This was it.
Phelous clutched what remained of his left arm. He stumbled over to the doors of the blue police box and forced them open. He was dripping blood all over the interior of the TARDIS, but he didn't have time to worry about that.
Lupa and Nash were both dead, and he'd been completely unable to do anything to stop it. He was missing an arm and rapidly bleeding out. The Earth God had been unsealed and captured by the Pax Terra, for use in their vague but no doubt nefarious goals. They'd screwed up massively, but fortunately, they had a time machine.
Phelous instinctively ran his fingers over the TARDIS control panel. All he needed was 20 minutes. If he went back too far, it could cause all sorts of time paradoxes and shit - but if he went back a little bit, to warn his past version about Electriceye's sneak attack, that would be fine.
- I never really make it clear how time travel works in Sagacious, mostly because Doctor Who's time traveling is rather inconsistent as well. I settled on "able to be changed but with the risk of paradoxes", with a handwave that the TARDIS can resolve minor time loops and paradoxes somehow, but any change to the past should conceivably count as a "major" paradox.
His vision was fading. Phelous collapsed to the ground, spewing blood and vomit all over the TARDIS' floor. He couldn't move. He gathered up his last shred of energy and reached to the control panel, but his trembling hand fell to the ground.
It was over.
Phelous felt something warm in his breast pocket. The rainbow flower that Lupa had given him all the way back in the first chapter was glowing. The flower exploded, revealing a small green mushroom that dissolved into Phelous' body.
Phelous got up. His left arm fully regenerated right before his eyes, and he was returned to full strength.
"1-Up Mushroom." Phelous commented. "Of course."
Phelous finished inputting the time and coordinates into the TARDIS, and threw the lever. The coordinates were exactly the same, so the present TARDIS telefragged the past TARDIS. There would still be two Phelouses running around, but he had a plan for that too.
"Huh?" Electriceye's jaw dropped as Phelous stepped through the TARDIS doors.
"You." Phelous' sarcastic, annoyed exterior had long since faded, replaced by tranquil fury. Though he'd lost the essence of the Earth God, the 1-Up Mushroom had given him some of his MP back. He'd make good use of that.
But first, the second Chekov's Gun fired. Phelous reached into his pocket and pulled out the Amulet of Winter, which would answer any question asked to it, but only once per person. Lupa had used it to discern the name and function of the Amulet, but Phelous had never gotten a chance to use it.
So he put it on, and asked it "If I kill Electriceye right now, will the time travel mechanics of this particular universe result in a reality-shattering paradox?"
"Good." Phelous removed the amulet and put it back in his pocket.
"Where'd you-?" Electriceye stammered.
"The future. You killed my beloved and friend."
"Die." Phelous created a long icicle spear and ran Electriceye through with it. Electriceye countered with a blast from his eye, but Phelous used Lupa's lightning redirection technique which he'd learned offscreen to negate that attack. He shoved the spear further into Electriceye's torso, then walked over to the clay throne and grabbed the magic wand.
"Wait, don't kill me! We can't let the Pax Terra-"
"Shut the fuck up." Phelous shoved the wand into Electriceye's mouth and activated it. The beam of energy completely vaporized his head and most of his torso.
- Honestly, I'm a bit concerned at how I made Phelous unrepentantly kill Electriceye here. Yeah, Electriceye put them through a lot of shit, but Phelous comes back in time and kills him pretty brutally.
Yeah, he killed all of those guards and the giants, but Electriceye is a named character, and as much as I hate to admit it, there's a bit of a double standard when it comes to heroes killing villains. A hero can plow through scores of unnamed guards or whatever without a second thought, but if he kills a named villain (especially one with a clear motivation, and not just a generic "grr kill everything" villain), it's seen as a far more heinous act, not just by the readers, but often the writers as well. And if you think about it, Electriceye didn't even kill Lupa or Nash - it was Bowser, and yeah, Electriceye unleashed Bowser, but it's still only indirectly.
At the same time, the original version of Chapter 9 had Phelous joking and being sarcastic up until the point where he said "Die.", which was even worse. Again, that's pretty much what he's been doing in previous chapters, but this is a named villain who technically didn't do the thing Phelous is killing him over. At least with this version, it shows that Phelous is completely serious and unimaginably angry, and he's treating it with the respect it deserves.
Maybe I'm just overthinking it. I still do like this scene, because it shows that Phelous can be serious when the situation calls for it, but I'm just a bit perturbed at the implications. And it goes back to being slightly more lighthearted, though still more serious than it has been, so maybe I've created my own double standard about character death.
Phelous pointed the magic wand at the sealed Bowser, but a voice interrupted him.
Lupa, Nash and the past Phelous walked into the room to see the future Phelous and the headless corpse of Electriceye. Naturally, they were confused.
"Allison..." Future Phelous looked at them, and his unstoppable rage instantly melted away. "Oh God, Allison..."
"Okay, who are you?"
"I'm from about 20 minutes in the future." Tears were streaming down Future Phelous' face. "They killed both of you, and I was completely helpless. And your flower, it saved me..."
"Phelan..." Lupa walked over and tightly embraced Future Phelous. They stood there for at least a few minutes, until the stench of Electriceye ruined the mood.
"I don't know if I should be offended or not." Past Phelous said.
"Eh, it's still technically you." Nash said. "But I dunno, anything more than that might be kinda weird."
"Don't worry, it's okay." Future Phelous walked over to Past Phelous and put his arm on the latter's shoulder. Future Phelous dissolved into Past Phelous, creating a unified Phelous.
"Well, that was confusing." Phelous said. "Anyways, Electriceye's dead and we've got the TARDIS back. Mission complete and all that, or something."
"Yep." Lupa, Phelous and Nash stepped into the TARDIS and teleported away, leaving the petrified Bowser still sealed away.
A distinct whirring sound pierced the relative silence of the quiet neighborhood. A few children throwing a baseball in a backyard looked up as a small blue box materialized on the lawn of a nearby house.
"Ah, it's so good to be home!" Lupa stepped out of the TARDIS and stretched, and a wave of nostalgia hit her as the familiar scents of her home returned to her. They'd been traveling non-stop for at least a few months, and it was nice to finally be home... at least for a little while.
Phelous and Nash followed as they went into Lupa's house. A ninja leaped up from underneath the Welcome mat, but Lupa just threw him to the side, and he scampered off. More worrying was the fact that the door was unlocked; Lupa quietly opened the door and stepped in, preparing a Thunderpunch for the jaw of the unlucky bastard who'd broken in.
- I intentionally didn't have Lupa straight-up kill the ninja here because of Electriceye's death above. It really got me thinking, and I almost cut it, but I honestly think it's one of the best scenes of the fic. At the very least, it got me thinking about character death and such, and I definitely do plan on exploring that "double standard" at a later date.
Lupa did a quick sweep of her place, but it didn't take her long to find the intruder. Her old friend Christopher Lee was sitting on the couch in her living room, stroking the quietly sleeping Checkers who had nestled at his side.
"Ah!" Christopher Lee exclaimed. "Lupa! I am sorry for barging into your home, but I needed a place to stay for a few days."
"Huh? Are you on the run or something?" Lupa asked.
"In case you forgot, the Pax Terra invaded Earth and took over." Nash said. "Wait a minute. I saw you die, so you're an alternate Lupa. Which means this is an alternate Earth."
"Yes, but you are correct: the Pax Terra has completely taken over a majority of the world's governments." Christopher Lee said sadly. Checkers jumped off of the couch and rubbed against Lupa's leg, purring loudly.
- Despite how much I have Phelous rag against the Pax Terra, I do like them as a concept, even though it's been done before and much better at that. I like to think that they started off as a force for good, and they genuinely wanted to improve the quality of life on other Earths and other worlds, but along the way, it became about the mission and not about the results. Again, generic, but it gives them a bit of depth.
I actually like the scene in Lupa's home too. It's a nice quiet scene with a bit of exposition and a reunion with an old friend, and they're enjoying the short respite before it gets serious again. It's still pretty serious in tone, though I did slip a couple of jokes in there for levity (though with my track record of 'good' jokes, that's not saying much).
