Collaborative Carnage: The Next Generation

Mutation 44: The Voyagers

by tempus fugit

A Horadrim Portal from Earth opened to Tristram, and two teenaged boys stepped through. Clearly visible was something new, a large metal sphere with a gaping hole in the side. Max Cool and his younger brother Shannon Cool surveyed the wrecked craft. "T-U-F-F-W Time P-o-d Mud Runner? What's that Max?" asked Shannon.

"Quiet! It seems to be some kind of time travel magic thingy. Mom said these were mythical." As Max reached out to touch the hole in the hull, residual automatic defenses engaged, bathing the young Cool with lightning. He twitched for a what seemed an eternity before something inside gave way with a *POP*, allowing the charred corpse to slide down the hull.

Shannon ignored his hated older brother and peered carefully through the hole. 'What kind of parents name a guy Shannon? Why couldn't I have been named something awe-inspiring, like, oh, Alexander?' Although the Analog/Digital Real Intelligence Algorithm interface that aided in running the ship was gone, downloaded into Gillian's remote unit, the basic functions of the ship were still available.

As Elsie (LC18)'s son, Shannon had been taught many things unknown to the average inhabitant of Tristram. Things such as technology. Accessing the computers, he quickly found that although the Mud Runner would never move again, a number of features remained operational: short range communications, a non-portable matter transmuter, and the time drive.

The glimmers of a diablical plan unfolded within the boy's mind. He lacked the training or the materials to repair the craft, but could scavenge the hull and other non-essential materials. A quick session with the matter transmuter and he had the essentials, a lightweight bastard sword fit for a King, shield and full plate armor fit for the Gods, even if the armor looked almost big enough to fit a whale. Some quick forging even added a light helm, all of them tough enough to last for ages.

The surviving spare computer circuitry was converted into a dreamy flange of metal small enough to fit on an armored finger. The other finger received a dual purpose band mounting an obsidian force field power battery and 12-symbol power augmenter for the armor.

Ready at last, and protected by his armor, Shannon set the time drive for the distant past. Shannon faded into the past, and the broken time drive failed at last, vaporizing the remains of the Mud Runner into nowhenness.

Startled, Gillian looked up from her Grandmother's porch. "Good day, how may I serve you? And who might ye be?" Equally surprised, Shannon Cool thought furiously. This was a pretty girl, he needed a manly name...

"Max!" was the first name to come to mind.

"Max?" Gillian repeated.

"Max-imum..." 'think man think... not "Cool", but something else awe-inspiring...' "Max-imum... Evil!" 'D'oh!' The newly named Maximum Evil fled in embarrassment. 'The plan... the plan, right... kill the scum who named me Shannon before he does it. I must kill Lord Cool!'

Unfortunately, thinking back to his father's stories of his youth, Max suddenly remembered that his father wasn't in his original body. "Frack! I don't know what he looks like. He was an adventurer though... I'll just have to kill them all until I find the right one!"

Of course, Elsie had neglected a few details... such as that his/her main adversary had been one Maximum Evil. That was to spare the kids knowledge of human cruelty. (like any boy named Shannon would remain ignorant of that for long) Another detail was so obvious that it was overlooked... Lord Cool's new body was almost identical to the old one... and the kids looked a lot like him, especially Shannon Cool...

Meanwhile, back in the future...

Startled, Gillian looked up from her Grandmother's porch. "Good day, what can I do for... YOU!" Before her stood Lord Cool. While she was revisiting her old home, Mission Specialist Ogden had taken ADRIA and gone off scouting. She wasn't expecting trouble, so he wasn't supposed to meet her back in town for hours, and she had no way to contact him.

Ogden was the combat specialist, she was the pilot. Alone and unarmed she had no way to defeat the trained warrior. But the Cools had to be stopped... by any means necessary. Unfortunately. She had to buy time, and her briefings revealed one distasteful possibility.

Trembling, she forced herself to say the words, "Would you, um, like to visit the private rooms in The Rising Sun with me?" The things a girl had to do to save the universe...


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