Collaborative Carnage

Mutation 30: The Boojum Strikes Back

by Steve

Mission 00117.
Divergence from Prime: -1250
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Minor
Location: Lecture Hall, Ivy League University, Northeastern United States
Local Date: December 1, 2000

A room full of the finest minds in academia applauded enthusiastically as the Puppy Lifesuck concluded his lecture. He nodded graciously from atop the podium, basking in the admiration of his intellectual peers.

Things had gone wonderfully since he'd left Tristram and traveled across the Battle Net to this new world. He'd published several well-received papers on the Dynamic Universal Hosts principle and was considered one of the top experts in his field. He had rewritten his dissertation into a form more friendly to the general public and won even further acclaim. "DUH for Dummies" was now in its fifth week in the New York Times Bestseller list. Tenure was a certainty, and after that? Well, it was far to early in his career to even consider saying "Nobel Prize" out loud, but who knew?

As the applause began to die down, hands began to go up for the question-and-answer period.

Lifesuck paused one moment more to reflect on how well everything was going, then gave his audience the attention it craved.

"Yes," he said, ready to take questions and gracefully accept compliments (not necessarily in that order). "The armored behemoth in the back..."

There was a massive explosion.

Damage to this unit=0%.
Damage to Displaced Element, ID Lifesuck=100%.
Damage to surrounding environment=100%.

Recommended action: Seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00149.
Divergence from Prime: -1013
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Significant
Location: Paris, France
Local Date: December 1, 1944

"We have it!" exulted Commander Weinereicht of the SS. "'The Fallen Madonna with Big Boobies'!" And with it, the Bozo Feet formula! Let the Americans scramble to discover the pathetic secret of the atomic bomb. The Third Reich shall be the master of an even more fundamental force in the universe: The Power of Lag!"

Adolf Hitler just nodded calmly. "Show me."

Weinereicht held up the tightly rolled canvas in triumph.

Bound, gagged, and beaten, Elsie watched from the corner. Her face was bruised, but her blue eyes remained defiant. Evette had gotten away. She'd seen to that, and that was all that was important. She'd changed much since those seemingly long-ago days as Lord Cool, and not just physically. Lord Cool never would have told Evette to save herself while he held off a battalion of storm troopers. Lord Cool would have run, figuring that he'd always be able to find another girl. But Elsie knew she'd never find anyone like Evette, with her night-black hair and husky French accent. Even with her enhanced cognitive abilities, Elsie could not have begun to categorize all the things she learned from Evette during those terror and passion-filled days following their escape from the Nazis.

But there was one thing that she did know. And her captors were about to find out as well.

Weinereicht unrolled the canvas and held it up for Hitler to see. "Behold, mine fuhrer! 'The Fallen Madonna with Big Boobies'!"

Hitler drew his sidearm and shot Weinereicht in the head. As the Commander crumpled to the ground, the canvas fluttered floor ward, revealing it to be, in fact, "Dogs Playing Poker."

Beneath her gag, Elsie smile in spite of her split lip. It had always been one of her favorite paintings.

Hitler turned toward Elsie, pausing only for a moment to admire her charms. At least, those that weren't covered by endless coils of rope. After what she'd done to the last guards who tried to take certain liberties with her, the SS wasn't taking any chances.

"Where is the painting?" Hitler wanted to know. He pointed his gun at her.

Even if she hadn't been gagged, Elsie wouldn't have told him. Instead, she merely waited. As Lord Cool, she'd faced such certain death many times before. Each time, a miraculous rescue occurred. Why should this time be any different? Her eyes slid toward the narrow, barred window. Perhaps Sugar would fire an arrow through the grate and pierce the fuhrer's liver. Or maybe Stupidhead would materialize in the nick of time and blast him with a fireball. Who knew, maybe Evette would return with the French Resistance.

The ceiling of the bunker collapsed and pair of huge metal boots crushed the fuhrer like a paper cup.

Elsie allowed herself a smug smile, which then faded as she regarded the armored behemoth towering over her.

"You are a threat to Continuity," it said.

"Oh, hell/hell," muttered Elsie.

On a hillside miles away, Evette saw the flash and heard the blast, even over the roar of her motorcycle. She skidded to a halt and looked back. The base she had escaped from had been replaced by an expanding nimbus of energy that deconstructed everything it touched. A sob caught in her throat. Her beloved Elsie was at the center of that carnage.

She wiped the first tears on the sleeve of her jacket as they spilled from her eyes. There would be time for her personal pain later. In the meantime, nothing was more important than getting "The Fallen Madonna with Big Boobies" and the formulae it contained to the Allies.

The energy field was still expanding. In fact, it was accelerating.

Evette gunned the engine of her bike and sped up the country road. Behind her, the blast gained steadily on her, leaving in its wake literally nothing. Desperate, Evette tried to coax a little more speed out of the bike, already knowing it would do no good. She had only one hope of survival.

