The Symbol of Innocence
“Sir, yes, sir. We’ve driven the UMA out of Breeze. They’re retreating west.”
“Good. Now go and find out what damage has been done to the buildings and get an estimate of the number of casualites. Report back to me in two hours.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“You are dismissed.”
Mchappy heard the unmistakable sound of gunfire in the room next door. He heard only two shots, but it startled him. His mind raced. Did the UMA pretend to retreat and then send a force to breach the ACP’s base? Did the Nachos take the UMA’s invasion as an opportunity to attack the fort while ACP was distracted? Or was it yet another enemy of his?
The door swung open, and Mchappy saw the person he least expected to see.
He looked like an average military man. Short dark hair, brown eyes, clean-shaven, wearing green camoflauge. But the man had an aura of power. Everything about him- the way he walked, the way he held himself, the way he swept his piercing eyes across the room- radiated pure power. Even though Mchappy was the Head General of ACP, it was all he could do from trembling and falling on his knees.
“Oagal,” Mchappy said weakly. He desperately looked around the room for the soldier he had been talking to, but he had disappeared, so he returned his gaze on his former leader.
“Y-” “You thought I was dead,” Oagal interrupted. “You were wrong.”
“How-” “Did you really think the Nachos could have killed me on that night in Mammoth? You underestimated me.”
Mchappy opened his mouth, but no sound came out. Oagal’s voice, which, if possible, was even more indimidating than his appearance, causing Mchappy’s brain to freeze.
“I thought you were dead as well. I thought they had taken you and killed you, as you were my servant. But instead, you were a coward. You denied your allegiance to me, changed your identity, from Red to… what’s your nickname nowadays? Mchappy? Anyway, you changed identities, and quietly took your place as Head General.”
“How do I know this about you? I have my ways, Mchappy. I have my ways. When I learned that you were still alive and the leader of ACP, my first thought was not to spare you. I thought, ‘The coward. Let’s see what he does when I return to power’. Then, I realized I could use your position to my benefit. So, here I am.”
Mchappy finally found the courage to speak. “So… you… you want me to hand over my rank?”
Oagal chuckled. “No, no, no. Not yet. Too suspicious. The man who brought us out of the Dark Era, being replaced by the man who brought us into the Dark Era? That would cause pandemonium. I must first reveal myself to the empire, let them know I have realized my mistake that brought ACP down, and that I can do better. And I do. I do realize my mistake. I was arrogant, Mchappy. I underestimated my enemies.”
Mchappy dared to speak again. “So… what now?”
“The people, or, more importantly, CPAC, does not know I am still alive yet. We will use that to our advantage until it is necessary to reveal myself.”
Mchappy wanted to point out that he had somehow breached the main fort of ACP, walked through its interior, and shot one of his soldiers. Not exactly a stealthy entrance. Then, he noticed what Oagal was holding. A worn camoflauge baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses. A disguise, more or less. He must have taken them off right when he opened the door, Mchappy thought.
“Will I reveal myself?” Oagal finished. “As soon as possible. Perhaps an announcement is in order. Reintroduce me and my plans.”
“To lead ACP through another Golden Age.”
Mchappy watched as Oagal put on the cap and the sunglasses and walked towards the door. “Now, do me a favor and make sure your soldiers do not shoot me.” Mchappy nodded. He went to the control panel and pushed the button that would let his voice ring out through the entire premises. He assured everyone that he was fine, and ordered that no one shoot the man who had gone into his room.
Mchappy went to join Oagal, whose hand was on the doorknob.
“And Mchappy,” Oagal said quietly, still facing the door, “I assume you loyalty will never waver again, hmm?”
“Another goal for me!”
Joey moaned. “What’s the score now? 8-3?”
He wiped the sweat off of his forehead with the back of his hand. He and his best friend, Kate, had been playing soccer at the only indoor soccer field in Klondike, Blue Sky’s, for over an hour.
Joey was glad to see Kate again. Ever since the Nachos had launched an attack on their server 6 months ago, his mother had barely even let him step out of the house. This morning, she reluctantly let Joey spend the afternoon with Kate.
