There was a “BRIIIIINGGG!!!” and finally Billy’s third grade class went for lunch. After a long lesson on handwriting (hey, what’s wrong with my standard galactic alphabet, he thought) it was finally a thirty-minute break…with food, food, food.
School’s screwed, he thought as he brought his lunch and sat next to his friend Ron. Lets see…a sandwich (plain as my mom), plain water (darn mom), and an apple (oh mom….)
“Mmmm,” Ron said, munching at his cookie.
“Lucky you,” Billy muttered.
“Aaah, you want the rest? I’ve got another one.”
Billy hastily answered and even more hastily ate the cookie that was handed to him.
“You know,” Ron said, trying to start a conversation. “This is silly, this dancing business.”
“Hmmm?” Came the response.
“Don’t you know? Tonight’s dance.”
“Uh-huh.” His dad had mentioned it over dinner or something.
“I mean, like with…girls”.
Billy looked up briefly, shrugged, and resumed eating. “The hormones,” he said, “don’t usually start coming until you get a bit older.”
“Yes, that’s my point totally, even over this hormone gibberish of yours. There are usually middle school dances, and high school dances, but never, ever anything like tonight. Tonight the whole school’s going, even the kindergarteners. And, of course, its even sillier given the fact that no one wants to dance. I really don’t get it.”
Billy finished eating his sandwich and looked up again with a quizzical look. “They don’t force you to go, though. You’re actually going?”
Ron nodded his head slowly and yet angrily. “My parents,” he started. “The school’s made all these stupid commercials about learning how to dance and education and all that. Lucky you that you’re parents didn’t fall for it.”
“They probably didn’t want me to…you know. See things a little to big for me.”
But then Billy held his head in his hands and there was a queer, calculating look in his eyes.
“But,” he continued. “You could turn this into an opportunity. Get you’re older brother or sister real mad or something. You have an older brother or sister?”
There was a childish, mischievous look in Ron’s eyes now, and he didn’t seem to be thinking about the answer. “Hey, thanks Billy,” he said. “I would say its gonna be fun tonight.”
“And to you…for the cookie.”
The bell rang again and it was time to go back to class.
Billy had an older sister and two older brothers, and they were old enough to feel the hormones that plagued many living species. His parents were going too, fortunately, and that meant he was to be alone in the house, with the exception of his younger brothers and sisters, but they would be too busy watching TV. He had more important things to do.
It was after school now. He would perform some dirty deeds, and take the 3:00 bus home. But first he wanted to annoy his sister a bit. The information, he thought, trying to justify himself, would be recorded and might be useful in later conditions. And he would do it just for the hell of it (though he was too young to use this word out loud).
He came up to her, and before she could walk away, asked “Yo sis.”
“You’re annoying, Billy,” came the unsprited reply. “Call me by my name, at least.”
“Rachalacela? No way!”
“Rachael…how many times must I tell you. That ridiculous name…” She blushed.
“Yeah whatever,” Billy said, wanting to get on with his mischief. “But I am asking what today’s dance is supposed to be about.”
“Well,” she said, suspecting something. “You know how dancing is fun and all that—”
“Don’t even try it. I know its not true from two pieces of evidence: first, no one my age wants to dance. No boy, not even many of the girls. But, as my second piece says, for the people in your grade almost everyone is going. And there’s nothing intellectual or physical to keep them unbored that’s outside the body. So…I ask for the truth. Please answer me Rachael. I ask it…NOW!”
At this point Billy panted, though not loud enough for his sister to hear. He knew he had had an effect with all his fancy words and such. It seemed to make him seem older, and yet—”
“I’m sorry Billy, you aren’t old enough.
“Old enough for what? What is so censored that not the young can be told, but the rest can. What is so censored that the very telling is taboo, that it is held like racism. Evil knowledge, no doubt! Knowledge that could allow those who are young to break free of their chains. Knowledge that cou—”
[Editor’s note: If you’re too young to understand love and such, and you wanna know, this is the way to do it :P]
“Billy!!” She almost screamed. “I thought you hated school.”
