|WARNING: PROFANITY FOLLOWS|
|The following content contains profanity that may not be suitable for readers of all ages. Please proceed with caution.|
|Season 1, Episode 7|
|Air date||August 30th, 2015|
Fright Another Day
“Okay, let’s try this one more time.”
Napoleon grumbled in frustration.
“Oh, come on!” He snapped. “We’ve been at this for hours!”
‘First off, it hasn’t even been fifteen minutes.” Herculian pointed out. “Second, maybe if you would get it right at some point, we would all be able to go on with our day.”
Napoleon and Herculian were standing in an alleyway, attempting to do some training...’attempting’ being the key word here, as, quite frankly, it wasn’t going very well.
“It’s possible that Napoleon simply requires a trained professional to teach him in combat.” The Swarm 1 guide construct, who had been watching nearby, noted.
“I AM a trained professional!” Herculian retorted. “I spent years learning how to fight! After all, it’s only, what, like half of my job!”
“Is the other half disappointing your parents?”
Herculian gave Swarm 1 a nasty glare.
“No, as a matter of fact, it isn’t. That’s Napoleon’s job.”
After a second of awkward silence, Herculian seemed to process what he had just said.
“Uh...no offense.” He sputtered.
“Eh, none taken.” He replied. “I’d probably be angry at you if it weren’t true.”
Herculian sighed, stepping back into a fighting stance.
“Look, just one more try, okay? After that, we’ll call it a day.”
“Alrighty then!” Napoleon answered, mirroring Herculian’s stance. “Let’s get this over with!”
Herculian shifted his arm into a sword, Napoleon mimicking the move by forming his own sword out of Swarm 1.
“Now, you need to pay close attention to how I distribute my weight.” Herculian instructed. “First, note how I’m keeping my feet parallel to my shoulders. This position is the most useful when trying to make a balanced strike.”
“Okay, sure.” Napoleon yawned.
“Be serious.” Herculian snapped. “Now, after you have yourself balanced, you need to keep your guard up as best as you can. Historically, the first connecting strike of a sword battle was the winning blow, keeping most fights down to around half a minute, so it’s important to shield yourself as much as possible. Then, when you see an opening, hit your target as fast as possible, so you can catch them off-”
“Arm cannon!” Napoleon suddenly shouted, reconstructing his sword into a cannon in the blink of an eye and sending off a low-powered shot.
Herculian quickly dodged to the side, smashing the ball of energy away with the flat side of his sword.
“Napoleon!” Herculian yelled. “What do you think you’re doing?!”
“Catching you off guard?” Napoleon answered, shrugging.
Herculian closed his eyes and started rubbing his temple, an apparent twitch forming on his right eyelid.
“Okay, first of all, we were supposed to be sword fighting.” He spat out. “Second, calling your attacks does not catch anyone ‘off guard’.”
“Yeah, but it’s fun.”
Herculian was silent for a few moments, then slowly turned around and started walking away.
“Hey, where are you going?” Napoleon asked.
“I’m...going to go lie down for a bit.” Herculian responded. “You just keep on doing...whatever it is you do.”
Napoleon watched as Herculian turned the corner out of the alleyway, then went to sit down across from Swarm 1.
“Well, according to him, that means ‘disappointing my parents’.” Napoleon snarked. “Of course, since they’re not exactly around at the moment, I’ll have to think of something else to occupy my time.”
The Swarm 1 guide construct stared at Napoleon quizzically for a few moments, then piped up.
“Why aren’t you with your parents, anyway?” It asked. “You’ve indicated that they’re still alive.”
“Yeah, and I’ve also ’indicated’ that they don’t want me around anymore.” Napoleon replied snappily.
“Why? My data indicates that humans usually care for their young until they are old enough to survive without assistance.”
“Hey, are you saying I need assistance?!”
“My data also indicates that if you had not found me or...that bounty hunter, you would be dead by now.”
Napoleon simply grumbled something unintelligible in response, leaning back against the brick wall. After a few moments, he snapped to attention, staring down the alleyway towards the street.
“Oh, crap.” He groaned.
“What’s wrong?” Swarm 1 asked. “My sensors indicate nothing out of the ordinary.”
