PD 4.5: Young Plumbers
"You can't keep running forever."
These words rang in his ears as he was trying to escape through a dark, fog-filled forest. Humanoid creatures resembling winged demons chased after him, crashing through trees and bushes at a rapid pace. All of a sudden, the ground fell out from underneath him, and he found himself floating deep underwater. The depths below twisted into a distorted face with blurry features.
"Listen..." The face was whispering, but its voice hit him like a rolling thunder. "Hiding from this won't save you. You can only accept it."
The water beneath him turned into a whirlpool, throwing his body around like a limp doll. When it ceased, he was falling from far above the clouds, as the voice continued whispering in his ear.
"I will return soon." The voice breathed. "When that happens...you need to decide which path you're willing to take."
He turned his head just in time to see himself make impact with the ground.
"Sci! Sci, wake up! It's happening again!"
The brown-haired teenager woke up to his shoulders being roughly shaken. He blinked a couple of times, processing what was going on. He suddenly bolted up in his bed, accidentally smacking his head into that of the person shaking him. They both rubbed their heads and grumbled in pain for a moment before Sci was handed a large grimoire.
"Drain your energy, man!" The other guy said, rubbing his forehead. "Your arms are glowing!"
Sci looked down at his arms, confirming that the strange markings running along them were indeed glowing an ominous purple. He sighed and gripped the book tightly, allowing his built-up power to flow into it. After a few moments, he sighed and set the book down, flopping back into a laying position. He looked across the barracks, only to find that he and the other person were alone.
"Ugh..." He mumbled. "Paper, what time is it?"
"It's time to get up!" Paper tsked. "Everyone else left already, and Bink's waiting for us in the mess hall."
"Geez, it's that late?" Sci groaned. "Not that I don't appreciate sleeping in on our days off, but..."
"I'm guessing you had the dream again." Paper said, walking over to his own bed and grabbing clothes out of one of the drawers.
"Yeah." Sci yawned and pushed himself up to a sitting position, throwing his legs off the bed. "I feel like it's trying to get across something specific, but it's way too vague."
"For the last time, go talk to one of the counselors." Paper chided, throwing on a blue shirt and a brown jacket. "If nothing else, they could have a Nemuina professional check it out for you."
"I know, I know, I just feel like I'd be wasting their time." Sci grabbed a yellow shirt and black pants out of his own drawer. "I mean, it's just a dream."
"Sure, but normal dreams never make you have to use that thing." Paper paused tying his shoes to point at the grimoire. "It could be a clue to where your dark energy comes from."
"If it's supposed to be a clue, it's a really bad one." Sci huffed, throwing on the yellow shirt. "And I'm not exactly a detective."
"Either way, you need to get this dealt with somehow." Paper said, taking a moment to crack his neck. "It's not healthy."
"What are you, my dad?" Sci grabbed the grimoire and put it back in his drawer.
"No, I'm just the guy who keeps you out of trouble." Paper ribbed.
"Not very well."
Attai sat on an examination table inside one of the medical rooms of the Cosmic Archives, impatiently tapping his fingers. Paradox stood near him as they were waiting.
"Is this really necessary?" Attai grumbled.
"I'm afraid so." Paradox replied. "An unexplained gap in memory can indicate a serious issue for anyone, let alone a Timewalker."
Attai huffed, but didn't put up any further protests. After a few moments, an alien wearing a lab coat came in carrying a small rectangular device.
"Is it good news or bad news?" Attai asked.
"It's...news." The alien replied.
The alien pressed a button on the device, projecting a hologram displaying several X-rays of Attai's head and various technical details.
"To get the big thing out of the way, your brains appear to be functioning normally at the moment."
"You mean brain?" Attai raised an eyebrow.
The alien pointed out a specific image that showed the inside of Attai's head from the front.
"It appears as if you suffered some sort of neural trauma in the past that ended up severing the corpus callosum, essentially splitting your original brain in half and giving you two separate but equally functional brains."
"Wait, that doesn't make sense." Attai interjected. "If my brain was split in two, wouldn't there be more side effects?"
"Under normal circumstances, yes, the two brains would have trouble working with each other to control the same body, at least to some extent." The alien replied. "But there's more to it."
The alien pointed to a different image, this time showing one of the brain's hemispheres from the inside. He pointed to a specific growth near the center of the brain which seemed out of place compared to the rest.
"This is a psi organ." The alien explained. "Similar organs are standard in the brains of species with psychic abilities, but a psi organ developing in a human is extremely rare, and most timelines usually never see a human develop one."
"So...does that mean I'm psychic, or..."
"No." The alien shook its head. "Your psi organs appear to have been largely rejected by your body and are extremely undeveloped. As it stands, their only function is allowing the two halves of your brain to communicate, giving them the ability to function together as a single unit."
"So that means when that alien blocked everyone's abilities..." Attai's eyes narrowed in thought. "The two halves of my brain got separated?"
"Correct." The alien stated. "Your brains didn't deal with the sudden severing particularly well, resulting in the temporary loss of function in several areas, including key memory and morality centers."
"Well, that explains that then." Attai tsked and jumped off the table. "Guess I don't have to worry about it unless that alien pops up again."
"Attai, I wouldn't take this so lightly." Paradox said. "It's a serious condition."
"If it doesn't affect my ability to do my job, I don't think..." Attai trailed off for a moment. "Hang on a second."
Attai turned back to look at the alien.
"What do you mean my body 'rejected' the psi organs?" He asked. "If my body made them, what made it reject them?"
"Well, that's the thing." The alien cleared its throat. "Your body didn't actually make them."
"Your psi organs-and several other parts of your brain, actually-have completely different DNA from the rest of it." The alien said. "On top of that, some of the regions with the psi organs' genetic material have indicators that they were taken from two separate people who shared their genetic code. You aren't one person...you're three."
Ubermensch stood atop a balcony at the bridge of the Unendlich Reich's flagship, tapping his armored fingers across the iron railing overlooking the rest of the room. The clinking of metal on metal was the only thing that broke the silence of the room, which was filled with a cold, nervous silence. After a few moments, a red light began blinking on one of the crew members' consoles.
"It's him, sir." The officer manning the station reported.
"Put him on." Ubermensch solemnly ordered.
The officer nodded and flipped a switch on his console, projecting a holographic video screen at the front of the bridge. On the screen was the face of an elderly man with sharply-defined cheekbones and a scowl that would have sent most men running for the hills. All officers on the bridge, including Ubermensch, raised their arms in a salute.
The man focused his glare on Ubermensch, seemingly ignoring the salute.
"Reichsmarschall, what the meaning behind these constant delays?"
Ubermensch paused for a moment, thrown off by the directness of this opening line.
"My Fuhrer, as I have stated in my reports, there has been interference in our ability to destroy worlds." Ubermensch replied. "An Archives agent has gotten hold of our technology and is using it to back up various universes. I have my assigned research division looking into the possible source of this issue, and hopefully-"
"Your 'research' be damned, I want results!" The Fuhrer yelled. "We do not need to know the inner workings of the untermensch in order to stomp them out!"
"Yes, my Fuhrer, but if there's been a serious breach in our security-"
"It doesn't matter!" The Fuhrer hissed. "If you come across a cockroach on the road, do you stop to ask it where it comes from, or do you crush it where it stands?!"