"And you're part of the resistance?" Phelous asked.
"Well, I am a dissenter, yes. For most people, their daily lives have not changed - the Pax Terra has not yet introduced any sweeping poltical or economic changes. However, they are systematically hunting down and either imprisoning and killing those who disagree with their rule."
"But there is some sort of resistance, right?"
"I wish I could say that there was an organized resistance, but they... have been very thorough. I've only managed to survive by running from place to place, and even then, they've been relentlessly tracking me."
"You know, I was kind of hoping we could at least relax for a few days before we went and fought Generic Earth Empire #126. But of course that's not going to happen." Phelous sighed. He walked over to the kitchen to fix himself a sandwich.
"So obviously, we need to give the boot to the Pax Terra." Lupa said. "Well, we don't have the manpower for an all-out battle, so we'll need to make do with guerilla tactics. We should start with attacking a minor power base-"
"Uh, we have a fully-functional time machine." Nash pointed out. "We could just, you know, go back to the initial invasion and stop them there."
"The Pax Terra's initial assault was over 30 simultaneous attacks all over the world. We couldn't stop them all." Christopher Lee said.
"And if we go back before that, no one will believe us." Lupa said.
"Okay, why don't we go to the Pax Terra's past and stop them before they unify?" Nash suggested.
"Paradoxes." Phelous said, as he walked into the living room with a double-decker bologna sandwich. "The TARDIS automatically resolves small time-loops, but wiping out a huge multi-dimensional empire like the Pax Terra would cause a timeline collapse and erase us all."
"And you know this... how?"
"The Amulet of Winter told me. Oh wait, no it didn't, the author just needed to handwave that away and put exposition into my mouth." Phelous took a bite from his sandwich.
"Right." Nash pondered for a moment.
But before they could come up with another solution, a distinct rumbling sound grew louder and louder. Lupa ran outside, and saw a regiment of clay golems marching toward her.
"That's not good." Lupa said. She ran back inside and yelled "Hey guys! We have a bit of a problem!"
"...That's more than a bit of a problem." Nash said as they all ran back outside. The golems were crudely humanoid, and somewhat taller than an average human. Their arms were disproportionately long, and they all wielded some sort of metal club-like weapon. On the other hand, they didn't look all that intelligent, or durable for that matter.
- The golems are the soldiers of the Earth God, and I think it makes sense for the Pax Terra to use them. They're single-mindedly focused on killing a specific person or people, and they can be replenished much faster than human soldiers. It's essentially a Zerg Rush tactic, but without "feeling bad" about sending hundreds of thousands of soldiers to their deaths (I put "feeling bad" in quotations because the Pax Terra probably considers most of its citizens expendable anyways).
Lupa kicked off the battle by grabbing her infinite-ammo rocket launcher and firing into the crowd, taking out the first several lines of soldiers. But this stirred them into a frenzy, and they began charging at the four of them.
Nash whipped out his boomstick, but the ammo proved ineffective against them. So he raised a bunch of zombies and lobbed fireballs into the back of the army, while the zombies kept them occuiped at the front. Phelous helped out the zombies with doppelgangers from the Plane of Infinite Phelouses, and he became MegaPhelous and started squashing the golems under his feet.
"We're outnumbered!" Christopher Lee said as he threw a grenade into the army, sending a dozen golems flying. "We cannot win this battle!"
Lupa flew up a few hundred feet, and saw that the golem army was almost literally infinite. An unbroken line of golem soldiers stretched as far back as she could see, and she guessed that there were more on the way.
"That's... a lot. Okay guys, tactical retreat time! Nash! Phelous! Back to the TARDIS!" Lupa shouted. They all ran back to the TARDIS and dematerialized; the golems stopped their march, as they could no longer detect their designated target. They awaited further orders...
Rob Walker, holding a camera, waved his arm around. The various producers of Channel Awesome stopped their mock fight scene and started milling about, some grabbing their scripts while others started chatting with one another.
Today was the first day of shooting, and they'd already been out here for over 8 hours. The 4th-year anniversary wasn't quite as intensive as Kickassia or Suburban Knights, but it was still going to be a tough shoot.
"Okay guys, back to work!" Rob shouted again. "Come on, it's getting dark, and we need to finish this."
A general murmur of displeasure came from the crowd, and they all got back into position.
"HA HA HA HA! FOOOOLS!" Spoony as Doctor Insano cackled. The various villains of Channel Awesome charged at their "heroic" counterparts; Linkara had rigged up some holographic emitters to represent the villains, so that they could film fight scenes like this without extensive chroma-key or CGI work.
The villains first engaged their heroic counterparts in fisticuffs, though the actual "fighting" was a bit goofy on purpose; they couldn't directly hit the holograms without ruining the effect, and it was a bit of a trademark to have intentionally bad fight scenes in the anniversary videos.
- This particular universe is the same one as Sponby Reloaded, since only Linkara and Angry Joe actually possess the tech in their respective shows while everyone else just does funny videos on the Internet. And really, if you had access to holographic duplicates of you and your friends, you'd probably film a battle royale between them too.
But as the heroes began to trade targets to better take advantage of their own strengths, something odd happened. In particular, Linkara fired his magic gun at Douchey, who was scripted to dodge the blast - but the hologram froze up, and the blast from the gun shorted out the holo-emitter. The other holo-villains seized up as well.
"Cut!" Rob shouted again. "Damn it Lewis, I thought you said they were programmed."
"They are!" Linkara protested. "It's probably just a glitch. I'll check with Nimue."
Linkara pulled out his Internet Reviewer morpher, which he'd refitted with a communicator to the AI of Comicron One.
"Is something wrong with the holo-emitters, Nimue?" Linkara said.
"ALERT. ALERT. I AM DETECTING ONE HUNDRED AND THREE GRAVITY WELLS WITHIN 700,000 KM OF EARTH." Nimue said. "BASED ON THE SIZE AND WAVEFORM PATTERNS, THEY APPEAR TO BE INTER-DIMENSIONAL PORTALS."
"Wait, what?" Linkara said in disbelief.
"Yeah, the Watchtower's picking them up too!" Angry Joe said, holding another communicator to his ear. "But what the hell are they?"
"ALERT. I AM DETECTING UNKNOWN ENTITIES AT THE SOURCE OF THE GRAVITY WELLS. PRELIMINARY SCANS SUGGEST THAT THEY ARE HEAVILY-ARMED SPACESHIPS."
"...spaceships?" Linkara wondered. "Do they match anything in Comicron One's database?"
"NEGATIVE. SHALL I ENGAGE THEM?"
"No, not yet. We'll let them make the first move. Keep me updated." Linkara put his morpher away.
"What the hell is going on here?" Doug said. "Interdimensional spaceships? Is this one of your storylines, Lewis?"
- A trend I start here (and continue in TGWTG Rangers) is having the reviewers call each other by their real names, while the narration refers to them by their handles. Since they're ostensibly real people, they would call each other by their real names, but since they're quasi-real internet personalities, refering to them by their handles helps to divorce them a bit from real life.
"What? No, of course not!" Linkara said angrily. "I'm going to beam up to Comicron One to try and contact them. I'll keep in contact with you guys through Joe."
But before Linkara could beam up, a huge-ass red laser ripped through the forest that they were filming in. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but the laser was followed by a number of portals opening up. Around 50 soldiers with strange uniforms and weaponry marched out, followed by a 10-foot-tall man dressed in a fancy uniform and hat.
"Attention!" the tall man, who appeared to be some sort of leader, said. The soldiers all aimed their weapons at the producers. "Members of the Channel of Awesome! We are the Glorious Army of the Pax Terra. You are a high-priority threat, and thus your rights have been waived."
- The Pax Terra targets the Channel Awesome producers because they know it's produced members like Sponby and Lupa, and they want to nip that in the bud before anyone else turns into a God Mode Sue. And like Electriceye, they know of the Sagacious Saga fic and their role in it, and it's in their best interests to stick as close to it as possible to stay in control of the situation.
The tall man pointed at one of his soldiers, who specifically took aim at Film Brain.
