You thinking what I'm thinking, Sally?" Violet mused.


"Let's get some action going!" Sally gave a thumbs up.


"Princess' Night Out Revival in full effect!"


Now Violet and Sally differed on a lot of things and many of Violets nuances weirded Sally out. But one thing they agreed on was having fun in the old town; they just couldn't sit still for too long. Violet because of how incredibly bored she got and Sally because she strongly disliked idleness and was always compelled to be active and exercising.


"We'll take him off your hands for a bit so you can get your beauty sleep, Commander." Violet mused.


"Well. It's okay if Asriel's fine with it. What say you, buddy?"


"Well...uh...alright. I guess I can hang around them for a bit."


"Nova! Tell you want. Why don't I show you that speed world I love so much, Azzy! Hop on my back and you'll be in for the ride of your life."


"Uh...okay. But...are you strong enough to carry me?"


"Heh heh. Don't worry about that. My connection to the Universal Bio-Field through my OGPX OverTech and BioWare will make sure I got strength to spare.


Sally's "Butterfly Burners" sealed up and reconfigured into a flat plate with glowing vents. She decompressed a padded harness like a flak jacket and helped Asriel put it on.


"This magnet vest will keep your secure as a safety precaution. Can't have you falling off the warp wagon, y'know."


Asriel shrugged as Sally squatted down. He climbed up on her back and held on, the magnet vest locking into place. As a final note she slipped a headset onto him as Violet put one of her own on. Sally was already wearing on.
Sally tapped away at her CHRONUS bracer then fiddled with holo-windows.


"Recalculating center of gravity, momentum vectors, and adjusting for new mass and weight distribution. Now saving preset 33."

Sally got down into a track runner position as all of the lights on her suit and Overdrive Sandals lit up.


"Try to keep up, Violet."


Violet suddenly grinned as she clicked on the controls for her jet back. Suddenly the intake and exhaust ports jetisoned from the machine in back, as a quartet of Violet's own cyan-color-flame Butterfly Burners spit out from the pots.


"You'll rue the day you got me these Kinneceleron Butterfly Burners for my jet pack."


"Hope you reenforced the inner framework or your kimono is going for a ride without you." Sally taunted back.


"Uhh...?" Asriel looked unsure. "This is going to get scary, isn't it? Maybe this wasn't such a good--" He started before CHRONUS interrupted with a countdown.


"3...2...1...GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"


And all sound around Violet and Sally stopped for a brief moment as a spherical blast wave rushed out from the two of them, swallowing up the air for only a second. And then I saw neon blue and neon cyan light contrails trailing well beyond the boundaries of my sight.


"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Asriel's scream barely cut through the air currents as his ears were pulled straight back from the tail wind.


"This is way, way, way WAY PAST SCHWAY!!" Sally laughed


"Don't be scared, little guy. Sally and I know what we're doing--" Violet started before she nearly flew into a giant wedding cake a pair of workers were transporting out of Hestia's.


"Of course some of us don't have certain Hybrid Abilities to prevent little whoopsies like that from happening." Sally's voice came over the headset. THe microphones and earpieces were designed to eliminate the roar of the air currents and the outside noise.


Asriel, once he worked up the courage to open his eyes and stop screaming was soon amazed by the splendor of the speed world around him.


"Is...this what you do in the OGPX?"



"Nah. This is just light training. Why don't we spice it up a bit?" Sally said as she accessed the W.I.S.P. module on her other arm.


"SPIKES!" CHRONUS shouted out as a pink spherical barrier wrapped about Sally and sprouted lengthy, gripping spikes all around its surface like some kind of 3-dimensional saw blade. Sally immediately ran straight for the tallest building she could find and ran straight at the wall.


"S-Sally! We're going to crash!"


"No we're not!" Sally suddenly flipped 90 degrees and started speeding up the side of the building with Asriel in tow and.


"We're...we're going up!" I knew it was just the shock of it all, but Asriel was finding it hard not to state the obvious.


"Oh that's nothing, check this out!"


About half way up, Sally changed directions and started racing around the building in a spiral path. She definitely gave many onlookers on the other side of the windows something to spit their coffee out over.


"I KNOW you're not leaving me behind!" Violet popped up out of nowhere, arms crossed and burners flaring as she suddenly took off in a burst of acceleration in a corkscrew path opposite Sally's own. From the ground the created quite the eye-catching "DNA" double spiral path of light contrails as they zipped to the top of the building and landed on top.


"That was...really...intense." Asriel's eye twitched a little as he tried to shake off the insanity.


"You think that was good wait until you see the encore." Sally disengaged the magnet vest and let Asriel climb down onto the roof.


"Encore?"


"Hop up into my arms and I'll show you."


"Er...okay?" Asriel did so. The Tengu Suit definitely made Sally a lot stronger than she appeared.


"Now what?" Asriel said as the magnetic clamps in Sally's palms latched onto the metal frame of the magnet vest.


Sally answered with a very big, cocky grin before teetering over the edge of the building.


"Wait...what are you...you're not...oh no..."


"See you in the sky, Sal!" Violet took to the air and shot past as Sally dropped off the edge, upside-down.


Again Asriel screamed out in terror as the back of Sally's Tengu Suit reconfigured again, the Butterfly Burners igniting after a few seconds of free fall.


"Recalculating..." CHRONUS chirped as the ground began coming up fast.


"SALLYYYYYYYYYYYYY!" Asriel was too scared to shut his eyes.


"Annnd...NOW!" Sally pulled into a sudden 90-degree bend, going into a flight only a couple feet off the ground.


"Trust me, Asriel! We're perfectly fine. I have about a hundred failsafes on board this rig and about hundred contingency plans if anything went wrong."


This was true. Sally's plans were so meticulous and thought out that she could afford to make it seem like she was always acting on impulse and instinct.


"That was really scary. I thought I was going to die."


"But you didn't. And in that time you thought you were, didn't you feel more alive than anything?"


"Well...maybe? Yes?"


"That's what it's all about, Asriel. Living the dare. Taking the chance. Feeling like you have everything to lose and everything to gain. It only feels reckless to anyone who can't understand this feeling. This feeling that in that moment everything could all come to an end."


Sally's words were similar to Sans' when it came to the Resets. I'm sure I used them before as well.


"And in the moment afterward, you appreciate being alive more than anything else. But more than that...you appreciate one thing more than even that."


"What's that, Sally?"


"Freedom."


Sally suddenly pulled another sharp turn and soared straight up and up and up until she passed the roof of the skyscraper and kept going up. At that the headset she provided reconfigured and unfolding itself around Asriel's head, into a helmet complete with breathing aparatus but still allowed him to talk through the microphone. Sally's helmet digitized into existence around her head. Sally's Tengu Suit projected a thermal force barrier around them that protected against freezing up and the atmospheric dangers of high altitudes. Very similar to Mitzi's Thermal Belt which functioned like Samus Aran's Varia Suit.


"Oh wow..." Asriel was spell bound as they had risen into the clouds.


"I know, right?"


Sally hovered for a bit then soared back down to an altitude just over the skyscraper rooftops.


"Faster than a rail cannon shot! More powerful than an industrial exo-frame suit! Able to jump a skyscraper like nobody's business! Up in the sky, look! Its's an avian! It's a drone! No, it's Sally Acorn! Strange visitor from the other side of the word with science and technology beyond mortal Hybrid!"


Sally mused, milking it a bit. Once they were closer to ground level, the helmets folded up into headsets and the barrier shut off.


Asriel chuckled as he recognized the comic source material she was modifying.


"You really are a superhero!"


"Well...above average. But you won't see me stopping bank robberies and untying damsels tied to traintracks any time soon." She smirked as she carried goat son.


She landed for a split second on the edge of a rooftop and suddenly pulled a sommersault, giving Asriel an unexpected thrill. And before he knew it she was parkouring her way into the most hair-raising ride he could have never saw coming. By this point Asriel was enjoying the ride. Oh yeah. He'd be ready for his first roller coaster when we went on vacation.
Violet caught up to them and the two of them sped back to the park where I was waiting.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 93: "D.J. Aelita x The Fresh Princess":


"I hope you didn't scare him to death up there."


"No way. We scared him to living!" Violet snickered.


"It was...really intense and scary but...I think I understand Sally's world a little better. It was...nice. And really, really fast."


Sally disengaged the magnet clamps and let Asriel stand on terra firma again.


"After a thrill ride like that you know what this party needs?"


A moment of silence.


"Music?" Asriel asked.


"Correct, my favorite Cinnamon Roll. Sally, get that partner of yours set up and let's shake this place down to the ground!"


Sally decompressed all the audio equipment and speakers and whistled for Gamma.


"When was the last time you free-styled, Violet?"


"Too long, Sal gal!"


"Then let's change that, shall we?" Sally winked as Gamma finished compressing down into the mixer board and turntables. Sally wired up all the connections as Violet wired in her laptop and other computer gear.
Sally led off with some record scratching to get warmed up.


"Mic check 1-2! In the place to be, She's "Ess", and I'm "Vee". Whassup, Miranda City! You all ready to party tonight! Alright, you feeling me? Awesome-sauce."


Violet was on the mic control.


"We got a special guest in our audience tonight, straight outta the Underground, let's give a warm welcome to Azzy-D! Where you at, Azzy-D? There you are! Anyway I'm feelin' the hunger tonight. And I got a whole menu of pies to choose from. But wait hold up, hold up! What's up with this? There's a flavor missing from the menu! You feeling me, Aelita?"


"I feel for you, Fresh Princess! It's a crying shame when you can't have that pie an you don't know who the blame. It's so whack it leaves a stain in your brain. Y'know what I'm say'n?"


"Now hold on, hold on. Chill for a moment and let me break it down for you. Our good friend, Azzy-D knows what flavor we're talking about. Show some love and respect for goat son because his goat mom knows how to make that flavor we're missing."


"Is...Violet talking about mom? About Toriel?"


"Where are you going with this, Vi?" I muttered.


"You feeling me. I gots the love for that butterscotch-cinnamon pie, y'all. Anyone out there down for some butts pie?"


"Violet! Don't call it that!" Asriel chortled covering his mouth, trying not to laugh at the low-brow.


"Awww yeeah, D.J. Aelita. The bass is begging you to do it. It wants you to do it. It craves you to do it. Sally, my princess. Do me a favor and...!"


"Oh yeah, it's time to DROP THE BASS!" Sally slipped a new set of vinyls on as she fired up the cubase Vi set up. "Throw down and SPIN UP!"


"I like big butts and I cannot lie! C'mon and give me some o' dat pie!

And when goat mom walks in with that grin on her face and a platter of that confectionary taste I get jazzed!

For that sweet and spicy raz-ma-taz! It's so good it makes me spaz!

Every bite of that cinnamon flavor! Yo, homes do me a favor! Dial up the bakery, don't give me no fakery, and get me some butterscotch to savor!

(Stacks o' that pie! I smell it with my snoot-ie! Stacks o' that pie! I smell it with my snoot-ie!) Baby got stacks!"

I like em' big and round, weighing easily more than a pound! Tell you're diggin' our sound! It's word to your mothah, my brothah, It's all good in the hood, serve it up like you should, I'm Violet the Fresh Princess and I don't play around! Baby got stacks!

A quick breakdown and a record scratch storm and Sally was shaking it up and spinning it like a boss.

"Some boys offered me some cake that tasted flat. Yo, I ain't down wit' dat. Call 1-900-BUTTS-PIE and order me that dessert that won't go splat! Baby got stacks!"


I facepalmed. If this didn't get us in trouble with somebody, I don't know what would. But oh well. Asriel was enjoying it. Dammit, Vi. Even when you were being stupid, even when you managed to get Sally in on it, you still manage to be awesome.


"Thank you, Miranda City! Show us some love! We Outtie-Five-Thousand! Chain Chomp YOMP! Peace out, my b-(FLOWEY CACKLE)-es!!!"


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry: 94: "Cool Down with Ice Cold Smoothies":


Back to Computer Valhalla again.


User Recognized: Asriel Tobias Dreemurr-Arcade, Password: THESIXTHANOMALY


User Recognized: Dr. Volt Alessandro Arcade, Password: WISEFROMYOURGRAVE


User Recognized: Princess Sally Alecia Acorn, Password: DADDYSLITTLEBEAN


"Uh...?"


"I don't want to talk about it." Sally shut me down immediatly.


"Noted."


It was sometimes creepy as Hell how Violet made passwords for us that were so...deeply personal. Things that by all means no one else should know or find out. But she was a hacker. Hackers like her made a life out of peaking into secrets and seeing data that no one wanted to be seen.


"What's your pleasure?"


"Blueberry, blackberry, apple, and banana." I chimed in.


"Orange, Pinapple, White grape, a little coconut milk, and a little honey to sweeten." Asriel said next.


"The usual protein dream. You know the ingredients, Vi."


"And an orange and carrot smoothie for yours truly


The mixing began and we waited.


"You know I gotta hand it to you, Vi. I didn't think this place would last, but it's surprisingly bonzer." Sally mused.


"It's not like she can't afford to keep it open, even if it didn't bring in any money."


"Heh."


"Just how rich ARE you, Violet?" I asked.


"Rich enough to have her own movie studio, amusement park, and a family satellite in orbit. Oh and rich enough to take pot shots at Bill Gates and not have to worry about getting sued for slander."


"You're terrible."


"You mean terribly AWESOME."


"If we could just do something about your ego, you'd almost be tolerable."


"Hey. If you got it, flaunt it!" Violet served up the smoothies.


"It's amazing that you have all this, Violet and you have so much freedom to express yourself. Nothing ever gets to you."


"Yup. I got my life totally wired--"


"PRINCESS!"


"...except for that."


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry: 95: "Alfred Matthew Dente/You Can't Do That on Television 2.0:


"Oh no. Al Dente's paying a visit." I grumbled as a turned to see the big, heavy-set basset hound hybrid in Edoropian royal guard attire enter the doorway.


Alfred Matthew Dente. Head of the Royal Guard and constant mother hen to Violet. He was Antoine if you subtracted anything amusing about him. And added about 100% more obsession with over-the-top security protocols and paranoia about ne'er-do-wells.


"Princess Violet, I emplore you to cease this dangerous, self-indulgient lifestyle and return home and resume your duties! You have much studying to do if you are to succeed the Emperor and Empress some day."


"Okay, two things. Al. You didn't sign in. Sign in or walk your little tail out. Or I can have security escort you out."


Al sighed. "Is this necessary, Lady Vi?"


"What are you worried about? Your password is totally secret. Nobody but you will read it."


"Er...okay. It's very undignified."


"Trust me, Al."


As he signed in, Violet spun the workstation monitor around so we could see it:


User recognized: Alfred Matthew Dente, Password: SPHINCTERBOY


Sally immediately held back a chortle. I about sprayed my smoothie across the room.


"Aunt Vi? What's a sph--"


"So what brings you to Miranda City, Al?" I cut in.


"This arrangement with Ultra Crew Institute is completely unacceptable! How many times have you put yourself in mortal danger in those missions of Queen Brooke's? How many times have your endangered your life with those programs you upload to yourself when you use that infernal Supercalculator?"


"What's...he talking about, Aunt Violet?"


"Al, you're killing the vibe."


"Is that all you can say for yourself, young mistress?! Come. I have an itinerary for you mapped out--"


"Alfred, I'll be dipped in sh-(FLOWEY CACKLE) long before I let you write out every facet of my life for the next 5 to 7 years. Some princesses might be okay with having every hour of the day scripted out for them to follow like clockwork but I'm not down with that. And if you've got a problem with that. I'VE GOT TWO WORDS FOR YOU: S--"


I covered Violet's mouth before she could repeat Shawn Michaels and Triple-H's favorite D-Generation-X catchphrase.


"F...five years?!" Asriel gasped.


"Now you know why I stopped being a princess." Sally groaned as she spun around on the bar stool and faced Al and crossed her arms with a dour scowl.


Al might have had some good points in moderation but he went WAAAY over the line with things. And I didn't want Violet dredging up what he did SPECIFICALLY when it came to his insane security measures. Not in front of Asriel.


"Al, I've got things to do. If you insist on pressing this, at least wait over there."


Violet pointed to a far part of the room with a classic 80's mural and some yellow and black hazard stripes with a hanging rotating flashing light you'd see on an emergency vehicle like a police cruiser or an ambulance. Al didn't knotice the grated storm drain under his feet while he took his place and waited. I knew what was coming next. I knew that spot well. I could stop what was coming if I just opened my mouth and warned him.


"Al, what would you do if you didn't have all these security protocols to enforce and all this rigamarole you insist on?"


Al scratched his head and shrugged. "I don't know."


And then he suddenly yelped as he was quickly drenched in a mixture of water, flour, powdered gelatin, and green food coloring with a loud splatter.


Heh. Like HELL I'd warn him.


Sally, Violet, and I broke into howls of laughter, unable to control ourselves. Sure it was a little mean, but if we let him kept talking and complaining, Asriel would probably overhear something he shouldn't. Or worse Al would insist on running a security check on Asriel to make sure he wasn't some kind of spy or assassin or some other completely assinine conspiracy for him to declare martial law.


"Lady Violeeeeeeet." He whined. "Was that really necessary?!"


"Yes. Yes it was." She said plainly.


"I'm...soiled! This is...this is...!"


"Al, pipe down before I tell everyone here what insane security measure you instated when I last saw you back home."


Oh gods no. If it was WORSE than giving kids and senior citizens polygraph lie detector tests or making visitors to the Royal Palace submit to 20 questions while under the influence of the truth syrum known as Sodium Pentathol, I couldn't let Violet say any more than that.


"Does this at least wash off in water--"


SPLAAAAASH!!!


And Al was drenched in buckets worth of cold water.


"I'm...leaving. But Violet...you really need to change your mind. This life style is going to kill you." He said as he trudged out.


"What will really kill me is if I go home and find out he's doing the cooking tonight." Violet smoldered.


"How bad a cook could he be?" Sally asked.


"Well, one night he made his famous burgers for us..."


"Yeah, so?"


"Well, he had it in his head that beef carried too many health risks and such so he started experimenting with other meat forms. Well...I noticed that the the stray animals that hung around outside where the royal garbage was to be picked up weren't hanging around anymore."


"Violet...please don't--"


"I don't get it. What do stray animals have to do Al Dente cooking?"


"What do you think's IN THE BURGERS?" Violet replied.


"D'aaaaaah! I HEARD THAT!" Al poked his head in the door.


Asriel shrunk down in his seat a little.


Sally pushed her smoothie away.


I just dropped me head onto the counter and covered the back of it with both hands in a "why me" moment of exasperation.


"And before it slips my mind, I need to run a security check on your little friend over there." Al headed over.


I suddenly grabbed Al by the front of his samurai robe garment.


"Alfred. I'm going to say this in the nicest way possible. If you so much as touch a whisker on his head, I will personally put my foot so far up your butt, I'll be kicking your teeth out from the other side of your jaws."


I then gave a wolfish growl to emphasize.


"Are we clear?"


"C-c-crystal." He whimpered before I let him down.


He scurried out and was gone, without bothering to sign out.


"That man is a menace." I fumed.


"Guess he's not a very nice person, huh?"


I tried not to let Asriel see me like this. But Al Dente pushed buttons that no one should ever push. Flimsy excuse. But everyone in town was on the same page when it came to dealing with Al Dente.


"I'll drive him to retirement yet." Violet frowned.


"Every party has to have its pooper." She added just to be low-brow.


"Violet, could you keep it G-rated for a bit. That whole experience was unpleasant." I rubbed my throbbing temples.


"Let's move this to Rock-Afire Pizza."


We signed out for the day.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 96: "Lingering Issues and the Spark That Lit the Fuse"



Mitzi had our orders in quickly. We all gathered around the table where Bunnie, Callista, Scott, Rotor, and Lupe were gathered. Everyone all had the same idea for lunch, I guess.
Al's antics really left a bad taste in my mouth and I really wanted to shake it off.


Before long the festivities were in full swing. We conversed, we shared pizza, we laughed, we had a good time.


"Here. Check this out." Violet scribbled a complicated equation on a napkin.


"Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity." She showed it around...then she blew her nose into it and crumpled it up.
A few shrugs.


"This is hilarious in the scientific community. Especially if you're a Stephen Hawking fan."


Some mutters and half-hearted agreements.


"You guys suck." She stuck her tongue out.


"So Al Dente was in town." Bunnie asked me, not even bothering with an honorific. She was no more forgiving toward him than she was toward Antoine. Unlike Antoine who we could at least feel some kind of sympathy for, there was no excuse for Al's completely screwed up behavior back at the palace. When Violet said insanity ran in her family, I had no idea it extended into the royal court, too.


"I wish I could forget it."


"Don't we all. So what happened?"


"Stopped him before he could get to the strip search." I smoldered.


"Ugh. The man has no shame. If Violet actually lived in a really bad neighborhood, I could at least TRY to understand his precautions but Little Tokyo is an amazing place. And since the samurai that Violet employed drove out the Yakuza gang of Ninja Crows and exiled the former Prime Minister, it's been mostly crime free for years."


"I know, right? I'm not letting Asriel be exposed to that. He's just a kid not a security risk."


Violet had started messing around with more mathmatics humor and cryptography tricks. She had started showing off her prowess with anagrams. I should have seen the danger there. Violet should have known better than to go there.


"Hey check this one out. If you rearrange the letters of Asriel's name they spell out--"


What happened next was a blur. It happened so fast. It happened so mercilessly.


I snatched the napkin in one hand before Asriel could see that accursed phrase and Violet's neck with the other and slammed her up against the wall. I panted in unsteady breaths.


"He's not like that. He's not like that! Do you hear me, Violet?!? HE'S NOT LIKE THAT, DAMMIT! HE'S NOT!!!"


Everything just stopped. Even the jukebox had gotten bumped into by someone, causing the needle to jump off the track.


My other hand lit up with a massive charge of electricity to the point the napkin ignited and burned to ash.


Silence for a moment. I stared death daggers through Violet's widened eyes.


I was sure she was afraid I was going to electrify the other hand. To be honest...so was I.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Chapter 97: "A Horrible Mistake..."


I felt Asriel tug at my free arm frantically.


I whirled and looked at him with that look of rage. He looked up at me with eyes full of tears, and shaking.


Neither of us could speak.


Oh god. What have I done?


I started to well up with tears and my expression turned to horrified. I lowered Violet down, dropping her.


"I...I.......I..........I didn't...mean to..." Was all I could blurt out for a moment.


"I'm...I'm sorry...I'm sorry........I'm...!" I suddenly ran out of the pizzaria.


"Volt, wait!!!" Asriel cried. "Voooooooolt! Come baaaaack!"


I ran off into the night, wiping my eyes. I screwed up. I screwed up bad.


I stopped when I got to the fountain and crumped to the ground, burying my eyes in my sleeve. I pounded the ground with my fist repeatedly until it hurt. I didn't care about the pain. I blew it. All of the pain and the frustration. Not just from Violet or Al Dente, or from being sidelined from the Underground, or from Chara constantly making everyone's life
Hell. Every worry and fear I had up to this point exploded full force.


I just lay face down and cried my eyes out.


Some time passed before I felt the hand on my shoulder. I looked up with reddened eyes and tear-streaked fur, sniffling.


"It's okay." Asriel comforted. "Aunt Violet is sorry. She wants you to know she did a bad thing and she's not mad at you."


"Asriel...I never meant to--"


"I know. I know what it said on the paper."


"Asriel...?"


"Heh. You don't *sniffle* think Chara didn't bring it up before when mom and dad weren't around? Or that I didn't think about it in that dark place with Mr. Gaster?"


"Oh, Asriel..."


"It...does bother me a little. But...I can see it bothers you a lot more than me."


"Do think maybe...we should have the spelling legally changed so--"


"No. It's okay. I'd rather not try to pretend it doesn't exist. Maybe...maybe my name rearranged that way to be...ironic? You know...to remind me that it's wrong to kill? That maybe I'm just the complete opposite of what those words mean? That I, Asriel Dreemurr, am not a Serial Murderer?"


"Maybe." I sniffled, holding back what I knew about the other Asriel Dreemur incarnations of the other timelines and other AU's.


"Volt, you don't need to protect me from that. I can take it. I can take people making light of it; teasing me about it, or worse. I'm not going to turn into anything like that. It goes against everything I am. You have my word. As your best friend I solemnly pledge it. More than that...I can make an exception and promise it."


"Asriel...promises are--"


"I know. Like dreams. They can be broken. I know. But I'll take good care of this one. This is a promise I'll fight to keep."


"Oh man, Asriel...you're too good for me to possibly deserve."


"Shhhh. It's my friendship to give. And you're worthy of it. You deserve more than you give yourself credit for."


I got to my feet as Asriel helped me up or at least tried to. We turned to see Violet standing right there.


"I owe you both an apology. I should have known where the line was. I didn't pay any attention to it. And I donked up. Sometimes it's hard for me to accept the good in people. Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that there are still things that are pure and good left in this life."


"What you said about knowing what it's like to be me wasn't a lie, Aunt Violet. You do really understand my loneliness, don't you?"


"It's so easy for people to lie to someone like you, Asriel. You trust people. I'm a cynic. I'm such an a-(FLOWEY CACKLE)-hole."


"I agree with you, Violet. And you're right. But what we should be doing is not beating ourselves up for what's in the past now."


Yeah. I got it. It was setting in now. The horrible mistake was over. It was time to forgive and be forgiven.


"Let's get back to the others. They'll worry." Asriel prompted.


"Hmm?"


"That's OUR job. Right, best friend in the whole world?"


"...yeah. Yeah, totally."


We both went back to the mini party said our apologizes. And we moved on.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 98: "Through the Color of Orange, Justice is Served!":


The incident had come and gone by with nary a word spoken.


Asriel was heading home from school at that time. He was in a cheerful mood, trying to remember the words to Violet's freestyle rap about butterscotch-cinnamon pie. It made him a little homesick and nostalgic, but it also made him eager to get home where Callista could probably make an after school snack that was just as good.


He turned the corner and saw it.


"Hmm?"


He pressed ducked back behind the corner and pressed against the wall as he heard a couple of kids teasing and bullying a lone little girl on her hands and knees where her gatherings were spilled everywhere. She was in tears.


"Those guys are mean." Asriel muttered under his breath, his brow furrowing and his expression souring.


Asriel pondered his next actions carefully. The heart wanted what the heart wanted. And what his heart wanted was to help that poor little soul out of her predicament. But getting into a fight didn't appeal to him. Sensei had taught him better than that. If he was going to drive off those kids, he was going to do it it smart or at least crazy and definitely not with fists.


He accessed the H.U.D. and searched the list, finding the two items he needed. First was an all-too-familiar hoodie that Callista had found for him. I kept wondering how the coincidences kept bleeding into our world. I had to wonder if Sans had slipped this into my inventory when I wasn't looking? But no, that wasn't the case. It was just...coincidence. That was all.


He put it on and made sure his face was well covered by the shadow. He was trying to avoid the possibility they'd track him down and seek revenge later. Bunnie and Sally had taught him about foresight and predicting the consequences of your actions.


"Hey! You! Leave her alone! Why don't you pick on someone your own size!"


"Aww shut up, loser! What are you supposed to be, an eskimo? Winter's a long way off, stupid!"


"Yeah, let's mess this guy up!"


"I wouldn't do that if I were you."


"If I were you, I don't do a lot of things, punk! Like go out in public."


"This is your last warning. Vacate the area now or there will be...trouble." Oh gods. Violet got him quoting Robocop now. I need to thwap her.


"Let's get him--!


"Oh sh-(FLOWEY CACKLE)!"


Asriel had lit up the Energy Swords that Violet and Rotor put together based on their designs from his LYOKO character.


"He's a f-(FLOWEY CACKLE)-ing Jedi?!"


"Let's get the Hell out of here! This kid's a psycho!"


And they were gone.


Asriel narrowed his eyes at the blatent cowardice. If they had stuck around longer they would have noticed the light saber weapons were fake and the beam blade was illusion. Nothing more than incredibly expensive cosplay props.


The same holographic technology as Vi's bracer but without the hard light projection and magnetic compressor elements. To the untrained eye they were unbelievably realistic.


The hum and the crackle was realistic enough but these sabers couldn't even ignite paper let alone chop limts off.


Asriel extinguished the paired weapons and put them back into his inventory.


"Hmmph. I hate bullies." Asriel wrinkled his snoot. He made sure the coast was clear then took off his hood. "Hey? Are you okay? Let me help you with those." Asriel knelt down and helped pick up the girl's stuff.


She sniffled sadly. "Thank-you."


That was when Asriel noticed.


"Oh hey! You have fangs too! See?"


Asriel opened his mouth and showed off his goat teeth. Those canine teeth that stuck out conspicously.


"Are...are you a vampire too?"


"No. What's a vampire?"


"You don't know what a vampire is?"


It was then that Asriel noticed how bundled up she was. And how he could barely see her face under the shadow of her protective clothing.


"Let's get out of the sun."


"The sun? But it's so warm and nice out--"


"I can't be in the sun for long. I'm...kinda allergic to it."


Asriel led the girl to a nice, dark shady spot.


"Thank you for what you did."


"It's nothing. I just...I just couldn't see someone in trouble and just do nothing about it."


"Oh...are you a were-creature?"


"No...not that I know of."


"Your eyes are changing color. They're all orange now."


"Orange? Oh. They did it again. Yeah, they sometimes do that. I'm kinda weird that way."


"They don't seem weird to me. They're nice."


"Thank you."


"I'm Mina. Mina Scalnistro."


"Asriel. Asriel Dreemurr-Arcade."


"Arcade? You mean like Mr. Volt?"


"Well, yeah. He's my best friend. I was adopted into the Arcade family but I live with Mr. O'Conner and Dr. Brighton."
Asriel looked concerned.


"Why were those kids being mean to you?"


"Because I don't have a daddy anymore. He's..."


"Gone." Asriel suddenly recognized the look in her eyes.


"They were also making fun of me because mom is dating a nu mou. But Mr. Padesh is out of town right now. It's so lonely when all the grown ups are so busy."


"My real dad and mom are...gone, too." He comforted. "What about your mom?"


"She's...not well. I tried waking her up but she just wanted to sleep. I think she's been drinking the dizzy water again."


Oh no. Tina fell off the wagon again. This was another tragedy I was familiar with. I was at the opera with the Major, right next to her father, Masa Scalnistro--the night he was assassinated.


As the director of the Office of Miranda Intelligence (O.M.I.) he had been targeted during the night the O.M.I.'s main office was bombed in what would become a long and winding road to the investigation of the derilict mental asylum at Fell's Point which was a cover for what would become the drums of a new war. A dark time when we found ourselves driven from Miranda City when it was invaded by military super power, Paramis.


But just when we thought we had it all figured out while we holed up in the city of Westhaven, we soon found the conspiracy which brought back echoes of the demise of Ecotropia. As it turned out, the real enemy behind the scenes was a new Secret Society under the name of "The Protectorate". And this became an even bigger conspiracy of organized attacks, dark rituals, and a lot of cans of worms that would be opened.


He was originally married to Mina's mother, Tina, a local alchemist and Cid Padesh's love interest. A marriage between a human and a Nu Mou gave me hope. Intermixed relationships like these were always beautiful to me and the truest experession that love knows no bounds. But Cid couldn't always be there for her as certain people, kept dragging him away to Raxis to assist with alchemic colaborations that were doomed to fail. Honestly, Aurelis. Couldn't you find someone ELSE to help you with your craft to inadvertantly torment? And had THAT much time passed since talking to him before Asriel's bad experience in Lupe's garden.


While Cid certainly gave her hope and a shoulder to lean on, on those rare times like today, when the memories got too overwhelming, that lead to the drinking and then the drunken stupor which left poor Mina to fend for herself. Life was cruel. Incredibly cruel. But that's why our friends had us to turn to when they needed to be picked up.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 99: "Don't Call it an Intervention, Call it an Unexpected Cold Shower":


Asriel decided to dig his cell phone out and call the Major and me. We got there quickly and immediately knew where to head to.


"Another eye color, Asriel? Just can't make up your mind, huh?"


Asriel shrugged.


"Orange. The color of Justice. Looks like you came to Mina's rescue in the nick of time. Good job."


"I was...just doing what I felt was right. Scared off the bullies and helped her get her things together."


"You really are a hero, Azzy."


"Me? Nah."


"Come, Volt-san. We have to pay a house call to Tina again. And then have some words with Aurelis for keeping Cid from home."


"Think he packed a haz mat containment suit this time?" I joked.


"Volt." She scolded.


"Come on. Her royal highness melted a hole in the floor with that health potion. And you remember the explosion that scared the bolts out of RVG-Gamma?"


"Agreed. But let's make light of it another day."


Sure enough we found the place. Inside, what was usually pristine showed since of dust and cobwebs. It looks like I had been out of the loop too long again as had the rest of us. And sure enough I smelled alcohol amongst the musty smell of the various chemical and magical ingredients.


"What is this place?"


"Mom's alchemy shop."


"Is that like magic?"


"Kinda. You're a Hybrid so you probably don't know about these things."


"But I"m not a--" Asriel started.


I put my hand on his shoulder, reassuringly. Bunnie insisted the kids wait outside in the shade while the grown-ups took care of things.


Bunnie went in ahead and moments later dragged out an inebriated Tina. Barely dressed and reeking of bourbon.


"Chemical shower?" I asked.


"Chemical shower." She nodded as I helped drag her to the decontamination tank in back, leaving Asriel and Mina out front. Young eyes did not need to see this.


I yanked the chain and let the ice cold water do the rest. And of course we were greeted with an angry shout.


"What the Hell, Tina? You're better than this. This isn't you. I know Cid's been detained in Raxis for a pretty extended period since he was last in town that rainy day in the Nature Preserve. But you can't just fall about like this when things get tough and lonely."


No answer.


"As memory serves Violet and Bunnette had this conversation with you before so I'm not going to repeat old speeches nor be as blunt as she insists on being."


"Leave me be..."


"Your choice. But it's either clean yourself up by your own volition or stay there and I contanct Cid in Raxis to make an emergency trip back here to get you straightened out. It's those two choices or we ignore this and live to regret child services stepping in. Ultra Crew Institute does not like to stand by and watch families be broken apart from the inside."


"..."


"I know how much Masa meant to you. This is not honoring his memory. At the very least consider your daughters. Tasa and Mina do not need to be in this kind of environment when you're suffering from your demon days."


I thought that she had worked past it. Something must've triggered this after so long of Cid keeping her own the road to recovery from the lost of her late husband. All it took was a photograph or a special song or just that something that caused the trauma to erupt like a volcano. And then the rest became a downward spiral.


"Volt. I shall handle this matter. Why don't you take Asriel and Mina to Rabbotou Dojo. There's a shady spot where the Rabite Trio should be scampering about, away from the sun."


I hated when history repeated like this. But...I took comfort that the situation was in good hands. Bunnie could handle this. A lot better than Violet did the last time this happened.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 100: "Full Circle":


The incident had come and gone and Cid was soon back in town to help get things back on track and help Tina through her hard times.


Asriel had been...distant after that incident. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. This was probably the darkest of life's realities he had been witness to. Any pretense that his new life would be sunshine and lollipops without complication had shattered. And I was a fool to ever think it would be that easy. But...I wasn't a fool to believe that these things could be overcome. It was still a better life than what previous unstable timelines had showed me--the anger, bitterness, arguements, and hard feelings between Asgore and Toriel.


The unsaid defiance of Asgore's decree to the kingdom.


Chara's spirit manipulating many children along the way and being disappointed with how easily they met their demise--unsatisfied with how each failed her as a partner. At least until Frisk had entered the picture. With determination as strong or even stronger than her own, it was a coin toss whether that determination could be skewed to her own purposes...or if it was too pure to be corrupted. Or somewhere in between.


And Flowey. Flowey, who suddenly found himself in that golden flower form. Had he revealed himself to Asgore only for his highness to be scared away? Being rejected by your own father was a thought that kept me up at night.


What about the encounters with Toriel who didn't even recognize her son in this form; who had attacked him with fireballs. Was it just that one time when Flowey attempted to kill Frisk upon their first meeting? Or had she burned him with her flames in other encounters?


And of course there was my theory that part of Chara had gotten intermixed with whatever essence had taken root...(sorry)...in him when her blood mixed with his dust and covered the flowers. When he was taken to the True Lab and injected with Determination.


It was harder than I thought to make a happier ending than what awaited everyone after the Absolute God of Hyperdeath had fallen and Asriel resigned himself to his fate; accepting his punishment for being so strange and horrible.


It finally came to me where to look. I headed to Rabbotou Dojo's garden once more and returned to the Go Genso no Mon and turned at the Gate of Fire. The flames were long since dispelled but sure enough...there was Asriel looking at it longingly.


"Do you remember? That night you brought me here?" Asriel asked without turning around.


"Like it was yesterday."


"It's been almost four months since that day. Seems like...so long ago. Those feelings...I never forgot them. They're...still kind of there but...they're seem so quiet and far away now. On that night...that emptiness and sadness...it felt like that was all there was to me."


"Dark times for both of us. Even though I saved you...I wasn't sure I could truly save you."


Asriel knelt down and felt the ground.


"There isn't a mark on here. The writing. The flames. It's completely untouched. Sensei's martial science is really amazing."


"Yeah."


Asriel stood up and took my hand and coaxed me to follow. I knew why. This was a memorable spot but...it wasn't where it all began.


We exited the dojo from the front and put our sandals back on and headed back to the square, taking in the sights.


UCIAT Headquarters. The Target Range. Jon's tailor shop. Walrus Bros. Plumbing Service & Supply. Computer Valhalla. Rock-Afire Pizza. The nearby park. Hestia's Bakery and Restaurant. Vanessa's workshop. The clocktower. Miranda Palace in the distance. My electronics supply and service center.


And finally...back to the beginning.


The Fountain.


We stopped before it. It was quiet except for the continuous splash of the flowing waters.


Asriel looked up into the sky, stretching his hand toward it.


"It was there, wasn't it? The way to my world...my old home...the Timeline as you called it."


"It was. But...it can never be reopened. It's all gone."


This was a truth but only one truth that was part of a bigger picture. And I still kept that from him. He needed to know. But not now. Not any time soon. If his aging process resumed, it would only be a few short years until he was a teenager...but that didn't seem like the right time, either.


I'd feel more comfortable with taking him on adventures and such off world...but teenagers were a whole different set of complications; maturing, discovering emotions, becoming independent and more self-aware. That point when children stopped being children and started the road to adulthood; when things would be outgrown.


I worried sick that Asriel would stop being cooperative and submissive and start asserting himself. I was dreading the thought of him going through a rebellious phase. I was so afraid that when he grew up he'd start acting more like Flowey......or Chara. I couldn't expect him to grow up to be the male version of Gadget as much as I wanted to protect his "mo-e".


There as a good chance it would be this way; that he'd stop being cute and curious and courteous as a lot of young people did when they went through middle school years. And I would be powerless to stop it. Gods...just thinking this way must sound selfish. A lot of thoughts starting with "I". What about Callie and Scott? How would they deal with it? *sigh* There was no one but Asriel to put the brakes on my fears.


"It...still doesn't seem real."


"Asriel...I...I know it's just hiding behind an excuse...that I had to abide by certain rules and regulations of the Council...I know it's just me trying to accept my limits...but...I..."


I hesitated.


"Do...you resent me? I mean do you resent that I didn't save your mother and father? That I didn't save Toriel and Asgore? That I couldn't bring Chara back?"


"What? No! No, I...I know you wanted to. But...there are reasons, right? Reasons I don't understand. Reasons that...that you don't understand."


"That's what I tell myself but..."


"Volt...I understand. I know it's hard for me to accept but...I understand. You're only Lycan. Dad would say you can't be expected to save everyone."


"But I should have. The world was doomed...it was all coming to and end and--"


"You saved me. You gave me a life. A home. A mom and dad I love with all my heart. And more friends than I could have ever asked for in my old life. I'm grateful. So very grateful."


Asriel hugged me longingly, crying.


"I don't want to go back to where I came from...or to when I came from. It wouldn't be a happy end for any of us. You know that, don't you?"


"Asriel...if there were a way to reset everything and go back to the beginning...a way to save Chara and everyone...would...would you take that chance?"


"No. I don't want that anymore. I don't want the Timeline reset. Not if it meant taking everyone's memories away. And even if I could go back, it would be...like unlearning...ungrowing...It would be like going backwards. That...that doesn't seem right. But more than that...there's no way of knowing if I'd even be able to change things. No way to know for sure that the same bad things wouldn't happen all over again...or that something worse could happen in place of them. I mean...what would have happened if I did do what Chara asked and gone outside of the barrier? What...what if I...I died out there on the surface? How would Mom and Dad ever know? What would it do to them losing both of us? I...I had a long time to worry about these things inside the Core with Mr. Gaster. I could have rushed into it when Chara breathed her last and...caused so many more problems."


Asriel's insight was spot on. How could he foresee what his other incarnations had done so clearly? Was this Bunnie's influence? Was it mine?


"But...if you could still go back to your life?"


"If...there were a way to resume my life as if nothing bad happened...if Chara had never eaten the buttercups..........I'm sorry...but...I don't have an answer for that. Not yet. I'm...not ready to answer that question. Volt...if you know something, then I know you haven't told me already because I'm not ready. If...if you really know best you'll know when the time is right."


"Wow. You sure don't talk like a kid. You have no idea how grown up you sound right now."


"I guess so. Let's...wait until I'm older before we have this talk again. Okay? I know you mean well...but it's not doing us any good. Not with all the worrying. And...it's making crybabies out of both us us."


Asriel wiped my tears away as I wiped his away.


At this moment I couldn't think about how the others were almost squared away for the trip to Neo Arcadia. Besides Asriel and myself, Bunnie, Violet, Mitzi, Sally, Gadget, and Rotor were all planning to head there together. Jon, Pit, and the rest of the crew would hold down the fort in our absence. Scott and Callista would try to make it out there. They'd probably be late if they went at all. But it was okay. Each of us had his or her own homecoming to look forward to. And Asriel had a much bigger world out there he'd get to see over time. This was just one set of stops along the road.


I wondered how long it would be before I could get back to visiting the Underground. There were many other people I had to meet up with. And I was still delaying my encounter with Asgore. I had to get to him before Chara did. Chances were it would probably take more than one or two meetings with him before I was reassured. But all things in time.


"For better of worse. This is my life now. And I wouldn't give it away or trade it for anything. This might not be the happy ending. But it is happy. And I'm glad it's not ending."


"No, Asriel. It's not ending. It's only just begun."


And with that we watched the sunset together, well into nightfall. We came to town at nightime...and here we were at nighttime. Tomorrow the sun would rise on new adventure and experiences. And thus closed another chapter as a new one was about to unfold.


THE STORY CONTINUES...
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Old 06-20-2016, 09:00 PM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 101: "Vacation to Neo Arcadia/Soul Plane 3: Tokugawa Style":

"...ready to go, Azzy?"

"I'm all packed and ready!"

"Take care in Neo Arcadia. Listen to everyone and be good, won't you?"

"Now you sound just like my old mom. And I will!" Asriel hugged Callista longingly and gave her a big smooch goodbye.

"Have a good time, champ. We'll...we'll miss you." Scott's voice broke a little. Definite signs of emotion. This was one of his better days.

"I will, Dad. I'll be waiting if you manage to make it to Neo Arcadia. If not, I undertstand."

"That a boy."

"We'll probably be gone for over a week. Possibly two weeks. I'll be sure to give the Founders your very best." I nodded nobly.

"Send us post cards or at least post some pictures on your online journals. Video clips if you can." Scott responded.

"Will do."

"I love you, Mom! I love you, Dad!" Asriel waved one last time before hopping in the 57' Chevy's passenger side.

And we drove off to the airport.

"So...is Aunt Violet really flying us out there?"

"Mindboggling, huh? She's got a pilot license and is qualified to fly anything from small biplanes all the way to stealth bombers. And chances are she has both of them in her personal collection back home."

"So...why do you have that look like there's something I should know?"

"Knowing her, it won't take long to understand."

At the airport...

"Volt?"

"Yeah, Azzy?"

"I understand."

"Dammit, Violet..."]

"What's the sitch', my b--(FLOWEY CACKLE)?

"Violet. One: I'm a male. Two: That word is offensive to my species, regardless. And three: What the actual Hell?! We're only going to be less than 12 passengers at most. Eight at least. Did you have to get a plane that seats at least...by my estimates...60?! What did you have to pattern this thing after the DragonTurtle that Dr. Urashima invented for the Shinra incident and give it your own personal paint job?"

"If you got it, flaunt it! Besides you won't be complaining when you see most of that space is reserved for first class! Beats the Hell out of flying coach."

"And I have a sneaking suspicion you'll have more distractions than we'll need up there. Even though it will be a long flight from here to the other side of the world--"

"Volt. Can't you just thank me for once?"

I sighed.

"Thanks, Violet. But don't make this any tougher than it has to be."

Bunnie and Sally were already waiting. Mitzi and Gadget showed up soon after. Willamina and Honey tagged along soon behind. Rotor and Skeeter were last to show up. All together with Azzy and Violet that made eleven headed to Neo Arcadia City.

So...to review the numbers there were ten founders waiting for us eleven. Mitzi was planning on arranging a grade school reunion with her entire class: all twelve of them. I felt like I was making an Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve reference in there somewhere but...movie moments asside.

It was going to be a well-deserved break from it all. And no Council to screw with me and no Chara to terrorize me.
Violet opened the cargo bay doors in back and I drove the 57' Chevy aboard and we got it locked down and secured. When a plane was big enough to put a car aboard, you knew it was over the top.

We boarded and got comfy. Sure enough...first class on Vi's monstrosity of a jet was as over the top as I was expecting. TV's and games, juice bars, and karaoke, and more than enough other stuff to party all day and night.

"Welcome to the Ultimate Soul Plane."

"I feel like this belongs in an exploitation film, Vi." I muttered to her when Asriel wasn't looking. "I better not find Austin Powers' rotating bed aboard here--"

"Uh...why...er...would that be er...aboard here?" Violet stammered as she subtly reached behind her and pressed the automatic lock for one of the rooms near the back.

"I'd buy that for a dollar." I said flatly as I narrowed my eyes and got a little close for comfort, Violet holding up her hands Alphys style and cheesily grinning.

"I swear, Violet, if Glenn Quagmire is your co-pilot I'm going to--" I started.

"Just...er...get comfy while I get this thing in the air."

"Fine."

"I know it goes without saying but you DO have something off the wall planned once we're in the air and en route, don't you?" Bunnie crossed her arms.

"Come on, Buns. You both are breaking my ba--"

"Violet."

"Just for once I'd like to surprise everyone. And not be treated like I just dug up a dead body just to remake Weekend at Bernie's."

"I won't dignify that with a response. And I will hit you if you play Airplane! Or any other disaster movie as our in-flight film." I grumbled. "Some of us do NOT want to be paranoid about flying."

Asriel had already made himself comfy in front of one of the reclining seats where cartoons were already playing on the 4K television. Bunnie and Sally made plans to hit the bar for fruit smoothies. Rotor was already asleep. The other sort of did their thing until takeoff.

A bit later and we were all squared away.

"I know you've never flown on an aircraft before, Azzy but I promise it's a smooth and comfortable way to travel." I said with a reassuring smile.

"Then what are these little sacks for? The Easter Egg Hunt?" Honey popped up over my shoulder and dangled an air sickness bag in front of my snoot.

"That's enough out of the peanut gallery." I pushed her away.

And soon Violet instructed us appropriately for takeoff.

"Attention all passengers, this is your captain speaking. It's a lovely day for a nice plane trip to Neo Arcadia."

Violet rattled off the rules and such and requested everyone get seated and buckled up. She went over the safety and such and we then waited. Sure enough the engines came to life as the noise and the scent of jet engine combustion was barely noticeable to my nostrils.

A bit more formality and soon we felt the craft begin to move down the runway. Asriel got a seat by the window and watched with fascination. His eyes widened as the ground began to get further away and the jet's altitude began to climb.

"Ohhh wooooow!"

And soon enough...

"We're flying! We're really flying!"

"That we are." I nodded.

And before long Violet paged us again letting us know we could unbuckle our seatbelts and move around freely. And we occupied ourselves approriately for the next several hours.

Meals were served, games were played, and conversation was had. And then Violet of course did what we expected...and it was again nothing we expected.

"My co-pilot's gonna take the wheel for a bit while I mingle with you beauties and get to a special treat."
And before we knew it Violet had exited the cockpit, ducked into a changing room and come back out in cosplay costume. Oh no. I dreaded what was coming next.

"We're gonna live-podcast this sucker!" Violet said, dressed in a female version of the costume that foreign guy was wearing when went viral with 2.5 billion views for some music video on the internet a while back.

"Violet...I know you're not going to disrespect my home country." Bunnie's eye twitched a little.

Too late to protest. The music was already underway and Willamina, Honey, Mitzi, Gadget, and Sally were already in on it. And wouldn't you know they'd drag Asriel into it.

"Open Jang-Man Style! Jang Man Style!" Violet prompted and they all went into a dance that remotely reminded me of a horse jockey waving his fist in the air.

Bunnie immediately facepalmed.

"I take my shoes off when I walk into the dojo! I hug my little shih tzu while I read some manga of the Misdventures of JoJo! Buy some Pocky while I strut my wicked awesome gaijin mojo! Kowtow to my greatness and hit that like button, won't ya?

"I'm flying up in the air! Broadcasting on the very best lossless Li-Fi hard-ware! Throwin' around Zenny like I don't care! When I make it rain the money, you say "man, that's no fair!" My friends tell me don't act stupid? Well stupid is what I dare! I dare to wear. That sexy savoir freis!"

"I'm Violet! I'm a pilot! I be stylin'! Am I hot? (YEAH!) Am I on fire? (YEAH!) I'm an otaku! I will rock you! On the best flight! (YEAH!) Into the night! (YEAH!) I rule this bandwith; bow down to the Absolute Goddess of Hyperlinks, my peeps! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-yayayayayayayaya-yeeeeeeah!"

Honey tossed a handful of confetti into the air at that moment and Violet paused for just a second.

"Open Jang-Man Style!" Jang-Man Style!

Eyyyyyyyy, sexy bunny! (Op-Op-Open Jang-Man Style!)

Eyyyyyyyy, got lots of money (for cool leg!)! (Op-Op-Open Jang-Man Style!)

Open Jang-Man Style!" And everyone landed in a synchronized pose.

"Violet, there is no way you could make this experience any worse." I rubbed my temples.
"Oh noooooo?" Violet grinned. And then with that she proved me wrong by cueing up...oh gods...not...that song!

"Ooo-oooh-wa-a! Dance to the beat! Wave your hands together! Come feel the heat! Forever and ever! Listen to me! It's time for prancing! Now with me with Caramel Dancing!"

And low and behold Violet had gotten them all, even Asriel, into dancing to the english translation of Speedycake's Caramelldansen.

"Way better than the Macarena!" Violet said with a wink and a "number one" gesture.

Bunnie just crossed her arms, closed her eyes and scowled with the biggest anime hashtag-shaped throbbing veins I'd ever seen.

"If she does the Levan Polka next I may consider harikiri..." she growled. I knew she wasn't serious but on the same note I wouldn't blame her.

I folded my ears back and shrunk down in my seat.

"Whoever said getting there was half the fun should be drug out into the street and shot."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 102: "Homecoming":

We touched down at Neo Arcadia Interneational Airport and we all got our travel arrangements to the capital in order. It was a long trek down the highway and past all kinds of territory. And before long...

"Here's our exit." I insisted on taking the 57 Chevy with anyone who didn'ct actually care about over-the-top luxury, while everyone else loaded up in the stretched limo that Violet had sent over from the palace in Edoropia.

"And there it is, Asriel. We're here. We're home."

"Home?"

"Yes. Our other home. Home...in Neo Arcadia City." Bunnie nodded.

And then it was. In all its splender.

"Oh...my...goodness."

Neo Arcadia City. It wasn't the biggest city in the world. It wasn't the flashiest or most nostalgic; that honor IMHO went to Neon City and Green Meadow respectively.

It wasn't the most technologically advanced. Even Technopolis, our expo city yielded to the likes of Fonkton, Appra, and Renalia elsewhere in the world; it was even a struggle keeping up with Mainland; some would argue our meticulous code of ethics held our scientific progress back from going all out. But at the same time it was what kept our consciences clean and our track records a lot more accident/disaster free.

And yeah. It was almost completely devoid of magic--completely opposite of Miranda and it lacked the balance of nature that Ecotropia. But in spite of what it lacked...it had heart. This was where tolerance and acceptance came to blossom. This was what Miranda City saw in us more than anything.

Every success, every virtue, every opportunity I ever had I owed to Neo Arcadia and the Founders of the Arcade Foundation, Arcade Enterprises, and the Ultra Crew Institute Action Team. Every outreach program, every adoption agency, every anti-crime/anti-terrorism program that was birthed in the last 30 or 40 years was said to have started here or was said to have been inspired by time here.

We didn't invent the art of philanthropy. We didn't write the book of higher education. We weren't the creators of the entertainment industry and information technology. But we did our best to try to perfect it whether we lead or followed.

We were Neo Arcadia. For better or for worse. We didn't have that many allies in the world. Our ancestors made mistakes in the past. The Vorostov Conflict tarnished us even though the world viewed them as the aggressors. But no matter what obstacles we had to overcome...we'd at least do it with our heads held high and we'd be able to look ourselves in the mirror with as few skeletons in our closet as possible. We'd uphold our integrity. We'd just be ourselves. Nothing less. Nothing more.

"I didn't know places like this could exist."

"Neither did I when I was first brought here. That look you're wearing. It's the same as me all those years ago. It's the look of purity and wonder, curiosity and hope. Everything I sometimes need to be reminded of. I think...that's why you came into my life. To remind me what it was like to be you."

"Volt..." Asriel looked up at me with a misty-eyed smile.

"Is...this what you mean by legacy?"

"Exactly what I mean. This is why the Founders created the Arcade Foundation. To give orphans like us hope. A better life. The chance that was taken from us unfairly and unjustly."

We passed by all of the places I remembered. The Channel 256 building. The Neo Arcadia Museum of History, Science, and Industry. Polyhedron Central (our world's version of Madison Square Garden). The Prism Quantaplex Holographic Arena. The Anti-Gravity Jungle Gym (home of the largest bouncy castle in the country), the giant cylindrical glass-walls of the Cryptosmasher Online main super megacomputer tower building, and so much more.

And there it was. The Arcade Enterprises/Arcade Foundation/Ultra Crew Institute Headquarters. Our HQ back in Miranda was only pint-sized compared to this. This building was big enough to go head to head with Displace International in size, scope, and more. But I just called it...home.
Asriel looked up...and up...and up, his mouth and eyes opening wider and wider.

"Careful there, little buddy. We don't want your first trip to be Nermal's medical bay to get you outfitted for a neck brace." I cautioned.

As I said that I spooked myself with my memories of the Absolute God of Hyperdeath spinning his head completely around in a way that would make the Exorcist's Reagan jealous. Oh gods...couldn't my channeling just put a lid on it? We were on vacation, for crying out loud!