"My Fuhrer, please, this is a complicated situation." Ubermensch scowled underneath his helmet. "It may be easier to devote resources to that if we didn't need to keep the alien around."
"That alien, disgusting as it may be, is exactly the sort of destructive engine we need to destroy everything in our path!" The Fuhrer spat. "His presence is final!"
Ubermensch tightened his grip around the iron railing.
"You need to step up and perform your duties properly, Reichsmarschall!" The Fuhrer snapped. "I expect that Archives agent dead and gone within the week! Do you understand me?!"
"...Yes, my Fuhrer."
The Fuhrer tsked and ended the call, closing the holographic screen he was talking through. The bridge remained silent for a bit before a slight beeping could be heard coming from Ubermensch's helmet.
"What is it?" Ubermensch asked, pushing down a button on the side of his helmet.
"We have the documents you asked for." A voice on the other end of the line replied. "We'll send them to the Gewehrlogger for you to review."
"Alright, thank you. I'll review them immediately."
Ubermensch left the bridge, stepping out into the hallway only to find Terox and Millennia standing outside.
"So that's why you can't get rid of me, huh?" Terox cackled. "Big mean Nazi daddy would get mad."
"Were you two eavesdropping?" Ubermensch hissed.
"He was, I just got here." Millennia gestured at Terox. "Dunno what happened in there, but you don't seem to be in a good mood about it."
"He's never in a good mood." Terox smirked.
Ubermensch ignored them and summoned the Gewehrlogger, pulling out the tablet screen on the end of it.
"Watcha lookin' at?" Millennia asked.
"Some documents regarding that Archives agent that's been giving you so much trouble." Ubermensch replied, opening a set of files and beginning to look through them. "Perhaps there's something that can make your job even easier."
"Wow, sarcasm's weird coming from you." Millennia said. "Speaking of that, I'm about to head out to him. Sensed his time signature in a new universe not too long ago, so he's probably on the move."
"Hold on a moment." Ubermensch took a second to look over the document he was reading a few times more to make sure he was reading it correctly. "Can you direct us to the universe the agent is in?"
"Uh...yeah, I guess?" Millennia replied. "Why?"
"That's confidential for now." Ubermensch closed the tablet screen. "Let's just say this may be over sooner than I had anticipated."
"Geez, guys, what took you so long?" Bink complained. "I've been waiting here starving!"
Sci and Paper had made their way to the mess hall, meeting up with Bink, an average-sized teenage girl with light-pink hair and magenta eyes wearing a pink shirt and white pants. They took their seats at a table near the wall after getting their food, where Bink was the first to dig in.
"Sorry about that." Sci rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.
"Let me guess, the dream again?" Bink sighed, putting down her fork.
"You know, you should really go talk to-"
"Paper already gave me that lecture this morning, I don't need it again." Sci protested.
"Should've guessed." Bink shrugged and went back to eating.
"Look, guys, a dream's just a dream." Sci said. "My powers are probably just flaring up because of...I dunno, sleepwalking or something."
"That's arguably even more dangerous." Paper pointed out. "I get not wanting to make a big deal about it, but it is something you need to addre-"
Paper was cut off by several whoops and yells coming from near the center of the mess hall. The three turned to find a brown-haired teenage student facing another student wearing a wig and Groucho Marx glasses.
"Listen, listen." The brown-haired student said.
"Yeah?" The wig-wearing student replied.
"I. Kill your whole family." The brown-haired student raised two fingers. "Not one time. But two."
The brown-haired student was suddenly jumped from behind with an ear-piercing screech and tackled to the floor. The entire mess hall descended into chaos, with students body-checking each other and throwing food around left and right.
"...What the hell was that?" Sci said with a confused expression.
"My thoughts exactly." Paper tsked. "You two wanna finish this elsewhere?"
"That's probably a good idea." Bink said, standing up and promptly putting up a mana barrier to stop a flying chunk of gruel. "I'd rather eat my food than wear it."
Bink expanded the mana barrier to shield all three of them as they grabbed their food and bolted out of the mess hall, leaving the other students to duke it out by themselves.
Sci, Paper, and Bink walked down the empty hallways of the Plumber's Academy towards their bunkers, still carrying their food.
"So, on a scale of one to Hornbok, how mad do you think Magister Hornbok is gonna be about the fight in the mess hall?" Sci joked.
"Oh, I think we're looking at at least three Hornboks here, maybe four." Bink replied. "Let's just count ourselves lucky we had nothing to do with it."
"Now we just have to convince Hornbok of that." Paper said.
Before anyone could reply, a loud crashing noise came from around the corner at the end of the hallway the three were walking through, followed by the faint sound of German cursing. The three looked at each other with a mix of confusion and trepidation, then ran forward to check it out.
Once they rounded the corner, they found Attai Zehn ungracefully sprawled out across the floor, with the DecaCycle laying on the ground next to him with several dents in its frame.
"Of all the places I could have entered this world, I drive into a Gott verdammt hallway?!" Attai groaned, pulling himself to his feet, facing away from the new arrivals. "I can already tell this place is going to get on my nerves."
"Uh...who are you?" Sci asked.
Attai, realizing he wasn't alone, turned to face the group with a sour expression.
"Well, I'm definitely not someone who can phase through walls."
"Answer the question!" Paper demanded. "You're definitely not a Magister, and you don't exactly look like a student. What are you doing here?!"
"The hell kind of question is that?" Attai huffed. "Did I end up in a restricted area or something?"
"You're in the Plumber's Academy, so yeah, you kinda did." Bink said.
"...You gotta be kidding me." Attai groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Look, the name's Attai Zehn. I'm just here to do my job."
"What 'job'?" Paper asked suspiciously.
"I scan Key Events of timelines to make backups of them in a place called the Cosmic Archives." Attai summoned the CataloGun. "According to this, I need to scan some people beating some sort of demon thing called 'Rigon'. You guys have any idea what that is?"
Paper and Bink looked at each other and shrugged. Sci thought for a second before replying.
"The name sounds familiar, but I can't place it." Sci mumbled. "Don't know where I would have heard it, though."
"Figures." Attai sighed. "Okay then, do any of you at least know who the hell 'Sci, Paper, and Bink' are supposed to be? The CataloGun lists them but I don't think those are real names."
Paper narrowed his eyes.
"Okay, first you suddenly appear in the Plumber's Academy without any sort of authorization, and now you suddenly know our names?" Paper snapped. "Give me one good reason not to go report you right this second."
"Wait, those are actually your names?" Attai gave them a confused glare. "Your parents are either idiots or psychopaths."
"They're nicknames." Bink interjected, slightly annoyed. "Way to judge, jerk."
"If you think that's too judgy of me then we are not going to get along."
"Hey, I was asking you a question!" Paper said.
"Yeah, and I was ignoring it." Attai tsked. "Look, I'm a Timewalker. I don't have a magic paper that grants me authorization whenever I need it to, I just go wherever the hell I want."
"A...Timewalker?" Sci asked. "Like that Professor guy who works with Ben Tennyson?"
"If you mean Professor Paradox, yeah." Attai replied. "He's the one who sent me here, actually."