“Yes I do, but knowledge is very different. I think I am old enough to understand, yes?”
At this point she grasped her head with both hands and ran off, moaning. Billy knew better than to pursue the manner any further.
So, he had tried, and seriously embarrassed his sister, for no ends except a laugh. Suddenly it didn’t seem so worth it, though indeed, he did not use very evil means.
It was a dark school. Indeed, very so. It was very dark in real, but, as no one would have suspected, dark in abstract as well. The dances had begun after dinner, at 9:30. They were to proceed until 1:00 in the morning, at which point sleeping bags would be gathered out all across the school and laid out, and the obvious would happen. No one had thought of what a pain in the neck the bathrooms might be, but it was long until that time.
And, in a strange mysterious room (more commonly known as Mr. Heinberg’s science classroom) a shadow appeared.
It was a brief shadow, and not at all important, but shortly behind it came a man, a teenager actually. He looked out the window and called out.
A power close to darkness came, and so did the teenager’s friends. They stared at him, and, if one strained to hear, one could almost hear the word “master.”
The mischief was Billy Blaze’s cameras. Throughout the school they were planted, and throughout his rooms were television screen set to receive images and sounds. The cameras were almost unnoticeable, and almost certainly unfindable save for one who knew where to look. Billy had a slight notion of something fishy, but he didn’t think so, and it would be a fine experience (well, a little breathtaking, maybe not fine).
His brothers and sisters were either at the dance, or watching TV downstairs, or dazed off watching.
But so far it was boring. There was kissing, but certainly he didn’t care about that. Time and time and over he found himself at paddle war, or activating his Photyochon Transciever, or spectating a single person (with camera images that adjusted to different cameras wherever the person went).
He was getting sleepy, but he had coke and vitalin, and it soon passed. Who cares about healthy.
Then, on the dance floor, he saw a couple (well, he thought of them as one) head out suddenly at the doors. He got a little curious, since most of the time one person left to go to the bathroom. Quickly adjusting his cameras, sequences of visions flashed and they went to the dressing room.
Ron was there.
They greeted and talked. The girl, apparently, was Ron’s sister. Billy would judge her to be in ninth grade. They talked for a minute of trivial stuff, and they walked out. But Billy focused on Ron now.
He was changing a shirt, and combing his hair a little. Then he sat down sleepily and Billy began to get curious enough to try a voice communication…try something out…
But suddenly the door opened again, and a tall person in black came. He had a weird looking mask, not so hideous as humorous. This must be a joke, Keen thought, in part of Ron’s sister and her boyfriend. But the man pulled a leather rope…
…And the leather rope hardened and in came the first two people. They were bound and gagged, and Billy could tell the girl was trying to scream.
In one sudden change from bored and indifferent to totally alert, Billy jerked up.
“Oh my god…”
The masked man now came behind Ron, and—
Keen shut the monitors off.
In a half second of transformation, Billy mentally became the adrenaline-induced person called Keen, and in another half second his helmet was on his head, ready to go. He reached under his pillow and grabbed his gun.
And he was out.
On his Deathboard, moving faster than any school bus could, Keen hovered his way to a place he never thought he would be going so fast at. Flying over obstacles and parked cars, he approached at a speed of 16 meters/second. Within fifty seconds the school was in sight. Another five, and he was there.
There was a very strange wall around the school, about 10 meters in height. It was not there when he had left the school, 7 hours earlier, but he trusted his onboard computer, and it jumped him, clearing the wall with an even greater altitude. He rushed at the school…
…And the board got hit by a freaking force field. It pushed the vehicle and his passenger back, and the computer read it as being nearly 200 volts charged, meaning that it would be very painful for anyone touching it. Fortunately it had been Keen’s unconductive board that touched it and his rubber shoes that touched that board.
Keen cursed, and activated his current field.