"As a gesture of kindness from Citizen Gore, we are taking you into custody rather than just eliminating all of you right now. Come with us, and we will not harm you... but resist, and we will not hesitate to shoot. Jendon, you may fire when ready."
The soldier who was aiming at Film Brain flipped a switch on his gun. Film Brain panicked and tried to run, but the soldier blasted him with a low-voltage energy shot, knocking him to the ground. The other soldiers surrounded the rest of the producers, and they made sure that their guns were on the lethal setting.
They began to lead the producers into the waiting portal, but before anyone could actually pass through the event horizon, the holo-emitters activated, and the villains rushed the soldiers. They naturally fired at the holograms, to no avail; but this was a vital distraction.
Linkara quick-morphed and took out a group of soldiers with his magic gun, while Joe blasted a few more with lightning. Nimue took the liberty of beaming up as many of the producers as she could, but the rest of the Pax Terra soldiers managed to completely vaporize several of them.
The survivors regrouped on Comicron One's bridge. Doug, Lindsay, Elisa, Linkara, Joe, Brad, Ralph, Nash, Todd, Sage and 8-Bit Mickey had survived; everyone else had unfortunately been lost in the battle. Linkara and Joe immediately went to work, while the others took a moment to mourn their fallen friends.
"Nimue! What's our status?" Linkara yelled.
"COMICRON ONE IS UNDER ATTACK, BUT I HAVE ACTIVATED THE VARIABLE TIMESHIFT SHIELD. I AM DETECTING THOUSANDS OF PORTALS OPENED ALL ACROSS THE WORLD, AND THE WARSHIPS ARE TAKING POSITIONS OVER POLITICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY-IMPORTANT CITIES."
- I don't remember exactly what Comicron One's time-shield thingy was called, so I called it "variable timeshift shield", which is perfect technobabble - its function is exactly what it sounds like, even though it would be next to impossible to recreate in real life.
"I see..." Linkara said. "Damn it. They caught us completely off guard..."
As everyone stood in silence, trying to figure out what to do next, a familiar whirring sound broke the tension. A familiar blue box materialized on the bridge of Comicron One, and Lupa, Phelous, Nash and Christopher Lee stepped out.
"What the!" everyone exclaimed in shock.
"Hi guys!" Lupa said. "Has the Pax Terra attacked yet?"
"They just did. But they just... killed you two." Brad said, pointing at Lupa and Phelous. Past Nash seemed nonplussed at seeing his future counterpart.
"Yeah, it's a long story." Lupa said.
"Suffice it to say that we are from the future." Christopher Lee said. "We have come up with a plan of attack on the Pax Terra homeworld, but we require more forces."
"Do you guys plan on dealing with these guys too?" Lindsay asked.
"Yep!" Lupa ran back into the TARDIS, and came back a few seconds later with Bowser's magic wand. In between Chapters 9 and 10, they'd gone back to Mykodia and drained the divine essence from the still-sealed Bowser.
"We have communed with a powerful spirit calling itself the Earth God. We have set it free, and it has agreed to help us defeat the Pax Terra. It will serve as both a distraction and the bulk of our forces, while the Comicron One and the Exceliator will serve as backup." Christopher Lee exposited. While he was talking, Nimue picked up another transdimensional portal; a garish red-and-purple ship came out of it.
"WE ARE IN POSITION." The slightly distorted voice of BURTON, the main AI of the Exceliator, came from a commlink inside the TARDIS.
- Sagacious takes place in Part 6 of Sponby Reloaded, between the fight with the GMF and the sequence with Vashblade and Chaos. So Sponby's wandering around, basically killing time while he searches for Insano, but since Sponby's a bit of a dick by this point, he only lends four Exceliators to Lupa even though he could conceivably come in and solve the whole conflict by himself. I like to think that Lupa basically told him that they can handle it without his direct help, they just needed a few ships to match the Pax Terra's fleet strength.
"Got it." Phelous said. "Okay, let's get this show on the road."
"Are you sure this is gonna work?" Linkara asked.
"Of course it is!" Lupa said. "On our mark, get set... go!"
Lupa, Phelous, Nash and Christopher Lee placed their hands on the magic wand, transfering their divine essence into it. Lupa grabbed the Master Ball from her belt and attached it to the magic wand, and teleported both out into space; Sparklypoo emerged from the ball, absorbing the divine essence and becoming a huge golden equine-like being with a thousand arms.
The Earth God severed about 100 of its own arms, each of which formed into a city-sized golden humanoid. The golems immediately went after the Pax Terra fleet, while the Exceliator backed them up with Piercing Missiles that completely ignored the ships' shields.
While the main fleet was preoccupied, the Comicron One disengaged its timeshift shield and headed toward Earth. Its extremely precise targetting systems allowed it to messily kill individual Pax Terra soldiers on the surface, while the Angry Joe Watchtower dispatched fighters to help all across the globe.
- I don't know what Comicron One's targetting systems are like in terms of AT4W continuity, but I wouldn't put it past Lord Vyce to have them so precise that they can frag individual soldiers on the surface from orbit. Seems like something he would do for shits and giggles.
To their surprise, the battle went relatively smoothly; though a number of AJ Army fighters were lost, and the damage to the surface was still fairly significant, the combined forces of Comicron One, the Exceliator and the Earth God absolutely massacred the Pax Terra's fleet. After being cut down to roughly 40% of their starting invasion fleet, the rest of the fleet wisely decided to make a tactical retreat. The surface forces suffered even worse casualties.
A few hours later, the last of the Pax Terra soldiers had retreated. They would likely try another invasion at a later date, but they were already working on a way to stop them. In the meantime, the governments of the world were discussing what to do, and Linkara and Lupa were standing on the bridge of the Exceliator.
"IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN, LINKARA." BURTON said. "THOUGH I SUPPOSE YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO I AM."
"No, I have no idea." Linkara said.
"PUT SIMPLY, I AM ON LOAN FROM AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. SPONBY SENDS HIS REGARDS, BY THE WAY."
"...Sponby? You mean Spoony?" Linkara asked.
"It's another long story." Lupa said. "Jesus sent me to fight with an AU Spoony who'd become an all-devouring god thing, and we defeated a bunch of robots and an evil watermelon. He's still roaming around somewhere, and we managed to find him and ask for some reinforcements. There's a few more ships waiting for the main assault on Pax Terra Earth."
- Lupa gives a rushed explanation of the fight with the GMF, but due to the reveal in Chapter 12, she doesn't mention that she dies in the assault. All she remembers is a very fuzzy method of escape, which is enough to stop her from questioning it without directly thinking about it and pointing out the discrepancies.
"...Right. But don't you think we should at least try and settle this diplomatically?" Linkara said. "I mean, from what you told me offscreen, they don't seem all that bad... and yeah, they've done a lot of damage to us, but we've done a lot of damage to them too. I'll help you out if they declare war, but..."
"Eh, they'll probably handwave that away next chapter." Lupa said dismissively. "Anyways, I'll stay in orbit and watch for more ships. You can go back to reviewing comic books or whatever."
"Sounds good." Linkara teleported away. Lupa sat at the Exceliator's bridge for a while, until Phelous came out.
"I barely got any lines in this chapter." Phelous complained.
"Yeah, but we still did most of the important stuff." Lupa said. "And my name's still in the title, so we'll probably get the spotlight back in the next two chapters."
- And I kinda lied with that line, since Chapter 11 is mostly about the other Resistance members and Phelous, and Lupa doesn't do much more until Chapter 12.
"Uh, Allison? Your name is in the title. I'm the unfunny comic relief, remember? God I hate this fic."
"Yeah, me too."
Lupa and Phelous went to the observation deck, and shared a few tender moments above their home planet. It would be over soon...
Nimue detected another Pax Terra portal attempting to force itself open near the UN Building in New York. The anti-portal network they'd managed to rig up was doing its job admirably; though they couldn't stop the ships from warping in outside of Earth's orbit, they could at least stop a mass transit of ground troops. Nimue only detected two targets on the other side of the portal; Linkara made an exception for them, and the portal opened and closed.