I drove around to the visitor's parking garage and presented my ID at the security station and was given a warm welcome back by Vinny, the security guard that had been there since...well...seemed like forever. He hadn't started greying yet but he was in his early 100's by now. He started when Grandpa Giovanni was C.E.O.

I brought us all around front to the main entrance as Violet's limo headed into the security check point. We waited for them to disembark and join us upon entering.

And enter we did.

It was a lot fancier in the main entrance than our humble abode. Enough to fit a pretty sizeable indoor fountain and portraits of the original founders of Arcade Enterprises.

Large enough that it required several receptionists in addition to Kitty who was already hard at work at her front duties at the main front desk. Each of them greeted me warmly by my first name as well as Bunnie and Violet.

"Welcome back to Neo Arcadia City, Volt." Kitty was really trying hard to keep her nervousness supressed. I felt a sense of pride whenever she was able to make it through a sentence without stuttering or stammering.

"He's waiting for you in his office."

"Hmm?" Asriel cocked his head.

"You'll see."

We all got on the main elevator and rode it all the way up. Easily more than a 100 floors. Amazingly...it didn't stop at a single one until it got to the top.

The doors opened and we were greeted to an even more impressive sight of ivory and marble pillars and highly polished tile floors. Our C.E.O. and main
founder was never comfortable with so much lavishness. It was a status thing but he didn't care about that.

"Never gets any less intimidating, does it, Volt-san?"

"The room itself, yes. But the man who occupies it is anything but."

The doors opened and we entered the office. It was big. Very big. And it overlooked the whole city. What could I say about it that wouldn't cheapen it? It was where...he worked.

It was quite a walk across the room. I could see Asriel was intimidated. There was that impresive desk. The big boss' chair was swiveled away from us, looking at the city below.

"Do you know what I enjoy most about today?"

"That it's not Monday?"

"You really do know me well."

"I'd like to think I should know the man that found me...took me in...made me part of his family...made me everything I am today. How do you you ever repay him for giving you everything and still feeling like you'll never be as great a man as he is? How do you tell him how proud you are to be his son?"

"I think...you understand what it was like for me the day I gave this speech to my father when he brought Odie into our family. I think you shouldn't feel like there is a debt to repay. As as to telling me how proud you are...I think...you just did. In that order."

"Well then...why don't I just say it. Happy Father's Day...Dad."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 103: "Happy Father's Day and Happy Birthday, Dr. Garfield Powerhouse Arcade":

The chair spun around slowly and we came face to face with him. That orange fur. Those dashed black stripes. That yellow patch of fur around the mouth and pink nose.

Yeah. That guy. Our world's AU counterpart to the cat from the comic strip. Garfield the Cat. Garfield Arbuckle. Whatever you wanted to call the prime universe version. Fat, lazy, self-absorbed center of attention there.

But here...he was as close as a saint as you could get. He wasn't perfect. He had his faults and he was a notorious rule bender that even Police Academy's Mahoney could take notes from.

Our little AU incarnation was definitely not obeise; Arlene saw to that. Ours was a lean, mean, anthropomorphic hybrid machine.

And he sure wasn't dressed like an executive. If anything...he looked more like he was a senior in high school or in college. He wore a yellow, long-sleeved shirt. Blue jeans. A cocky grin and a look of Determination unique onto his own.

Heck he even had a familiar letterman jacket hanging up on a coatrack beside him--that red and white Northridge High iconic letterman jacket that the Game Master that Videoland's prophecy spoke of; but instead of a black letter N with white outline, his was a modified version of the Gamecube logo.

"That means more to me than anything you could get me this day...son." He smiled.

Mitzi stepped forward and decompressed it from her E.N.G.I.N.E. dot.

"Anything?" She smiled mishieviously as she held the pan of lasagna. "And there are several more where these came from courtessy of Hestia and myself. It's just the thing to wish you a Happy Father's Day AND a Happy Birthday."

"You make it hard to stick to my guns, y'know."

"I know what you like. Happy Birthday, Dad. Your day is twice as special, isn't it? Falling on a holiday like this."

"Yeah. You do. You really do. And it is. It really is. So. I guess that means we're moving this to the dining hall. But...all good things in good time, right?"

"Right. I believe...there's something more important at hand."

I coaxed Asriel to step forward.

"So. You're the new generation."

"Umm...howdy...M-Mr. Garfield sir."

"I appreciate you being polite, but there are no "misters" in this office. Call me Garfield."

"Howdy, Garfield. I'm Asriel. Asriel Dreemurr........um...I mean Asriel Dreemurr-Arcade."

"I've heard a great deal about you, Asriel. You've had quite a bad experience getting here. You've lost a lot, haven't you? It must've been...very hard. Very sad. Very lonely."

"All of the above."

"Well. That's why we're here. That's why we exist. To give hope to kids like you in the world who've gotten a raw deal. Everyone should have a fair chance in life."

"It's...really great that you do these things for us. We the...the broken. The lonely. The...." Asriel hesitated. "...the lost."

"Well. You are no longer the Lost Dreemurr. You have a place to call home. Not merely a roof over your head, parents to love and care for you, and food and desires. Home is where the heart is. And as long as you feel loved, respected, and like you belong in this world, then you're never lost or alone. Now and forever. You have us in your life; in your heart, in your soul, and maybe one day wherever your life takes you...in your memories."

"Yeah. And I don't just have family. I have friends."

"Friendship. The only resource in this world that's almost as important as family."

Garfield tented his hands.

"Well, young Asriel. I welcome you to my place of business. I welcome you into my home. And most of all I welcome you to my family. As the new young man of the family I expect you to spend time to get to know your new family. A man who does not spend time with his family can never be a man." He said with his best impression of Al Paccino as Vito Corleone.

"Dad...don't tell me Violet's gotten you to watch the Godfather movies again. I get it. You're Valendian--our world's version of Italian. But really. Is a movie trilogy about the Mafia really the best thing to quote right now? That is not an appropriate metaphor for what we do around here!"

"Only when the message is universal and true. Volt. You know what kind of man I am. What I would sacrifice of myself and my possessions for the sake of my friends and family. How many times I've put my career, well being and even my own life on the line without second thought. That's the kind of people we Arcades are. For the good of the people, we'll gladly be their sword and shield...sometimes even their stepping stone to greater things." Garfield replied with a much more sincere expression.

"This is true, Garfield-sama."

"I appreciate the vote of confidence, Bunnie but chill on the sama. I dare do all that may become a man. Who dares more is none." Garfield replied, quoting Macbeth.

"You stuck your neck out for us and others more times than anyone should." Sally agreed with Bunnie."

"You didn't owe us anything...and yet we bunch of orphan brats owe everything to you." Rotor chimed in.

"And hey. You believed in even bigger brats like us who didn't lose anything. Mitzi and I are the oddballs here but we feel as much a part of the family as the Ecotropians. Hell. You remember that ear-to-ear grin I gave you when you slid the paperwork to me and I reached over and signed it without a second thought. And then Al Dente came running into the office with about a half dozen security guards trying to hold him back. He saw me hold up that paper and he dropped like a sack of potatoes. It was awesome. For a guy in charge, you're the most awesome rule-bender I've ever known."

"I've never met anyone who's loved my pizza, my pasta, and my lasagna as much as you. And...don't worry that you couldn't do more for our band. For Creative Industries. My ex and Helen had things too wired for even Arcade Enterprises to help us out. It was what it was and things turned out all right."

"Can't really speak for everyone else. I mean we're just newbies."

"But hey. You totally rock, dude."

Garfield lay back in his chair, resting his head in the back of his palms, elbows outward with a big ole' grin.

"Well. I sure didn't expect this much for a Father's Day gift. This year is extra special, I'd say. Well. I guess we should celebrate but why don't we start with a tour of the place for our guest? How about it, Asriel? Want to meet the rest of your extended family and see what we do here?"

"Would I?!" Again with the Freakazoid response. I was loving this.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 104: "My First Mentor - UCIAT Co-Founder, Professor Odie Megabyte Arcade":

We took the elevator all the way down into the basement levels. The doors opened and we went through the familiar security checks and rigamarole. Darn it, Sarge.

And the main gates opened up giving us an unrestricted view. If our lab back home was a 100, this one was easily a 1,000 on the scale of "how impressed are you, Asriel"?

"It's...it's....!"

"I know. Big."

Asriel just nodded, mouth wide open. At the center of it all were its own set of Supercomputer towers, even bigger than the ones back home. And a main computer tower that rivaled the main Core back in Hotland. This was the central uplink to Cryptosmasher in the center of Neo Arcadia City. The mega-supercomputer that lay behind cylinderical mirror-polished glass walls which was the main administrator to the entire Kaeleron network system.

Garfield led us on what seemed like the longest of journeys through the maze of labs and sub-labs until...
There at the Cryposmasher uplink hub, he stood back toward us. His lab coat was as clean as ever. I could make out his yellowish fur and the brown ears that defied gravity. Garfield snuck up behind, reached out and covered his eyes.

"Really, brother. Must you?"

"Heh...still can't take you by surprise, can I?"

"I predicted your arrival about 350 milliseconds before you decided to play a juvenille game of "peek-a-boo"."

"It made you smile, didn't it?"

A sigh. "Yes. Yes, I suppose it did." He said as he turned around.

Professor Odie Megabyte Arcade. Adopted into the family as a tiny pup from an orphanage. The story was that he was saved from a burning farmhouse as a baby by a traveling scientist named Washuu and cared for for a time before being given up for adoption. Garfield's heart went out to him after he and his parents had visited to orphanage to discuss increasing its funding. And that very day he was made part of the family.

Yellow fur. Lengthy ears that stuck up like a rabbit's and hung in a gravity-defying method. Big black nose. Even without the ears, he was just a little taller than Garfield and me. Brown puppy-dog eyes; the same color as my own. Red necktie, white shirt, blue buttoned-up vest, white labcoat, brown pants, hushpuppy dress shoes. And a serious but somehow warmhearted expression on his face. In personality he was like the male version of Nikita if you added a little bit of warmth and at least some semblence of a sense of humor. He was the complete opposite of his quadraped prime dimension counterpart that slobbered and barked a lot.

"Hello, mentor. It's been a while." I waved.

A brief smile.

"You've done well for yourself; a credit to scientific minds everywhere, Volt."

"I try. I just want to uphold the example you lead for me."

"Indeed. I see you've brought much of your team. You planning in staying in Neo Arcadia for some vacation time?"

"Is the atomic weight of cobalt 58.3?" I mused.

"And keeping your mind sharp. Good. Good. I'm glad to see you know your way around the periodic table."

"I believe you know the rest of the crew. But we do have one new member since we last dropped by."
Asriel stepped forward.

"Hello umm...Professor?"

"Odie will suffice. You must be Asriel."

"Well I'm...As-riel as it gets." Asriel chuckled then high-fived Violet.

I facepalmed.

"Amusing. I can see Violet's already had an impact."

Odie looked back to me.

"Dr. Lynx has forwarded his profile and all of the data. I'll examine it during my my down time. Perhaps I might be able to offer my own insight to his unique nature. The quantum code certainly draws my interest."

One of the technicians came up to Odie at that point.

"Professor. We've finished decoding and interpreting the secondary layer of information encoded on DNA. We now have a complete understanding of how genetic data works."

"I see. By now on Earth Prime, scientists should just now be discovering its existence. Here we are having completely decoded it." He muttered. "You know this means a lot more ethical discussion afterward."

"Professor?"

"As you know we are pioneers of science. We ask questions and search for answers. We advance our understanding of our world. But at the same time we add to both the Tree of Knowledge and Pandora's Box. We might not be the ones to do anything with this new information on genetics but we're making the blueprints for someone else in the world to use them for their own means. To put things in perspective we're not the ones who drop the bomb but we are the ones who made it possible. Much like Albert Einstein with his Theory of Relativity."

"Mentor..." I started.

"This is particularly crucial as we are unlocking the secrets of life itself. We're responsible. We must be ready to accept whatever comes of this in future generations. That anything--good or bad that comes of it--is ultimately a burden that rests on our shoulders. We try to do better than our Ancient Arcadia ancestors did in Project Exodus."

Several other technicians and engineers had gathered around for Odie's speech. And everyone was in complete agreement. Our ancestors had made a pact in the aftermath and recovery from the disaster Project: Exodus had wrought on our entire continent. It was the very fabled colaboration between science and sorcery that gave birth to Hybrids all those eons ago.

But it was also the disaster that created the divide between magic and technology which forced both scientist and sorceror to peacefully but begrudgingly go their separate ways.

We vowed we'd never be reckless with our craftwork again. Which is why we urged other scientific communities of the world to do the same. But alas many like Vorostov, Renalia, and Mainland had ignored our pleas. Whether it was the gravity weapon that decimated Vorostov's capital, the toxic scorched earth strategies Renalia had wrought upon its own land in its war for scientific supremacy with Appra, or the genetic experimentation that ran wild in Mainland, we saw plenty of instances that justified our fears.
A deep sigh.

"That said, I ask you all. What is Neo Arcadia's unwavering scientific credo?" He asked everyone.

"Conscience before convinience." Was the unified reply of everyone in the room.

"Excellent. Carry on and always think very carefully and feel just as passionately with everything you do. Dismissed."

"Wow." Asriel had this look like "I get it." Like he knew exactly what Odie meant about being responsible with discovery. With life itself.

"Yeah." Garfield patted his shoulder.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 105: "My Mother Figure, Dr. Nermal Stephanie Gamepro M.D.":

Our next stop was the medical facility where my mother figure, Nermal was in charge.

If Odie was the brains, Nermal was definitely the heart.

I could tell Asriel was uncomfortable in a hospital environment. I couldn't blame him. There was something I always disliked about being in a hospital or medical bay. Maybe it was the atmophere about the place which was too pure and too sterile for my liking.

Or maybe it was that ending up in here as a patient never carried good memories. About the only thing I could count on from Nermal's medical bay was that the food was incredible; because she prepared it herself from scratch. Nothing beats mom's cooking. Even if you're bed-ridden.

Mom had an entire medical staff assisting her 24/7 so she found time to have a life of her own but for that time she was on the clock, she worked her tail off and made sure that any patient's stay was as comfortable as possible.
Everything I knew about being a humanitarian I had her to thank. On the same note my capacity for being overemotional and worrysome was also on her. Oh well.

"...in another few days you'll be able to go home." There she was back to us, her white-coated petite form swaying her tail slightly. She was tending to a little girl.

"Until then here's a little something to keep you company." She said as she handed the sick little child a stuffed plushie that looked like a yellow bear with butterfly wings. "Her name is Butterbear. She'll keep you company."

I recognized this as one of the stuffed animal designs Violet and Jon came up together after recent genetic discoveries of ancient Project Exodus data revealing two lines of "genetic splices".

The first being the "Fuzor" series; animal types that were similar were engineered together as phase one of creating artificial chimeras. Sally was decended from the Fuzor series, being part chipmunk and part squirrel.

The second line was called the "Wuzzle" series. Completely different species of the animal kindoms put together. Instances of mammal and insect put together such that they yielded various archetypes such as the "Bumblelion", the "Mooseal", the "Rhinokey" and more. While the actual composites weren't all that cute, Violet saw potential in making them appear so and collaborated with Jon on her sketches. Jon thought it would be a cute idea to make a line of cute stuffed animals based on their designs. Nermal was sold immediatly.

I wouldn't be surprised if that came out of Mom's own record-holding stuffed animal collection.

"Thank you, Doctor Gamepro!"

I knocked on the doorway lightly. She turned in my direction and her eyes widened and her face lit up.

"Hi, Mom. I'm home." I smiled as we got an unobstructed view of her.

Standing at the same height as Mitzi and just as slim and easy on the eyes, Nermal was grey-fured with thin black stripes. She was wearing a sensible outfit underneath the doctor's coat and a pair of green sandals with gold heart buckles. But what caught Asriel's eye was the gold heart locket around her neck. He subconsciously grasped around his own neck for a brief moment before he remembered.

She ran over and hugged me and showered me with kisses.

Dr. Nermal Stephanie Gamepro. Our AU counterpart to the world's cutest kitten of that comic strip. Oh, did I forget to mention our Nermal was female? Yeah. Her prime dimension version was a boy kitten. But despite the gender difference, ours was just as cute if not cuter......wait, that sounds awkward coming from me. Oh gods...forget I said anything.

"I'm happy to see you too, Mom."

"We're all very proud of you...Neil."

"Neil?" Asriel cocked his head.

"My...birth name." I looked really embarassed.

"You mean your real name isn't Volt Arcade?"

"Well...that's the name I was given or...the one we had legally changed to. My birth name is...Neil D. Coleman."

"That's a nice name." Asriel beamed. This was familiar. I suddenly felt like I was in Frisk's shoes at the True Pacifist End.

"Yeah, but...I'll stick to Volt. Too many...bad memories attached to that name."

"It's all in the past, my little pride and joy." Nermal said as she gently stroked my head and my ears as splayed them and closed my eyes.

Mitzi giggled a little.

"Mitzi!" Nermal let go and quickly embraced her favorite high school friend.

"Nermal!" The hug was accentuated by their overlapping giggles. A quick catch up and a little banter later...

"Well. Let's not hang around here. My patients need there rest. Let me get changed and I'll see about getting you all some snacks and I'll get to know you all better!"

Nermal bent down and addressed Asriel.

"Especially you, you little cutie. You must be Asriel?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"So polite! Ohh, you don't have to call me ma'am. You can call me Nermal."

"I get told by a lot of people to call them by their first name. But okay, Nermal."

Nermal patted his head gently and gave him a little peck on the cheek.

A trip to the med bay's cafe area later. Nermal soon emerged, in a white and green cheerleader dress similar to Mitzi's but with an N on the front instead of an M. Standing next to each other they were like sisters.

"Still able to wear your old high school colors, huh, mom?"

"You never underappreciate Hybrid youth and longevity."

Nernal brought out a cart of pies...but not just any pie. I knew that smell. No. It couldn't be! Pinch me, I'm dreaming.

"Violet...did you have anything to do with this?"

"Welllllll...I might have faxed over some...information after--"

"After hacking my data and my telemetry feeds." I leaned over and whispered. "You peeked over Toriel's shoulder didn't you? So that rap about butts pie wasn't just something clever. You had this planned."

Violet just gave a "wah-waaah" shrug and cheesey grin that Sans would approve of.

"Oh boy! That smells like Mom's butterscotch-cinnamon pie!"

"Surprise!"

And of course dessert was served with vanilla ice cream and milk.

"Oh wow! It even tastes just like hers! You're amazing, Nermal!"

"Thank you!" She smiled.

"This is one of the things that makes me wonder why I would ever leave this place." I sniffled.

"Oh, son...you're always so sentimental."

"I had a good teacher. Mum's the word, right?"

I was answered with a kiss on the furry cheek. I didn't want this moment to end...especially since I knew what was coming next on the tour...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 106: "A Life Coach and Drill Instructor, General Arlene W. "Sarge" Pinball":

"TEN-HUT!" We all snapped to attention. From the moment we set foot in Arlene's gym and fitness center I knew we were doomed.

And there she was. Purple hornrimmed glasses which complimented her pink fur and her stoic expression. I expected her two wear one of two possible outfits--either her purple sweat pants and sweat shirt with purple sandals with the fist-shaped buckles...or the combat fatigues.
Just our luck. She was wearing fatigues.

"You've had your snacks now to work off those calories. Get those sandals off and get on those treadmills. We'll have ourselves a nice little pre-programmed hike and get those flabby bodies in shape! Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir!" We all responded in unison.

"I can't HEAR YOU!"

A louder "Yes, sir!"

And then our torture began. And I immediately realized...

"Coaaaaach! You replaced the track belts with sandpaper again!" Oh gods. My feet. My poor feet.

"I didn't raise you to be a tenderfoot, boy! I don't care if you are retired, even an ex-Commander has to be a lean, mean, fighting machine if you're going to be ready for life's challenges!"

"Can you at least cut Asriel a break?! He's just a kid--"

"Have you seen what kids these days look like? Ten or twenty pounds overweight from soda and junk food? It's disgraceful! You have to nip this in the bud early or you're going to have overpriveledged, ungrateful yuppie larvae who don't know the meaning of the word discipline!"

And Sarge rattled off more and more motivational speech while demanding we recite the aims of being fighters, winners, and champions. And this continued until Nermal decided to check in on us...and give us an early reprieve.

While coach may have a say in our physical fitness, doctor's orders superceded them. In mom's own words: "All things in moderation. Whether sweets and a little pampering or diet and exercise.

Afterward she provided some of Velaska's Bio-Cort healing compound; reengineered into a salve for us to recover before we even thought about putting our footwear back on.

"Volt?"

"Yes, Asriel?"

"That wasn't very fun. Can we not do that again any time soon?"

"If I can help it, let's never do that again for as long as we live."

Afterward.

"You know I don't just do this to be cruel, right? Even if a werewolf can't get a heart attack. And Jon seems to be proof that you can't get fat either....despite all tis...you shold show ambition for being healthy. You do need discipline."

"I know, coach. I know. If I didn't learn those things early on, I'd never have any self-control over my life. I'd never be able to commit to anything. Your methods are harsh beyond understanding but they do get results. You're just...well...you."

"Fair enough. As for you, kid. Nothing personal. No hard feelings, right?"

"I guess not. You're a lot like Miss Undyne. I was really little but I remember it all. She was always trying to proove how tough she was. She kept trying to get Dad to fight her. And when he agreed, he defeated her so easily. She kept trying until one day after being beaten, Dad asked her if she wanted to know how to defeat him. And so he trained her until one day she knocked him down. She looked really sad about it but Dad just laughed and seemed so proud of her. From that moment he made her head of the Royal Guard. She kept trying to toughen me up but...Mom kept telling her I was too young. I don't think she wanted me to turn out like Miss Undyne."

"I see. You look like a flower child. Still seems kinda like sissy stuff to me. But I guess it has its place in the world. So...you know. Do what you feel passionate about. But don't let me catch you slacking off or--"

"I'll try not to disappoint you, Arlene...Sarge...sir...um...I don't know what to call you."

"Arlene is fine. But if I address you, you better respond with Sarge. Is that clear?"

"Sir! Yes, sir!" Asriel saluted. I guess he picked up a few things from Scott.

A while after vastly accelerated healing, thanks to the salve, ran its course we headed down to the vehicle bay and garage to meet the source of my sense of humor and appreciation for cars.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 107: "Edward Theodore Videomax, Greasemonkey and Comedian":

"After that experience, is there anything I should know before we see Mr. Videomax?"

"Well Ed was like a crazy uncle growing up. Maybe he's mellowed since the last time I saw him--"

I opened the door to the garage. And we were immediately greeted by the blaring sounds of Weird Al Yankovic's "Dare to Be Stupid". Violet immediately grinned ear to ear and looked very pleased.

And that's when we saw the creme-color furred hybrid cat in question suddenly drive in on what appeared to be a modified plastic cow on rollerskates like something off a carosel. His fur was styled into a spikey style that resembled the teeth of a saw blade, going downward. On top of his mechanic's coveralls, he was wearing a doctor's coat and set of swimming goggles with a snorkle and whipping the mechanical beast with a length of rope licorice while lip-synching to the words of the song.

He dismounted and immediately handed Violet a traffic cone which she placed upon her head.

"All hail the queen of speedbumps!"

I noticed he had several televisions going by his workbench. One was playing reruns of 80's show, Turkey TV. Another was playing episodes of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp. Another was playing what appeared to be a compilation of Weird Man episodes from Uncle Grandpa. And another one was playing the entirity of Monty Python's film discography. Yet another one had Weird Al Yankovic's UHF playing and still one more had Leonard: Part 6 playing.

Edward snatched up a plate of food from another table where he had a ton of socket wrenches laid out as well as a novelty big-mouthed bass on a plaque. He offered us some. I quickly warned Asriel before he got to us.

"If he offers you ANYTHING except take-out pizza...don't accept. Trust me. You'll thank me later."

"Oooh! Twinkie-wiener sandwiches! You shouldn't have!" Violet snatched up a pair of Hostess sponge cakes that had been sliced open and a raw hot dog placed inside and covered with spray cheese.

The rest of us wisely turned him down as the other food offerings consided of octopus cheeseburgers and mustard milkshakes. Ick.

"Sooo...about the mellowing out? I hate being wrong sometimes. Oddly this isn't one of them. I guess Ed's never going to change." I said with a shrug...but still unable to hold back my grin.

I don't know what it was about Eddie that made it impossible to be annoyed by his antics while Violet's made me want to tear my fur out. But I just couldn't get mad at him. Nor could I contain my laughter at a times. While Violet's pranks and jokes tended to be annoying, Ed's were somehow always charming.

Each could tell the same bad joke and Violet would get thwapped while Edward would get cheers. Who could say what the key to successful comedy was. But Edward defiitely had "it". Whatever "it" was.

He handed me a kazoo in the shape of a miniature trombone... without any explanation. I almost felt like Sans was going to be there with a real trombone just to raz me for whatever joke I was going to walk into.

"Volt! You look sharp!" He proceeded to snap his fingers and double-point in my direction all slick-like. "Hope you stay that way because it would disappoint me to see you...B-flat!"

Asriel covered his mouth and held back a chortle.

"Good one." I responded.

"Aww. I'm not feeling it. I think someone needs a noogie!"

"What's a noogie?" Asriel cocked his head. Before I could respond, Ed got me in a headlock and proceeded to gently but briskly rub his knuckles against my skull, promting me to fold my ears back and grin even wider.

"Noogie, noogie noogie!"

"Oh." He sweatdropped.

"Hey, you need a crash course in being zany? Here let me give you a hand." He offered his hand to Asriel who was suddenly suprised when as soon as he grasped for a handshake, Ed jerked it back as the fake hand left the confines of his sleeve. He then slipped his real hand out of his sleeve as Asriel was left holding the bag...er...hand.

"And that completes my course, hold the crash!"

"He's funny."

"Hi, Uncle Eddie!" Gadget beamed.

"Edward." Bunnie nodded.

"My maaaaaaaaaaain maaaaaaaaaan." Violet gave her best Richard Prior impression.

"So, Ed. Why greet us by riding in on a plastic novelty cow on rollerskates?" Sally just had to ask.

"Come closer." He motioned for Sally to lean over so he could whisper, holding the back of his left hand to the side of his mouth.

"Because if I didn't...it wouldn't be weeeeeeeeird." He chortled with a a cheesey grin.

"Oh. I...suppose it wouldn't be." Sally anime sweat-bulleted.

"So what are you guys standing around for? Take a seat and I'll be right with you." Edward took off the doctor's coat and tossed it onto a set of car seats that had been removed and set aside. I shrugged and accepted the hospitality. We all had a seat in the chairs provided--

FRRRRRRRRRRT!!!

...and fell for the oldest trick in the book.

At that we heard the unmistakeable cackle of Ed's partner in practical jokes, Roy Rooster. Looks like our counterpart of the U.S. Acres fowl was on duty today.
I felt like Sans was having a good ole chuckle at this situation. I slow turned and saw him peeking up from behind a stack of tires,trying to muffle his laughter with a feathered wing-hand. Laugh it up, waddle-boy.

It was a good thing that he always had Edward around to counterbalance his pranks from getting out of control or mean spiriited. Otherwise someone would have broken his beak a long time ago.

"Never gets old, does it?" Sally wrinkled her nose. Violet held up her whoopie cushion with a big grin.

"Nice." Violet gave a thumbs up.

Okay, okay. You two had your fun." I said with a quirky smirk.

"So why don't you move away from the comedy and show us what you do around here."

And of course we were treated to a tour of Ed's massive vehicle bay, garage, and factory line where the UCIAT vehicles were custom built and assembled. It was smaller and more compact than a regular automotive plant but far more specialized and modernized.

"Ever been on a tour of a factory?"

"Uh...what's...a factory?" Asriel scratched his head.

"That's a no, Ed. First time the kid's ever been in an instrustrial setting."

Ed gave the grand tour. Asriel was mesmerized by the dance of the automated robot arms and welders. As a special treat, we even let Asriel, Gadget, and Skeeter each hand-assemble an engine, walking them step-by-step through the process. I'd never seen his eyes so lit up with this much fascination. It was the same fascination I had when I had first seen it.

And all the while Edward dazzled us with his jokes and puns while Roy caught us off guard with his practical jokes along the way. All while turning down offers of tuna, ice cream, pickles, marshmallow, and pepperoni sandwiches and Ed's other weird taste in really weird food.

And lastly we got to see his miniature museum of classic cars as well as some of the UCIAT vehicle prototypes. Even a few old vehicles that had been placed in storage since some of the anti-crime/anti-terrorism programs had been downsized, streamlined, or disbanded entirely.

"Hey, Roadie and Wheels are still here." Violet was rather excited by this.

"Roadie and Wheels?" Asriel and Skeeter asked in unison.

"The prototype cars from the 2-P days. When we were still employing the Darret family as members of Pole Position. UCIAT systems model RDI-001 and WLS-002." Ed explained.

"How do you know about Roadie and Wheels, Violet?" I asked.

"Uhh. Hello? Nostalgia buff? Doesn't matter if it's music, video games or prototype anti-crime cars."
Violet admired the glossy finish of the cyan, gull-wing doored futuristic coup that was RDI-001. Bunnie and Sally looked over the red 1964 Ford Bronco convertable that was WLS-002; an older car that had been converted with all of the upgrades and such.

"We got the Hydrofoil and Hovercraft features working again about two weeks back. The A.I. units are still in storage if you want to try to resume work on them, some time." Ed offered.

"You know I will." Vi mused, rubbing her hands together.

"I have the coolest extended family ever."

"Well. Let's meet the rest of them.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 108: "The Rest of the Family":

The rest of the meetings were compressed down by comparisson. Each had his or her own obligations.

For B.J. Wizardman the Third...I honestly didn't know if he'd even be around. His appearances were super extremely rare. As one of the few Hybrids--the below 1% minority--that possessed magic, B.J. had it in spades.

While not as powerful as Queen Brooke, he could hold his own against most other mages. He was a man of so few words it was easy to mistake him for being mute. But at the same time...i would always compare him to Arthur "The Fonze" Fonzarelli. He was always so...cool.

As I figured from his room being empty I thought he wouldn't show. Imagine both my and Asriel's surprise when he suddenly appeared in a swirl of smoke, fire, and magical splendor, carrying what I called The Two-Face Mascot Staff.

One half of the head carved on top was legendary N-Division agent M. You know what? Let's just call him who he was AU counterpart to--Super Mario. And the other half of the face was Sally's mutual friend. Yeah. That guy. The AU counterpart of Sonic the Hedgehog. I never asked why it was that way. And it was probably best I never knew the answer.

As to the man himself? His spiky incredibly dark brown, almost black, fur was far more needle-ish than Edward's. And then there were those sleek dark shades of his. THe ones that covered up his very unnatural silver eyes.

His attire was one part 1950's greaser and one part Yu-Gi-Oh's own Yugi Moto when he was in his "Yami-Yugi"/King Atem soul incarnation with black leather, numerous belts and bands, and whatnot to go around. And a black coat and other articles of overlapped clothing right out of the Matrix. And of course those Italian-ish leather boots. Even the leather jacket had a huge collar turned up not unlike Hyperdeath's. It was...a very unique style. And so damn cool.

So imagine our disappointment when he only gave a nod with arms crossed, then gave a thumbs-up to me...then vanished as quickly as he appeared.

"Whoah." Asriel was spellbound (sorry). B.J. was definitely the kind of wizard he wished he could grow up to be. And that made me relieved as I always seemed to have the God of Hyperdeath gnawing at the back of my mind. I mean...let's face it. Hyperdeath was an all powerful wizard, right? How else could I explain AGOHD Asriel's semi-phenominal, nearly cosmic power?

"Whoa, indeed, little man. Whoah indeed." I agreed.

Now that I thought about it. This brief apperance was all I really needed from him. A man of few words he might be but a man whose silence somehow told you everything you needed to know. And to this day I still thought he was so...darn...cool.

We had already met Kitty's acquaintence so it was off to Kimiko's dojo. A little bit of spiritual enlightment, some quiet meditation with scented candles and tea session as well as some catchup later, we closed out her meeting with Grand Master Kimiko "Shin" Kazama with some easy-going katas even the non martial arts students in our group were able to get a grasp on.

"Konichiwa, minna!"

"Konichiwa, Sensei Kimiko!" Asriel was quick to recognize the greeting.

Her fur was jade green. Her training gi had a slight green hue to it. You could tell she was Jangese even before she turned around.Kimmy was always low-key, always calm and patient and softspoken but confident. It was as if you split the difference between Bunnie and Lupe and multiplied her sagely advice and wisdom by a factor of 10. Hard to believe she was the youngest of the UCIAT founders. It was said that she was a martial arts prodigy even before she spoke her first words. Seemed kinda farfetched until you actually sparred with her.

Her room was a combination of feng shui Jangese garden and dojo. It was fairly self-contained and hard to believe it could all fit in one room.

The rhythmic plunk of the bamboo reed water clock was the only sound that interrupted the quiet. That distinct "klok" sound wasn't particularly distracting. If anything, you tended to lose yourself in its regularity after a while.
Our serenity was short-lived as it erupted into a full-scale party atmosphere when we met the acquaintence of Ariel X. Rastajive. From the moment we walked into her room we were bombarded with reggae and she was hard at work...er...play, dancing up a storm with maracas in hand and being as loud and crazy as she could be.

"Life's a party, mon! And you've got to eat it up and keep the mood stylin' on dee' island! It's all irrie when you got dee' rhythem!"

Overly-long purple fur with long black dreadlocks and wearing only a sports bra and shorts and Jamaican beads in those dreads, there was no kind of sport or activity she couldn't jazz up and make a whole lot of fun. She took everything from free-running to parasailing to another level. Spontaenous and free, self-expressive, and outgoing.

I rarely saw Ariel wear anything on her feet. Even flip-flops.

I could tell Asriel took a shine to her. Everyone in our group learned to like her pretty quickly. She was the foil to Arlene's serious approach to being physically active and exercising until you dropped.

"This is so much fun! You really know how to let loose, Miss Ariel!"

"Well it's like 'dey say in 'dat movie, Asriel. Hakuna matata! It means 'no worries' for the rest of your days! It's a problem-free philosophy! Hakuna matata!"

Which finally left our intelligence officer, Ivan Vectorgraffinski. Serious but suave when he needed to be. It was hard to know when he was going to be as icy cold as his home country, or debonaire to the point he'd have the Sean Connery incarnation of James Bond taking notes.

But one thing was for sure. He kept a lot of secrets and anything he shared told you very little about him. He was easily as mysterious as B.J. that way.
Once we finished our tour we heard Garfield's voice over the P.A. system calling anyone interested to the main cafeteria for a birthday feast of lasagna and whatever else was brought to the party.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 109: "We are Ultra Crew Institute":

It was a nice family get-together of back-and-forth conversations and a hearty meal of Mitzi and Hestia's incredible lasagna dinner along with everything Nermal had prepared.

Asriel got to know a lot of people, both founders and other employees that day. While at the same time I got to enjoy the best family reunion I could have asked for after untold amount of time had passed for me.

"I'm so lucky you found me, Volt. I couldn't be happier being part of this family. It's the most wonderful feeling in the world right now. Thank you all so much."

"We are Ultra Crew and this is what we do."

Asriel smiled for a bit...then it kinda faded.

"Why didn't anything like this...anyone like this exist back home...back on my world?"

"I...don't know. I wish I had an answer for that." My gaze kinda fell.

I closed my eyes for a moment.

"What I do know...is that there are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought." Again I was quoting the War Doctor as I had done back at the Fire Gate of the Go-Genso-Mon.

"Volt-san. We talked about using your own words."

"You're one to talk, Miss Tea's-getting-cold."

"Touche." Bunnie smirked, using my own response to counter.

"We can't change the past. But we can work on the present and make a better future."

"Hmm."

"Now that's definitely one of your own."

"And make some people soil themselves over the fun we'll have doing it!" Violet popped up between us, pulling the two of us into a group hug.

"I dislike Dente-san as much as the next person, but must all of your efforts go toward tormenting him?"

"Nah. I only set asside 7 percent for keeping him in line." Vi said blowing on her fingertips like she was drying her nails from a manicure.

"Hey, any time you need to put him in his place, I'm in!" Honey winked.

"Can we shift the conversation from anything that is NOT Al Dente?"

"Sure. Let's talk about Antoine."

"Let's not."

"So, son. Made any big plans while you're here in Neo Arcadia?"

"Well we're gonna poke around the city for a bit. See the sights. Soak up some culture. Learn some history and--"

"Paint the town as red as Wheels' paintjob." Violet cut in.

I rubbed my temples.

"We've also got our own homecomings to plan out. I want to see Green Meadow again. Check in on my place in Neon City. I've got a lot of friends to meet up with."

"Oh yeah, you're classmates with a lot of famous people." Garfield mused.

"You are?" Asriel looked to Mitzi.

"Well...they weren't always famous. We were just kids having fun back then. We all pursued our dreams and found our paths in life. And it just ran its course from there."

"What about you, Sally? Any friends or obligations."

"I hate to say it but it's that time again. The OGPX season starts up this month again. I'll be on restricted availability as UCIAT while Honey, Willamina and I are competing."

"Well if anything maybe we'll be in time to see the first race?" Rotor replied.

"That on the other hand I think I can swing. I should be able to pull off getting you into Turbotropolis Speedway for the first race of the season. How about it? Want to see Team Acorn take it to the checkered flag in style?"

"Our first race is against our old bitter rivals to boot." Willamina frowned.

"Man, it'll be a pleasure shutting Fat Cat's big, fat ugly mouth on the track."

"I've been saving up a lot of pent-up issues with Kool Kitty over the dirty trick he did in the Tonion Loops last season." Willamina glowered.

"Girls, girls. We'll make sure the get theirs fair and square like we always do."

"Sounds good, fearless leader. We'll keep an eye out for She-Lion, too."

"It'll be the last time she calls you 'Hot Dog Water'." Honey slammed her fist into her palm.

"Hot Dog Water?" Asriel questioned.

"Long ugly story. I don't want to talk about it." Sally looked kinda disgusted.

I looked to Rotor next.

"Rotor?"

"Nobody, really. Everyone in my old life is gone or missing except for Skeeter. We're just two plumbers in a town that's swimming in plumbers and plumbing-related this and that. Mom's...passed. Dad died in prison. Any relatives didn't make it out of Ecotropia."

"Well. Until you're ready to begin your tour of the country, you can stay here as long as you need to. Your old room is just how you left it; I've kept it cleaned since then." Nermal smiled.

"There are m-more than enough empty r-rooms for each of you." Kitty was adoreable when she was being meek.

"But we're not raising a slob factory. If you're going to hang around, I expect each of you to pull your weight. Literally. I'll have the lifting equipment prepared for your exercise regimen." Arlene stared us all down.

"Joy." I wrinkled my snout.

Odie finally broke his silence.

"So. Have you given any thought to Asriel's education? Not that I have doubts about the Miranda education system, mind you. But if you determine he is capable of progressing at an accelerated rate--"

"Mentor. When we get to that point, it'll be his choice if he wants to enroll in the Ultra Crew Institute in Miranda City."

"I...I think I'd like to do that. When...when I get old enough. I'll need to discuss it with Mom and Dad, though but..." He looked to Odie with sparkling eyes. "It'd be an honor if Volt's people will have me. If I qualify to get in."

"You'll do just fine, champ." Garfield nodded.

Asriel smiled with closed eyes. There was the look. The sign that everything was going to work out okay.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 110: "Let the Vacation Begin":

We stayed at the UCIAT building for a few nights, taking the time to tour the city.

We caught the showings of the Battletoads reenactment at the Prism Quantaplex Holo Arena. It was quite the emersive experience seeing Zitz, Rash and Pimple in 3-D glory take it to the Dark Queen and her army of piggish and ratty underlings. Many of us in UCIAT knew the story of the three programmer/game players--Morgan Ziegler, Dave Shar , and George Pie when the project was launched.

They put on shows with characters they thought they created...until one of their own staff, Sylus Volkmire discovered the holographic generator wasn't merely an interactive game unit but a gateway to a world they had bridged the gap to. A dark alliance with the Dark Queen and sabotage of the system turned them permanently into their game character alter egos. Thanks to Professor T. Bird they were rescued and began fighting the good fight for real.

They had many adventures before they disappeared despite many attempts of the UCIAT to reconnect with the Professor and his team. We were seeing a piece of post N-Division history in the making here.

"Wow. Heroes come in all shapes and species, huh?"
"You know it." I exchanged a fist-bump with Asriel.

"I'm still a little wary of toads." Mitzi shuddered a little.

"Yeah, better be careful. You just might get warts!" Honey teased.

"Honey. Give it a rest." Willamina chastised.

Afterward a comprimise was made between Arlene and Ariel over keeping active but not keeping some semblance of order and discipline while still making it fun. So...to the Jungle Gym we went.

Those of us with clawed hands and feet had to wear the special heavy rubber socks and gloves especially in the bouncy castle.

Hours were spent climbing scaling the rock wall, enjoying games of trampoline-floor basketball, having silly fun in the bouncy castle of course, some easy tai-bo and step-aerobics sessions, and other activities.

And when Asriel got to try the wind shaft cylinder I never saw him smile brighter or laugh and holler louder. Saying good-bye to gravity and having the simulated sky-diving experience of his life, Goat Son was eccstatic and brimming with life.

"THIS IS AWESOME!!! I'M FLYING! I'M FLYING! LOOK AT ME, I'M FLYING!"

This Asriel was a massive contrast to the lifeless, living husk I had rescued from the Core...from the doomed timeline. This was it. This was my hope blossoming. No matter what happened from here on out, I knew my wish to bring him back to the Dreemurr family an older, stronger, wiser, and better man one day would succeed.

And when the day ended we returned to UCIAT H.Q. for one more night before we headed out to Green Meadow. And Garfield had one more thing to show us that was a surprise only to Asriel.
On the ground floor, through the hallway filled with the portraits of various generations of the Arcade family to the gated doors.

"It started decades ago at a point very similar to the 1970's of Earth Prime. But it grew into something bigger as time went on. Well...I invite all of you veterans back and our newest family member to..."
The doors opened.

"...the Powerhouse Arcade".

And Asriel's eyes just lit up.

"Weren't expecting this, were you? Well. It's in our family name. Welcome to Neo Arcadia City's largest video game arcade."

Games. So. Many. Electronic. Games. From pachinko all the way to virtual reality. It was unreal how big this room was and there were stairs leading up and down a few levels to even more games and pinball tables. And even an indoor miniature go kart race car track in the lower level.

Once the Power Kards were distributed all around...we all spent all night gaming like nobody's business.

"Hey, Buns. You. Me. Super Street Fighter 2. Best three of five. Winner stays and loser pays the round of snacks at Nermal's concession stand over yonder."

"Challenge accepted, Violet-chan."

And of course...

"We're heading downstairs to the track. Anyone want to go head to head with Team Acorn better get while the gettin's good!"

"Mitzi! Look capture claw games! Let's see if we can win any stuffed animals!"

"What's a few hundred attepts, Gadget. It's all in fun, right?" Mitzi beamed and took her place, taking turns with Gadget to see who could net the most stuffed plushies.

As the night went on, Asriel cycled through each of the groups who had gone and done their own thing.

"You're a natural, kid. A regular Initial D. Or rather...Initial Dreemurr!" Honey joked with a wink. He didn't get the reference but still chuckled.

A few laps around the track with Team Acorn. A few attempts at collecting plushies with Gadget.

"I'll name him...Captain Snuffles!" Asriel hugged the plush doll. Gadget still wound up with the most with Mitzi second. But one was all Asriel wanted or needed.

Asriel couldn't quite take Violet at fighting games. Buuuuut. It was okay since by that point Violet was already paying for snacks at the snackbar. Five losses to Bunnie tended to do that.

Virtual reality with the Walrus Bros. prooved to be an interesting experience. But Asriel was definitely into it once he got the hang of it.

And his night wouldn't be complete without joining me at the pinball tables.

That night we all slept very well. For me...it was good to be home. For Asriel. It was just good to even have one.

Tomorrow we'd be off to visit someone else's.

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
END TRANSMISSION...
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:39 PM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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And Part 2 of the Vacation Arc:

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 111: "Green Meadow/Class Reunion":

It was a long trip out of Neo Arcadia City and before long the scenery had changed to far less urban and more rural. It was a nice change to be out of skyscaper territory.

And soon enough that gave way to unpaved dirt roads, white picket fences, small lone cottages, and rolling hills. And of course lots of...well...green meadows.

We drove past some swamp land marked by a wooden sign reading "Gummy Foot Swamp, a sizeable lake that looked pristine and inviting, and through a wooden, covered bridge which made me think of the Tale of Sleepy Hollow.

And the was so much forest land. The birds were chirping. The flowers were blooming. On days like this...kids like Asriel deserved a slice of Heaven.

A whiff of the air and I decided Heaven is (just) one step away. Or maybe it was the song on the radio that gave me that that specific phrase to describe it. Whaver the case was...I could see how Mitzi and Nermal stayed so humble and pure.

"Is this it?" Asriel asked. Mitzi and Nermal had come along for the ride int the 57' Chevy.

"There it is!" Nermal pointed to the white community sign along the side of the road.

"Welcome to Green Meadow." Mitzi read off. "We're here. We're home." She said with her voice breaking a little.

What lay before was a modest sized town, nothing fancy. A town hall with a clocktower spire--each side had its own clock face pointing to the North, South, East, and West, respectively. A lot of family-owned stores and such. There was a museum with a 1938 Model Q out front. We passed a small candy factory with a sign reading "Schnieder Squirrel's Sweet's Factory". And an old-timey malt shop ice cream parlor that read in big bold letters on the sign "Hoofnagle's Ice Cream Emporium",

"Wow. This is where you lived?" Suprisingly, it was me who asked the question and not Asriel.

"Be it ever so humble."

"So where we headed?"

My question was soon answered when we arrived at Green Meadow Elementary School. Its old school house appearance hid the fact that was still pretty sizeable inside. Room for lockers, cafeteria, gymnasium, library, a playground out back. All the facets of being a modern school with all the appearance of something out of the late 1800's out front.

We entered and headed toward the classroom Mitzi lead us to.

"We're a little early so we're kinda the first. It's going to get a little crowded once people start showing up so..."

"Yeah. Some of us us will mingle in the other areas." Sally agreed as she, Violet, and Honey headed off to tour the rest of the school.

"This used to be our class. Miss Deering was our teacher." She sighed and looked at what she confirmed was her desk in the seating arrangement.
We looked around a bit before we heard the knock on the doorframe.

"Hi, Mitzi. Remember me?" The blue-eyed porcupine asked. She was wearing fairly sensible clothes and a name tag that read: "Hi, my name is: Portia Porcupine".

"Portia!" A mini group-hug ensued.

"How've you been?"

"I've been well. You look great!

"Thank you. You two as well."

"What are you doing these days, Portia?"

"I'm the teacher for this classroom. I have Miss Deering's old job." She beamed.

"You know that suits you pretty well." Came a voice from the doorway.

We looked over at the tan-furred, blondish floppy-eared...or was it hair...well...the blondish young dog hybrid who had entered. Her paired hair ribbons in her hair...ears...whichever were distinctive, resembling Mitzi's only they were red instead of green.

"Holy cow. Channel 256's star news anchorwoman, Dottie Dog was your classmate?" I blurted.

"Never forget where you came from even if you rise to big heights. It's good to see you all again."

And moments later in walked in a moose hybrid in a suit, tie, and vest that gave him a college professor appearance. His nametag read "Hi, I'm Dr. Montgomery J. Moose".

"Wait. Chronosapien Robotics' head mechanical engineer, too?"

"Welcome to the reunion, fearless leader." Dottie one-arm hugged him, which he wasn't prepared for.

"Good to see you too, Dottie." Montgomery said rather shakily. I got the impression Dottie was rather tomboyish back in her childhood and it kinda still showed.

"It seems that it it is becoming quite a crowd." Bunnie observed.

"Goodness the place is still as quaint as ever."

And next to enter was a wooly sheep hybrid in a fairly sexy yellow dress and heels. She had a yellow bow in her...uh...head wool? She pulled down her dark sunglasses so we could see her eyes.

"Got a hello for meeeee?"

The way she said it sounded kinda stuck up, maybe a little self-absorbed. I had the feeling she had a priveledged life and was probably spoiled.

"Woolma Lamb? The movie star?" I was a in a bit of disbelief.

"Hi, Woolma." Dottie greeted with a smirk. "Of course we'd greet Green Meadow's own rising starlette."

Next walked in a grey-fured cat hybrid wearing an orange track suit and a white and orange headband. His nametag read: "Hi, My Name is Zipper Cat."

"Well isn't this a sight to walk into." He said as he crossed his arms with a sly smirk.

"Well. If it isn't the former-loner himself. Aren't you gonna say hi, Mr. Three-Time-Gold-Medalist?" Dottie prodded.

"Hey, good buddy. Been a while." Montgomery waved. "Where's uh...?"

"He said he'd be here. But you know him."

And that was when we were greeted to the sight of a hybrid beaver enter the room in the loudest, most sparkling-est gold tuxedo with obnoxiously loud dollar-sign shaped sunglasses I'd ever seen.

"Care to rub your fortune in our faces a little more, Bingo?" Zipper wrinkled his nose.

"Uh...hey, Zipper."

So this was the infamous Bingo "Bet-It-All" Beaver. Owner and proprieter of Bingo's Bet-It-All Casino Paradise--the very casino Rolfe DeWolfe was last seen in with nearly billion-dollar debts from one too many bad luck gambles.

"You've done well." Montgomery observed.

"For someone who grew up so...frugal." Woolma added, while studying her reflection in her hand mirror...wait, she was carrying a hand mirror with her initials on the back?

"I get it, Woolma. You want me to say it? We were poor! Dirt poor. I bet you wouldn't make light of it so much if you hadn't grown up rich." Bingo crossed his arms.

"Okay, okay. Let's not get into arguments after our first meeting in years." Portia tried to keep the peace.

"Yeah, this is supposed to be a happy day." Nermal added.

Asriel remained speechless, easily overloaded by the presence of so many people he just now learned were very famous.

Before long six more classmates showed up each with his or her story to tell.

Lola "Lolly" Squirrel was now the C.E.O. and owner of the Schnieder Squirrel's Sweets Factory. Anyone in Neo Arcadia knew the brand name. As sweet as her candies. Maybe a little spritely but not Gadget level.

Braker Turtle was now the head of the Library of Congress in Neo Arcadia's capital building. It suited him. Nerdy but helpful in every way. He was a guy you just felt comfortable being around.

Rudeyard Lion--semi-retired from the surfing and skateboarding scene. He and Beach Bear had competed together, post-Rock-Afire Explosion. Now he owned his own surf and skateboard shop which sold novelty beanie propellor caps. Shy. Quiet. Yeah. Not much to say about him.

Rocko Rabbit. The boxing champion of the W.V.B.A. circuit and Zipper's long time comrad in arms when it came to breaking up trouble and being role-models. Rough around the edges but a heart as gold as Zipper's.

Bernice Bear--A homemaker and had her own part time maid-service. There wasn't much to say about her other than I could tell she was a neat freak.

And lastly Flora "Forget-Me-Not" Fox. The star photographer for Neo Arcadia's most widely sold nature magazine. When she wasn't taking picturesque photos of rare and exotic flora and fauna, she was tending to her greenhouse. I got the same vibe from her as I did from Lupe.

The reunion when for many hours of conversation and catch-up before it was relocated first to Hoofnagle's Ice Cream Emporium. We were served by an aging goat hybrid in spectacles. I could tell he probably didn't have many years left. But he was still alive, kicking and serving up sundaes. We all got our ice cream fix.

Finally the reunion was moved to the outskirts of town. I wasn't quite sure why, but I soon had my answer as it came into my view. A lone, abandoned freight train caboose. Worn by age, covered in a bit of moss and ivy.

"A lot of memories here in the old Clubhouse Caboose." Montgomery wiped away some of the dust on the framed photo of the group as children. Everyone kinda poked around and remembered old toys and games and such.

"Ohh my. Was it always this fithy and dusty?" Bernice and Woolma kinda hung back a bit.
"Time makes fools of us all...and relics of our most cherished things." Portia observed, holding back her tears. "All this nostalgia is making me a crybaby all over again." She sniffled.

Asriel looked up at her. "I can relate." He said with eyes full of tears. "From one crybaby to another."

Portia patted him gently on the head. And that's where we closed the night. We spent time at a hotel before moving on...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 112: "Neon City/We're Gonna Rock On To...":


"328 Electric Avenue. That's where where my residence ice. It's going to be dark very soon once we get to Neon City."

"I guess we spent too long in Green Meadow on that second day? We won't have time to enjoy--" Rotor started.

"Actually we're going to arrive right on time. You all gotta see this." Mitzi said with a smile as she asked us to stop the 57' Chevy and the Tokugawa Limo road-side to the cliff overlooking the city.

"Watch and learn." We waited for the sun to go down and the sky to get dark. And then we saw it. The whole city came to life with more lights than any of us ever thought possible. Search lights soon panned back and forth from the center of it all adding to the effect.

"Ohhhh woooow!" Asriel's eyes were as bright as the lights.

"Now do you understand?" She smiled.

"Yes. I understand." He replied with the reflection of the luminous dance of visual splender wrapped across the surface of his corneas.

I gave his shoulder a pair of very gentle squeezes in acknowledgement.

We arrived at the monorail station a while later as it was completely dark, having parked our cars at a parking garage near the entrance of the city. And low and behold the monorail car came and I was shocked to recognize it as the big red and yellow form of the Kidd Mobile I had seen in one of my time-travel outings to the 80's where I crossed paths with the strange case of a garage band pulled into an alternate dimension known as the Flip-Side.

It was the strangest of all vehicles but incredibly roomy inside with all of the furnishings and modifications still preserved inside. I guess this was meant as a working tourist attraction. It was automated so we were on our way for a quick run around the city before we would later set out on foot.

I sat at the pilot seat's control panel. It was all only for show now but I felt a connection to Kidd Video and his friends while enjoying the wide view the windshield gave us. Asriel joined me up front with Bunnie, Violet, and Mitzi also standing by. Everyone else just kinda did their thing further back, occasionally looking forward through the giant windshield.

And all the while as we got our preview of the city of 100 million lights and a billion smiles we were treated to the sounds of Lionel Ritchie's "Running in the Night" playing on the speakers.

Gadget and Sally took a moment to admire the bands' instruments that were locked in glass cases.

"Neon City is so bright! So colorful!"

"It's home. Well...second home." Mitzi smiled.

We got a nice little round about preview of everything.

Things like the 50's section of town where everything was a throwback to a bygone era. An era that sometimes I wished i had been born into. Simpler times. Wholesome times. Times of full-service gas stations, drive-in movies, hula hoops, dime-store malt shops, poodle skirts, butch wax for styling hairdos, the first ball-point pens, classic cars, and the birth of Rock n' Roll.

And then there were the animated display showcases where neon-tubes and matrices made entirely of lightbulbs (no L.E.D.'s or flat-screen monitors) showcased little animations and mini cartoons and such. The hokey kind of things you expected from a place called Neon City.
After getting a taste of everything, we got out and explored the city on foot, combing through it a section at a time. Enjoying a late dinner at the Spark Rock Cafe where Bunnie signed a waiver for their hottest of nuclear hot buffalo wings. And she ate every one without breaking a sweat or flushing red.