"Likely story." Paper spat.
"More likely than you think." Attai tsked. "Look, I just found out about some really weird news, so I'm not in the greatest mood today. Definitely not in a good enough mood to deal with you children."
"We're teenagers!" Bink protested.
"But not adults."
"Hang on a second, if you're a Timewalker, that explains how you got in here, sure." Sci interrupted. "But how did you know our names?"
"Like I said, the CataloGun lists them." Attai said, tapping on the gun's screen. "You three are supposed to defeat Rigon, and I'm supposed to scan that happening."
"Uh, you know we're just recruits in training, right?" Bink said. "How are we supposed to beat up a demon?"
"Hell if I know." Attai shrugged. "Not my problem."
"Well, we're gonna make it your problem." Paper said. "Let's go take a look through the Academy library. If we can find anything on this 'Rigon', then maybe I'll believe you about all this. If we don't, you're getting the boot faster than you could even imagine."
"He's being literal, by the way." Bink interjected. "He's got super speed."
"Don't let the enemy in on our powers!" Paper snapped.
"I'm not your enemy." Attai rolled his eyes. "I'm just an archivist who's passing through."
"We'll see about that."
"Let's see what we can't find out about Rigon then, huh?" Sci said.
Sci's group had brought Attai to the rather impressive Academy library, which was almost entirely empty at the moment. They stood in front of a computer terminal at the end of one of the rows of holobooks.
"Where is everyone?" Attai asked.
"Definitely not in the library on their day off." Bink laughed. "You think anyone would actually come here unless they needed to study for something?"
"I just got here, bite me."
Sci typed the word "Rigon" into the computer's holographic interface and pressed the search bar, only to be met by a popup requesting an administrative ID.
"Do you guys usually need an admin ID to look up books?" Attai grumbled.
"No, this is weird." Sci replied. "The only time information gets put behind an administrative wall is when there's an ongoing high-profile case related to it."
"Well, I guess this confirms that Rigon exists, at least." Paper muttered. "That being said, I'm not sure where to go from here."
"Do the Magisters here have admin access?" Attai asked.
"Yeah, but good luck getting them to help us." Bink huffed. "They don't trust us with this kind of thing."
"To be fair, we are still students." Sci pointed out. "I guess we could ask Hornbok if he knows anything about a Rigon since he's the one in charge of our division, but-"
Sci was cut off as Attai summoned the CataloGun and swiped a card, transforming into Ridejacker. The three students looked at him in shock.
"Are you..." Sci trailed off.
"An Omnitrix user?!" Bink squeaked.
"Using the term 'Omnitrix' very loosely, yeah." Ridejacker replied. "Hang on a second.:
Ridejacker's fingertips flipped open, allowing his tendrils to extend and work their way into the terminal's electronics. The popup asking for administrative access disappeared, and the holographic interface displayed several books with links to more detailed summaries for each of them.
"What did you do?!" Sci's eyes widened.
"This alien is called Ridejacker." Ridejacker replied. "It can hijack technology; mostly vehicles, granted, but almost anything will work."
"Are you crazy?!" Paper snapped. "The Plumber's Academy has one of the finest security systems ever developed! It'll alert the Magisters to a break-in if it's messed with by any technology-controlling alien species in the known universe!"
"Good thing Ridejacker isn't from this universe." Ridejacker tsked. "That being said, we should hurry this up before someone comes by."
"Hang on a second, that's..." Sci pointed out one of the books on the screen. "That's my grimoire! What's it doing in this database?!"
"The...'Solvens Tenebrae Vestibulum'?" Ridejacker said with confusion. "That is...an ungodly butchering of Latin."
"You can read Latin?" Sci asked. "What does it mean?"
"I think it's supposed to mean 'Entryway to Unleashing Darkness' but geez that's a rough translation." Ridejacker winced. "Why do you have it?"
"I've had it as long as I can remember." Sci explained. "Apparently my copy originally belonged to my dad. Every so often I need to release dark energy into it, or I lose control of myself."
"I guess that makes sense with the name." Ridejacker sighed. "You said your copy, right? Are there more?"
"Unfortunately." Paper said. "They're apparently popular with magicians who practice the dark arts."
"Well then, I think we can assume Rigon probably had one too." Ridejacker said. "Mystery solved."
"You say that, but I think that just raises further questions." Bink groaned.
Ridejacker was suddenly grabbed from behind and whirled around to face a very angry purple-skinned alien wearing a parka underneath a Magister's Plumber suit.
"Magister Hornbok!" Sci exclaimed.
"Speaking of questions..." Magister Hornbok said in a deep, serious voice. "I have quite a few of my own."
Sci, Paper, and Bink stood inside Magister Hornbok's windowless office. A single metal desk with some sort of computing technology built into it was the only decoration in the room, behind which Horbok paced intently. Attai stood off to the side, leaning impatiently against one of the walls.
"Uh...Magister Hornbok?" Sci said after a few minutes, breaking the silence.
"Hold on a moment, I'm trying to think of what to do here." Hornbok mumbled. "You kids have no idea what you've gotten yourselves into."
"Maybe if you told them, they would." Attai rolled his eyes.
"And who are you, exactly?" Hornbok snapped, pointing at Attai. "You're not authorized to be in this academy! I should have you arrested on the spot!"
"I'm a Timewalker, I don't need authorization." Attai huffed.
"His name is Attai Zehn." Bink piped up. "He says he's just here to do his job."
"Which would be what?" Hornbok's eyes narrowed, firmly locked on Attai.
"Part of it would be making sure your universe doesn't get wrecked by Rigon." Attai said.
"You know about Rigon?" Hornbok's brow furrowed.
"I know the name and I know the consequences if he wins, but that's about it." Attai tsked. "Same goes for your students over there."
Hornbok went silent and sat down at his desk, putting his hands up to his head in thought. After a few moments, he sighed and looked at Sci's group.
"I suppose you of all people have a right to know." Hornbok said, focusing on Sci in particular. "What I'm about to tell you is strictly confidential and cannot leave this room, do you understand me?"
Sci, Paper, and Bink all nodded their heads. Attai simply raised an eyebrow.
"To start with, have you heard the story of the Seven Sages?"
"What, the fairy tale?" Paper asked.
"Well, it's been a while since I've heard it, but I think I remember the basics." Paper scratched his neck. "The Seven Sages were gods of emotion born from something called the Infinity Pool."
"Yeah, that's right." Bink nodded. "They were supposed to protect the universe, but the Sage of Hate turned against them and raised an army of demons called Nikon'ali to take control. The rest of the Sages managed to beat him and seal him inside a dimension of darkness, but lost their lives while doing so."
"Sounds trite." Attai scoffed.
"You're trite." Bink huffed.
"What does the story of the Seven Sages have to do with all this?" Sci interjected.
"The thing is, it's not a story." Hornbok said. "It's real."
Everyone in the room stared at Hornbok in stunned silence.
"...What do you mean, 'it's real'?" Paper questioned.
"I mean what I said." Hornbok replied. "The story of the Seven Sages talks about an actual historic event."
"Wait a second, that doesn't make any sense." Bink said. "If it was real, wouldn't everyone know that?"