Bob Richard was the principal of the school. He had suspected something was wrong weeks earlier, at the earliest indication of something gone wrong. He had continued to be suspicious, until an incident had caused him to get his gun.
The gun was in a locked drawer in his desk, and the bullets kept separately, in the safe. He had never told anyone of this gun, for fear of their being careless and muttering it to one of the students, and he checked it regularly to make sure that no one had stolen it.
His fears were finally confirmed. He had spied Jessica Billuad and Thomas Hess across the hall. He had spied the masked man, coming at them and overwhelming them with hardly using physical force, but, it seemed, an alien force.
He had no idea what was happening and how many students were in danger at this moment. It was, however, time to act.
Opening his safe, he got out the ammunition and loaded his gun. Then he turned the safety off.
Commander Keen activated his current field, then connected it to the energy of the force field. The current field created a force field of its own, surrounding Keen and his Deathboard. It absorbed the energies of the other force field, until the two fields were exactly equal in power and frequency.
Surrounded by this force field, Keen passed through harmlessly.
Commander Keen headed for the door, and, finding it locked, ripped it apart with a few slashes from his extremely sharp Deathboard. It barely made a noise, and he passed through.
He activated all his equipment of war: Enhanced Sensors v36, all his weapons, at a hand’s reach, and his own video link of the entire place, set on his ComputerWrist. He was lucky, after all, to be able to watch the entire lair and find his enemy.
And a map of the school. He now approached the place where his friend, his friend’s sister, and his friend’s sister’s boyfriend were imprisoned.
Jessica Billuad shuddered and sluttered as she spoke. “W-w-wh-what d-do-y-you-w-w-want to d-do with meh-me?” Keen, for all his knowledge and cunning, didn’t know the obvious thing to fear in times like these.
The mysterious teenager with his hidden face suddenly seemed very calm and secure. He had an extremely low voice. “I do not mean to r—“ At this point he glanced at Ron and saw his age. “Um, violate you if that’s what you’re concerned about. This is a purely guard duty. You are one of the few who left the capture area: the dance floor. Once we accomplish the feat, you shall join them once again.”
The two boys were kicking a little, though in vain, as the rope held them firm. Then suddenly, the black-coated man looked up and stared at air, as if he was seeing something there, and said: “Master? Yes ma—“
The door broke open with a crunch and Keen, on an oversized flying board, flung in. There was screaming the intruder took out his gun, ready to fire.
But the masked man acted first. His reactions were almost superhuman. He moved with unbelievable speed and grabbed Keen’s neck. But in doing so, he put his own body within range and direction of the Deathboard slash. Keen pressed a button, and blades protruded from the vehicle; blades strong enough to take down armored robots and many tanks. They themselves flashed at inhuman speed…
…But instead of slicing the masked man, they tumbled him around as they closed, as if their force had squeezed him, twisted him, and threw him one direction or another, but didn’t kill him.
And the man did a summersault and landed on the other side of Keen. He was bleeding, but nowhere as near as he should have been. Nor was his energy drained, as he grabbed the Deathboard and spun it around…
The Deathboard’s computer got messed up as an outside force registered and spun it around. It tried to compensate with thrusters, but the force was too powerful, and it found itself having to calculate centrifugal force as well. Meanwhile Keen was spinning like hell. He cried out: “WWWHHHOAHHHH!!!!” and nearly dropped his gun. It was only his many years of experience that kept him from doing so, and he was certainly in no position to use it. It was a full ten seconds before the Deathboard finally compensated, and by then the whole world was spinning around.
The black being then rushed toward him, with newly extended claws, ready to rip Keen to shreds, but Keen saw it right in front of him, despite his dizziness, and as it encompassed his entire field of vision he made an automatic reaction, put his gun up, and fired.
He had normally set his gun on stun, but for some reason its current setting was “vaporize.” And a good thing too, as quite obviously a puny stun would have done nothing to the creature.
And the shot hit, and suddenly everything was a great white light, to everyone who was watching.