As soon as the guide construct had finished speaking, the air near the end of the alleyway began crackling with a ball of purple energy, which then exploded outwards, materializing a Zenturi.
“Eldridge.” It spoke, pointing towards Napoleon.
“Well, looks like you people finally learned my name.” Napoleon replied, swiftly standing up. “I was almost worried you weren’t paying attention to me, and honestly, that’s just hurtful. Anyways, is there any more cannon fodder, or is it just you today?”
“Negative.” The Zenturi replied. “Zenturi High Command has requested to speak with you.”
“Zenturi High Command has requested to speak with-”
“Yeah, no, I got that. Why?”
“They wish to discuss Swarm 1.”
“And I should trust you...why?”
“What reason do you have to distrust us?”
“ALL YOU PEOPLE DO IS TRY TO KILL ME.”
There was an awkward silence as Napoleon and the Zenturi stared at each other.
“Ugh, fine.” Napoleon sighed. “Just let me go talk to Herculian first.”
Herculian was sitting at his ship’s navigation table, plotting out the fastest course away from Earth once he finished his mission.
Herculian jumped, then whipped around to see Napoleon standing in the doorway.
“Good grief, you nearly gave me a heart attack.” Herculian grumbled, turning back around in his chair. “What is it?”
“I appreciate you, man.”
“Oh, and there’s a Zenturi outside, so if I could maybe get some help with that...?”
“And there it is.” Herculian sighed, getting out of his chair. “Let’s go.”
“The transportation process may be uncomfortable for organics.” The Zenturi stated.
“Noted.” Herculian replied.
Napoleon and the others were standing in the alley in a circle formation, facing each other.
A hexagon of purple formed around the group, enveloping them in the glowing violet energy. A howling wind and crackling static could be heard, as a chill slowly crept up their spines. After a few seconds, a large crashing sound exploded out of nowhere, and the purple energy dissipated.
“The Zenturi bid you welcome to Apocalypse Earth.” The Zenturi said.
Napoleon looked around. A landscape of gray rock and gleaming crystal surrounded them, with a dark magenta sky shimmering above. Off in the distance, he could make out a ruined city made of an odd stone.
“Apocalypse Earth?” Napoleon repeated. “Are you sure you didn’t just teleport us to Detroit?”
“Follow me, please.” The Zenturi ignored the question and began walking northward.
“Man, did you people evolve without senses of humor?” Napoleon grumbled, following behind.
“No. Your joke has been acknowledged, reviewed, and discarded as stupid.”
The group walked in silence for a few minutes, eventually reaching a metallic, hexagonal platform laid into the earth. The Zenturi gestured for them to step onto the platform. Upon doing so, a hidden pattern in the metal flashed a bright purple, after which the platform began sinking underground. A few minutes of moving through the earth later, the ground below them opened up into a massive cavern, which was thoroughly covered in various buildings and streets. In the center of this underground city was a huge, ornate palace decorated with gold and purple highlights.
“What is this place?” Herculian asked, his eyes widening in surprise.
“This is the home of the Zenturi.” The Zenturi replied.
“What, like...all of them?” Napoleon questioned.
“Yes. There are not many of us left.”
Napoleon gave Herculian a confused look, whose only response was to shrug. Once the metal platform reached the cavern floor, the Zenturi began leading them through the streets. Buildings hung over them like ominous monoliths, following a very uniform construction pattern. The streets were eerily empty, with them only occasionally passing the odd Zenturi. After a while, they finally reached the palace, which towered over them with an out-of-place grandeur in the normally bland cityscape.
“This is the palace.” The Zenturi stated. “Only a select few are allowed inside. As you are the only ones that have been summoned, I will wait outside for your return.”
Napoleon and Herculian looked at each other for a moment, then started climbing the ornately-carved stairs up to the palace’s entrance.
“Well, on the bright side, it sounds like they’re expecting us to come out of this alive.” Napoleon said.
“Maybe.” Herculian replied warily. “Could just be a trick. They’re not exactly stupid.”