"No." Horbok shook his head. "The Plumbers and various groups before them have done their best to keep the story to the realm of fantasy in the minds of the public."
"Secret fairy tale conspiracy, that's a new one." Attai tsked. "Why the hell would you bother?"
"The Sage of Hate-or Rigon, as he named himself after turning on the other Sages-draws power from the hatred dwelling within all sentient life." Hornbok explained. "If the truth of this were to ever get out, any malicious individuals wishing to revive him would easily be able to take advantage of that."
"Which would be bad because the other Sages are gone." Paper muttered.
"Exactly." Hornbok affirmed.
"Is that really such a big deal anymore?" Bink asked. "We have Ben Tennyson protecting the universe now! I bet he could kick Rigon's butt in no time!"
"Rigon isn't a generic criminal." Hornbok shook his head. "Without the same powers the Sages had, there's no way to defeat him."
Bink's face fell as Paper's took on a serious tone. Sci looked concerned for a moment, then confused.
"Ever since Attai brought up Rigon's name, it's been sticking out to me for some reason." Sci said. "Like I know it from somewhere."
"...There is a reason for that." Hornbok said solemnly. "The fact of the matter is, Rigon is going to rise eventually, and sooner rather than later. We've done our best to stall the process, but we can't stop the entire universe from producing hate. When that day comes, we'll need to kill him for good."
"But how?" Paper asked. "You just said we'd need the power of the Sages!"
"There is still one individual left with the power of the Sages coursing through their veins." Hornbok replied. "Of the Sages, Rigon was the only one who allowed himself to fall in love with a mortal, and produce a child carrying his power."
"Wouldn't that kid be long dead by now?" Sci asked.
"There's a long story to that, but in short, no." Hornbok said. "Sci, there's a reason you were brought to this academy. A reason you never learned about your biological parents."
Attai rolled his eyes again.
"Gee, I wonder where this is going." He mumbled under his breath.
"Sci..." Hornbok pasued. "You are the son of Rigon. You are the Eighth Sage."
Paper and Bink stood outside the entrace to their barracks as Sci sat by himself inside. They looked worried, talking between themselves as Attai caught up to them.
"What do we do, Paper?" Bink said. "I can't even imagine how Sci feels about all this..."
"Knowing him, he's probably not taking it too well." Paper replied, pushing against the wall for support. "I just hope he doesn't...do something stupid."
"You three talk about each other like this often?" Attai asked sarcastically.
"Shut up!" Bink snapped. "Have you ever been friends with anyone before?"
"No, and frankly, I don't have time to be."
Paper suddenly turned around and grabbed Attai by the collar, slamming him into the wall.
"This is all your fault!" Paper snapped. "If you hadn't come here, none of this would've happened! Sci would-"
"Be dead meat like everyone else in this universe." Attai pushed Paper off him. "What's wrong with you two? You're acting like you were the ones who got told their dads are demons."
"We've been friends with Sci since day one." Bink said. "We all got accepted into the academy on the same day, and we hit it off with each other right off the bat."
"So?" Attai looked confused and somewhat annoyed.
"You've really never connected with anyone, have you?" Paper growled. "Sci's like family to us. If something happens to him, we're obviously going to worry about him."
"Yeah, don't have a family either, still don't get it." Attai tsked. "I'm going to go have a chat with him."
"Hey, don't just-" Bink was cut off as Attai pushed her aside walking into the bunkers.
Sitting on his bed on the other end of the bunker room was Sci, completely unmoving and with an expression stuck somewhere between hopelessness and horror. Attai groaned quietly and began walking over to him.
"Hey, Plumber kid." Attai said down on the bed opposite of Sci's. "Real shot in the dark here, but I'm guessing there's something on your mind."
"You think?!" Sci snapped.
"I was being facetious, calm down." Attai huffed. "Let me guess; being the child of darkness has you depressed?"
"It explains so much..." Sci mumbled. "The dark energy, the markings, the book, but it makes me...for God's sake, I'm a monster!"
"So what?" Attai tsked. "I just found out earlier today that I'm some sort of horrifying Frankenstein amalgamation of three people, so, you know, we all have our quirks."
Sci gave Attai a strange look.
"And you're just...okay with that?"
"Well, I don't know what I'm supposed to do about it." Attai coughed. "Doesn't change the fact that I have to do my job, so I don't know how this is going to change your goals."
"I'm not worried about how it affects me personally, I'm worried about them!" Sci gestured to the entrance of the barracks. "What are they going to think of me? Will they trust me? Will they even want to be my friends anymore?!"
"Well, I'm no expert, so I can only tell you what I've seen personally." Attai sighed. "And what I've seen is that you three have a sickening amount of buddy-buddy going on with each other. If anyone's going to stay by your side through all this, it's those two. I'm just here for the ride."
"I thought you were just here to do your job."
"Nitpick me again and I'll break your legs."
Some time later, Sci, Bink, Paper, Hornbok, and Attai convened in one of the Academy's training rooms. Sci practice-fought a few dummies until Attai motioned him over.
"Alright, if you're gonna beat your dad, you're going to need a game plan." Attai said. "What are your exact powers, if you have any?"
"I can control the elements, but not for very long." Sci replied. "If I use my powers too much, I build up dark energy."
"What happens then?"
"He loses control of his body, and his mind is consumed by darkness." Hornbok explained. "He goes into a berserk state until he uses up the dark energy."
"Uses it up?" Attai tapped the side of his glasses in thought. "You know, being the prince of darkness and all, you'd think the dark energy would be a normal part of your powerset. Have you ever tried wielding it intentionally before you go berserk?"
"I have, but I can't get anywhere with it." Sci said, shivering slightly. "It just feels so...wrong."
"That's your humanity talking." Attai tsked. "I'd wager what you need to do is tap into your dark side to wield it without side effects."
"I don't really have a dark side, though."
"Shove it up your keister kid, everyone has some bones in their closet." Attai rolled his eyes. "You can't tell me you've never had any sort of negative emotions towards anything."
"I don't think hating tests is going to get me anywhere with my demon powers, man." Sci grumbled.
"That's not what I mean."
"Think about it in more field-applicable terms." Hornbok said, shoving Attai aside. "Say you're on a hostage recovery mission and the perp has their weapon up to someone's head. If you're unable to de-escalate the situation and the only way to save the hostage is to shoot the criminal, what do you do?"
"You shoot them, obviously." Sci said. "Aim for a non-lethal shot, but make the hostage's safety the top priority."
"Correct." Hornbok said. "Now, I assume we all agree that shooting people is bad, but in cases like these, you'll have to cross a line you might not be comfortable with in order to protect the innocent. Cadets who can't accept that end up useless in the field."
Hornbok paused to think before continuing.
"In regards to your powers, I think you're not comfortable enough to take the shot and so you end up misfiring, so to speak. You're so hung up on not wanting to use dark energy that it's impossible for you to work with."
"Just think of bad experiences to make yourself angry." Bink said. "Like that one time Paper shot you in the back of the head with a training round on the shooting range."
"That was an accident." Paper protested.
"Yeah, but I bet it still hurt."
"Anger isn't what we're going for here." Hornbok interjected. "Sci needs to make the darkness work for him without losing his cool or shrinking away from it."