When the light diminished the enemy of Commander Keen was lying at the other side of the room, the full force of the vaporization having carried him there. But he wasn’t vaporized; he wasn’t even dead. There was blood smeared all over, and many visible wounds, but some inhuman power had kept him from the death of the gun.
And even now he was getting back up.
And Commander Keen, defender of the Universe, came upon him, with one last series of slashes…onto his insides…
And the masked man finally fell down, this time truly dead.
The three spectators were by now mortified and extremely, extremely scared. And Keen got off his board and opened the mask of his enemy…
And the girl screamed.
And Thomas cried out: “My god…I know him…Romeo Albert!” Then losing control of himself even with the kids watching, “F**k, f**k, f…”
And Ron, who was as scared as the rest but young enough to leave room for wonder, asked the obvious question.
“Who are you?”
Our hero sighed, and, moving his hand toward his brother’s football helmet said “Commander Keen, and don’t you dare say captain.” Then he removed the helmet.
Meanwhile Thomas was saying: “I’m going insane, I’m going insane.”
And in the dance floor, the participants were having a modest time, when suddenly—
There were four hundred screams as all the lights went out, all the ventilation gave way, and all the music stopped.
The feelings and thoughts about the situations varied. Some thought something had gone wrong, and were apprehensive. Some thought this was part of the program, and was thrilled with excitement. Some were plain scared, and others didn’t know what to make of it.
The feelings were drooped when some DJs and teachers announced that the power was out, and that they should take a short break while they called the repairmen to see.
But, when the people rushed to the doors to open them and rush out, alas! They were locked. No force or power in the room could open them, and there was suddenly fear in the group.
“Phone lines are out too,” a teacher said, cursing the phone he was holding.
“Cell Phones,” a DJ shouted, then cupped his hands. “ANYONE GOT A CELL PHONE???”
Several clicks immediately sounded as people took up their phones, but alas as well, none of them could detect any signal!
Panic escalated as the people found out they were trapped, with no power and no communication.
And meanwhile, inside the crowd, a person, who might have been someone, no one, or a bystander, thought to him/herself: Face it. This is a big room, but you’ve got a lot of people crowded here. A lot of panicked people. With no ventilation all of us are going to die. You are going to die.
Principal Bob Richard approached the giant room that contained the dance floor. Damn, locked. He took out a ring of keys and worked the lock. The hell? It wouldn’t bulge. He tried another door, another key. Still nothing.
Meanwhile he heard laughing just around the corner.
“Billy? What are you doing here?” Ron asked. “I thought you were staying home.”
“I came on call,” Billy said philosophically. “When I saw that…human on my cameras I came right away.”
“Cameras?” Jessica asked. “What cameras?”
Keen, donning his helmet, pressed several buttons on his ComputoWrist and an image came up, showing the three. He showed them.
“Wwwoah…” Thomas said.
Keen then reached at a small spec about two millimeters in length. He removed it and turned it around, and the image changed accordingly. He showed them all.
“If you don’t mind I’ll put it back now,” Keen said, propping it back.
“Well, what’s happening?” Ron said. “What we gonna do next?”
Keen, without showing any signs that he had forgotten about the rest of the school, hurriedly pressed a few buttons…
Sentry Camera Recording XXIV (10:40-10:45)
A man which the group knew was Principal Richard (Keen had particularity some bad encounters with him) walked around the corner. He seemed cautious, alert, and determined. And then there was something very weird on the view.
A group of teenagers, dressed all in black, all with black hair and white skin, laughing and drinking whatever they were drinking.
They suddenly noticed Richard. One of them pointed, and then the group approached the principal cautiously and the principal approached the group cautiously.
Richard said: “Guys, now what are you doing here?”
One of the boys laughed and accompanied it with a few swear words for fun. “Hah, we’re doing nothing, principal. You can go back to your smoky lair called the dance floor now.” More laughter.
“Now guys, I don’t know what you’re doing, but I want you to unlock the doors NOW.”