The two of them entered the palace. A massive hall stretched out in front of them, with various domes laid into the ceiling. Detailed arches lined the walls, supporting the roof, and a reddish-purple carpeting was laid onto the floor. At the end of this hall, a large table, surrounded by thirteen Zenturi facing the entrance and sitting in golden thrones, awaited them.
“Approach.” One of the Zenturi said.
Napoleon and Herculian walked down the long hallway, eventually arriving to stand in front of the table.
“Napoleon Eldridge.” The Zenturi at the other end of the table stood up. “We meet at last.”
“How do you know my name?” Napoleon asked.
Herculian gave him an incredulous look.
“I seem to recall you yelling it out at every given opportunity.” The standing Zenturi replied impatiently.
“Well, yeah, but I literally destroyed every single one of you that I yelled at.” Napoleon argued.
“Zenturi do not ‘die’ as you do, human. We simply lose our energy form for a while, and then reappear into existence back here on Apocalypse Earth. We lost our physical bodies long ago.”
“Oh, yeah!” Napoleon snapped his fingers. “I heard about that! Wasn’t it because you were screwing around with Void Energy?”
“...How do you know what Void Energy is?”
“Let’s just say a little birdie told me.” Napoleon folded his arms smugly. “And by a little bird, I mean The Void.”
“You...spoke with The Void?” The Zenturi asked incredulously.
“Yep! He was wearing a stripey red and orange suit!.”
All thirteen Zenturi at the table stared at Napoleon as if he were crazy.
“Trust me, I know how you feel.” Herculian broke the silence. “But I was there too, so, yeah, that happened.”
The Zenturi began murmuring among themselves. A few moments of this passed before what appeared to be the lead Zenturi spoke again.
“While this information is certainly...interesting, to say the least,” It spoke. “We feel that we should get to the point of this meeting.”
“Yeah, probably a good idea.” Napoleon agreed.
“In the interest of not muddling words, I’m going to be very blunt about this: Swarm 1 is dangerous, and it needs to be destroyed at all costs.”
“Yeah, I got that much from when you people kept trying to kill me, man.” Napoleon pointed out. “Why is it so dangerous?”
“As you are seemingly aware, Swarm 1 runs off of Void Energy.” The Zenturi explained. “Though it is incredibly useful, this energy is also incredibly unstable. When we tried to use Swarm 1, most of us were wiped out, our timeline was destroyed, and those who did not perish had their bodies flooded with Void Energy, transmuting them into the energy beings you see before you now.”
Napoleon paused in thought for a moment before replying.
“Okay, that does sound pretty bad.” He admitted. “Thing is, I would rather not die if at all possible, and it’s pretty much impossible to destroy Swarm 1 without that happening.”
“We know, but if the machine is not destroyed, untold billions could die!”
Napoleon thought for a few more moments, before sighing in apparent defeat.
“Look, if it really is the only option here, fine, I can live with that.” Napoleon said. “Well, not ‘live’ with it, but you get the point. One quick question, though.”
Napoleon whipped his left arm up in an accusatory gesture, pointing right at the speaking Zenturi.
“What the hell were you using it for?!”
“What. Were. You. Using. Swarm. 1. For?” Napoleon repeated, casting a hard glare. “Dig the metaphorical wax out of your metaphysical ears and answer the damn question!”
“We...were...we...we didn’t...” The Zenturi protested. “We, ahem...don’t remember, to be frank. It’s been millions of years!”
“Are you sure, bucko? You’d think at least one person in this room of immortal energy beings would remember that little detail! Unless, of course...”
Napoleon slammed his right hand on the table, keeping his left arm up in the pointing position.
“You don’t want to tell me!”
“What purpose would we have to keep anything hidden from you?!”
“Simple: You were using Swarm 1...to make yourselves powerful conquerors!”
“What?!” The speaking Zenturi reeled backwards in shock. “What...what would make you think that?!”
“A few things, actually.” Napoleon folded his arms, leaning back a bit. “First! The Laser Cannon Spider Mechs! Their odd ‘sentient’ AI was obviously created with the same Zenturi technology used to create the Swarm 1 AI, and they were, and I quote, “sent to destroy our civilizations and ravage our lands as if they were a plague!””