"Easier said than done." Sci huffed. "How am I supposed to change how I feel?"
"You probably can't." Attai tsked. "What you really need to focus on is not letting those feelings dictate your actions."
"And how do I do that?"
"Well, here's an example:" Attai cleared his throat. "Right now, having to interact with you people is making me almost physically ill on account of the fact that I absolutely cannot stand anyone present in this room, myself included. In spite of that, I'm not about to ausflippen and take off somewhere else."
"...This is why you don't have friends, huh?" Bink raised an eyebrow.
The doors of elevator to the Observation Deck at the top of the Academy opened, allowing Sci, Bink, Paper, and Attai to step off. This part of the building was bustling with students, who were mostly caught up in conversations with each other.
"Is this some sort of hangout spot for you people?" Attai asked.
"Not officially, but it's where a lot of us like to spend time on our days off." Sci replied. "It's the only place in the academy where you can actually see outside very well."
"Hm." Attai looked up at the clear dome ceiling. "Fair enough."
"First off, let's drain Sci's energy." Paper said, holding up the Solvens Tenebrae Vestibulum. "I didn't go grab this thing for funsies."
"We don't have to rush it." Sci reassured him. "I didn't build up that much energy in the training room."
"Better safe than sorry." Paper handed the grimoire to Sci.
"Eh, I guess so."
"About that grimoire." Attai said. "You said you got it from your dad, right?"
"Well, now that we know your father is Rigon, I have to wonder why he would have it." Attai tapped the side of his head. "If he's a demon of hatred and darkness, why would he need a book of dark magic? It seems redundant."
"Maybe he just liked edgy paraphenilia." Bink shrugged. "Still, it's a good thing we have it for Sci to use either way. Don't shoot a gift horse in the mouth or whatever, right?"
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Paper corrected.
"I'm just saying it's weird for a demon of darkness to have a book called 'Entryway to Unleashing Darkness'." Attai said. "What's he going to-"
Attai paused as Sci began draining his energy into the book.
"Entryway to Unleashing Darkness." Attai muttered.
"What?" Bink asked.
"Rigon was sealed in a dimension of darkness."
"Right..." Paper raised an eyebrow.
"Does the book store the energy Sci puts into it?" Attai asked.
"No, it just kinda disappears." Sci replied.
"So you, drain your darkness into a book called the 'Entryway to Unleashing Darkness' and it somehow vanishes."
"Almost like it's crossing an entryway into some sort of...say, dimension of darkness?" Attai continued.
"And Rigon, a demon with power over darkness, is trapped in a dimension of darkness."
"Where are you going with this?" Paper snapped.
"If I have to spell it out, don't you think it's possible that Rigon carried around that book because he knew if the other Sages banished him, it would be a gateway between that dimension of darkness and this world?"
"Eh, you're overthinking it." Bink waved him off. "Besides, even if he was gonna use it for that, he'd still need to revive first, right? Hornbok talked like there wasn't enough hatred going around to bring him back yet."
"Sure, but what if he was getting power from another source on top of that?" Attai tsked. "Say, for example, a free helping of dark energy on the daily for fourteen years straight?"
"...I'm seventeen." Sci said.
"Well, I just finished draining my energy and he hasn't popped out yet, so I don't think we need to worry about it for now." Sci handed the grimoire back to Paper.
"Don't get cocky." Attai warned. "I never arrive in a world very far from the event I need to scan."
"Relax, man." Bink said. "Unless someone suddenly blasts a bunch of hatred into the universe that wasn't there before, I think it's gonna be a bit."
"Whatcha talking about?" An unidentified voice came from behind the group.
They turned to find Millennia standing near them, giving a slight wave.
"Piss off!" Attai snapped. "Why do you always have to interrupt-"
Attai himself was interrupted as a giant demonic arm suddenly exploded out of the Solvens Tenebrae Vestibulum.
"Attai!" Bink yelled.
"...I'm not apologizing for that."
Panicking students made a mad dash for the elevator as a twenty-five foot demon squeezed out of Sci's grimoire, which had been unceremoniously tossed to the ground. The demon's body was entirely gray in appearance, save for a pair of glaring purple eyes. A pair of horns and wings jutted out of his head and back, respectively, and rows of spikes ran down his darkened forearms. He wore a pair of crimson-red pants secured by a golden belt set across his waist.
"Rigon, I presume?" Attai said flatly.
"So the world stills remembers me after all this time." Rigon's voice was dark and gravelly, with an unsettling tone to it that indicated an ill-concealed hatred for everything around him. "How touching."
"Wow, I have no idea what's going on here." Millennia whistled. "I wanted to chat, but it looks like you're busy right now, so I'll see you later."
With that, Millennia vanished in a pink flash. Rigon turned his attention to Sci, who involuntarily backed away a few steps.
"It's refreshing to see you in reality." Rigon said.
"That voice..." Sci trailed off. "You were the one talking to me in my dreams!"
"Yes, although it seems you weren't able to understand my message."
"You were being really vague!"
"What part of 'I will return soon' is 'really vague'?" Rigon hissed.
"You didn't even tell me who you were!"
"As much as I'm enthralled by your family dispute here, it'd probably be a good idea for you to fight already." Attai rolled his eyes.
"And who are you supposed to be?" Rigon growled.
"I'm an archivist." Attai replied. "I'm here to record these three defeating you."
"What, these children?" Rigon laughed. "You would have them fight me alone? What a cowardly man."
"I didn't say anything about not beating on you myself." Attai summoned the CataloGun. "I just need to make sure they get the last blow in."
Rigon scoffed and backhanded Attai, launching him across the room. He turned back to Sci with a stern expression.
"Now, as I said in the dream realm, you need to decide which path you're willing to take." Rigon said. "Though you are half-human, you remain as the only one in this universe with abilities that can match my own. Will you join me in destroying this wretched world, or will I have to kill you?"
"As if Sci would ever join you!" Paper shouted.
"Yeah, and we sure ain't gonna let you kill him either!" Bink said.
"This does not involve you." Rigon hissed.
Dark energy pooled around Rigon's hands, and he fired blasts of it towards Paper and Bink. Bink put up a shield around them, but the two were still knocked to the ground by the impact.
"Paper! Bink!" Sci exclaimed.
"...Are those real names in modern times?" Rigon said.
"They're nicknames!" Sci yelled. "More importantly, those two are my friends! I'm not going to let you hurt them!"
"We're okay!" Bink groaned as she and Paper got to their feet. "Just a little bruised."
"Friends?" Rigon glared down at Sci with a mixture of confusion and disgust. "You are the prince of darkness, the son of Hate! Why would you make 'friends' with these humans?! This is ridiculous!"
"Because I'm human too!" Sci snapped. "You of all people should know that, you hypocritical douche!"
"I realized the error of my ways." Rigon tsked. "Someday, you will do the same."
"Like hell I will!" Sci yelled. "I'm going to end this right now!"
Sci lunged forward and tried punching Rigon in the leg, only for his blow to bounce right off Rigon's hardened skin.
"The hatred in your heart is far too weak." Rigon casually batted Sci aside, sending him flying across the floor. "I have a hard time believing you're actually my son."