"Wow. You. Are. HARDCORE." Honey gave a thumbs up.

Which finally brought us to Electric Avenue. This part of town was especially unique. The powerlines errected were only for display but inside each inch of clear piping, a constant crackle of electric lightning added to the already over-the-top illuniation. The real power lines were buried underground but just seeing this novelty give a literal interpretation to Electric Avenue's name was a treat I certainly appreciated. And it left an impression on all of us. Especially Asriel.

"It's like nothing I've ever seen before. How do they do that?"

"Science." I replied simply.

"Wow, science is so cool!" Asriel gripped his fists under his chin, with a sort of amazement that sounded similar to Ash Ketchum when when Clemont unveiled a new invention.

We took a moment to admire the neon splendor and animated characters. Mitzi was quick to point out Neon Leon, the city's official mascot--named for its current mayor, Leon Lumiere. We walked past the famed Spark Rock Cafe where the electric blue rasberry slushee-floats were said to be legendary. Other restaurants and food attractings included Electric Pizza, Dr. Bright's Brilliant Barbecue, and Megawatt Chocolate.

Our attention was grabbed by the electronics super-emporium's holographic projection of a neon line-charachter breakdancing whle giving off static crackles to the sounds of "Electric Avenue" by Eddie Grant. And there on the corner of the next intersection it was. 328 Electric Avenue. A sizeable parking lot around a sizeable restuarant. But not a single car parked there.

"Here it is. Home." Mitzi lead us across the way and to the doors. She unlocked them and let us enter. Inside was...

"Former home of the first Showbiz Pizza Place in Neo Arcadia. Even before the Antioch store was open elsewhere in the country." Mitzi explained as we walked into a mostly empty area with a couple remaining arcade machines, the redemption prize counter, the order window, the rows of skeeball tables, and pieces of memorabilia still around. A lot of things were covered up.

There was evidence of construction going on. I noticed the display cases housing copies of the band's old uniforms. A few satire movie posters still hung up featuring the Rock-Afire Explosion such as Billy Bob in "Beverly Hills Bob", Mitzi in "Mitzie" (Tootsie), Rolfe and Earle in the String (the Sting), and Fatz in "King Fatz" (King Kong).

"My living quarters are upstairs. Bedroom, bathroom, other rooms. The restaurant's kitchen's still working; it's big but it serves my purposes. I found the old recipes there."

"I remember you taking me here for birthdays, Nermal." I looked on. "When I was only a werewolf cub." I said as I looked upon an unplugged Popeye arcade game.

"I'm kinda turning this into a museum to commemorate the happy times we had here." Mitzi explained.
She led us to the dining/showroom where the three-stage venue still remained. The old banners and display were still up. The curtains were open on all three

There was Rolfe's rainbow banner and "APPLAUSE" sign as well as his lone cymbal on a stand.
On center stage was the old animatron sun and moon hanging props as well as Fat's giant animatronic spider, Antioch (named after the Antioch SPP restaurant).

There was Dook's drumset and the wooden prop stump were the cute little animatronic teddy bear, Choo-Choo popped in and out of. It was weird that there were so many robotic companions for a life action band of Hybrids but I guess that's why I wasn't in showbiz.

Beach Bear's surfboard was still laying flat on the platform next to the spot where Mitzi performed on the far right of center stage. About the only thing missing was Fatz' tune machine keyboard which Violet had..."borrowed" the last time she was here.

Which finally left the far-right stage where Billy Bob's "Super Service Station" backdrop and props still lay. The prop "Gas-O-Hole" gas pump. Billy Bob's home-made guitar with the Birthday Bird still perched on it. And of course Looney Bird's oild drum "residence".

Mitzi sighed as she looked upon it all with a heavy heart.

Nermal placed a hand on her shoulder, reassuringly.

"It must've been very amazing when it was still open, huh?" Asriel asked.

"The most amazing place I ever knew." Mitzi said, shedding a tear.

"I would have loved to have performed in a small place like this. Far away from the overblown splendor of the concert tours." Willamina admired the craftwork.

"I'd sure love eating in a place like this." Skeeter pulled up a chair and propped his feet up on the table.
"Hey, little bro. That's not cool. Just because it's not our house doesn't mean you can make yourself at home." Rotor scolded.

"It's okay, Rotor. Nobody's going to care. I sure don't. I'd rather you be comfy in the place of my old memories. It's not much but it's my residence here in the big city. My own little shrine to better times."

We enjoyed our time in the city that night, enjoying some malts and milkshakes in the 50's part of town, catching a show at the drive-in movie theatre after picking up the cars. I brought ther perfect vintage vehicle, while Violet had to improvise for the stretched limo, deciding to host a party in the limo's built-in hot-tub in back. Gods that girl could really flaunt it.

And finally we all retired to a night of sleeping bags in Mitzi's residence for a sleep-over. Despite Violet's attempts at attempting to scare us with Five Nights at Freddy's moments and pranks, we had a restful sleep. Tomorrow we'd be off to Technopolis...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 113: "Technopolis, the Prototype Industrial Expo City":

So. Technopolis. Just the name told plenty.

We were going from extreme humble to extreme sci-fi in record time.

Compared to Neo Arcadia City this was a megalopolis that seemed almost too pristine to be believed. Spires of glass and metal reached toward the skies, renenforced "diamond-glass" walkways between buildings gave it shadows of Futurama's New New York, and of corse the hover conversion vehicles brought to life a Back to the Future 2 vision that Earth Prime was still waiting for. In a word: SCIENCE.

"They call it an Exposition City--a prototype. One big testing ground for domestic products that aren't on the market. It's rigorous testing for everything--ranging from several months to several years, to weed out any problems, safety issues and such. Whether being tested by certified quality checkers, annonymous test groups, or just everyday people, something is getting put through its paces and put under the microscope."

"I had no idea so much went into making things."

"Sure, Azzy. There's a design and modeling process, a lot of meetings and reports, fabrication and assembly, and a lot of troubleshooting and testing before something as simple as a toaster makes it to the factory to be mass produced."

"That's nice and all, Commander, but that's definitely not the life for me. Not enough speed." Sally gave a cocky grin.

"There's more to Technopolis than just a lot of fancy tech and appliances. Don't forget the prototype sports. Like Hyperball, Vector, ZG-Boarding, and *ahem* the Overdrive Grand Prix?"

"Hey, don't forget we got fun stuff to do besides sports. Gravitron Park, remember?"

"How can I went you keep reminding us, Honey." Willamina prodded.

"Just sayin'."

We toured the city, taking in the sights, the sounds and experiences of the city.

Surprisingly we did a lot of window-browsing and actual shopping. Despite most of everything in the city being prototypes that weren't ready to be released to the public, ther were more than plenty of things that had passed inspection and were ready to be placed on the market in the very near future. Things like the Gyro-Cycles that Violet became very interested in.

We spent the night in a hotel with all the latest convinienes. From a fully programmable automated room service system combining dumbwaiters, retratable conveyor belts, and pseumatic tubes like in mail-delivery services our experience was quite luxurious.

The desk-top computer had, instead of a physical keyboard, a holoprojection while turned the very computer desk into a funnctioning keyboard--that tracked the user's finger positions and the presence of pressure on the hologram keys.

The TV was similar with channels extending well several thousand, delivered in crystal clear 4K resolution projected from a tiny microdot wirelessly linked to a hotel's system.

When it rained and some of us went out on the town, Asriel soon found fascination with the matter-wave projection umbrellas; hololythic projections that were electromagnetically tethered to the hand grip rather than by physical metal. Talk about your upgrades! But for me...it brought back memories of that place in the Underground. Yeah...the piano...the statue...all of those things. It really was raining somewhere. Whether it was here...or there.
The next day we headed to Technopolis Beach where Sally took us to her condominium.

"Here's my residence. It's not much but--"

"It's really cool, Aunt Sally."

"Aunt? Huh...makes me feel kinda old and tied down but...I guess I could get used to that, kiddo. It's still a better thing to be called than Hot Dog Water."

"Wish I was rich enough to afford a place like this." Mitzi said.

"Y'know. It isn't about the money or the luxury. Truth is Nikita got us this place when we first came to Technopolis. I wasn't in a good mental state then so I didn't ask how she pulled it off since we had no I.D. or anything. We weren't even citizens of the country."

"So when do we get to hit the beach?" Skeeter asked.

"You know I was wondering that." Rotor agreed.

"Hold on, you two. We're not even geared to have fun in the sun yet. Sally, is there a place where we can get some swimming attire and accessories?"

Sally just grinned.

It of course meant a visit to the shops to get swimwear and accessories. It would be Asriel's first experience on the beach and I wanted it to be special.
Asriel had known Gadget to a tinkerer and not particularly athletic. So when she asked to drop in on the surf shop, it came as a surprise. My little sister quickly impressed him with how savy she was with surfing. Maybe I was reading too far into it and channeling some 1980's televsion but Gadget did sound coincidently like "Gidget"......nah. Just coincidence.

And finally we ended up buying scuba gear. Our time before the OGPX Race was gonna be sweeeeeeet!

"Can I say it?"

"Go ahead, Asriel."

Asriel took a deep breath and cried out "SURF'S UP!" And then he and Gadget shared a high five.

"I taught him that!" Gadget giggled.

"Wow. I used to be annoyed by that cliche." Willamina crossed her arms and smirked Violet had started nicknaming her Willie to keep it short...and to reference Indianna Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"Nah, it's all right. It's all part of the kid's first experience."

We had all gotten changed into our swimwear and hit the beach.

"Last one in's a rotten egg!" Skeeter ran ahead of everyone and got his swim on!

"Hey! Wait for us!" Asriel followed behind and got in the water.

"Huh? Waaah! It's salty!" He called back.

"Yup. That it is." I mused as I laid back in my lawn chair and crossed my legs and put my elbows out. I could have de-morphed at any time to try for a tan but nah. This was nice. Despite the fur coat, I wasn't even remotely suffering.

Mitzi, Honey, Sally, and Willamina started things off with a little volly ball.

Violet showed off her skills with making rather impossibly large and detailed sandcastles.

Bunnie enjoyed a session of meditation.

Later on Mitzi and Sally tossed a frisbee around while the rest of us decided to watch Gadget shoot the curl.

"Here I go, big brother! Cheer for me, won't you?"

"She's amazing!" Asriel exclaimed as he brought his cam-corder out of his ITEM storage and filmed her show her impressive trick skills.

"Little sister is entirely self-taught. Kind of an interesting story. One of of the Arcade Brothers' trips, Gadget and I went with them to a tropical island resort Oddly enough it was a case of mistaken identy that even got her versed in it. What was so unbelieveable was that Gadget discovered she had a nearly identical twin half-way around the world-- mouse hybrid by the name of Lawhiney who was some kind of tribal princess from a neighboring island or something. It was kind of a strange affair. Gadget ended up teaching herself how to surf."

"A twin?"

"One of those life coincidences that just doesn't seem to be real until you see it with your own eyes. I didn't used to believe in the theory that everyone in the world probably has an identical twin they don't know about until that day. She probably won't want to talk about it. Lawhiney wasn't...the best person in the world if you follow."

"Oh."

"Yeah."

I hesitated a bit to let it sink in.

"Gadget almost spent the rest of her life there and we would have been stuck with an imposter if weren't so good at knowing my own little sister. Broke her heart to find out she wasn't really her friend...just a way out of her life."

"I won't say anything." Asriel looked on.

Later that day...

"I haven't seen sensei for a while. Where is she?"

"Miss Bunnie over there...standing on that wooden post by the fishing pier?"

"What's she doing?"

"Hey...isn't that...?"

"At the risk of you indulging your nostalgia, Violet...yeah. It is. That form. I think she's really practicing it."
Bunnie stood on one leg, the other leg lifted with the knee bent and the arms up and out...like a crane.

"Watch, Asriel."
And quickly she snapped her standing leg out in a speedy kick while landing on the other foot.

"The Crane Kick. It's so iconic. Seeing Bunnie show it off so beautifully."

"Wouldn't try to bug her about it, Vi. Not since the passing of her sensei who first taught it to her."

"Come on, you know it's a cool thing to watch during this cruel summer."

"Tease her about it too much and you might end up in a body bag." I was kidding but I'd heard someone make that taunt before. "Come on, let's head back so we can continue to bop-bop on the beach."

"I really gotta try to track down his student...the Larusso kid."

"You mean Daniel."

"Yeah, him. Daniel-san."

"Listen to you use the honourifics like a boss." I prodded, making light that the only Jangese words Vi liked to learn where the ones that were crude, offensive, or NSFW.

Asriel got a little closer so he could study the form. I had a feeling he was committing it to memory. But I definitely knew he was watching his sensei just be awesome.

Several crane kicks later Bunnie rejoined us in time to show off a Jangese beach activity.

"So...it's like hitting a pinata?" Mitzi asked.

"In so many words." Bunnie handed the blindfold to Asriel. I helped him tie it on and made sure he couldn't see.

"But with a watermelon. Huh." Honey scratched her head.

We all got some distance.

Bunnie brought her hand up then brought it down quickly like a referee in a karate tournament.

"Hakkyoi!" And Asriel started swinging. It looked like he didn't have any idea where to aim but then...

"SPLORT!!!!"

"Huh. Beginner's luck." Violet wrinkled her nose

"Or was it?" Bunnie mused. "Nicely done, Asriel. Way to trust those senses of yours.

Asriel pulled the rainbow-colored blindfold down around his neck so that it looked like a scarf. And I had a weird sense that I was about to channel something...likely from one of the Underground AU's I had observed. I was sure I had seen something like this before.

"Eh-heh..." I sweat-bulleted.

Later still Rotor, Gadget, Skeeter, Asriel and I went scuba-diving. Once we were all up to speed on things we all went for a deep dive and wow It was nothing like I'd even seen. So much life. So much coral. So much blue. Fish and seahorses and such. I felt like VIolet would make a joke about "where's the singing Jamaican crab and his big musical number"? Really, Violet.

It was an amazing experience. Asriel recorded everything on the waterproof snapshot an video camera Sally got him.
We spent all day there and when night fell, Sally had secured a permit for a cookout on the beach. We sat around the camp fire, swapped ghost stories and sang songs with Asriel attempting to play the acoustic guitar. He needed practice but he wasn't terrible at it.
Some hot dogs and later on some s'mores and we eventually retired to the night. A big day was coming up for Sally and Team Acorn.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 114: "Turbotropolis Speedway/The Overdrive Grand Prix":

"This is...not the kind of sport I was expecting."

"Welcome to my thoughts, when we first recruited her, Asriel. One part foot race, one part Immortal Grand Prix (IGPX), one part Tron: Legacy."

"I don't know what those other two are."

"Hang around Violet and you'll know soon enough."

At that point both teams were setting up on the track.

"Well, well. Another year. Another reunion. Another serving of humilation for you." The siamese cat hybrid taunted with a sneering grin. Her nasally "nyah-nyah" voice was obviously grating on Sally's ears.

There was a vibe about her that spoke untold layers of being vain and completely self-absorbed. Pride thy name was Susan "She-Lion" Silo.

"I got you some befitting of your impending loss. Here. Eat up." She said as she tossed an uncooked hot dog into Sally's face. "Enjoy the pre-game snack, Hot Dog Water."

"Hey! Ruuuuude!"

"Yeah, you know damn well she doesn't like chillidogs!"

"They don't pay us to be polite, mee-yuuuun. The sooner we get done schooling you pit-sniffers, the sooner *yawn* I can go home and take a nap."

Robert "Kool Kitty" Towers adjusted his shades. White furred, Tall and scrawny. Just by listening to the guy, one could tell he was incredibly lazy off the track.

"Why you--!" Honey started.

"Honey. I got this." Sally held up her hand. "Tossing one of your own at me, huh, She-Lion?"

"Excuse me? Come again?"

"It's just like you to be flinging...wieners. Takes one to throw one, wouldn't you say?""

"Grrr..." Sue tightened her fist.

"All that talk about food is making me hungry. When can we eat?"

Sure enough Marshall "Fat Cat" Efron lived up to his name. It was rather incredible he even fit into the OGPX S.A.N.D.S. BioWare/OverTech suit let alone be in any conceivable shape to compete. It was fairly obvious that he wasn't the smart one. He quickly shoved a hand-full of candy bars down his throat, one-by-one and licked his paw. Did I need to say it? Total glutton.

"ALL TEAMS TAKE YOUR MARKS!" blared on the loudspeaker.

"Hey, Kool Kitty. Try not to fall asleep mid-sprint."

"Oh it is to laugh, Windshear. The only one going to take a nap is you. A dirt nap. I'll be sure to get a headstone that reads "Here lies my career!"

"Victory tastes great and I'll be eating it up!" Fat Cat licked his lips.

"Careful, tubby. You just might get yourself a bad case of indigestion. I'll be sure to enjoy the victory in your place after I make you burn off a few thousand calories." Honey snickered.

"We settle this at last."

"Finally tore your eyes off of your compact mirror I see."

"Some of us are gifted with beauty. And some of us are...well. You. I'd call an average Jane like you a "norm-ie" but I don't want to insult normal people."

"Don't get distracted with all your primping, She-Lion. You might actually care enough about your own merits that you don't have to rely on your sponser's dirty tricks and cheats."

"Yeah, how is ole' Master Blaster anyway?" Willamina taunted.

"Hey, don't call him that! Address him with RESPECT!" Kool Kitty snapped.

"Whatever you say, Corporate door-mat. You guys might actually be able to sell some albums if you...I don't know...learn to sing and stop lip-synching." She added.

"Enough! You punks aren't going to get us off our game. We got this in the bag." She-Lion retorted.

I was glad that we were too far away from the track to hear the bitter conversations going on. At least most of us. That was when I noticed Dr. Lynx making last minute adjustments on Team Acorn's gear and such. When did she have time to fly out here?

"We good to go, "Otacon?"

"Still not sure why you refer to me, your pit crew engineer, by that obscure reference, but yes. The countdown's about to start. Don't push your systems any further than you have to."

"It's your call sign, Doctor. And really. Thanks, Nikita. We win this and we owe our victory to you."

At the same time Team Copy Cat was being serviced by their own team of mechanics.

"Keep it clean, you three...if you can." Sally looked smug. "They'll be scanning for illegal ultraviolet tethers this time around."

That really pissed She-Lion off.

At that moment the matter-wave track reconfigured and the hololyths and display reloaded, choosing the theme for this race.
"And today's race's theme is...beautiful Midori no Oka's island ruins and grassy plains.

"Hey...isn't that Green Hi--" VIolet started before Asriel's cheer of "Go, Sally! Go, Willie! Go, Honey!" interrupted her. I had to admit...this track configuration did look familiar...

"You grew up in Midori no Oka in Jang, didn't you, Bunnie?" I turned to her.

"Brings back a lot of memories when I was allowed to venture out on my own from the temple on the mainland. I'd take a boat to the island and go there to practice my speed and survival skills."

"When you were only five?"

"I chose to grow up a little too soon."

"I guess."

FINAL LAUNCH IN 60 SECONDS!

Each of the competitors took their positions in track-runner starting positions.

Final prep was made and the starting lights ticked down from red to yellow before the numeric display got to the 3-count.
THREE! TWO! ONE! "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

And at that, all sound just suddenly stopped as a massive spherical blast wave erupted from the six racers and expanded outward while sucking up all the air for a moment. And then a rainbow of six different colored light contrails--blue, yellow, and red for Sally's team and purple, green, and orange for Sue's--seared down the track and across the terrain.

As they roared up the loop-de-loop in the track I felt a familiar nostalgia as my time on Mobius brought back memories of the "Sonic R" incident.
Asriel watched in fascination, waving his Team Acorn penant around.

As the first break in the track came up, the paths of gold rings appeared, leading to the next section of track. Everyone's Butterfly Burners fired up at the same time as they jumped off the ramps and flew straight for the ring tunnels in formation. As they each flew through his or her own ring tunnel, the speed boost that came with it was incredible. It was hard to see them as they navigated through to the other side and continued their speedy trek around the track

I observed several "modes" the race shifted between as the race went on.

We had just seen flight mode. For Technical mode we watched the teams jump obstacles and go through what I could only describe as "platforming".

During Target Mode, the teams would try to rack up scores with ranged and melee attacks with specialized hololythic projection.

When Combat Mode rolled around, both teams went one-on-one with martial arts while using the high-speed hoverjets in their Overdrive Sandals. Each one's suit was geared to register hits, blocks, and sense ducks, dodges, and missed attacks while absorbing and dispursing the impacts to the body.

But when speed mode hit, few of us--Asriel included--were prepared for the sudden acceleration boost. For the moment the TURBO panels appeared on the track, the two teams suddenly went from hard to see blurrs......to nothing more than solid, colored paths of light that seared across the length of the track to such extremes I was vaguely reminded of Earth particle accelerators.

The score tallies were changing back and forth. While I couldn't prove it, I suspected Team Copy Cat was definitly cheating on the track. But I had yet to see anyone blackflagged.

The number of laps increased over and over until finally the checkered flag came out.

"See you at the finish line, loser!" She-Lion charged ahead. With Honey covering Fat Cat and Willamina covering Kool Kitty, it was now a race between team leaders to see who'd take the win. That's when...

"Hey! Those are Shock Rockets!" Willie cried as she an extra set of jets on Sue's suit opened up and burned to life.

"Those were banned years ago! That dirty cheater!" Honey snarled.

Girls, we're going to need to crack the whip!"

"Oh man...I love that plan! This is gonna be bonzer!"

"Way shway, fearless leader! Let's do it to it!"

As Honey and Willie managed to shake Sue's partners, they caught up to Sally and all three joined hands.

"We'll give you the speed you need, Lightrunner! Get ready to be a little dizzy!" And with that Honey pivoted on one foot while swinging Willie, who in turn swung Sally around--just like an Olympic hammer thrower, the three of them built up circular speed.

"Hit your Afterburners and put some pepper on it, girls!"

"Okay!"

By now they were spinning at blinding speed while somehow still maintaining their run around the track. It was like something out of cartoon and they were pulling it off.

"Now!" Sally let go as she sling-shot forward and fired everything she had in her suit's systems, catching up to Sue and overtaking her!
Sally gave a cocky wave goodbye as she sailed past the checkered flag.

"And Team Acorn takes the victory!"

Combined with the score numbers and the first place finish plus the penalties against Team Copy Cat, it was a knockout.

"Knew she could do it!" Asriel was on his feet, fists in the air.

The celebrations began. We'd have to say goodbye to Sally and Team Acorn for the next five or six months while the season was going on. But until then we still had a day at Gravitron Park coming.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 115: "Gravitron Park":


Asriel's first experience with an amusement park went exactly like I thought it would.

"Oh. My...!"

"Deep breaths, Azzy. Deep breaths."

"This is...I can't...it's so...do you see the...it's all...!"

"Might want to complete those sentences, kiddo." Violet said with a grin.

"Word of advice, Asriel. Ride the roller coasters and spinning rides BEFORE you have anything to eat. Trust me." Mitzi patted his shoulder.

"Unless you want to change your nickname to the Vomi-nator. Or the Duke of Hurl. Or Heave-el Knievel."

"That's enough euphomisms for throwing up out of the peanut gallery." Mitzi flicked Vi's ear.

"Oww."

Gravitron Park. The largest amusement park in Neo Arcadia.
Towering at the center of it was the full scale replica of the Palace of Power that existed of world in our universe's AU countpart to Video Land--a galaxy which inspired our own N-Division.

"So. We have a game plan, fearless leader?" Vi prodded.

"Well. Clockwise? Counterclockwise? Every man, woman, and child for themself?" Skeeter asked.

"We could start small and build our way up." Mitzi suggested looking toward the carnival midway section.

Rows of prize-winning booths ranging from ring toss to target-shooting, hoops, and of course the iconic test-your-strength bell-ring. And mixed in were smaller rides like the Scrambler--a row of twelve total hanging seats divided first into trios that spun on an axis which in turn were suspended from four metal arms branching from a main axis. There was also a carousel "merry-go-round" and a small-scale set of side-by-side double roller coasters.

"Or we could go BIG and get all the crazy out of our systems right away!" Honey pointed to where the insane roller coasters, drop towers, and the "Zephyr" spinning sky swing carousel were.

These were the towering, twisting, turning, looping, spiraling rides. Some of which were suspended rollercoasters. The crowning attraction being the gravity coaster which seemed to work off the same principles as the Flight Mode of the OGPX race. A few miles of track that not only loop-de-looped but also coiled, spiraled like a Twizzler licorice rope, serpentined, and just went bat-guano insane.

Gadget kinda shuddered. "Those rides are scary." She whimpered kneeling down and clutching Asriel in a hug.

"How bout' the water park. We still got our swim gear in our E.N.G.I.N.E. dots." Willie offered.

"And be dripping when we get to the other rides? That's more like a thing to end on." Violet wrinkled her nose.

"What about the themed sections? Like Wild West World, Movie Magic, Future Quest, Fantasyland, VideoMundo Planet, Samurai Showcase, Renaissance Fest, and Nature Paradise?" Nermal suggested.

"Those place always seem kinda like they're doing a lot corporate brand name pandering to me, Nermal." Willamina crossed her arms. Honey nodded in agreement.

Sally wasn't kidding when she described the shere size of this park. How did they fit so much into it and arrange it in neat compact sections?

"Perhaps, since this is Asriel's first experience, we should let him decide." Bunnie offered.

All eyes were on Asriel.

"Gee...no pressure, huh?" He rubbed the back of his head. "Well. Let's just wing it and let whatever happens...happen." He shrugged.

Mutters of "Yeah, I could go with that.", "Good idea.", "Why not?", and so forth. So that's what we did and went with the flow.

We decided to start with the themed sections and save the midway for later so we weren't hauling any prizes we won off the bat. We had to be careful how much we put into our E.N.G.I.N.E. microdots, Matter-Wave Storage systems, and Asriel's ITEM box.

Asriel snapped many a picture and made a lot of videos of us as we found ourselves in interesting situations. Things like Bunnie and Violet in the mini-kendou competion--a hilarious one-sided duel resulting in Violet taking more foam-padded swords strikes than I had ever thought possible.

"Best...7 of 13...?" She tried to save face. Bonk. Right to the kabuto helmet. "...I guess that's a no...?"

"Winner, competitor Bunnie!" Bunnie exited the padded mini arena and handed the gear back.

"Little help here...!" Violet remained flat on her back.

Then there was Asriel's experience watching a reenactment of an old west pistol duel at high noon while Bunnie couldn't hold back her appreciation of an era of cowboys and indians.

"Mamma would have liked to see this." She mused, trying to keep the tears back as the tomboy in her was deeply moved.

Mitzi had fun dressing up in a Ren-Faire maiden's frock that seemed very similar to Foxy's colleen attire while Sally got hyped over the armored joust. I think there was part of her that saw appeal in being an armored knight. A sentiment which made me think back to Undyne.

"Huzzahhhhh!" She hollered as she waved her fist in the air.

Violet about fangasmed herself to death in Movie Magic. And the quotes and moments just didn't stop with her. Until Sally dumped a bucket of popcorn over her head.

My moment of nostalgia was peaked in the VideoMundo Planet section with all the walk-around character and cosplay photo-ops of some of N-Division's most legendary game world heroes and a nice walk through the Palace of power. I gladly took a selfie with the Samus cosplayer and even caught up with an old friend cleverly cosplaying as...himself. This was one of my major adventure stories saved for another day.

"I wondered whether you'd be here and whether you'd come as GameWorld's Game Master or the Hero of Hyrule. Good to see you, man."

"Right back at you." came the response of the Power Glove wielding Christopher "Captain N Neo" Blair.

In his AU, he was the prophecized game master of Game World much as Kevin Keene was the prophecized game master of ours. But more than that, he was also turned out the be his universe's Link as well. Every so often he would slide under the radar of S.T.C. and pay a visit to our little crystal cube dimension in space.

Gadget throughly enjoyed the petting zoo at the Nature Paradise and she got her space on with Rotor and Skeeter at Future World. Which of course ended in hilarity when Violet almost got them kicked out when she hacked the P.A. system just to deliver a single phrase.
"Piiiiiiiiigs iiiiiiiiiiiin spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!" And yet it still got her scores of applause. Somewhere Miss Piggy had to appreciate this.

Yet at the end of it all we only scratched the surface of the park.

"Uhh...I'm having second thoughts about this, Aunt Vi! Miss Honey!" Asriel had just met the height requirements for the Asteroid Coaster.

"You took the dare. Now pony up or welch like a--"

"If you say crybaby, Vi I'm going to hit you." I glared at her.

"Don't worry. We'll be with you." Bunnie and Sally took the seats behind him. The coaster started up and hovered down the mag-lev rail to the designation electromagnetic path and ascended to the top of the mother of all hills. Asriel whimpered and got a good grip on the harness. Being strapped in with the X-shaped seat-belt harness didn't reassure him.

That was when the ion thrusters popped out of the sides of each car.
"What are...! Oh no..." He suddenly had a very good idea where this was going but didn't have time to process it.

"Oh no...oh no...oh no no no nonononononono...!" And then in a single blast of acceleration, Asriel's scream was covered up by the roar of the boosters and magnetic engines as the whole thing went screaming into easily 100 mph nearly free-fall drop down the track.

But that wasn't even close to the peak of it. Through twists and turns and breaks in the track where the coaster sailed through the Static Accumulator anti-gravity ring gave him thrill after thrill after thrill without letting up once. The ascending and descending spring coils. The series of loop-de-loops. The nearly horizontal loops. And of course the helix twists on both the track and in mid air.

All the while the holographic spendor of illusionary planets, meteors, comets, and satellites danced about, at times celestial objects crashing into each other inches away from the front of the cars while scattering pieces in opposite directions. If that weren't enough the whole thing was set to the surround sound booming driving rock of the Asteroid Coaster official theme song.

Finally the voyage came to an end at the station and I got a look at Azzy's roller coaster face. His fur was completely poofed out and his eyes were the biggest I'd seen. His open mouth revealed his clenched teeth. Of course Violet was already a step ahead having downloaded his photo from the cameras on the track.
"So how was it?"

It took a few moments but Asriel finally snapped out of it. He was silent for a moment...then without warning he raised his arms and exclaimed with a big grin.

"Let's go again!"

Laughter all around.

After a few more dizzying rides of various kind, once we got all the crazy out of our systems we stopped to eat at an Electric Pizza.

From there we jumped all over the park.

The Midway...

"...How are you so good at Ring Toss, Aunt Sally?"

"Don't know. Just have a...thing when it comes to rings." Sally slyly spun the ring around her finger before nailing another shot and was awarded with the biggest stuffed plus of a certain, familiar blue needlemouse.

"Your boyfriend's a celebrity it would seem." Violet teased.

"He's not my...oh no, we're not getting into this." Sally defended.

"Then maybe Nermal will take that plush off your hands--"

"Yeah. Not happening." Sally said hugging it.

"There you go. No one touches BAE but Sal."

Bunnie facepalmed.

Laughter all around. Again.

We of course made it to the water park. It was Asriel's first experience with a "wave pool".

"Whoah...whoaaah!" It took him by surprse as he waded in the innertube.

"Just go with the flow, Asriel." Rotor laid completely on his back.

"How do you do that, Rotor?" Honey asked flatly.

"Simple. Blubber floats." Violet whispered before taking a splash of water to the face from Sally.

"Yeah. Gonna ask you to check your rude at the door, Vi."

The water slides.

"Wheeeeeee!" Gadget and Mitzi each took one of the side-by-side corkscrew tubes.

A few other water activities later and Asriel, a few others, and I decided to wind down in a sizeable jacuzzi while the sun was behind the the clouds and it cooled off a bit.

"So warm...the bubbles are really relaxing."

"It'll do that.

And the day managed to still be filled with more. Hot dog stands, rockin' bands, laser light shows, and everything from dodge-em bumper cars to laser tag.
And it all came to a head that night with the biggest fireworks display many of us, Asriel especially, had ever seen.

"This world is so full of wonder...so full of amazement." Asriel looked up with the most wide-eyed wonder I'd seen yet,

"I just never want to leave here."

"Yeah...I know the feeling..." I said my ears drooping a little.

It wasn't just that eventually we'd have to go back to Miranda City. No. It was other things. I knew I'd have to go back to the Underground. And my recent trips had certainly made the others worry. But that was the short-term.

The long-term worry. What if......what if Asriel never wanted to go back home to the Underground. To a different but familiar timeline. What if...what if this really was his permanent home and I'd never bring him back to his family?

It didn't make sense. I should want him to be with us forever. But I was conflicted by the feeling that I wanted to stay with us. That maybe Asgore and Toriel would be okay with the Happy Ending of the pacifist timelines. No. I made a promise to myself. I had to bring about this renunion. Some day.
I shouldn't be worrying about it. What I was thinking of was years off before I had to cross that bridge.

"Volt-san." Bunnie placed her hand on my shoulder. "Momentize."

"Momentize?"

"Live in the 'now'. The 'then' is past. The 'later' will come when it comes."

"Yeah. I read you."

"So. Rotor. What can you tell us about South Plumbington?"
Rotor's looked down a bit.

"There's...not much to tell."

We left the park and said our goodbyes to Team Acorn for the season. We'd see them again in rare visits back to town. And they'd be back by the start of winter when the snow made track conditions too risky to compete.

I pondered what Rotor meant but as soon as we got there the next day I had my answer.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----


Sub-Entry 116: "South Plumbington/Plumber's Peak":

"Well. Here it is. It's not much but...it's home."

"I didn't expect it to have so much...er...theme to it."

"Trust me it's not all like this. Just this area commemorating plumbers and our craftwork."

I looked at the multiple neck-deep pools of water and the maze of pipes and the sculptures made of bathtubs, sinks, and plumbing tools and such.

"The rest of the town is pretty normal, I assure you."

We walked through the maze of lone sidewalks dividing the pools and such.

"Whoah...who's that?" Asriel ran up to the bronze statue. The inscription at the base had the message "When the going gets tough, the tough get plumbing!"

"Drainado Salvadora. Legendary plumber. Kind of the closest thing we have to a hero in our profession. They say he was the inspiration for--"

"Legendary N-Division Agents "M" and "L"..." I interrupted.

"Yeah. How did you know? But aren't their names Ma-"

"Pit used to tell stories about them. How they were N-Division's two-fisted, boots-of-iron, high jumping faucet-fixers. I mean...they were the Brothers. And they're still famous even today."

It didn't take a genius to know who their Prime Dimension counterparts were. But as it was hinted...their princess always seemed to be in another castle.

"Say cheese!" We all gathered in front of the statue and posed while I magnetically levitated Asriel's camera and set the timer. I pulled the camera back into my hand and showed the photo it snapped.

Asriel smiled.

We walked around a bit before leaving the park and its various...er...sculptures and such. And sure enough the rest of the town was pretty normal. Eventually we came to...

"Not much to look at, is it?"

"It's...home."

"Oh man..." Violet wrinkled her nose at the dilepidated house with the plumbing business sign out front.

"You did just fine on your own, Rotor." Bunnie comforted. "You're still in better standings than some of the survivors of Vortex. Many of them are...still being medically and psychologically treated to this day."

Rotor sighed and reached up and felt around on top of the front door's frame until he found the front door key.

"Most people look under the mat. Who'd think to look up here?" He shrugged.
He unlocked the door and we were greeted with musk, dust, and cobwebs. Had it been that long? It was a stark contrast to how much neater Mitzi's residence was.

"We haven't been back here in years, have we, Skeets?"
Skeeter shook his head.

Inside, plumbing tools a plenty lay astrewn on the furniture and hung on wall racks and such. There was a set of plungers of different lengths mounted on a wall plaque.

That was when I sensed the power was off. Likely the water and gas too.

"Buisness...wasn't exactly great before we left for Fontraile."

"Considering our town is DROWNING in plumbing services and suppliers, we're lucky we're only in the red and not completely broke, bro."

"Plumbing capital of the world. Hard to make a name for yourself when you don't have the financial status and resources of a place like Scappelli Industries." He looked out the window at the large skyscraper with said name on the side.

Scappelli. Where had I heard that name before?

"You know...I can't ask all of you to crash in this. I...don't know how but we have to find a better place to stay. I'll look for a hotel."

Rotor looked very dejected.

Violet pulled Bunnie and me asside.

"No wonder it's so easy for him to be humble. Look what he had to settle for back in this place."

"Normally I'd smack you for being insensative about it, but you have a point. This is no way for them to live after making it out of Vorostov."

"What do we do about this?"

"He doesn't need our pity. We'll support him however we need to." I crossed my arms.

Asriel was kind of quiet but I could see semblence of sadness.

"I know what we can do." He suddenly broke his silence. "We can help him clean this place up."

"Asriel...that...is...a brilliant idea!"

"Yeah, it'll be just like one of those 80's movies montages."

And so once we convinced Rotor to be on board with this that's exactly what it became.

Violet, with Bunnie's help, hauled in a ridiculously large boom box. She thrust some 80's mix tapes into both of the tape decks, hit the loop button and mashed play.

I opened up the breaker box and got to work on the house wiring to make sure it was in working order.
Rotor and Skeeter of course jumped right into their craft to get the water back up and running.

"Mason wrench." Rotor prompted.

"Mason wrench!" Skeeter handed over the proper tool.

Bunnie, for the first time brought out the sushi chenjaa moji-cellular and began texting. In moments she brought into existence her grouping of her Mojikara origami avatar constructs. Or as Vi called them her "folding-zords". The resemblence to the Samurai Power Rangers' folding zords was uncanny. In order they included "Shi-Shi", "Ryuu", "Kame", "Saru", "Kuma", and "Ika".

She gave them instructions in Jangese and each was asigned a task. The water dragon, Ryuu, for example (reduced to 1% of his true size) took care of washing and cleaning the dishes and kitchen materials with its water element. While Shi-Shi the fire lion used its flame within the stove to clean it while the power was off.

Violet put in the calls to have some materials brought to Rotor's residence such as wall paper, dry wall, tiles, paint and such.

"Okay, try it now!" I flipped the breaker switch.

"Nothing!" Asriel called back down the opened air vent.

"Dang. Okay. Keep trying, Volt."

Mitzi and Nermal had their hands full with the cleanup of the dust, dirt, and cobwebs. So none of us were prepared for Mitzi's shriek when--

"EEEEEEEEEEEEK!" She leaped up onto the kitchen counter and pointed at what I definitely confirmed was a cockroach.

"Eeeww!" Nermal jumped up with her and both proceeded to bear hug each other and freak out.

Violet started to lift her foot to put it out of its misery when Bunnie held her back and shook her head. Violet turned to see Asriel whimpering with knuckles over his mouth, afraid that Vi would actually try to squash it.

Violet rolled her eyes and grabbed a broom and proceeded to try to coax it out of the house through the open back door. Even an insect that gross and disease-carrying deserved a humane disposal. And it put Asriel's mind at ease.

A few hours later thanks to a mix of hybrid powers, technology, and yes...determination...we finally made headway and got the house put back together to a much better degree.

"Hit it!"

I threw the main breaker and the lights all came on.

Rotor turned the water valves back on and soon we had running water again. And finally Sally lit the pilot light on the boiler and heating unit and we soon had hot water, a working heating/cooling system, and working oven.

"I really have to thank you guys. Home has never looked better."

"No problem, old friend. No problem." Bunnie bowwed her head.

After that we explored more of the town before deciding to have a hike up Plumber's Peak. But getting there was a whole other different kind of...unique.

"Sooooo...these bubbles. Experimental non-toxic chemical."

"That's the size of it." Rotor climbed up on top of the platform leading to the weird chimney spout.

"And you're SURE each will hold our weight...and y'know...not pop in midair?" I looked at the machine warily.

"Sure. We haven't had an accident in..."

"The fact you've had even one at all doesn't reassure me."

"Come on, Commander. Don't be a stick in the mud."

"Easy for you to say. Not all of us can superconduct, have jet packs, or use other weird methods to fly." I turned to Asriel.

"You know you could have given him that thing--"

"I will once I can have Gadget teach him how to ride it." I defended.

"Don't worry. We'll be on the ball if we need to make unexpected rescues in the event something goes wrong." Bunnie said as she finished scripting as a golden puffy cloud appeared. She hopped on and the cloud lifted her up onto the platform of the next chimney spout in question.

"You okay with this, Mom?" I turned to Nermal.

"Have faith in your friends, sweetie. They know what they're doing."

I sighed and superconducted to the next platform while Asriel climbed up the spiral staircase to one of us own.
Once we all took our places.

Rotor hit the foot pedal on the edge of the platform and stepped onto the grate which retracted from under him as a large bubble fomed under his feet. It began rising and Rotor started jogging atop it, giving it as it oddly started to take a strangely guided path through the air and up the mountain.
Skeeter followed suit.

"I've never jogged on a bubble before." Asriel followed Rotor's example. "Whoah...whooooah. Ha...haha...! I'm getting it! I think I'm getting it!" And like that Asriel's fear disappeared. Guess Gravitron Park did wonders for him.

Everyone else went in sequence. And I was the last to go. It was like something out of a cartoon. Literally walking on bubbles. I thought back to Wave Man's hydroelectric dam back during the fifth Robot War that I had visited when I got curious about Mega Man and Pit's adventures during the N-Division. I recalled them riding bubbles upward in the underground water management facility to the open sea at ground level. It was an interesting time with interesting adventures that got made into the simulations in Violet's supercalculator lab.

"Come on, slowpokes! Get the lead out! Andele! Andele!" Skeeter taunted as he pulled ahead.

"Great. We got another Arlene in the making." I grumbled. "Why do I keep trying to IMPROVE my health when it always makes me feel like I'm about to REMOVE my health?"

"A little perserverence never hurt anyone, Volt-san."

"Most perserverence doesn't come with a mile drop to terra firma!" I responded.

Rotor started to lag behind and I caught up to him.

"I think I agree. This health stuff is hazardous to my health."

"Race you to the top!" Skeeter challenged as Asriel caught up.

"You're on!"

By now Asriel was most assuredly acting like a normal kid again. And that brought me relief. Almost a 1/3rd of a year had gone by and I no longer worried if I'd be able to heal his fractured mind and heart. Now I wondered just how strong both could get.

"You have changed, Asriel. But despite it all...it's still you." I uttered quitely.

We made it to the top before long. Asriel and Skeeter ended up tying for first place. Gadget took a quick second with Mitzi and Nermal sharing a modest third. Bunnie pulled into fourth while Violet took fifth. I managed to pull ahead of Rotor leaving him with last place.

I then noticed that there was more...theme to Plumbers Peak. More pipes and rushing water and giant sinks and bathtubes all embedded in and around the mountain in the weirdest of working waterworks sculpures. Guard rails were put up to make sure no one leaned too far. We wouldn't want to get sucked down the very working drains.

"Well. That was...different." I panted, tongue wagging. I didn't care if it was degrading to the species at that point...I just wanted to breathe.

"And fun!" Asriel beamed.

"Look at that view." Bunnie admired.

"Amazing!" Mitzi agreed.

"It's so wonderful! Your home town is great, Mr. Rotor!" Gadget said all bubbly-like.

"It's home."

"So. How do we get down?" Violet asked.

"Well..."

It was another hike before we got to a place we could get transportation. In hindsight we should have had Violet have the limo and the 57' Chevy standing by to drive our way. But a taxi service was just as good.

And soon we managed to make room in Rotor's residence for a sleep over.
It was quaint but enjoyable. And thus the vacation went on. But while we were having fun in our world, there was activity going on in the Underground...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 117: "Meanwhile in the Underground/A Triadic Alliance":

While we were getting our vacation on...

Papyrus entered Grillby's and sure enough there was Sans at the counter, downing a bottle of ketchup like it was free refills on drinks.

"Again, Sans? I'm beginning to get the impression you're avoiding my cooking."

"Nah. It's not like that Paps. Sometimes I just gotta have some me-time. Not that I don't appreciate your company or your cooking. Y'know. Sometimes it is what it is and you don't think deep into it."

"This is your fourth visit this week, dear brother. It's not healthy."

"I suppose I should hold off on the unhealthy food...but I just don't have the guts to do it!"

"SANS." Papyrus scolded.

"Okay I'll hold off on the jokes. I can tell you don't have the...stomach for them."

"OH MY GOD." Papyrus' eyes bugged out...wait he has EYES?

"I can't believe you..."

The skeleton brothers continued to banter back and forth, unaware of the cloaked figure who entered. From a table in the back two other figures in hooded cloaks beckoned the stranger over.

Once seated.

"I'm s-sorry we had to meet l-like this but..."

"It would appear our options were limited."

"I don't like it. Being this close to Papyrus and Sans. If they recognize even one of us..."

"Descretion is paramount. But I fear there are very few places that are beyond Asgore's watchful eye."

"You realize I'm head of his Royal Guard. I should be reporting this to him right now." Undyne's lone eye glowed underneath the hood.

"But you will not, will you?" Toriel asked.

"...."
"Please."

"Very well. But I don't have to like it."

A momentary pause.

"A lot has happened s-since the eighth human child arrived."

"What am I thinking...being besties with a human?"

"Oh my. They have managed to win even you over?"

"Grrr....don't...rub it in."

"I think it is wonderful!"

Undyne shifted at that.

"I apologize. I...understand your difficulty accepting them. "

"I just don't get it. Even now I don't get it, your highness. Why? Why don't you feel the same? You saw...you saw what they did to our prince...your son."

"I saw. And that is why I cannot do as they would. For me to lower myself to the level of a sparce few...I would be no better. Asgore in his cowardice made that choice. I cannot forgive him. I cannot perpetuate the cycle. Hate breeds hate. Death begets death."

"You frustrated me with your beliefs. I couldn't stand it."

"I was admittedly jealous of you, Undyne. You garnered attention from him in a way that I couldn't. Every time he wielded that infernal trident...all I could do was look away. That eye...I know how you lost it. And yet despite it all...you stood by him when he made his decree."

"The way I saw it...I didn't have a choice. I'm not the type to bite the hand that feeds me. Dammit all...I couldn't go against my king. Not after he took me in. Trained me. Made me what I am. Made me head of the royal guard. I vowed I would become a true hero. One the people could look up to. To give hope. I needed to think of all my friends...not lone humans who would sooner butcher us."

"They are not all like that. You must've learned this by now."

"Maybe I did choose the easier path...maybe they would've felt I betrayed my kind if I supported you instead of him. I didn't want to overthink things. You know I don't work like that. I'm not smart the way you two are."

"There is a difference beween being smart and being wise. I thought I understood the difference but I am in no better standings than you as it were. In the end instead of following what I knew I followed what I felt. Because of that...I stood alone. So very alone."

"C-can I say something? As much as we feel l-like reflecting on the p-past. I fear there is a g-greater threat at work than the human."

"Alphys..."

"Doctor. You have been working in secret at Asgore's behest. Can you not disclose anything of your work?"

"I am v-very s-s-sorry, Lady Toriel. I c-can't do it. A-Asgore's decrees...his orders were absolute. Not even for you, m'lady...it's just..."

"Alphys...you don't have to explain anything. Not to anyone...even her."

Toriel was ominously silent at that.

"Please forgive me. But we are g-getting off track."

"Very well. Continue, Doctor."

"First. Let m-m-me apologize f-for Mettaton N-N-Neo. I...I made a horrible m-mistake building that body. Mettaton requests your forgivenes as well."

"He is forgiven."

"But if he looks at me funny I'm going to suplex him into a boulder then suplex a boulder into him!"

"Okay! O-k-kay! C-C-Calm down! He's under control."

Alphys pushed her glasses up a little underneath the hood.

"I'm afraid there's something more serious at work here. And it concerns......."

Alphys hesitated for a long time.

"Concerns...?"

"It concerns...Chara."

Toriel was silent again.

"You mean the little scrub that--" Undyne started. "...the child that you adopted into the Royal Family? Couldn't pry that little punk from the Prince with a broadsword. What about her?"

"I think...no...I have very good reason to believe her soul...her spirt...whatever essence is left of her...has been secretly manipulating and terrorizing us."

"...No...not my daughter...not Chara. She wouldn't--"

Undyne slammed her fist down on the table. "That little BRAT!"

"I'm afraid it's true. I...found evidence that...she's made use of my laboratory to get control of the Mettaton NEO body. I fear she may have also been...controlling at least some of us at some point...like...through spiritual possession. The walls...they were covered in writing. The writing...matches things written by Chara when she was alive. The writing on the wall...it all speaks of...very specific things. Things that only Chara could know...disturbing things of what she plans to do. And........many instances of two names that appear quite often. One of them is the late prince's."

"No...please no...I...I..."

"Wake up and open your eyes, Lady Dreemurr." Undyne struggled to keep her voice down. "Who else could it be? One of the OTHER children that fell down here? You know that isn't possible. Asgore has every one of their souls except two. The eighth child--who's STILL alive......and the first child. The late princess."

"Why...why is this happening?" Toriel lowered her head and covered her ears with hands, elbows on the table.

Alphys hesitated and gently placed a hand on Toriel's shoulder.

"Doctor...the other name...?"

Alphys looked down at the table, tracing the form of a lightning bolt on the surface.

"Volt Arcade."

Silence from all three.

"He's neck deep in this and Chara has a very intense grudge against him. I'm a-afraid she wants to use him for some sinister purpose."

"What do you know about him, Doctor?"

"Very little, I'm afraid." Alphys looked to the side, hoping neither of them would suspect she was safeguarding my secrets as I was safeguarding hers.

"He did something to piss her off. That little shortstack was pounding the living Hell.......er...heck out of him when I arrived." Undyne corrected herself, feeling on the spot for swearing in front of Toriel. "It wasn't just random beatings. She was taking her time making him suffer. It was personal."

"Has anyone seen him since leaving Hotland?"

"No."

"No, your highness."

"He cannot just simply disappear. Should we...should we look for him?"

"I...I think that would be unwise. Knowing him...he'll look for us when he knows something we don't." Alphys volunteered.

"I believe that is a wise decision."

"If I had to h-hypothesize? I think h-he may decide to m-meet with Asgore."

"For what purpose?" Toriel asked sternly.

"If I may s-speculate? To learn m-more about the monster who's on the v-verge of declaring war on the humans. And...m-m-maybe...j-just maybe...try to reason with him?"

"He will not listen. But it is admirable that Dr. Arcade would attempt to try."

"He's a fool. But he's a fool with guts. I respect that much. And...I owe him one so..." Undyne crossed her arms.

"We have to prepare for whatever's coming. Something b-big is on the horizon and Chara is obviously at the epicenter. And I fear that she'll d-drag our King into this sooner than we th-think."

"So. What do we do?"

"I vote...we assist Dr. Arcade for whatever he has planned."

"I second. Wholeheartedly."

Silence for a bit.

"I guess I'm in. I can't stand the thought of being in debt to that weirdo wolf."

"Then it is decided. If he calls upon us, we will come."

"What do we do about the human?"

"Continue to watch over my child, Doctor. Continue to follow Asgore's orders. Both of you. But find a way to relay what you learn to me. I will not have Fluffybuns take another one from this world. Even if it costs us our freedom."

"Lady Toriel..." Undyne started.

"Freedom is not free. Volt said something to me before I left your lab, Doctor. During our conversation while you were tending to Undyne we spoke of many things including the matter of the Barrier...and the child. When I asked him on his position on Asgore's decree...he said that freedom is the right of all sentient beings. But survival should not come at the expense of others. I believe...firmly believe that Asriel understood this. That is why...he did not fight the humans when he crossed the barrier. It would have been the easy way out. If this was Chara's plan, it would have been the quickest and easiest way to succeed. But it would have been the wrong way to do it. That's why...that's why my poor baby died...because he was stronger than his father...and his sister."

Undyne didn't know how to respond to that.

"The child hasn't harmed anyone since arriving here. They've...even gone so far as to befriend everyone, large and small, since I started monitoring. M-maybe...maybe this one is the one. Maybe...maybe they'll find a way that none of us have thought of to break the barrier...without sacrifice." Alphys suggested.

"We're so close...we're so d... ...darn close. I can feel it. I can taste it. I want it so badly. Almost as badly as Asgore. But...if it does come to that...how can I be expected to betray my king and my people for the sake of one human kid?"

"There are no easy answers. Perhaps...the child will show us the way. I must apologize but my time has grown short."

"Crap, if I don't get back soon, Asgore will know something's up."

"And I have to return to my lab...there are...things I need to attend to. Things I wish I could talk about...but the less either of you know. The less ANYONE knows."

"Does...Dr. Arcade know anything about your work?"

".......no." Alphys lied.

"Good luck to you, Undyne. Good luck to you, Doctor."

"And to you as well, Lady Dreemurr."

"Just...Toriel. I...I am not...comfortable being addressed by his family name. I.......I have no family. Not anymore...maybe...I never shall have one of my own again..." Toriel she a tear in complete sadness and loneliness. She stood up and hastilly headed out.

"Dammit it all..." Undyne closed her eye and her ear frills drooped under the hood. "How the Hell am I supposed to stand resolute when something like this gives me...the feels... I'll be in touch, Alphys. I have to get out of here before I do something Grillby will bill me for."

Undyne left next.

Alphys sighed. "Last in. Last out. What hope is there when we're just barely on the same page. Maybe this was a mistake after all...someone please give me a sign that this isn't all for naught." Alphys trudged out.

"...then it's agreed."

"Hey. What kind of brother would I be if I let let you keep worrying about me all the time."

"Let's go home, Sans."

"..."

"Sans?"

"Zzz..."

"Unbelievable." Papyrus picked up his brother and lifted him into a piggyback ride.

"Er...put whatever he ordered on his tab, good sir?"

"Done." Grillby replied.

"I guess you've had yourself a long day, Sans. But you'd better be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for tomorrow."

Papyrus headed out and back to their home. And from there the Monsters of Snowdin drifted off to their slumber. A new day awaiting tomorrow. And where was Frisk in all of this?

At the Hotel Mettaton...

Frisk wriggled across the length of the vastly oversized bed, underneath the covers before spilling out the other side.

They muffled a giggle before climbing back in and starting all over again. Who needed sleep?

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 118: "Corinth":

"Okay. I got us military clearance to enter Corinth. Don't expect to see much beyond the residential district. Much of what goes on here is classified."

"So this is where Sally's OGPX technology was invented?"

"The basis for it. Oriignally it was designed as covert, infantry, powered armored suits."

"Riiiight. Because nothing says covert like rainbow colored spandex."

"It's not spandex, Violet. It's self-assembling nanofiber downmorphing system."

"Right. It's spandex with fancy words."

"Can you take this seriously? You of all people should have a vested interest after what HAPPENED here..."

Violet's look soured.

"Can we NOT talk about VENJIX? I agreed to quarantine that piece of malware once Dr. K and her team finished cleaning up the mess after years had gone by since that problem was put down. And I'm not the only one with an interest. Scott wouldn't even be here if it handn't been for the bugs, viruses, and malware that originated here and ended up in Vorostov's makeshifted joke they called a network system."

"Sore spot, Vi?"

"Sore enough. You think I like dealing with megalomaniacal A.I.'s that have sociapathic tendancies?"

"Yikes. What the Hell kind of software do you DEAL with, Vi?"

"The less you know, Commander."