“Second!” Napoleon interrupted. “The first guy you sent after me said that Swarm 1 had served its purpose, not that it had blown up in your faces, and that it needed to be destroyed because it was an obstacle to your further plans!”
“A simple miscommunicatio-”
“Third!” Napoleon continued. “One of the other guys you sent after me said that you ‘were unaware a human had the capability to control Swarm 1’, obviously implying that you knew it could be controlled by someone, just not a human!”
“Enough!” The Zenturi snapped. “Even if that is true...and I’m not saying it is...what does it matter?! Swarm 1 is dangerous all the same!”
“I was getting to that, you little shit.” Napoleon paused for a moment to summon a taco, which he took a bite from before continuing. “See this here taco? I made this with Swarm 1. Just now. Right in front of you.”
“I can see that.”
“Not done talking, man! Point is, Swarm 1 just made a taco. No universes were destroyed, no timelines were shattered, nobody got their bodies destroyed, nothing. All that happened was the making of a damn taco.”
“I’ve had this little nanobot swarm hovering around me for about a year now, and not one day has gone by without me using it for something. I’ve transformed into aliens I shouldn’t have even known existed, summoned giant flaming swords and arm cannons, gone into a rage-induced super mode, and created so many tacos that I am officially banned from several Mexican restaurants!”
“I still don’t know how he managed that.” Herculian interjected.
“And not during a single one of those activities was there any indication I was going to blow up our dimension!” Napoleon continued. “The way I see it, you people just made one hell of a mistake that you won’t own up to!”
“Gah!” The Zenturi reeled back as if Napoleon’s accusations had physically punched him. “Why, you little-That is it!”
The Zenturi shot out a wave of purple energy, knocking Napoleon and Herculian over.
“No matter what our reasons are, we will not allow Swarm 1 to continue existing!”
“I thought you might say that!” Napoleon smirked, summoning his arm cannon. “Come at me, bro!”
The Zenturi shot a beam of energy at Napoleon, who quickly rolled out of the way and launched a shot of his own at the Zenturi. The energy ball made direct contact, causing the Zenturi to explode into a purple mist...which promptly reformed in a matter of seconds.
“Aw, what?!” Napoleon exclaimed.
“Napoleon, Zenturi come back to Apocalypse Earth when you destroy them, remember?” Herculian reminded him. “Since we’re here already, there’s not much of a respawn time.”
“Curse you, logic!” Napoleon yelled. “In that case, it’s time to employ the Eldridge secret technique!”
“The what now?”
“This technique has been passed down through the Eldridge family for generations! When faced with an entirely hopeless situation, there’s only one proper thing to do!”
“And that would be?”
Napoleon quickly scrambled to his feet and took off as fast as he could towards the palace’s entrance.
“You have got to be kidding me.” Herculian grumbled, quickly running after him.
“After them!” The lead Zenturi snapped.
Napoleon and Herculian exploded out of the building in a purple blaze, running down the steps and through the streets of the underground city.
“What are we going to do now?!” Herculian demanded. “I don’t think we can really outrun them!”
“Maybe you can’t, but humans are some of the best long-distance runners in the galaxy!”
“Not what I was talking about!”
Two bright purple flashes appeared ten meters in front of them, each carrying a Zenturi.
“Oh, that’s what you were talking about.” Napoleon said. “Okay, air time!”
“What are you-”
Herculian was interrupted by a bright white flash coming from Napoleon, which dissipated to reveal that he had transformed into Zelusassin. He quickly grabbed Herculian and jumped upwards, using his claws to grab onto the buildings and keep launching himself upwards. As he reached the top of the buildings, he crouched down and made one final leap, unfolding his wings and propelling them into the air towards the ceiling.
“Napoleon, what are you doing?!” Herculian snapped. “Reduvidai don’t have very much wingpower, you know!”
“Not with that attitude!”
Napoleon swiftly activated Swarm 1, which coated his wings with a metal armor that had small, inlaid thrusters.
“Let’s do this, baby!”