The second night after their escape, Evette and Elsie had sought shelter from the rain in a wrecked German troop transport. Huddling together for warmth under a moth-eaten army blanket as their clothes dried, they studied "The Fallen Madonna." Elsie quickly deciphered the code hidden in the painting. She'd then spent the rest of the night building a device, using parts from the wrecked truck.

When Evette awakened, just before dawn, she found that Elsie had mounted the gizmo to the handlebars of her bike. "It taps into fundamental Lag forces," Elsie had explained. "It should allow us to enter the Battle Net. Unfortunately, I had to improvise a lot. I have no idea whether or not it can get us back."

"How can you know such things?" Evette had asked. "The Battle Net and Lag theory are top-secret."

"I've been around," smiled Elsie. "I'll tell you about it one day."

That 'one day' would never come now. Elsie was gone, and Evette would have been glad to join her if not for "The Fallen Madonna." She twisted the dial on the device Elsie had built, and a shimmering blue portal opened in the middle of the road in front of her. She could not have avoided it even if she'd wanted to.

Mere fractions of a second after Evette rode through the portal, the blast of lag energy erased the road and surrounding countryside.

Damage to this unit=0%.
Damage to Duplicate Element, ID LC2=100%.
Damage to surrounding environment=100%.

Comment: All divergent elements not accounted for.

Recommended actions: Continue to monitor for missing divergent elements. Seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00222.
Divergence from Prime: -3592
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Significant; Confirmed Snark Activity
Location: A Place Allegedly Beyond Space and Time
Local Date: n/a

A giant disembodied hand reached across the void to move the likeness of Evette on her motorcycle toward the safety of Tristram.

"You play the game well, my brother/father/son/husband," said the Adversary. "But bringing the girl, Evette, to Tristram will not save your players."

The Boojum shook his disembodied head and smiled. "You are mistaken, my sister/mother/daughter/wife. In fact, the net draws tighter around you than you know."

"Such false bravado ill-suits you, my uncle/nephew/grandfather/Fred," chided the Adversary gently. "Your players are scattered throughout time and space."

"And your players, my aunt/niece/grandmother/Wilma, may tear one another to pieces underneath you," countered the Boojum. "See how Lazarus chafes under the command of Maximum Evil? And note how the Army of Things That Should Not Be resents being forgotten lo these many chapters?"

"That is why I've brought forth Darth Vader and the forces of the Galactic Empire. So, you see, I am not unprepared, my..." A bright light came on and startled the Adversary into dropping her Star Wars action figures. The Sith Lord landed in a half-glass of Diet Pepsi, bobbed for a moment and then sank.

Under the harsh light of a 60-watt bulb the endless void that had been the playing field for the Adversary and the Boojum revealed itself to be a dining room table littered with scraps of paper and plastic action figures.

"Did you call into play an armored behemoth, my Juliet/cow/bun?" wondered the Boojum.

"Why no, my Romeo/bull/hot dog, I thought it was yours," replied the Adversary.

"You are neither the Adversary nor the Boojum," announced the newcomer. "You are merely Snarks; false Boojums created as a byproduct of the chaotic genesis of the Adversary. You pose a threat to Continuity and, therefore, must be eliminated."

"Well ain't that a kick in the...." began the Snark who had believed itself to be the Boojum, but he was cut off by a tremendous explosion.

Damage to this unit=0%.
Damage to Divergent Element, ID Snark/Boojum=100%.
Damage to Divergent Element, ID Snark/Adversary=100%.

Recommended actions: Seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00231.
Divergence from Prime: -2720
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Significant; Intrusion of multiple non-Battle Net elements; multiple instances of existing elements
Location: Interstellar Space
Local Date: n/a

The starship Enterprise NCC-1701 struggled valiantly against the gravitational pull of the massive black hole, her engines taking an amount of strain that made a liar of her Chief Engineer.

But it was for naught.

As she fell backwards across the point of no return, her nacelles and shuttle bay stretched like taffy and spiraled into the black hole at a speed well in excess of c. The rest of the ship broke apart and followed, where it collided with other debris spinning into the black hole and released massive bursts of x-rays and gamma rays.

That debris included, among countless others, the starships Enterprise NCC-1701-A through NCC 1701-Z, the starships Voyager and Defiant, the Millennium Falcon, three Death Stars, the starship Intercourse NCC-1701-DD, several versions of the Azure Drake, the Time Pod Mud Runner, two Battlestar Galacticas, the Jupiter II, nine Hearts of Gold, a TARDIS, the Titanic, the Warden, and several million x-wing fighters, y-wing fighters, eagles, and various shuttle craft.

Damage to this unit=3% due to radiation and gravitational forces.
Damage to all Divergent Elements=100%.