Two men in business suits stepped out of the portal. They walked up the steps of the UN Building, to the waiting Allan Tete, former President of the Olympics and current Secretary-General of the UN. Tete stood stoically as the two men, who identified themselves as Citizen Gore and Citizen Mandela respectively, walked toward him.
- I'm not sure why I was compelled to make the two ambassadors alternate dark future versions of Al Gore and Nelson Mandela, and I totally didn't mean it as a dig at either of those men - they're both great men that have done a lot of good in the real world. But again, alternate universes let me play with these kinds of concepts, where men who are natural authority figures in our universe become ambassadors of peace, but in a completely different way.
By the way, Allan Tete's last name (which means "Head" in French) is a very bad and unfunny pun, since he made the Olympic Stadium form the head of King Whatevermecha.
"We have come on behalf of the First Citizen to sign a peace treaty." Citizen Gore pulled a treaty out of his suit jacket.
"Peace?" Tete scoffed. "We have been in contact with the other worlds your forces have conquered. They have all told us the same story: you attack without warning, you subjugate their populace and rigidly restrict their rights and technological development. The leaders of this Earth have unanimously voted against signing your treaty, and in favor of war."
"You believe yourself to be rather sagacious." Citizen Mandela remarked.
- Of course, I had to justify the title by using the word "sagacious" at least once, which Lupa is all too glad to point out. (Lupa says it rather than Phelous because I wanted to give her at least a few lines in this chapter.)
"OH! HE SAID IT!" Lupa said, looking on the scene from afar.
"But you will regret spitting in our face." Citizen Gore ripped up the treaty. "By the power of the First Citizen, I am declaring your entire world to be Anti-Pax. We will not show any mercy this time."
Both men attempted to open a portal to a waiting squadron of soldiers, but Comicron One's shield did its job. Instead, a global coalition of this Earth's soldiers, led by Bennet the Sage, surrounded the two Citizens and took them into custody.
"The Wolf Brigade is at your service, sir." Bennet saluted to Tete. "Will there be anything else?"
"Yes." A pained grimace crossed Tete's face. "Get ready for war."
- I've always wanted to use Bennet the Sage more, since I really like the guy's work. (Hell, his Fanfic Theatre is part of the reason I came back to fanfiction in the first place.) He's also a major character in Eternity, so I guess there's that.
With that order, Comicron One dropped the anti-portal shield. The rest of the Earth fleet, consisting of the four Exceliator-class warships (all filled with squadrons of fighter jets retrofitted for space combat), a number of giant robots and the Earth God, rallied behind the TARDIS, piloted by Lupa and Phelous. They initiated a mass-scale teleport, warping the entire fleet into the space outside the AU Earth controlled by the Pax Terra.
Waiting for them was three Deus Est Machina-class ships, each exactly the same as the Neptune-sized ship that captured the Earth God back in Chapter 8. These ships would have easily overpowered the entire Earth fleet, but they had all been badly damaged by certain other events; they were still quite powerful, but nowhere near a challenge for the Earth ships.
- The other events, of course, being Sponby Reloaded. A few of the GMF's ships managed to escape Sponby's massacre and found their way here, as explained later on.
But this is Lupa's story!
"I bet I can beat up the First Citizen!" Lupa said.
"Yeah, because it's not like he has hundreds of subordinates who could easily run the Pax Terra in his absence." Phelous said sarcastically.
"But you don't deny that he's the most powerful?"
"Of course he is. Asskicking equals authority and all that shit."
"Well I'm still gonna beat him up."
- Just like in Sponby, Lupa knows she can solve the problem by beating up the one in charge, despite the layers of government that prevent that exact thing from happening.
Lupa had the TARDIS materialize in front of the Palace Terra, an enormous fortress of metal and stone patrolled by hundreds of thousands of clay golems and human soldiers. The offscreen battle in orbit raged above, lighting up the sky with explosions and flaming wreckage. Floating above the castle was a cage of dark energy, holding the imprisoned Earth God.
"But we freed the Earth God." Lupa pointed out.
"It got time-duplicated somehow." Phelous said, looking at some readings on a control panel. "The TARDIS can use its magical time-loop-resolving powers to retcon it, but it'll take some time.
"Cool." Lupa exited the TARDIS, immediately alerting the sentries to their presence.
The humans with guns fired their disintegrator rays at her, but she blocked them all with a lightning shield. Phelous came back and froze her lightning shield into an extremely shiny ice shield, reflecting the beams back at them and vaporizing 90% of the humans. The golems, barely intelligent enough to wield clubs, all bum-rushed the two.
Since they were immune to lightning, Lupa conjured her infinite-ammo rocket launcher again and let 'em rip into the golems. Phelous created a complex-looking sculpture made of glasslike ice, then fired his eye lasers into them; the sculpture strengthened the beams and diffused them at the same time, spraying thousands of beams outward and killing even more.
The imprisoned Earth God cried out in pain. Another portal opened near the TARDIS, and an endless supply of golems poured out of it. Phelous summoned some clones; though they lacked his ice magic, they still had eye lasers, which were fairly effective. But the horde had no end in sight...
A rallying cry came from the east. Dozens of hover tanks and hundreds of soldiers wielding disintegration guns charged in over a hill, blasting the shit out of the golem army. The well-muscled 8-foot-tall man at the frontlines led the charge, getting right in the thick of the battle and using a shotgun-like spread on his gun to take out large swaths of golems.
"Who the hell are you?" Lupa asked while fighting her way through the golems.
"Allison? It's you, isn't it! Didn't expect to see you here!"
"Huh?" The man's voice was familiar. And even a split-second glance at his face was enough to remind her of someone...
"The one and only!" Film Brain said while ripping a golem apart with his bare hands (his gun ran out of ammunition).
"What the hell happened to you?"
"I ended up here after we fought Hitler in the past. The Resistance took me in, and I eventually got control of the 118th Division. MORLOCKS GO!"
- Film Brain as basically Arnold was a concept that amused me to no end. It's a shame he doesn't get to do more. His "Jolly Good" and mention of teatime is meant as an in-universe parody, since he's British and all.
"MORLOCKS GO!" the soldiers cheered over the din of battle. Some soldiers threw Film Brain and Lupa more disintegration guns, and they went to town on the zombies. Phelous got one offscreen too.
"Sir! We will handle this battle!" a generic redshirt soldier said to Film Brain. "Get to the Palace!"
"Jolly good! We'll take out the First Citizen before teatime!" Film Brain laughed as he, Lupa and Phelous vaporized their way through the horde. The doors were tightly locked, but their all-purpose disintegration guns also turned out to be pretty effective lockpicks. More golems were on the other side, but they went down just as easily as the horde outside.
More human soldiers showed up as they made their way through the palace. Unlike the generic mooks outside, these one were wearing reflective armor which neutralized the disintegration guns; unfortunately for them, both Phelous and Lupa had magic, and Film Brain's physical strength (the Pax Terra had pretty extensive bio-enhancements, hence his new stature) was more than enough to shatter their armor, bones and everything in between.
It wasn't until some strange turtle-like minions, led by a larger turtle-dragon, that they encountered some actual resistance.
"Gwa ha ha!" Bowser laughed. "You should've killed me when you had the chance! The First Citizen's powered me up, and I feel better than ever! Once I'm done wiping the floor with you three, I'll take Mykodia unopposed."
"Go on, guys." Phelous rolled up his sleeves. "I've got a score to settle with this guy."
"Bring it, red shirt!" Bowser roared. His Koopa Troop began to swarm around Phelous, but Bowser waved them away; he'd deal with this himself.
Bowser's surprising speed allowed him to easily get behind Phelous and attempt an instant-kill decapitation, but Phelous reacted just as quickly by freezing Bowser's right arm. The added weight threw Bowser off, and he whiffed the attack by a mile; Phelous took advantage with a point-blank Optic Blast to Bowser's chest, knocking him on his back. Phelous created an icicle spear and jumped on top of Bowser, but he was thrown off as Bowser ducked into his shell and began spinning; the force behind it generated a small tornado, sucking Phelous back in and slamming him against the hard spikes on Bowser's shell.