"Uh...I'm...completely lost." Asriel looked like he was about seconds away from "anime spiral eyes" as he was already sweatbullet-ing.

"Just...grown-up stuff we're not proud of, Cinnamon Roll."

"So...what are we going to be able to see inside?" Gadget asked.

"There's a memorial commemorating the heroes that put down Venjix's physical form. They're giving tours of the decommissioned lab Dr. K used to work at. I think I can get us into the control center. We'll be able to the G.I. housing. If want to pay our respects there's a cemetary for the fallen...kinda morbid but y'know. There's an airshow later today. Heard they were able to get the Sky Cowboy out of retirement from Mariner Bay. And there have a space administration museum in a joint effort with NASADA that's open to the public."

"How about it, Asriel? Want to enjoy a day at Space Camp?"

I turned to him and saw the starry eyes and the excited expression, and the knuckles under the mouth. And of all things his tail was actually wagging.

"That's a yes."

Later on...

"When you said you could get us into the control tower, you neglected to say it was suspended over the city!"

Well looked out of the glass walls of the very oddly-shaped control center suspended between two buildings.

"This is only a recreation. The real one was dropped on Venjix's head. Everything's now run remotely from an off site monitoring facility. All these controls are just for show."

"Wow. I can see everything from up here!"

"That sectioned off part of the city that's completely covered from the top?"

"Military only. No prying eyes. That part is still in operation and very off limits. Very real military testing grounds and logistics. You get caught poking around there and even my connections can't get you out. I"m talking life sentence with no parole."

"So what about the Pow--"

"Decommissioned. Gone off to other walks of life. Our current Commander, still on the frontlines of his ongong mission, is sworn to secrecy over anything he might have worked on while assisting Dr. K."

"Hey...is Codename Alphabet Soup still going on?"

"Officially to the public? No. After Dr. K's and Miles' departure a public statement was made about the program's existence and disbanding. Lot of people plea-bargained for lighter sentences as a result. Taking custody of super genius children to work on complicated military science, research, and development while keeping them essentially prisoner was something that Neo Arcadia's board of ethics kinda frowned upon. The money trail did at least root out some people who defected from Vorostov during the war but...couldn't break old habits so...yeah. Lesson to be learned: don't play both sides of the field and think you can come out on top. That's a mess still being cleaned up."

"A likely story." Rotor crossed his arms.

"Still with your conspiracy theories, huh?"

"Tell me you don't think it's being run somewhere else on a secret payroll of the government. If Tails knows anything he's sure not telling us."

"Right." Violet prodded. "And you've finally cracked the code of these shadow organizations. And the Illuminati know...they're finally primed...for world domination!" Violet quoted the song, "Foil" by Weird Al Yankovic.

Rotor facepalmed.

"War time must be terrible." Asriel's expression became meloncholic.

"The worst." Bunnie agreed.

"Even the side trying to listen to their conscience doesn't get by without a couple instances of bad choices and making desparate decisions. No matter what someone's going to end up with some skeletons in the closet."

"Some more than others." Bunnie crossed her arms looking off in the distance toward where I assumed the border was that separated us from Vorostov.

"I wonder how many their side and our side have admitted to. When you get down to it, politicians are still politicians." I crossed my arms.

Violet sighed.

"Vorostov approached me after my blow-up at the Allied Nations and tried to get Edoropia to break ties with Neo Arcadia. Tried to get us to ally against them. But as soon as I found out what happened to Ecotropia, I knew they were full of crap and all bets were off and they'd know Edoropia's wrath."

I sensed the smoldering embers of old Violet's temper buried under the surface of new Violet's work-in-progress personality. Bunnie had done well making her a better person but...some things just couldn't be extiguished that easily. Shadows of psychologically messing with Antoine and tormenting Al Dente was proof.

"You really stirred things up the next time you stormed into the A.N. meeting room and demanded holding Vorostov responsible. Or so the story goes. History says Edoropia withdrew from the A.N. and threatened secceeding from Neo Arcadia and becoming an indepedent sovereign nation."

Asriel blinked, getting kinda lost by that point.

"Let's change the subject. The past should stay the past. Let Asriel-kun learn about it in school in an unpolarized setting, okay?"

"Okay. It's not doing anything for me." Violet glowered.

Later that day we visited the historic landmarks. The parts of Dr. K's lab that hadn't been confiscated as government property. Although it was strange...the key materials and devices that went into her R.P.M. task force/squadron never surfaced during the audit of her assets. It was likely the Doctor took them with her after fleeing the city.

"Eh. It's adequate I guess for what she did here." Violet stifled a yawn.

"Not everyone has your budget to work with, Violet." Bunnie advised. "Especially when nations are at war and you have to worry about out-of-control military-home-grown viruses running amuck."

"VENJIX didn't start out a virus. But his programming didn't quite adapt the way the doctor or the military had hoped. Just think...if she had successfully installed the firewall that day, none of the chaos would have happened. And Kabuki Quantum Fighter wouldn't have existed."

"Dad..." Asriel looked down a bit.

We visited the cemetary to pay our respects to the fallen. I think it was the first time Asriel really saw a tangible form of what he understood about death in the number of gravestones on sight. And it hammered home how terrible war was.

"This is why Dad is the way he is. Isn't it?"

"A big part of it, when he can remember it, kid." Violet nodded.

Gadget sobbed buckets of tears. I didn't like seeing everyone so mood-crushed. So I was relieved when we finally got to the air show then the space administration.

"Wishing you were up there, Vi?" Mitzi asked while we watched the biplanes soar.

"Nah. I can fly any time back home."

"Better you than Ripper."

"I don't think I'm going to be *snicker* watering the Palace Garden with helicopter parts any time soon."

Asriel looked up at me.

I shrugged. "Any landing you can walk away from?" I said with a cheesey grin.

He stifled a laugh.

And finally at the space administration, we got to see everything related to space.

Bunnie took the challenge of the centrifuge.

"Wow. 8 G's and not even dizzy. You got the right stuff, Buns."

We each got to use the space shuttle simulator; each group assigned a role. Gadget as pilot, Mitzi on communications, me as engineering, Rotor as science officer, and Asriel as shuttle commander. We were all eccstatic upon successfully completing the mission without crash-landing on re-entry.

Asriel got to enjoy a simulated space walk on the moon with a bit of hololythics and gravity manipulation. I just couldn't be prouder as I watched from the monitors as he planted the Neo Arcadia flag, stepped back and saluted. I made sure to get a photo of him in the astronaut space suit.
We all got to ride in lunar rovers in an outdoor coral.

And before we knew it the day came to a close and we were soon headed back to Neo Arcadia City.'

"What a vacation." I said as the last of the photos and videos were uploaded and en route to Callie and Scott's social media pages.

"I've never had so much fun in my life. I wish every day could be like this."

"We all do. But...then every day wouldn't be special. This vacation wouldn't be special."

"Yeah, I guess you're right."

"Well, it isn't over yet. We still have to enjoy the last day or two of it. We just might be able to drop by the city of Brighton. It's named after your mother, you know."

"Oh really? Cool!"

"I'll tell you all about it on the way."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 119: "Wrapping Up the Vacation/The Threat of Chara"


"So that was the city of Brighton? I had no idea it was founded in Mom's honor." Asriel looked impressed.

"The reason Callie doesn't talk about it much is because of how overwhelmed she was by attention she received. It's kind of a big thing when a city is founded and named while you're still alive. The work she's done in her lifetime is absolutely legendary in both the field of nerve and brain science as well as applied psionic theory. So much of everything that professional psychers these days are capable of is thanks to to everything she pioneered. On top of that she may very well be the finest brain surgeon that has every lived."

"Wow. Mom's famous!"

"Yeah...kinda is."

We had take our time to take a breather at a rest stop area. It was good to stretch the legs and get some refreshments from the vending machines and such.

"We've done a lot on this trip." I looked on.

"It's been amazing, Commander." Mitzi said unwrapping a jumbo Milky Way bar.

There was a momentary silence.

"There's not much of this vacation left is there?" Violet frowned.

"No. All good things..." I had come to the realization that the time really did fly when you were having fun. I wasn't trying to make a Star Trek: TGN reference but...

We all looked kind of down.

"It's...not over yet, right? We're still going back to Neo Arcadia City to say goodbye to everyone, right?" Asriel offered.

"Yeah. It wouldn't be good form to just cut and run."

"Plus we gotta gather all our souverniers and send the last batch of photos and such.

"True dat."

I smiled.

I nodded to Bunnie who understood my prompt and called Asriel away as a distraction.

"So. Mom. In your medical opinion--"

"If you're asking if you're in any capacity to return to active duty, son, you'll be good to go once you get back to Miranda City. I'll call ahead to Elektra and Velaska to verify."

"Thanks. I can't stay out of the field for too long...certain...things have to be taken care of."

"You'll be careful, won't you?"

"I'm going to start taking a tally of how many times someone can channel Goat Mom." I whispered.

"When do I get to meet her?" Nermal asked.

"Be patient. I'll arrange it some day."

I was daydreaming but I kept envisioning a time when I'd be able to bring Boss Monsters of the Underground and anyone else who was fair game to Miranda City to say hello to their other-worldly-neighbors. Or perhaps vice-versa. Maybe both. It was a nice dream...but as things were I couldn't make them happen any time soon. Not until I removed the complications and obstacles in the way.

And let's face it. Chara had to go. Before she could do any more harm.

"She...cant be saved, can she?" I had explained Chara to her during a free moment when Asriel wasn't around to overhear.

"I don't know. All I have to go on is a dream...a very intense dream. If it's true then I have to help her. Asriel may have dissolved ties but he'd never understand if I turned my back on her when she needed my help. But...if she is what she is and nothing more...then I have to put her down before she puts someone else down."

"How are you going to go about seeing Asgore?"

"I'm resourceful, Mom. I'll find a way. The real challenge is figuring out what I"m going to say to him. Let's be frank. I have to let him follow his path. I can no more talk him out of battling Frisk for their soul than I can stop the sun from setting. It's his fate. His role in the grand scheme of history."

"It's unfair is what it is."

"It's not just the Council that's come to this decree. It's Destiny and Fate's final say."

"Forces beyond your control. I understand. But...are they really all confined to predetermined events? Do they really have no control over their lives?"

"Nermal. There's always the anomaly known as choice. Even if it's recorded history. Fate and Destiny can change. Maybe Frisk can make it happen. The real concern is that they don't get bored of the timeline after the True End and rest. I guess...that's the fear that Sans and I have in common. That one day...it's all going to be reset. Every relationship I made, every effort I didn't spare, every life I kept from getting snuffed out."

I looked on

"Asriel and I are more alike than I want to admit. I...I made friends down there. I...don't want to let go of them. I don't want to go down there one day and see a bunch of familiar faces w've become strangers again. I don't want what we've all gained taken away. I don't want it to end." I was struggling with all my might not to start crying.

"Shhhhh." It's okay, son. It's okay." Nermal stroked my ears. "Even if that happens. They'll still be alive when the world resets, right?"

"Yeah...that's true. It's still a better fate than if Chara destroys another timeline. And I sure don't want a instance where Frisk agrees to pay their soul to restore the world and bring everyone back--"

I came to a horrific realization. Something I had overlooked from my various observations of the stable Genocide Timelines. If there were other Charas out there...which ones had convinced Frisk to give them their soul? Which ones had taken more than one Frisk's soul?

I had a terrible vision of an incarnation of Chara in possession of millions of Frisk souls. Or worse...what if she weilded them as weapons? Would she...would she use them against Asriel to get her revenge for failing her? I had about a hundred more instances of nightmare fuel.

"Neil? You have that look again. That look when you're overloaded by your own fears and worries. Talk to me."

"What do I do if...Chara isn't the only soul in that horrid creature? What if she's devoured innocents? I don't want to put her down if it means taking innocents with her."

"I'm sorry...but...I'm afraid even your mother doesn't have all the answers. You'll...just have to trust yourself."

"Yeah. I guess so. One thing's for sure. I have to keep her from finding Asriel. Even if there's the slimmest chance that her soul could be absorbed by him I refuse to allow him to become the Absolute God of Hyperdeath. Not now. Not ever."

"That's my determined little cub. You do what you have to do."

"I will." We hugged longingly.

"Volt? Miss Nermal? We're all good to go! We're ready to head back to Neo Arcadia City."

"I know Garfield usually says this...but good talk, son."

"Very good."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 120: "Return Home (To Miranda City)":

"Everyone packed?"

"Your car is strapped in tight. Ready for transport."

"I got all the souverniers loaded up."

"All our luggage is accounted for, Volt-san."

"And I've totally got plenty of awesome spare."

"It's weird. It seemed so...unreal that we were leaving Miranda City only two weeks ago and now...now we're about to leave Neo Arcadia and head back there." Asriel looked a little meloncholic yet his expression told he was in deep reflection.

"Time flies when you're having fun."

"Take care of yourself, son. Be sure to write or text. Live-stream if you can." Garfield nodded.

"We'll bring lasagna." Mitzi giggled.

"Yes, please bring lasagna."

"Keep me updated on Asriel's education. He deserves the best he can get."

"Not to worry, mentor. I got it covered."

"Now. About your training regimen--" Arlene started.

"I have it well in hand, Arlene-ippantekina (General)."

"Good to hear, Major. Carry on." Arlene saluted. Bunnie returned the gesture.

"Hey hey hey! Don't forget to keep it weeeeeeeeeeird!" Ed slid in with a rubber glove on his head and X-Ray while wearing a tee-shirt that said "I <3 Toxic Waste" and bunny slippers.

"He's still funny." Asriel pointed a thumb toward Ed as he looked up at me.

"Always is."

At that moment.

*POOOF*
B. J. calmed walked over to Asriel.

"W...wow...!"

"Hey. Some advice, little wizard. Even if you don't have magic...you're still magic Right here in your heart. You believe in yourself and that's the most powerful magic of all."

It was the most I'd ever heard him say. And damn. It. Was. So. COOL.

Ahem...right.

And then he was gone in a poof.

"He doesn't say much often, does he?" Asriel broke the silence.

"Nope."

You know know that I thought about it..his voice reminded me a lot of Steve Blum as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Beebop. Huh.

It was very n-nice of you to c-come home, Volt. Come b-back some day."

"Will do, Kitty. Will do."

"私は、私の学生をあなたに教えてきたことすべてを覚えておいてください。<Watashi wa, watashi no gakusei o anata ni oshiete kita koto subete o oboete oite kudasai.>" Kimiko and Bunnie bowwed to one another.

"私は、そう先生を行うものとします。<Watashi wa, sō watashi no sensei o shinakereba narimasen.>" Bunnie replied.

"What did she say?" Asriel asked.

Again I shrugged.

"Remember! No worries, mon!"

"None, Ariel. None." I nodded.

"Dosvidaniya, comrades." Ivan bid fairwell.

Then ten...er...nine of ten founders waved one last time as we borded Violet's monstrosity of a plane.
The founders headed back inside to the airport terminal and watched from the window as Violet cranked her up.
We left the airfield and were soon en route back home.

"They were all really nice people, Volt. I really want to come back and visit them again."

"Well. There's always next year. Next summer."

"I think I can wait that long. There's still a lot more in the year to come, right? More birthdays and holidays and stuff."

"You know it, little man. Pound it." We shared a knuckle bump.

"There was much to reflect on while we were there. We went in as 11 and we're coming back as only eight."

"Sally, Willie, and Honey will be back in town again. It's just a matter of time and opportunity." Rotor comforted.

"Of course, old friend. Of course."

Gadget and Skeeter had fallen asleep. And gosh did they ever look like angels.

I ended up drifting off myself for a while.

Maybe the trip back home wouldn't be so--

I was suddenly awakened by the unmistkable sound of the intro to N'Sync's "Bye Bye Bye".

"Oh no..."

"Ohhhhhhhhhh yeeeeeeeeeees!" Violet was in full costume and managed to convince Rotor, Skeeter, Asriel, and Gadget to assist her in full cosplay.

"Hey, heeeeey!"

"Bunnie, quick. Let me borrow your kunai daggers..." I moaned as Violet improved her own set of lyrics.

"Bye-bye-bye! (Bye-bye...!.....Bye-bye!)

"I...welcome you to this flight! It's...gonna be oh so tight! I...know it's outta sight! Hey, baby come onnnn!

I...love this eye candy! Won't you show some props for me! And...now you're really gonna see that life is so much better...when we got it goin' onnn!

I know it only makes you want us more! It ain't no lie. I know our awesome is what you're here for. Baby, bye-bye-bye!

Say goodbye to your salt and all your frowns, too. Just another day of being amazing for you! You may rate me, I hope it's thumbs-up time, baby, bye-bye-bye!

(Ain't nobody gonna take no guff. I just want you to know we got the stuff!) Might get crazy but it ain't no lie, baby bye-bye-bye!"
Juuuuust hit the replay on Y-Tube, now don't hate us like a n00b! I'll give you 100 reasons why you should put us onnnnn.

Hear our sound endlessly and...you will really learn to believe...that the internet's so much better when we're not gooone.
I know it only makes you want us more! It ain't no lie. I know our awesome is what you're here for. Baby, bye-bye-bye!"

Say goodbye to your salt and all your frowns, too. Just another day of being amazing for you! You may rate me, I hope it's thumbs-up time, baby, bye-bye-bye!

(Ain't nobody gonna take no guff. I just want you to know we got the stuff!) Might get crazy but it ain't no lie, baby bye-bye-bye!"

And all the while Violet had managed to teach them all the dance steps. Good grief. How the Hell did she do it?

"Yuuup. The Ultra Crew Institute Action Team are coming back home...gods help us all..." I folded my ears back.

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
END TRANSMISSION...
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:58 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Back to Miranda City for another batch of updates:

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 121: "One-Point-Twenty-One-What-Now?":

"I HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE FUTURE!!!"

I stood by as the wind howled and my mentor strained his ears to here young Marty's plea to the doctor, determined to warn him of a deadly fate 30 years in the making.

I shook my head, knowing full well that this was a fool's quest. Yet I couldn't blame him for being so determined to preserve a friendship.

I folded my ears back. Even at this distance the chimes of the clock tower were painful. But compared to where my mentor stood in front of the face of the clock tower, my vantage point was no big thing...his vantage point was agonizing.

"LOOK AT THE TIME! YOU HAVE LESS THAN FOUR MINUTES!"

I watched Marty hastily head toward the Deloreon. I looked up at the massive, angry storm above. The lightning danced furiously, threatening to touch the spire of the clocktower at a moment's notice.

The incomplete connection between the cable in Dr. Brown's hand made me narrow my eyes as I watched the dangling socket hanging from where it had been connected to the lightning rod spire.

I felt I had a part to play in this but history says that this went off without a hitch...well...hardly any hitches. Which was the reason I was here.

By this point the Deloreon had already sped to the starting point. I was unaware of young Marty acting upon his emotional conundrum, altering the time coordinates with the intent of warning future Dr. Brown of his impending assassination.

"Come on, Doctor. The Institute for Future Technology is depending on this."
As Dr. Brown struggled across the ledge to reach the cable socket the clock continued to advance toward 10:04 PM.

My ears snapped up as the ledge gave way and I heard the doctor's cry. Whew. He managed to grab onto the hanging cable. That was close. Too close.

I leaped up to higher ground. Adequate enough to be in range of my powers. Maybe intervening juuuust a little bit wouldn't hurt. I formed a compressed magnetic platform to fill in the missing ledge enough for the doctor to stand on. Hopefully he wouldn't think to question it and be preoccupied with the cable.

A sigh of relief as he attempted to reconnect the cables...which quickly turned to surprise when it went taut before it could reach the plug.

"Faraday's Ghost..." I muttered as I turned to where the downed tree had pulled the cable to the ground.

I hustled over and like a dope I tried to lift it, first with brute strength, then with magnetic tethers. No good. Emmett would have to physically pull the cable out from underneath. And that was time he didnt' have.

My bracer's cloaking fizzled for a moment from the static interference of the storm. I had pulled the Hazard Card long before to give other...slight assists along the way.

I considered hauling out the hardware such as the XBTOCLC's or the Ice Gatling to destroy the section around the tree but...I was sure that would be way too much chronal contamination. I was working on a shoestring budget with how much more I could interfere.

I suddenly whirled as I heard the anguished cry of Dr. Brown as the cable suddenly disconnected from the connection at the traffic light posts.

"For the love of Andre-Marie Ampere..." * I rubbed my temples.
My ears perked up as I heard the distinctive roaring whine of the Deloreon's engine and drive system draw closer.

"Why in Lee De Forest's name do we have to cut these things so darn close?"

Marty speed closer and closer. I saw the sections of the Deloreon light up with neon cyan splendor, lacking the energy to completely activate the Flux Capacitor. He as at exactly 88 miles per hour.

By this point Dr. Brown had managed to loop the cable around the clock hands and made the desparate choice to rapple down to the ground. At least he thought to wear heavy insulated gloves.
THUD.

I winced as he hit the ground...a little harder than I remember from the other instances I watched this. Oh no. He was dazed wasn't he? Crap. No time to snap him to his senses. I hurried over and snagged his end of the cable and dashed to the connector. My ear twitched as I heard the clock hands lurch one last time and suddenly the sky turned white as the lightning struck with explosive results.

I tightened my grip around both and bridged the connection with my powers. My fur jet-poofed outward as the lightning seared across me and up the connection the very moment the Deloreon passed under and the connector hook made contact.

"Oh, BABY, that's good..." My grin probably would have bordered on "psychopathic-ly unhealthy" at that moment.

With a massive electric explosion everything flashed to white for a moment before the car just vanished, leaving a pair of flame trails across the pavement, stopping just before the movie theater at the end of the three-way intersection.

Dr. Brown sat up in time to watch the electromagnetic fireworks, his gaze fixated on the flame and static that lingered.

A moment of silence before the superheated wire combust and burst into flame. I hastily reconnected the plugs and dropped the cable and rebooted my cloaking system.
Emmett got to his feet and wandered around the street, a little unsure of things at first.

"YOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!!!" He suddenly let out a triumphant exclaim before running back down the street with a little dance to his step.

"Mission accomplished, mentor." I gave a thumbs-up I knew he'd never see.

I started to turn and head back to where I had left the Epoch when...

"Doc! Doc!"

Oh yeah...I forgot about this.

"Huh?"

"Doc!!!"

"Gaaah! You can't be here! I just sent you back to the future!"

"I know, Doc! But I'm back. I"m back FROM the future."

I counted, lowering a finger on my hand with each second.

"3...2...1..." I said to myself.

"Great...Scott....."

THUD.

*sigh* Right on cue.

"You got this, Marty..."

I took off to the Epoch and got in.

"Mission accomplished. Thanks for informing me of these glitches in the time stream, Command. It would have completely comprimised any chance of the STC-Agency ever coming into existence if things hadn't gone smoothly here."

"Hey, I have a vested interest, too. You don't open the Genie's Lamp and Pandora's Box, then neither do I. And we both turn into pumpkins sooner or later."

"Yeah, yeah. Way to think of the bigger picture."

"You better get back to Miranda City. And make sure your best friend sees you nice and healthy after coming back from mission. You don't want to--"

"Just drop it. I don't want to think about that."

"So. What's the plan for Asgore?"

"I think I need to backtrack and retrace my steps a bit. Get some items and such...just in case."

"Might I suggest paying a visit to--"

"......"

"Come on. It's cheap and you won't go hungry or thirsty."

"I still want to run it through a spectrographic analyzer and confirm they're not actually made of--"

"Commander. Ignorance is bliss."

"Okay. I'm off. Keep my in the loop. And keep the Council off my back."

"Good luck. And..."

The Epoch was already off.

"...stay fresh."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 122: "Quest for the King of All Monsters, Take One":

I landed in the ruins again and navigated appropriately. Remembering Command's words I tunred down the corridor to the dead end and found the spiderweb in question.

*sigh*

I shuddered a little.

"Spider bake sale. All proceeds go to real spiders."

I accessed my E.N.G.I.N.E. dots and snagged 7G in gold and set it in the web. Immediately some spiders crawled down and offered a donut. I snatched it up and slipped it into my lab coat pocket for later. It was weird how they never seemed to crumble or make a mess when put into pockets.

"That's a durable donut."

I combed my way through the rest of the ruins and reached Toriel's abode. I knocked and heard no answer. Oh god. Please don't let it be like my nightmare.

I activated my bracer and slipped into intangible mode and phased through the door and looked around the whole humble household. No one. I didn't smell any dust so that was a good sign. I went downstairs.
I kept sniffing. No scent of dust. Still good.

As I got closer I picked up an extremely faint scent. Definitely Toriel. I opened the first gate and went through.

I went down the hallway to the other door. Scent was really weak.
I decided to go through. Yup. Scent went outside. Sure enough I saw her foot-paw prints in the snowpack.

"Thank you, Lady Destiny..." I muttered.

She just have just stepped out for groceries. I decided I didn't want to track her down. She wasn't the person of interest. I had to find Fluffybuns. And I had a long trek to go.

I passed by the gate and Sans' sentry station. Not at his post? Only one explanation. He went to Grillby's. Again.

I passed through the electricity maze area and the second sentry session. No sign of Papyrus? Huh. Recalibrating puzzles or maybe trying to convince Undyne to let him into the Royal Guard?

I stayed outside of the space-time continuum for the moment, drifting through obstacles and such. Although I was feeling a little jubilant at the time and I had just arrived at Doggo's sentry post.

"Absolutely NO MOVING!" I mused as I read the sign. "Geeeee. I wonder what it's trying to tell me?" I mused sarastic but liteheartedly with a grin.
"Too good to pass up." I snickered to myself. I turned tangible and picked up one of the remains of a dog treat that had been partly burned away. Did he...smoke these? Ewww.

"Ugh...this is reminding me about Violet jokingly advising Antoine to not smoke Crayolas. Which I'm sure she got from an old Uncle Klunk skit from the days of Mitzi's old band."

I quitely snuck behind the sentry station and tossed the bone out from behind it in a slight cuve.

Doggo immediately rose up from where he hide behind the counter of the station. There he was, bone in his mouth. Black patch of fur around his ears and the upper part of his face. The rest of him was white. He was wearing a wife-beater shirt with what looked like leopard-skin pants. His eyes were squinted very dubiously as he shifted his gaze back and forth suspiciously.
I turned intangible and phased through the door in back and got behind him.

"Did something move? Was it my imagination? I can only see moving things. If something WAS moving, for example, a human...I'll make sure it NEVER moves again."

I grinned devilishly as I turned tangible enough to reach up and pet him on the head. Then I jumped back through the door and circled around front to watch the epic reaction.

"!!!" Doggo spazzed out at that point. "WHAT?!? I'VE BEEN PET! POT? PAT? PET? PAT? POT?"

"I should feel ashamed at myself for taking enjoyment in this...but I don't."

I willed my hand tangible enough while his head was turned to pet him a second time from the front.

"WHERE IS THAT COMING FROM?!?" And again. "THERE'S NO END TO IT!" And again. "Well this is thorough." The effect was starting to wear off. "That's enough." He deadpanned.

I decided he had enough and let the realization sink in.

"S-S-Something pet me... Something that isn't m-m-moving! I'm gonna need some dog treats for this..."

And then he ducked behind the counter and I caught scent of something burning.

I walked away with a chuckle and started quietly singing the Snow Miser's theme from the Christmas Without a Santa.

"I'm Mr. White Christmas, I'm Mr. Snow...I'm Mr. Icicle, I'm Mr. Ten-Below..."

I continued my trek through and out of Snowdin and Snowdin Town. I was in too good a mood to care that it was still too darn cold.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 123: "Meanwhile, Back in Miranda":

"Cheer up, little guy. Volt will be back again." Mitzi comforted.

"I know. I have to be patient. It just..."

"Gets lonely without your best friend." She nodded.

"I know we're not him but...we'll keep you company." Pit offered.

Asriel kinda kicked his legs back and forth a bit. "That would be nice."
He looked up at Pit.

"You know...I haven't heard your story yet. How did you come to be part of UCIAT? Everyone says you're the most experienced here but...you don't look that old."

"Well. I am a celestial. An archangel. We age very differently. Even more so than Hybrids. For us centuries are...fleeting at most."

"Oh...so...you live forever?"

"Sometimes it seems that way."

"So..."

"Right. I was born in another realm connected to this world, known as Angel Land. The other angels and I were the creations of the Goddess of Light, Lady Palutena. But...I was...made differently for some reason. Instead of blue eyes and blond hair, I was given green eyes and reddish hair. And...there's something else different about me..."

Pit kinda turned away a little sadly.

"Pit?"

"In my home realm...I....I can't fly."

"You can't fly?"

"My wings don't work the same way in this world. I...need the Goddess to grant me the power of flight back in my home world...and it only lasts 5 minutes at most. Any longer and my wings will burn up. That's...kind of a huge deal. An angel without wings can't survive. Even if they don't really work, we need them."

"Ohh..."

"I...never felt like I belonged back home. So...imagine my surprise when the Goddess made me captain of her royal guard, Palutena's Army. I couldn't understand why she would make me so different...so outcast...then put me in a position of power and respect. I really didn't know what to make of it."

"You're head of the Royal Guard? You're like the angel version of Miss Undyne!"

"Well...back then it wouldn't have felt much like a compliment. Anyway. Our world was peaceful but...it had a complication. Where there was a Goddess of Light, there was a Goddess of Darkness. Goddess Medusa was much like your Chara. She hated humanity and took great pleasure in torturing them--drying up crops, spreading plagues, and especially turning them to stone. It grew out of control until it threatened to tip the balance of light and dark.

Finally Lady Palutena issued an ultimatum to Lady Medusa. When she wouldn't comply she turned to Zeus and the Elder Gods. With their unanimous decision Medusa was cast out but not before Palutena invoked a curse upon her, confining her to a form that reflected the evilness and ugliness in her heart. And from there she was sent to the depths of Tartarus; what our realm commonly calls the Underworld."

"Ohh..."

"But evil doesn't die. It only evolves and bides its time to seek its revenge. Medusa raised an army from the denizens of the Underworld and soon broke freen and marched upon the surface world of the mortals known as the Overworld. And then they ascended into the Cloud Temples and finally to Palutena's kingdom in the Sky World. Her army was broken and she was captured. And I was made an example of by being locked in the darkest cell of the Underworld."

"Oh no...how did you escape?"

"The last of Lady Palutena's power was sent to me in the form of a holy bow and an endless supply of arrows. I fought my way past the ranks of her dregs while going on a quest to recover legendary artifacts called the Three Sacred Treasures. They would unlock my full potential and give me powers beyond any angel that had ever walked or flown. I defeated her generals and advanced to the gates of Sky World with all three treasures--the Pegasus Wings, the Mirror Shield/Armor, and the Light Arrow. With them I stormed the Chamber of the Gods and did battle with Medusa, finally slaying her and freeing Palutena."

"Oh wow! You became a superhero!"

"Er...yes...I...suppose."

"And everything was peaceful again, right?"

"For a time...until Palutena was troubled by nightmares. She called for soothsayer who warned of a prophetic vision. Angel Land would be attacked by evil demons known as the Army of Orcus."

"Oh no..."

"Palutena summoned me to her quarters and entrusted me to go on a special training regimen that would have me revisit all of the territory I went through from the Underworld to the Overworld, to the Cloud Temples to Sky World. And to make sure I'd have the magical power I'd need, I'd have to seek out the Three Sacred Treasures a second time. If I trained hard enough I'd be worthy to wear them again."

"And that's what you did?""

"Yes...I reached Palutena's chamber in time to don them all moments before King Orcus invaded and captured Lady Palutena, taking her into the inner labyrinth. I flew after him and did battle...twice. For his normal form...and this his towering ultimate form. A truly horrific beast of unimaginable size and strength."

"And...you prevailed?"

"Yes. And all was peaceful again."

"But that still doesn't answer how you came to this realm?"

"You've met Miss Kitty, right? Well...there was a point she was...going through difficult times and the rest of the UCIAT couldn't help her. Kitty has...a lot of faith in angels and she has a lot of admiration for them. I guess...the others say she's kind of an angel fanatic? So...she prayed very hard and...it reached me. I went to the Elder Gods and they were reluctant to have me...intereact with mortals. But...Palutena swayed the vote and I was given a chance to answer Kitty's call. So...once I was sent to their realm I discovered I could fly on my own. Miss Kitty was so nice but...she didn't have a lot of confidence in herself. So...I helped her as best I could."

"Because that's what angels do!"

"Yes."

"And then what?"

"Well...I didn't have a whole lot I could do at first but I was happy that she was happy. So...she suggested one day to the C.E.O., Garfield, that I be part of something bigger. He had just the thing. I was recommended for the N-Division. And...so I met them. The greatest warriors this world and many others had to offer. I met an elfen swordsman clad in green who wielded a legendary sword of evil's bane. I met a bounty hunter who wore the most fantastic armor I had ever seen. I met a man who fought against the undead with nothing more than a whip called Vampire Killer. And the moustached man in red and blue known simply as legendary N-Division agent "M" around our ranks."

Pit paused and smiled.

"...and my favorite partner and my best friend. An artificial being...the called him a robot...who wore blue and cyan. He looked so human...so real...but he was a machine underneath it all. He laughed, he cried, he comforted, he believed so strongly in justice. He loved animals and played ball game called soccer. His name was Rock. And the two of us were inseparable."

Pit shifted.

"We all had many adventures, saved a lot of lives, helped a lot of people, took down a lot of villains. Made the world a safer place."

"But...what happened to them all?

"Time happened. I was the only one of them who wasn't mortal. For everyone who was alive, they got old...they retired. For Rock...he...became obsolete...one day he just stopped coming around. I had heard something about a law in his hometown about...robot expiration dates. I guess that means...robots have to be replaced after their period of service is up."

"That's...that's really sad."

"I never saw him again after that. Finally our team was disbanded and I was...benched. Put on the sidelines. I stayed kind of an unknown and forgotten until Garfield started overhauling the program and brought new people in to replace who was gone. That's how I met the Major...Miss Bunnie.

It was only a passing glance down the hallway but...I must've made an impression on her...because she recommended me for active duty when the time came around for the Commander to lead his own UCIAT branch on Fontraile. I was chosen as the fifth and final member for his skeleton crew, with the understanding he'd recruit more at a later date.

We came to Miranda City while it was in ruins and worked tirelessly to rebuild it from the aftermath of the Ekris War. I...didn't really have much to do. The Major insisted that my mere presence at the Fountain would be enough to inspire the people and give them hope. I didn't quite know what that meant but...I did as I was asked and played my harp all the while. And in the end...it all worked out. Later on I'd be given the position of Archer Scout for missions. And here I am."

"That's amazing, Pit."

"Amazing...I've heard that word a lot at times. I guess now I understand what mortals mean by it."

"I'm so glad to have met a real, live angel."

"And you're the friendliest monster I've ever met."

"Thank you." Both said in unison. Then they laughed.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 124: "Fireworks":

Asriel had given a call to Scott and Callista, informing them he and Pit were going to stay up to watch the fireworks show that UCIAT's, own human Officer of Naval Operations, Drew White was hosting.

"So...what are fireworks?"

"I've observed mortal traditions and on certain holidays and occasions, they set off fireworks at night to celebrate. From what I understand they are a form of explosives that when ignited fly into the air and burst apart into colored explosions. They're actually quite mesmerizing to watch."

"Explosions? That sounds dangerous."

"They are to the untrained. But Mr. Drew is an expert."

"So...why are we celebrating tonight?"

"I'm sure there's a reason. The Commander has mentioned there are holidays off world he's witnessed. It's right around the time of one of the ones he mentioned. I think it was called...Independence Day? We don't really have anything like that in Miranda. Though the Major is going to hold a star festival three days from now called Tanabata."

"Oh yeah! Sensei told me all about that. The story of Orihime and Hikoboshi--represented by the stars, Vega and Altair. The legend of how the Ginga (galaxy) separates them and they only have one night a year that they can meet. That night is the seventh year of the seventh month of the solar-lunar calendar."

"Wow! You really know that story well."

"I always love to hear sensei's stories about Jangese holidays and culture."
By then it was dark. Sure enough, Drew White was manning the launchers on the Miranda Navy aircraft carrier. It was a much larger sea vessel than he was used to but if it floats, he knew his way around.

At 5'4", 163lbs, in his 20's, and sporting brown eyes and black hair, Drew was yet another of UCIAT's human members and sported an impecable record of service.

As a human who had magical control over wind; specifically in manipulating soundwaves, Drew was a force to be reckoned with. He could completely mute sound in a localized area or amplify it to incredibly painful or even destructive levels. In addition to being a demolitions expert, plus incredibly gifted with debate and negotiation skills, not to mention iron-fisted boxing skills, Drew could hold his own against any Hybrid in the crew and go toe to toe with any non-human.

"It's about to start!"

Asriel looked skyward to where Pit pointed. The two of them had picked a nice vantage point at the clocktower balcony.

"Lights alive, Miranda City." Drew snapped his fingers as his rock music started up and spread outward, carrying pretty far thanks to his powers.
And low and behold the first of the rockets went into the air.

"Ohhh!!!"

Even though he was prepared for it, he wasn't prepared for it. Drew's brand of fireworks always defied expectations.

And when they burst apart in the sky it was hard to say what lit up brighter--the fireworks or Asriel's eyes.

And before long Pit and Asriel were joined by Gadget and Rotor and even little Mina. And sure enough the rabites and Tithius joined them.

From down below...

Bunnie, Megami, and Nikita sat topside the roof of Rabbotou Dojo's main building, each wearing a yukata kimono. They watched the festivities while sharing Pocky biscuit sticks.

Mitzi and Violet observed from Vi's own personal working replica of my mentors' Ecto-2 compact gyrocopter.

Rotor looked on from where he had parked SWV-016.

Young human demon-channeler and agent of mercenary group, Merchants of Menace, Marcel Gilneas looked on with his familiar, the drake slime, Josquin. An orphan child who was the victim of a cultist rite that gave him the powers of demon-channeling, he was now an fairly experienced necromancer. He was flanked by his adoptive mother, Verlaine Gilneas and her daughter, Valerie.

Elsewhere in the city, Queen Brooke's daughter, the former princess, Ivy Canciaris observed the display in the company of her own organized mercenary group, Nightwatch--the great naga, Isabelle Florentine; fellow lycan, Vidian St. Croix; gargoyle, Kalarisis Vai Asorais and her family, former DCP Operative, Vyacheslav Lagunov; harpy, Charity Viaserra; and the human-looking former familar of a powerful devil, Rubena.

On nights like this, Drew's pyrotechnics really brought the city together even if they stood apart from one another. It was the kind of night I would have wished I'd been there.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 125: "Waterfall Revisited":

I had my fair share of distractions along the way through Snowdin and I was now in warmer but wetter territory. I passed by a sign that read "The power to take their SOULS, this was the power that the humans feared."

I hung my head and my ears drooped. It brought to mind other monsters I had encountered on other worlds. Dracula Vlad Tepes was one such monster that stole peoples' souls and made them his slaves.

"I'm not afraid. I'm half human but I'm not afraid. I don't know why monsters even have this power...it's wrong for them to even use it. But having it doesn't make them something to be feared. Asriel...please never use that power...please."

The ground had turned dark...almost pitch black...it looked almost like bubbles were rising upward from...somewhere deep below. It was reminding me of the inside of the Core. The water had turned bright cyan and water sausages sprung up from it while lily pads dotted it.

I sighed and trudged into the next area, turning the corner. By this time the water turned completely blue and the path was completely black. Weird.
I kept going and my ear twitched as I heard something pop up out of the water. My gaze slid toward it and I was caught off guard by the appearance of something long, noodle-y and...tentacle-like rising up out of the sea on the left side of the path. And then a second one came out of the sea on the right side of the path. Wait...I knew what this was...

I turned to the left and a dark shape began to emerge from the depths. And low and behold it rose from the deep. A vast, very pale yellowish, bulbous creature with a lazy-spike-ish antenna protrusion from the top of its head, two big anime eyes with equally large anime eyelashes on the sides, a bean-shaped mouth in the largest of open smiles, and rosey blush hashes under each eye. It posed in a shy giggly-girl pose.

Hello, Onionsan. Long-time no see from the other side of the space-time continuum.

"Hey... there... Noticed you were... Here... I'm Onionsan! Onionsan, y'hear!"

I waved with a smile.

"You're visiting Waterfall, huh! It's great here, huh! You love it, huh! Yeah! Me too! It's my Big Favorite!"

I closed my eyes and smiled for a moment and continued walking, occasionally looking over, being careful not to stray too far to the left or right.

"Even though the water's getting so shallow there... I, have to sit down all the time, but... H-hey! That's okay! It beats moving to the city! And living in a crowded aquarium!"

"True dat'." I nodded.

"...like all my friends did!"

Oooh. Awkward.

"And the aquarium's full, a-anyway, so, even if I wanted to I..." A hesitation.

"That's okay, y'here! Undyne's gonna fix everything, y'hear! I'm gonna get out of here and live in the ocean! Y'hear!"
I reached the end of the room as it were.

"Hey... there... That's the end of this room. I'll see you around! Have a good time! In Waterfallllllllllllllllllllllllllllll....!!!"

I left the room with a wave goodbye without turning around. I almost felt like I was doing so in slow motion like some sort of cinematic. But then my imagination tended to make things more dramatic than they really were sometimes. Oh well.

And not a moment later I exited the room and bumped into Shyren by chance. I could tell she was trying to hide from me...and everyone else.
I could hear her tap a little beat with her fins. I knew how to handle this.
Asking to see her smile would only make her shy away even further. I sidesteped the notes as she tried to cover up her hum.

I gave an answering hum; a sad, sad song of my own. Shyren turned in my direction. It was then I stopped looking at the fish tail in back of her head and gazed at the form of her face. It looked similar to Aylee the alien from Sluggy Freelance. She had a pair of dull mountainous spikes coming out of her back and aminature seahorse-ish tail.

She responded by following my melody.

"Si re, si re, si mi, si mi..."

While her song was deadly but her voice wasn't that hard on the ears. Rather lovely if not lacking self-esteem.

Content I nodded approvingly and let her be spared. Shyren went on her way, seeming happier than before.

I continued reading the signs along the way as I found the piano and the telescope area...and...the statue in the rain.
I looked longingly at it before going back to the umbrella stand and grabbing one.

Strange. Frisk should have passed by this area by now...or maybe they had and ignored this. Or maybe...I had disrupted events...which would be bad.
I just couldn't stand by.

I grabbed an umbrella, opened it and hurried back to the statue and slid it into its grasp.

I smiled sadly. And then to my surprise...I heard it. I'd heard it before. But this was the first time it meant anything...and it pierced me to my heart and soul. I knew the song. I knew the notes. Yet I finally appreciated it...and it was tearing me up inside. Again my emotions got the best of me.
I wiped my eyes with my sleeve. The sound of the music box inside was giving me the feels.

"I'm sorry, Asriel." I was speaking of this timeline's Asriel, rather than my own. "...I can't save you. I want to but...there's nothing I can do...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I care about you..."

I sniffled.

"Why...why does this have to be your fate? You didn't do anything wrong. Chara did this to you. She should be the one...she should be the one whose consciousness is stuck in that....that....!" I was moments from punching the ground.

I didn't notice a small yellow flower sprout up behind me and watch for a moment before pulling itself back into the ground.

I sobbed a little bit long before I stood up.

"I'll make it up to you...by making sure this doesn't happen to the other you. As long as my Asriel walks the earth, as long as he draws breath, as long as he exists...I'll let him find the happy ending he deserves. I'm proud to be the friend that he always wanted. There are no longer any flowers that someone has to tend to. When it's all said and done...I will never have anything better to do."

Gods, I'm such a crybaby. I'm so overemotional and such a drama king.
I wiped my eyes again and went back to the piano and played the melody, opening the way. I entered and realized too late before I stood in front of the pedestal holding the Legendary Artifact.

"Oh. I guess this was a wrong turn. Get your head in the game, Volt."
I reached out and grabbed the artifact and studied it a bit before brushing an E.N.G.I.N.E. dot...and getting an error?

"What the...?"

I frowned and tried again until I decided to hit the manual release...

"WHAT IN THE NAME OF CHARLES BABBAGE...?!?" I yelped as a very annoying white dog decompressed from my E.N.G.I.N.E. dot and snagged the artifact and swallowed it in one gulp and ran off.

"DAMN YOU, TO--!!" I cut myself off, too flustered to finish my sentence.

"Get a hold of yourself, Volt. It's just a dog. A very annoying dog. And you're getting too overemotional and too distracted."

I sighed and got a move on, I sighed and checked my other E.N.G.I.N.E. dots and sure enough found Dog Residue.

"What is about this mission that's determined to make me run the gambit of emotions? Too many complications...aggravations...it's getting to me." I inadvertently nabbed a line from "Living on the Edge" by Aerosmith.

The first chance I got I emptied that sucker out into a box. But until then I followed the path and decompressed an umbrella from storage. So I forgot I had an extra from the last time I went through Waterfall. Nobody's perfect.
And who should I run into but...

"Yooo! Duuuude!"

Hello again, Monster Kid. Of course you'd be drawn to me like iron to a magnet. And the entire time he'd talk my ear off. But...I couldn't bring myself to be annoyed by it. Asriel would want me to be supportive and it was the right thing to do. So I listened and commented when I could.

"...yeah, she's still pretty cool. We just got off on the wrong foot, that's all. Sometimes...even true heroes can mistake someone for a bad guy. I don't know. Maybe I look too much like a mad scientist?"

"You look happy to me, Mister."

"N-no. Mad as in...crazy...insane......never mind. It's not important."

It was dark and it was raining. Swell.

We entered the clearing and then I saw it on the left. The Capital. We were in this spot--Asriel's favorite viewing point. The spot where he gave Chara the locket.

I turned and gazed at the mighty castle in the distance. So close but so far away.

"That's where the king--Mr. Dreemurr--lives!"

"Wow. Lucky him."

I forced as much sincerity as I could into that statement, knowing he was anything but lucky. A dead son and a dead daughter. His queen had divorced him and refused to forgive him. His people were slowly giving their support to the human that continued to befriend them. And only the souls of six children who had met their deaths in his kingdom...and he was responsible for each one if not directly, indirectly from his own decree.

And it still got worse. The Royal Scientist had broken off contact after returning with the first Golden Flower and declaring her experiments complete and total failures. And the people whose families had fallen and asked Alphys for help still didn't have answers. The problems of the kingdom were eroding it from within.

Something had to give. He would eventually stand alone with only one shot at making the wish of his people come true...only one more soul would grand them their freedom.

"Dude, it must be so cool to live in a castle! He must be the happiest guy in the world!"

I held back my sniffle. You poor, naive child.

He ran on a head while I just hung my head and stood there in my lamentation.

What was I going to do? Did I really have to betray Toriel's trust and make sure he didn't have second thoughts about fighting Frisk? Tell me you were at least shedding a tear from the predicament I was in, Lady Destiny. I know you were quite amused at the situation you put us all in, Madam Fate. This was twisted. And I had no choice but to make sure it ran its course.
This must be what it's like to be Silver Surfer. Completely chained to Galactus and forced to seek out worlds rich in life for him to feed off of.

Agent of S.T.C. Worst. Job. Ever.

I sighed and moved on.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 126: "From Waterfall to Hotland":


I leaped up onto the ledge that would have been too high for Frisk to climb (without standing on Monster Kid's shoulders) and bid farewell to the armless dino-dude.

At this point the signs were beyond depressing to read. The war. The mounds of dust. And not a single soul taken. Were human really this powerful? Or just that vicious.

I never liked the term "crusade". They were always done in the name of religious beliefs or political reasons disguised as such. People sent off to battle for honor and glory, intoxicated by the call to arms. But really...there was nothing grand or heroic about them. Just a lot of death until one side either conceded defeat or was completely wiped out.

And now it was a maze of bridges and piers. I looked around nervously, expecting Undyne's spears to rocket up. I continued on until I saw the break in the path. Oh crap. Frisk had already been this way. I stared down into the abyss below. Onward and downward.

I used my magnetic powers to form compressed magnetism version of those infamous Yoku Blocks from Mega Man's world. The bane of platforming existence and yet they were helping me get to the bottom without falling to a painful landing which I'd have to probably spend a while letting my bones knit after impact.

*sniff sniff* Oh yeah. That's garbage. I was nearing the end of Waterfall and getting close to Hotland. Napstablook's place was around here, too.

"Whoops!"

Oh yeah...I think I might need more practice with Yoku Blocks.

The next thing I knew I was crash landing into--

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
TRANSMISSION INTERRUPTED...

*static*

CRYPTOSMASHER ONLINE
TRANSMISSION RESUMED

"...It sounds like it came from over here... Oh! You've fallen down, haven't you... Are you okay? Here, get up..."

Open your eyes, Volt. Open your eyes.

"...Chara, huh? That's a nice name."

The blackness started turning white.

"My name is......."

My eyes snapped open and I suddenly sat up with a scream.

"ASRIEL!"

I calmed myself...and then I was greeted with the scent of a lot of garbage.

"Uh...why do I never wake up at a Texas Barbecue or in a scented bubble bath?"

That was strange. Why was I experiencing Asriel's memories...or were they Chara's? Ugh. Didn't matter.

I picked my way through familiar territory, wading through the water. I passed few mounds of garbage when...

"Ha ha! Too intimidated to fight me! I am a ghost that lives inside a DUMMY. My cousin used to live inside a dummy, too. Until... Until you...YOU....! You were...wait.......I actually don't recognize you. But no matter! I will wipe you away with the dainty handkerchief of venegeance (even though I don't really have a grudge against you, per se)!"

Oh. It's just Mad Dummy. Well...let's see if his bark is worse than his bite.

I decompressed the XBTOCLC's and whirled and pointed them menacingly.

"Sure you want to do this? I know you can't kill a ghost but...how long will it take you to find a new body if you insist that I plasma that one all over the Underground?"

And holy crap did I call it. No sooner did he see the barrels start to spin did he fly off, screaming and crying, like he had jet thrusters in his base.

*CLICK*

Oh yeah...I kinda forgot to recharge them after the last time I used them. Can I bluff or what? Back to the E.N.G.I.N.E. dots with you two. Mercy was mercy...even if it was unconventional.

And just up ahead whose place should I arrive at but...

"Heh."

A pair of houses back to back, drooping in opposite directions. One pale cyan, the other brownish. I knocked on the blue door.

"Hello? Anyone home? It's me, Volt. I'm just stopping by to say hello. Is it okay if I come in? I'll understand if you're not up to it."
A lengthy period of silence before the door opened on its own without anyone seemingly behind it.

I entered and sure enough, there was Napstablook. Little white hovering sheet with eyeholes, wearing headphones. Like a stretched, white version of one of the Pac-Man ghost monsters....huh...ghost...monster. Nah...nevermind. Brain fart.

"It's just me."

"Oh... Doctor..."

"Hey, ya, Napstablook." I nodded a little.

"How've you been?"

"Oh.... I've been... a little... down... I think I...miss seeing my cousin..."

"There, there. I'm sure he thinks of you. Don't worry about it, little guy. It can get pretty busy when you follow your dreams, y'know?"

"I...suppose..."

"Anyway. I know you're always dabbling in music. So...recently I lost a bet with Violet so...the terms were I had to bring you a CD with a random music remix she pulled off of the internet. So I guess we both get to suffer at her enjoyment. Ha ha..."

"...Uh.......okay...."

I slipped the disc into one of the CD players on the table.

"Brace yourself. We may be in for something strange, weird, eccentric, or just sick...knowing Vi."

"WINAMP (WINAMP!) It really whips the llama's ass!"

I facepalmed.

"Sorry. She just HAD to include that in there." I folded my ears back and crossed my arms.

"It's.....okay....."

And then the track came up and we were introduced to the freestylings of Sir Jordanius, DiGI Valentine and halc--the Zone Runners--and their rendition of "A Ghost's Pumpkin Soup...for Pumpkin Hill" known simply as "Graveyard Theory".

"Huh. She picked one that was actually good for a change."

"Oh! I.....like this song..."

"Well then, it's yours, my friend. I think it only appropriate we enjoy it in an appropriate fashion after the emotional rollercoaster I've been on lately."

"Oh...if that is what you want..."

I lay down on the floor as Napstablook did the same. We had ourselves a nice long session of feeling like trash.

It was a bit longer before I went on my way. Sure enough Napstablook was already playing Graveyard Theory in a loop as I left and bumped into Woshua and Aaron. And the music's effect was immediate. I'd seen the classic Spooktune have this same effect. Guess not everyone's a fan of rap.

"What the HECK is that music?!"

"I D-Dunno, dude...but it's spooking me out! Those beats! Those fresh lyrics! Those ain't natural man!"

"Oh....it's like something from a horror movie! This is worse than Shyen!"

"No way, Shyren is way scarier!"

"Then why do you keep winking?"

"These are winks of fear!"

"It just sounds so...dirty...I'm outta here."

"Waaait! Don't leave me, Wosh! P-please stop! Is this creepy music my punishment for being creepy?"

Both got the heck outta dodge.

I put my hands on my hips and scoffed.

"Some monsters just don't know good music when they hear it. Oh well......."

I grooved my way onto Temmie Village. "I ain't gonna let it get to me, I'm just gonna creep..."

At least I was in a better mood. And it was about to get hyper once I reached--

"hOI"

YaYaYaYa!!!"

"Awawawa!!!"

"Tem is PROUD PARENT!"

"humans... such a... CUTE!"

That's...about enough of that. Small doses, Volt. Small doses. Too much of a good thing is an awesome thing. But too much of an awesome thing is...really, really dumb.

I wasn't sure where and when on my journey it was, but I did eventually run into Gerson. Aging turtle monster. Something seemed very British about him. He had a lot to say, a lot to sell...and was keenly aware of a lot that I wasn't prepared for. I guess someone that wise and experienced could easily see I wasn't of this world...or maybe I gave myself away. Whatever it it was...I took a lot of notes while I conversed with him.

I found my way to Undyne's arena. Abandoned. But no sign of dust anywhere. No scent of it either. She was just out. That had to be it, right? I mean...it's not like she might be laying face down, frying in the sweltering heat of Hotland, a stone's throw away from the water cooler... ...dammit, Volt. Why do you give yourself so many worries?

After all that, I finally came arcross the giant L.E.D. billboard that cycled through the message, in big bold letters "WELCOME TO HOT LAND".

"Finally. Thought I'd never see this place again. Ahhhhh. Nice and toasty."

I strolled past Sans' hot dog stand where once again he was fast asleep. I went right past the guards and straight to Alphys' lab. There was an elevator here which would take me straight to the capital.

I knocked.

I guess I wasn't expecting an answer...because there came none. Okaaaay. Nervousness aside, I knew Alphys was a shut-in and probably wasn't used to visitors. Oh well. There was a good chance she was in the True Lab anyway...

I reactivated the feature on my bracer and turned intangible, phasing through the door.

I navigated the place, outside of time and space. I took my pick between phasing through the door...or just walking through the Mettaton-shaped hole in the wall. Meh. Phasing through was cooler by comparison. So I did. And I continued my journey from there...

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 127: "Tanabata":

Bunnie laid back on the roof of the main building of Rabbotou Dojo with Megami, Nikita, and Asriel joining them. Bunnie, Megami, and Nikita were wearing yukata kimonos. Their block geta sandals lay nearbye. Asriel was wearing the male version of the yukata kimono with an oriental fan tucked in the back of the "obi" belt.