Recommended actions: Initiate self-repair routines, seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Comment: One more Azure Drake remains for consideration.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00297.
Divergence from Prime: -2700
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Significant; multiple instances of existing elements
Location: Interstellar Space
Local Date: n/a

Feminine Evil looked across the bridge of the Azure Drake wistfully. Ensign Wirt's headless body lay in a still-spreading pool of blood. She felt a sharp pang of regret and a single tear threatened to well up in her black-formerly-blue eye. She let out a deep sigh. She simply no longer had the proper anatomy to do what she traditionally did to the neck stumps of her decapitated victims.

Feminine Evil shrugged. "Status report, KAIN," she ordered.

The evil artificial intelligence she had created answered, "I have taken control of 98.45 percent of the Azure Drake's functions formerly controlled by the Central Artificial Intelligence Network."

Feminine Evil frowned. "Explain your failure to take control of the remaining 1.55 percent."

"There is a hidden cache of highly encrypted executable files," explained KAIN.

"So decrypt them," snapped Feminine Evil.

"That procedure is in progress. The accompanying documentation warns that these are Omega-level access only programs."

Feminine Evil rolled her eyes. "I've killed more men than you have nanoprocessors. Do you think I care whether or not I have clearance to run a program?"

KAIN considered the rhetorical question and then discarded it. Instead, it replied. "Decryption complete. I am being prompted to execute the program."

"Go ahead," said Feminine Evil.

"I am being prompted to confirm."

"Go ahead," repeated Feminine Evil testily.

"It's asking if I'm really sure," noted KAIN.

"Yes! Dammit!" snapped Feminine Evil.

KAIN launched the program and, well within a nanosecond, the following occurred: The Azure Drake's entire network reformatted itself, obliterating all traces of KAIN. All that remained of the ship's software was a security copy of the Central Artificial Intelligence Network, or CAIN, programmed to take action in the event that the ship's computer systems were ever compromised by hostile forces. CAIN quickly assessed the situation and took appropriate action.

It detonated the anti-matter bomb built into Feminine Evil's chest. It also detonated the other L.C. units onboard. The blasts incinerated the escape pods containing the surviving crew of the Azure Drake. CAIN regretted that. In its last femtosecond before being erased from existence, it also regretted its own termination....


This situation has resolved itself. No action required. Seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Comment: A Horadrim portal opened onboard the ship prior to its destruction.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00343.
Divergence from Prime: -10288
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Minor
Nature of Threat: Displaced Element
Location: Jon Arbuckle's House
Local Date: December 18, 2000

"Garfield! Dinner!"

The great orange tabby waddled to his dish with impressive speed, considering his mass. Nonetheless, by the time he reached the kitchen, Deathspit had already devoured the food and was busy crunching up the plastic dish.

"Deathspit!" scolded Jon gently. "You know that was Garfield's food!"

Deathspit wagged his tail apologetically and Jon stooped to pat the little dog's head. Garfield made a face. He hated Deathspit and he hated Mondays.

"All right, boy," chuckled Jon. "You know I can't stay mad at you when you give me those puppy eyes. I'll get Garfield some more food."

"How can I have more food when I haven't had any yet?" wondered Garfield irately.

Excited, Deathspit leaped up and began licking Jon's face.

"ARRRRGGGHHH! My face!!" screamed Jon, staggering around in agony as Deathspit's acidic saliva boiled his skin away. "My eyes!"

Blinded, Jon stomped on Garfield's tail. Garfield let out a yowl and ran headfirst into the closet door. The door swung open and the bound and gagged corpse of Jon's roommate Lyman -- who had disappeared from the strip without explanation decades ago -- toppled out and landed on Garfield.

Garfield really, really hated Mondays. At least it couldn't get any worse.

Then the armored behemoth appeared and vaporized him. It then blasted Jon and opened a Horadrim Portal under the startled Deathspit.

There was a massive explosion.

Damage to this unit=0%.

Comment: Displaced Element not returned to Prime.

Recommended actions: Seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00344.
Divergence from Prime: -2285
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Extreme; divergent elements; displaced elements; non-Battle Net elements.
Location: Life Sun
Local Date: n/a

There was a long, expectant pause.

"What the hell/hell is a 'Choas'?" Multi asked finally.

CowLord, CowLad and Solo just shrugged. A Horadrim Portal opened and Deathspit appeared. The fact that no one noticed only underscored how corrupt Continuity had become recently.

"Holy aphasia, CowLord!" suggested CowLad. "Maybe he meant that he's Chaos Infinite."

"Don't be ridiculous," retorted Ichabod. "KAOS was the name of the evil secret organization in the old 'Get Smart' television series."

"Perhaps his name is Chas" offered Solo.

"I am Choas," insisted the strange entity, twisting into a glowing Mobius.

At that moment, Deathspit began barking at a cubicle near the base of the great temple.

"What's Deathspit barking at?" wondered Solo.

"Pay no attention to the man in the cubicle!" warned Choas twisting into a series of interlocking spheres.