“That’s five shots,” Kate said. “Your turn to shoot.”
They switched places. Kate stood in the goal, and Joey went to the edge of the goal box, where a black and white soccer ball was waiting for him. He stood a few feet away from the ball, ready to shoot. He looked up at the goal, where Kelly stood, knees slightly bent, with a determined look on her face.
Though she had no makeup and wore only shorts and a T-shirt, she was pretty, with a lean, athletic frame, green eyes, and very long, straight blond hair that was tied back in a pony tail.
“What are you waiting for?” She shouted. “Bring it on!”
Joey ran up and shot the ball, which hit the post and bounced back towards him. He swore under his breath. Kate was much better at this than he was.
She smiled. “No point for you. It’s still-”
Kate was interrupted by a shrill siren. The invasion siren.
Joey barely had time to yell for Kate to run when the roof of the building collapsed on them.
“Kate!” Joey pushed off the chunks of metal and cement that had fallen on him. “KATE!!!” he screamed hysterically. He jumped up, and, ignoring the pain that consumed his body, ran over to the goal, which had fallen over.
“Right here!” a voice said. Joey’s eyes darted to the left post, which had broken off of the goal and fallen on Kate’s chest. He sprinted to her location, dodging the pieces of ceiling that threatened to crush his skull. He lifted up the post, shoved it out of the way, and helped Kate up.
The sound of an explosion filled Joey’s ears. The ground shook violently, causing him to lose balance. RPGs, Joey thought. “We gotta go! Come on!”
They sprinted as fast as they could to the exit. Just as they got out, Blue Sky’s completely collapsed, turning into a heap of rubble. “To the apartment!” Kate shouted.
Outside of Blue Sky’s was complete pandemonium. Everywhere, people were screaming and running for their lives. Several buildings had been crushed, lifeless bodies lay on the sidewalk.
Joey and Kate ran through the crowd as fast as they could. Twice, they were almost trampled by the mob of people. An RPG struck a building nearby, causing the earth to rumble.
As they navigated the crowd, movement in the sky grabbed Joey’s attention. Helicopters hovered over the road and dropped ropes, which dozens of men in orange camouflage uniforms used to slide to the ground. The Nachos. They stormed across the street, through the small alleys in between the buildings, pushing or even shooting anyone who got in their way. All headed in the same direction.
The Server Dome, Joey realized. They were headed to the Server Dome, the center of the server and the server’s government.
“Keep going!” Kate yelled. They continued to sprint towards the apartment building in which they both lived, which was now about a mile away. A Nacho troop shot at us, but Kate ran up and hit him in between the ribs with the palm of her hand. The blow was so powerful the soldier staggered back and fell. Handy having a person trained in martial arts near you, Joey thought.
They turned right, and the apartment building came into view. “There it is!” Joey shouted. They sprinted faster than ever, energized by the sight of their home.
They came closer and closer. Half a mile away. A quarter-mile. “RPG!” a voice screamed. Instead of reaching home, Joey watched it be blasted to bits by one, two, three RPGs. The apartment building crumbled before his eyes.
Yet Joey continued to run, only stopping when he was a foot away from the ruins that was his home. He let out a small choking sound. It was gone. All gone.
“Our parents,” Joey whispered. They were most likely in the apartment building when the RPGs hit…
“There’s no time,” Kate said weakly. Joey tore his eyes away from the rubble and looked at Kate, whose face was streaked with tears. “There’s no time,” she said again, a little louder, “Let’s get out of here.”
They resumed sprinting, faster than before. Joey wanted to get away. Get away from the apartment building. Away from the ruins of his home. Away from the spot of his parents’ death. He didn’t care where he was going, he just wanted to get away.
After a while, Kate held her arm out, indicating for Joey to stop. “I think we’re near the edge of the server,” she said, panting hard. She was right. The buildings were just a bit more spaced out, which meant they were close to the border of Klondike.
Thankfully, it was way less crowded at the edge of the server. Joey saw people or entire families running down the middle of the road, probably to escape Klondike before they were killed, but he wasn’t jostled around like he was near Blue Sky’s and the apartment building.