“Yeah?” Another of the gang said. “Who you to be telling us orders?”
“We take them and take them only from the master,” the first one said.
And they walked toward the principal.
Bob Richard pulled out his gun, and shot the one closest to him. On the ComputerWrist, they could see the bullet falling from the outside of the guy’s chest to the ground.
He shot him again, and again. Then, with a scream, he turned around and ran.
But they were on him in less than a second. Lights seemed to emanate from their fists…
And the next thing the spectators knew, the principal was a bloody mess on the ground, severely deformed. Another second, and the body was gone.
Keen stood up. “You guys want to follow me?”
Within twenty seconds the room was deserted.
Keen bounced around the corner with his Deathboard. He took the shortest route to the scene of the crime. Then finally he saw the group of teenagers, at the same spot they had been. Keen accelerated and striked.
A few vaporize shots from his gun preluded his coming, and he even seemed to catch them by surprise. Several of them fell with bloody bodies. The Deathboard Slash struck them out of the game, and out of life.
The rest immediately turned upon Keen with their superhuman reflexes. The Deathboard was faster, but for all its speed it wasn’t good at maneuvering, and Keen bumped right into three of the guys. They held on the Deathboard, trying to break it into pieces, but while at so, they held onto the Deathboard slash.
Bloody hands fell away with gasps, and Keen took the opportunity to toss a grenade into the middle of the three. They fell down, and Keen finished them off with a few slashes.
There was now but one left, and Keen used a flower power grenade.
Catching up to him was Ron and company. They stared at the mess with wide eyes.
Keen panted a little, and said to Thomas: “Interrogate him. I got a blaster if he misbehaves.” He took a small flask of Vitalin. He then fed some to the flower, so it stopped panting and started cursing.
“Name?” Tom asked.
“Well, Mr. Ass—“
“I’m called Gerald, fool.”
“Well then, might I ask what you’re doing here and why you guys are trying to kill us and why you killed the principal and—”
“We serve our master,” Gerald interrupted. “And we shall be rewarded in the end.”
“Who is your master? What are you trying to do?”
“I don’t know my master,” he replied. “Nor am I afraid to answer your questions with truth. I only know the one-who-communicates-with-the-master.”
“And he is…”
The flower thought for a little, then suddenly even it seemed surprised and quizzical. “S**t. I can’t remember his name. Your flower do anything to me?
“But,” he continued. “We shall take over this school, then the city, then the state, then the country, then the entire world! BWAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWA!!!”
“Calm down, calm down,” Keen said. “Now how are you thinking you’re gonna take the world”
“We are given these powers by the master. He has the power to alter reality, or so they say. His range is limited, though, so he uses us.”
“How many of you are there?”
“Depends how many you killed. Thirty of us to start with. Maybe more. And they’re coming for me right now.”
At that moment more people in black came around the corner. They were carrying what looked like weapons, and were barely 30 meters away.
“Where is your master?” Tom asked even as Keen shouted at the people in the dance room to back away.
“Second cafeteria, lowest floor, and he shall kill you if we don’t.”
Suddenly, the wood-metal door to the giant dance room got sheared open with the Deathboard Slash. Keen pulled it open, and at first the people inside were cautious, then they rushed out by the tens.
The enemies who came suddenly jerked and backed away, for as much powers they had they could not withstand a mob in such a tight space. They would die as easily as if the vaporizing gun had been shot at them.
At which point Keen activated a teleport beacon, and the view around him shifted and he was standing behind his enemy. He shot a grenade right at them…
And they turned around as the grenade exploded. The person right next to its detonation point got mortally wounded, and Keen supported that with his gun.
After about ten seconds of fighting, two more were down, but the mob was coming on them, and they ran. Ran with inhuman speed, and, as his Deathboard kept running into the walls and wasting time, Keen could not pursue them. But he shouted to the crowd: “Into the lower cafeteria!”