The thrusters activated, shooting him and Herculian towards the ceiling at incredible speeds. Moments before what would have been a rather nasty impact, Napoleon transformed again into Batdrill, boring into the rock and drilling through the earth at breakneck speeds. After a few seconds, he exploded through the surface, with the momentum of Zelusassin’s boosters shooting him and Herculian into the air, both landing a few meters away from the hole. A massive pillar of purple energy exploded out of the hole, followed shortly by the entirety of the Zenturian council.
“I have to admit, I am impressed by that fact that you were able to escape our city.” The lead Zenturi said. “But this is Apocalypse Earth, trapped in a pocket dimension outside of time itself! Where exactly did you think you would be escaping to?!”
“Didn’t really think that part through, to be honest.” Napoleon said, picking himself up off the ground and detransforming.
“Now, if we have everything else settled...”
All thirteen Zenturi raised their arms towards Napoleon, charging up energy.
“It’s time for you to die, brat!”
With that, every Zenturi simultaneously shot purple beams at Napoleon, creating a massive purple explosion. Dirt and debris was thrown up into the air, as the rocky ground cracked apart into various patterns and crevices. A giant cloud of magenta smoke obscured the site of impact.
“Napoleon!” Herculian yelled.
“Just who do you think you’re yelling to?” The lead Zenturi gloated. "There’s no way he survived tha-”
The Zenturi was interrupted by a low-pitched whirring sound coming from the cloud of magenta. The smoke swiftly began to clear, revealing Napoleon standing behind a massive, spinning shield, which he was using to blow away the cloud.
“Oh my god, you actually made something defensive for once!” Herculian exclaimed. “Took you long enough!”
“Oh please, Herculian.” Napoleon replied. “Just who do you think you’re talking to?”
Napoleon quickly slammed his right fist into the center of the shield, making it wrap around his arm in a conical shape, taking on the form of a drill.
“Of course.” Herculian grumbled.
“Impossible!” The Zenturi snapped. “How could you have formed that construct in time?!”
“Breaking through the impossible and spitting in the face of reason is just how I roll!” Napoleon answered. “Probably helps that I’ve had practice outside of blowing up any timelines.”
“Such arrogance from a lowly physical being! We will make you regret your insolence!”
“I’d like to see you try!”
All thirteen Zenturi turned to face each other in a circle, each one raising their right arm. Their bodies began to glow and lose their shape, then quickly swarmed together into the center of the circle to make one large, glowing purple mass. The energy mass began taking on shape, swiftly taking the form of a massive Zenturi, looming over Napoleon and Herculian by a good seven stories.
There were a few moments of stunned silence.
“Okay, that’s a pretty good try.” Napoleon admitted.
“Now what do you think of us, child?!” The massive Zenturi fusion bellowed.
“I think you just made yourself a bigger target!”
Napoleon followed up his statement by rushing the Zenturi, revving up his drill arm until it spun at ludicrous speeds. He jumped into the air and shot forward drill-first towards the fusion’s head. Just before he made contact, the fusion twisted its head upwards and shot a massive beam of purple energy at him from its forehead gem. The beam quickly made impact, sending Napoleon flying backwards, eventually hitting the ground with a nasty crack.
“Just die already!” The fusion snapped, shooting a massive beam of purple energy at Napoleon’s unmoving form.
Just before the beam made contact, Herculian jumped in the way, blocking it with a large metal shield.
“Hey, if you could get back into the action, that would be great!” He snapped at Napoleon.
Napoleon groggily got to his feet, trying to shake off his lightheadedness. After a few seconds, he clenched his fists and ground his teeth together.
“You know what?” He spat, pointing towards the Zenturi fusion. “You people really piss me off!”
Napoleon’s body was suddenly consumed by purple flames, which dispersed to reveal his energy connection form. He swiftly created two massive broadswords, one for each hand, and used them to pole vault over towards the fusion. As he was flying through the air, he swung his arms forward, overlapping his swords and generating a metal bolt, fusing the blades into a giant pair of scissors. A massive burst of flame shot from his feet, propelling him directly towards the fusion’s neck.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?!” The fusion yelled mockingly.
It swung its arm up unnaturally quickly, slamming aside Napoleon, who barely managed to stabilize himself in the air before hitting the ground.