Suddenly, Kate slammed him against the wall of a building. Joey started to shout, but she clamped her hand over his mouth. “Shh… Nachos in the alley to the right of us,” she whispered. “Keep your back flat against the wall, maybe they won’t hurt us.”
Joey did as he was told. As they waited for the Nachos to pass, Joey ran through a list of places that might be safe. Home? Home was gone. The Safehouse, the underground emergency bunker near the Server Dome that citizens hid in during an invasion? No, Joey thought. It’s beeen at least 15 minutes since an RPG hit Blue Sky’s, the Nachos have definitely reached the Server Dome right now. The bunker’s near the Server Dome, so I probably couldn’t even go near the bunker without getting killed. Joey realized that putting the bunker next to the Server Dome wasn’t the smartest thing to do.
The more he racked his brain for places they could go, the more frantic he became. Finally, he came to a conclusion. The answer is no where. No where is safe. Joey thought glumly, We’re all going to die.
Joey let his eyes wander. He watched two children and a woman, probably the children’s mother, rush towards the border of the server. He read the signs on the front of the buildings. Bill’s Barber Shop. Extreme Pizzeria. Wayne’s Jewelry.
Then, his eyes fell upon two dead Nachos. They were slumped against the wall of the Extreme Pizzeria, obviously dead. One gun lay on a soldier’s lap, another a few yards away from the second soldier. Guns. An idea sparked in Joey’s mind.
Suddenly, his mother’s voice filled his head. Don’t play with guns, Joey. They’re dangerous.
Why had she let him practice shooting them with Kate one day, then? Another, more insistent voice said.
Surely, in this situation… it’s the only shot Kate and I have got to stay alive.
Joey debated for another moment, then calmly walked over to the two soldiers. He took the gun off of the soldier’s lap. It was fine, really, except for the blood that was splattered on it. Joey wiped the gun on the soldier’s uniform and examined it.
“Joey,” Kate said. “They’re gone.” She looked behind her, where Joey was before he walked over to the dead bodies. She hadn’t noticed that he’d moved.
“Kate,” Joey said. Her head turned abruptly. “Oh, there you are. What… what are you doing?”
“Grab a gun. We’re fighting our way to the bunker.”
At first, Kate looked confused. Then, a crazy grin slowly spread across her face. “Ohhhh yes. Let’s do this.” she said. Her eyes had a gleam that made Joey glad she was not her enemy. He took the ammunition and a knife from the dead Nacho; Kate did the same. “Come on.”
They cautiously snuck through the alleys between the buildings. Fortunately, they met no opposition for about a mile.
“How far do you think we are from the Dome Square?” Kate asked in a hushed voice. Joey did some quick calculations in his head and realized they were much closer than he’d thought. “A little less than two miles,” he replied.
Joey and Kate continued to sneak towards the Dome Square, the area that surrounded the Server Dome. 10 minutes later, they both froze at the sound of military boots and voices. They flattened their backs to the building closest to them. Joey held his breath. Nachos soldiers in the alley right next to them.
They’ll pass. He reassured himself. They’re fighting to control the Server Dome. Why would they move away from the Dome and go through our end of the alley?
He jumped at the sound of a deep, authoritave voice. “Alright,” the voice said. “Overlord wants us to move over to the west side of the Square. We’ll move away from it to make sure we don’t run in to anyone, then we’ll get closer to it again when we reach the west side. Let’s go.”
At first, Joey couldn’t quite process what he was hearing. Then he realized, They’re moving away from the Dome. And right towards us. He locked eyes with Kate. She jogged in place for a second, pointed to herself, then pointed to her mouth. Run when I say so. Joey nodded just as heard the soldiers coming closer. And closer. And closer.
Kate stuck out her foot just as the first soldier came out of the alley. He tripped and fell flat on his face; a bullet buried itself in the back of the soldier’s head. A millisecond later, Kate grabbed a second soldier by the neck, slit his throat, and let him drop to the ground, making horrible noises that sent shivers down Joey’s spine.