Paper and Bink ran over to Sci, with Bink creating a mana shield in front of them. Rigon scoffed and blasted apart the shield with a ball of darkness, sending Bink crashing into a wall with a pained yelp. Paper growled and rushed Rigon at high speed, only for Rigon to grab him mid-stride and toss him at the ceiling, which he bounced off of before slamming down into the floor.
"Is this all you lot can muster?" Rigon pulled his sword out of the floor and began walking towards Sci. "The universe's protectors have fallen into quite a sad state since my time."
"Why?!" Sci yelled.
Rigon paused, looking at his son in confusion.
"Why don't I hate you?!" Sci slowly pulled himself to his feet, his pain outweighed by his sheer frustration. "You attacked my home, you hurt my friends, and you're trying to kill me! But I...still don't hate you!"
"Then what do you feel towards me, pray tell?" Rigon huffed, pointing his sword at Sci. "If not hatred, then what?"
"I don't care about you at all!" Sci shouted. "How...how could I? You're a complete 'nothing' person!"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Rigon growled.
"I didn't even think you were real until today!" Sci snapped. "I just find out you exist, then suddenly you show up and start being evil! You're not a person, you're an archetype! How am I supposed to hate something as completely empty as you?!"
Rigon's face twisted into an enraged snarl as he raised his sword in preparation to strike. Before he could swing, he was shot several times from behind, the shots ricocheting off his hardened skin. He turned to find a battered Attai aiming the CataloGun squarely at him.
"You should have stayed down." Rigon hissed.
"And you should piss off!" Attai snapped. "Sci, you don't need to hate him to fight him! You just need to control your powers!"
Rigon roared and charged at Attai, who jumped to the side and transformed into Ridejacker.
"But hate is-"
"What gives Rigon power, yeah, I got it!" Ridejacker shouted, trying to restrain Rigon with his tendrils. "But you're not Rigon! You're you!"
"Cease this pointless babble!" Rigon broke free of Ridejacker's tendrils and punched him across the room.
"What does that mean?!" Sci yelled.
"It's like you said, Rigon is empty!" Ridejacker replied, pulling himself to his feet. "He's just a vessel for hatred now, but you're not!"
Rigon tried throwing his sword at Sci, but Ridejacker jumped in the way, blocking the sword with his body.
"He might have forgotten it, but you aren't just the result of his hatred." Ridejacker said. "You exist because he fell in love!"
"And it was a mistake!" Rigon roared, summoning his sword back to him. "I was fool enough to believe that there might be something of value in this universe, but she faded away like every other mortal! Hatred and destruction are the only thing this reality can breed, and I'll be the one to take control of them!"
"You're wrong!" Ridejacker yelled back.
Ridejacker stared at the display in front of him with a confused expression hidden by the mask-like shell covering his face.
"...That kid really means that much to you?" He asked.
"Of course she does!" The mother held Samantha closer, continuing to cry. "She's my daughter! She's irreplaceable!"
"I've seen it for myself..." Ridejacker said. "How much people can care for each other. I might not understand it, but even I can tell that those feelings are real. You're just in denial!"
"Silence!" Rigon fired a dark energy blast at Ridejacker, knocking him against the wall. "I will not stand for this insolence!"
"Sci, you weren't born from hatred!" Ridejacker shouted towards him. "Your friends, your feelings, your humanity...all of that is proof! Think about what you are!"
Rigon created an explosion of dark energy, damaging various parts of the observatory. A small army of Nikon'ali emerged from the shadows, making their way towards Sci and Ridejacker.
"What I am?" Sci muttered.
He looked out across the observatory, noticing Bink and Paper struggling to get up.
"Guys..." Sci clenched his fists. "That's right...I'm not fighting because of hatred."
Sci created a wall of flames in front of him, burning away some of the Nikon'ali approaching him.
"I'm fighting to protect the people I care about!" Sci yelled. "I...was born from love!"
Rigon roared and threw his sword at Sci again. This time, Sci caught it in midair and used his flames to melt down the blade, rendering it useless.
"What is this nonsense?" Rigon hissed.
"I'm going to show you..." Sci glared at Rigon, staring him directly in the eyes. "What I really am!"
Sci summoned a wave of water, knocking the horde of Nikon'ali coming towards him off their feet. He clenched his fist, freezing the water into ice and trapping the army. Rigon growled and lunged at him, throwing a blast of dark energy his way. Instead of dodging, Sci took the shot, absorbing the energy into his body.
"You can control the darkness that well?!" Rigon exclaimed.
"Normally, no, but I'm taking what Magister Hornbok taught me to heart." Sci replied. "If I'm going to save everyone, I'll have to take you out!"
"You really think you can save all these people?" Rigon hissed. "I'd beg to differ."
Rigon snapped his fingers, summoning an even larger force of Nikon'ali, who began making their way towards the Academy's elevator. Before any of them could get there, a row of flames sprung up from the floor, shooting towards the elevator and jumping out of the ground to reveal Heatspecter.
"I'll handle the mooks." Heatspecter said, transforming into Angelion. "You and your friends beat up your dad."
"Got it." Sci nodded.
Paper and Bink ran over to Sci as Rigon began approaching him at a steady pace. The three of them took on a defensive stance with Sci in the middle.
"You were 'born from love', huh?" Bink elbowed Sci. "When'd you get so corny?"
"I figured it would piss him off." Sci gestured at Rigon.
"Did you really need to make him any angrier than he already was?" Paper grunted.
"Probably not." Sci laughed. "Alright, let's do this!"
Rigon shot a bolt of dark lightning at the trio, which Sci blocked by summoning a wall of earth. Paper ran out from behind the wall and jumped at Rigon at top speed, kicking him upside the head several times before retreating. Not giving Rigon a chance to recover, Bink flung a mana javelin at Rigon's face, knocking him off-balance even more. Sci used the opportunity to summon a small ridge of earth behind Rigon and fling a burst of air at his chest, pushing him backwards and sending him toppling to the ground. The earthen ridge expanded until it consumed Rigon, which was promptly followed by Sci adding a layer of water into the dirt and freezing it into solid ice.
"That's not going to hold him for long." Paper said. "You think you can finish him?"
"Theoretically, but the guy's a tank." Sci replied. "I'm gonna need some serious momentum behind me if I want to land a finishing blow."
"Serious momentum, huh?" Bink tapped her head. "You guys thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Wha-seriously?" Bink groaned. "Okay, look, here's the idea:"
Rigon exploded out of his frozen prison with a furious roar. He looked over the room, spotting Paper hoisting Sci onto his back, with Bink standing next to them.
"Crap, he's out already!" Bink exclaimed. "Go, go, go!"
Paper took off with Sci in tow, running directly towards Rigon. Rigon growled and brought down his fist towards them, only for a mana shield to appear in front of his attack at the last second. Paper jumped up and off of the shield, shooting himself and Sci back into the air. Bink continued creating mana shields for him to bounce off, leading to him jumping through the air in a confusing pattern that made it difficult for Rigon to aim, gradually gaining more and more speed.
Rigon narrowed his eyes and began tracking Paper's movements, trying to figure out where he would land next. In-between jumps, Rigon's eyes widened and he fired a blast of dark energy directly towards where Paper was moving. Unable to turn away in mid-air, Paper grimaced, preparing for impact. Before the blast could reach him, however, it was intercepted by a blast of light from Angelion, who was standing knee-deep in a pile of demon corpses.