“You cannot defeat us more than a mouse can defeat a lion!”
The fusion began charging another massive blast of energy.
“Your Void Energy manipulation avails you nothing!”
The fusion fired its beam into the ground, turning the area into a practical minefield of exploding energy. Napoleon was forced to dodge and weave through the explosions, barely making it through in one piece.
“YOUR ATTEMPTS ARE UTTERLY USELESS!” The fusion yelled, kicking at Napoleon.
The blow made contact, flinging Napoleon into the ground, where he was consumed in one of the purple explosions. The force of the explosion shot Napoleon into the air again, only for him to be punched away by the fusion, sending him flying away from the area. He hit the ground again, bouncing and rolling across the rocky ground with several nasty snapping sounds. He eventually lost momentum, rolling to a stop, unconscious and unmoving.
“Oh, crap!” Herculian exclaimed, running over to Napoleon’s still body. “Crap, crap, crap! I swear to god, Napoleon, I will kill you if you die!”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that.” The fusion said, charging another beam. “You won’t be around long enough to tell.”
“Another one? Man, you people are dropping left and right.”
Napoleon slowly forced his eyes open, finding himself in a gray void. The only thing around to see was an odd man dressed in an orange and red suit carrying a cane.
“Hold on a second, don’t I know you from somewhere?” Napoleon asked, slowly sitting up and rubbing his head. “Where am I, anyway?”
“I’m The Jester, and this here is The Void.” The man introduced himself. “You’re dead as shit, bro.”
There was an awkward silence.
“Hold on a second, I’m dead?!” Napoleon yelled. “But...what about Herculian? What about Swarm 1?! What about...uh...”
“Your parents?” The Jester suggested.
“I...yeah, I guess.” Napoleon shifted uncomfortably. “I mean, they’re probably not going to take this well.”
“How would they even find out, kid?” The Jester asked. “From their perspective, you could’ve died months ago. It doesn’t seem to matter that much to you, though, so we should move on.”
“That’s not...” Napoleon stared at the ground glumly. “I mean, I didn’t mean...well...”
There was another awkward silence.
“Now, we wait.” The Jester replied.
“What do you mean?”
“Trust me kid, nobody ever stays here long. As soon as your adrenaline goes down, Swarm 1 will go back to normal, and you’ll return to a fixed up body. Granted, you’ll be blown away a couple seconds later by that fusion anyway, so you might want to start accepting your mortality pretty dang quick here.”
“Isn’t there anything I can do about this?!” Napoleon demanded. “I can’t just let us all die!”
“Kid, you have control over arguably the most powerful machine ever made. There’s always something you can do. You just need to figure it out.”
“But I can’t figure it out!” Napoleon snapped. “I’m just some stupid kid that did well in school, and thought I was better than everyone else because of it! Everyone kept telling me I was oh so smart, but all that happened was that I got a huge ego and an underdeveloped intelligence! I can’t figure out fights, I can’t hold a meaningful friendship, I completely wrecked my family life, and now I’m just going to die without being able to set anything right!”
After a few silent moments, The Jester sighed.
“Let me tell you something, kid. I’ve been sentient for billions of years. I’ve seen all sorts of death, destruction, mayhem, and pain.”
“Is this supposed to be helping?”
“If you would let me finish. Thing is, I’ve seen a lot of good things, too. In the end, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, its that things sort of balance out over time. Things change. People change. That last one’s the most important, as far as I’m concerned. Point is, you can’t just give up on your own situation like that! Who knows what could happen?”
“You just told me what was going to happen!”
“Well, maybe. Maybe I didn’t. When you get timelines involved, things get kinda mucked up.”
“So you’re saying there’s a chance?”
“That depends. Do you believe there’s a chance?”
Napoleon slowly pulled himself to his feet. He stared down at his left hand, gradually flexing it in and out.
“...You know what?” He said, finally clenching his fist. “I do believe.”
As soon as he finished speaking, his fist burst into purple flames.
“I believe...not just in who I am now...but who I can become in the future!”
The Jester grinned.
“Now you’re getting it! You think you know what to do?”
“I know I know what to do!”