“NOW!” Kate screamed. Joey pushed through the remaining to soldiers and sprinted through the alley. He felt bullets whiz past his head. As he ran, every one of his senses kicked into overdrive; his body was filled with pure adrenaline.
Joey was barely aware of other fights going on around him, squads of soldiers in green camo fighting squads of soldiers in orange camo. They stopped and fired bullets at him, but none of them even brushed him.
Finally, Joey recognized the tailor’s shop, one of the stores that surrounded the Square. He slowed and flattened his back against the back wall of the shop, panting. Kate caught up to him a few seconds later and did the same.
As they caught their breath, Joey observed the scene in front of him. Though it was empty, it was obvious that there had been one, if not several fights where Joey stood. Blood splattered the walls, dozens of soldiers, both ACP and Nachos, lay dead on the ground.
But that scene was nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the Dome Square Joey saw when he looked from behind the tailor’s shop.
“Oh my God,” Joey whispered.
The Dome Square had turned into a slaughterhouse.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of dead bodies littered the Square. Some were in green camo, some in orange, but most of them, sadly, were citizens. They were slumped against walls, laying on the pavement, everywhere. There was so much blood, the very earth looked like it had been painted red. Even though he was sweating, Joey shivered at the sight of it.
Meanwhile, soldiers filled the square, firing bullets, throwing grenades, using ruined buildings as cover. ”This is it,” Kate whispered, fiddling with her gun.
“On three, we sprint,” she said. Joey prepared himself and set his eyes on the general location of the bunker, about half a mile away.
“One, two, three!” Kate screamed. Joey pushed off his back foot and sprinted as fast as he could.
They raced through the battlefield. Only a few bullets whizzed past them. The soldiers had more dangerous things to worry about than two young teenagers, so none pursued them and only a few shot at them.
Joey tried to ignore it all. If he started focusing on his surroundings, he guessed, he would be even more terrified then he already was. Instead, he focused on his destination, and his destination alone. All other things became a blur to him.
After about a minute, the bunker came into view. It was nothing impressive, a low, plain building which Joey knew had a tunnel inside that would lead underground, but the sight of it caused Joey to run even faster, even though his lungs burned.
Almost there, almost there, Joey thought as he rushed past a blood-splattered man who was clutching two stumps that used to be his legs.
Despite the fact that the bunker was their only shot at surviving, Joey got increasingly worried as he approached it. There were far more soldiers where Joey was, and it only got worse as they got closer to the bunker. Would they make it?
Suddenly, a bullet whizzed past his head. It was so close to hitting Joey, he could feel its deadly energy as it rushed past him. We’re not going to make it, Joey thought.
He felt an arm slam him down to the ground. A bullet soared above him… right where his head had been.
“You owe me one, Joey,” Kate said as she helped him up.
They sprinted for another minute, and Joey got even more worried. There were an awful lot of orange camo uniforms over there, he thought. There were so many bullets in the air, it looked like it was raining, and it was a miracle he hadn’t been hit.
“Kate, stop,” Joey said suddenly when they were 50 yards from the bunker. No way they could go in there.
Nacho soldiers had formed a circle around the entire building, their backs facing the wall. The door of the bunker opened, and more walked out, dragging screaming citizens and putting bullets through their heads.
The Nachos had taken the bunker. They were doomed.
We’re all going to die, Joey thought again. But this time, the thought didn’t seem like a highly possible probability, but a statement of complete truth.
Suddenly, an idea popped into his head. Couldn’t they just leave the server? Wouldn’t that ensure their safety? Joey felt like banging his head against a wall. He had watched people do it, and yet the thought of doing it himself had completely escaped his mind, and instead he had decided to throw himself and Kate into the thick of things.
“What now, genius?” Kate said with, for the first time Joey could remember, a hint of fear in her voice.
“Escape the server! Now!” Joey yelled. “Come on!
They, for what seemed like the millionth time, ran. Not in any particular direction. They just ran.