"That's the last of the Nikon'ali!" Angelion yelled. "Go for it!"
Paper nodded, and with one last push off one of Bink's mana shields, shot himself and Sci towards Rigon. He grabbed Sci off his back and tossed him out in front of him.
"You sure about this?!" Paper yelled, his voice muffled by the wind kicked up during his jumps.
"Let's do it!" Sci gave a thumbs-up in mid-air.
Paper whirled around and planted his foot firmly between Sci's shoulderblades, kicking out to give him one last boost of speed as he flew towards Rigon.
"Who's ridiculous now, huh?!" Sci yelled, curling up his fist and surrounding it with dark energy.
"Well, still you for thinking that was a good one-liner." Angelion coughed under his breath.
Rigon raised his arms up to shield himself from the impact, but Sci's speed-boosted punch exploded through his defenses like a blast of TNT, allowing Sci to drive his fist straight into Rigon's chest.
"This...won't...kill...me!" Rigon choked out.
"Then here's hoping this will!"
All at once, Sci unleashed the entirety of the power he had accumulated during the fight, elemental and dark energies alike. Rigon's body, unable to absorb the cocktail of energies being thrown at it, began to break down internally, forcing Rigon to his knees.
"Why..." Rigon sputtered. "Why is this happening?! How did beat me?!"
"Sorry, but I can't take the credit for this one!" Sci replied. "The fact of the matter is, you underestimated us!"
With that, a burst of energy exploded from Rigon's chest, temporarily blinding everyone in the room. By the time their vision returned, Rigon's lifeless body was lying still on the floor, quickly followed by a yellow beam from the CataloGun scanning the area. The Nikon'ali corpses over by the elevator faded away, their master's lifeforce no longer sustaining their physical existence.
"Holy crap, we did it!" Bink yelled. "We beat Rigon!"
"Obviously." Angelion transformed back into Attai, who walked over to Sci. "I already told you that you would."
"Yeah, but you're full of it." Bink tsked, running over to Sci with Paper in tow.
"I guess that's one less threat to the universe we'll have to deal with when we graduate." Paper mused.
"One down, fifteen million to go!" Sci laughed before suddenly groaning and grabbing the arm he punched Rigon with.
"Sci, you okay?!" Bink asked worriedly.
"Yeah, I'm good, just..." Sci took a deep breath, pained breath. "I think punching the lord of darkness broke my goddamn arm."
"Probably." Attai said. "Well, that's what happens when you haven't learned proper form."
"Are you ever going to stop being a massive tool about everything?!" Bink snapped.
The observatory's elevator doors suddenly opened, allowing a hectic Magister Hornbok to run into the room, blaster drawn.
"I heard what was happening and got here as fast as I could!" Hornbok yelled. "Where's Rigo-"
Hornbok cut himself off as he spotted Rigon's body lying on the floor. Sci chuckled nervously, still cradling his injured arm.
"...What the hell did I miss?"
"So that's how it went down, huh?" Magister Hornbok mumbled.
"Yep!" Bink gave a thumbs-up. "The three of us beat Rigon, and Attai was also kind of there!"
"Excuse me?" Attai raised an eyebrow. "I don't know if you noticed, but I-"
Attaui cut himself off as Rigon's body suddenly became electrified with a massive burst of energy. He pulled himself to his feet as everyone else in the room stared on at him in horror.
"How?!" Paper yelled. "You should've died!"
"And I did." Rigon hissed. "Something is approaching us. Something that exudes more hatred than I've ever felt before."
"That's ridiculous!" Attai snapped. "What the hell could have enough hate in it to bring you back from the dead that fast?!"
As if in response to this question, massive battleships marked with swastikas began uncloaking in the airspace around the Plumber's Academy, drawing shocked murmuring from students and staff alike. What appeared to be a fighter plane deployed from one of the crafts and shot towards the observation floor. Once it began flying over the deck, it suddenly dropped in altitude and transformed into a tank, phasing through the windows of the building and landing a few meters away from Rigon.
"What is that thing?" Sci asked, eyes widened.
"The DecaPanzer." A voice announced from inside the tank before it disappeared in a red flash, leaving Ubermensch standing on the ground in its place. "In plane mode, it's the DecaWulf. As a unit, it's called the DecaBlitzer."
Ubermensch turned to stare down Attai specifically.
"It has a bit more firepower than something like a DecaCycle."
Attai's eyes widened and he moved to ask something, but was cut off by Millennia suddenly teleporting in.
"Hey, uh, Ubermensch, what are you doing here?" Millennia hissed. "This isn't part of the contract!"
"It's not explicitly disallowed in the contract either." Ubermensch stated flatly. "I don't have any more time to wait for results."
"What are you people doing here?!" Magister Hornbok stepped forward, drawing his blaster and aiming it at Ubermensch's armored head. "This is a restricted Plumber facility!"
"That is none of my concern." Ubermensch replied, not even looking in Hornbok's direction. "I don't want anything to do with you."
"Then why are you here?!" Hornbok demanded.
Ubermensch pointed at Attai, who insinctively summonned the CataloGun.
"For your other uninvited guest."
"If you want to get to him, you'll have to go through us!" Sci snapped.
Ubermensch stared at Sci for a few moments before beginning to chuckle in a deep, slow voice.
"What's so funny?" Paper demanded.
"Do you honestly feel the need to protect him?" Ubermensch replied. "You have no idea what he is or where he came from."
"That doesn't matter!" Sci firmly stated. "Plumbers don't leave people behind!"
"Objectively false, but I can appreciate the sentiment." Ubermensch tsked, summoning the Gewherlogger. "Nevertheless, I have my orders."
Ubermensch pointed the Gewherlogger at Rigon and scanned him, prompting another shocked look from Attai.
"I have to assume you're catching onto something here." Ubermensch looked over at Attai. "Do you know where your DecaSystem came from?"
"Paradox never told me, but-"
"Of course he didn't." Ubermensch interrupted. "To be honest, I didn't know myself until recently."
Ubermensch flipped out the tablet screen of the Gewherlogger, using it to project a hologram of the files he was carrying earlier.
"On my Earth, in the Reich's attempts to create a wonder weapon capable of winning the second world war, they approved a series of research projects into potentially revolutionary military technology, each numbered by Greek prefixes in sequence. Projects Mono through Ennea were failures, but with the discovery of the Cosmic Archives and the technology we were able to create by tapping into their power..."
Ubermensch flipped through files until the one being displayed bore a large 'X' on the front cover.
"Project Deca was a complete success."
Rigon, who had been watching in confusion as this all unfolded, narrowed his eyes and strode over to Ubermensch, lifting him into the air by the collar on his armor.
"I don't know what any of this foolishness is about, but it's becoming tiresome to listen to." Rigon growled. "My business is not with you, but you are getting in the way. Leave if you value your life."
Rigon threw Ubermensch to the ground and turned to face Sci, who assumed a defensive stance.
"Now..." Rigon said. "I believe we have something we need to-"
Rigon was cut off as spiked arm suddenly exploded through his chest from behind. His assailant retracted their arm and kicked Rigon to the ground, revealing themselves to be Terox, wearing a toothy smirk.