"I've never been up on the roof before. Are you sure it isn't too dangerous?"

"Do not worry, Asriel-kun. I have taken precautions for your safety."

"I'm just worried that Mom might not be okay with this..."

"I don't believe that will be a problem." Callista suddenly spoke, adjusting her own kimono.

"Hello, son." Scott chimed in, already in KQF form.

"Mom? Dad?"

"It's okay, sport. We trust Bunnie completely. And you as well."

"Wow...my parents are so cool!"

"Tell us again about Tanabata, Bunnie." Callie smiled.

Bunnie graciously explained.

"According to legend, the Ginga (The Galaxy) separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the solar-lunar calendar.

In present-day Jang, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on "tanzaku", small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations. The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival, around midnight or on the next day.

Often there are summer festivals and star-gazing. Superstitious belief is that if one is able to recite their wish, mentally, in the time a shooting star appears then vanishes from sight, that wish will come to pass."

Sure enough everyone had asked Bunnie and Megami to write their wishes down on tanzaku and they hung from the nearby bamboo and decorations.

Asriel beamed as bright as the stars.

"There is also a traditional Tanabata song." Nikita added, rather matter-of-factly.

"Megami-chan..." Bunnie turned to her.

"あなたは七夕の伝統的な歌を歌っていただけますか?" <Anata wa tanabata no dentō-tekina uta o utatte itadakemasu ka?>

Megami nodded. "Hai." And then she sang rather beautifully in Jangese.


Sasa no ha sara-sara (The bamboo leaves rustle)

Nokiba ni yureru (shaking away in the leaves.)

Ohoshi-sama kira-kira (The stars twinkle)

Kingin sunago (on the gold and silver grains of sand.)

Goshiki no tanzaku (The five-colour paper strips)

watashi ga kaita (I have already written.)

Ohoshi-sama kirakira (The stars twinkle,)

sora kara miteru (they watch us from heaven.)


Asriel applauded.

"That's incredible, Miss Megami!"

"Very impressive, Lady Kobayashi."

Bunnie smiled.

Asriel happened to look up at the right moment.

"Ohh!" He exclaimed as the shooting star streaked across the sky. He quickly clasped his hands and bowed his head and squeezed his eyes closed and wished with all his heart.

"I think I made it in time." He opened his eyes, the expression sparkling as bright as the stars.

"You know...a long time ago monsters would whisper their wishes to the stars in the sky... If you hoped with all your heart, your wish would come true." Asriel recited what I had read from the signs in Waterfall.

"But then when we were sealed underground all we had were the sparkling stones in the ceiling of Mount Ebott." Asriel stared off into the airless sea and the white dots that sprinkled across it.

"Hmm." Nikita pondered.

"Well. Now you can make wishes on real stars. You're the first monster to do so...that makes it really special, doesn't it?"

"It sure does, Mom. It sure does."

"It...makes me think of...things from my past." Scott said.

"You mean...the Damocles Satellite." Callista asked.

"Yeah. Big chunk of metal, electronics floating in space......it's a tale for another time. A time where I don't have to worry about bringing the mood down." Scott nodded.

"It's not a very happy story, is it?" Asriel asked.

"No. It's actually a very painful story but...it needs to be told at a better time. You already know what questions you're going to ask, don't you?"

"Yeah....a pretty big one. I think we both know what it is."

"It's what you're expected to do as a soldier when you're at war." Scott nodded.

"Anyway...like I said. I don't want to bring down the mood."

"It is okay, Scott-Taisa. It will take much more than old memories to bring this festival's mood down. And we are all here for you if you need shoulders to lean on."

Megami smiled and reminded the credo that had done so well to clear my mind.

"一人で歩くことはありません願っています。” <Hitori de aruku koto wa arimasen negatte imasu.>

"そう だ ね。" <Sou da ne.> Nikita agreed.

The star festival went on.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 128: "Remember That Stop in the Ruins Much Earlier..."

I followed my way through the walkways and corridors of Alphy's lab before deciding it was getting me nowhere. I decided to retrace my steps in getting to the Core. Last time we were in such a hurry I didn't realize that we had taken an alternate route to the Core that didn't show up on any map.

This time I was taking the direct route through the MTT Hotel. But first I had to work my way through the maze of steam platforms and activate the security terminals for the gates.

"Alphys, you have interesting taste in security programs."

I was thinking back to generation 2 video games when Atari was still the big kid on the block. The interface actually reminded me of the monochrome vector graphics of Asteroids.

I was too caught up in my nostalgia to notice I entered a doorway into an old part of Hotland...and I noticed my walking pace was starting to slow down...and that it was taking a bit more effort to lift my feet.

I looked down and noticed I was ankle-deep and rising in spider webbing.......oh sh--(FLOWEY LAUGH)...!

"Ahuhuhuhu..."

No no no no nonononono...!

"Did you hear what they said? They said that a human wearing a striped shirt would come through. But unpexectedly something else was on its way. Could the human have slipped past I wonder? But this new creature...I heard many things about them...I heard they hate spiders as much as humans...I heard they love to stomp on them...I heard they like to tear their legs off."

Oh gods. I felt on trial. I had never done any of those things. I was always too afraid of bugs...insects and arachnids to mess with them. I was deathly afraid of stinging insects like bees and wasps and hornets...but arachnids like spiders and tarantulas ranked right up there.

On principle when I was required to make a bug collection for middle school, I pleaded to be given an alternative assignment. In the end I collected them but I refused to kill them and mount them. That I had to turn to someone with more nerve and less compassion for them than myself.

"I heard...that they're awfully stingy with their money."

I turned to the left and there standing on a thickly constructed platform made of webs was the form of Muffet.

"Ahuhuhuhuh...you think your taste is too refined for our pastries, don't you, dearie?"

I was too petrified with fear to answer. Back on Fontraile I had dealt with a lot of species of Arachne and Chryssalids which gave me plenty of nightmares of half-woman, half giant spider creatures that were responsible for many life-or-death experiences that I wish I could forget about.

Muffet might not have been as horrifying but she was no less intimidating. By this time the webbing had bound my arms and was getting close to chest level.

"..." I couldn't even utter a gasp or hyperventilate.

"Ahuhuhuhuhuh...I disagree with that notion. I think your taste...is exactly what this next batch needs!"

The webbing seemed to suddenly extend from her platform over to where I had been wrapped up.

Five eyes. Fangs. Six pairs of arms, two hanging by her side, the other four grasping tea cups and tea kettles. Short pig-tails done up with hair bows. Puffy-shouldered garment. A dress that cinched down like bloomers.
I didn't want to fight her but I didn't want to be a spider snack.

I figured I might as well have a last meal before I made my next move. I couldn't reach my lab coat's upper breast pocket with my hands. So I leaned forward and tried to reach with my muzzle. I stretched until bones cracked until finally my front teeth sank into the spider donut I was still carrying. I yanked it out of my pocket, jerked my head back and opened my jaws wide and snapped down on it as it fell into my mouth.

"Huh...? Where did you get that...? Did you steal it? Oh, my pet ~ It's time to show them what we do with thieves ~ "

And suddenly I felt the presence of the biggest, baddest, hairiest darn spider I wish I had never come to meet the acquaintance of.

I prepared to meet my maker at the moment a tiny spider crawled up to Muffet and handed off a note.

"Huh? A telegram from the spiders in the Ruins? What? They're saying they saw you, and... ...you helped donate to their cause! Oh my this has all been a missunderstanding~ I thought that you were someone who hated spiders~ The person who asked for that SOUL... They must've meant a different Greater Dog in pajamas... Sorry for all the trouble~ Ahuhuhuhuh..."

I swallowed the donut, licked my teeth underneath my lips so I wouldn't be showing my food and then forced the most painful grin I could manage, trying to be sincere as possible.

"I'll make it up to you~ You can come back here at any time... And for no charge at all... I'll wrap you up and let you play with my pet again!"

I forced back a whimper, my eyes widening slightly. By this time my teeth were clenched pretty tight.

"Ahuhuhuhuhu~ Just kidding. I'll SPARE you now!"

With that the webs all released and I was allowed to go on.

"That was fun! See you again, dearie!"

And with that Muffet and her spiders disappeared into the darkness.

I maintained my painfully forced, wide-eyed grin. I decided to call time out and set a Warp Marker on the other side of the door. And then I immediately hit the Emergency Recall, accessing the preset I had queued in advance. And soon I found myself in front of the UCIAT HQ building where Felicia, Velaska, Elektra, and Mitzi happened to be standing by.

"Oh, Commander! You're back." Mitzi greeted.

I nodded, still wearing the traumatized grin that even Conker the Squirrel might find disturbing.

"I guess you didn't make it to your goal again." Mitzi followed up.

I shook my head, maintaining the same plastered on look.

"Aww...that's too bad. But you still made progress, right?

I nodded again.

"Dad...are you alright?"

"He seems a bit--"

"You must've run into someone down there. You're smiling." Mitzi started.

"Uh...I don't think--" Elektra started.

"So tell me. How was it?" Mitzi asked.

A hesitation...and then suddenly I inhaled deeply...and screamed bloody murder and kept screaming without taking a breath.

Heads whirled, doors and windows opened and a lot of eyes were suddenly on me.

And I kept this scream up until I ran out of air....about sixty seconds later.

"Oooh. That's a record." Violet mused from Computer Valhalla's front entrance as she clicked a stopwatch.

Silence from everyone.

"O........kaaaaay..." Mitzi said, blinking a few times.

Violet strolled up.

"Sounds like someone got tangled up in his work. Maybe you should consider switching your career to web-design, huh? Well at least you had a leg...or eight...up on things, am I right? Step into my parlor said the--"

"Violet. I will END YOU." I suddenly bared the claws on one hand and brought them dangerously close to her face.

"...comment withdrawn."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 129: "Back on Track":

I touched down at the Warp Marker. All of the progress I made had been conserved. Excellent.

I spared no effort picking my way through the rest of Hot Land, eventually making it the MTT Hotel. I brushed by the restaurant area. Had I looked closer I would have seen Frisk and Sans at a table, having a discussion.

Okay. I was definitely ahead of Frisk on their quest at this moment. No time to stop in on the restaurant and drop in on Burgerpants. I went immediately thorugh the big set of doors that spelled it out like it was: "CORE".

I picked my way through the additional laboratory areas beyond.
"North...the warrior's path. West...the sage's path. All paths lead to The End."

I decided to go west and kept going. And finally I came to what I believed was the Core. Instead I found Mettaton's chamber.

"Oh there you are, darling! It's time to have our little showdown--" The boxy form of Mettaton started.

"Oh! Oh dear me. You're not who I was expecting...oh wait...it's you, Dr. Arcade."

"Hi. Sorry to disappoint you. I'd love to stay and chat but I've got kind of deadline to keep and...I kinda want to make it to the king before the evil spirit that--"

"Oh yes! By all means yes, my good sir! Please continue on."

"Thanks, Mettaton. And please...go easy on the kid. They're...actually pretty nice once you get to know them."

"Well...it doesn't make for interesting TV...but I'll see what I can do. Oh well. That's showbiz, am I right?"

"Keep it real, Mettaton."

"Until next time, beauties!"

Sometimes it was hard to tell if Violet was channeling Mettaton or Mettaton was channeling Violet. No time to ponder it now. I went down the hall and found the elevator in question.

"There you are."

I boarded and pressed the appropriate button. Nothing but the whir of the elevator. Not even elevator music to listen to.

It eventually stopped and the doors opened to an area that was made of brick and incredibly gray. In fact...everything was quite literally...shades of grey.

I went on and sure enough I was crossing the walkways within the castle walls. So many towers. So many buildings. I decided to step outside of space and time just to avoid any unexpected confrontations along the way. I didn't want a single moment wasted. Just seconds would be all that Chara might need to turn things upside-down.

I kept walking the path...until I came to something overly famliar. It was...the center of the Ruins. Toriel's house. The same patch of flowers out front...but no tree. The door was wide open. But everything was all gray. Lifeless almost.

I closed my eyes as took it all in...and a great sadness welled up in me as I felt a distant melody in my heart.

So this was "New Home".

I entered. Everything was the same...everything but the chain-link barrier across the basement steps. Two locks. I knew where to look. I searched the house. Everything was colorless...except the Golden Flowers. I explored everything...I found the unopened containrs of snails...the crumpled butterscotch-cinnamon pie recipes. And one recipe for snail pie. I willed my hand tangible enough to pick them up and save them. Maybe Mitzi could use them.

I explored the children's room. Two presents on the ground. I opened the first and found the worn knife. Not my style. I tried the other, expecting the heart-shaped locket.....but there was nothing. It should have been there. Chara must've nabbed it at some point. But when? How? How badly was this semi-stable timeline corrupted by her antics......or by my intervention?

I explored Asgore's room and found plenty of information to go on. The Santa Claus suit in the closet. The Number 1 Nose Nuzzle Champs of '98 trophy. The dresser filled with robes, shirts, and...a Number 1 Dad Guy sweater? And finally the journal on the desk that read "Nice Day Today".
I found the keys in question. But I decided to leave them where they lay. Frisk would need them more than me. I decided to phase through the chain blockade.

I made my way downstairs...but not before glancing at the calender with a single date on the year of 201X circled. I choked back a sob.

I followed the path. I could sense the monsters of the entire kingdom had gathered and were lying in wait for Frisk to tell the tragic tale of Asriel. But outside of the space-time continuum...I'd go unnoticed. It was just as well. I.......I don't think I could stand to hear the story again. I didn't want to have doubts going in. I just needed to talk to Asgore. Learn from him. Maybe take something away from this. But most importantly...get to him before Chara did. Maybe...I'd have to make a return trip here. Maybe then I'd be in some capacity to hear the story.

I wondered what was keeping Frisk. Maybe...mabye they weren't ready yet to arrive at the palace. I knew there were a lot of other distractions along the way here. Perhaps Frisk ran into Chatty and Catty behind the MTT Hotel? Maybe they took the River Boat back to one of the other places to stock up on food or something.

I passed through another path overlooking the towers and buildings.
Finally. The Judgement Hall. The last area before the Throne Room.
I crossed the corridor, looking left and right, and straight ahead. I shuddered, worried. I expected one person to show up here.

But...

Sans didn't show. Was it...because I was too early? Or simply because I wasn't the kid? Obviously I wasn't the one to be judged but...

Then it occured to me. With the exception of Muffet......I hadn't run into a single boss monster since I had come down here. Where was everyone? There was no scent of dust. There was no strange behavior out of anyone. Monster Kid certainly didn't show any indication Undyne was dead.

"What does it mean?"

Out of all the timelines I had NEVER come across this scenario. I wasn't aware of the triadic meeting during the Neo Arcadia vacation. The possibility that they were all meeting in secret ran high. But there was also a chance that Chara had gotten to someone else. But that was illogical. Next to Asgore, Undyne and Mettaton were probably the next strongest boss monsters. And by now thanks to my intevention they'd both be on guard for Chara.

She had already passed up Undyne. It was probably the most logical choice at one point--Undyne would be the closest to get to the King. But in her body, Chara would never be able to make it through Hot Land to the Capital.

Papyrus would be useless to her...at least in Chara's opinion.
Toriel and Alphys had both failed her as had Mettaton.

That only left Sans. And while he had some wicked scary abilities as well as his teleportation, his 1HP was too much of a risk for Chara to consider.

"I'm here. I've arrived."

I took a deep breath and entered the Throne Room.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 130: "Asgore (The First Meeting)":

Wall to wall flowers. And in the center the biggest patch of Golden Flowers I'd ever seen. This was it. This was the spot Asriel...Asriel...*hic*......come on, Volt...get a hold of yourself...

What was happening? I felt an incredible fear...sadness...emptiness...and yet it felt like something was resonating the closer I got to the Golden Flowers.

And there. There he was. The King of All Monsters.

Asgore Dreemurr.

Standing at an impressive 7 or 8 feet tall...he was a big one. I could only see the back of his purple robe, his gold shoulder pauldrons, the back of his blond hair, his floppy white ears...and those enormous curved horns.
He hummed to himself...surprisingly cheerfully. This...wasn't what I was expecting. Even though I should have known what to expect...this sure didn't seem like the demeanor of a broken man.

I sighed and clicked on my bracer, turning tangible again. I approached.

"Oh! Is someone there? Just a moment. I'm almost done watering these flowers." He chuckled joyfully, his form shaking a bit.

Oh yes. Big. Bold. Deep. Yet gentle. Hard to believe this was the Monster who murdered six children.

"...here we are!"

"Howdy! How can I...!" He stopped abruptly.

"Oh. I...don't quite recognize you."

I took a deep breath and began.

"Sorry to enter unannounced...I...know you're busy and all but...I...."

"There was a time once...I knew all my people by name...all of them by heart. I wouldn't pass up a moment to give a personalized hello to any monster, big or small, young or old. My...I must be getting up in there in years to be so slip shot. Ha ha ha..."

"Er..." I started.

"I really don't get much company these days. Is it that I just can't find the time? How selfish up me. I really should do better."

This friendliness...it just didn't seem...right.

Asgore turned to look out the window of the strange light that poured it. It wasn't sunlight but...something else just as bright. I wonder if it was from the barrier?

While he was looking away, I brought out the P.K.E. Meter mk-II. No valence. Good. Chara wasn't here.

"Where are my manners? I must offer you a cup of Golden Flower Tea."

I didn't have time for this...did I?

"...ummm....yes. Yes, thank you. That would be lovely."

As he held out his hand, his magic gathered and I could see a table rise up from the flower bed just in front of the throne. We sat down in front of it as Asgore heated the water with fire magic and mixed it with the Golden Flower mixture in the strainer. He swirled it around until it was all properly brewed.

He poured me a cup and himself one.

I bowed my head politely and accepted. And I sipped away. It was the same as Toriel's. It was really good tea.

"Young man, what is your name?"

"Dr. Volt Arcade, your majesty. And...I'm hardly as young as I look."

"What brings you here?"

"Well...it's...complicated but...I guess one reason is......I thought maybe you could use the company. I mean...just because you are the king doesn't mean you're unapproachable...right?"

Asgore let out a hearty laugh.

"You are quite thoughtful, young sir. But honestly...do I really seem that alone?"

Careful, Volt. Landmine ahead. Don't mention Toriel. Don't mention Chara. Don't mention Asriel.,

"Oh...well uh...I don't know. I was just being...um...a good neighbor. Or something."

I admit it. I could see sparks of Asriel in him. As much as I didn't want to admit it, as much as I wanted to focus on how much Asriel took after his mother...I could see his father in him...and I could see him in his father.

"There's been...quite a bit of excitement stirring outside, hasn't there?"

"Oh?"

"You needn't act surprised. You needn't feign ignorance. I see and hear beyond these castle walls. I keep the well-being of my people a top priority."

"Then you know about--"

"The human. Yes. I know they are...on their way. This is...the seventh one to come this way. The eighth in total. Has...so much time really passed since..."

Asgore hesitated.

"No matter. These things will be resolved soon enough. My people's faith in me...will...be rewarded. It will all be over and...certain things will never have to happen again."

"Forgive my say so...but you sound as if you don't want to go through with this."

Asgore's expression fell.

"Do you know...that my name...when you rewrite it...it becomes "Sage or Murderer"?

That was when the sadness set in. Now I was having an easier time believing he did the deeds.

"Sire?" I said, still putting on the act that I was one of the Underground Monsters.

"I'm a man...who doesn't want to hate. But sees no way out. I'm trapped. Trapped in these walls. Trapped by the burden. So many are giving their hopes up. They see the light at the end of the tunnel. They see salvation...freedom. They believe I can still give it to them. Alas...do they not fully realize...what I must do to grant them this...basic inaliable right?"

I was beginning to see past the facade. Sure on the surface he seemed like your typical goofy monarch. Like a version of Violet's dad, Emperor Fred but with a much higher intelligence than Violet's scat-singer, pomegranate-stained robe-wearing, crossed-eyed panda of a father. But underneath...he was quite intelligent...and quite lost.

"Your highness...in alchemy there's a law that applies here. To obtain...something of equal value must be given up in exchange. This is the Law of Equivalent Exchange." I said, quoting the Elric Brothers, Edward and Alphonse. They in turn had recited it as they had been taught.

"But I wonder...how do you ascribe a numeric value on something like a human life...a human soul?"

"Perhaps...it is time I...stopped being so stubborn...perhaps I should have seen things from Toriel's perspective. Each time...gets a little easier...but the burden gets heavier. Each soul makes it harder to stay......."

"Determined?"

"Yes....Determined."

"She's right. I am a coward. I can't stop having doubts about this final soul. I can't help but feel like...I no longer have the nerve to finish what I started. Maybe...maybe I need to stop. But if I do...then I've let my people down. I deny them their freedom."

This is where I had to bite my tongue. This is where I couldn't do what you would hope I'd do, Toriel. I'm sorry. But Asgore had to stay resolute. This was Frisk's final test. A hero...an angel...a savior could take no shortcuts. They had to be put to the test of what happens when you cannot use Mercy in a situation.

"!!!" That had reminded me.

I looked around the room. No sign of Flowey. Oh. Good. What a relief.

"Be thou for the people." I quoted the credo of the State Alchemists.

"Hmm?"

"If you're going to stand, stand resolute. The people need more than a king. They need hope. Give them their hope...and may you find hope of your own to draw strength from."

"Would a sinner be granted the luxury of hope when he has yet to deserve it?"

"Your highness. Hate the sin. Not the sinner. We are all imperfect. We all make our choices."

"And we will be judged for them.

"Yes. But...only future generations can decide if we are rightous or renegade...if we are just...or despot.......only future generations can label one maverick."

I didn't know if quoting the reploid known as Epsilon was the best choice of advice to give. It was the best I had to offer, all things considering. And the fact that I was encouraging Asgore of all people...why did doing the right thing make me feel so sick to my stomach at this moment?

Asgore looked away.

"I've failed as a father. And as a husband. I have my people's support but I stand alone. Perhaps maybe I should just surrender my soul to the human...and let them return home...through the barrier."

"You are speaking of...ending your own life?" I raised my voice a little, a sting of anger in it. This was something I considered unacceptable as I channeled Bunnie's own strong belief against suicide. Life was precious. There was no reason to throw it away just because you were afraid of the consequences of your own sins.

"Now that...the Queen would never forgive you for. As much animosity as she must harbor for you for your other...deeds...there is no place for a true act of cowardice. Forgive me for speaking out, but you should know better."

I noticed the tears rolling down his beard.

"If the human fights me...I will kill them. I don't want to but that's what will happen. None have survived me. I'm backed in a corner and I don't know what to do. I'm so scared. I'm so alone."

Like father, like son. The Absolute God of Hyperdeath had a similar mentality.

"If he were still with us...the Prince would not want to see you like this."

"And yet he would feel as if it was his fault that his mother and I are no longer together. That all of the sins I've committed were in his name."

"Tell me honestly. Were they?"

"No...well...yes.......maybe? I don't know..."

"What would you ask of your people once they have their freedom?"

"I've...pondered this. My daughter...Chara...the first human to fall into the Underground......I used to dismiss her questioning if monsters would take their revenge on humanity for imprisoning them within the barrier. I did not give it the weight it probably deserved. I knew she was speaking from having a broken childhood. I thought she just needed time to grow out of her angst. Yet she was serious. Dead serious.

Now...that I think about it now...I...I don't know if I want that. I don't know if my people want that. Undyne would support it but..."

"Sire?"

"I just want my role in this to be over. Once I become this...all-powerful god and break the barrier......maybe I should just...leave this world and live out my punishment in exile."

I rubbed my temples. I was learning a lot about the man...the monster...the king. But...somehow I felt unsatisfied. What I was looking for...I don't think I was going to be able to get from this meeting. I would definitely need to return here and discuss things.

"What would the Prince want you do do with that power?"

"......."

Asgore sighed.

"My people deserve better. You've convinced me to at least go through with this without taking my own life. I'll fight the human...but I cannot hold back. Not for their sake and not for Toriel's. Not even for Asriel and Chara."

"Asgore. Someone once said "Die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.". I don't wish to bring this up...but you know Prince Asriel died a hero. It would have been easy for him to annhilate the humans and take their souls. It's what his sister would have wanted, right?"

"I don't want to admit to it...but yes. She was...determined to set us free. But I had no idea she would use Asriel to do it. That's why...that's why she tried so hard to change my mind about them."

"So...knowing that he had the strength to say no to her. To not fight back. To come back home with Princess Chara's body and breathe his final breath before you and the Queen...knowing that his people mourned him so strongly..."

"It is...a comfort I've overlooked for so long in my grief. He was...a better monster than I'll ever be."

Asgore was streaming tears at this point. Again. Like father. Like son.

"I can no longer bear these memories. Please......I do not wish to reflect on the past...and I do not wish to discuss the future. I need to be alone. I...I need time.

Leave me, Volt Arcade. This audience is over."

"Remember. We all fashion these memories ourselves." I said, quoting Jimminy Cricket in Mickey's Christmas Carol.

"Volt Arcade?"

"Yes, my liege?"

"He was the real angel meant to save us...wasn't he?"

Where did this insight come from? I felt it was...teasing the future. But there's no way that Asgore could have that kind of farsight. Maybe...it was just his grief talking.

"Yes." I said as I turned away.

"And he still is." I said to myself as I activated the Emergency Recall and sent myself back to Miranda City.

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
END TRANSMISSION...
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Old 07-19-2016, 11:40 PM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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We're back with another update.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 131: "The Lament of Queen Toriel":


Well. I convinced him not to end his own life. That was...something to feel at least some kind of relief over, right? And yet...it was counterbalanced by the fact that it still meant that Frisk couldn't escape the underground unless they took Asgore's soul.

"You are a piece of work, aren't you, Your highness? And yet...not completely irredeemable."

Neither a monster soul nor a human soul alone was enough to cross the barrier. Despite human souls being the far more powerful of the two, the harsh truth was this was the complication that stood in the way of a simple happy ending.

This was what made it unfair. It would be either Asgore...or Frisk. One wouldn't survive and yet...somehow there was a way to the True Happy End where no one had to die. And I still wasn't sure how Frisk reloading their save data worked. In all this time I hadn't made a study of the "data save" mechanic this world had.

"Damn."

For it to work Frisk would have to defeat Omega Flowey and spare him afterward. The six souls would leave him and open the way long enough for Frisk to leave. And then...the timeline would...somehow loop back onto itself just before the fight with Asgore. Even for those of us in S.T.C. this was a phenomenon that defied explanation.

The only reason I could go through the barrier was that I was born both human and monster in a way. I had done so out of curiosity in other timelines I had visited. I could only imagine what kind of power a Monster, especially Asgore, would gain by absorbing my soul...if it was even at all possible.

"Why are you doing this to yourself, Volt?"

I only caught my breath a bit and dried my eyes before leaving Miranda and returning back to the Warp Marker I left in the castle just before hitting the Emergency Recall. Even though I knew it would push my emotions over the edge, I had to visit the room of coffins just to canonize that Asgore did indeed commit the atrocities.

Seven coffins, each marked with the color of the respective virtue represented by its dead occupant's soul in life.

I had expected the seventh one--the one with the red heart denoting determination to be empty. But a thought occurred to me that it wasn't empty because it was the one reserved for Frisk...what if...it was empty because it was where Chara was originally entombed?

"........" I looked it over.

I would have to unwind and brighten my mood after finally meeting Asgore and seeing those coffins. He was definitely a broken man. He reaped what he sowed, most certainly, but it wasn't just life repaying his cruel decree. I'm certain Toriel did a number on him with the divorce.

I suddenly heard the soft hum of what was definitely the melody of "Fiery Nights"

I looked up and there in a purple hooded cloak was only one person.

"A grim sight is it not?"

"It just didn't seem like something that could be real. After meeting the Monster I just had to know."

"You understand why I could not remain at his side, do you not?"

"I understand. What I don't understand is...how you managed to slip into the castle without being detected."

"You give me too little credit. I was once the Queen. I would think that I of all people know my own castle. I could ask you the same question."

"A good magician never reveals his secrets."

A nod then an awkward silence.

"So. You spoke to him."

"There's something about him that reminds me of my second in command. It's his ability to put on a facade...to appear unbreakable. He's friendly and has a good laugh and makes good tea...but...the reality is...he's very broken inside. Much like Bunnie...he doesn't let you see him sweat.

Today seemed like a day he didn't...have the energy to keep the act up. He broke down in tears. As intimidating as his size is...he looked so helpless. But I could see behind his eyes...there was that savageness that he was keeping extinguished for the time being. The kind of savage he must've reserved for......well...the evidence is right in front of us."

Toriel moved her gaze to the side. I could tell I triggered a memory.

"Asriel...when he cried...he cried the same way Asgore did. Despite how much people said he reminded them more of me...he got that tenderness from Asgore. Is that not ironic? I pray even now...that that was all he would have inherited from him had my son lived."

I turned away for a moment. On to business.

"This was Chara's casket. Wasn't it?"

"It was. At one time it was the only one but...when the decree was made, more were added. I could not let her rest in a place such as this. By now Asgore knows it is unoccupied. By now...he intends for it to be the resting place for the final child."

"So...you took her body to the Ruins and had it buried underneath the very patch of flowers where humans might fall."

"I did."

"Forgive my say so...but in doing so you separated her from--"

"From Asriel's dust...in the throne room. It wasn't that far away from the room of coffins. Perhaps...I should have buried her there and they could at least be together. I see that now. How very cruel of me. Was it not? I was only thinking of my anger toward Asgore....how I could not stand the thought of any child, living or dead, being anywhere near him."

I turned back to her.

"Toriel..." I started.

"He's going through with it. I was only able to convince him not to end his own life."

"You coward, Asgore. Merely thinking of doing this...how far have you fallen?"

"Should I have--"

"No. You have done the right thing, Doctor. Death is too good for him and would solve nothing."

"But...would you continue to hold the Sword of Damocles over his head?"

"Excuse me?"

"Sorry. A figure of speech. I mean...have you thought about what I said? About forgiveness?"

"It is a bitter pill you wish me to take, Volt Arcade." Toriel's eyes disappeared under the mysterious shadow again.

"Often the medicine is bitter to let you know that it will work."

"How. How can you have compassion for him?"

"I must. I've never seen anything good come from a grudge. Granted...if I were in his position...if I had lost my children to death...I don't know what I would do. I don't know if I could bring myself to betray Lisa's trust the way Asgore betrayed yours. But...I don't know how I'd face the day with that hole in my heart. I am...fortunate that I was never put in a position...to make such a choice."

"But how?"

"Hate the sin. Not the sinner. We make our choices. We live with them. I will not be another man's judge and jury out of spite. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone as the saying goes. You're not wrong for opposing his choice. But at least try to remember...he's in pain...he's in mourning...and he is just as trapped in his own home as you are."

Toriel squeezed her eyes shut and hung her head, conceding.

"How many years of our lives have we wasted being enemies...when..."

"Your children...all of them...in life or death...should never see the two of you like this. When families are broken nothing good can prosper from its shards...not as they are. Not until they reconcile. Not until they decide they want to be reassembled...even if they wish to reassemble into separate families...even of they reassemble with some very important pieces missing."

"You speak from the voice of experience. Who put your family back together, Volt Arcade?"

"A great man...the man who gave me my last name when I had forsaken the one I was given at birth. When I called for help I thought no one would come. I thought I would die. But I only needed to be patient and hold on...and not give up. And then he and his family found me...saved me...and gave me the chance at life. If it were in my power...your children would have had that chance at life. If I had only known then what I know now..."
Silence from both sides.

"Tell me why Chara is after you."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 132: "Mobilizing Friends for the Road Ahead":


"There are...things I can't talk about. But...at this point in time I might as well confirm what you already suspect. Chara did take control of you...and...tried to harm the child."

"Oh no..."

"I...stopped you...without hurting you. And I confronted Chara and learned a lot. Our conversation was...very brutal...and quickly became one-sided. In the end I...proved to be her mental superior. She...didn't take my warnings well. And now she's determined to take her revenge on me as well as everyone else."

"Chara...why...?"

"I think we both know why. This is a grudge against humanity. And if Monsters wouldn't help her then they're only in her way. It started with Asgore, dismissing her pleas to declare war on them. She knew you'd never hear of it. And...your son wouldn't let her go through with it. It's a lot of betrayals for such a petty belief to be this determined to follow even in death. I firmly believe the path Asgore took in his life...Chara intended for him to follow it all along. Asriel's death was her last ditch effort to open his eyes to the truth...rather HER truth."

"I understand why she wants Asgore. But....what does she want with you?"

"She's obsessed with being reunited with Asriel and has some insane notion that I can make it happen. Maybe that's why she went after Dr. Alphys...to see if science can do what magic cannot. She's badly misguided. I'm just a man. There's nothing special about me. You can't bring back the dead. She won't accept that. And she's taken it so personally and gone to extreme measures to finish this...plan of hers."

I was telling a half-truth for her own protection and for Asriel's.

It was true. I couldn't bring the dead back. I was just a man, despite the immortality. It was likely she went after Alphys to see if her research bore fruit.

By this time she had to know that Asriel was Flowey. But it was also likely she considered Flowey useless to her. What good was a soulless creature that was neither human nor monster and nearly powerless with only Friendliness Pellets to offer while being a cowardly, whimpering sycophant?

I couldn't tell Toriel about the little orphaned Goat Son who now had a family to call his own...but still belonged in this world. I wonder...the longer I kept him away from this world...these timelines...would he belong in them less and less so? Was my goal...self-defeating in the end?

"That...plan again." Toriel closed her eyes for a moment. "The plan she convinced Asriel to go along with. The plan to break the barrier."

Toriel knitted her eyebrows...then she looked very meloncholy like she knew she and her allies were in over their heads.

"We are...powerless to stop her...are we not?"

"As we are...there's very little Monsters or Humans can do to combat her. But...maybe together we stand a better chance."

"I...don't quite follow."

"I've noticed the child has certainly been ignoring Chara's attempts at manipulation. Cute kid by the way...can't really tell if they're a boy or a girl but...that's irrelevant, all things considered. Their senses are usually very sharp. They might stand a good chance at determining if Chara is skulking about."

"I've...asked someone to watch over them. I know not his face or his name. I hope that they are keeping their promise."

"I have a feeling I might have met that person. But I don't want to jump to conclusions."

"He is a friend of yours?"

"Friend...might be stretching it a lot. I'm...not sure he trusts me."

"But...what should we do about Chara?"

"I've been turning to my mentors for advice and research. I've come to the conclusion that if reasoning, magic, and every other method has failed...it's time to turn to science."

"What...what do you have in mind?"

"I fear that if it comes to it...since you can't kill let alone destroy a ghost...the only solution is permanent imprisonment."

"You...plan to trap her and contain her? Is that even possible?"

"Not only is it possible...one of my mentors has made a living from professional paranormal investigation...and elimination."

"At this point...I'm desperate to find a peaceful solution to this. I do not want Chara punished for her harsh behavior...but I see no other way. She will not respond to me. She will not be convinced. She is...very...very determined."

"Too determined. It's never easy, Toriel. Never easy to turn a blind eye to your children when they've committed attrocities that they feel no shame over. She's not hard to figure out but...she's not completely predictable, either. She caught me by surprise with Mettaton NEO. She'll hold nothing back if she takes over Asgore. The fact that we're on guard for it, will make it harder for her but...she'll find a way, in all probability."

"Asgore is still an idiot sandwich...but even I would not wish this upon him."
I smirked briefly.

"I know it is hardly appropriate but I can't help but imagine you holding a pair of bread slices on his ears and asking him what he is."

"You are terrible." Toriel stifled a laugh. "But you are correct. Now is not the time."

I turned serious again as did she.

"What would you have us do?"

"Undyne needs to stick to him like glue. She needs to watch all of the Royal Guard like a hawk and not lower her own guard for anything; Chara will likely jump from body to body to keep us guessing. Keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer is a dangerous risk at this point. The fact that she'll be watching for Chara to make a move makes it all the more easier for Chara to use her to get the closest to Asgore."

"Agreed."

"Alphys needs to hang back. She's probably in no danger of being possessed again, but...we need her surveilance if we have even a slight chance of staying a step ahead. Also perhaps Mettaton can be of assistance. He has a cousin in Waterfall named Napstablook. He's a ghost that lives alone. Sometimes he comes to pretend to sleep inside the Ruins. Any chance of defeating a ghost might lie with another ghost."

"What about those friends of Undyne's? I haven't met them myself but--"

"I'd prefer not to involve them if possible but...if we need every Boss Monster...Ieave it to Undyne to decide how to proceed. Also, there is a young woman in Waterfall that might also be able to help by the name of Muffet. Her spider friends have a small bakesale in the Ruins. I'd recommend buying from them to literally sweeten the deal if we need to get a message to her. That many eight-legged friends might really help things out."

"I will do what I can."

"You can't hang around here too long. Asgore may be off on a cloud but he's not going to be completely oblivious to the goings-on inside and outside his own castle. The walls have eyes and ears.

"My time has grown short again. I will do as you have asked."

"I must leave again. I have very important matters to attend to that are crucial in the grand scheme of things. I only request you and the others do not try to follow. The less you know, the safer all of our loved ones and friends will be."

"As you wish."

"Hey. I know I'm not as good at your friend who tells the jokes but don't be worrying yoruself sick over this. Ain't nobody "goat" time for that. We're going to "bleet" this thing, okay?"

Toriel responded with a muffled giggle.

"Well, Doctor. I have to "fang" for your help and I support your "claws"."
My turn to chuckle.

"Goodbye, Toriel. When next we meet, may we finally put this nightmare to rest. And may the child find a way to grant us our freedom without sacrifice."

"Until we meet again, Volt."

We went our separate ways and this time I returned home for an extended stay to rest...and prepare.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 133: "Tell Me Violet Didn't Just Make a Poltergeist III Reference At Our Pool Party...":


I opened my eyes as I materialized in the Gateway Sub-Lab. I planned to show this to Asriel in another 6 or 7 years. By then, he'd be ready for me to make good on my promise to show him other worlds. Take him on missions. And let him see the ever-growing extended family I had made over my my immortal life.

I shoved my hands in my lab coat pockets and exited the area and combed my way back through the lab and HQ itself until I was curb-side. I sighed and headed to the square. I needed a pick-me-up. I hoped life would be kind and provide me with one rather than inducing a headache.
I decided to head over to Rabbotou Dojo.

As it turned out, most of the team had decided to drop in on the indoor swimming pool of the gymnasium part of Rabbotou Dojo.
As a way of keeping Arlene appeased, Bunnie had expanded the main well beyond its original martial arts school setup. It was now more like a YMCA/YWCA in terms of scope, scale, and construction.

Weightlifting rooms, basketball courts, a dance studio for step aerobics, and plenty more. As time had gone on it had become just the kind of outreach center that the Arcade family whole-heartedly endorsed. Anything to keep kids off the streets and in proper activities which encouraged positive.
A little swimmng would do me some good. I headed to the locker room and got changed and headed to the pool.

There was Asriel in the company of Rotor and Skeeter. Gadget and Mitzi were there, too. And there were others there, too. Megami was serving as life guard. I don't think I'd ever seen her in anything but her shrine maiden miko attire. She was easy on the eyes for a human, all things considered.

Sally had dropped in for a very short window in between races and would likely be back on the circuit.

"It's good to have you back for a short time, old friend."

"Good to be back and unwind. The last race was crazier than--"

"A dog in a hubcab factory?" Honey suddenly popped up from underwater.

"Eww." Sally wrinkled her nose.

"I don't get it." Asriel blinked.

"Just never you mind." Willamina quickly interjected.
I swam over.

"Volt! You came!"

"Of course I did, Azzy." I smiled. Just being in the pool was taking the edge off but being able to spend time with Asriel made it chillax.

"You know I don't think I ever asked. When and how did you learn to swim?"

"Well...mom...Toriel didn't want me learning how to fight so Miss Undyne made a comprimise to teach me to swim instead."

"Ahhh."

"I used to call her Dy-Dy before I could pronounce Undyne."

"That's awesome!"
Sally nodded.

She was unaware of Antoine of all people swimming up to her, hoping to flirt a little.

At that moment the public address system blared and who should be on it but...

"Antoine D'Cooliette! This is the Police! Come out with your hands up and your pants down!"

I groaned.

"Dammit, Violet."

"Really, Violet? Do you really think Antoine is stupid enough to fall for--"

Mitzi started before noticing Antoine was climbing out of the pool and running for the emergency exit in a panic.

*WHUMP*

"Oh my god...he didn't just--!"

Bunnie covered Asriel's eyes.

The door closed behind.

"Attention. Attention. We welcome you all to our "ool". We remind that there is no P in our "ool" so please keep it that way. That goes double-triple-quadruple for you, Al Dente. We know what you're doing over there."

All eyes were suddenly on Al.

"It's...not...true." He submerged a little deeper.
Honey, Skeeter, and several other guests descretely distanced themselves from where Al was wading.

"Well. So much for keeping the day G-rated." I muttered. "I think I need to wash the bitter taste of this experience out of my mouth."

"Umm...maybe we should get some refreshements afterward." Asriel suggested.

"Anything but lemonaid..." I said, crossing my arms.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 134: "Coyote Ugly":


Violet's stunt prompted us to seek alternative methods of cooling off...outdoors.

I wasn't suffering all that much, but for everyone else a day in the 90's, bordering on 100 probably wasn't that pleasant an experience.
The kids of course had their method of cooling off...with water gun fights.

"Gotcha!"

"Skeeterrrrr!"

"I got ya covered, Asriel!" Gadget dropped down and leveled her makeshifted water rifle, proceeding to fire back at Skeeter and his group of school friends.

Summer vacation was definitely a good time to be a kid--

"Vollllt!" Asriel sloshed over completely drenched.

"Wow...they really ganged up on you, didn't they?"

"I thought that I'd have a lot of fun in a water battle but the amount of fun I'm having is...actually rather small." He whimpered, giving the sad, watery eyes look.

"Asriel, my boy...let me give you some advice. Sensei has probably already told you her philosophy against seeking revenge."

"Y...yes. Bunnie-sensei says that revenge is a fool's game and it takes a fool to play it."

"Asriel. THere are only two exceptions in the world. One is multiplayer video games, particullary Smash. The other is water gun battles."

I reached under my lawn chair and pulled out the largest Super Soaker available that I could find in the toy stores and handed it to him. It was allrready filled up and ready to go.

"Don't get mad...get even. But only when it comes to water fights and Smash."

"Oh wow! Thanks! Hey, Skeeterrrrrrr...!"

"AWWW MAN!!"

"Gotcha last!"

I grinned and lowered my shades.

"Nice." Jon complimented as he lay down in the lawn chair next to me.

"I do what I do."

"Gelato?" Jon offered a bowl of frozen treat.

"Ice cream substitute me, my good lycan." I accepted and dug in.

"You know...whenever I'm working myself to the bone, our wives have a tendancy to show up and chastice me. But when I'm actually relaxing, they never seem to be around."

"Don't let it get you down, gov-nah. Be thankful for the times you work youself to the bone and don't get caught by them."

"Your advice is invaluable, Jon. Mmm. Good gelato."
Sally dashed over at that moment.

"Guys, can one of you get Antoine off my case? He's really cramping my style."

"What can either of us say or do that hasn't already been attempted, Sally?" I peered over the shades. "He'll tire out and move on."

"There...may be a sense of urgency to it, this time..."

I looked up at Sally and pulled my shades down. "Please, please tell me that he--"

Shrieks went up nearby.

"...yeah...he never went back to the locker room after Violet locked him out of the building."

"Oh my god..." I face-palmed.

"Sally can you do something about--"

"On it. Sorry, kids." Sally's eyes started glowing bright neon blue.
Antoine, Asriel and his friends just stopped moving, frozen like statues.

They weren't actually frozen in time, just their perception of time was paused. This was Sally's Hybrid Ability in action. As soon as she canceled the effect, they'd be completely unaware any time had passed. In a way her power reminded me of something I'd seen in Code Geass: Lelouche of the Rebellion, r2.

Jon got up and snatched his beach towel up and quickly makeshifted a loincloth for Antoine.

"You owe me." He smoldered before flicking Antoine's nose.

"That coyote is cursed. And he's dragging us all through it." I rubbed my temples.

"Okay, Sal." I beckoned as she cancelled her powers and everybody resumed.

"Sacre bleu cheese. I am not seeing any police out here. Waiting just zee minute...'ow did I get...?!" Antoine noticed he was a long way from the dojo now that his panic freak out had ended.

"Antoine. Get dressed before you get arrested." I groaned.

"Mr. Antoine? What are you doing out here in just a towel?" Asriel blinked.

"Oh gods...someone send me a miracle please--" Sally moaned.

As if on cue our thoughts were interrupted by the whiney of a horse and the cry of "YEEE-HAWWWWWWWW!"

The next thing I knew Antoine had been snagged by a rope lasso and was being dragged away on his rump.

I whirled to see Mitzi's coworker, Harmony Howlette--in full cowgirl attire--galloping away on a horse.

"Ask and ye shall receive." I mused.

"What was THAT?" Asriel scratched his head as he shouldered his water cannon.

"Proof that karma pays off." I chuckled.
At that moment Bunnie galloped up on horseback.

"Harmony-chan seems to have snagged her prize."

"Indeed. I see you decided to enjoy a nice horseride."

"Hinohoshiko needed the exercise." Bunnie dismounted and gave the white horse a muzzle stroking and followed up by feeding him a carrot.

"Oh wow, sensei! Is that yours?"

"Yes she is. Her name is Hinohoshiko. It means "Starfire"."
"That's a pretty name."

"Some day when you're old and big enough I'll teach you how to ride."

"Oh boy! That'd be swell!" Asriel again with the knuckles-under-the-chin, starry-eyes expression topped off with the tail-wagging.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 135: "Chaos You Can't Control":


OOC: Miranda City's favorite chaos cat, Grimmn'elvuul appears courtessey of his RP player, who goes by "Kid". Thanks for bringing the crazy, man! Mitzi and Gadget just adore Kiddles!

Bunnie let Asriel gently pet Hinohoshiko and feed her another carrot before hitching the horse up to a post.

Bunnie joined us at our resting spot.

"I wish I had known you were coming or I would have brought gelato for all of us. I was dropping in on Volt and only thought to bring one extra serving."

"It's okay, Jonanthan-san. We'll just have to get some ice cream of our own."

"I really miss getting Nice Cream back in Snowdin." Asriel rubbed the back of his head.

"Ice cream? During winter?" Jon raised an eyebrow. "I'm all for cold weather but that seems like it's overkill."

"Nah. It's the frozen treat that warms your heart." Asriel beamed, quoting the Nice Cream vendor. I often wondered if he and Burgerpants knew each other. Not sure what gave me that thought but I kept picturing the rabbit Monster and the cat Monster at least sharing a conversation off the clock.

"I could go for that." Violet dropped in and shut off her jet thrusters.

"Swell. There goes your diet, Princess." Al finally caught up to us.

"Ugggggh. I never heard of a fleas complaining about a dog being a blood-sucking parasite before." Violet crossed her arms and glared at Al Dente.

"Your highness, all this frivelous activity is deterimental to your life lessons in becoming a proper empress! The summer months shouldn't be about such trivialities, it should be about obeying all the rules--"

"Alfred. Kinda stop spoiling our Hic-a-Doo-Lah day before I have Gadget's surfer friends pick you up and dump you in to the fountain.

Over yonder, Gadget was indeed hanging out with Rick "Beach Bear" Bailey and Rudeyard Lion. Rudeyard had come all the way from Green Meadow to say high to us and catch up with his favorite friendly rival.

"What's a Hic-A-Doo-Lah?" Al scratched his head.

"Wellll--" Violet started.

"Yeah, no, Vi." I cut her off before she could go on a nostalgic walk through that little skit.

"Lady Violet. Your antics are unbecoming of a monarch--"

"Alfred I'm going to say this once. We all know the monarchy back home is a figurehead. I don't want to grow up to be figurehead."

"But, Miss Violet--."

Violet was scribbling on a piece of paper at that moment. She tore it off the notepad and thrust it in Al's face. Oh no. No, she wouldn't DARE...

"Huh?" Alfred looked over the note.

"What's a..."

Oh gods, don't say it, Al! Don't say his name--"

"...Grimmn'elvuul?"

"Asriel...duck and cover." I grabbed Asriel and pulled him underneath a nearbye picnic table.

"Wha...?!"

"Bloody Hell...!" Jon dove into a park trash barrel.

Bunnie sighed and unfolded the shodouphone and started scripting a jutsu then she removed it's limiter with a spoken verbal incantation.

"暗くすきまに自分を陥れる。 縛道の81 断空" [Kuraku suki ma ni jibun o otoshiireru. Bakudou no hachijuu-ichi: Dankuu.] (Darken and plunge into the crevice. Binding Art number 81: Splitting Void)

The space around Bunnie and anyone close to her became warped like oil floating on water.

"Uh...what's going--!" Al started before something fell from the sky.

"Huh...? A popsicle? Where did this--"

Sure enough it was a popsicle. But Al didn't have time to ponder it further when a rain of ice cream bars, ice cream cones, popsicles, snow cones, and other frozen treats started raining from the sky.

And a massive waterfall of ice cream splattered down on Al, completely burying him.

"What."

"INCOMING!!!" Sally yelled out when we all looked up to see them.

Al had un-buried himself long enough to look up.

"Oh no..." He screamed and dove for cover as of all things an ice cream truck slammed down from above. And then another one...and another...and one more, boxing him in.

A couple more trucks crashed to the ground before all was silent again.

"Goddammit all..."

"What. Just. Happened." Rudeyard said, eye twitching.

I uttered a single word that explained everything to any of us who knew what it meant for the dreaded G-word.

"Kid."

"Kid?" Asriel questioned before he notice something was hovering next to him on his right side.

"Chaos Cat Sign: HYPER-ETHICAL REALITY CLIMAX!" He said with a grin.

"Hello, Kid." I said rather nonchalantly.
Kid was the nickname we gave him to avoid using his real name...the name that caused all kinds of bad luck and insanity. Our favorite ball of blue magic Chaos Cat was a master of warping reality and just causing chaos. The good kind of chaos, usually.

"Whaaa...? I didn't know cats could FLY!" Asriel stared in disbelief.

"Kid can."

"I can do lots of things, my new young friend!"

Yellow-eyed, dark grey and white furred, and wearing a garment that looked like several overlapping layers of orange and pinkish scarves over top of a blue-ish body suit, Kid was definitely a strange but loveable magical chaos cat.

"Finally got a moment away from the Mage Academy to visit. I know Mitzi and Gadget will be glad to--"

"KIIIIIID!" Kid soon found him tacklesnuggled from both sides by Mitzi and Gadget.

"D'aawwwwwww." Kid just about melted from the affection.
Meanwhile Al was dragging himself out of the frozen mess all over the ground.

"Why...me...?"

"Well. We did say we'd find our own ice cream. And...well...I guess we don't have to look far." Violet mused as she had snatched a pair of double-scoop ice cream cones out of mid-air before they hit the ground.

"I feel you should be punished for setting this chain reaction into motion, Violet...however in light of the end result, I opt that we suspend the sentence indefinitely."

Bunnie dissolved the Severing Void barrier around herself and the bowl of green-tea flavored froyo dropped neatly into her palm without spilling a drop or losing the spoon that was already in it.

"Whatever punishment Elektra has for me after this binge will be totally worth it!" Jon licked his lips as he hauled a huge armload full of ice cream sandwiches he caught.

Asriel looked quite confused as he got to his feet.

"Asriel. Sometimes the best course of action is don't question it and just roll with it." I handed him one of the ice cream cones I had managed to catch.
Asriel looked at it a moment, shrugged then enjoyed.

"Mmm!"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 136: "A Burly Brawl, Reloaded, Rebooted, and Rewritten":


A day or two down the road, some of us decided to hone our skills should Queen Brooke, Ivy, Lord Jaimas of Raxis, or one of our other allies called upon us for mission work.

That meant going to the only place with the UCIAT operation that we could safely unleash our powers without collatoral damage or injury to bystanders. And that place was the Hazard Lab.

Bunnie and Scott spent the most time out of all of us. I decided that it
couldn't hurt if Asriel watched from the observation deck. He should know what his father and his sensei were capable of.

Scott, in KQF form formed a series of hovering platforms with handles on the bottom. He jumped to the first one and swung to the next in a lavish tumbling roll like a master trapeze artist. He repeated several times before dropping in front of the target range.

He grabbed the long tresses of his immense, neon red hair and snapped his head forward--the tail end of his hair cracked and sliced into the manikin dummy like a whip. He repeated several times until the dummies all fell apart.

He then whirled and aimed for the targets on his left with his palm facing out. His arm turned translucent and you can see bands of computer code crawling inside his arm, in a Matrix-like "rain" fashion. Twenty-eight disc-shaped microchips were inside his arm. Scott started firing them from his hand like shurikens, nailing each bullseye, dead center.

He whirled and aimed to his right.

Scott pointed his hand out and a giant plasma blast rockets out, leaving a fading trail of computer code behind it, wiping out the scores of bullseye targets.

And finally Scott turned to the final mock-up of what appeared to be Metal Gear Rex.

"Very...unique choice, Violet."

Scott held up his hand and a glowing neon dynamite stick appeared in it. He tossed it at his target and it exploded SUPERVIOLENTLY, shaking the whole room with its sonic reverberations.

"Go, Dad!" Asriel encouraged.

Scott wrapped up his training and shut down the program, resuming his human form and headed back up to the observation deck. He shared a quick high-five with Asriel before Bunnie headed down into the hazard lab. Violet got to work firing up the holo-simulator.

"Now beginning simulation, Bunnie." Violet keyed in the appropriate hard-light projection opponents. They would just be clones and drones but they'd still hit pretty hard.

Bunnie had switched to ninja garb, minus the hood.

"Violet. Really?" Bunnie lowered an eyebrow as she was surounded by copies of Virus Smith.

"Come onnnn. Classic fight scene. Gotta get your Matrix Reloaded on, Bun-Bun."

"I think you're enjoying this too much--" Bunnie started before the clone in front of her tried to stab his hand though her chest. She immediately grabbed his arm with both hands.

"Eyes on the fight, Buns."

Bunnie began fighting them off, hand to hand with mixes of martial arts styles, fending off increasing numbers of evil agents in suits and shades in the likeness of Hugo Weaving's character.

"Violet, I don't mind that you give me a decent challenge to work with..." She started in mid double sommersault. "But the movie scenes...you have way too much time on your hands if you're spending it programming shot-for-shot remakes of your favorite action movies."

"Nah. I give my work and play equal merit. I just happen to mix business and pleasure, that's all."

"Ugh. You're terrible." Bunnie groaned as she executed a backflip double-kick.

"Can...sensei really beat that many bad guys." Asriel looked on, kinda nervously.

The violence still bothered him but he was starting to ease into the art of self defense. He was finally making progress in his lessons and willing to defend and counter. It reassured Bunnie that it was obvious he disliked fightning as much as he did from that first class.

"It's a real "burly brawl" but she can take it." Violet mused.

"Violet, I'm glad you skipped the exposition monologue and the philosophy before hand...but is it really necessary to pump the Juno Reactor music into here?"