Once again, Joey’s surroundings became a blur to him as nature’s caffeine, aka adrenaline, filled him, despite his exhaustion.
The two teenagers raced through the battle field for a few minutes, with nothing but survival on their minds.
But as they sprinted through the Square, something in the midst of the fighting caught Joey’s eye.
He was huge, about 7 feet tall and at least 200 pounds. His square face was dotted with two beady little eyes that were filled to the brim with rage… or maybe even insanity. The man seemed like he had gone crazy, smashing everything in sight, firing bullets everywhere.
It wasn’t until the man let out a scream… a horrible, bloodcurdling, completely insane scream, that Joey realized what the man was.
Berserkers, his 5th grade teacher Mr. Hamilton had said, were warriors that experienced temporary insanity during battles. They killed everything that moved, friend or enemy. A thousand years ago, many tribes had fighting forces that were all berserkers, and believe it or not, were some of the most powerful and feared tribes in the land. Although there are not many berserkers today, armies still use berserkers to break through the front lines and cause chaos, which they often do very well.
They killed everything that moved, Joey repeated in his mind. Before he could slow himself and be absolutely still, the berserker’s eyes locked with his, and Joey knew he had just looked death in the face.
“GET THEM!” The berserker yelled in a rage-filled, barely intelligible voice. He and what Joey guessed was his squad starting barreling towards him, shaking their dirt-and-blood-covered fists.
“Hurry!” Kate screamed.
The adrenaline Joey had experienced before was absolutely nothing compared to this. He was nothing but fear, nothing but pure energy, nothing but his will to survive. His lungs felt like they were on fire, but Joey ignored them. He sprinted faster and faster, not even looking where he was going.
Into the building, Joey thought as he spotted a huge skyscraper with a giant dome on the top. It was covered with huge holes that RPGs had, no doubt, made. The front door to the building had been blown off, leaving just the bottom foot of the wall, but the building still held.
Suddenly, Joey realized the skyscraper was not just an ordinary building. It was the Server Dome, probably the most dangerous place they could be. But one mental image of the berserker led Joey to believe that it was worth the risk. We’ll go to the second or third floor, lose them, and then jump through the hole in the wall. It’s our only chance.
They leaped over the ruins of the wall and into the Server Dome, which was in complete pandemonium. The front desk had been tipped over, broken tile was all of the floor, the giant clock sat destroyed and surrounded by glass. Worst of all, the place was filled with soldiers.
Half an hour ago, Joey would have been scared to death. But these soldiers were nothing compared to the insane, battle-lust filled, huge man two hundred yards behind him.
Many of soldiers aimed their guns at him, but were quickly distracted by the berserker, panicked, and ran. The elevator had been completely annihilated, so they settled for the half-destroyed staircase that led to the second floor.
The second floor reminded Joey of a piece of graph paper. It was covered in cubits, with 6 foot walls surrounding each square besides a small entrance/exit. Narrow passage ways separated the cubits. Other than that, there were doors on the walls that probably led to private offices.
The room was in chaos, with soldiers of both sides using the cubits as cover, with chairs knocked over and desks destroyed, with bullet holes in the walls and dead men lying all over the place, hung over the cubit walls and blocking the passageways.
Alright, now we find a hole that RPGs have created and jump. Joey reminded himself.
But there was only one problem with this daring plan: there were no holes. The hole he saw must only be reachable by the third floor, Joey realized.
“Next floor! Hurry!” he yelled to Kate. Suddenly, a smashing sound louder than the others filled the room as the berserker ran straight a cubit wall, leaving it cracked in two.
They took the steps three at a time, until they reached the third floor, which was identical to the second. And there it was… the hole! They darted through the maze of cubits towards it. Joey looked through the hole at the ground, and he immediately cursed himself for being so dumb.
They were way too high up. There was no way they could survive the jump.
“No way we can make that!” Kate yelled. “Let’s get around the berserkers and go back down!”
As if on cue, Joey saw the berserker, who towered over everything in the room, barreling through everything, even walls.
And, also as if on cue, a blasting sound filled Joey’s ears as an RPG struck the wall opposite to them, making the staircase they had used seconds ago crumble before their eyes.