"Is this edgelord pretty boy really supposed to be the Big Bad of this world?" Terox laughed. "That's just embarrasing."
"Terox..." Ubermensch growled, getting to his feet. "What do you think you're doing here?"
"Daddy Fuhrey wanted you to get results, right?" Terox replied mockingly. "We'll say I'm just doing you a favor. Ain't I a sweetheart?"
Rigon got up and grabbed Terox's head with enough force that his helmet began to crack.
"You dare attack me whilst carrying the demeanor of a child?!" Rigon furiously yelled. "Who do you think you are?!"
"Tall, dark, and Nazi over there just said my name." Terox replied casually, his voice somewhat muffled by Rigon's hand. "Not sure how you missed it."
"Silence!" Rigon slammed Terox into the ground. "Do you know who I am?! I am Hate of the Seven Sages! I am Rigon, king of the Nikon'ali! I AM A GOD!"
"Sounds neato." Terox replied.
All of a sudden, Terox created a blinding explosion of energy, throwing Rigon off of him. He rose into the air and looked down at the snarling Rigon with a haughty glare.
"I'm the guy who killed God."
Ubermensch growled and slammed the Gewherlogger's screen closed.
"Archives Agent!" Ubermensch yelled, pointing at Attai. "Your equipment is just the prototype design for the DecaSystem I wield today! It should have been scrapped a long time ago!"
"Well it wasn't, so tough luck!" Attai snapped. "You'll have to pry the DecaSystem out of my cold, dead hands!"
Ubermensch shot at Attai, who ducked and summoned a card, transforming into Ridejacker with a green flash. Ubermensch fired off several more shots, each hitting their target, but none having any effect.
"Having problems?" Ridejacker sneered.
Ubermensch silently summoned a card and slid it through a reader on top of the Gewherlogger. He took aim at Ridejacker and fired, hitting him with a blast of energy that transformed him back to human.
"Verdammt!" Attai yelled. "What kind of card is that?!"
"Just a basic 'human' card." Ubermensch said. "Handy for neutering the powers of matrix users."
Attai grimaced and summoned another card, swiping it through the CataloGun and transforming into Bomb 2 Hell, who began charging towards Ubermensch. Ubermensch tsked and swiped his card through the Gewherlogger again, firing at Bomb 2 Hell. This failed to produce any results, however, as Bomb 2 Hell ran up to him with the transformation intact and hit him with an explosive punch, sending him stumbling back a few feet.
"Turns out I can't get out of this one until the timer goes off." Bomb 2 Hell said, pointing to the screen on his chest that currently displayed a set of numbers counting down.
A nearby piece of debris exploded as Bomb 2 Hell's timer hit zero. Ubermensch tried to take the opportunity to shoot his opponent, but Bomb 2 Hell ripped the Gewherlogger out of his hands and grabbed onto his helmet, charging it with explosive energy.
"You know, I thought the big bad Nazi general would be a lot harder to beat." Bomb 2 Hell said. "Turns out you're just another mook."
"That's the attitude of a dead man." Ubermensch replied calmly. "The only reason you're alive is because I haven't been trying to kill you."
"Bold talk, but can you back it up?" Bomb 2 Hell hissed. "What makes you so much more impressive than any other generic bad guy I've taken on up to this point?"
"'Bad guys', 'good guys', is that how you think this works?" Ubermensch growled. "Alright then, within those parameters, I assume you think you're the 'good guy' here."
"I'm trying to save universes and you're a Gott verdammt Nazi, so yeah, I'm pretty confident in that."
Bomb 2 Hell shoved Ubermensch away as his timer hit zero again, causing Ubermensch's helmet to explode in a burst of smoke and metal. Bomb 2 Hell sighed and summoned the CataloGun, reverting to human.
"Honestly, if you're going to fight me, give me something interesting to work with." Attai tsked.
"That might have been one of the dumbest things you could have done."
Attai whipped around to find Ubermensch approaching him, clutching his face with his right hand, concealing it. His hair was a pure blond color, with the eyes peeking out from between the fingers being an ice-cold blue.
"How the hell did you survive that?!" Attai's eyes widened.
"I'm sturdier than you might think." Ubermensch replied, his voice no longer being modulated by his helmet. "Tell me, how sturdy do you think you are?"
"The hell is that supposed to mean?" Attai replied, narrowing his eyes as he took a few steps back.
"How much faith do you have in 'being the good guy'?" Ubermensch said, still marching forward. "How strong is your resolve when it comes to being better than us?"
"Than who, the Nazis?" Attai scoffed. "Uh, pretty goddamn strong. Get to the point, you edgy fickfehler."
Ubermensch suddenly stopped and ripped his hand away from his face, revealing his features in full detail. Attai's eyes widened as he instinctively recoiled from what he saw. Looking back at him was a carbon copy of his own face, wearing a calm, knowing smirk.
"You're 'better than me', hm?" Ubermensch stared Attai down with a piercing glare. "I don't think that's quite right, do you?"
Before Attai could respond, the area around the two began to warp and break, with gaps of nothingness suddenly popping into reality.
"What the-" Ubermensch turned to find Terox glowing unnaturally bright. "What are you doing?! This universe has already been scanned!"
"I'm making a goddamn point!" Terox yelled back.
"Damn it!" Ubermensch hissed, turning back to Attai. "We'll have to continue this later. In the meantime, try reconsidering the wisdom of staying in your current position."
With that, Ubermensch jumped into the air and pressed a button on the Gewehrlogger, summoning the DecaWulf around himself and flying off towards the Unendlich Reich's fleet. Within seconds, the reality around Attai shattered entirely, leaving him and Terox as the only ones left floating in the void.
"What did you do?!" Attai demanded. "Where is everything?!"
"Gone." Terox flashed a toothy grin. "Just another part of my energy now."
"You..." Attai's eyes widened. "You absorbed this entire universe?!"
"Not just the universe, the whole Earth associated with it!" Terox laughed. "Man, you should see the look on your face right now!"
"It doesn't matter!" Attai tossed away the CataloGun. "I already scanned this Earth! I'll just get the archivists to restore it and-"
"What, give me seconds?" Terox hissed smugly. "Hate to break it to you, bud, but being able to restore universes isn't going to matter while I'm still alive. And you wanna know a secret?"
Terox suddenly teleported directly in front of Attai, staring him directly in the eyes.
"I'm never going to die."
With that, Terox teleported away, leaving Attai completely alone in the darkness.
- Attai's biology is revealed to have been made from three people.
- Earth 19-A is scanned.
- The origin of the DecaSystem is revealed.
- Attai is revealed to be an alternate version of Ubermensch.
- Earth 19-A is destroyed by Terox.
- Attai Zehn
- Sci/Scott (Earth 19-A)
- Paper/Peter (Earth 19-A)
- Bink/Bianca (Earth 19-A)
- Magister Hornbok (Earth 19-A)
- Rigon (Earth 19-A)
- Bomb 2 Hell
- The plot of this episode is loosely adapted from the Young Plumbers Rigon Arc, with various changes to make it more suited for a one-episode tribute.
- This episode acts as the finale of Act 1 for Project Deca.