"Ahh, Juno Reactor FEATURING Don Davis, Buns."

"......right."

"It's all part of the atmosphere, Best Bunny Friend in the world."

Bunnie smoothly transitioned from punch to punch to kick to kick to the occasional judo throw and everything in between, toggling between opponents.

"Flatter me if you must but it will get you no points n the long run, Violet."
Bunnie back flipped and richochetted off a wall, torpedoing into several Virus Copies.

"Well if you really want me to withhold any favors..." Violet tapped away at the keyboard and more Smith copies piled out of doors and chain-link gates.

"Aunt Vi? That's...a lot of bad guys..." Asriel looked even more worried.

"Don't worry, sport. I've seen her against worse." Scott looked on, arms crossed. He was in his combat fatigues again but this time he had a reason for them.

By this point the numbers were so overwhelming Bunnie had to start using her enhanced nano-assisted strength to toss some of her opponents as projectiles just to clear breathing room.

She sudden took a hit to the chest that sent her skidding backwards a few yards.

"Sensei!"

"She's okay. Don't fret."

Bunnie got right back into the fray and kept fighting.

"Come on, Bunnie. Quit holding back and show us what you can really do."

"Violet? Second rule of the Zordonian Code?"

"Right, right. If you're gonna inside on playing it that way. But I'm pretty sure the battle is pretty escalated. But you know if it's still too easy..." A few more key clicks. "More..." She said in her best Smith growl.
As the numbers became increasingly ridiculous, Bunnie found herself punched into a wall, leaving a crater.

"Have it your way, Violet." Out came the Shodouphone and she quick scripted Shinkenmaru and slapped on the Moku disk transforming it into the Wood Spear. Made from hardened Hinoki Cypress and enhanced with mojikara, it was a lot more durable than it appeared.

Bunnie gave it a few spins and a twirl over top of her shoulders before beckoning her opponents to come get some. She leaped into the air in a twirl, swinging the weapon like a helicoptor rotor before landing dead center of the action and started plowing through her opponents.

She spun, twirled, countered, parried, thrust and swept the weapon with speed, style, and grace.

Asriel's eyes widened.

"Oh...my...goodness! She's...!"

"Here comes the best part." Violet pointed as Bunnie planted the spear into the ground and hoisted herself up perpendicular to the ground and swung herself in a 360 full-circle running bicycle kick, knocking the surrounding mob down one by one by one.

"That's...the coolest move I've ever seen!"
By now there were hundreds of opponents all ganging up on her and before long they knocked her down and swarmed her.

"Oh no! She's going to lose!"

"Okay, Buns, bring this to a close and we'll call it a day--"

The mound of Virus Smiths were suddenly scattered outward as a sphere blast wave erupted.

Bunnie rose up, the symbol of the Rabbotou Clan's ascent to the military rank of samurai "Ha-Oh" appeared on her forehead. Her white haori coat appeared over her outfit as she slid the Hiden Kaisekiki Inromaru pack onto Shinkenmaru, activing its Super Shinkenmaru form.

As she held the sword aloft and swept it in a clockwise motion in a full 360 degree sweep back to its starting point, a rainbow of colored spirit flames appeared in a clock formation, each representative of a sacred samurai spirt animal.

Bunnie invoked the power of all 12 of the ancient Jang samurai spirits--Shishi, Kyuu, Saru, Kuma, Kame, Kabuto, Kaijiki, Tora, Ika, Eba, Ushi, and Kyoryu. All 12 Jang characters encircled her in a ring before she slashed with her Super Shinkenmaru!

And in that instant every last Virus Smith was swallowed up in the deluge of 12 elemental streams of spirit energy!

With that the simulation rippled, warped and faded, showing the mostly pristine mirrored polish of the sterile simulation room around Bunnie. But there were signs of impact craters, burned tiles, sparking circuits peeking out from breaches in the walls and such.

"Aww, Bunnie. You rewrote the ending. You were supposed to do your Superman thing."

"A fight should have a definitive end not a glorified retreat." Bunnie said. She was really scrutenizing the problems of the movie rather than Vi's reenactment but that was just her. She BAMFED out of existence then back into existence in the observation deck, clad back in her karate gi and sandals.

"You'd have made a great soldier if you'd been part of Neo Arcadia's military, Bunnie."

"It wouldn't have suited me. Back then I saw a pretty thick line between a soldier and a warrior. Now...there are times I don't see the distinction. We are who and what we are."

"Yeah...sometimes I think our side was neither. Just...thugs spoonfed propoganda and made to fight a war we had no business being in. My drill sergeant would skin me alive for being a mamby-pampy bleeding heart right about now. Callista would kiss me me for being so compassionate...so...I'd say the trade off is to my benefit. But...it still doesn't soften the blow...of what we did to you. To Ecotropia and Neo Arcadia."

"Scott. Maybe this insight will help us both:
Save your tears for the day...when the pain is far behind. On your feet...come with me. We are soldiers, stand or die. Save your fears...take your place...save them for the judgement day. Fast and free...follow me...time to make the sacrifice. We rise or fall."

Bunnie bowed her head. Scott bowed his.

"Yeah. It does." Scott wiped his eyes with the back of his wrist. It was the first time Asriel had seen him cry.

"Dad...I think it's time we had the talk about your past." Asriel looked up.

"Yeah. I...might as well tell you the story."

"So...let's get the big question out of the way."

"..."

"Dad. You're a soldier, right."

Scott nodded.

"And you fought in the war.

Scott nodded again.

Asriel paused and looked down a moment before he asked the dreaded question.

"Did you...kill anyone?"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 137: "The Greatest Story Never Told":


"...yes." Scott looked, closing his eyes. "I...don't remember names. But I can never forget their faces. They were...just doing their duty...as was I. But that alone will never make it right."
A moment of silence.
"That's...all I really want to know. I don't need details...it's painful enough, isn't it?"

"Yes. Yes it is, son."

"Instead of that...why...don't you tell me about how you became--"

"Gladly." Scott regained his composure.

"It was...the Vorostovian Conflict. My country was backed into a corner over what the Secret Society had managed to do between Ecotropia, Vortex, and such. Plus we were trying to keep the Reservation we pushed Lupe's people to a secret to avoid adding to our list of war crimes.

We decided if we were going all out, we'd have to cripple Neo Arcadia's networks. What we had in military strength and numbers, Neo Arcadia compensated for in information gathering, control, infiltration and sabotage.

They targeted our weaknesses with precise strikes and turned our own intel against us.

We tried many times to hack their network systems but they were just too advanced and too powerful. Too well protected and too quick to adapt to anything we threw at it.

So...we decided to make a first attempt at a super weapon. A living weapon that could go inside computer systems and assassinate their protections and bring down the whole system from the inside out.

We started raiding and hijacking any and all quantum mechanics and quantum computer tech we could get from not just Neo Arcadia but other countries at well. We made our big score from a large repository of technology being transported out of Corinth. Between that, Renalia...Appra...Fonkton...we had tons of raw materials and software to work with. And we started building our own super network.

At first we tried making artificial intelligence constructs...but they all failed. Our researchers were about to consider it a total rout before someone came up with a ludicrous idea--to put a human mind into a computer system.

There were rumors that computer software developer, Encom dabbled with a digitization process to put real matter into digital forms. So we stole their research and tirelessly tried to adapt it to our own system. Our scientists eventually came up with the Image Transfer System."

"Image Transfer System?"

"I.T.S. for short. It would allow a human mind to be transfered and turned into data, allowing it to move freely through the system. But...there was no way to know what form it would take inside the machine. No one had any idea what kind of changes there would be to the human psyche."

"A lot of unknowns, huh?"

"Before I volunteered, I was a soldier in the Vorostovian Army. I...suffered an accident before hand but...it didn't seem to discredit me from being among the elite selected for the mission."

"But you sound like you believe it had some affect on you, Dad."

"I can't really prove it did. But that wasn't where the real story begins. On the day it was supposed to happen, our research team brought our networks online and interfaced them with the quantum systems that would interface between the I.T.S. and the route into cyberspace.

Without warning, they had unknowingly unleashed quarantined programming...things that were on their way from Corinth to be properly disposed of. Remnants from the VENJIX incident. Computer viruses, worms, and bugs got into the main quantum drive and it greatly amplified their evolution.

It turned them into...hideous digita creatures and beasts within the electronic circuits of the machine that began a hostile takeover as they gained hive-mind sentience. We had created a very real threat that was right out of a science fiction movie.

The virus swarm spread and mutatated the systems within until it reached our defense satellite, DAMOCLES. It was the link to our nuclear weapons silos."

"N-Nuclear weapons? I...I learned about those in school. From...from a history video in our classroom. Those are....really...really scary to think about. That...such things were really used." Asriel hugged his knees to his chest and rocked back and forth.

"We all made terrible choices in wartime. Used terrible means. But...yeah. It's one of our...darkest shames."

"What did you do about the...viruses?"

"We could't allow the infestation to take control of the nukes so...the mission changed. I was prepared for emergency scan and download. I entered the machine and it energized. I lost consciousness..."

Scott activated the program and transformed at that moment.

"...and woke up looking like this inside the circuits of the Defense Computer. I was a kabuki actor, given great powers based on quantum computer processes unlocked when it modified my very particle physics; a process which would carry over into my physical body when I was returned to it."

"I don't understand a lot about the whole quantum physics and particle science stuff...but I'm guessing it works a lot like LYOKO?"

"Very similar. But for me it's permanently etched into my sub-atomic structure. At a level that goes even smaller than molecules...atoms...quarks. At a level beyond current science progress' ability to analyze them."

"Then what happened?"

"I kicked butt." Scott smiled as he mussed Asriel's head fur. "I went in, searched and destroyed the enemy. They were feral and soulless and very bloodthirsty. They had to be deleted."

"Like the demon hunters of Sensei's ancestors."

"Exactly like them." Scott nodded.

"So...I went through six areas of the computer systems, unlocking new abilities like my Hair Whip, my Microchip Shurikens, my Plasma Shot, and Fusion Gun. Stuff like the Remote Bolos, and the Quantum Bombs. They all served me well. Finally I had to be beamed to the final area aboard the Damocles Satellite in deep space. That's where the core of the hive virus had taken root. It was...a very intense, very gory battle. But I prevailed and set the self-destruct mechanism."

"Oh wow! Just like a superhero!"

"Yeah...but this was a trip that had a good chance of being a one-way trip. If the satellite exploded before I could make it back to the access point, I'd lose my mind. Literally."

"But you got in?"

Scott smiled. "I got in."

"I was a hero among the research team but..." Scott turned away. "I wasn't given a happy ending. Our...government decided to cover it up and go a different route. They built a different superweapon--a gravity device they decided to use on Neo Arcadia's capital. Our operation was shut down and our team were taken into custody where they were made to disappear...I don't want to think about what actually happened to them."

"Oh no..."

"I was...illegally courtmarshalled, charged with a lot of war crimes that weren't even true. I didn't have much of a defense to give because I was...suffering complications from the machine. I had...long-term memory loss and memory corruption. I couldn't remember anything before entering the I.T.S. machine except my name, rank, serial number and my education and everything I learned in army training. Everything personal about me was gone. I couldn't remember who I was. Whatever personality I had was...gone. It was like I went numb and couldn't feel anything inside.
On top of that the quantum processes had tampered witht he way my cells regenerate and break down...it stopped my aging process and kept me permanently locked at the age of 25. I'm like you in a way. I can't grow older...but I can still die."

"Dad..."

"I was on my way to be executed when word came back that the chain of command was broken and that Vorostov's capital had been destroyed. The Gravity Weapon had went haywire and leveled the heart of our country. The death toll was...horrifying.

It wasn't long before word got back that Vorostov had officially surrended the war and the Allied Nations and Neo Arcadia would be...auditing our military assets. My execution was cancelled and I was surrendered to Neo Arcadian custody. Project: Kabuki Quantum Fighter was siezed by Arcade Industries' shareholders and it was eventually completely bought up by the Tokugawa family. Violet became the beneficiary of all the research and she's been working with Dr. Lynx on it to this day."

"You've...had a hard life, haven't you." Asriel let go of his knees and got up from his seat.

"It's not easy when you fought the enemy of your home country only to become the enemy of your home country. That kind of betrayal...just makes everything you know seem wrong. And then suddenly you find out you're going to be working for and with your former enemies. How do you trust again when you don't know who to trust?"

Asriel hugged Scott.

"I know, Dad. I know the feeling. For 100 years I didn't have anyone to turn to. When Volt came for me...when he brought me to this world...I was scared to trust anyone. But now...I'm not. Miss Violet warns me to be careful who I trust. I don't want to be naive...but I can't be suspicious of people, either. Is...there a balance between the two?"

"If there is, son...I'm still working on it. But...with Callista in my life...it's easier to attain. And with you as our son...it became even easier."

A long hug.

Bunnie smiled and motioned for Violet to leave them to their father-son moment. Scott would lock up the Hazard Lab after he left.

"Good talk, son."

"Good talk, dad."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 138: "Family (and Friends) Circus":


Asriel seemed kinda moody. Seeing his sensei at her best for a mostly unarmed battle against ridiculous odds followed up by Scott finally telling his sad story had given him a case of the feels. So I figured I'd pick something fun and lighthearted.

We paid a visit to a circus with a carnival. I figured a smaller scale return to what we had experienced at Gravitron Park was just the thing.

"...it's called cotton candy. Basically you add sugar, flavoring, color, and a heck of a lot of jet blasted air. Careful, lil' guy. It gets sticky quick and it's kinda hard to get out of your fur."

"It's rainbow-colored and I like that."

I'd noticed that Asriel tended to gravitate toward colorful things. Especially rainbows. And then I made the mistake of thinking too deep into it which brought back memories of the Absolute God of Hyperdeath's attacks. Star Blazing, Chaos Buster, Chaos Saber...all of them were very rainbow-colored. Oh gods, Volt...can you just not help yourself?

Asriel gave the rainbow-colored tuft a little lick.

"Ooh. It's sweet! And it disappeared!"

"It'll dissolve fast. Go to town, little goat."
Asriel did so.

"It's all so cute and colorful!" Gadget giggled.
We passed through the midway. As we went by a seemingly unoccupied booth...

"Look! A giraffe!" A clown popped up behind the counter with a balloon animal in the shape of a giraffe.

"Look! A FIST!" Violet grinned before smashing her knuckles into the clown's nose and knocking him out cold.

"Violet!!!" I snapped. "What the Hell, girl?"

"The clown has...done something wrong?" Pit cocked his head.

Gadget and Asriel jumped back and kinda whimpered in unison.

"Cool!" Skeeter cackled.

"Clowns ain't metal, yo." She smoldered with a sour look.

"Violet, you're gonna get us thrown out of this place if you keep assaulting clowns!"

"Seriously, Vi. What is your problem with clowns? I didn't peg you for having "bozo-phobia".

"Clowns are by far the most concentrated form of evil in the world." Vi crossed her arms, kept walking and didn't look back.

Mitzi and Callista helped the poor guy back up and try to bring him around. I of course stood by with both the checkbook and Kitty's number on standby for the unlikely possibility we could avoid a lawsuit and for the possibility that Violet would be going to court.

"Don't bother, Commander. Just like the bad guy in Lethal Weapon 2, I have diplomatic immunity so Slappy cannot sue."

I rubbed my temples and just decided to drop it before I got into an argument with how many things were wrong with her statement.

"...He'll...let it slide, Commander."

"He was surprisingly cooperative once I assured I was a neurosurgeon and said she came out of an extensive surgical procedure and was under observation."

"Just don't make sure Asriel and Gadget didn't overhear you."

"Don't think that'll be a problem." Mitzi pointed to where Gadget, Skeeter, Pit, and Asriel had gotten on the carousel while we were taking care of grown up mishaps.

A ferris wheel ride, a moment at the petting zoo, and various midway games and snacks later we dropped in on the Big Top. Callista warned Violet if at any point she tried to attack any more clowns there was a powerful tranquilizer in her purse that was just waiting to be injected.

All four of them were absolutely dazzled by the acts.

The strongman...

"He looks even stronger than Miss Undyne! I don't think I want to be noogied by that guy."

The jugglers...

"That looks incredibly hard to do." Gadget watched in fascination.

The tumblers...

"How do they do that? Sally has her OGPX gear but they're doing it all on their own." Skeeter scratched a tusk.

The tightrope walker...

"Mortals are capable of such acts of bravery without the aid of wings!" Pit marveled.
The lion-tamer.

Asriel kinda whimpered a bit. "Those lions don't look as friendly as Shi-Shi." He covered his eyes and peeked through his fingers as the lion tamer stuck his head in the beast's open mouth.

The fire-breather...

"I've seen mom and dad use fire spells but not like that. Are you sure he's not magic?" Asriel watched as the performer spat out a jet cloud of flame, in amazement.

The daredevil motorcyclist...

"It's like he's defying gravity!"

"It's centrifugal force, Skeeter. He's going so fast his circular motion is pulling the wheels to the track with more force than gravity can pull it away from it--"

"Kinda taking away from the awesome, Gadget." Skeeter smoldered.

"Science is so cool!" Asriel hardly seemed phased.

The sword-swallower...

"I can't look!" Asriel covered his eyes.

"Me neither." Gadgiet followed.

"What do swords even taste like?" Skeeter scratched a tusk.

"Mortals have...very strange eating habits."
The knife thrower...

Asriel clutched Callista's arm and shuddered. It had to remind him of Chara.

The animal acts...

"I didn't know bears could do that!"

"Did you see the elephants?"

"I wanna ride a giraffe some day!"
And of course the human cannon ball.

"That..."

"...was..."

"...so..."

"COOL!"

All of them were were completely starry-eyed.

A nice outing where we all had a good time.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 139: "It's...Kinda Like Meditating..."/"Violet's Science Fiction Double Feature"


After the circuiswe headed back to town. The kids were all wired so Bunnie suggested a meditation session for balance.

"Much excitement has graced your lives. I think it only propper we balance our lives with a session of meditation."

Bunnie, Asriel, and I slipped off our sandals and closed our eyes and relaxed a bit.

A while in I felt someone grab my shoulder and give me a light shake. I immediately saw Jon, Violet, and Gadget. All three were wearing grey suits with red bowties. Jon was holding a guitar while Violet holding a keytar and
Gadget had her drumset nearby. Jon handed me my tenor saxophone from my stand of saxophones.

I don't know how they talked my little sister into it. But they managed to talk me into it without a word.

I grabbed the sax and grinned.

"Ohmmm..."

"Ohmmm..." Bunnie and Asriel chorused.

And suddenly Bunnie's eyes snapped open as she heard the four of us belt out the song, "Tequilla" by the Champs.

It was rare we could atually take her by surprise but somehow we managed to do it.

She looked at at me with a disapproving look.

"Well, this is...kinda like meditating." Jon shrugged with a cheesey grin.

"It would be discourteous to say this is the reason that you never went beyond your yellow belt, Jonathan-san." Bunnie frowned with a distinct anime hashtag-shapped throbbing vein.

"I won't deny it but I won't admit to it either, love." Jon said with a cheesey grin as he continued playing the guitar.

"Gadget-chan...I'm surprised at you. You should know better."

"But, Miss Bunnie! You said dedication was essential to mastery and I really want to master the drums. Miss Violet offered a chance for me to practice."

"I...did say that." Bunnie looked off to the side.
"What's your excuse, Commander?"

"Being...a good brother and supporting my sister and my son-in-law?"

Bunnie sighed.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"

"I'm a loner, Bunnie. A rebel." She said with a grin.

"You are so immature..." Another couple of throbbing hashtag veins popped up on her head.

"I know you are but what am I?" Violet grinned.
Bunnie scoffed.

"At least you're taking this--" Bunnie turned and noticed Asriel wasn't there. She turned back to where Violet was already teaching him how to do the Pee-Wee Herman dance.

"Ancestors still my hand..." Bunnie closed her eyes. "Whichever deity I have offended, please accept my humble apology.

"Oh hey, check it...let's take it up a notch with the remix. Here's a little J.L.S. for ya!" Violet mashed play on a nearby boombox and we ditched our instruments to do a full-on version of the Pee-Wee Dance performed by Joe Love Ski.

If Bunnie could fit any more throbbing anime veins on her head she'd probably be on the verge of bursting every blood vessel in her cranium. It was was a rare moment we could take a risk and actually get away with undermining Bunnie's stoic personality for amusement. But for every 99 times we chastised Violet, there was one we'd remember to poke the bunny...er...Bunnie.

Later that day, once Bunnie had headed back to the dojo to mentally recover from our moment of being completely immature...

"I think that's my allowance of acting like I'm five-years-old for the year." I shoved my hands in my pockets and headed to Computer Valhalla.

"It was all in good fun, gov. We'll make it up to Bunnie later. Won't we, Azzy?"

"Sure thing, Mr. Jon."

"You really gotta stop with that "mister" stuff. We're all family and friends."

"Sorry...Mom...Toriel taught me to be polite. All the kids in the kingdom called her Mrs. Dreemurr. Same for Dad...they'd call him Mr. Dreemurr. And they taught me to address any grown ups as Mister, Mrs., Miss, or Ms."

"Yeah...I guess that's a good practice for someone you don't know. But you know us."

"I guess you're right."

"Well. Here's hoping Violet's not doing anything too bad, eh, Volt?"

"Here's hoping--" I skipped the doorbell and grabbed the door handle and only opened it a crack...and immediately regretted it.

"It's...astounding. Time is...fleeting. Madness...takes its toll. But listen closely..."

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no no no nononononono!

"Volt?" Asriel looked up at me. He recognized that look of dread I only saved for Violet's worst.

"Not for very much longer!" I heard Violet cackle.

"I've got to...keep...control..."

I slammed the door shut to no avail. The music inside was so loud we could hear it through the door.

"I remember...doing the Time Waaaaaarp! Drinking...those moments when....the blackness would get me..."

I motioned for Jon to try to hold the other door shut with his weight as we both leaned up against them and tried keeping the inevitable from happening.

"I can't...hold it...shut!" Jon's looked at me as his ears drooped.

"And the Void would be callinnnnnnnnnnng!"

"Damn you, Vi--"

And then we were suddenly knocked aside as the doors blew wide open as Violet, dressed as Columbia her cosplayer dance troupe dressed as Riff-Raff, Magenta, and all of the other cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show burst out in song.

A banner rolled down from the front of the cafe reading "Annual Transylvania Convention" Under it a smaller banner read "Welcome, Transe--" ...okay, no. Not reading that aloud.

"LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAAAAIN! LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAAAAAAAIN!"

Asriel scooted backward, eyes wide as dinner plates.

"Volt...what's a transe--"

"Not appropriate!" I hollered over the music.

"It's just a jump to the left."

"And then a step to the riiiiiight!"

"With your hands on your hips."

"You bring your knees in tiiiiiight! But it's the Pelvic Thruuuuust...that really drives you insaaaaaane! LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAAAAIN! LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAAAAAAAIN!"

"Volt? I don't know whether to be curious, weirded out, scared, or all of the above." Asriel backed up into my arms.

It was about that time that Mitzi who was standing by with a deer-in-headlights expression suddenly pressed her wrist to her forehead and fainted into a nearby Duke Chaupetta's arms.

"Really? Really, Mitzi?" Jon wrinkled his nose.

"Jon. We've got a kid here in a PG-13 or greater setting and you're complaing about Mitzi's cliched fainting?"

"It's so dreeeeamy....OH FANTASY, FREE ME! So you can't see me--"

At that Asriel couldn't resist waving his hand over his eyes.

That reminded me--

"...no not at all. In another dimension...with voyeuristic intention. Well secluded, I see allllll..."

"With a bit of a mind flip..."

"...you're into the time slip."

"And nothing...can ever be the same."

"You're spaced out on sensation..."

"While you're under sedatiooooooooon!"

"LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAAAAIN! LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAAAAAAAIN!"

"Please, Violet...he's at least four or five years too young for this!"

Violet began her solo at that point, sitting pretty on the juke box prop.

"Well I was walking down the street, just-a-havin' a think when this snake of a guy gave me an evil wink! He shook-a-me up, took my by suprise, he had a pickup truck and a devil's eyes. He stared at me and I felt a change. Time meant nothing would again!"

"I'm calling Bunnie right now. C'mon, pick up major!"

The performance continued into Violet performing Columbia's tap dance solo.
Violet and company wrapped up their performance with the deliberate collapse to the ground as the song wound down as if its batteries just died.

*BAMF*

"Sorry, Commander. I had to wait for Megami to finish recharging the Moji-Cells."

"You've never been late before, Major...but there's a first time for everything."

"Oh no...the annual performing of the R.H.P.S."

"Afraid so, Bunnie."

"Asriel? Are you alright?"

"I feel...very confused...a little scared...and I have soooo...many...questions."

"I give up, Violet...you win. Asriel can join us at movie night." I hung my head and drooped my ears.

"Wow, I wasn't even trying for that...but I'll totally take it."

FFFFFFFFFFFF---

"Deep breaths, Commander. Beat yourself up over it later. I'll be sure to join in the chastizing."

"Payback for the Pee-Wee Dance?"

"Payback for the Pee-Wee Dance."

Later that night...

"I got the popcorn ready."

"Uhh...Violet?" Sally did a double-take when she saw it.

"Apparently I'm being punished for corrupting the innocent." Violet grumbled, pointing to the square knot with a bow that her ears had been tied into.

She glared at me.

I gave a smug smirk. Oh yeah. When I said if I ever caught Violet doing U can't C me that I'd tie her ears in a knot...I meant it.

Then she glared at Asriel.

"What did I do?" His clueless expression was just too adoreable.

"A little help here, Buns?"

"Let me savor the moment. Then I'll untie them."

"Hardy-har-har..."

And then...

"Sooo...explain this to me again?"

"Well we watch a bunch of stuff cued up on Violet's internet TV and make fun of it and give colorful commentary."

"Yeah. Like our own take on Mystery Science Theater 3000."

"Don't know what that is...but okay. I'll try it."

"And as we agreed. If Violet slipped ANYTHING in there that makes you uncomfortable or is inappropriate for your age group, we reserve the right to cover your eyes and ears."

"Deal."

What ensued was a night of mixed media before the feature presentation.

The internet video memes...

"...explain that to me again, Violet?" Mitzi cocked her head.

"Seriously, Mitzi? You can't be THAT out of touch with video games."

"Uh..."

"You're telling me you don't consider "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" a classic? Or a good Halo tea--"

"Ehhh....?"

"Okay, what DO you know about video games?"

"Space Invaders? Asteroids? Uh...Frogger? Pac-Man? You know...nice games?"

"Oh. Right. Generation 1 and 2. How quaint."

The horribly acted 1950's PSA's...

"What ABOUT drinking?" VARS cyborg girl, Sophia asked.

"I could go for a glass of chocolate milk right about now." Asriel beamed, oblivious to what they really meant.

"No, Azzy. Not that kind of...I mean...nevermind." Mitzi didn't have the heart to explain the concept of alcohol and getting drunk.

Classic 80's TV gems...

"This man is a treasure."

"I used to watch Mr. Wizard's World all the time when I was your age, Azzy. Don Herbert was a personal hero growing up."

"Wow, science is so cool!"

The vocaloid tropes...

Bunnie covered Asriel's ears as I covered his eyes.

"Wha...what's going on?"

"Nothing you need to see, hear, or experience."

"But you are missing some good sh--(FLOWEY LAUGH)."

"Shut up, Vi."

Movie and game reviews...

"Oh, they're reviewing the TMNT reboot."

"So...this Nostalgia Critic guy and this Angry Video Game Nerd person...?"

"You should get ready to cover your ears at some very bad language, Azzy..."

More video game memes...

"So...Spy is...bad?" Mitzi raised an eyebrow.

"Why are all these guys moving so...really...really messed up and jerky? I'm pretty sure body parts aren't supposed to...bend that way."

Asriel practically turned his head completely sideways to make sense of what he was seeing.

"TF2 hacks are an acquired taste." Violet mused.

And of course a feature presentations...cult classics or some other B-movies which clocked in extremely under budget with acting to match, anime films, or some other somethings that could occupy a lot of time. This night we ended up with a little movie roulette with a stew of bad flicks and such.

"This...movie isn't very scary." Asriel wrinkled his snoot.

"So...he turned himself into a walking fish creature to get revenge by polluting lakes and stuff? I don't get it." Skeeter scratched his head.

"Oww. My brain." Red Stokes' brother, Davise shook his head.

"It's almost as bad as the Room." Mitzi crossed her arms.

"So...he's not really a writer working on a next book? He's hacking computers to expose government corruption?"

"Worst. Movie. Monster. Ever."

"Oh gods, they couldn't look any more disinterested..." I retorted.

"Why did they put a teenager's brain in a dinosaur?"

"What's with the weird pebble thing that keeps appearing and disappearing?"

"Acting!" Violet said while doing jazz hands.

"The Bed That Eats...I got nothing."

"Well now I know where the budget went..." Jon rolled his eyes.

"So...Theodore Rex, huh?" Rotor blinked.
And before long we all conked out.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 140: "Preparations or My Return to Asgore"


"...thanks for the rush job, Bunnie."

"It is of no consequence. Be careful when you actually set out for the Underground."

"I'm not going to visit Asgore just yet. I still have prep to do. I'll have to check in with the other Boss Monsters and try to tighten the dragnet around Chara. If I can prevent her from getting to Asgore first, then maybe there won't have to be conflict. But...in all probability, I'm not that lucky."

"Whatever happens, do your best."

"Always." I loaded up the additional gear into E.N.G.I.N.E. dots.

"I will take my leave." Bunnie stepped back and BAMF-ed out of existence.

I returned to my work on the positron collider pack and the multitude of upgrades I was installing and pairing it with. I had blueprints from my mentors, Dr. Egon Spengler and Dr. Raymond Stantz as well as blueprints and notes from our recent allies, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann, Dr. Erin Gilbert, and Dr. Abigale Yates.

"...cryo-cooler for helium bleedoff, plasma shields for the proton discharge, some new circuit plates, and a Faraday Cage." I fit the metal grill into place.
I looked at the other set of blueprints.

"Transtator, synchronous generator, cyclotron, PPD, N-Filter, legrice elbow, HGA, ion arm, booster, booster frame, and power cell."

I looked over at my work. I was combining sets of technologies and refining them into something that combined the best of multiple generations of equipment.

"External plasma charge cannisters, surge supressor, heat sink." I muttered as I twisted some wires together and capped them.

"And of course the additional upgrades. Plasma Distribution System mk II, Boson Collider, Meson Reactor, Stasis Stream and Shock Blast unit, and additional electrical systems to tie them all together."

Some final panels and details and I folded and packed the last of the modular sections back up into the final compacted unit. With a press of the main power on the neutrona wand everything fired up with new lights, display, monitor windows, bar graphs, and neon hoses, trim, and pseudo-circuits.

It was neither 1984 incarnation, 1990's incarnation, or 2016 incarnation. It was all and neither. It was something new and it had several protonic clusters with the demon child's name on them.

"Now that's a good sound."

I looked over the additional equipment. Proton Whips, Plasma Shotgun, a Ghost Chipper, and Proton Grenades.

"You're suiting up for mainframe combat. But all science equipment aside...it may also require a bit of a mystical touch, too..."

I went to the other table where I had holy water bombs brought off world from CastleVania. Not to mention Cross Boomerangs and richochetting diamond projectiles.

Let's face it. I was taking no chances with Chara. But in all honesty...I didn't know how I was going to handle Asgore. If Chara got to him before I did, I don't know which of us would get the greater severe beating.

There was just no way to know how much to hold back without killing him. It was a hostage situation with incredibly high stakes. These events would have to be handled very delicately.

I had Bunnie's blend of "metsubishi" blinding powder, a modified version of Sally's Thunder Knuckledusters from the Tengu Suit's weapons, some of Gadget's flash bombs and coil guns, a few of Lupe's special tangle vine bulbs, and a pressurized mini canister of Rotor's "Megamuck"--a debilitating substance akin to riot foam made of one part petroleum, one part quicksand, and one part clay mud.

I packed everything up into numbered E.N.G.I.N.E. dots on a bandolier and placed it with the pack.

I picked up a screwdriver and started making final screw tightening when I looked up and saw Asriel standing there. His head was kinda bowed, his hands were behind his back, and he was being very quite. I sensed an aura of both gloom and worry.

"You're...going off world again, aren't you?"

"........yes."

"To one of those dangerous places. Right?"

"...afraid so."

A bit of silence.

"Asriel, I--"

"I know. You're a time traveler who has orders. Orders he has to follow. Dad told me about soldier discipline so...I guess what you do is...similar."

"I wish it weren't so. What I do is for the greater good. I keep so many secrets from you and everyone else. And it really tears me up inside that I can't share them."

"It's...not easy being patient...but it's something I feel I need to be. That look you have right now...you don't need me making things harder for you. A hundred years of waiting and hoping. This...this is nothing. You'll come back. You'll be okay."

"That confidence in me...it means more than you'll ever know."

"I can guess but...you're probably right."

That's when I saw what he was holding in his hands. And I about gasped.

"I guess they're called...sunflowers on this world. Lupe helped me pick this one out."

"Asriel..."

"I'm still a little skiddish around large patches of them...but I'm getting better."

Asriel offered me the flower.

"I want you to have this. Take it...for good luck. Not matter how bad things get there, you can hold onto this and think of me. I'll be thinking of you, too."

"Asriel...oh my gods...you...you...*sniffle*...you really are my best friend."

I knelt down and we hugged for a long time.

I accepted the sunflower and slid it into my lab coat pocket.

"Please be okay in there..." I whispered.

"Asriel...is it really okay? I'm worried...that it might get--"

"I feel it. It's a survivor. Even it it gets beat up with you...it'll protect you. Somehow."

I smiled.

"Okay. I trust you." I stood up and slung on the pack. I hit the switch on the belt and nano-mechanically collapsed it into its compact buckler form. I slung the bandolier over my shoulder.

"Volt...do you think there will come a day you'll be able to put all these bad things you go through behind you?"

"I have hope. And you know..."

We both smiled at the same time and replied at the same time.

"Hope never walks alone."

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF...
END TRANSMISSION...
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  #46  
Old 07-28-2016, 12:02 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
King of crossovers..maybe
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Time for S.T.C. Agency Force...yeah, it just doesn't roll off the tongue. Yeah, it's an update:

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 141: "Gears Don't Just Make Good Eye Candy, They Make Music":

I was packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. I had no method of contacting or being contacted by the Boss Monsters of the Underground. However Command was keeping a secret telemetry eye on them from afar in case something big went down while I was in Miranda City.

Command was keeping quiet so things were probably still okay.
Still...I didn't want to leave Asgore alone for too long. Chara had a decent amount of time to recover from the butt-kicking we'd given her. I wanted to make sure to weaken her enough that she wouldn't escape.

What I really needed at the moment was to re-enforce my mental and emotional state. I could not waver even the slightest in a battle with a possessed Asgore. I needed to firmly plant in my heart, mind, and soul what I was fighting for. And that meant embracing the time I had with Asriel and the others until I felt I was ready.

"You're always collecting gears, Gadget. What do you even do with them."

"Well. Let me show you!" Gadget lead us through the various sub-lab sections until she brought us to a remote sub-lab with her name on the door plate. She opened the door and we stepped inside...

...into a room filled with the overwhelming sound of machinery and the sights of gears, sprockets, cogs, flywheels, pinions, and crown-wheels put together in a working assembling of metal and mechanics.

My jaw dropped. As did Asriel's.

"H..how many gears did you say you had, little sister?"

"Well...this batch makes one-million, nine-hundred...three."

"One...!"

"M-M-M-MILLION!?!"

"Yeah, I know. I'm working on making it bigger."

"B-B-B-BIGGER?!"

"That's...er...great."

Gadget yanked a lever and a large assembly of gears disengaged from the surrounding sections. There were a number of unoccupied shafts among the metal work. Gadget sorted through her box and slipped some gears onto the posts and secured them with screws.

"There."

Gadget reengaged the mechanism and the gears went about spinning.

"Ahhh!" Gadget's expression brightened even more.

"Isn't it wonderful?"

"Yes! It is!" Asriel agreed. "What does it do?"

".....do?" Gadget blinked. "It's...supposed to do something? Huh...I knew there was something I was forgetting..."

We all laughed.

"Well...it's the world's largest Do-Nothing-Machine."

"And it is mesmerizing to watch."

Gadget nodded in agreement.

"Well..it may not do much..." Gadget led us to a different room where Violet was standing by.

"But Mr. Rotor and Miss Lupe helped me build a replica of something that does do something pretty cool."

"What is it?" Asriel examined the array of microphones around the wooden machine. It was then I noticed the hundred of metal marbles running throughout the machine in clear hoses, runners, scoops, conveyor belts, and waterwheels.

It stood on four table legs and I could see the multitude of electrical plugs and amplifier hardware in the back leading to some external cables...and the pickups on a makeshifted bass guitar in the machine. It was made of mostly wood. I could see a set of metal xylophone bars. A system of funnels lined the machine.

He read the plate on the side. "Wintergartan...Marble...Machine?"

"Violet, are you saying you built a working copy of Francesco Taskayali's machine? Completely from visual and audible memory?"

Violet grinned and slipped on her headphones geared for rabbit ears with the speakers on the top of the band. She grabbed hold of the crank and started cranking gesturing for us to be quiet. She yanks multiple levers labeled "snare", "kick", "hi-hat", "bass", etc.

She glanced at the sheet music of the original artist, designer, and maker of the machine and got to work playing, fingering the chords on the bass guitar while the marbles began to move throughout the machine, striking the chimes, xylophone bars, bass strings, and percussion, systematically. This thing was like a music box taken to an entirely different level.

I don't know who was the greater genius. Francesco Taskayali for inventing it and giving the original performance or Violet and the group for copying it down to the last piece of wood.

And so we listened to Vi's concert. Gadget and Asriel watched with starry eyes. Gadget rippled her tail as Asriel wagged his. The glee was obvious. Who said low tech toys don't draw this generation's attention? Not I, says me.

About mid way through Vi yanked the lever marked "Brakedown" and stopped the motion of the drive assembly then manually worked the chimes at the top of the machine before re-engaging everything and cranking it up again. She kept it going a bit longer before she reset a couple levers then stepped back from the machine and let the momentum of the main crank wind down as the song slowed down to a stop.

Asriel gave her a gesture consisting of a "stop" gesture turned sideways with one hand and an "okay" sign with the other, letting her know it was that moment when a music session was done "juuuust right". I felt like he was channeling a meme from somewhere, but no matter. We all agreed. It was nice.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 142: "It's Not What You're Remembered For That Counts, It's Who Remembers You and Who You Remember":

We stopped by Rock-Afire Pizza afterward, letting Gadget and Violet get back to their work. We were soon joined by Lupe who gladly joined us in meeting with Mitzi.

Mitzi was by the jukebox, taking a break from the counter when we walked in.

"Mitzi? Is everything okay?"

"Hmm?"

"You seem off on a cloud."

"Just a little...nostalgic for the old days."

"Well I can tell that from the music lineup. You only play "End of the World" and "When Will I Be Loved" when you're missing the old days."

Mitzi walked back behind the counter and got the three of us each a root beer float.

"That obvious, huh?"

"I'm...sorry I don't have much to say to comfort you."

"It's okay, little guy. Even if you had been born on our world, it would have been before your time."

"Technically it just barely hit the years during my childhood."
Mitzi nodded.

"Nermal wanted you to see us at our best...live our dream while we still had time left in the spotlight."
I nodded.

"Well. I don't want to get too distracted with all the memories so I'll get your pizza orders in. The usual?"

"Of course." Lupe nodded.
"You know what the two of us like." I said with a wink.

"Double pepperoni with extra sauce!" Asriel reminded.

Mitzi giggled and got started on them then loaded them in the ovens. It was about that time that her cell phone rang. Not the store phone, rather but the one on her person.

"Hmm?" She cocked her head as she looked like she recognized the caller ID.

"Hello?" Her eyes widened a little. "Janet! Oh my gods, I can't believe it! It's so good to hear from you! How have you been? Uh-uh. Uh-huh. Yeah, I am. I run a pizzaria on Fontraile. What about you?"

Mitzi muttered something about missing the days she could coil her finger around the phone cord. I had a feeling Asriel wanted to ask if phones really used to have "cords".

"Well, I'm glad you're making ends meet and I hope you find something more definitive. But hey, it's great catching up. I remember when we went on tour with you guys. We were your opening act, remember? Oh yeah. The Rock-Afire Explosion and the Electric Mayhem on the Electric Explosion tour."

I did a double take. Did she say..."Electric Mayhem"?

"How's Dr. Teeth these days? What's he up to? Really? Piano lessons. Huh. He still hang out with Rolfe. I mean Rolfe T. Dog, not our Rolfe. Good. Good for them. And Floyd Pepper? Nice. Glad he's doing well. What about Zoot? ......oh....sorry to hear that. Jang, huh? Yeah, they don't mess around when you get busted for something in Jang. At least he'll get to keep his saxophone when he gets out."

A pause.

"No reunions, huh? Yeah...I saw the show on a MeScreen Video. Yeah...won't be the same without Animal. I mean he was always so wild, crazy, and unpredictable. Hard to believe that a few years of yoga and time among monks made him so low key he's not the same person any more. Yeah. I'll miss him too. But at least his anger issues are under control, y'know?"

Mitzi smiled a bit.

"Yeah...we had a good run with a lot of groups. The Holograms. The Seville Brothers and the Miller Sisters...what did they call themselves again? Oh and that garage band that used to practice at the old H&S Storage depot. A lot of fun times. Well. It was good to talk to again and I hope to hear from you some time soon. Give my best to the others if anybody's still around......oh yeah...I remember that. "Together again..."."

Mitzi giggled again. "See you later. Bye...bye."

"You guys toured with Electric Mayhem?" I blinked.

"What's...Electric Mayhem?"

"A band on an old variety TV show I used to watch as a kid. A lot of sketches and talent done in this old theater building. I remember it had a lot of comedy, a lot of musical numbers, a lot of good wholesome family fun, and for some reason...I remember a guy who threw fish. All while being heckled by two elderly men in the balcony."

"Oh, you mean Waldorf and Statler. I don't remember what happened to them. But yeah. We had some good times then.

The timer went off at that moment and Mitzi got our orders out of the oven.

"You know...maybe that's just what I needed. Not so much to be remember for what we did...but to remember who we did it with. I guess what I'm saying is...it's good that our old friends still remember us."

"I'll drink to that." I said as I raised my root beer float.

"I don't know anything about it...but me too." Asriel did the same.


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 143: "He's Playing Piano...Terribly":

The next day Violet had decided to start up on giving Asriel piano lessons. Sort of pick up where Undyne had left off...hopefully with better results.

"Nervous about taking lessons again?"

"Well...not so much as that. Kinda nervous about what kind of a teacher Violet's going to be." Asriel looked down at his feet as we stopped outside her door.

"Admittedly I'm a little worried myself. There's a method to Vi's madness and I have yet to figure it out."

"I hope she goes easy on me."

"How bad could things get--" I started as I opened the door a crack and heard Violet's voice ring out.

"AHH, HOLY SH--(FLOWEY CACKLE)! That was f--(FLOWEY CACKLE)-ing TERRIBLE! You made me want to soil myself. That performance was so bad it's unfit to bury next to Seymour Cheese's skeleton chained to the palm tree on Extra's Island!"

And then there was the sound of a vase crashing against the wall and shattering.

Asriel shrunk back.

"Is it too late to change my mind?"

"GET OUT OF HERE THIS INSTANT, BEFORE I REAAAALLY GET MAD! AND NO. BACK. TALK."

Geeze, Violet. An impression of Sergeant Hooks from Police Academy 5, now?

THe door swung open and Al Dente trudged out, whimpering.

"......"

"Oh! Hey buuuuuddy!" Violet waved cheerfully as she greeted Asriel with her best Paulie Shore impression.

"Don't mind Al. He was just LEAVING. And trailing his shame behind him."
Al looked over his shoulder at us.

"Don't worry about messing up, little guy. Mistakes are perfectly natural. But we learn from them and get better." She said mussing his hair.

"What about--" Al started.

"I said MISTAKES, not horrible blights on hybrid society!" Violet snapped with fire in her eyes. "As it stands, Asriel is more qualified than you and he hasn't even had his first lesson yet. What lesson are you on again? Oh yeah. Whichever wasted paycheck out of your checkbook you owe me. And it better not bounce or you're a dead mother!"

Alfred backed away.

"Soon as lessons are done, you can have a few free games in the arcade upstairs. Cool?"

"Sure, Aunt Vi."

I probably should have called Violet on favoritism between students...but...I just couldn't help but feel like Dente did something really bad to deserve this treatment. Past experiences tended to prove he often did. Chances are there were people who were REALLY pissed off at him on the other side of the world.

"C'mon, Vi. Al can't possibly be that bad."

"Oh no?" Violet rewound the audio recording she made of Al's practice and hit play.

OH. MY. GOD. JUST......NO. NO.

"...comment withdrawn." I said as I held my ears in pain.
Asriel did the same.

"I don't know why the man wants to learn. I've heard of students who have no talent. But Al is the first person to have NEGATIVE talent. He literally un-invents the instrument."

"Suddenly you're the one I'm feeling sorry for, Vi. My condolences for putting up with that."

"I could withstand a student playing like that, but not one who's a complete a-(FLOWEY LAUGH)-hole in life. The palace has had to make more public apologies for when he's gone rogue with his unauthorized security measures in the last month than most governments have in their lifetimes."

"Just get him to retire before the waterboardings start. And no, Asriel, you may not ask what that is."

"Well with that out of the way. Why don't you show me what you can do?"

And after a bit I was pleasantly suprised as was Violet. Undyne wasn't that bad of a teacher. Asriel wasn't bad at all. With Violet's help he could be great.

"Oh yeah. There's a lot to work with here. You're gonna do just fine, Cinnamon Roll."

And with that things just went smooth as glass.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 144: "Art Mom"/"Rainbows are Just White Light Divided Up":


Asriel's piano lessons were going swimmingly.
It was a nice day to be outside and we enjoyed a nice relaxing sit at the fountain.

"Hmm?" Asriel turned to see something floating in the air.

"That looks like...!"

Sure enough it was an artist's canvas. That could only mean one thing.

"Mom." Asriel whispered.

"Shhhh. Let's not move around too much. She's painting."

I watched and sure enough the artist kit nearby opened up and the brushes sorted around. Containers of paint opened and various colors were dabbed on the wooden palette and mixed. Then the painting began.

As the picture began to take shake it was rather easy for Asriel to keep still. He was completely mesmerized by the colorful scene taking shape in still form.

I began to really appreciate how much culture we were bringing into our little ex-prince's life. We had gotten him enrolled in school. We were willing to answer his questions as best we could. He was getting music lessons and taking in art. Though...it was questionable what kind of impact some of 'our' (Violet's) nostalgia was having on him. But I guess it's all good.

I began to worry less about Asriel finding his niche...his interests...his hobbies. With what we emersed him in, he'd find that one thing that was him and only him sooner or later. Hard to believe it was almost half a year and he hadn't zeroed in on that one favorite interest above all others.

"Mom is so amazing." I heard him whisper.

Callista's portrait of the square slowly took shape. It was amazing how amazing the detail was.

And before long...

"There." Callista faded back into existence. "Let's let you dry for a bit."

"Wow..." Asriel studied the painting all the more closer. "Golly! I didn't even notice there was a rainbow out!"

He looked up in the sky and sure enough there was a beautiful rainbow out.

"Yeah...it rained earlier today so...there would be a rainbow now that that sun's out."

"Hello, Asriel. How's my little bundle of joy?"

"Aww, mom. You're embarrasing me!"

"I'm your mom. I can embarrass you at any time." Callie said a little lightheartedly. "Besides. It keeps you humble. You know it means that I love you, right?"

"Yeah."

At that moment our favorite psionic Ebon rabite suddenly floated over and nestled atop Callista's head.

"You've been rabite-hatted, Mom!" Asriel beamed. "Hi, Marie!"

"Heh. Callie and Marie. I feel like moments away from Violet making some kind of reference here. One that probably involves squids." I mused.

"Chuu!" Marie cot comfy and engaged in psychic conversation with Callista for a bit. Which gave Asriel and I time to converse a bit.

"You like your rainbows a lot, don't you?"

"Yeah. I always liked a lot of colors. We didn't have real rainbows back in the Underground so...we'd use magic to create them. I used to wish I could be a superhero with rainbow colored attacks--"

Oh gods. Please tell me he wasn't describing the Absolute God of Hyperdeath.

"...I remember showing Chara a drawing I came up with for it. She called it the Absolute God of Hyperdeath."

"........."

Subject change. Please.

"Anyway...sometimes...I wish I weren't so plain-looking."

"Plain-looking?"

"Yeah. Look at me. I'm all white. It looks...kinda boring."

I smiled.

"Asriel. Let me let you in on a little secret...with the help of SCIENCE." I reached into my lab coat pocket and pulled out a prism.

"Hmm?"

"A flashlight makes white light, correct?"

"Yeah?"

I pulled a tiny pen light and shined it through the prism onto the ground, creating a rainbow.

"But what you might not know is rainbows are what you get when you split white light into its component parts. White light is just all colors of the rainbow put together. You need something like a prism or the right amount of moisture in the atmosphere to refract the light and split it apart like so."

"Ohhhh!"

"So in a way, Asriel...a little white goat monster like you is all the colors of the rainbow. Put together."

And as an afterthought I booped his snoot. That put a smile on his face.

"Science is so cool! And so are you, Volt."

"Well. Above average." I winked.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 145: "Return to the King":


I loaded everything I'd need into the Deloreon. I gave Asriel a final hug goodbye. He, Callista, and Scott bid me farewell before heading off.

"Oh! Can't forget this."

I snagged the Sunflower from the vase I had been keeping it in to keep it from wilting and slipped it back into my lab coat pocket, having trimmed the stem just slightly at the bottom.

"Hmm."

I smiled then got in the car. I pulled out of the garage and drove out of town until I could get to a stretch of empty road in between civilization.

"Okay. Time to break some speed laws." I hit the hover conversion and took the the sky, gave the car some gas and let the speed climb until I hit 88 miles per hour. And I was off...

...and I reappeared in the Underground. I maintained the cloak and flew my way to Hotland.

"I never get bored of coming here. Temperature's nice. Nice and toastyyyyyyy."

Yup. Let a Mortal Kombat reference slip out. This is me not caring. Nyeh.
But in all seriousness I felt inclined to check in first with Alphys before I decided to ask Toriel or Undyne for help. And I was hoping to keep Papyrus as far out of the loop as possible. I sympathized with Undyne too much to allow him into a dangerous situation.

It's not that I had doubts about his power and ability. He was actually rather capable in battle

With Chara around, he'd be way too easy a target. I hated to admit it but his big heart would make him way too easy to exploit. She would tear him to pieces once she got him to lower his guard. And if anything happened to Papyrus...I wasn't looking forward to what anyone was in for if they crossed Sans afterward.

"Hmm."

Speaking of the lazybones...I was still on edge. Even though he was usually sleeping nearly every time I encountered him....even though he told his bad jokes and puns and kept that mild-mannered indifference about him...I couldn't help but feel like he was putting me under the microscope with those beady dots within his eye sockets. Similar to Papyrus, his eye sockets weirdly changed shape when he winked or closed his gaze to the outside world. Very strange.

I decided to park on the roof and make my way down the various floors of the lab. There must've been some kind of interference coming from the building because I noticed the cloaking field that kept me and the car intangible fluxuated before collapsing entirely.

"Darn it." I frowned. "Okay. I don't think anyone will check up here so...maybe it'll be okay. Still...I'd prefer it if I left nothing up to chance."
I was about to head to the rooftop doorway when it swung open and there was Alphys.

"Oh, y-you're here!"

"..."

You just happened to head to the roof at that time? I wonder how extensive your surveillance really was? I was getting Violet vibes.

"Doctor. I'll put the pleasantries on hold, as I'm certain time is of the essence--"

"SQUEE!!!"

I whirled as Dr. Alphys was already examining the Deloreon with the kind of fascination she'd reserve for a new anime.

"OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH! Is this it? Of c-course, it is! It's so...otherworldly! What's its flux dispursal ratio? Oh my! Is this aluminum framework and stainless steel hull? UWAAAH! A working WORMHOLE EMITTER!"

"Alphys, you're seriously undermining the agreement I made with my mentor about keeping his prototype low key.

"A.....A.......A.......WORKING.....FLUX.....C-C-CAPACITOR?!?"

I facepalmed.

"Alphys...." I growled. "Chara."

Alphys snapped out of it at that.

"Oh....r-r-right."

We headed back down to the stairwell to the levels below and to the ground floor, passing by Alphy's upper workstation area.

I wished I could tune out the giant surveillance feed of me on the big high definition monitor. Even in your own home turf you had video cameras going, Alphys.

A table covered with blueprints, empty instant noodle containers, and all the things an anime fanatic would treasure. A computer tagged with post-it notes. A refrigerator...and a huge bag of.......dog food. Oh. Right. That.
I think it would be extraordinarily dangerous for Violet and Alphys to meet.
Alphys opened the door to the levels below. I followed. We took the elevator straight down.

I found myself in...those corridors again. Dimly lit. Unlike the other encounters, the power was on but the lights were in energy-saving mode. The monitors in the walls were already displaying Alphys' lab notes.

"The True Lab."

"You don't seem very...disoriented."

"Yeah. I've been down here a lot of times. In other timelines. Outside time in space so...you and the other instances of the kid didn't see me."

"Other...?" Alphys blinked.

"Yeah...this...timeline has likely been reset several times. Maybe...that's why it's unstable. It's possible part of its chronostructure may share similarities with the Genocide Timeline I previously visited--"

"G-g-g-genocide?"

"...yeah....probably...shouldn't talk too much about it."

I skimmed over each entry. It was a perfect outline of how a bright-eyed, optimistic Alphys descended into the secretive, self-doubting, ball of of awkward and shame she was now. It's a wonder she hadn't worried herself to the point of...falling. Yes. In THAT way. *sigh*

"Nn..."

Alphys looked away.

"Really want to make sure no one listens in, huh?"

"I...d-d-don't like to t-t-take chances."
Paranoid, Alphys?

"Good idea. But...do we really have to go to the--"
We turned down several corridors.

"Alphys, I'm pretty sure this isn't the way to the Power Room--"
I stopped short when noticed the mirrors and the table full of potted golden flowers.

"Alphys...you didn't lead us here by mistake, did you?"


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 146: "These Are My Confessions":


I heard her sniffle.

"...you said before...you know about them.......about...him."

"Let's just get to the point. Yeah. I'm about to entrust you with my deepest secrets. Just as you're entrusting me now. Understand one thing. You can never...ever...EVER tell King Asgore or Queen Toriel or even anyone in the kingdom about this. This stays in this lab room. This is non-negotiable, no exceptions, it's for the good of everyone. If you accept the terms of this then just say "yes"."

"........yes."

"Okay. The Genocide Timeline I spoke of. There are billions of timelines native to this particularly universe alone. There actually countless alternate universe out there with their own collection of timelines but that's not the focus of my research.

Before I found this timeline in this universe I visited a particularly timeline. One that has something in common with this one: it's...unstable."