“We’re trapped,” Joey said shakily. If only we could blast our way back to the second floor somehow…
Suddenly, something from a TV show came to Joey’s mind. It was one of those How Stuff Works shows, the episode of the explosives the military use. The smallest explosive, with the exception of the grenade, that was used by the military was the Smasher, and device used to blast a hole in the floor so the soldiers could get to the floor below.
Joey seized the closest soldier’s backpack and dug through it frantically until he found what he was looking for: 4 disk-shaped items, with four pieces of wire that ended and began with little clips.
“Kate!” Joey screamed, throwing the disks to the ground. “Arrange these like they’re the four corners of a square!”
As Kate went to work, Joey attached the four pieces of wire to the disks. The result was a square of wire, with the disks as the four corners.
“Get in the square!” Joey ordered. He stepped inside the square and pressed a small button on the side of one of the disks.
Five. The berserker, who apparently had lost sight of Joey since he reached the third floor, finally caught sight of him.
Four. The berserker shouted orders at his cronies, his eyes filled with hate.
Three. The berserker and his squad charged, destroying everything in sight.
Two. Joey suddenly remembered he had a gun, and aimed at the insane man.
One. Joey fired, wounding one of the squad member’s legs.
Joey’s ears exploded with sound as the explosives did their job.
A second later, Joey was standing on the second floor. Still standing on the piece of carpet he had been standing on a moment ago, but yet, on the second floor. Above him was an almost perfectly shaped square hole where he could see the floor above him.
Yet they were not in the confusing maze Joey was expecting them to be in, but rather one of the private offices. A hole Joey had not seen before was 10 feet to his right in the wall.
Though it was a private office, the room was not empty. On the left, next to the door leading to the main piece-of-graph-paper-room, were two soldiers dressed in orange camouflage. In the middle of the room were two people. One was obviously a Nacho soldier, but was dressed in some sort of uniform that suggested he was of higher rank, an officer or general. The second person was a woman that donned a black knee length skirt and a white blouse; she was holding a microphone in her hand. On the right were three men dressed in ordinary clothes with camera equipment.
But Joey didn’t care. At this point, the word “people” was identical to the word “enemy”. He spewed bullets at the Nachos near the door, and then the man and woman in the middle of the room. Kate took on the men with the cameras.
Within three seconds, they were all dead. Without thought, Joey sprinted to the hole in the wall…. and jumped.
Joey opened his eyes.
He was exhausted; every part of his body was aching badly. His cheek was pressed against the cobblestone floor of the alley they had taken refuge to after he and Kate had escaped their home server Klondike.
For a few minutes, Joey closed his eyes again and melted himself into his surroundings. A cold breeze skimmed across his sore back. He traced his finger over one of the cobblestones. He listened to the sound of Kate breathing, obviously still asleep. He heard the sounds of the house whose right wall made up one side of the alley, he heard the sound of pots and pans being moved around, of soft voices carrying a conversation.
Even though his form of meditation was relaxing, Joey still felt heavy, like all hope had been lost. But why?
Suddenly, everything came to him. The blare of the invasion siren, his home crumbling before his eyes, his decision to fight he and Kate’s way to the bunker, the sight of lifeless citizens being dragged out of the bunker, the berserker, the Server Dome, his idea to use explosives to blast their way back down to the second floor of the Dome, shooting the Nachos, the officer, the woman, and the men with the cameras, and jumping out a hole in the wall.
The weight of it all seemed to physically press on him, almost crush him. His home and his parents were gone. And here they were, in an alley in Snow Fort, the adjacent, slightly smaller server next to Klondike that he and Kate had gone to after escaping… last night? Two nights ago?
Joey sat up and looked around. Only a few golden beams of sunlight reached him, as most of the light was blocked by the houses on either side of him and the trees in the yards of those houses. Joey guessed it was either the morning after their escape, or the evening; he couldn’t tell.
He heard something stir next to him and turned his attention to Kate, who had just woken up.