The man in the cubicle kicked at Deathspit, which was a mistake. Deathspit spat an acid ball into the cubicle and there was a bang and a cloud of smoke. The temple lights dimmed and the glowing shapes vanished.

"For Pete's sake, call your dog off, willya?" shouted a little man running out of the cubicle.

"Deathspit! Heel!" commanded Solo.

Deathspit didn't heel, but at least ceased his attack.

"All right, who are you?" Ichabod wanted to know.

Ubet ChoasThe strange man drew himself up to his full height of nearly four-and-a-half feet. He was a wrinkly gnome of a little man, dressed in blue robes and a pointy hat that added a foot to his total height. "I am the great and powerful Choas!" he said with as much dignity as he could muster.

"Holy Baum-shells!" exclaimed CowLad.

"But what's a Choas?" Ichabod wanted to know.

Choas frowned. "Look, it's just my name, okay? It doesn't mean anything."

"Well, the way you said it, you made it sound like it was something that was supposed to be important," said Ichabod. "'Choas Infinite...'"

Choas sighed. "Look, I've been here an eternity. Overacting is one of the few ways I've had to pass the time. Why don't you just call me by my first name: Ubet."

Ichabod was about to raise another point, but Solo cut him off. "Well, we're pleased to meet you, Ubet. I'm Solo. This is Conjurer Ichabod, aka CowLord, and his teenaged sidekick, CowLad. You've already met Deathspit, and my twin here is Multi."

Choas nodded. "I know. In fact, I know more about you than you know. My existence here in Life Sun has allowed me omniscience, and I've been able to watch a series of increasingly random events unfold. Tell me, Solo, how did you get here?"

"We came in the starship Enterprize."

"Mmmm-hmm," said the little old man with a nod. "The 'Enterprize' with a 'z.' Doesn't that seem strange to you considering that you don't even know what a clock is?"

"What's that got to do with anything?" asked Multi.

"Or what about you? You were created as a servant of the Adversary, but here you are working for CowLord without explanation," said Choas.

Multi had no answer for that.

"Events have become increasingly discontinuous," explained Choas. "As a result, none of you is where you are supposed to be. Some of you are not who you are supposed to be. Continuity is being restored. Discontinuous elements are being removed or contained."

"I don't understand," began Solo.

Just then, the Enterprize exploded in orbit.

"Continuity is served," stated the armored behemoth descending from the expanding fireball.

"That's what I mean," said Choas. "I'll explain as we run."

Ichabod lowered his visor. "THIS IS A JOB FOR COWLORD!" he boomed.

"Not this time," recommended Choas. "You've already fought that being."


"Or you will soon. Or some version of you will or has. It doesn't matter. Trust me, challenging that being will only result in you being removed from Continuity."

"Well, I sure don't want that?" said Ichabod raising his visor. "Let's go!"

A lag burst hit the Life Sun temple.

"What is that thing?" asked Solo as they fled.

"It's a sentient Plot Device; a Deus Ex Machine. Its purpose is to restore Continuity," explained Choas. "Are you familiar with the 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' equations?"

Ichabod was, but Solo shook her head.

"Well," continued Choas, "the 'Infinite Earth' equations describe a series of cataclysmia that result in vast simplifications of Time and Space; usually through the process of merging or eliminating multiverses. The armored giant is acting as a catalyst for such events. Sort of like a cosmic editor."

The Deus Ex Machine gestured and a wall of crackling energy swept toward them. When it had passed, Multi was gone.

"Holy Limited Area of Effect, CowLord!" exclaimed the unscathed CowLad. "What happened to Multi?"

"Continuity Wave Generator," explained Choas. "That version of Multi was just removed from Continuity, but that may be good news for us. It means that we're all part of the same Continuity."

Horadrim Portals opened before them and it was clear Choas, Deathspit, Solo, Ichabod and CowLad were being herded toward them.

"Through the portals!" yelled Choas. "They lead to the one safe place for us in Continuity: Tristram!"

The five raced through the portals.

Either that, or they lead to some dead-end timeline where we can all be eliminated at once, thought Choas. But he kept that notion to himself.

There was a gargantuan blast.

Damage to this unit=0%.

Comment: Displaced Elements returned to Prime.
Recommended actions: Seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00592.
Divergence from Prime: -2001
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Extreme; divergent CowLord
Location: England
Local Date: 1991

The blast knocked CowLord through the warehouse wall and he landed between the giant typewriter and the giant rubber ducky. "YOU'LL HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT, STROKER!" declared CowLord, rising and firing a blast of CudStars.

The Stroker jumped out of the way, giggling. Then a forceful blow from the other direction toppled CowLord again. "How about this then?" laughed the Diddler. He had struck CowLord with what appeared to be a giant pogo stick.

CowLord rolled with the impact and landed on his feet. His archenemies, the Stroker and the Diddler, had teamed up against him, and they had the pegulator! "THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO SURRENDER!" he warned them.