The crowd ran with what seemed to be unlimited energy, and no one got trampled or hurt by little more than a few scratches, which was surprising, as it wasn’t the usual way with mobs. The teachers might have tried to restrain them, but if they did, Keen sure could not hear them over the single, unified roar of aggressive kids.
Down the stairs, and more stairs and more hallways, they rushed. Five minutes later Keen reached the lowest floor, followed very closely by the foremost of the crowd.
The lowest floor was devoted to storage, but even so it had a lot of free space, and so the heads of the school declared it the lower cafeteria, party room (in very rare occasions), etc. After school it was very good for club meetings and such.
And so it was that Keen stopped by the door that had a plaque on it saying:
He opened it……..
The Lair of the Bullies
The universe stopped and time stood still.
At least, that was what it seemed, but the crowd came in…
The one who Gerald had described stood in the middle of the 40 foot cafeteria. He stood next to a black cube. And out of the cube, in an obvious light hologram, came—
“You!” Keen pointed and said in disgust, hatred, redemption, and seer.
Behind him one of the guys in the crowd said: “McMire? What the hell’s he doing here?”
The hologram of McMire gestured and the figure he was talking to started laughing. It was an evil laugh, as evil as he could make it, and it was also boring listening to it for two minutes.
“Mortimer!” Keen replied in the same tone he had used. “What the hell are you doing here? You should know that Earth is safe as long as I am here.”
At which Mortimer himself started laughing. He said (in between the laughs) “So, you are still suffering from that delusion, are you, Mr. Three-Fourteen. Well, I am here, as you say, on the planet Earth, because I cannot be anywhere else at this point. My other, the real Mortimer, is working with the Shikadi at this moment, but, Keen, I am his first invention, and more powerful than anything you have conjured up so far with your puny IQ.
“This cube, besides me, is a temporo-reality distributor…basically it has the power to alter reality. It consumes horrible expanses of power, but, as you shall see, it shall be worked to my ends. It has a short range but that shall be done with soon.”
“So what is this crap then, and why are you here and what do you have to do with Mortimer or whatever.”
“Well,” Mortimer said. “The real me, who is not here right now, created me, a personality of him, to watch over this cube, and, when a worthy person of ruling the Earth comes, he shall use the cube and he shall be all-powerful forever.
“That was before he found out that there was no worthy person anywhere on Earth. He was one of a kind, and the closest he found was you, Billy, and you are a nothing. At that point he tried to destroy the planet Earth (at this point a couple gasps from the crowd), but you foiled his plan once again.
“And then I awoke. I do not know who, when, what, why, or how, but it doesn’t matter. My consciousness got restored, and, though I am nowhere as worthy as my better is, I realized that I had to take this into my own hands. I found an intelligent being, whom you see besides me, and converted him. He then brought many new recruits to accept my conversion, and the result is that this school shall be mine. And soon…the entire world! BWAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAWAHWA!!!”
“And um,” said Keen, “how are you going to take the world?”
The figure seemed to frown. “I guess,” he said, “that you really are foolish indeed. Don’t you understand the implications of this temporo-reality distributor? I can change the structure of the universe, and all will bow to me. Haven’t you noticed that no one is coming at me---”
Then suddenly there were curses and gasps from the crowds and they ran forward, but not for long before they stopped and walked back again.
“Anyway, this machine is programmed to accept the commands of humans. It was designed to serve, designed before my creator knew better. All I need is everyone in the school, supporting me, and the power of their minds will ensure an increase of range. Then we shall have more, and more, and more, and finally the whole world will be under my command! You will have to comply, or I will just change reality and change your mind. You have no choice. Thank you.”
Mortimer looked around the room. People everywhere, just standing helplessly. Then he pointed at Keen.
“You are the strongest,” he said. “Though you are not worthy, you are the most worthy in this school, and in this world, besides me, of course. The machine shall listen to your supporting words first. Then the rest shall be added to the…” He paused. “Collective.”
And Keen suddenly felt an urge to walk forward! But he knew he must do something while he still could.
“Wait!” He shouted. “Wait while I say something.”