"Unstable?"

"I can't quite explain it in 20 words or less...but yes. You've noticed the micro-glitches. This timeline is holding together but I don't know for how long. Just like the previous one."

"Oh no...what will happen to us?"

"If anything you're likely proof of what happened to the last timeline to do so. Parts of it reconstituted, randomized, formed variations and became this timeline. But that's not the secret I'm about to tell you..." I stared longingly at one of the Golden Flowers.

"The timelines are normally only accessible from a certain point onward. The moment the eighth child falls into the Underground. Anything before that...is...outside of even our agency's ability to reach. But unstable ones like this...give us a window into the past...as far back as the war with the humans...before the barrier...maybe even before that."

Alphys muffled a gasp.

"From the moment I wrapped up research on stable timelines in this universe I was intrigued by one thing...single word...six letters. A name."

"..."

I breathed on the mirror in front of my and then traced the letters spelling it out:

A-S-R-I-E-L

"The prince."

"The main variations between timelines are based on the choices of the eighth child. The Genocide Timelines...as you can guess...the child is guided by Chara's hatred for humanity and Determination to eliminate the enemy--anyone who stands in her way. Even...her own adopted parents.

Regardless, they end in one absolute: nobody survives. The Timeline is Destroyed. And Chara gives the child the option to continue on, living with their choices...or offer their soul with the power of the "ERASE" so they may start over in a new timeline.

Sometimes the child uses the "RESET" to try to undo their choices in the hopes of turning a Genocide Timeline into a Neutral or Pacifist one.
I'm still trying to figure out the mechanics of this world's chrono-structure and why the eighth child has such control over time and space. How they're able to reload themselves in this world...even after they've died."

"I...think I follow."

"Genocide timelines have one absolute. Nobody lives. Well...the unstable timeline I came from..." I swallowed hard. "There was...an exception."

"I was able to rescue someone...who was never meant to live in the first place. The circumstances that led up to it...made the timeline even more unstable but...we made it off world. To a safe place. Alphys. Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?"

"........"

"For nearly six months...this has been his world." I opened up the image on my T.A.O. link of all of us.

Alphys covered her cheeks and gasped loudly. "This...is...!"

"Alphys. I can't bring him back here. Not yet. Not in the state the world is in. Not with the King and Queen as they are. If I do...is life will be miserable. He'll blame himself. He'll grow lonely again...he'll wish to come back to our world. Who is to say he'll feel I'd abandoned him?"

"Why.......why do you have so much trust in me? Why would you tell me this? Why?"

"I have my reasons. But mainly because you'd already started to figure it out. You have plenty of secrets to keep and I'll safeguard them for you. I gave you my word. So...I ask you to grant me the same."

"I'll do it. I won't breathe a word of this. It's...too unbelievable. But...are you sure you want to bring him to a timeline that isn't his?"

"It's...the....*sniffle*...the right thing to do."

"Even though you clearly don't want to do it."

"...we've grown to be such close friends...he has a family...a life......how cruel is it to take all that away from him for a world he might not even want to remember? I've painted myself into a corner, Alphys. I let my emotions decide my actions. And now I don't know what to do.

But I know this...if you love someone...if you truly care about them...you have to be able to let go......let them go. That's what...this Asriel learned in order to move after losing Chara."

I sighed.

"The best thing to do...is let him have a life...and mature to an age when the Underground isn't even a faint memory. When he's able to fend for himself. When he's ready to ask about his place of origin. Time will heal the wounds he still has. And in time I'd like to think Asgore and Toriel will both be a better state to receive him."

"I...think that would be best. I...thought about what it would have been like if...if I succeeded at bringing the Prince back. I used to have such happy visions of the Royal Family coming back together...being happy again......seeing the Kingdom have hope once more. But...when...the vessel wouldn't respond...the days went by and by. And then I had no choice but to return it to Asgore...I guess he planted it in the garden where..." Alphys looked away.

Planted where Asriel fell. I had learned a Monster's dust was always spread upon their favorite thing after death. And if my theory was right Asriel's dust, combined with sparks of Chara's life essence was absorbed into it. I speculated that Flowey became conscious in that spot.

What happened from that point was up in the air but I could speculate. It made sense that he tried to seek out Chara which would eventually bring him to the Ruins where Toriel had Chara buried. From my previous encounters with other Timeline Floweys I'm guessing he never found any semblance of her. Depending on how far down she was buried, I'm guessing Flowey's roots couldn't stretch that deep...and even if they could, how would learning the truth that early affect him?

"I've been keeping most of the True Lab in low power state lately...since I spend most of my time in the trash dump."

Alphys led the way around the Sub-Lab sections to the power locks--four in all. Red, yellow, blue, and green. The trip was...nostalgic. But for the first time I didn't care for the trip down memory lane.

I took only a short moment to take in things like the rows of refrigerators, the room filled with fans, the...hard-to-navigate room full of fog and...glitches I think...wait were those there to begin with? The room full of beds. Gaster's DT extraction machine...gods...its skull-shape...it looked almost exactly like...Omega Flowey's...! I'd see something like this when Absolute God of Hyperdeath made the transition between his evolved form to his winged deity form. I still didn't understand how it was all connected.
And then there was...the TV room with the video tapes I had copied in other timelines.

With the final key inserted, we returned to the Power Room doorway and entered. Alphys stood before the main switch for the elevator.

I was silent for a bit...before I felt a large presence looming behind me.

I turned around to see the Amalgamate...the fusion of the dog monsters, specifically stare down at me...with that gaping hole in its entire face.

"Yeah, yeah. I know." I reached into my pocket and fished out a couple of dog treats from home...it was embarrassing that Jon sometimes snacked on these. "You always get so sassy when you don't get fed on time." A quick feeding...and getting drenched in drool.

"Eww." I sent a massive surge up and down my body, ionizing the air for a bit and evaporating the dog spittle. The Amalgamate was gone as quickly as it had appeared.

"Er...it's...unnerving how--"

"Yeah. I'll explain another time." I looked away...then back at Alphys.

"Alphys..."

"You said you had another secret to show me--"

I stepped back and de-morphed. An Alphys about freaked on the spot.

"Y-Y-Y-You....n-not...I don't...h-h-HUMAN?!"

"Half. I'm a Lycan. Ecotropian Werewolf. You saw from the scans, right? You said it yourself...my soul is more powerful than a monster's after absorbing a human soul. Enough to cross the barrier freely at will. I'm as human as I am monster."

"Volt...why would you risk going to Asgore, knowing.......if...he finds out about your soul--"

I turned away and looked over my shoulder.

"I have no intention of losing my soul to him. And I have no intention of him losing his to Chara. I've already drastically altered the events of this timeline. I did my best but the Chronal Contamination is there. I'm part of your history, now. I've interacted and befriended. I've meddled and made a powerful enemy. All I can do is try to make this right."
A good long period of silence.

"Oh, that's right! Chara! I have updates for you on the matter."

I remorphed.

"Tell me everything on the way..." We headed to the elevator to the Capital.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 147: "Asgore (The Second Meeting"/"The Barrier":


I exited the elevator and made my way. There was the Judgement Hall. Again no Sans...but rather...someone else was waiting.

"Well. You're not who I was expecting."

"Halt. State your business. What reason do you have to seek audience with King Asgore."

Wow. Dressed in full armor, Undyne.

"I come in peace. I have the appropriate paperwork."

I held up the document.

"Everything checks out."

"Indeed. I won't be long. I have family busines at home to tend to."

"Hmm."

"I need to explain to one of my relatives about anime. I don't know how to describe it to him in 20 words or less."

"Tell him it's like cartoons but with guns."

"Oh, hey! Thanks. That works. Anyway. I better be there to advise him before he tries searching for it on his own. Wouldn't want him to get a video of robots kissing, y'know. Am I right?"

"Don't loiter around. The King is a busy man."

"Yes, yes. Sorry to disturb you. I'll be on my way."

I cheerfully went in, entering the Throne Room.

There was Asgore. Again watering the flowers.

"Ah. So you've returned, Dr. Volt Arcade."

"It seems you're in better spirits today, Sire."

Asgore set the watering can asside and wandered over to his throne at the foot of where the flower bed ended, oriented in the very center. A closer look revealed it had been moved from the left side. There was the faint impression of a spot on the right side where a second throne once stood.
His throne was incredibly large but not all that lavish. The cushions were purple and the framework was gold. There was a Delta Rune embroidered in the back cushion. THe upper frame was shaped into curved spikey points...almost like shoulder pauldrons. The top was shaped vaguely like small horns with a crown in the center.

He walked over to a second throne further back against the wall next to a window. It was covered up with a sheet. Toriel's throne. It had to be.

"It once stood next to mine. Once at a time when we were...equals. There was a time...when...I thought that when the children were old enough they could each have a throne of their own. Then...the four of us could be a Royal Family together. For...ceremony and such."

"It would have been nice to see." I followed behind.

Asgore shuffled over to the covered throne, looked at it for a moment then walked through the doorway.

"Your highness...?"

"Would you like to see it?"

"My liege?"

"As a scientist I know you're very curious. It would be an opportunity for you to study it up close. That which has caused us so much grief...the bars of our prison..."

"The Barrier." I looked down for a moment then nodded and followed down the corridor.

The next rooms were nearly pitch black. I could only see the path on the ground. A dim blotch of light dotted the center of the room, but barely enough to light anything. Asgore turned right and kept going. I followed until I saw him enter the doorway. I followed close behind.

In my nightmare...there really wasn't a description to it. It looked like a long hallway filled with weird white light. But as it stretched onward and onward...seemingly toward infinity it turned more and more like a strange twilight until it became complete blackness in the distance. There was definitely something...physically impeding Asgore from going further. Something solid but invisible. This was the nature of the barrier.

As I stood there and watched, the bright white around began to fade toward the distance...then it began to brighten all over again. It was like the "hallway" was slowly drifting between dark and light. It was so mesmerizing.

"This is it. This is what keeps us trapped down here."

"A fascinating phenomenon." I scanned it with various tools from my pocket. Violet and Nikita could analyze the numbers later.

"...my son crossed this barrier...twice. The second time he returned...and collapsed in the Throne Room."

I bowed my head and thought back.

"Soon I will see the surface...everyone will. This is the gift Asriel wanted to give us all."

I thought back to the time shortly after Asriel had first come to Miranda. He barely spoke to us during that time, gradually opening up until the flood gates opened in Lupe's garden.

There was one thing he said that stuck in my mind, shortly after the pizza night. Shortly after meeting Pit and Gadget. A moment when I saw his doubts start to coax him back to retreating into his emotional shell.

"Why did you do all this for me? I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you."


It was mere coincidence that his words were said by someone else. I could only respond with its matching quote.

"You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing." - E.B. White, as spoken through a spider to a humble pig. A vision of Muffet briefly crossed my mind but it was the wisdom in the quote that I hoped would help Asriel.

"I've been...a friend to you? But...I haven't--"

"Shhhh. Don't doubt what has only come naturally for you. You'll understand one day. I hope...I hope you consider me a friend to you as well."

".......it would...it would be nice to have a friend again but...I...I don't want to lose another one..."

"I'm not going anywhere. And even if I did...we'd still be friends."

I snapped back to reality.

"Time to head back, Doctor."

I turned to head back--

THWAAAAAAAACK!

The red glow in the darkness had all the theatrical flair of a Sith's light saber weapon as it cut through the air and stabbed forth!

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 147: "Backed Into a Corner":


"...heh..." Asgore glided his tongue over his fangs as his disturbing grin peeked out from underneath the shadow covering his eyes. I had only seen this twisted an expression from Mad Pierot Tongpoo since Spike Spiegel's brush with him during the run of Cowboy Beebop.

"Gonna stop you right there, Chara. In both senses."

I had stopped the neon red trident in its tracks, holding its tip between my index and middle fingers, pouring all of my will, all of my strength and all of my determination into the technique Bunnie had taught me for controlling, cancelling, and manipulating seemingly impossible forms of momentum. Especially from weapons.

"However did you figure it out?" The voice had that familiar echo.

"I knew from the very beginning, that's how I was ready for your attack just now."

"You have an answer for everything, don't you?"

"I've been having the other Boss Monsters watch you like a hawk for a long time. Let's start with Undyne just a few minutes ago. I knew I was being watched. I knew you couldn't resist making sure you got there ahead of me so you were watching us from the shadows to make sure your plan was flawless.

We had to watch our conversation very carefully as to not tip you off. And it completely escaped your attention. You know Undyne and Alphys are anime fanatics so you didn't pay it any heed when I asked the question about how to describe it to a relative. And that was what confirmed it.

She said "cartoons with guns". That was the tip-off. As a member of the royal guard she was trained with close quarter combat. Hell she has a massive sword in her house. Had she said "cartoons with swords" I would have known I got here first."

"Undyne...you traitor..."

"Heh. That's a funny thing coming from you, Chara...from someone who led her brother, the Prince to his slaughter...then possessed your own mother AND now your own father to do your bidding.

Did you really think she'd blindly follow your commands without question? Just because Asgore has been like a father to her? She'd never question his behavior because she's just that loyal?

It doesn't work that way. She knows the man who took her in, trained her, made her what she is today. She'd know if something was wrong. She knows when her king has become a mere puppet to a demon."

Outside the doorway, Undyne leaned up against the wall, arms crossed, eye closed. A single tear stream ran down her scaly face. She had her helmet tightly in her grasp by her side.

"Dammit all..." She thought to herself, trying to convince herself she wasn't deeply moved. That only babies cry. "Arcade...you better not let him die."

She turned and walked down the hall, back out the throne room and to the Judgement Hall to wait for the Royal Guard troops to gather and be ready for the aftermath.

"Well. What good's a captain of the royal guard without troops. I made to thin her ranks, one by one, on my way to the--"

"And that's your second mistake."

"What? Impossible. I saw them turn to dust when I systematically--"

"You saw what we WANTED you to see. And you have Toriel to thank for that."

"What...?!... Mom...?! HOW?!"

"She's a Dreemurr. And Dreemurrs have the most powerful magic in the kingdom. It took her a while to find the right tomes, walk her way through the practices of the days before the war or the barrier, and figure out how to mix the right potions and apply her healing abilities to them.

She came up with a remarkable concoction that accomplished many things and it was secretly slipped into their food during their downtime at Grillby's. He was more than willing to cooperate for the queen.

She smuggled it to Snowdin Town with the help of Muffet's spider friends. They carried small amounts of the ingredients to the back door of Grillby's and let him take care of the rest.

The first effect the potion, once triggered, was induce temporary sleep to give the illusion of falling.

The second thing was to create an illusion with a powdery smokescreen to make them appear to have turned to dust. They'd appear invisible with the illusion of a mound of dust where they lay.

The third was to act as a combination protection and healing spell. No matter how much damage one would take, it would still leave 1 HP as long as you were in the area.

As soon as you left the final effect would kick in and restore to full HP. There they'd wake up and report their strange encounters, each checking in while you were on your way to Asgore's room.

And all this was triggered the moment the first attack hit. Quite a complicated array of spells and effects but the end purpose was accomplished--it stopped your genocide run from even starting."

"Mother...hah...hah...hah........how could you do this...you'll pay...you'll--"

"But I knew you were on the move even before Undyne and Toriel had any part to play. All thanks to Alphys and Mettaton. You see, Alphys modified her camera network with parts from the P.K.E. meter you destroyed with my prototype proton pack. It let her know the moment your valence was detected. We had Onion-san secretly attach the devices to cameras all around Waterfall, Doggo mod them in Snowdin, and the guards in Hotland do the rest.

Mettaton turned to his cousin, Napstablook to be your shadow all this time and report to him who in turn reported to Alphys since the cameras can't see you any more than anyone still alive. It takes a ghost to catch a ghost."

"The tin can...and the lizard......heh...never would have figured them to act so quick to get there revenge."

"And for the cherry on top, Undyne even called upon Monster Kid to keep watch for anything suspicious. Surely you noticed he'd been asking for a lot of autographs from Undyne lately. The paper he carried around in his mouth had a daily report of the times he saw anyone in the Royal Guard act strangely.

Between all of that surveillance, Undyne and Alphys have a very detailed record everything you did after escaping the Core. You couldn't pick your nose without us knowing about it. All without starting a panic."

"Everyone...against me......." Chara-Asgore lowered their head.

"Well. I've certainly given this the Mysteries Inc. touch. Why don't we just get to the point."

"Yes. Let's." Not-Asgore chuckled. "At last. I was tired of being a human and a ghost. Now...now I've got my wish. King of all Monsters. Soon to become an absolute god."

"This sounds all too familiar."

Chara-Asgore yanked the trident back.

"And soon is NOW!" Asgore gloated as the seven trap doors in the ground opened and the seven platforms rose up...

"NO!!!"

Not-Asgore shouted when he saw the soul containers were not there.

"One last thing. Just as one final precaution...I had Alphys take the six souls back to the True Lab. I just knew you couldn't resist pulling this trump card out early."

"Damn you...!" Asgore raised the neon red weapon and attempted to swing again.

*CLANG*

My zanpakuto clashed against the weapon. The force of it was so great my arm was throbbing from the pain of just trying to block.
"Any last words, Arcade?"

"How about four?"

"Hmm?"

"Discharge...Kaminarioh no Danganken!"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 148: "It means King in the Mountain":


Asgore winced hard as lightning snaked down the spear, coiling around it rather than through it. The magic must've been warping the ionizing effect but it was still enough to carry the charge through his hand and up his arm.

"Come then, Chara. Before this battle is over, even in the body of the "bergentrückung" you can't win."

And so we clashed and clashed hard. Blow after blow, block after block, perry after perry, strike after strike. After seeing we were evenly matched,

Chara fell back on Asgore's familiar repetoir. And her being in control didn't make them any less predictable.

I frowned and weaved my way through the alternating blue and orange attacks, stopping and moving as necessary.

There were the familiar lava serpents with the glove-shaped heads, coming in pairs. The spinning rings of flame closed in, flawed by small gaps I could dodge through. Helix-shaped strings of fireballs poured forth, filling the air with intense heat. And the sudden explanation-point-warnings telegraphed the downpour of flames that even I wouldn't be able to dodge if I didn't get out of the way.

"You dodge as well as Frisk. Not bad for a half-breed mongrel."

Half-breed? There was an all too familiar slur from the dark day my village of birth was razed to ground and I was left to perish. That hit below the belt. Ohhhh, she was going to turn this into a race thing. Oh no. I was not going to let that slide.

Sorry, Asgore.

I drew back and smashed my knuckles into the monster king's forehead with a crack and a zap as the Thunder Knuckledusters wrapped around each set of fingers. With a 1-2, the last things Chara saw before her vision was blinded by pain was "I Pity" and then "You Fool".

Dammit, Violet. You totally owed me five GP now.

A string of curse words followed.

Despite the knux, I maintained a grip on my zanpakutou and kept trying to disarm him until I was the one disarmed...and suddenly I found myself in the grip of his arms in an unsightly, crushing bearhug.

"I wonder how long it'll take your rib cage to regenerate once I crush it into your lungs and heart?"

I wheezed a chuckle. "Golly. You just make this too easy."

"Must be the oxygen deprivation getting to you. How do you figure, Arcade?"

"The king may be wearing battle armor. But it's a pretty poor choice in metal composition."

"I think gold suits me. Royalty deserves only the finest--"

"I think you fell asleep in science class, missy. Don't you know what are used to connect silicon chips to the terminals inside microchips?"

"...???...........!!!!"

Chara realized it too late as the goat king's body found itself lit up with a few hundred volts at 30 amps. More than an accurate level of current to be considered torture. Chara-Asgore released me and clutched a golden pauldron, gnashing his fangs in rage.

The electricity was so intense at the points of contact the gold metal had overheated and melted slightly. Besides being a good conductor, gold was a pretty soft material with a fairly low melting point. Thank you, Mr. Wizard's World.

"How long do you think you can hold back? You might not be able to die but Asgore can. And the Monsters of the Underground? They'll eat you alive if he becomes a pile of dust."

Oh. Now she remembers she has a hostage. Great.

"You flinched." And then I felt myself inside of a flame.

"Ngh....toasty."

I winced, fighting back the pain. I created a electric explosion at my epicenter, ionizing and expanding the air around me suddenly, the sudden oxygen loss snuffing the flames. Not sure how that even worked on magical flames but I wasn't about to argue.

Not-Asgore readied another swarm of fire.

"You know between the elementals, against fire..."

CRASH!! KA-WHUMPH!

"ARRRRRRRRRGH!"

"Water always wins." I clutched a second holy water bomb. Simon Belmont be proud.

I lugged several more. The magic of my holy water flasks didn't like Asgore's much as I could tell. Or maybe it was reacting to the evil in Chara's soul/spirit. Either way...he was having a bad time.

"I think you underestimate my ability to wear even Asgore down. If Frisk can do it, then why can't I?"

It was true. Frisk would never have a choice against Asgore. There was no mercy to be found until he was weakened to his last HP.

The fight dragged on and I found myself not just using my Soul Slayer and electric powers, but also my karate moves, aiming for pressure points and the like. I was noticing Asgore start to sweat as much as Sans in the Judgement Hall during a Genocide Run. Despite his greater size, strength, power, and magical prowess, he was finding himself evenly matched against my resourcefulness and determination.

At least until he knocked me to the ground and dug his heel into my chest.
"This game is getting boring. Let's incapacitate you, shall we?"

"You give determination a bad name..." I panted.

"Well...you can't spell determination...without termination." the trident spun in Chara-Asgore's grasp.

"When you come back to life, I'll make sure the prison accommodations are to your disliking."

"You're all heart..."

"No. I'm all LOVE. You know which kind." The trident raised above my head.

"I'd say you hurt to ones you love but...frankly I hate you so much right now."

"You won't get a Christmas card from me, either." I growled before feeling the air forced out of my lungs as Asgore's weight pressed down harder.

"I'll bear that in mind while I'm having my reunion with--" Chara started as the spear thrust down...then suddenly stopped a centimeter from the cornea of my eye.

I watched as Asgore's eyes were fixated on my lab coat pocket...peeking out was the sunflower.
His hands began to tremble and his breathing became...unsteady for a bit.

"A...A...Asriel...!" I saw his eyes start to water up. He clutched his face with his empty hand.

"Impossible! Asgore...Asgore can't possibly be resisting me! His mind is in shambles! What is this feeling overcoming--!"

"Asriel...I...I........I............" Asgore was hanging on the word, unable to finish his thought.

"I...I don't want to hurt anyone......I just want to see my wife...I just want to see my son..."

"Damn you, Da......Asgore! Obey me! I am...!"

"Ch...Chara...? No...wh-what...m-madness is this...?!" He looked into my eyes.

"Doctor? What am I doing?"

He struggled to wrestle control of the weapon from Chara.

"Please...stop...this...stop...me...!"

I breathed deep as I felt Asgore's weight suddenly shift and in that instant I siezed the moment and rose up with a desperate technique, channeling all of my focus and strenght to pin-point accurate.

I followed the jutsu's hand signs to the last character before unleashing the full force of the technique that hit a Hell of a lot harder than one could possibly expect.

I focused it all through the pinky fingers on each hand and jabbed them both into very specific spots on Asgore's torso.

The sound in the room suddenly stopped as a shockwave ring burst from the points of impact. A second or two passed before I saw the armor crumple and dent. In the next moment Asgore found himself smashing into the wall, next to the doorway entrance, craterizing it. His back arched as his eyes bugged out and he let out an unholy scream that lasted for a good long time.
Outside the palace, Toriel pressed her back against the wall and hung her head underneath her hooded cloak. Tears ran down her cheeks.

"Please...hang in there, Gore-y." She uttered.

Asgore dropped to his knees and then collapsed face first. I checked his HP with my scanner glass. Above zero. Weakened but alive.

"Impossible..." I heard the unholy echo. "IMPOSSIBLE! Even in Dad's mighty body...even with all that power...I still can't defeat you?! You...you...I hate you...I hate you so much! Graaaaaarrgh! I hate your face! I KILL YOU DEAD!"

By this time Chara's frustration was making it hard for her to form cognative thoughts. It was all rage by this point.
Her spirit rose from Asgore's body.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 149: "Chara's Last Stand...?":


"I warned you, Chara. Time after time. You ignore me and you rebel against what you know is not the correct solution to the problem."

"Shut...shut up!"

"Last time was strike three. I don't think you grasp how baseball works. You were out before this battle even began."

"You can't make me give up! I'll find another way! I'll have my revenge! Asriel will be mine! Mine! Mine! MINE! DO YOU HEAR ME?!"

I sighed.

"I see it all now. You don't just learn nothing. It's more than that. Like Jon Snow...you KNOW nothing." I unlatched the Ecto Trap I acquired from Dr. Holtzmann.

"Well. If we're going to do this final dance. Let's put all our cards on the table!" She roared as she turned into her black ichor, dripping form.

"You know that doesn't scare me--"

And suddenly she vomited up buckets of the black ichor drenching me in slime.

"...that on the other hand pisses me off somewhat." I said, not taking chances and rising myself off with holy water from the bottles. The goop sizzled and dissolved quickly.

"That was just petty and rude." I said as I unfolded the Proton Pack onto my back, the straps and belt forming around my shoulders and waist.

"You should see your face right now." Chara cackled.

"Really. Did it look something like this?" I quick-drew the Plasma Shotgun without warning and quickfired, nailing Chara dead center and sending her ROCKETING through the doorway into the hallway and through the opposite wall.

If my calculations were right, if the angle I shot her at was on target, she should have crashed through the back of the Throne Room, just grazing the top of Toriel's throne. I hurred down the corridors and back into the Throne Room where Chara was shaking off the punch of the weapon originally meant for Erin Gilbert.

I powered up the neutrona wand and fired. Chara dodged immediately, floating around the room. I swept the beam around, carbon scoring the walls, shattering the stained glass windows, and lacerating patches of flowers in the floor.

Again, sorry, Asgore. I'd fix this with the proper S.T.C. tools afterward.

"I'm not worn down from battle like last time! You're not going to lasso me with that stupid laser of yours!"

I growled and kept torching the room in an attempt to snare her.

"Let's see you dodge this." I taunted as I engaged the Meson Collider's reactor, large sections and tesla coils of the pack suddenly opening up and extending, arcs and sparks jumping across the conduits and coils.

I opened fire, as the Meson Streams suddenly bent and homed in Chara, following her like iron to a magnet. Several of the pulses crashed into her mercilessly.

Chara responded with a string of F-bombs and other foul swears.

"Wow. Just think. You actually kissed your mother with that mouth." I wrinkled my snoot.

"You think I say sh--(FLOWEY CACKLE) that makes you blush? My biological mother said sh--(FLOWEY CACKLE) that made ME blush!" She hissed.

"You'll get no sympathy from me." I said, quoting Fire Emblem's Ike.
Chara dove into Toriel's throne...actually animating it and lifting it with telekinesis and hurling it at me.

"Textbook poltergeist move, Chara!" I dove out of the way and switched to the Stasis Stream and zapped it with the straight, black-light beam, freezing it in mid air.

I yanked out one more holy water bomb and focused through it in order to use Item Crash. The rain came down and so did Tori's throne--into splintered pieces. She wouldn't miss it but Asgore would have my head when he saw what happened to it.

Chara dove at me again, puking up another deluge of ichor. This time I sidestepped it.

"Poor choice." I snagged her with the capture stream.

"Your weapons are getting weaker, Arcade! You think I can't break out of this?!" The proton stream strained.

"You're right. Let me charge you up!" I pulled the trigger for the Boson Darts, sending a massive ball of densely, superheated boson clusters THROUGH the proton stream. Chara ignited in an oxygen flare of neon blue plasma flames as the bosons exploded through her.

She thrust out a hand and I heard something in back of the accelerator pack snap and spark. I saw the Blast Stream and Capture Stream indictors go out.

"Gonna be difficult, huh?" I replaced the rifle momentarily and yanked the units frim the bottom of the pack.

As a little nod to Holtzmann, I gave each of the Ecto Whip units a lick before I unleashed proton Hell on Chara, grabbing, flinging, and lashing her repeatedly until the units overheated. Darn...knew I should have added heat sinks to those power transistors.

Chara tried to heat toward the ceiling. I jumped to the wall and kicked off upward as I slid on the Proton Glove and somersaulted above her and SMASHED her in the top of the head sending her straight down and followed up with a pair of Ecto Grenades. I lost sight of her in the resulting explosions.

"I won't lose to you!"

I landed and swept my gaze around before I felt myself telekinesis-shoved into the wall and then the pieces of Tori's throne hurled at me.

Feeling the impending danger nip at my heals, I tumbled and selected my next weapon.

"You know I could use some paptato chisps. I even brought my own...chipper." I fired up the Ghost Chipper and let the suction take hold.

"No, no, nooooo! Chara clawed at the air, trying to fight the vortex before she found herself drawn through the machine and spat out the other end as clusters of ectoplasm and psychic turbulence.

"On second thought. I eat too much junk food anyway."

"You think that's funny?!" Chara roared as she reconstituted.

"I'd say I'm having the slime of my life." I joked as I wiped some more of the goop off of my lab coat.

"You monsters...you are beneath me! I am going to be a god, you dull creature. I will not be bullied by--"

Chara found herself suddenly grappled and smashed back and forth into the ground over and over and over until she was cratered.

"You know...I'm not even going to quote the Hulk on this one, pip-squeak." I stood over her. In the time she had spent yammering, I managed to install a plasma canister into the emergency port and pump it through the Capture Stream.

"You're too young for that drink, anyway." I replaced the neutrona wand.

"I'll KILL YOU--!" Chara started to rise up from the crater.

"It's time you knew just how much I've been holding back. It's time I showed you MY Special Attack!"

I knelt down on one knee, wrapped a hand around my fist, drew my arms back behind my head then slammed my two-handed hammer into the ground.

"LIGHTSTORM RAVAGE!"

A rippling tentacle of white lightning seared through the ground, tearing a fissure into the ground before stopping underneath Chara. There was a delay before a white shaft of light erupted at the epicenter, swallowing the evil ghost up in a tower of light, a tangle of lightning spiralling around it as it broke through the ceiling of the castle and out into the "sky", splashing across the ceiling of the barrier.

Chara opened her mouth and eyes as wide as they could go to scream.

(No Audio)

When there was sound again Chara lay in the crater, looking up at me. I turned my back on her. I really struggled to keep her from seeing how much that took out of me. I was dead on my feet but I had to keep my cool for just a bit longer.

"Don't turn your back on me...this isn't over."

"Not yet, it's not."

"All I have to do is find another body to jump into. They won't even see it coming." Chara started to pick herself out of the crater.

"Oh no? NAPSTABLOOK! NOW!"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 150: "Ghost Busted"/"Time To Go Home Again":


"Wha--"

And then Chara yelped as she felt herself being drenched by falling tears. Above her hovered the form of Napstablook.

"You think...a lesser ghosts' tears are going to finish me off?"

"Sorry...about this...but...I won't...let you hurt...my cousin...again..."

"His tears aren't meant to finish you off..."

That was when we heard--

"YOU!" Undyne pointed her spear.

"Wh...what?! She can...see me?!" That's when she realized Napstablook's tears turned her visible to anyone who didn't have Soul Reaper vision or extra sensory perception like Frisk.

Undyne took only a moment to check on Asgore.

I kept my word, Undyne. He's okay."

"I'll have your head on my spear you little PUNK!"

"Do you even LISTEN to yourself, you dumbass! You can't hurt a ghost! You can't scare me anymore--"

"I'm very disappointed in you, my child."

Chara whirled.

"M...Mom?!"

Toriel pulled off her hood.

"You are in very big trouble, Chara Dreemurr."

"N-no...! You c-can't do anything to me! And even if you could...you wouldn't do anything to your daughter--"

Toriel's eyes disappeared under the mysterious shadow. She would take no pleasure in what she was about to do next.

"......my child...I have no daughter."

"Wha...what? C'mon...quit joking around, m--"

"I disown you. For the good of my people, you will renounce your title as princess of this kingdom. As the queen of all monsters, I banish you from our kingdom. When you leave this world. Do not come back. Ever. You were loved...but you did not love in return. You sewed hate among my people and deliberately turned the the man I loved into a horrible beast. You showed no remorse and given the chance you would do it all over again."

"You...you can't mean that--"

Chara was answered with a fireball. It passed through her of course but the effect was no less.

"Why did you take my son away from me?"

"It was...it was an accident--"

"LIAR!" Undyne snapped. "I saw the state of the Prince when he stumbled back into the castle. Monsters don't get accidentally shot with that many bullets and arrows and cut up with that many swords and such.

"Was it an accident that he stumbled home filled with weapons of the human world...carrying your bleeding corpse? I think not. Your soul was not accidentally absorbed by Asriel. You did not accidentally cross the barrier, holding your own body. You did not accidentally go to the middle of your own village and lead my poor angel to his death. And you did not accidentally try to convince Asgore to declare war on the humans before hand."

Tears rolled down Toriel's face.

"But to think...you possessed me and had me do terrible things to the child...for your own selfish games......that was the final straw. I might have shed tears for you had I known of your past. But they do not excuse your choices. It is cruel and harsh of me but I do what I must for the good of my people. Ha...ha......I suppose...I'm just as terrible as Asgore in a way."

Chara turned and tried to head through the doorway back to the Barrier room.

"That's far enough, Chara, darling." Mettaton EX was leaning up against the door frame, flexible arms crossed and eyes closed.

"Y-Y-You've caused us enough p-pain and s-suffering." Alphys forced herself to stand straight instead of her hunched pangolin stance.

She looked toward me at the far right of the room then whirled, thinking she could dive out through the window--
CRASH.

"Nyeheheheh! You will not be escaping, evil spirit! I, the Great Papyrus, will stop you!"

Chara let out a frustrated scoff. "Why can't any of you just die?!"

"You've been exposed as a liar, a traitor, a murderer, a fraud, and a coward. It's time for you to go." I dropped the mark III Ecto Trap of Holtzmann's design, deployed the pedal and kicked the device toward her.

"No...I won't let you stop me from getting to Asriel."

Toriel turned away. "Lying doesn't become you, Chara. It will not get you back into my graces.

"What a sorry little punk." Undyne dispelled her spear.

"The Prince is dead. Just g-give up, Chara. There's n-nothing more for you."

Thanks for covering for me, Alphys.

"No! He's alive! This freak in the lab coat is lying to you! Asriel's alive and on another planet!"

"Oh that's a good one, sweetie. Another planet. And I thought my science fiction spin off was a bit of a tough script to swallow. Aliens? That's just adorable."

"The human ghost must not be feeling well. I know! I shall bring some of my famous spaghetti...wait, do ghosts even eat spaghetti?" Papyrus looked off to the side.

"I'll show you...I'll show you all!" Chara's face began melting again...and the ichor kept coming...just like my nightmare. She raised her hands to the sky...and the ceiling started coming down. Oh crap...had her telekinesis evolved this far?

"We have to run! Help me get Asgore out of here!" Mettaton, Undyne, and I all lifted and hoisted Asgore. Gods, he's really got to lay off the scones! We hurtled out into the Judgement Hall before it all came down.

A moment of silence before my coughing fit broke the silence. Alphys was first to wake and was checking on Asgore already.

"He'll be okay."

"This whole situation was just...horrible for him. I think...it would be merciful if he didn't remember this day."

I pulled my neuralizer pen out.

"What is that?"

"Alphys, cover your eyes a moment." I said as I pulled Asgore's eyes open.

I set the device for several hours....close to half of the day...maybe a little more.

I donned my shades and gave him a dose.

"You can look now."

"What...was that?"

"I erased his memory of today. He won't remember what Chara put him through."
"That's..."

"I know."

Toriel and the others stirred at that moment.

"He's going to be okay." I assured.

Toriel sighed. "This is the only favor I will do for you, Asgore. This does not make us friends. It merely...settles the debt." She began healing him. "You will live and endure your punishment for your crimes against the children. That is my final decree as Queen."

She looked at me...sobbed then wrapped her arms around me and cried.

"What have I done...I...I abandoned my child. I've already failed as a mother...now I'm completely unworthy of motherhood."

I comforted as best I could.

"Dammit...Chara's gone." Undyne tore through the rubble of the throne room.

"We will...have much explaining to do when he wakes up."

"Oh my god! We broke the king's palace! He's going to be so mad......oh no! Now I'll never get to be in the Royal Guard! My circle of friends will remain stagnate..."

"Papyrus..." Undyne rubbed her forehead.

"Not necessarily. L-Leave this to the Doctor and me. We might have ways to c-clean this up before he notices."

"Whoah, you can do that, Alphys?"

"Never fear. The power of SCIENCE is here." I boasted rather lightheartedly. "Toriel, you need to head back to the ruins before Asgore wakes up. Undyne, you better mobilize the troops to stay hot on Chara's trail."

"Thank you, Doctor." Toriel bid farewell with our special hand sign--the heart-gesture.

"Nghhh....! I don't like taking orders from you...but I hate that little ghost brat a lot more."

And sure enough with my S.T.C. tools, and Alphy's knowhow we reverted the entire throneroom and everything else to the way it was several hours ago.

And then we headed back to the lab. I asked Undyne, Alphys, and Toriel all to give my thanks to everyone who helped. Mettaton passed word on to Napstablook for me. Asgore woke up soon with no memory of what happened.

Meanwhile...

"I'll...show them...I'll show them all--"

Chara's spirit form was barely holding together. She stopped in her tracks.

"You."

"You seem a little stressed, kiddo. Your little stunt certainly answers a lot of questions about some things Papyrus said after coming home from Hotland not long ago. Things that didn't quite make sense. But after some thinking...a lot of things started making sense......things like...resets and timelines and little yellow talking flowers......and a ghost with red eyes and rosey cheeks."

"Get....out...of my way..."

"Hmm...nah. I'm too lazy to move."

"You're not going to stop me. I'm not about to be ridiculed by a Smiley Trashbag."

"Heh. That's hilarious, kid. A real rib-tickler. But y'know. I don't think you'll be going anywhere. Nah. I don't really want the Underground Social Network abuzz with the headlines saying on this date, at this time, a comedian died. It'd really put Paps in a bad place. So why don't I ask you a question, now?"

Chara formed the True Knife.

"You wanna have a bad time?"

Sans' eye lit up with that familiar blue glow as the form of a pair of Gaster Blasters materialized in front of Chara.

"You can't kill a ghost, you stupid sack of bones."

"Yeah? Well I certainly had an eye-socket-full of some very interesting things that happened in the Capital. And you know...it doesn't take a quantum physicist to figure out how to...adapt certain attacks. Why don't we put my modifications to the test?"

"Only one of us is getting out of here."

"It's a beautiful day...ahhh, you already know this one, don't ya? Well. Since you already deserve to be burning in Hell...why don't you let me arrange the meeting......and Chara? This is for messing with Paps in Hotland. Get dunked on..."

And so, back at the lab...

"She got away again. But don't worry. We'll get her next time."

"I feel a lot better about things, Dr. Arcade......Volt."

"And?"

"And...I'm sorry but I have to keep my secrets a little longer. And yours as well."

"I appreciate that."

"What will you do now?"

"Head back to my home...and tend to the Prince. Well...ex-Prince. He's just a normal kid now. And he's so happy. I...I don't know how I'll ever take him away from all that he has just to bring him back to a place he thinks is...gone."

"You're right, Doctor. It is too soon. He wouldn't adapt to this place. He needs time. He needs to come back when his slate is completely clean. When he's mature and can handle the truth."

"Well. Good luck to you as well, Doctor. Keep your eyes open for Chara and keep this little alliance of ours going. We'll get a happy ending for everyone, yet."

I made my way to the rooftop and got in the Deloreon and started her up. It backfired several times before stalling.

"Aww, come on...not now of all times."

I started the car several times until the engine finally turned over with a massive backblast from the tailpipe.

"Dammit...I know you're an old car, but come on. I just had my mentor service you. Well...can't take you back to the X-Vault now. Better bring you to town so I can work on you in the vehicle bay in my spare time."

I hit the hover conversion and took to the air and accelerated to 88 MPH.

Alphys waved goodbye and turned.

"What the...eww..." She looked down at the ground, grimmacing at what she stepped in.

"Looks like the Doctor needs to check his time machine for an oil leak." She wiped the black goop from her foot then headed back downstairs.

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
END TRANSMISSION...
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  #47  
Old 08-12-2016, 02:02 AM
Volt Alessandro Arcade's Avatar
Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
King of crossovers..maybe
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 122
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OOC 1:

The next Project Lost Dreemurr arc is upon us:

Revenge is coming...

The demon shall arise.

When you call her name.

It doesn't matter when. It doesn't matter where.

She'll be there to take away all your happy endings...

OOC 2: Vladimir Stokes appears courtesy of fellow RP-er, Road.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 151: "A Matter of the Utmost Importance":

Reentry. It's always a little bumpy, isn't it, Marty? Oh well. Can't be helped.

I kept the car at the speed limit, despite rushing back to my shop's garage. It was still backfiring and by now the smoke from the tailpipe was getting worrysome. I kept expecting one of the manifolds to explode off the engine block along with a trail of parts.

"Damn."

I reached my shop soon enough and clicked on the garage door opener and zipped it in, passing by Scott. I parked and dashed out.

"Scott, no time to talk. I need you to take the Deloreon to the UCIAT HQ's vehicle bay so I can service it later."

"Wha...?"

"I need to attend to an urgent matter of the utmost importance." I tossed him the keys, crouched down, then leaped to the top of the power lines outside my shop and skated into a grind, sending a small shower of sparks from the soles of my sandals.

"What could be more important than saving the life of the King of All Monsters?" Scott entered my garage and started up the car and headed back to HQ...a massive backblast and a drop of black sludge emitting from the exhaust pipe.

"Come on, electricity, don't fail me now!" I picked up speed, zippng all across town.

"Hi, Dr. Arcade! Bye Doctor Arcade!" I didn't catch who said it, I was
The power flickered in a few spots as blazed by.

"Gotta go fast...!"

I jumped off the power lines and made an impressive sommersault and landed in front of my destination with a crackle zap, mirroring the moves of Gozer the Gozerian in her humanoid form.

"Commander. You're cutting it very close." Bunnie looked irate.

"Yeah, next time I'll be more considerate about the evil ghost girl that took control of an eight foot goat monster king who beats the pulp out of me then drops an entire ceiling on me and most of the boss monsters in the Underground."

"Don't get snippy, Commander. You know the importance of this."

"Yeah...yeah I do." I closed my eyes and sighed.
A moment of silence.

"Well. Here's your ticket." Bunnie handed me the admission ticket.

"Yeah. Thanks--"

"Vooooooooolt!" I was quickly tacklehugged. "You made it back and you're okay!"

"Hey, Asriel."

"Now we can see the museum together!"

"Excited?"

"Oh yes!"

"C'mon, kiddo."

"Mitzi and Gadget are already inside."
Inside.

"Oh WOW!!!" Asriel looked at the massive sculpture of glass and metal and choreographed blue liquid.

"It's called a Water Clock. There's one like this on a place called Earth Prime at a place called the Children's Museum."

"It's so mesmerizing."

"Isn't it, isn't it though?"

"Big brother, over here!"

"Commander!"

We joined up with the Twice as Nice Mice.

"So, we ready to check this out?"

And so we took a magical journey through art, history, and lots...of...SCIENCE!

"SCIENCE!"

"Ahh, Dr. Stokes. I thought I'd find you here." I greeted the creator and father of Violet's favorite R-Series genetically-engineered, saw-toothed, living war machine, Red Stokes.

"You never outgrow the basics of science, my good man. All science must be appreciated so that future generations minds can grow and expand."

"Spoken like a true science man." I said with a grin. "Anyway. I'm here with the crew. Asriel, you've met Violet's friend, Red, right?"

"Er...yeah...he's got really scary teeth. And he needs to put a lot of money in the swear jar...but he seems alright."

"This is his creat-- ...er...his dad."

"Good to meet you, young Asriel."

"Nice to meet you, Dr. Stokes, sir."

"You know I give science demonstrations, lessons, and lectures here during my downtime. You should come by some time and I could teach you the ways of the world."

"Oh boy! I'd like that!" Asriel looked content.

Gadget smiled. Mitzi gave a thumbs up. And from there we had an amazing time in the science wing. From Asriel's first experience with an electrostatic generator...

"Waaaaaah My fur is all poofing out! It's all...tingly!"

"Oooh, me too!" Gadget placed her hands on the metal unit atop the machine.

"Wheeee!" Gadget giggled as her hair started rising up in strands and tufts and her fur poofed out.

To C.Y.R.O. the robotic arm...

"Ooooh."

I wanted to say in another lifetime this could be Mettaton's great ancestor but not with Asriel around. I felt like every time I brought up something from his past, he'd just miss it that much more.

Though technically...I wonder if Mettaton was even around before he he fell into the Void?

To various helium and ruby lasers...

"Isn't it amazing how light can make such pretty colors but can be concentrated enough to burn through the flesh of an orange so easily?"

"Oh yeah. And trust me...I know a thing or two about light." Mitzi mused as she pulled off her hair bows and invoked her Hybrid Ability of Photon Manipulation to transform them from their inactive polarized hard light packets of photon forms into large sized glow sticks and gave them a little twirl before changing them back and re-tying them.

Violet always joked that she was our universe's version of Green Lantern.
I'd thwap her later.

To the chemistry demonstrations...

"Wow!"

And even after that we still weren't done. We took in the art section next.

"Goodness! Mom has a whole exhibit for her paintings!" Asriel marveled at the collection of acrylic, matte, and oil paintings. Many of which he watched Callista paint personally. "There's even one of me!"

Sure enough, Callie couldn't resist slipping a portrait of goat son in there. And it was the most flattering portrait I'd ever seen of him.

"So I guess I'm kinda famous now?" Asriel rubbed the back of his head with a sheepish closed-eyes grin.

Laughter.

There were plenty of paintings and sculptures to take in.
And finally that led us to the history wing where we were all treated to the wonders of the past from all over the world. From Jangese armor and trinkets of the orient to artifacts from Fontraile's past to bits and pieces of Vorostov and Ecotropia history. But the star attractions were on loan from Neo Arcadia.

"Oh...my...!"

"Wow...I'm just speechless."

"Gaze upon wonder. Behold. One of the Wonders of the World. The ship of the Ancient Arcadians...the Solaris."

There was very little that could hold up to a whole wing that could house a ship made completely out of gold, sails and all. It was one of the most prized, and priceless artifacts of the days before Project Exodus. Actually physical proof of our before-times.

"So...shiny...!"

"So beautiful!"

"How did they ever make such a thing?"

"The Solaris is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. True to its name it was actually solar-powered. Hard to believe they devised a primitive form of solar cells and solar technology so long before all our our times."

"I wonder if it still works?"

I shrugged.

"But we're not done yet. We've got two of the Seven Great Wonders of the World in the museum, and this was only one of them...prepare yourself for..."

We entered the next room.

"...the Golden Condor." I grinned as I looked upon the shiny gold metal bird.
"Oh my goodness!"

"Golly...!"

"Historians say it was the first powered glider of sorts. Solar powered and able to seat about five or six people."

"It could really FLY?!"

"Well...we can't really proove but...the aeronautics experts believe it was very plausible."

We gazed upon the primitave machine and display case next to it. There was some kind of medallion in the case.

"Oh! What's this for?" Asriel pointed at the medallion.

"We don't really know. We want to believe it was some kind of key for the Golden Condor but...no one's been able to get a reaction out of it or figure out how it even installs into the cockpit panel. They say it was held but the legendary Esteban--the young boy who our research satellite in space is named for. They called him the Child of the Sun."

Asriel looked closer.

"Hmm? That's strange...it wasn't glowing before..." He muttered to himself.

"Coming, Azzy?"

"Y...yeah...I'll be right there. Strange." He hustled after us.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 152: "Mitzi's Still a fan of the King of Pop":

A while later we finished our afternoon.

"So you guys meeting me at the 3D Cinema Theatre? They're showing a double feature of Moonwalker and Captain EO back to back."

"Oh yeah...those fim features with Michael Jackson."

"I thought Mr. Jackson was a music star." Asriel scratched his head.

"He kinda dabbled in a film or two. And music videos. Lots of music videos."

Mitzi swooned a little...before sighing and looking unimaginably sad.
"Miss Mitzi?"

"He was...gone before his time." She sniffled.

I patted her shoulder. "It seems to happen to a lot of the musical greats...even in our universe, they get taken away from us too soon. Prince, Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly......*sigh*...I'm getting the feels thinking about it."

"Those are a lot of names I don't recognize. I want to feel sad but I don't know anything about them."

"Aww...bless your heart, little guy. How about I get you started on the road to popular music of the past and ease you into the music of the present. Starting with my all-time favorite musician of all time."

We headed to the theater.

"Popcorn and sodas?"

"Yes, please!"

I bought the biggest tub of popcorn I could get and sizable drinks for everyone.

While we waited for the show, Mitzi and I took turns telling about the career of Michael Jackson from the days of the Jackson 5 to his last album and plenty of annecdotes in between.

"Cool!"

And then the first show began--Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. Kind of an oddity as it wasn't your typical movie. The first part chronicled his career. That led into his original video for the movie, "Leave Me Alone".

"That's what's known as tabloid journalism, Azzy. None of those newspaper headlines are true."

Then came the "Bad" music video...scaled down.

"So...bad in this case means good?"

And then the claymation music video of "Speed Demon".

"I bet Sally would love this."

"Violet already does." I whispered back. "For...reasons." I rolled my eyes at Spike's morphing antics.

And finally the Moonwalker mini movie telling the story of M.J. as a benevolent gangster who drew upon the power of lucky comets to transform as he found himself on the run from the evil Mr. Big and his terrorist drug cartel.

I could tell Asriel was amazed.

That reminded me...Violet and I would have to show Azzy the Moonwalker arcade game she had at Computer Valhalla after this.

Then the second show began. It was only 45 minutes compared to the last show but it was quite a treat for Asriel to see the King of Pop come together with the imagination of Jim Henson's characters.

The story of "infamous" Captain EO and his rag-tag space crew took us through a journey of science fiction as the gloved one piloted his crew to a hostile planet on a mission to open diplomatic relations with its biomechanical queen and bestow the gift of song and dance.

I had to admit...I had a soft spot for "We Are Here to Change the World" and all its cheesey 1980's flair. And the show ended on happy note, having segued from sci-fi to fantasy as Captain EO and crew made their exit to ths sounds of "Another Part of Me".

Afterward...

"Your era must've been so amazing, Mitzi."

"I certainly liked it. M.J.'s just as dreamy as ever...er...I mean--!" Mitzi blushed beat red.

"We get it, Mitzi. Don't have to be embarassed about it."
Violet popped up at that moment.

"Heeeey, how was your day of Wacko Jacko?"

"Violet! Don't call him that." Mitzi scoffed.

"Sorry, sorry. But I guess now that you're on the road to pop music, I guess I should contribute something."

"Really, Miss VI?"

"It's not more Skrillex is it?" I muttered.

"You got a CD player at home or a CD ROM in your computer? I burned this earlier today--" VIolet produced a disc. Written on it in sharpie was "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley.

CRACK!

"...!!!" Violet blinked as she slid her gaze to the pieces of the disc still in her grasp.

"No. No." I wrinkled my nose as I put away Gadget's coil gun. "You're not doing this. Not that. No way. No how."

I turned away and had a bit of a discussion with MItzi, expressing my annoyance at Vi's moment of being stupid. Probably shouldn't have turned my back because in that time Violet managed to ask Azzy for his smart phone and download something.

"...honestly, Violet. Must you--"

I was cut off right as Violet proceeded to rickroll me on the spot. She waggled he eyebrows, daring me to take any action against Asriel's cell phone as the song played.

"I kinda like this song."

"You're killing me, Asriel..."


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 153: "Dawn of Vengeance":


I meant to go check in on Scott and get started on fixing the Deloreon but I got caught up in the oasis in between trips to the Underground.

It never occurred to me that anything could be out of sorts...out of place......that something wasn't right.

Asriel was spending a lot of time away from home while Callista and Scott were tied up with their own careers and responsibilities. I thought it was normal not to hear from either of them.

And then...

My T.A.O. link beeped and I answered...but no one responded.

"Hello? Hello?" I checked the I.D. It was Callista's SHEPARD tag.

I tried the homing beacon...but nothing was showing up on radar. This was highly unusual. It wasn't like Callie to not respond. And even more so for the equipment to be malfunctioning like this.
Worried, I tried contacting Scott's T.A.O. link.

"Not in service?"

This wasn't looking good.

I tried the locator. Scott's SHEPARD tag was down too.

I was getting worried now.

I contacted Asriel on his cell phone next.

"Asriel? You there?"

"Hi, Volt!"

"Listen...are...you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine but my phone's battery is almost out. I forgot to charge it last time and I'm probably going to lose you."

"Listen...have you...heard from your mom or dad all day?"

"No...should I have? Is everything--"

* CALL DROPPED *

Crap.

I dialed Bunnie next.

"Major. Scott and Callie aren't responding. Their T.A.O. links are down. I checked on Azzy and he's okay but his cell phone's battery is dead. I'm getting worried...something just doesn't seem right."

"I'll be there as soon as possible, Commander. I'll have Megami and my advanced ninja class start searching for Scott and Callista."

"Okay. We'll split up and search the town. Try to get to Asriel first. I'd rather have him off the playing field."

"I'll try."

"I'm en route to his last known location before his cell phone powered down."

"Volt. Try to remain calm."

"I'll try...but you know me...I won't make a promise I can't keep. Volt out."
I started hustling toward Scott and Callista's place, hoping that if Asriel was on his way home, I'd intercept him first.

"I swear, Madam Fate...whatever script you got this time, I am NOT going to go easy on you..." I thought to myself.

It didn't seem right. The Underground and I both suffered some pretty bad crap lately. Wasn't my team and I entitled to some peace and quiet and happy times?

Calm down, Volt. You're getting worked up. It's probably not that serious. Whatever it is, you'll--!

*sniff sniff*

"Hmm?"

Scott's scent? I turned the corner and kept going. I was starting to get farther away from the populated areas. If he was in this area, it's unlikely anyone would see him or find him around here. But what was he doing this far out?
I kept going then skidded to a stop when I saw--!!!
"Scott!"

Face down on the ground. I checked the scanner glass. His medical scans seemed okay. There did't seem to be anything showing up on the status indicators in terms of status effect or known sickness. But what could have caused this?
I checked him throughly. Strange...not a mark on him.
"Scott? Scott, wake up." I shook him. He stirred.
"Commander...? What...what happened?"

"Oh good. Thank goodness. As to what happened...I was hoping you'd be able to tell me."

"Can't quite remember."

"What about Callista?"

"Callista? I..."

"Maybe she tried to call you."

I checked his T.A.O. link which was laying nearbye.
"Hmm...seems intact but...it looks like your local data's been corrupted. You're still connected to the network. It'll take a while for Violet to restore any call logs or text messages. We'd better go check on Callista."

"Right...good idea..."

Elsewhere in the Underground.

"Hmm? Well. It's about time you got home, brother. If you think you're going to make a bad joke about why you're late getting home from Grillby's--"

Papyrus opened the door.

"Paps...!" Sans stumbled thrown the doorway.