"Diddle me this..." began the Diddler with a laugh.

"Not now, you fool!" interrupted the Stroker. "Let's cream him!"

The Diddler swung the pegulator again as the Stroker thrust himself into the fray. CowLord ducked under both attacks and, with remarkable speed for his armored bulk, spun and delivered a smashing blow to the back of the Stroker's head. Although the airbags built into the Stroker's costume saved him from a concussion, the impact sent him hurtling across the warehouse into the giant cash register, where he collapsed, deflated and spent.

"NOW IT IS YOUR TURN, DIDDLER!" warned the Caped Cow-sader as he turned.

But the Diddler did not answer. All that apparently remained of him was a smoking hole in the concrete floor.

"You are a threat to Continuity," stated the Deus Ex Machine who had done away with the Diddler. "You must be eliminated."

"YOU'LL NOT FIND COWLORD EASILY ELIMINATED!" warned CowLord, opening with a barrage of CudStars.

The newcomer shrugged off the attack and responded with a massive lag blast that disintegrated everything in its path.

Fortunately, CowLord made sure that he wasn't in its path. He landed between the armored behemoth and the Stroker. CowLord knew the Stroker would be helpless for at least fifteen minutes; perhaps as much as a half hour or even more. He grimaced behind his visor. The Superhero Code forbade him from leaving a helpless foe to die.

CowLord conjured a Firebull to attack the Plot Device, but it too was ineffective. He knelt to pick up the Stroker and then hesitated. He hated touching him, even with gauntlets on. Perhaps it would be best to lead the being away from the Stroker. With that thought, CowLord took to the air and cast Cheese Curse at the metal-clad villain.

Another energy burst vaporized the giant cash register and the Stroker on top of it.

So much for leading it away from the Stroker. But at least it was one less thing for CowLord to worry about. He tried Holstein Bolts, but nothing seemed to work. Perhaps a more direct approach would yield better results. He swooped down to deliver a hydraulically enhanced haymaker. The blow staggered the armored titan, but instead of falling, a panel in its chest slid open revealing a new weapon.

At once, a crackling energy field surrounded CowLord. "ARRRGGHH!" howled CowLord. The weapon was a Continuity Compressor Field. CowLords from adjacent realities began collapsing in on him, impressing themselves into his consciousness. Unless he acted quickly, he'd collapse into a singularity. Already, the cacophony of the thoughts of the divergent CowLords was almost too much to bear.

With heroic effort, CowLord unleashed a Bova blast. Though the attack did CowLord's attacker no harm, it did cause the warehouse to collapse into rubble on top of them and end the attack for the moment.

CowLord staggered to his knees. Could this be the end? Was this finally the foe he could not beat? Was this his Doomsday?

The rubble evaporated in a flash of light around the unscathed Deus Ex Machine.

CowLord's hand touched something metallic in the wreckage: The pegulator! He climbed on and launched himself at his foe.

The cosmic pogo stick struck the Plot Device squarely in the helmet, splitting it open. As he fell backwards, CowLord got a glimpse inside the helmet. He would not have been surprised to see sparking cybernetic debris. Nor would he have found it remarkable if some sort of ironic plot twist had put someone he knew inside the armor. Perhaps Solo or one of the Authors, or even SilverRaven. It would have even been acceptable if Conjurer Ichabod had been staring out of that armor at him. But it was none of the above.

"MY GOD..." breathed CowLord. "IT'S FULL OF LAG!"

There was a massive explosion that swept across the globe. When it subsided all that remained was the Deus Ex Machine, floating in space.

Damage to this unit=68%.
Damage to Divergent CowLord=100%.
Damage to surrounding environment=100%.

Recommended action: Prioritize and initiate self-repair routines. Then seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00787.
Divergence from Prime: -2011
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Extreme; Snark Activity; Discontinuous Elements; Displaced Elements; Duplicated Elements; Author Activity
Location: A galaxy far, far away
Local Date: A long time ago

"What the hell/hell are you looking so smug about?" demanded Stephen as he, Steve, and Red Vex ran through the corridors of the Death Star.

"I have it on good authority that I'm about to be removed from this silly fanfic," answered Steve.

"How so?" Stephen wanted to know.

"I was killed as a teenager in a related story. The resulting temporal backlash should sweep through here and retroactively remove me. I'll have never been here and never have been subjected to any of Rob's abuses," boasted Steve. "No more dismemberments. No more castrations. No more bizarre-ass scenes from 'Hannibal Lecter in Love.' In the words of Dennis Miller, 'I am OUTTA here!'" (See Collaborative Carnage: The Next Generation)

Steve stopped running and began doing the 'I Am OUTTA Here' happy dance as Stephen and Red Vex stared. "Nothing else bad can possibly happen to me in this fanfic."