Mortimer shrugged, then released him. “A minute, an hour, it doesn’t really matter. But do try to finish before I begin to get impatient.”
“Dudes,” he shouted to the world in general. “This is pure folly. Do you guys not know what he is to do with us after we’re finished with him? We’re not going to be relaxing for the rest of our lives, or anything he promises. We’re gonna just be mindless spawns, those killed in the midst of action. We’re gonna not be humans anymore, but a single cell, unthinking, unthinkable. He shall use us, then kill us. Do not fall for such a thing.”
Mortimer’s eyebrow twitched. “That was a good try, and I suppose it meant a lot to you, but you must realize that not even my low opinion of your intelligence can convince me that you don’t know that to be a worthless plea. What is it you and your weak, old humans seek?”
And Keen suddenly, hearing this, knew what he sought. Someone…something. A friend…
In an inconspicuous car, Breenad Imsen tried unsuccessfully to relax. She was beginning to feel weird, even though she was tried specifically not to have that feeling.
“Snake? Snaaake? Can you at least put away that gun for now? It’s giving me the creeps.”
Snake Logan, her fellow CIA officer, shook his head no. “We’re getting close to where it should be,” he said. He kept his assault rifle poised with the safety off.
“Letse,” Imsen said, trying to cool her nerves. “After this, it’s 30 meters, and that’s—”
There was a big building in front of them. “Ooooh s**t,” she said.
“The school.” Snake finished.
They got off, and the wall the ascended with grappling hooks and ropes. The force field was no longer there. Though they didn’t know it at the time, the laws of reality stated that it couldn’t be there, but we’ll find out about that later.
There were windows in the ground, and one of them was lighted up with some weird scenes.
Snake shot the window, breaking it, and jumped in.
The sound of breaking glass made Mortimer turn.
Snake Logan, poised with his assault rifle, shouted “FREEZE!” while his companion, who he didn’t know, was getting a revolver out.
Snake, expertly with the hand he wasn’t holding the AR with, took out his badge. “CIA.” He said.
“Yes, I know,” Mortimer replied. “Still I’m surprised that you were able to trace the signal all the way here…the probabilities I calculated was barely 20%, but you’re here I guess.”
“Signal?” Keen said. “What signal?”
“Oh…just a plain reality signal, picked up by satellites of reality suddenly changing measurements. Nothing much, except that I found out that it was caught. But never mind, you can’t harm me.”
Snake didn’t mean to fire, but suddenly he pulled the trigger and several bursts of rifle came out. They bounced off the cube and the table holding it harmlessly.
“I guess that just makes two more followers. Strange, today was. Very strange indeed. Well, now unfortunately I cannot delay any further. Let us go, Keen.”
And Keen walked forward, toward the cube.
Mortimer took this chance to enjoy himself at the moment of victory. There was a wicked laugh, and he concluded with: “Now no one shall be able to dispute me! All shall be under my control, and Keen can never turn back!!! HA!”
But suddenly Commander Keen stopped.
“What?” Mortimer said. “Go on, as I said, you can’t turn back.”
But Keen was now stumbling backward slowly. “I am afraid,” he said, “that I can. It isn’t easy, but I can do it, Mortimer, and so can the others.”
Mortimer frowned. “What? This is impossible! I am the master of the cube and I command you, while you are in the cube’s range of power, to step forward!!!”
And Keen stepped forward and at the same time tried to stop himself from doing so, so he tripped and fell to the ground.
“So humor me,” Mortimer said while sighing. “What is this thing that causes you to fall while I tell you to walk?” He said, mocking him.
“It is the same thing that summoned Snake here, against all probabilities, as you’ve already said.”
“And that is…”
“The temporo-reality distributor.”
“But…but I control the TRD. Only I can give it instructions.”
“Then you contradict what you said earlier, that the cube was designed to receive instructions, and that it was programmed at the time that Mortimer, the real Mortimer, that is, did not know that man was not ‘worthy’ of it.”