“Just in time, too!” The Jester said, looking at his bare wrist as if there was a watch there. “See you on the other side, kid!”
“Damn right you will!”
Back on Apocalypse Earth, the Zenturi fusion was about to fire its final attack.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Herculian snapped, shaking Napoleon. “Come on, you’ve always had some sort of bullcrap trick up your sleeve! Wake up, damn it! WAKE UP!”
“Seventeen thousand years later, and we’re finally going to destroy that wretched machine!” The fusion yelled. “Begone!”
The fusion fired its charged energy beam at the two, carving a massive crater into the ground upon impact. Smoke and debris flew upwards in a massive plume of destruction.
“It is finished!” The fusion declared. “The goals we have been working towards are ours! The rise of the Zenturi, worlds beyond measure to conquer, and...”
The fusion thrust its right hand into the air, creating an explosion of purple light.
“You people sure do celebrate early, don’t you?”
The fusion whipped its head towards the source of the voice, finding Napoleon standing in front of them, completely unharmed. Herculian was still off in the background, visibly confused.
“Impossible!” The fusion exclaimed. “You couldn’t have survived an energy blast that intense!”
“See, the funny thing about that is, you were just blasting me with straight-up Void Energy.” Napoleon explained condescendingly. “When your opponent is powered by Void Energy, maybe don’t blast them with Void Energy.”
“That’s not how Void Energy works!” The fusion hissed. “You can’t just absorb it!”
“Sorry, I think I may have twisted my words up a bit. What I meant was that I used Swarm 1 to redirect the energy around us.”
“What?! Since when can any physical being control Void Energy that well?!”
“Since now, moron!”
Napoleon whipped his right arm upwards, pointing straight at the fusion’s head.
“Just who the hell do you think I am, anyways?! I’m Napoleon Eldridge! I’ve been kicking your species’s collective ass since day one! What makes you think I’m going to stop now?!”
“Oh, please!” The fusion scoffed. “Even if you could defeat us in our current state, we would simply reappear right away! Ever since our bodies were flooded with Void Energy, we’ve become immortal!”
“You’re right about that.” Napoleon admitted. “And I don’t right know if I could defeat you as you are now in the first place.”
“Ha! Even you admit the futility of your own situation!”
“Well then, let’s just turn back the clock on that situation, shall we?”
Napoleon clapped his hands together in front of his torso, closing his eyes in concentration.
“What are you doing?” The fusion demanded.
“Something that should have been done a long time ago!”
Napoleon’s body began glowing with Void Energy, lifting off the ground a few inches. The fusion simultaneously began glowing with energy, being lifted into the air.
“What is the meaning of this?!”
“You’ve been without your bodies for millennia!” Napoleon replied. “I’m setting things right!”
“What are yo-”
The fusion was interrupted by a spasm, its body splitting apart into the thirteen original Zenturi. Void Energy suddenly burst from their mouths and eyes in massive pillars of purple light, and if the noise from underground was any indication, the same was happening to the rest of the Zenturi as well.
“What the hell is going on?!” Herculian yelled.
Suddenly, a bright explosion engulfed each Zenturi, creating a blinding light and dropping them to the ground. When the light faded, the Zenturi had been transformed, turning back into-
“Hold on a second, HUMANS?!” Herculian exclaimed. “The Zenturi used to be humans?!"
Napoleon dropped to the ground, the Void Energy that had been surrounding him dissipating. What had once been the lead Zenturi groggily picked himself up off the ground, wearing a rather plain brown uniform.
“What...what have you done?!” He demanded, stumbling forward a bit.
“And how the hell are they still wearing clothes?!” Herculian yelled from the background.
“I expelled the Void Energy from pretty much every Zenturi, giving you guys your bodies back.” Napoleon explained. “I also used the energy to whip up some impromptu clothes, because public nudity is not fun for anybody.”
“Eh, depends on who you ask.” One of the former Zenturi piped up.
“Not helping, Nale!” The lead former Zenturi snapped. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?!” He turned his ire back towards Napoleon.
“No, you idiot, you’ve doomed us all! Humans can’t survive on Apocalypse Earth, and we no longer have the ability to teleport out!”