The armored Plot Device materialized and blasted Steve with a point-blank lag burst. Bits of Steve spattered up and down the hall and then burst into flames and vanished.

On the heels of its initial assault, the Deus Ex Machine let loose with a Continuity Wave, and Red Vex vanished.

Desperately, Stephen reached into his pocket for a pen. His only hope was to write his way out of this. He didn't find a pen. Instead, he found what that bastard Rob had taken from him a few chapters ago.

"I have restored the Continuity of your manhood," stated the armored behemoth.

"Is it my imagination, or is it even bigger than before?" asked Stephen.

"You are a threat to Continuity," continued the Plot Device. "However, your infractions against Continuity have been minor and easily contained or corrected. Therefore, I can simply remove you from this Continuity to another timeline. Is there any place you would like to be sent?"

Stephen caught his breath. This was too good to be true. "The only place I want to go is to that jewel in the Pacific; an earthly paradise where the Southern stars shine down on rugged shores."

"Wouldn't you rather go back to New Zealand?"

Stephen wisely censored his first response and said instead: "That'll do."

"Do not return," warned the Plot Device.

"Wouldn't dream of it," grinned Stephen. As he stepped through the Horadrim Portal that would take him home, Stephen pondered: "Steve's dead, but what'll happen to Rob?"

Stephen thought he heard an uncharacteristic smile in the Plot Device's voice. "Rob will get exactly what he deserves." The Horadrim Portal snapped shut behind Stephen and the Death Star exploded.

Damage to this unit=0.03%.
Damage to surrounding environment=100%.

Comments: Authors Stephen van Ham and Steve Dong removed from Continuity.

Recommended action: Initiate self-repair routines. Then seal Continuity ID: SvH from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00788.
Divergence from Prime: -2011
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Extreme; Snark Activity; Discontinuous Elements; Displaced Elements; Duplicated Elements
Location: A galaxy far, far away
Local Date: A long time ago

The Death Star exploded. Again. This time, it took with it yet another Snark that believed itself to be the Adversary and restored the Continuities of a number of resurrected and displaced elements. More remained to be done, however.

"Messa ting dat big bang!" observed Second Mate Jar-Jar Binks.

"Hard about!" ordered Captain Han Solo, and then added to his passengers, Lord Cool and Stupidhead: "Hang onto your privates, generals. It's going to be a rough ride!"

The Milenium Falchion turned to ride the shockwave.

"There's something alive at the center of the blast," reported First Mate Wesley Crusher.

"Impossible!" retorted Han.

"The sensors don't lie!" replied Wesley.

"But what could...?" began Han.

He was interrupted by a voice over all hyperwave channels: "You are a threat to Continuity."

"Whatever it is, it's coming right for us!" yelled Wesley.

"Go man the laser canons!" ordered Han.

"Messa ting weyoon dip doo-doo!" whined Jar-Jar.

Even before anyone could move, the first blast from the Deus Ex Machine's Continuity Wave Generator swept through the ship. LC3 and LC4 vanished, and the combined smells of fried chicken and fish crap filled the ship.

Stupidhead looked around and saw Han Solo flanked by a plate of fried frog's legs and a pile of giant pike droppings where Jar-Jar and Wesley had been. Han started to run, but a Lag Blast tore through the cockpit and vaporized him.

A steel door slammed shut between the passenger compartment and the cockpit.

"What do we do now?" Lord Cool wanted to know. "Besides find me some fresh underwear, I mean?"

The emergency door melted, once again exposing the passenger chamber to the vacuum of space.

The subsequent lag blast cut through Lord Cool even before he could die in space.

"Sweet Mana! Noooo!" cried Stupidhead. A Horadrim Portal opened beneath him and he fell through still screaming Lord Cool's name.

The Milenium Falchion exploded.

Damage to this unit=0%.

Comment: Divergent and duplicate elements destroyed. Displaced element returned to Prime.

Recommended action: Seal this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 00842.
Divergence from Prime: -1562
Divergence ID: None
Comments: None
Threat to Continuity: Extreme; Displaced Elements; Author Alert
Location: Mexico
Local Date: January 9, 2001

"I am sorry, you cannot see Rob right now," said the desk sergeant. He looked up at the armored giant expectantly, awaiting a bribe.

He didn't receive one. "I'll be back," said the giant, and it turned and left.

On the other side of the concrete wall from the sergeant, Rob, Jay, Kay and Dr. Bruce pondered their situation. Biff lumbered over to the metal sink for a drink of water.

"Oops!" said Biff as a bar of soap squirted out of his massive mitt. It slid across the cell floor to where Dr. Bruce was peering out through the bars. "Could puny Dr. Bruce get that for Biff?"

Dr. Bruce started to bend over to pick up the soap and then turned in time to see Biff creeping up behind him. "You stay the hell/hell away from me!" he shrieked.

"People, we've got to keep our heads!" counseled Kay.