“It can receive my instructions as well, you see, and, since you sway more power over it than I do, cancel out those instructions. But you were not counting on my wanting Snake to come here, so, with orders and no counter-orders, it brought him here. At this time my orders and yours are countering each other, and therefore, in normal circumstances, you would normally win. But I have with me,” he gestured to the people, “this crowd. And I sure believe that the majority of them don’t want me to go. Therefore your instructions are too, countered. But then, we cannot spend all night countering and counter-countering. Let us end this now, my schoolmates! Let us bring this evil (otherwise known as the Temporo-Reality Distributor Field) to an end, and shut down the machine forever!”
And the most amazing thing happened: the field was closing!
One could not see the T-RDF, but one could somehow perceive it, and they perceived a dying energy, one that was getting compressed back into its source.
“NOOOO!!!!” Mortimer cried. “NHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! ONLY I CAN CONTROL IT…ONLY I…ONLY I!!!!”
The field suddenly increased as the machine compiled these new orders, then resumed its way to oblivion.
Now it barely was two feet in diameter, and closing…
And now it was gone.
As it compressed into the length of the cube, the hologram of Mortimer McMire shut off, never to see the world again.
And standing besides the cube was the entire gang of converts, now dressed in normal clothes and having normal looks.
Also standing next to them was Principal Bob Richard, saying: “What the hell is going on?”
The Principal’s Office
“This M-File,” Snake Logan of the CIA said, “was caused by Mortimer McMire’s first invention. It had the powers of an ox and for some reason he left it here, hidden in this school, waiting for the right person to find it. The rest, is history by HIStory, as in Mortimer HIS. We had to track the invention before it came into the wrong hands, and finally that reality distributor field got caught by our satellite. We have our stories of tracking it down, but I suppose that’s only because Keen willed it so, as a lot of it was wild luck.”
And then Thomas said: “That was Jeffery Hilson. Very smart kid, also very friendly. He must have got bad luck when Mortimer’s ghost or whatever found him, and it started the legacy that ended several minutes ago.”
Jeffery was sitting next to him, with no memory of the last few weeks or what had happened. Same with the rest of the gang.
And at this Commander Keen said: “He shall not, of course, be punished. A lot of wiser people and wiser beings have been tricked by Mortimer to perform worse deeds.”
“No, of course not,” the principal said, but at this point Keen left the room, having made his point.
The dance was continued, and everyone seemed to have unlimited energy as it went on. No sleeping bags were put out that morning, and everyone had a wonderful time, even Ron.
Billy Blaze stood just outside the school, staring at the stars. It was the stars that his Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket had led him, and it was the stars where his troubles should follow him from.
A door suddenly opened, and two girls came out, laughing. They saw Billy suddenly and approached him.
“Aaah,” he said without looking back. “Jessica and my sister Rachael. What brings you to this neck of the woods?”
Jessica shrugged, not remembering that Billy wasn’t looking at her. “It was Rachael’s idea,” she said.
Billy made a straight face, he too not aware that the girls weren’t looking at it.
He said: “That is unnecessary. I think…I think I get it now.
“Love,” he said, “is not the result of hormones that lie forever while your body is not decayed. It only seems that way. Love…it is a force that binds good and evil. It is the protection offered to us by our heroes. It is the glue that keeps the universe together, that offers mutual utopia. If you love a country, a person, a common good or evil, you support it, and gain strength from the sharing.
“Compassion is the result of love, and thinking is what causes love. Love shall always be there forever, as something unexplained, as a single philosophy, and a single postulate…it is what made us prevail today: your love for me and my love for you.
“That is why we had a dance today, instead of another gathering. He tried to pull us apart during a celebration of being together…oh, the irony. I love this world!”
And Jessica giggled. “You know Billy….if you were a bit older….I would ask you to go out with me.”
And Billy turned for the first time with a sincere expression and said: “Going out? What do you mean going out?”
The girls laughed uncontrollably as they went back in and shut the door.