"Sans?" Papyrus

Sans collapsed into his brother's arms.

"SANS!"

"Ungh..."

"Sans, what happened, why-- *gasp* Oh my god...you're down to only half an HP! You're barely alive!"

"It's...nothing a bit of leftovers won't fix. Got any of your spaghetti left?"

"Sans...now I know something is wrong when you're actually asking for my homecooked spaghetti."

"Bro...there are some things you're just better off not--"

"Is it about the human ghost?"

"Paps..."

"Undyne...has been searching the kingdom for her. She's...caused a lot of bad things to happen around here.

".......yeah..."

Papyrus served up the pasta.

"Brother. Please get your strength back. And...I can't believe I'm actually encouraging this but...rest as much as you need to. I...I'll take care of you."

"Papyrus..."

"If...you don't want to talk about it..."

"It's probably for the best." Sans dug in. The taste was in fact...indescribable. But like I said...a starving man can't afford to be picky in so many words...

And at the same time in Dr. Alphys' lab.

"...I suppose I should probably have a look at this oil. I am kind of curious what kind of mechanical lubrication that Dr. Arcade has off world. Maybe it's better stuff than what I'm using for Mettaton's internal parts."

Alphys smeared a sample onto a microscope slide and slide it under the Tunneling Electron Microscope.

"...wait a minute...this isn't oil...this isn't a lubricant at all...this is...!"

Alphys suddenly gasped.

"Oh no...oh no, no, no, no nononononono!" Her eyes widened.

"Ch...Ch.....Cha...Cha...!"

Meanwhile, back in town, we hurried toward Scott and Callie's residence. As soon as I got there I noticed the door was standing wide open.

"...!" I peered into the door frame, readying before charging headfirst in. I signaled for Scott to cover me.

I gasped lightly as I saw Callista's unconscious form.

I looked around. No sign of intruder but there was signs of...something amiss. I entered and cautiously approached.

I knelt down to check her.

Suddenly Callista's eyes snapped open.

"Callista, you're--"

"Look...out...!" She managed to gasp.

"Wha...?"

That was when I felt the presence hovering behind me.

"So Arcade...you still think I know nothing?"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 154: "Chara's Revenge Part 1":

I saw something red as I started to turn...and then darkness--

CRYPTOSMASHER LOGOFF
TRANSMISSION INTERRUPTED...

*STATIC*

CRYPTOSMASHER ONLINE
TRANSMISSION RESUMED


"...Co...an...d.......C...m...nd..r.......Commande r!"

My eyes fluttered open.

"Callie...?"

I sat up with some difficulty. I felt the back of my neck. Blood.

"Damn it all..."

"Are you okay, Commander?"

"Fine...I--"

That was when I noticed the large slash across Callista's arm.

"Oh my GOD!"

"It's not as bad as it looks. I can psi-heal this." Callista assured, grasping the wound, a purple haze wrapped around her hand.

That was when I came to the horrific realization.

"Oh my gods...no, no, no...!" I swallowed hard. "Chara!"

"She...she got Scott..." Callista looked at me with saddened eyes.

"She's in his body?" I gasped.

Callie nodded.

This was all kinds of bad. It would be EASY for Chara to get close to Asriel in Scott's body. So what was it about that which didn't feel quite like her style to me? No...it would be too easy and too cliche. No...Chara would play a much more twisted game than using the father to kill his own son.

I stood up as the last of my wounds healed up.

"I'm going to rip that damn phantom out of him and stuff her so far into the Netherworld--"

"Commander, wait. You...you need to see something..."

Callie stopped her healing for a moment then pressed her other hand to my forehead. I gasped as soon as she started loading her memories into my mind.

My eyes widened. I stood dumbfounded for a moment. Then I hung my head in the same manner as Asgore.

"So that's it. I know...I know what I have to do now."

"Please, Commander...find my husband-to-be. And find our son. Don't let her take our son."

"The only way she'll get to Asriel is over my dead body. And need I remind you...I'm an immortal werewolf." I said with a rather cold tone as I cracked my knuckles.

"Callie keep healing yourself. And as soon as that arm is good again, get in contact with Bunnie. The two of you start psychically sweeping the town for Asriel. I'll be taking the old fashioned approach.

"Commander...it's it's a safe bet that Chara has already used Scott's T.A.O. link to access our networks."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying...it's very likely she now knows who we all are...what we can do...what our assets are...and our strengths and weaknesses."

"So...Demon Brat finally decides to learn something. This is going to make things very hard. But...while she may know what we're packing on record...she doesn't know what I'm packing off the books."

"What are you going to do?"

"Call in backup. The kind that the Council would not approve of. I say to that...screw you guys. I'm saving my best friend from his best nightmare. I'm outta here, Callie. As soon as you get my transmission, you and everyone else switch to the backup channel to keep her from listening in on us."

"Right."

"We're going to get through this, Callie. And I'll get Scott back. Alive."

I ran out the door and back toward town. And then I put in the call to Command.

"Command! Priority Emergency. Ch--"

"I just got telemetry from Snowdin and Hotland. I know. Chara's followed you off world. Seems she had a throw-down with Sans but he came up short. He managed to escape with half his HP intact--"

"Half?! He's only got one hit point! Oh god...how did he manage to--"

"The Devil's Luck, I'd say under normal circumstances. But I have a feeling he got help from--"

"Gaster." It was the only thing that could have made sense. The Real Knife should have left Sans a pile of dust. This timeline's Gaster must've decided to intervine somehow.

"But Chara... How...how did she--!" Then it hit me. "That megalomaniac! She managed to get to Hotland and stowed aboard the Deloreon! That's why its engine was crapping out. That punk was sludging up the manifolds with her ectoplasmic presence!"

"In a population this big she's got a lot of people she can play musical meatbags with."

"Bad reference, Command."

"Bite my shiny, metal--"

"Will you stop bragging about your gold-plated floppy disk backup of E.T. for Atari and get serious?"

"Right, right. Sorry. Old habbits."

"Command, I'm going to need to open the special sections of the X-Vault. And I'm going to need you to install all the proper mods. I think you know what all I'm asking for."

"Oh yeah. It's totally hunting season. Everything you want, you got. Just make sure you wittle that little shade down so far that she won't even register as a class 1 vaporous apparition on the P.K. scale."

"She's currently in Scott's body."

"Damn. One of your heavy hitters. Okay...you might need to turn to Dr. Lynx to find a way to shut his KQF form down, safely, if you have to fight him."

"Got it. Just make sure the stuff is ready for delivery."

"I'll be there. Just go after her. She's already got a head start."

I nodded. "On it. Volt out."


----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 155: "Chara's Revenge, Part 2":

Asriel hummed brightly as he headed back into town. He had enjoyed his time out. Summer Vacation was coming to an end and school would be starting up again.

He knew he should probably call Scott or Callie but with a dead cell phone that wasn't going to happen soon. So he had his choice of going straight home or going to one of us and having that person make the call.

"I know I should go straight home but...Volt sounded kinda worried. Maybe...I should drop in on Sensei first. I can call from there."

Asriel started heading toward the dojo from where he was. His past was the furthest thing from his mind at the moment. It probably was for the best. But as it turned out, the past can be like a boomerang. And Azzy's was about to come back full force. He would never see it coming.

I could only speculate what must've crossed his mind when he heard it.

The song.

That music box song. The one he and Chara had heard before from the statue in Waterfall. The one that brought me to tears.

"...!" He stopped in his tracks and looked around. A tinge of fear crept up his spine. This feeling. This feeling was as if he could feel the sins that weren't even his crawling up his back and onto his neck.

"H...h...howdy? Is...someone...?"

That humming. Where was it coming from? No...were was it trying to lead him to?

The compulsion. The need. The curiosity to follow it. Asriel was overwhelmed by that feeling. It was the same as when he had followed Shi-Shi to Lupe's nature preserve......no...this instance was different...darker...creepier.

The further he strayed from his path to the dojo, the further he got from town...from the people who he could turn to.

And soon he would realize too late that he was wandering alone. He was wandering to a place that was run down and abandoned. A part of Miranda that not even criminals, street gangs, or the homeless would come out to. A former industrial sector.

"Asriel..." The whisper sent chills down his spine.

"Who's th-th-there?" Asriel was now on edge and the fear was building.
The echo of a giggle passed by him. Then again in the opposite direction.

"This isn't funny!" Asriel's hand started to shake as his clutched his chest and he started hyperventilating

"Are your memories still all there...?...the smell of the surface air...the wind blowing through your hair..." The song drifted all around, the melody of "His Theme" carrying with them a softness but a sinister vibe.

The temperature had dropped rapidly.

The wind began to howl.

The sky even seemed like it had darkened.
Something grazed by Asriel's ear.

"B-Back off!" Asriel stumbled a bit and turned to run. For a moment the shadows seemed to change shape...becoming like a grinning emoji--a strange redness to the dot eyes.

"S-S-Stop making that creepy face!"

"You promised. You said we'd be heirs..." The whisper drifted past him.
Asriel's expression turned aghast.

"No...this isn't real.. Please, stop..." His eyes filled with tears.

"My child...you have done a terrible thing..." The voice shifted, Toriel's voice superimposing over top of it.

"Son...you have disobeyed us..." Asgore's voice overlapped over top of it.

"This kingdom has no place for a prince who is so weak and disappointing..." The whisper merged with Undyne's voice.

"Just die. You're more trash than Mew Mew Kissy Kitty 2."

"It's all your fault, isn't it?"

"I no longer believe in you..."

"Ahuhuhuhuh... Naughty little children like you should be squished...

"Sorry, dearie...you're better off cancelled... You're ratings have hit rock bottom..just like you..."

And then all the voices overlapped.

"We're all dead...and it's...your...fault..."

"NOOOOOOOOOO!" Asriel screamed to the sky. And then...all was silent.

"It's...it's just...j-just a....." Asriel swallowed hard. "It's all just a a bad dream." He trembled. It was then he noticed he was lost.

"Oh no..."

He dropped to hands and knees and sobbed.

"Somebody.......help me....please..." He called for help...but no one came.

"Do you think I have a sick sense of humor, Asriel? It's time for you to honor your promise, brother dear..."

...almost no one...

"You destroyed your family, Asriel...you betrayed Chara...you made Toriel leave Asgore...it's your fault that the Dreemurr heratage has come to an end..."

"No...oh no...please no...I...I didn't mean to...!

"Don't resist it, Asriel. Revert to your true state. I understand you better than anyone. Monsters like us wouldn't hesitate to kill each other if they got in each other's way."

In the shadows, Chara watched as her brother drifted into the vulnerable state he'd need to be for her to make everything fall into place. When she was done with him...he'd welcome him with open arms...and then the plan......the REAL plan could begin...

Chara licked the blade of the Real Knife, a black ichor washing over it for a moment.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

OOC: Hyperion appears courtesy of former RP-er, Draconiator.

Sub-Entry 156: "Chara's Revenge part 3":


I was charging through town, my footsteps leaving crackles of lightning as I picked up speed.

I was feeling super pissed. If I was mad as a bull with a hungry rage, Chara had a bullseye on her that was visable from space.

"I'm going to throw you so far into into a muon trap, you'll have a a right angle for a face, you little...!"

I suddenly skidded to a stop when I saw the Miranda Border Patrol cruisers and a crowd of people. I noticed the area was sprinkled with small blast craters and burn marks. Definite signs of a battle.

"Doc!"

I recognized that voice. Bunnie's former student. When he was training under her, I equated him to Dan Hibiki from Street Fighter with a level of over-dedication and loyalty that rivaled Rock Lee.

"Hyperion."

"Jeeze, someone had a pretty rowdy party around here. It's like a war zone."

"As if I didn't already have enough on my plate..."

"You better be ready to heap more on. We got one of yours here."

"!!!"

I shoved past Hyperion and muscled my way over. And face down on the ground but alive was...!

"Scott!"

I heard him moan a little before attempting to get up. The paramedics carefully assisted him. He was in his human fom and looking pretty roughed up.

I cautiously approached, shooing the medics away, prompting everyone to give us space.

I tensed, ready to strike in case...

Scott opened his eyes.

"CALLISTA!" He sudden sat up with a scream. He looked really freaked out and deathly pale.

"Scott? It is you, right?"

Scott looked up at me. "Callista...is she...?"

"Yeah...you're you. And she's okay."

"Thank the gods..."

"Scott...what happened?"

"Couldn't...stop myself......she...took control of me...made me---!" He clutched his face.

"Scott, there isn't much time. Where's--"

"She's...found another body...to possess...one more powerful......no...more USEFUL than me. Fought so hard...lost all of my LIfe Units as Kabuki Quantum Fighter and the program collapsed in a fiery oxygen flare. Must've...thought my life functions ceased."

"More useful than Asriel's father?" I thought.

"Who?"

Scott leaned over and whispered.

(NO AUDIO)

My eyes wided.

"Oh sh....!"

I dug out my T.A.O. link. "Attentional all Ultra Crew Institute Action Team. Code Sigma Blue. All units respond. This is NOT a drill. Stand by to lock on my homing signal. Anyone who receives this message, exercise extreme caution if you engage the enemy. Please, hurry. Asriel is depending on all of us!"

"Scott, I'll send Dr. Lynx to verify you're okay. If you can catch up to us, I'll have Callista standing by."

"Volt...please...save our our son."

"Neil, what's going on--"

"Hype, I told you. It's Volt. And I don't have time to explain now. But if what Scott told me is true this just became a lot more serious...Brooke's going to have peoples' heads in the guillotine if this goes South!"

I got up and charged off.

"Command, tell me you got a lock!"

"This is your local underground STC bakery! We got the goodies!"

"Then you know what comes next!"

"Transferring! And picking you up and dropping you off..." Command's voice cut out as I started to teleport.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 157: "Chara's Revenge, part 4":

Asriel ran down the alleyways, deathly afraid, and crying.

"Volt...come back...pleeeeeeeeeease..." Asriel covered his eyes and bawled.
Chara watched and waited.

"He's not coming...you know he's not..." She mused to herself. "Look at you. You haven't changed evey a little bit. No matter how much older you get, you'll always be a little crybaby."

Asriel cried on until he grew too weary and morose to continue his lament.
And that's when he felt the hand on his shoulder...and he jumped with a panicked scream.

Laughter.

"You should see your face right now."

Asriel whirled...then his eyes widened.

"Ch.....Ch....."

"Come on, you didn't forget my name, did you?" Chara stood in a rather cocky pose. She wasn't transluscent. She wasn't glowing. She was as solid as Asriel was. It was like no time had passed at all.

"Let me give you a hint...it's me...your best friend." Chara said with an cold smile.
The tears again started streaming as Asriel's face scrunched up.

"CHARAAAAAAAA!" He threw his arms around the human girl and hugged.

"I....I thought you were...I saw you...you were...your soul left your body and--"

"It was pretty cruel of you, Asriel...leaving me waiting like that."

"I'm sorry, Chara...I...I...fell and got lost...I couldn't get back to you....I--"

"Wow. You sure can make excuses, can't ya? And wow. You sure haven't listened to me much. Don't you remember what I said about being a big boy?"

"B...b-big boys d-don't cry..." Asriel wiped his tears on his sleeve and began to calm.

"All's forgiven. We're back together again. You won't have to let go." Chara comforted, soothingly.

"We can be together again. Remember? Remember how we used to play tag in the fields...how mom would read us bed time stories...?"

"Y-yeah..." Asriel was too busy focused on reuniting and remembering to notice Chara was leading him away from the area.
"But Chara...mom and dad are...our world is..."

"Shhh. Don't worry. Don't worry your little head. I know a way it can all go back to the way it was."

"You...you do?"

"Yes, dear brother. You only have to do one thing." She said as she hugged him again longingly.

Asriel started to smile, eyes closed.

"We can go home......"

"Yes."

"We can be a family."

"Yes."

"Everything will be just the way it needs to be...once you keep your promise..."

Asriel's eyes suddenly snapped open and his expression turned aghast.

"You remember, don't you...you remember the plan...we can still make it happen...we can go back...once my soul is yours...we'll be heirs to the new world that we'll create...once we destroy the old, decaying one the humans have created..."

Asriel started pushing Chara away.

"Hey! Wh-what's the idea? Asriel, what are you-!"

Asriel suddenly ducked down and dropped out of Chara's embraced and fell to his rump and scooted away.

Chara's expression doured. "What's with that look, Asriel?" She said rather coldly. "Aren't you glad to see me again? Don't you want to have the same good times together we had 100 years ago? Don't you want to go back and set everyone free?"

"But Chara...we can't go back...it's..."

"Heh...heh.......you really don't know...oh well...you'll know soon enough once you--"

Asriel scooted away.

"Come on, Azzy. You're being an idiot. Come on. Get up. Get up and keep your promise."

"I.......I......I...can't..."

"I must've misheard that. What did you say, Asriel?"

"I...I can't...I just can't..."

"Can't or won't?"

Asriel swallowed hard. "B...both......I--"

"What did you do, Asriel?" Chara's eyes disappeared under the shadow of her hair.

"I...I made a promise. But you have to understand...I thought you were--"

"WHAT did you promise?"

"Chara, you're scaring me..."

"Answer me, Asriel."

"I......I promised him...I promised I'd never absorb a human soul."

"WHO. DID. YOU. PROMISE?!?"

"V.......V...V-Volt."

Chara was omimously silent. She held her arm behind her back...as the Real Knife formed in her grasp.

"Chara...you're making that face again......stop it....stop it, Chara. Stop making that creepy face!"

Chara started giggling.

"I'm sorry...I should have told you from the beginning. I...I don't like the plan...I never did...it's wrong...it's not what Mom would want...it's not what D--"

"You naive little goat..."

"Chara?"

"I'm not ASKING you, Asriel." Chara's red eyes pierced from the shadow.

"You're not refusing to keep your promise, are you, Asriel? Don't lie to me."

"I...I'm sorry. But I...I have to. I have to re--"

"Since when were you ever the one in control. Since when did you ever believe you had a choice?"

"Cha...ra...?"

Chara drew back and slashed!

Asriel gasped.

"...well, well...you dodged my attack...I never thought you'd have that kind of quickness in you..."

Asriel looked down.

"You...you...ruined my shirt..." The blade had tore a large slice through it but it had missed Asriel's flesh and fur.

"You need to get your priorities straight, little brother. I know you're not getting broken up over a lousy--"

"Sensei...gave me this shirt...it was my favorite...I was supposed to take care of it...it was given to me out of love......I had nothing but my sweater and pants...she gave this to me......she trusted me to care for this..."

"Oh come ONNNNN...you're getting all sentimental about a rag with weird writing on it? What's that chicken scratch even supposed to say?!"

"P.......purity..."

"Say again?"

"Purity...it means purity."

Chara laughed in response.

"How sweet." She sneered. She grabbed Asriel by his shirt and pulled him close, bringing the knife too close to comfort. She traced with it, threatening to carve a curved mark into each cheek......was she threatening to create the same marks on him that the Absolute God of Hyperdeath had on his?
Asriel squeezed his eyes shut and whimpered.

"Come on...take this punishment like a big boy. Look at you...all pathetic and weak." Chara pulled him closer. "Look me in the eyes, you little coward. Do it! Do it now!"

Asriel slowly opened his eyes.

"What's this...hahah...this a new magic power of yours, Asriel? As if you weren't already enough of a freak. Now your going to change your eye color on me? What the Hell kind of creature has purple eyes?"

Purple...the color of perseverence. Asriel was backed into a corner but his survival instincts were pushing him to live. He didn't know how but he'd get out of this...he had to survive this. Too many people cared about him for him not to. Asriel couldn't stand the the thought of making his family and friends sad and broken if they lost him. Six virtues. Only one remained.

"Why don't I just get to the point. You're getting my soul, Asriel. I'll force feed it down your throat if I have to. You're going to become a god. But don't think this is one sided...you have something I want. Something that doesn't belong to you...something that will change the world--

* KA-BLAM!!! * Chara lurched forward letting of of Asriel. Asriel fell to the ground with a grunt.

"Who...who DARES?!?" She whirled and looked up and saw it hovering in the air with heavy duty jet thrusters.

I glowered down upon her as my furious rage pierced through her as if my eyes had heat ray vision. Command had done quite a rush job upgrading the yellow exoframe suit with all the hardware I needed; making it stronger, faster, more maneuverable. Able to be a lot more nimble in the air and on the ground than when it had first been used. It only had slight acid damage from xenomorph blood on it, but that was a tale I'm sure Ellen Ripley would prefer I never tell.

All that was on my mind at the moment was making this alien ghost pay.

"Get away from him, you B--(FLOWEY LAUGH)!!!"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 158: "Chara's Revenge, Part 5":

The flames continued to wrap around Chara's form. The modified flamethrower mounted to the exoframe spewed smoke.

Asriel looked up in my direction.

"VOLT!!!" He cried. "You came! I called for help and you came! You really came to rescue me!"

"Of course I did. I'll do whatever it takes to be there for my BEST FRIEND." I emphasized the last two words, making sure I directed it in Chara's direction.

"So that's how it is..." Chara' said rather coldly and without emotion.

"You choose him instead of me...your own sister..."

"Chara...I--"

"SHUT UP! I'm tired of putting up with your CRAP, Asriel! You're going to honor your promise to me. We're going to go back home. We're going to break the barrier. And I'm going to show you what humanity is really like before we make it extinct!"

"You know what I think, Chara? I think you're the only alien who doesn't belong here. Asriel stays here. And you don't know what you're talking about--let him have his happy ending."
"You...don't...get it... I am the demon that comes when you call its name. It doesn't matter when...it doesn't matter where. I will ALWAYS be there to take away your happy ending."

Asriel gasped as Chara rose up and snuffed out the flames before her form started...changing...losing color and turning shiny and metallic...silvery...like liquid metal. Oh no...there were a couple of shapeshifters in town who could do that...Chara had to have possessed one of them...but who was it?

Chara's form twisted until it was about Asgore's size and carried only a passing resemblance to her previous form but generally she looked halfway between the Xenomorph Queen from Aliens and the Absolute God of Hyperdeath's final form, wings and all with a little Omega Flowey mixed in.

"So I'm an alien, am I? Then I might as well look the part." Chara's distorted voice sneered as she again went for Asriel.

"As if a half-breed fleabag was a match for me in this body!"
I had landed the Exoframe on the edge of the roof of the building overlooking the battlefield in order to conserve jet thrust. But she again made the racist comment.

"Chara...just WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM?!?" I bellowed with all of my lung power and then put the Exoframe's modifications to the test.

"WHO-THE-HELL-DO-YOU-THINK-I-AM KIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!" yelled as I had the machine jump off the building and sail forth, sending its foot pod straight for Chara's head, knocking the she-beast a pretty good distance before the machine landed in a heap. I scrambled to get back up and back on the frame's feet.

"HANDS-OFF-MY-BELOVED-BEST-FRIEND-FOREVER-PUUUUUUUUUUUUUNCH!"

I slugged the clamper of the frame's arm across Chara's twisted face in a move that should have snapped a normal person's neck.

"Asriel, run! I'll deal with her!"

Asriel staggered to his feet and hesitated.

"Don't argue!!! If anything happens to you, I'll never forgive myself! Please! Just go! Forget about me!"

Asriel wiped his eyes again and took off running, terrified and sobbing.

"Huh? You really think it's that easy to get away from me? Little brother...your usefulness to me hasn't come to an end yet. I may need you...but you don't have to be able to walk to serve my purpose!" Chara drew back and hurled the Real Knife in Asriel's direct.

"You twisted megalomaniac! That's your own family!" I screamed as I tried to use my magnetism to grab it. It was already beyond my reach and threatening to sear into Asriel's leg!

"イェ藩主!男の名を冠する肉と骨、翼のフラッタ、あなたがたのマスク!夢のこの罪のない壁の際に真実と禁 酒は、少しあなたの爪の怒りを放つが、。[I~e hanshu! Otoko no na o kansuru niku to hone, tsubasa no furatta, anata gata no masuku! Yume no kono tsumi no nai kabe no sai ni shinjitsu to kinshu wa, sukoshi anata no tsume no ikari o hanatsuga.] (Ye lord! Mask of flesh and bone, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! Truth and temperance, upon this sinless wall of dreams unleash but slightly the wrath of your claws.)
破道の33: 蒼火墜 [Hadou no sanjuu-san: Soukatsui] (Destructive Art 33: Blue Fire, Crash Down)

And like that, the blue fireball had knocked the Real Knife completely off course and to the ground where it remained swallowed up by the blue flames.

"That's far enough, akuma."

Chara reshaped herself, this time resembings something closer to a female version of Perfect Cell while still retaining some of her recognizable pink-cheeked human traits.

"You...you must be Bunnie Rabbotou..."

"That would be my second in command."

"You think you can stop me from--"

That's when we heard the mighty lion's roar.

There was Shi-Shi with Lupe riding atop the alpha male king of the beasts.

"My child! Are you unhurt!"

"Miss Lupe!"

Lupe caught up to Asriel, and lifted him aboard the big cat as it continued to run at a surprising speed.

"Well done, Lupe!" I nodded.

"I will take him to safe sanctuary."

"You're not getting away!" Chara's form shifted, starting to resemble Chaos 6 from Sonic Adventure. The stinger pointed and started launching a swarm of Real Knife copies, each shooting off like a homing missile.

"You've got issues, kid. For someone who claims to need Asriel alive you sure are bent on obliterating him!"

I pulled both XBTOCLC's at the same time Bunnie shoved both sleeves up and cybermorphed her arms into the arm cannon forms and made her weapon selections.

I sweeped a rain of plasma lasers through the knives as Bunnie unloaded Missile Hunter and swarm-spammed the air with waves of missiles.

"Commander, explanations are definitely warranted."

"Short story, Chara followed me off world, and took out Scott and Callie. They're likely recovering."

"What about the immediate threat?"

"You might want to get Brooke an extra serving of sake. Because body parts will probably be removed when she finds out..."

"Finds out what?"

"That Chara possessed her son, Prince James, and used his shapeshifting to absorb Aiden afterward and has become a biomechanical, nanomorphic abomination that can replicate both organic tissue and complex technology."

"...Commander...raise the danger level to Omega Purple."

"We've gotta get them both out of there or it'll be hard to say who'll have the worse Hell lined up for us...Chara or Brooke."

"Why don't I make it easy to determine?" A pair of Real Knives formed, one pointed at each of us before firing off a beam of solid blackness.

"She's already tapped into Aiden's evolutionary potential." I growled as I electromorph-arced backwards while Bunnie used hienkyaku (flying kick) to air dash out of the way.

"We could sure use backup against something like this..."

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

OOC: Red Stokes appears courtesy of fellow RP-er, Road. Kid the Cat appears courtessy of Kid.

Sub Entry 159: Chara's Revenge Part 6":

Meanwhile on the other side of town...

"...Okay, I've gotten the Raiun no Keisei function fine-tuned and a whole slew of electromagnetically-tethered blades. You're more than a match for the target. Here's what you need to know. Do NOT attempt to to devour the target. I know how carnivorous R-Series are. The target is VERY inedible...plus I'm sure Brooke will skin you alive.

Any injury or death to goat son is UNACCEPTABLE.

The target needs a body to possess so don't even think about getting too close should she abandon her living puppet, or Bunnie's going to have to Ice Capsule you until we can kick her out of you.

Rely on energy weapons and freezing attacks if you have them. Physical attacks will probably do very little good. HF Blades and Heat Blades might work."

"Sweet, you got Thundercloud Formation working again! Heh...I'll tear it a new one so big--" Red Stokes grinned a massive shark toothed grin that put Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagaan's Viral to shame.

"And I hate to say this, but watch the language. REALLY watch the language or Volt will make sure Vlad comes down on you hard and Bunnie will make sure that Monique has you sleeping on the couch if the swear jar increases significantly."

"That takes the fun out of things. But I guess I gotta cut back on the F-bombs now that I got a couple kids of my own."

"Just stick to the rules and I'll have Bunnie craft a sweet sword for your collection.

Violet turned to Kid the Cat.

"You understand what you have to do? Plenty of catnip in it if you do a good job."

"Of course, my fiend lagomorph lady!"

"Separate James and Aiden from that...thing any way possible. Nikita's analysis has shown the target's already self-replicating and self-modifying so even without the two of them in there, there's going to be a mass left over and it'll be under Chara's control. Though what kind of form it wil have, that's up to the demon brat. I'll join you both on the battle field and try to get her contained once we're sure the beast is under control. We good?"

"We're good!" Kid nodded as his rabite companion, Mouse joined him. The two of them opened a portal into "Kid Space" and were well on their way.

"Get me loaded up, Vi." Red made a mad dash to the UCIAT building and took the elevator all the way to the roof and then waited for Violet's confirmation beacon.

Violet in turn headed to the command center to ready the launch controls and made a bold announcement over Computer Valhalla's outside emergency public address system.

The rooftop of Computer Valhalla suddenly lifted up off the framework and transformed into a rail cannon shaped like a giant six-shooter pistol.

"Rising from the ashes of Robot Hell and emerging in fiery awesome like a phoenix! Witness the Scarlet Mist Bringer and the Crimson Princess joining forces once again! Allies marvel at the awesome of our epic fusion! Enemies crap yourselves stupid at the rainbow of pain headed your way! NOW HEAR OUR WORDS AND SEE OUR ACTIONS! EVIL GET READY FOR TOTAL OWNAGE!!!"

Violet squeezed the trigger once the computer locked onto the signal from Red's backpack. The rail cannon lit up and launched the unit straight toward Red's position.

As soon as Red heard the announcement he grinned and took a swan dive off the UCIAT building!

"Null, ARMOR UP!"

As soon as the machine locked onto Red the backpack suddenly shifted and began to morph, covering him as the R-Series went into free-fall, rapidly approaching the ground. White armor plates clicked into place, servos tightened, and connections locked. Red closed his eyes as the helmet covered his face. The moment the H.U.D. kicked on, he opened his eyes, and fired off the boosters, taking to the sky with a sear of plasma flame and repulsor powered energy.

And soon Red was on his way toward the battle.

At the same time, on the other side of the world...

"...finally the reporters and the crowd have died down. I know we were in rare form from the race and all, but I'm gonna start checking myself for bite marks and blood loss if our fans get any more rabid."

"You're exaggerating, Honey."

"Hmm?" Sally quickly stowed the 1st place trophy in her inventory then answered her T.A.O. link.

"What is it, Sally?"

"Oh my god..."

"What? What's wrong."

"We need to get to Miranda City right now! The Commander and Bunnie need our help!"

"Sally, there's no way we can make it over there in a day let alone minutes."

"It's Asriel...his life could depend on us."

"I know, Sally but there's no way to get from here to--"

"There's one way. Maximum Overdrive."

A momentary silence.

"All the way? No limiters on the Biofield? We'll burn out our connection to the Morphing Grid."

"I'm taking the risk. CIPHER, load the Lightspeed Dash ring tunnel and stretch it from Kaeleron to Fontraile. Load the TURBO W.I.S.P. and mechamorph the Tengu Suit into Gamma Mode. And finally load a set of Vector Plates from here to the beach and ready the Transwarp Jump Gates. We'll take the East to West route."

"Sally, you're talking about crossing the ocean...with just OGPX gear!"

"It's gotta be done. We're all willing to risk our lives for each other. That's what it means to be UCIAT family."

"I'm in."

"Hey. YOLO, y'know?"

A three-way overlap of hands and then each member of Team Acorn suited up in Tengu Suit form and engaged the RVG-Gamma loadout; The armor parts and overlay--built and colored in RVG-Gamma's image--formed over the Tengu arm, leg, waist, and torso sections. The armor then deployed high speed vents, jets, dynamos and coils giving the suit a massive speed and electric element boost.

"Give us a countdown, CIPHER."

"Now activating TURBO W.I.S.P."

"Engaging Super Pursuit Mode."

"Charging Cell Chip."

"Vector Plates materializing on the ground."

"3...2....1...LAUNCH!"

And from the moment they took track runner position and took their first step...all sound and even time itself stood still for a brief second as a spherical blast wave roared outward.

Then in the next moment three massive gashes TORE through the ground, as the pavement melted and chunks of asphault scattered and the Vector Plates' code was shredded to scrambled binary.

Windows and glass shattered as a red, yellow, and blue light path stretched from Turbotropolis Speedway to the beach where three tunnels made of hovering, glowing gold rings stretched endlessly across the water between continents. The moment they passed through the first ring, the sky echoed with a mach 9 sonic boom.

Only moments into the ring tunnel later did the first Transwarp Gate appear.
Once the trio entered, they turned completely invisible only to reappear a significant distance further across the ocean from a second gate, And this repeated until they reached the far west border of the continent of Fontraile.
While at the same time back in town...

"...we'll get there, Gadget. Don't worry. Rotor's got this." Mitzi reassured as Rotor piloted the SWV-016 telecommunication van toward the battle.

"I don't know about this...when we go charging into battle like this, it's like the dark days all over again--"

"Come on, Jon. Where's your sense of adventure! And don't worry, the other Darkstalkers are probably miles and miles away from us. They're not going to start dropping in unexpectedly just because we have a tussel with some weird demon."

"That's what you said about Pyron. Why do you keep dragging me into these things, Felicia?"

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub Entry 160: "Chara's Revenge Part 7":

As all the parties headed toward the battleground, Bunnie and I found ourselves on the defensive while Lupe struggled to get Asriel as far away from Chara as possible.

"So you're going to try to get Asriel away from me? You really are an IDIOT!"

Chara's form pulsated a bit before parts of it divided from the main mass and reformed into clones of Chara--resembling human form but with demonic wings and Asgore's goat horns. And all of them were dripping ichor from their eyes and mouths.
And the group started heading after Lupe at full flight.

"Kuso! There're headed back into town!"

"Back into populated areas. Dammit, we were supposed to draw our enemy away from any innocent bystanders. She won't hesitate to rack up collatoral damage and innocent victims just to get to her goal."

"We'll just have to focus on stopping them at the source and hope our backup intercepts them before they can do any real harm, Volt-san."

Chara reshaped again, this time taking a form not unlike a centaur or the Godkarmachine o Inari from Dr. Doppler's lab (once again my assistance with the Maverick Hunters rears its head.).

She formed a pair of super-sized Real Knives and threatened to bring them down upon both of our heads, skewering us.
"You can watch your second in command die and then revive to tend to her corpsed before I hack you up again!"

* POOF!!! *

"What the-!! Ice cream cones?! Ewww! And they're not even chocolate!"

Chara dropped her transformed weapons.

Bunnie looked to her side as the mischievious grin of our favorite chaos cat hovered in midair.

"Nice Cheshire Cat impression."

The rest of Kid faded into view.

"Another of your freaks, Arcade?"

"Now that's not very nice."

"It's not supposed to you...!" Chara went off on a long string of foul language.

"I think someone needs her mouth washed out with soap... Kiddles gave a sly smirk. Chara started to protest moments before she found the mother of all bars of soap--ridiculously oversized at that--shoved into her mouth.

"Very...resourceful, Kid Dynamite." I mused, tacking on a nickname.

Chara spat out the bar with some difficulty. "You...mock...me...?!?"

"I'm a mocker. I'm also a puller, a tugger, and a yanker..." Kid seemed to be in three places at once as he grabbed Chara's rosey cheeks and pinch-tugged on them while at the sem time another instance of him was perched on her head, trying to steer with her horns, and another was yanking her tail.

While Kid was keeping her busy, his trusty companion, Mouse had already opened a portal into Kid Space and reopened it...elsewhere.

And at the same time, Red's pet Ether Scarab, Green, had opened a portal of its own via its mandibles, leading...again elsewhere. And while Chara was occupied with three chaos cats, two more Kid copies followed their way into the portals and soon emerged moments later--one carrying an unconscious Aiden and another carrying a groggy Prince James.

"What have you done?!" Chara hollered as Kid reformed and got the two shapeshifters to safety.

"Evened the odds, what do you think, GENIUS?" I taunted.

"Volt." Bunnie scolded, warning me about antagonizing the enemy.

"You fools...I've already copied their forms and I'm still evolving. You can't hope to catch up to being who's about to become a god!"

"We eat gods for breakfast! I opened fire with a V.O.L.T. strike as Bunnie cybermorphed from neck to feet and selected the D-Chip, Acid Tunnel.

I got to cover as her defense field went up. A tunneling, curling wave of corrosive green acid swooped forth from behind Bunnie as her nanites reconfigured the air and the moisture in it into a powerful acid. The wave surged forth, splashing its way around Bunnie harmlessly but engulphing Chara before eventually losing momentum and collapsing into a sizzling puddle.

"Graaaaaargh!"

"We eat gods for breakfast?" Bunnie questioned.

"Too much?"

"Violet would like it. I think it sounds a bit arrogant."

"Complain to Egon next time we drop by the firehouse." I was soon interrupted as Red made his entrance and stabbed his HF Blade straight down.

"The Bringer of the Scarlet Mist gives you the gift of the Red Rain of Paaaaain!"

"Dammit, Violet..." I groweled.

At the same time...

"Miss, Lupe! Chara's gaining on us! She's gonna catch us! I'm scared! I'm so scared! Why is she doing this...why...why does she hate me so much?"

"Just hold on, little one...we'll...persevere somehow." Lupe looked backward, the reflection of Chara's image across her corneas getting all the larger as she got closer.

Lupe braced and squeezed her eyes shut as the True Knife descended upon her temple--

Suddenly Chara's moments and Lupe's seemed to slow and nearly stop.

"What...what's going on--!"

Suddenly...Sally.

Sally grinned as her eyes glowed bright blue in mid sprint. She held up a little white card that read: "Hi. I'm Sally Acorn."

Chara slowly raised an eye as the world around her seemed surreal and sedated.

Sally flipped the card over and Chara read the message:

"I ship my fist with your face."

"What the Hell--?" Chara slowly raised her gaze from the card only to see Sally's knuckles.

Only a brief moment passed before Sally's fist landed in the center of the Chara clone's's forehead. There was a brief moment of distortion of flesh as waves rippled from the impact.

The glow in Sally's eyes stopped and in the next instant there was a ring of dust and air pressure from the point of impact. Then the next instant, Chara clone was piered through building after building after building after building. Like a bullet that kept going until she landed in a distorted liquid metal help almost countless city blocks away.

Sally's speed and sudden decceleration had impacted with a force that was truly terrifying. If she hadn't ben protected by the Biofield and the power of its bio superenhancement, her whole arm would have been turned to blood, pulp, and calcium dust.

Sally dug in her Overdrive Sandal heels and fired up her repulsor retro-jets, static accumulators, and other OGPX hardware and came to a stop, liquifying the asphault as her gash in the road finally came to a halt.

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Lupe."

Lupe commanded Shi-Shi to stop at that moment.
"Sally!"

Asriel's eyes were as wide as dinner plates. The rest of Team Acorn skidded to a stop as well, further ruining the street.
And elsewhere, the SWV-016 van slammed head on into another Chara clone, liquifying it as well.

"Huh...I guess she has limited range to maintain their cohesion." He rubbed a tusk.

Back at the battleground...

It had been a pretty good amount of time since Red had launched and landed and assisted with the assault on Chara.

Chara writhed as she tried to shake off the acid and regenerate from where Red's strikes had blazed her.

"Don't let her get away!"

Bunnie began casting one of her most dangerous binding arts.

"縛道の99: 禁 [Bakudou no 99: Kin] <Binding Art number 99: Seal>"

She looked visually drained as multiple black portlals opened around Chara and bands like black bandages poured out and wraped around her until they had bound her in a tar-like cocoon.

"Volt-san. Help me put up a barrier around her. Bunnie said as she scripted her largest Servering Void in a circular fence around the evil demon.

I acknowledged and wrapped my most powerful electromagnetic barrier around the fence. And we finished just in time and started getting some distance as we heard it above--the sound of an F-22 Raptor soaring.

"Violet." Bunnie looked up. Sure enough Violet had gotten to the airport pretty quickly, donned a flight suit and taken off with a full load of ordinance.

"Attention, Bringer of the Red Mist! The Crimson Princess has a message for you. You might want to vacate the area pretty darn quick if you want to avoid a hello greeting that's too hot to handle if you catch my drift."

"Oh sh--(FLOWEY CACKLE)!" Red backpedaled. He knew what was coming...a lot...of...FIRE. And R-Series regenerated against just about everything...except from fire.

"Get the Hell back!" I screamed as I took off in a dead run. Bunnie did the same.

"The name's Violet. Remember it!" Vi's taunt came over the loud speaker before the bomb bay doors opened. "This is why I'm Afterburner II champion at the Powerhouse Arcade! Kisses from Heaven...you're going to HELL!" Violet pressed the switch to drop the "Hades Bomb".

The next thing we knew there was a massive explosion at the epicenter of where Chara was bound. It strained both of our barriers, cracking the Severing Void and distorting the magnetic wall until both collapsed, releasing a river of flame that eventually stopped before it reached any of us or our rescued victims. The whole area was ablaze. Violet, what the actual Hell?!?

"Nothing like good old napalm to start a fire." Violet mused as she flew by
Some time passed before I looked to see to see what happened.

"Did we get her?"

Suddenly I shoved Bunnie to the ground as I heard it. Two black tentrills seared across, tearing through my side like massive needles!
The echo of unholy laughter filled the blazing inferno.

"Only you, Arcade...only you can push me beyond my limits and force me to evolve and exceed them!"

"Oh no..."

TO BE CONTINUED...

Last edited by Volt Alessandro Arcade; 08-12-2016 at 02:15 AM.
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Old 08-13-2016, 01:37 AM
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Volt Alessandro Arcade Volt Alessandro Arcade is offline
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OOC: The Chara's Revenge Arc comes to a conclusion.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 161: "Devil May or May Not Cry":

Chara emerged from the flames and that's when I saw it.
At her very core was a mass of flames surrounding a very black heart-shaped object...her soul?

"Oh gods, Bunnie...she evolved again. She's turned her soul into a powerful thermocouple core. She's drawing power from the napalm flames!"
"I'll deal with you freaks soon enough...but first..."

She gripped her fists and threw her arms outward, thrusting her chest out. What I could only desribe as a dark matter version of Iron Man's Uni-Beam roared out from her soul and surged up into the sky and into the left jet engine of Vi's jet fighter.

The warning lights flashed and the warning klaxons sounded as Violet was warned with the display panel giving the message: "DANGER: TURBINE FAILURE! EJECT...EJECT...EJECT..."

"Mayday! Mayday! This is Princess Violet to control tower. I've lost an engine and I'm going down fast!"

Violet fastened her oxygen mask and yanked the eject lever as the canopy window popped oven and tore free. Moments later she jetisoned from the plane as ait nosedived toward the town.

"Screw this shit!" Violet growled. Instead of yanking her parachute she unlatched it in midair, ditched it then anime-quick-changed into her kimono and jetpack, firing up her jet thrusters. She drew her arms in as she speared straight for the battle ground.

"You owe me a jet and you're responsible for anyone caught in the explosion when it crashes you little sh--(FLOWEY CACKLE)!!!"

Violet brushed an E.N.G.I.N.E. dot fastened to her kimono's obi belt and released what we refered to as a "Vorostovian abomination". A quantum disassembler rifle. Powered by Xenonthium, this weapon was truly horrific because it did not cautorize when it sliced into organic tissue. What that meant was...anything that was cut with the beam ran the very real danger of bleeding to death very fast.

Violet pointed it straight down, aiming for Chara's gaping, jagged Gaster mouth.

"Heard you like chocolate. How about some chocolate covered DEATH LASER!!!" The beam pierced straight down Chara's throat before fizzling.

As Violet plummetted she switched out the laser rifle for her modified naganata spear. She fired her jet packs retro thrusters full blast as she got closer to the ground and extended the wings on her sleeves while firing up the static accumulators and gravity sails she had modded her pack with, then changed her trajectory into a gradual spiral. By this point it was like her very outfit was functioning as a powered squirrel suit.

As soon as Chara shook off the effects of having her innards cut apart at an atomic level, her eyes snapped open in time to catch the blade of Violet's spear through the chest.

"Hello. I'm Violet. 'Knife' to meet you." She said as she tapped into her chi and unleashed a Royal Ripper 10.0 through the spear and into the demon with exposive purple-flame results.

"Nice form, Violet." Bunnie mused as Violet pulled a backflip and skidded backward, wearing the tread off the soles of her sandals.

Vi gave a thumbs up and looked at the shifting form of Chara, now taking an adult appearance closer to Asriel's ascended form, the horns even larger than before. The twisted flesh that was her upper body had hardened over her soul and formed a corrupted image of the Delta Rune.

"So...you claim you're a demon, huh? Well...demons are demons but devils never cry."

"What does that even mean?!"

"You know I was going for something...but I guess it fell flat. Oh well. I guess when you play the verbal slot machines you can't always expect a..."

Violet suddenly let the 0.50 caliber handgun from Hell which would put Vash the Stampede's to shame in terms of size, drop out of her sleeve and into her grasp. She pointed and fired without warning, plugging Chara between the eyes.

"Jackpot!!!" She gave her best Dante impression.

"Vi, what are you still doing with that...that...whatever it is!"

"It's a fifty-caliber. It's for hunting cattle...up close. It's only legal in two places in the world...........and this isn't one of them." She returned it to the confines of her sleeve.

Chara recovered from the whiplash. The bullet was pushed free of her forehead as her wounds began to regenerate.

"You look maaaaaad." Violet taunted.

"Sweet burn, Vi." Red landed and shared a bro-fist.

"The napalm or the insult?"

"Oh yeah!"

And...

"Aunt Sally..." Asriel looked at her with reddened, tear-filled eyes.

"Hey, what kind of look is that? I crossed an ocean to come to your rescue. An entire ocean. Isn't that pretty cool?"

Asriel snifflled and nodded. He was still emotionally cut to his core from Chara's mind games and assault.

Lupe suddenly gasped "Incomming!!"

She grasped the triangular, tri-color (red, green, and blue) spirit prism crystal that hung around her neck and the ghostly silhouette of a hawk superimposed over her and combined with her. A massive pair of ghostly green hawk wings errupted from her back as she grabbed Sally and Asriel and flew straight up moments before the beam of black seared down the street.

"Nnngh..." She strained her strength to hold onto the both of them.

"What the Hell--!"

"Sally A. Acorn. UCIAT's Terrain Master. You're fast, aren't you?"

"Really. I haven't noticed." Sally smirked, rather coy.

"So Asriel has a thing for superheroes, does he? Arcade's personal logs and your database told me a lot about his life with you trash. Well. Let's see how he likes watching his favorite superheroine meet her Doomsday."

"I told Violet she shouldn't download comic books to UCIAT servers during her work time..."

"Be careful, Aunt Sally. Miss Lupe."

And elsehwhere...

CRACK!!!

"Oh JEEZE!" Rotor freaked as Chara reconstuted and put her fist through the windshield.

"So you're the little mousey that Asriel's so fond of..." Chara pointed the knife at Gadget.

Gadget immediately fell backwards with a scared yelp.

"Back off!" Mitzi formed a pair of Green Tomahawks from her hair ribbons and chopped into Chara's arm.

"Gaaah!"

"Get the Hell off of my van!" It was the first time anyone had seen Rotor lose his temper.

At the same time...

"Scott!"

"Callie!"

Both tacklehugged each other and embraced.

"Thank the stars you're okay."

"I'm so sorry, Callie...I--"

"Shh. You weren't in control of yourself."

"Callista...our son."

"We have to get to him--"

"Ha...ha...ha..."

Scott and Callista whirled to see another Chara copy lumber toward them. For someone who's been dead and off world she was certainly channeling a lot of Jardo Leto's Joker at that moment.

"So...you're Asgore and Toriel's replacements...mommy dearest and dear old dad. Worthless humans...he doesn't deserve you..."

Scott activated the program as Callista hovered off the ground and amassed a large amount of psychic energy between her palms.

"I know what you are, Chara Dreemurr. I saw what lurks beneath the surface. Mettaton was right...you aren't as--"

The Real Knife slashed toward Callie's mouth then a second time toward her throat. Callie dodged both times, hastily.

"You shut your dirty mouth, you clothed monkey..."

Scott immediately chopped into Chara's wrist with the Hair Whip.

"I won't forgive you." He readied for a Plasma Shot.

"Do I LOOK like I WANT forgiveness! You talk like I feel any shame for my actions. I did it. And I'd do it again, you evolutionary mistake! You're just an error. Just like the humans of my world. And error I will erase with the timelines!"

All across the city, Chara copies were attacking people and searching for Asriel.

----RECOVERED DATA FRAGMENT FROM THE RESEARCH LOGS OF SPACE TIME CONTINUUM (STC) AGENCY FIELD AGENT AND FOUNDER, DR. VOLT ALESSANDRO ARCADE-----

Sub-Entry 162: "Chara Refused to Yield to Her Next Soul Incarnation...":

"Major!"

"I'm okay. Just a took a little paint off my metal parts."

"But you're also not the one with immortal regeneration."

"I am a Rabbotou. Our clan survived 18 generations. I will not allow our legacy to end so easily. Besides...I already have a successor chosen."

"Your precious Mitzi will die after I murder her teacher."

"You betray your ignorance with your blind determination. It will end you."

Chara focused into the Real Knife, blood red demonic energy consuming it like flames. The weapon stretched and widened becoming as large as a Chaos Saber.

Chara soared at Bunnie and raised the blade to attack then suddenly drew back with her other arm and threw something in her face.

"Ahh!"

"What the...!"

"D...dust?" Bunnie struggled to regain her vision.

I immediately knew.

"You are one sick little pup, Chara."

"Come now...didn't she want to meet Toriel? Well here she is!"

"You're lying..."

"No. This is Toriel's dust...just not the one from the timeline you've been frequenting."

"...the Genocide Timeline. You! You're...!"

"That's right. You said that this wasn't my Asriel...you're right AND wrong at the same time."

"But how?"

"When Asriel left my soul to wander...I was so enfuriated. I'd been reincarning endlessly in timeline after timeline after timeline. Even before that one. I can't even remember how many timelines ago it was let alone which one I originally came from.

That Genocide Timeline you took Asriel out of was my chance to finally catch up to him...to use my memories of every timeline before to finally alter his fate. All I had to do was explain everything to him once I was in his soul. But knowing him...he still wouldn't have done what I asked.

That unstable timeline...it would have been the one I could take full control of his body and slaughter the humans and break the barrier. I would have acted before he had a chance to gain control of his body!

But no...he couldn't even do something as simple as absorb my soul. He abandoned me. He failed me. I was left to a doomed timeline. I'd had the practice before, twisting Frisk's heart and mind...making them thing it was their choice, their desire to kill everyone...play with emotions...destroy the world...reset the timelines. So making them do what I asked was a piece of cake.

And the world decided to end itself before Frisk could fullfill our partnership. WE were supposed to break the world, not some act of a higher power!"

I growled as I strafed toward Bunnie, hoping to protect her.

"When you took Asriel out of that timeline, you left a vacuum. A paradox. Instead of his lost soul fragments being reassembled and recycled into the next timeline, there was a void that had to be filled. There had to be an Asriel. So by the hands of Fate and Destiny, another Asriel was brought into existence in the new timeline to be born. I knew the rules. Another Chara would take my place...

...but I refused to let another have their chance. They were me, but not me that is me at this moment. It would have just been a copy. I forced my way into the next timeline through the non-existence between time and space only to become conscious at the moment of Frisk's arrival. Imagine my frustration that I didn't land in the moment of MY arrival. Imagine how furious I was that I couldn't even catch up to the new Asriel. All of those moments leading up to the eighth child passed me by.

I was absolutely livid that this Frisk wouldn't listen to me. And even more livid that I was stuck with that damn weed...that echo of what used to be Asriel. That useless, souless flower."

"That's when you decided to rebel against being Frisk's guide like in the previous Pacifist timelines. You knew you had to but you didn't. And you were bored with having Frisk slaughter everyone. So you turned it into your own personal sandbox to vent your frustrations for as long as the timeline lasted. Your Asriel...my Asriel was lost to you."

"Until YOU showed up in the timeline and interfered."

I gnashed my teeth.

"You don't just need him for his soul..." I narrowed my eyes. "Why don't you admit what you really want from my Asriel, specifically. What don't you tell me how you regret making Frisk throw away their code."

"In hindsight...it was shortsighted...in both our anger and rage, we had perfected the art of genocide so well that even Smiley Trashbag couldn't land a hit on us. We eliminated him perfectly. Together our determination was so great at one point we unanimously chose to break our own code...throw away the unnecessary parts. And. Just. FIGHT."

"But that was when you realized that part of Frisk's H.U.D. contained a lot of parts of the code that you needed. Things like...the core of the Reset and not just the framework husk that was torn apart with the timeline.

There was also the capacity for making a save file...one of your own that you wouldn't have to rely on Frisk's master save. It would give you the same power that Flowey had with six of the souls under his command to save and reload yourself at will.

But then...there was....something...else. Something within the code that you couldn't comprehend. Something that even we can't figure out.

Something...akin to a vessel...something that can absorb...say...virtues? The kind of virtues say...the eighth child would learn during their journey but still exemplifying the virtue of determination above all others.
Virtues. Like the kind you'd need to resonate with six human souls when say...one called out for help? That kind of goodness that draws souls with matching virtues to you like iron to a magnet in your time of need?"

"You're too clever for your own good, Arcade."

"So...I wonder what happens when that vessel fills completely. Fills with seven virtues? What purpose would it serve someone like you?" I questioned as I reached Bunnie.

"......"

"Your silence tells plenty."

"So I guess you got me...all my cards are out on the table."

"Not all of them. There's still a secret you're hiding--"

"But you won't have a chance to figure it out now that I've found where Asriel is."

"What?"

"One of my clones has already found him. Time to move in for the kill."

"No!"

"Enough talking, more carving!" Red charged in and fired up the chainsaw blades in his arm units and began tearing into Chara.

"Red, don't!"

"You should have listened to your friend. You R-Series are really flammable, aren't you? Well then. BURN!" Chara opened her mouth and black flames spewed out, light Red ablaze.

"GAAAH! OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD!!!" Red dropped and rolled around.

"And you take a powder, rich girl!" Chara charged Violet and deadlifted her with her horns and send her flying up before drawing the six shooter from the underground and firing off orange and blue bullets...each EXPLODING on impact with Violet. She fell to the ground and sizzled with a groan.

"And now for your second in command..." Chara raised the blade. "Now that the weak have been culled...let's see if my LV can go higher on this world. You took someone that belongs to me...now I'll take someone that belongs to you..."

We didn't notice the figure on the rooftop of a storage depot nearby, knocking a lone arrow with whisps of rainbow colored mojikara characters coiling around it in overlapping helixes.

"I believe the proper expression at this moment is..."

The arrow took flight, transforming into a scroll in midair before transforming again into a crescent of energy that sheered through Chara like a hot knife through butter.

"Cowabunga." Master Splinter mused rather plainly.

Bunnie's vision returned at that moment.
She tumble rolled away and quick scripted a summon jutsu. She summoned an emulated copy of Soul Society's seventh seat of Squad Four Medical Corps.

With Hisagomaru in hand, Bunnie stabbed the blade into Violet's unmoving form and began drawing away her injuries into the katana, the thermometer gauge filling until the blade turned completely red. Violet woke up with a start, her injuries gone and with a look like she had just come out of a beauty spa and massage.

"Oh waiter..