“You okay?” Joey said in a slightly hoarse voice, and immediately regretted saying it. Of course she wasn’t okay. She had just lost her home and parents, just like he had.
Joey expected Kate to shoot back an offensive comment, but she just replied, “Alright, but I’m starving.” Joey suddenly realized that he too, was very hungry. “Yeah, same here. Do you have any money?” Kate shook her head. They sat in silence for a moment, wondering what they should do.
But Joey was distracted by a new sound entering his ears: the television in the house next to them.
“It’s the news,” Kate whispered. “Let’s see if there’s any info about Klondike.”
Both of them quietly walked behind the house to the back window, which was open to let in the cool air. The window was right above a kitchen sink, and about 10 feet in front of the sink was the television, which a middle aged man and woman were watching, backs turned to the two teenagers, from a couch.
Joey focused his attention to the TV. “And now, an interview with TanMan on the invasion and destruction of the server Klondike,” an attractive female reporter said. Suddenly, the woman disappeared and was replaced with a totally different room.
The back wall was made entirely of glass, so the huge, urban server of Mammoth, the only server owned by no one and the headquarters of CPAC, could be seen. In the middle of the room were two plush lilac seats, which were facing diagonally in. Out in front of the chairs was a small glass table which held an elegant vase of flowers.
In the left chair sat Sklooperis, the Head Reporter of CPAC. In the right chair was TanMan, sitting stiffly, like he was uncomfortable.
TanMan, in Joey’s opinion, was the exact opposite of what a leader of an army as powerful as the Nachos should look like, despite the man’s air of seriousness. First of all, he looked way too young to be a Head General, maybe 25 years old. He had very curly, brown-red hair, blue eyes, and an overall babyish looking face. If Joey had seen him on the street not knowing who he was, he would have thought the guy was a goofy, skinny college guy, not the Head General of the Nachos.
“So, General, most people know that you attempted to invade Klondike once before six months ago, unsuccessfully. Why do you think your previous attempt was not as successful as the invasion yesterday?” Skloop asked.
“Bad tactics, Skloop,” TanMan replied. “Usually, when we invade a city, we use certain tactics concerning what to attack and secure first. Instead of securing the borders first and moving inward as we did last time, we went straight for the goal. A matter of how to tackle the problem was the issue.”
“And what exactly was the ‘problem’?”
“I don’t believe ACP was treating and protecting the server properly. Not using its resources of steel and iron correctly. Overusing them, really. Taking too much without leaving some for the citizens. The Nachos, however, will focusing on protecting the city and helping it thrive, rather than rob them of their resources and leave them with nothing.”
Nothing could be further than the truth, Joey thought. Almost everyone knew that all the armies wanted was power and resources, but for some reason leaders insisted the opposite anyway.
“But you destroyed Klondike in the process.”
“The releasing of the atomic bombs that destroyed the server was not part of the plan. The order to release the bombs was not even given. We do not know who did it. We do not know if it was an accident or whether it was intentional. We don’t even know if it wasn’t us, but the ACP. Maybe they released the bombs to end the fight, because they knew they would not have the money to repair the damage done by our invasion once again.”
Atomic bombs? At first, Joey was confused. Then he recalled a faint explosion sound and feeling the earth vibrate when he and Kate were about a mile from the server. Then, he had thought it was just an RPG, but he realized that if heard the sound from at least a mile away, the explosive used had to be much more dangerous than a RPG.
“So, do you feel like you won or lost this battle?”
“I feel like there was no loser but the thousands of civilians who lost their lives due to RPGs and the atomic bombs. And, since there was no loser, there was no winner. No one can feel victorious or defeated; all we can feel is the sorrow that so many lives were unnecessarily lost.”
“Now, tell me about the death of the man next in line for third in command.”
“Ah, dear Hades. His death, or should I say, murder, was unexpected and tragic.”
A picture of a man showed up on the screen. He was wearing a baseball cap, had dark, thick eyebrows, brown eyes, and a square jaw.
Suddenly, a very strange battle starting raging in Joey’s head. His recognition alarm went off, though Joey was sure he had never seen the man before. And, for some reason, his heart sank and a sense of doom flooded over him, though he had no idea why.