“And you’d just let our people die?!”
“All your people have done is try to kill me.”
“He has a point.”
“Shut up, Nale!”
“Look, I’ll get you people off-planet too, okay?” Napoleon grumbled. “Just promise me you won’t start anymore crap.”
“Without our powers, there’s very little chance of us ‘starting crap’, to be frank.”
“Okay then, let’s do this!”
Napoleon turned away from the former Zenturi and thrust his hands forward, grabbing on to seemingly nothing, A purple light flashed from his hands, and he thrust his arms apart, ripping open a hole in the fabric of spacetime. The former Zenturi and Herculian all stared at him, eyes wide.
“Well, you guys coming or not?” Napoleon asked.
“So, uh...are you gonna fix that?” Herculian asked.
Napoleon and Herculian had used the hole to cross back into their own timeline, right next to the alley they had started in this morning. They stood aside, watching the all the former Zenturi come marching out into their dimension, wandering off in different directions to hopefully start new lives.
“What, the break in spacetime?” Napoleon replied. “Can’t say I know how, to be honest.”
“What, you think someone’s just going to come through later and fix it for you?”
There were a few moments of silence.
“Napoleon, I think I’m done.” Herculian finally spoke up.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the whole reason I stuck around this long was to try and get Swarm 1. At this point, it’s pretty clear that it ain’t coming out, and even if it did, it seems to have developed some sort of weird sentience, so I don’t know what the moral ramifications of that whole mess could be.”
“But what about whoever hired you? What are you going to tell them?”
“I’ll probably just drop them an email explaining the situation. Still no idea who it is, but I do at least have their email address.”
“So, then...you’re leaving?”
“Yeah. I’ve got to try finding a job that will actually net me some cash.”
“Well, good luck out there, man.”
Napoleon and Herculian shook hands.
“Thanks. Try not to die, would ya?”
“Too late for that.”
“Eh, nothing important.”
Herculian rolled his eyes and began walking out of the alley, towards his ship.
“See you later, Herculian!” Napoleon yelled after him.
“Yeah, see you!” Herculian yelled back.
After walking out of earshot, he began mumbling under his breath.
“God, I hope not.”
“New mail? I don’t really get much outside of spam with this address.”
A short, gray figure wearing a mostly green uniform pulled up a holoscreen, checking the new email.
“Let’s see here...Hm, looks to be from that bounty hunter I hired a while back.”
The figure read through the message relatively quickly, given its length. He sighed and closed the holoscreen, turning back to his work.
“Well, this is information I should have gotten a while ago.” Azmuth said, stroking his ‘beard’. “Would have saved everyone quite a bit of time.”
The neighborhood was your typical suburban paradise, with probably the most stereotypically American upper-middle class surroundings you could imagine. Green lawns, painted fences, and the occasional Homeowners Association representative yelling at someone for not having their hedges trimmed to the proper diameter.
Napoleon stood in front of a modernistic, two-story house, pacing back and forth nervously.
“Maybe I should...no...well, what if I...no...maybe if...gah!” Napoleon ruffled his hair in frustration. “I wish I had some sort of guide to this or something!”
After a few seconds, he froze in place, then smacked his forehead.
“What am I talking about? I do have a guide!”
Napoleon clapped his hands together, summoning Swarm 1’s guide construct.
“You require assistance?” It asked.
“Yeah, I need to know how to-”
“I can’t help you with that.”
“What? Why not? You didn't even know what I was going to say!”
“I did, actually. I am directly linked to your brain.”
“As for your other question, I am a machine. Though I have been afforded a certain amount of artificial sentience, this sort of dilemma is outside of my database.”
“Oh. Well, thanks anyway.”
Napoleon clapped his hands together again, dispersing Swarm 1’s guide. He took a deep breath, and climbed up the short flight of stairs to the house’s door, tapping on it using the door knocker. After a few moments, the door was opened by a woman that appeared to be in her thirties. When she caught sight of Napoleon, she clasped her hand over her mouth in shock, her eyes going wide and tearing up a bit.
“Hey, Mom.” Napoleon said somewhat awkwardly. “I, uh...I’m home.”