Phelous was fortunately superhumanly tough, so he wasn't instantly killed by the Demon King's attack. He was bruised and bleeding, yes, but nowhere near out for the count. As Bowser returned to a secure and upright position, Phelous covered the floor, walls and ceiling in a thick frost, severely reducing traction for everyone but himself. He then started ricocheting Optic Blasts off the walls and floor, making them somewhat unpredictable; Bowser attempted to dodge them, but he slipped and fell on his ass, taking another couple of shots to the back of his shell and burning a pretty large hole in it.
"Argh!" Bowser yelped in pain. He ducked back into his shell and turned Phelous' trick against him, using the combination of ice physics and unstoppable momentum to bounce around the floor unpredictably. Phelous (who still had perfect traction on the ice) sidestepped and leapfrogged over Bowser, firing another round of lasers into the wound on Bowser's shell.
"You know, you have fire breath..." Phelous pointed out.
"Don't mock me!" Bowser deeply inhaled, and blew a scorching-hot flame that melted almost all of the frost. He charged at Phelous like a bull, clearly attempting to impale him on his razor-sharp horns. Phelous whipped up an ice barrier and stood his ground, but he miscalculated; Bowser easily smashed through the barrier and delivered a crushing headbutt to Phelous' abdomen, as his horns fortunately missed. Even still, it threw Phelous against the wall on the other side of the room, and he slumped to the ground.
"Ha!" Bowser slowly walked over to Phelous' stunned figure. "So before I kill you, what sauce would you recommend with your roasted carcass? Those knights were quite tasty with ketchup, but for you... I'm thinking something a bit more fancy."
"...You ate Mario and Luigi?" Phelous wondered, still dazed from the blow.
"Of course! Those pathetic knights didn't stand a chance against me, and they knew it! Course, they had some sort of backup plan that sealed me away once I killed 'em, but at least I got to enjoy feasting upon their flesh!"
Bowser took a deep breath, and exhaled a low-temperature flame that would keep his opponent nice and juicy. Phelous immediately snapped out of his stupor and threw an ice blast at Bowser's mouth, quenching his flames for the moment.
"Ah, so you've still got a bit of fight in you!" Bowser chuckled. "Come on, show me what you've got!"
Bowser's entire body burst into flames, and he opened his gaping mouth and swallowed them all. He breathed out an intense white-blue flame, which was hot enough to melt the entire room they were in. Phelous raised another ice shield, but it was just barely enough to protect him from the blaze. The rest of the Koopa Troop evacuated, though many of them were burnt to a crisp in the attempt.
"You know, if you're going to threaten to eat someone, it's a lot more threatening if you're deadpan and creepy. When you're all over-the-top and hammy, it just comes off as something you'd say to make yourself seem more arbitrarily evil to the audience." Phelous said.
- Even though Bowser in this story is from a super-serious high fantasy world, he's still a bit of a doofus. A doofus that eats people, sure, but he's not meant to be taken seriously. Even then, just like Phelous says, Bowser's threat of eating his opponents is so over-the-top and downright goofy that it just makes him seem even more harmless. This was all completely intentional; it's hard to see Bowser as a serious threat anymore, even in the games where he's conquering the universe or whatever.
"Thank you! I'll remember that when I come across my next victim." Bowser said with an obvious false politeness. "Now then, kindly DIE!"
"I've done enough of that, thank you very much!" Phelous focused the ice shield into a Hadoken-like blast of ultracold air, colliding with Bowser's breath. The two attacks met in midair, sending out shockwaves of shadowy energy that destroyed what was left of the room. Bowser ignited himself again, adding even more power to his flames of destruction, but Phelous similarly intensified his beam attack.
- Beam struggles are awesome, as it shows the hero and villain as equally matched until the hero puts all of his resolve into one last push and overwhelms the villain with his badassitude. The scene in Dragonball Z where Goku and Vegeta get in a beam struggle in the Saiyan Arc is one of my favorites of the entire series.
They were thrown out of their stalemate when the floor collapsed beneath them. Phelous fell on the hard ground, but Bowser's fiery body kept on melting through the floors of the Palace and even through the planet itself. Once Phelous recovered, he peered down the hole; it seemed to go on without end, and he didn't think that this particular Bowser could survive the heat and pressure of the inner core... or so he hoped.
But that was done. Phelous ran back up to catch up with Film Brain and Lupa.
- In canon, Bowser's been able to shrug off being thrown into a star without major injury, so he could probably survive the core of a planet. Of course, the question is how he gets back out...
Speaking of which, those two had plowed through more red shirts, though their disintegration guns had long since run out; Lupa instead had her infinite rockets, while Film Brain wisely stood back.
Until something caught her rockets and threw them back at her. Both Lupa and Film Brain were thrown against a wall, and a man in a business suit walked out of the debris, telekinetically holding two of Lupa's rockets.
"Hello." Citizen Gore said. He threw both rockets at them, but Film Brain grabbed them and threw them out a window, taking out a few more golems in the still-raging battle below.
"You." Film Brain growled. Citizen Gore, the leader of the Ministry of Peace and Prosperity, was the most active in wiping out the Resistance, and he loved every second of it; this man was more widely hated than the First Citizen.
"Yes, me." Citizen Gore levitated Film Brain's body, putting it in the symbolic pose of Jesus on the cross. "Your attack is failing. The Earth God gives us an infinite army, and your forces will eventually fall."
"Stop with the villain talk." Lupa fired a bolt of lightning at Gore, shocking him and causing him to drop Film Brain.
"Go ahead, Lupa." Film Brain walked over to Gore and picked him up by the throat. "I'll handle this scum."
"Okay, good luck." Lupa went onward by herself, while Film Brain's meaty fingers choked the life out of his hated enemy. Gore tried to telekinetically pry his fingers off, but Film Brain's grip held tight.
"I'll... give you... power." Gore sputtered.
"No thanks." Film Brain dropped Gore, then grabbed his head and ripped it right off of his body. Film Brain threw it out the window into the masses below. His position was now open, and the Pax Terra would no doubt replace him with someone who hated the Resistance even more... but hopefully, they'd be able to take down the entire empire before that happened.
- "Film Brain Arnold vs. Evil Telekinetic Al Gore" really deserved a better fight scene than this. If I ever go back and re-edit this story, I'm definitely adding that in.
"Oh sure, you get to fight an evil Al Gore, while I have to fight a slightly-threatening turtle thing." Phelous said, having caught up with Film Brain.
"Yes, but it was far more satisfying. Come on, let's catch up with Lupa."
The two of them kept running up the red stairs while creepy organ music played. Phelous was about to make a comment about it, but he decided not to.
Lupa stood in a room furnished like the Oval Office. The room was dark, obscuring the figure in the chair in front of her.
"So you're the First Citizen, huh?" Lupa said. "What, is the Pax Terra too poor to afford some decent lighting?"
"I just wanted to set up a dramatic reveal." The figure got up and clapped their hands; the lights came on, and Lupa realized exactly who this was.
"Come on!" Lupa complained. "Evil clones? We're really going with evil clones?"
"Well, yeah." First Citizen Lupa, who we'll call Obscura for clarity, said. "Who better to rule a utopia than a God Mode Sue?"
"It's still pretty weak."
"Yeah yeah. So Lupa, do you remember when you died in the Heart of Machines?"
"...what? I didn't die there." Lupa said. She tried to remember exactly how she got out of that battle. All she could remember is that she went there and fought alongside Sponby and some bald dude, and going back home immediately afterward... but not what happened in between.
"Yes, you're realizing it now. Sponby absorbed you at the end of that battle, along with the rest of the Heart of Machines. We managed to recover a few of the GMF's Deus Est Machinae, and we reconstructed you from data contained within... but we couldn't recover your original powers."
"Uh, thanks I guess, but what was the point of bringing me back?"
"We wanted your power. As I said, who better to rule a perfect empire than a God Mode Sue?" Obscura sat back down and folded her arms. "We let you go once we realized how belligerent you were, and instead decided to keep tabs on you in case you found something useful for our purposes."