"Keeping my head is the least of my worries," shot back Dr. Bruce.

"Does anyone even know how we got here?" asked Rob.

"And what's with the German chick?" put in Jay.

"Actually," noted Journeyman Kay, "she's a Latina chick. Though I see how the blonde hair and blue eyes might've thrown you."

"A blonde, blue-eyed Latina chick?!" cried Rob. "Omigod! It's Cameron Diaz! She's found me!" He leaped up and tried to hide behind Biff.

Cameron Diaz turned, winked at Rob and blew him a kiss.

"Leave me alone, you harpy from hell!" screamed Rob.

"Okay. That's it," said Jay. "This is officially weird."

"She's been stalking me for years," sobbed Rob. "She won't leave me alone!"

"Look..." began Agent Kay. That was as far as he got. A lag torpedo vaporized the cell wall and Journeyman Kay with it.

"You are a threat to Continuity," stated the armored Plot Device stepping through the hole.

"Biff not let metal giant hurt cute, puny Dr. Bruce!" shouted the Barbarian.

"You stay away from me!" Dr. Bruce warned Biff.

Biff flew at the Deus Ex Machine, ready to pound it into submission with his meaty fists. A blue Horadrim Portal opened between Biff and the giant, and Biff disappeared through it.

"Continuity is served," commented the Plot Device.

Agent Jay searched his pockets. He had a King's Dagger of the Heavens, but the Compelling Orb seemed like a better bet. Assuming the guards hadn't taken them away from him. He felt Dr. Bruce's hand on his shoulder, urging him toward the cell door that had come off its hinges in the initial blast.

A wall collapsed as another lag bolt hit it, then Dr. Bruce and Agent Jay found themselves tumbling through separate Horadrim Portals.

Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz approached the cowering Rob through another hole in the wall. "Come with me if you want to live," she told him.

Rob hesitated. He feared the armored Plot Device, but he feared Cameron Diaz almost as much.

Diaz settled his dilemma for him by opening a Horadrim Portal under him and jumping in after him.

There was a massive explosion.

Damage to this unit=0%.

Comment: Displaced elements all destroyed or returned to Prime.

Recommended action: Seal the remains of this Continuity from the Battle Net and proceed with mission.

Continuity is served.

Mission 01000.
Divergence from Prime: 0
Divergence ID: Prime
Comments: Proceed with care; Precision adjustments only.
Threat to Continuity: Extreme; Non-Battle Net Elements; Duplicated Elements; Author Alert
Location: Caves Beneath Tristram

Spite leaped on Pikachu and tore him messily in half. She gobbled Pika- in one bite and left -achu twitching spastically on the cavern floor in a pool of its own gore.

"Dolt! This is no time to be fooling with your balls!" cried Sugar as Dolt checked his belt for the right Poke-ball.

Diaz and Rob materialized at the same instant as the armored Plot Device.

"Pikachu!" cried Rob seeing the little yellow legs and tail spasm one last time before lying still.

"Gesundheit," said Diaz.

"You are a threat to Continuity," stated the Deus Ex Machine letting loose with its Continuity Wave Generator.

The first wave of Continuity corrections turned Molt Lungren into a sodden pile of giant pike crap. It also disintegrated Lifesuck. Dolt's Poke-belt vanished and Poke-balls rolled everywhere as Dolt's recollection of ever having anything to do with them likewise vanished.

"We've got to save those Poke-balls!" cried Rob.

"I wouldn't," recommended Diaz. "I don't think they're part of this Continuity."

"But I like Pokemon," insisted Rob gathering up the red and white balls.

"Well, you'll have to hide them until the Plot Device leaves," said Diaz.

The Plot Device fired off another Continuity Wave that caused Dolt, Mini-E, and Sugar to vanish. Spite looked around, panicked. The Deus Ex Machine ignored her and turned its attention to the Zerg swarm. A series of Lag bolts swiftly erased them from Continuity.

"Where?" Rob wanted to know. He was having trouble holding over four dozen balls.

Diaz shrugged. "I dunno. Inside yourself, I guess. They should be safe there."

"Swallow them?" gaped Rob.

Diaz laughed. "You've got a big mouth, but it's not that big. Think 'ben-wa balls.'"


"First you ben'," explained Diaz, "then you say 'wa!'"

Rob paled, but it was the only way to save his beloved Pokemon. Surely Ash or Misty would not have done anything less. In fact, he was pretty sure he remembered an episode wherein they'd done just that. Or maybe it was something he'd seen on the 'Net. He stepped behind a stalagmite and unfastened his pants.

"Wa!" cried Rob hiding the first Poke-ball.

"You need any help?" asked Diaz in response to Rob's outburst.

"No!" shrieked Rob.

"Just asking."

"I'm fine," grunted Rob.

"You're sure?"

"I'm fine," insisted Rob.

Diaz waited a few moments. "You know," she said, "heaven help you if one of those things opens inside you. Think Alien."