- And here we get two major reveals in the first few paragraphs: the First Citizen is an evil clone of Lupa, and the Lupa we've been following around is also a clone. None of these really add to the story, which can be a problem with big reveals. I could claim that I put them in to parody these sorts of reveals that shows an unknown and shocking part of the hero's backstory that doesn't really affect anything in the long run, but we all know that I can't do parodies for jack.
"Seems needlessly complex." Lupa said.
"I've got a lot of time on my hands." Obscura admitted. "But while I'm impressed that you made it all the wat here, I can't let you leave alive. It's time to go back to sleep, Lupa."
- As the First Citizen, Obscura is basically a figurehead, with the true Founder ruling things from behind the scenes. So she does have lots of time with which to plan needlessly complex villainous plans that make no sense in hindsight. Other than releasing the Earth God (which Obscura probably could have done herself), her plan really only gets a bunch of her own subordinates killed.
Obscura threw off her suit, revealing a purple tank top and white pants underneath. She pressed a button on her desk, and the entire Oval Office fell into an endless void... only to land in a brightly-lit arena several minutes later.
- I don't know why, but for me, Lupa's signature outfit is a purple tank top and white pants, which she was wearing in the crossover review with the Nostalgia Chick. I think Andrew Dickman draws her in that outfit on the titlecards too, so maybe that's it.
There's no reason to have a huge-ass arena underneath the Palace Terra, but if I had to give one, I'd say that Obscura built it specifically to have a climactic final battle with Lupa.
"Round 1. Fight!" an unseen announcer said. Obscura flash-stepped behind Lupa and kicked her in the back of the knee; Obscura conjured a pair of consecrated mythril sais and thrust them downward, but Lupa somersaulted and dodged the sais, which came down with enough force to be embedded into the stone floor.
Lupa countered with a full-rotation roundhouse kick, which Obscura dodged by backflipping. Lupa focused some lightning in her foot, sending out a wave of electricity that forced Obscura to leap into the air and do a backward somersault. Lupa grabbed one of the sais and threw it at Obscura, nailing her in the left shoulder.
"Bitch!" Obscura ripped the sai out of her shoulder and threw it away. She rushed Lupa and started firing minor Ki blasts; Lupa deflected most of them with Thunderpunches, but a couple hit her and the surrounding ground, kicking up a huge dust cloud.
Obscura, who had watched every episode of Dragon Ball Z in her downtime, wasn't fooled; she charged up for a Kamehameha, which she threw into the dust cloud. But Lupa was just as savvy, having charged up a powerful Thunderpunch with which to deflect the Kamehameha back. Obscura blocked it, but Lupa ran in and delivered a lightning Shoryuken right to the face, following it up with an aerial Hurricane Lightning Kick that slammed Obscura face-first into the ground.
- I really need to work on writing better fight scenes. My writing is very beige, even when I'm not intentionally writing like that, and that really hurts fight scenes. I'm just showing a bunch of actions while leaving nothing to the imagination. I do prefer keeping it simple rather than peppering my prose with metaphors and flowery descriptions, but for the most part, I go too far in the other direction and it comes off as very bland. I am working on it though, and I'd like to think TGWTG Rangers is a nice step toward a good mix of simple and descriptive.
"Not so tough now, are you?" Lupa taunted. She jumped in the air and slammmed down with a flying knee; Obscura rolled out of the way, but the force of Lupa's knee turned an entire circular part of the arena into a sea of rubble. The jagged rocks scratched Lupa as she climbed out of the pit, but Obscura dragged her back down.
Lupa released a low-voltage sphere of electricity, but Obscura plowed through it with another Ki blast. The blast reduced some of the rubble into a fine powder, further obscuring their vision. Obscura used her ability to sense Ki to attack Lupa from all sides; Lupa blocked as many of the blows as she could, but they only further opened the wounds she'd taken from the shrapnel.
Remembering that she could fly, Lupa flew out of the pit, with Obscura still holding on to her leg. Lupa flailed her legs in an attempt to shake Obscura off, but she held tight; Obscura fired another Ki blast into the back of her leg, causing both of them to fall back onto the ground.
"Do you have any last words?" Obscura said as she grabbed Lupa by the throat.
"Yeah..." Lupa whispered. "Look into my eyes."
"Hmm?" Obscura took a long look into Lupa's eyes...
"LIGHTNING EYES!" Lupa fired a bolt of lightning from her eyes, finally getting around Obscura's defenses and shocking her. Obscura let go of Lupa's neck, and Lupa focused what remained of her MP into a palm-strike to Obscura's chest.
"Ghh!" Obscura spat out blood as she hit the ground. Lupa's attack had left a bloody, slightly charred wound covering most of her torso.
"Stop whining, you'll live." Lupa said.
"I would... but the Founder won't like my failure. Ha ha ha... see you in Hell." Obscura smiled as she dissolved into a thick golden mist.
"Wow, a second phase to the final boss fight? What a shocking and unexpected twist!" Lupa said. She reached out to the golden mist, absorbing it into her body and restoring her back to full health. How convenient.
But then, the ground shook. An enormous figure walked out of the darkness, and Lupa couldn't help but laugh at it. It could best be described as a chimerataur: it was a human head, arms and torso, attached to the back of a lion (with the lion head in a very suggestive place), its fingers and toes were snake heads, it had two sets of wings on the man's shoulders and the lion's back, and its tail was a 50-foot-long boa constrictor. And it was about 300 feet tall.
"HELLO, LUPA." The chimerataur's voice was deafening and naturally echoing. "THANK YOU FOR DISPOSING OF A WORTHLESS CLONE."
"You're welcome!" Lupa said. "So you're the founder of the Pax Terra, huh?"
"YES. IN YOUR WORLD, YOU KNOW ME AS JACKIE CHAN."
- Originally, the Founder of the Pax Terra was going to be Chuck Norris, but I decided against it because he's old hat by now. Instead, I went with Jackie Chan, who's legitimately badass and a pretty nice guy in real life (or so I hear), and I turned him into a huge-ass chimera beast with magical powers to make him even more threatening. Not that he needs it, as shown later on, but he probably has a lot of spare time too.
"...buh?" Lupa looked at the chimerataur's face: sure enough, despite the size difference, he looked exactly like Jackie Chan.
"IN YOUR UNIVERSE, I PURSUED THE PATHS OF MARTIAL ARTS AND ACTING. IN THIS UNIVERSE, I WAS BORN TO UNITE THE WORLD AND SPREAD OUR PERFECTION TO THE ENTIRE MULTIVERSE. THE EARTH GOD HAS BLESSED ME WITH THIS FORM, AND I WILL USE IT TO STOP ANYONE WHO OPPOSES US."
"Yeah yeah, generic villain monologue. Come on, let's rumble!"
"I wILL CRUSH YOU UNDERNEATH MY HEEL!" Chanmera pointed his fingers at Lupa, firing a different beam of elemental magic from each finger. But his size also meant that he was extremely slow, and Lupa easily dodged by flying upward. Chanmera flapped both sets of wings, creating a gale-force wind that blew Lupa backwards, but his aim sucked so much that he missed with all of his beams again.
Lupa surrounded herself in an electrical shield and flew at Chanmera at mach speed. Unfortunately, Chanmera's hide was incredibly tough, and even her lightning shield did little more than singe a bit of hair. He reached down and grabbed her with his titanic hand, but her lightning shield proved too painful to touch.
Lupa flew out of Chanmera's grasp and headed right at his eye, but he too had eye beams; though they were relatively weak, they were enough to stop Lupa dead in her tracks, allowing him to blast her with a fire beam from his finger.
"I STOLE THE EYES FROM YOUR PRECIOUS PHELOUS!" Chanmera boasted. Lupa's lightning shield failed, and she began to fall; Chanmera swallowed her whole in one of his snake fingers.
Lupa woke up in the snake's mouth. She dodged its thrashing tongue, and decided to venture farther into its throat; but rather than a standard esophagus, the snake just... ended a few dozen feet in. But sitting on a pedestal was a large hunk of magic rock on a pedestal. Chanmera stimulated the crystal, causing it to glow with fiery energy but Lupa grabbed it off the pedestal and used it to pierce through Chanmera's skin, creating an escape route.