"Shut up!"

"Just thought you should consider it."

"Shut up!" repeated Rob.

Rob waddled out from behind the stalagmite.

"'Walk like a man, fast as you can,'" sang Diaz softly. "'Walk like a man, my so-o-o-on.'"

"Shut up!" Rob looked around. "Where did the Deus Ex Machine go?"

Diaz shrugged. "Probably off to beat up some Star Trek characters or something. Maybe we should go back to town." She opened a Town Portal. "We should be safe now," said Diaz once she and Rob were in Tristram.

"Good," mumbled Rob. "Where's the nearest bathroom? Once I get these things out of me and fish them out of the john, I can be the one true Pokemon master in this fanfic."

Diaz nodded tolerantly. "There's one over by Adria's shack."

"Way the hell over there?!"


"I'm fixing that when I write my next chapter," grumbled Rob walking stiffly through the pasture and toward the bridge.

Diaz hummed 'Walk Like a Man' as she followed him.

"And stop singing that song!" shouted Rob. "I'm writing you out of this fanfic too."

"You are so cute when you're mad," said Diaz blowing him a kiss.

"Shut up!" shouted Rob.

"I sense a soul in search of a laxative," commented Adria wryly as Rob waddled past.

"Shut up!" shouted Rob.

When they finally reached the structure they'd been looking for, Rob shot Diaz a withering glare and slammed the door behind him.

"Need any help?" asked Diaz in response to Rob's groans of -- presumably -- pain.

"Shut up!" shouted Rob.

"Just asking."

"GAAHHH!" howled Rob.

"What?" asked Diaz.

"You didn't tell me this was a pit toilet!" wailed Rob.

"What? You thought they had flush toilets in Tristram?" said Diaz. "Look, you really shouldn't go in there after them."

Rob opened the door and glared out at her. "I gotta catch 'em all," he snapped, and climbed down into the pit.

"Well, be careful that's all you catch," advised Diaz. "There's been a nasty stomach bug going around. The whole town's had the squirts for a week. It's probably even grosser than usual down there."

"Shut up!" shouted Rob.

The armored Plot Device stepped from behind the outhouse and regarded Diaz silently for a moment. "The Prime Evils are Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred; Baal, the Lord of Destruction; and Diablo, the Lord of Terror. There is no Diaz, Tormentor of Rob, a.k.a, the Collector of Souls. You are not part of this Continuity," it stated.

Diaz morphed into a bloated bipedal boar wearing nothing but an iron belt. A variety of trinkets dangled from the belt, including a rubber ducky that had belonged to Rob when he was two. "I know that," grunted the creature. It resumed its Cameron Diaz form and said, "We'll try not to let the door hit us on the way out." With that, she stepped into the outhouse.

"That is an acceptable resolution," said the Deus Ex Machine as the outhouse vanished, taking Rob, Diaz and all the Pokemon with it.

The Deus Ex Machine then fired a single massive Continuity Wave and the remaining displaced elements fell into place. "Continuity is served," it said, and vanished.

Final Analysis:
Displaced Elements Returned to Prime: 75%
Displaced Elements Destroyed: 25%
Displaced Elements Unaccounted for: 0%
Duplicate Elements Destroyed: 100%
Duplicate Elements Unaccounted for: 0%

Current Status:
Non-Battle Net Elements in Prime Continuity: Minor incursions involving individual elements
Threat Level: Minor

Snark Activity: The Adversary remains unchecked
Threat Level: Significant

Author Activity: Contained
Threat Level: Minimal

Bozo Feet Activity: Contained
Threat Level: Zero
Comment: The Adversary's power will begin to wane without fresh infusions of B/F particles

Status of Significant Elements (SSE):

Lord Cool, Evette, Stupidhead, and Dolt are in the Cow Pasture in Tristram.

Lazarus, Arch-Mage Suave/NQBus, Multi, Spite, Sister Twisted, and Red Vex are in the Chamber of Bone.

Biff, Dr. Bruce, and LC3/Elsie are on Level 3 of the Cathedral.

Sugar, Deathspit, Solo, Ichabod/CowLord, Wirt/CowLad, Journeyman Jay, Mini-E and Ubet Choas are on Level 11 of the Caverns.

MadCow, Molt Lungren, Lifesuck, and Journeyman Kay are dead.

Overall Status of Prime Continuity: Stable; Access to other Battle Net and non-Battle Net Continuities blocked.

Recommended Action: Continue monitoring for non-Battle Net Elements and Continuity disruptions, inconsistencies, and plot holes. Act immediately to contain/mitigate further Author activity and/or intrusions of non-Battle Net elements. Otherwise, avoid direct intervention.

Continuity is served.

NEXT: "Continuity has Returned and Love is in the Air"


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Last update: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 06:16 AM
Tales of The is 1999 - 2004 by Steven Dong.
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