"Looking for this?" Lupa flew upward and blasted Chanmera with a blast from the fire crystal. Chanmera proved to be weak to fire, and the fire beam left a nasty-looking burn on his arm. Lupa then charged the fire crystal with her own lightning, creating a new Combination Attack.
"PLASMA STORM!" Lupa blasted Chanmera with a wide-angle beam of superheated ionized gas, simultaneously shocking and burning his upper chest. Chanmera flailed his arms, and a lucky shot swatted Lupa down like a fly, causing her to drop the fire crystal.
"DIE." Chanmera raised his massive foot and brought it down, but a large humanoid made up of smaller humans swooped in and grabbed the foot, shouldering it before it could make a Lupa sandwich.
"Need some help?" Film Brain said from atop MegaPhelous. MegaBrainolous fired a disintegration eye beam through Chanmera's foot, and he recoiled as if he stepped on a pin. Lupa ran over and grabbed the fire crystal again, and she combined her power with MegaBrainolous...
"TRIPLE TECH! PLASMA TURBOLASER!"
A miniature Death Star materialized at eye level with Chanmera, and it fired a plasma laser right into his eyes. The blast lit his eye sockets on fire and melted a significant portion of his brain, causing him to rampage blindly; Lupa only barely avoided being stomped on, saved from certain death by Film Brain.
"NO! I WILL NOT DIE, NOT YET." Chanmera's massive body melted into tons of black goo, but they saw a human-sized figure escape from the mass and into a portal of some sort. The arena began to collapse around them, and Lupa grabbed Film Brain and Phelous and tried to escape; but an impenetrable force field appeared around the outside of the arena, and it began to shrink.
Just before they were about to be crushed, a blue box swooped in and saved them again.
"You forgot me, you bastards!"
Nash and Christopher Lee sat at the controls of the TARDIS.
- I left Nash on the sidelines of the battle specifically so he could come in and save the heroes before they all die horribly (again). Plus, unlike Lupa and Phelous, he's an ordinary human without the power of the Earth God within him, so he doesn't bring much to a fight.
"Sorry, I just thought you would want to go back home!" Lupa said.
"Well I was, but then this guy here told me you were going to fight the First Citizen!" Nash said. "I was going to come in and give him a piece of my mind, but of course, you just had to hog all the glory."
"Her name's in the title." Phelous pointed out.
"If we are done bickering, the TARDIS is reporting an X-level time paradox in the works." Christopher Lee said. "The source appears to be at the center of this universe, before it began."
"X-level?" Lupa asked.
"Enough to wipe out everything in this universe. The TARDIS can hold it off long enough to allow us to reverse it, but we have precious little time. How ironic." Christopher Lee mused.
"Well let's go!"
Nash set the destination, and the TARDIS dematerialized. They reappeared in the pure void before the beginning of the universe; an infinitely-small, dense and bright light was just hanging out in pre-creation, though it was being stopped from exploding by a Deus Est Machina.
"Jackie Chan's in there." Lupa said, using her innate Sue-sense to detect it. Naturally, this got quizzical looks from the rest of her team, but she had no time to explain as the Deus Est Machina began barraging them with cannon fire.
"Where's the weapons on this thing?" Nash asked.
"Huh? We don't have any weapons." Lupa said.
"Oh, that's just wonderful."
- I almost did consider adding weapons to the TARDIS and putting it in a fight against the Deus Est Machina, but I figured it wasn't really necessary.
Before the TARDIS' shields failed, it dematerialized and reappeared at the main bridge of the Deus Est Machina. Lupa, Phelous, Film Brain, Nash and Christopher Lee all stepped out of the TARDIS, marching on to meet their ultimate enemy at the beginning of time.
Sure enough, a regular-sized Jackie Chan, dressed in a white gi, was waiting for them at the end of a hallway. He smiled as they walked in.
"I shouldn't be surprised that you followed me here." Chan said. "But before we inevitably duel to the death, I'd like to tell you why we're here."
"Yes, tell us your villainous plan so we can stop it." Phelous said.
"The being you call Sponby is a threat to the entire multiverse. We have attempted to stop him multiple times; The Dark one was just our latest attempt, and that failed spectacularly. At this point, we cannot defeat him with physical force alone... forcing me to resort to the most horrifying weapon I can think of.
"Once I give the order, the singularity that causes the Big Bang in this universe will be snuffed out. Naturally, this will create a paradox that will destroy this universe, as well as any others that we have contacted. We planned on using you, Lupa, to draw Sponby in so that he would be caught in it... but our cloning process was incomplete, and you lacked the power to serve as a proper beacon."
"That's horrifying!" Film Brain said. "It's not just destruction, but... you'd erase hundreds of universes to take out one foe?"
"It is a last resort that I did not intend to use, unless all other plans failed." Chan said sadly. "But we have no choice. If Sponby absorbs them, they will be gone forever... at least our weapon will eventually allow for a new Big Bang to replace the old universe with a new one."
- My goal with Evil Jackie Chan was to make a villain who has an actual reason to destroy the universe and everything in it, other than "Death is better", or "I'll remake it the right way", or just "Grr I'm evil". Again, his methods are very extreme and far past anything a so-called moral man would do, but Sponby is also a threat that almost necessitates that kind of weapon. And with the GMF gone, Jackie Chan feels that the paradox bomb is the last hope for the multiverse. At the same time, he's going to kill the fuck out of hundreds of universes, and there's no way he'd be able to do so and still call himself a hero, so the real heroes are almost forced to oppose him.
"There is no possible justification for a weapon of that caliber." Christopher Lee said. "We can find another way. Call off your men."
"You and your resistance have given us no choice. We will all perish in nonexistence, and you are to blame. If you feel that you can stop me, then go ahead and try... but it is already too late."
Lupa stepped forward. Everyone else took a step forward, but Lupa turned around and held out her arms.
"You guys get back to the TARDIS. Warn everyone at the battle in Pax Terra to get the hell out of this universe. I can stop this guy."
"Don't worry, Phelan. I'm the winner of the Olympics! I defeated The Master! I'm the God Mode Sue! A ridiculous concept like Evil Emperor Jackie Chan doesn't hold a candle to my sheer Sue-ness."
Everyone else began to retreat, but Phelous took one last look at the love of his life.
"I'll come back for you, Allison. I'll... I'll come back for you." Phelous said, as tears streamed down his face. He ran after the other three, leaving Lupa and Chan alone.
- never did much with the plot point of "The villains have read this story and know what's going to happen". Electriceye and the Pax Terra follow it as closely as they can to stay a step ahead of the heroes, but if you think about it, they should be trying to change as much as they can. As Electriceye hints, the in-universe version of the fic has Lupa defeating Jackie Chan, and ends with Sponby consuming the entire multiverse. (This was the original ending I had planned, but when I decided to change it, I incorporated the original ending into the in-universe story.)
The way I justified it is that Jackie Chan knows he has the paradox bomb as a last resort, so as long as he keeps the events close to what happened in the fic, he can predict Lupa's position and plan accordingly. If they find themselves in a position to stop Lupa, they'll take it, but since no real situation like that comes up in the fic, Jackie Chan is forced to use the paradox bomb.
"The end of all things is nigh." Chan said solemnly, as if he was in mourning. He repeated Obscura's first action, flash-stepping behind Lupa and kicking her in the back of the knee. But Lupa was prepared this time; she grabbed his leg and spun around, throwing him against a wall.
- One more thing I should note: in the in-universe Sagacious Saga, Lupa doesn't die against Electriceye. Film Brain was with them from the beginning, and he too absorbed some of the essence of the Earth God and gained random powers. But since he came in at the beginning, he had more practice with his random powers, compared to Nash who uses them pretty much randomly; this was the thing that made the difference.
The reason for this deviation goes back to the Olympics commentary. Remember how I said I originally wrote chapter 11 but lost it in a power outage? Well, the in-universe Olympics uses that chapter instead of the Chapter 12 I originally wrote, where Film Brain doesn't get flung into the Pax Terra future. So Film Brain tags along with Lupa and Phelous.
Like I said before, I'm a huge fan of metafiction, though that should be pretty obvious.
Chan rebounded off the wall and dived at Lupa, bombarding her with Ki blasts. Lupa grabbed a shard of the fire crystal that she pocketed and deflected each blast with streams of plasma, only for Chan to charge right through and punch her in the stomach.
Lupa managed to Thunderpunch Chan away, but she doubled over from the pain of Chan's punch shortly afterward.
"That's a technique I learned from the school of Hokuto Shinken." Chan said. "That attack struck several of your pressure points. Your stomach will explode in roughly 30 seconds."
"Bullshit." Lupa got back up, still clutching her stomach. "I won't die from a single punch."
"We'll wait and see."
Lupa charged at Chan, electrifying her fists and legs, and swung at him. Chan blocked the punch and redirected the lightning through his right index finger, directing it at the wall. Lupa shoved the fire crystal right in his face and activated it; while Chan did manage to dodge the fire beam, it did leave a small burn on his left cheek.
"Not bad." Chan said. "But your technique is sloppy. You've clearly trained, but you've been relying on your strength and speed too much." He grabbed Lupa's arm and dislocated her shoulder.
Lupa spat blood in Chan's face, blinding him with all the colors of the rainbow. She conjured a pair of holy mythril sais identical to Obscura's pair and shoved them both in Chan's lungs. He staggered back while gasping... but he quickly retained his composure, and grabbed the hilts of the sais and calmly removed them. The open wounds quickly healed.
"4... 3... 2... 1. Goodbye."
Lupa's stomach exploded in a gory mess, destroying most of her stomach and intestines in the process. Her eyes rolled up in the back of her head, and she fell on the ground, dead.
"Forgive me." Chan kneeled down and said a short prayer for his opponent. He didn't know if Heaven or Hell would survive through a time paradox, but he sincerly hoped that her soul would be judged worthy.
Chan grabbed a communicator attached to his belt and pressed a button on it.
"Deploy the Weapon."
"Yes sir." a muffled voice said back. The Deus Est Machina shuddered as over half of its mass, including the engine, was jettisoned into the singularity. The Deus Est Machina's engine was a biotechnomagical mass that violated so many laws of physics that it wasn't even funny; when combined with the reality-bending singularity, the two opposing forces simply canceled each other out.
Chan felt his body being ripped apart as the universe unmade itself. To his surprise, Lupa began to stir; she got to her feet, and with a hefty dose of willpower, the gaping wound in her torso healed.
"The laws of the universe mean nothing!" Lupa proclaimed. "And with no universe, there's no laws!"
- The reason that Lupa was able to survive Jackie Chan's stomach-exploding punch is because she held on to life long enough for the universe to start unmaking itself, where she was able to use willpower to bring herself back together. I've already established that the Olympics-Sagacious universe runs on the rule of cool, she's a Mary Sue, and both her's and Jackie Chan's wills are so strong that they can remain alive and conscious in the non-reality of a paradox-destroyed universe. So I don't think it's that much of a stretch.
"Indeed." Chan assumed a defensive position. "But it's only a matter of time. Even willpower cannot hold you together in a lawless universe."
"But it'll be enough for me to kick your sorry ass!"
Hundreds of doppelgangers of Lupa appeared around Chan, and they all proceeded to gang up on him. He fought some of them off, but the sheer number of Lupas beat him down. He responded by blasting them all with a massive Ki explosion.
The Deus Est Machina disintegrated around them as the chaos of the pre-universe ripped it apart atom by atom. Chan and Lupa only held on with their respective wills, but even they had to pour almost everything they had into staying stable. Lupa's arm began to disintegrate, so she sacrificed it for the potential energy it contained, then directed all of that energy at Chan.
He blocked it with a Ki shield, but the concentration required to maintain the shield resulted in him losing part of his face and both of his feet. Lupa pressed the attack, kicking him in what remained of his face; he blocked the kick, and responded by completing ripping Lupa's leg off.
Lupa regrew both of her limbs, and she created a couple of localized atomic explosions in front of her. Chan created an impenetrable shield, at the cost of more of his body; he tried regenerating his limbs from nothing, but Lupa punched him with several black holes before he could do so.
"No!" Chan screamed out into the void. He put everything he had into a last-ditch attack, focusing purely on destroying Lupa. His body was ripped apart, but Lupa lost most of her body, and her willpower was fading fast; she wasn't able to regenerate her lost limbs.
The emptiness of uncreation tore her apart, but Lupa drew as much energy as she could toward her. Darkness became light, and it exploded outward...
Phelous stood on the bridge of the Exceliator. Nash and Christopher Lee had been returned to their proper times; Film Brain had gone back to the Pax Terra Earth, to finish up with the fight against the Pax Terra. With the destruction of Obscura and Jackie Chan, the seal on the Earth God had been broken, and it was only a amtter of time before the rest of the empire fell.
"I'VE COMPLETED A PRELIMINARY SCAN. THE UNIVERSES AFFECTED BY THE PAX TERRA'S PARADOX WEAPON SHOW NO DISCREPANCIES WITH THE DATA IN MY BANKS."
- The paradox bomb was designed in such a way that it would erase a universe's established history, but it would leave the potential for another Big Bang event to happen. So even though Jackie Chan was wiping out a lot of people, the universe would eventually recreate itself, though potentially differently.
At the same time, since a major paradox is still involved in the creation of the universe (where did the matter for the paradox bomb come from if it was erased by the paradox it created?), the timelines of the recreated universes are extremely fragile, and time-traveling within them could lead to another, potentially even worse collapse.
"And what about Allison?" Phelous asked.
"THE TIMELINES OF THOSE UNIVERSES ARE EXTREMELY FRAGILE. WE CANNOT GO BACK IN TIME TO RETRIEVE HER WITHOUT RISKING A TOTAL MULTIVERSAL COLLAPSE. HOWEVER, I DO DETECT HER PRESENCE IN THE BACKGROUND RADIATION OF ALL AFFECTED UNIVERSES."
"...I'll find her." Phelous said. "She's out there somewhere. I know it."
"THE PROBABILITY OF THAT BEING TRUE IS MINIMAL."
"Yeah, I know the odds, but this is a fanfic. Obviously, if it's a million-to-one chance, it's absolutely true. Actually, that's not even limited to fanfics, it's just a fiction convention in general."
"...I WILL BEGIN SCANNING."
Phelous stared out into space, looking at the unfamiliar stars. He had no idea where he was, or where Lupa was, but he'd find her. He had access to the entirety of time and space, and the power that the Earth God had given him made him effectively immortal. He had all the time in the multiverse. He would find her, no matter what it took.
- So, we're at the end of the story. Before I go, I just want to note a few more things.
-It's never mentioned in the story proper, but the Earth God's proper name is Feiz, which is the name he reappears under in the TGWTG Rangers crossover. I did intend to give him some dialogue in Sagacious, but I just never got around to it. But as much as he's built up as a Satan analogue, he's not really evil; he was just a bit miffed that the Sky People were praising the Heaven God instead, and its temper tantrum led to its body being split up and sealed away. It's made peace with that fact, so when Lupa and Phelous release it, it decides to go off and do other things, but not before asking Lupa and Phelous to help him find and kill Qul the Heaven God.
-I don't have immediate plans to write a sequel to Sagacious. I know trilogies are all the rage, but I consider Sponby Reloaded to be the third part of the trilogy, and Lordgenome is the prequel. Discounting Love Stroy and the commentaries, that brings the entire saga up to 36 chapters - a dodecatrilogy, as it were. Hmm...
-Speaking of Lordgenome, the events at the end of that fic lead to a new universe being created within the old one. That universe is the "main" universe where Olympics and Sponby start out in (before they start hopping all over the multiverse), and the general increase in Sue-ness is because the universe was created by a Sue using Spiral Power, which makes the impossible possible.
-Once Eternity and TGWTG Rangers are done, I'll write similar commentary chapters for those too. My next commentary will be for The New Life, the first completed original story on my blog, so why not check that story out before reading the commentary? (Yes, I am fully aware that I am a huge whore.)
And with that, I think I'm pretty much done. See everyone next time, and thanks for reading!