The picture stayed on the screen, but TanMan’s voice still continued. “The entire army is mourning the murder of this brave young man by two apparently very… ah, messed up youth.”
Joey’s heart sank even more, even though there seemed to be no reason to be particularly sad.
“Yes, tell me more about what you think of these children. Do you think they were hired to kill Hades?”
“Absolutely. After all, who would suspect mere children of doing such a thing? They were paid by the Nachos to do this, and they will certainly pay for what they did.”
“So you believe the ACP would sink so low as to disregard the Treaty of Conservation, which states that people under the age of 16 should never engage in combat for any army?”
“Before, I thought they would not sink that low, but I was obviously wrong.”
“Do you think these children deserve to be punished?”
“Yes, I do. They could have gone to someone for help, or escaped, or simply refused to do such a horrible thing, but they didn’t, which is why I believe they were not against murdering Hades and that poor CPAC reporter Becca.”
“Which is why I am offering one million dollars to whoever can bring me these children. Dead or alive. And if you have any information about who these youth may be, contact the Nacho offices immediately.”
Joey’s heart sank even more, and his confusion about why his heart was sinking increased.
“Thank you for your time, General,” Skloop said politely.
The cameras zoomed in on Sklooperis. “So there you have it, folks. The opinion of the Nacho Head General TanMan. Though we have much information about this event, many things are left unanswered. Who released the atomic bombs that destroyed Klondike? What will become of the few survivors of the Klondike invasion? And, most of all, who are the mysterious children, the killers of the Nacho officer Hades?”
A video clip was played on the screen. It filmed a private office from the top corner of the room, probably a security camera that somehow survived. Two Nacho soldiers guarded the door on the left wall. Three cameramen were on the right side of the room, next to a hole in the wall made by an RPG. They were bustling around, cleaning equipment, putting on headsets, and testing the cameras.
In the middle of the room stood Hades in his crisp officer’s uniform, waiting to be interviewed by Becca, the reporter in the black skirt holding a microphone, about the status of the invasion.
Joey’s eyes widened.
Then, a square piece of the floor from the floor above fell across the room from Becca and Hades, in the middle of the square two young teenagers, one boy and one girl, who spewed bullets at everyone in the room, and then disappeared from sight by leaping through the hold in the wall.
Joey’s heart seemed to sink all the way to his stomach.
He and Kate had killed Hades.
Joey and Kate: Wanted, dead or alive.
The man is a genius, Mchappy thought.
A mad genius, but a genius nevertheless.
Mchappy had just finished listening to Oagal, who was telling him the ideas he was going to repeat to the crowd of high ranking officers gathering in the Base Stadium.
“So,” Oagal said in his usual power-radiating voice, “What do you think?”
“Brilliant, sir,” Mchappy said. “Absolutely brilliant. Especially the one about those children who murdered the Nacho officer. No wonder you asked me not to be interviewed by CPAC, I would have said the children were hired by the Nachos themselves. I thought the Nachos killed their own officer using the children and then blamed the ACP to make us look bad, but your idea is much better.”
Oagal smiled, and Mchappy watched as he sipped water from a glass.
Unlike Mchappy, Oagal seemed not one bit nervous about speaking in front of 1,000 of the highest-ranking soldiers in the army. He wasn’t even dressed professionally in a suit like Mchappy was, just in faded jeans and a dark green T-shirt that read “ACP” in big, bold black letters.
“Sir… shouldn’t you be dressed in something a little… nicer… for your speech?”
Oagal chuckled. “Oh, that won’t be necessary, Mchappy. Now let’s get going, the meeting starts in two minutes.”
They both stood up and walked quickly down the hallway to the backstage area of the ACP Base Stadium. Mchappy peeked out from behind the thick green camo curtain. Sure enough, a thousand people were seated in the huge stadium built specifically for these kinds of meetings.
He and Oagal followed a man with the clipboard and headset to the hidden area to the right of the stage, with a small passageway that led to the stage.
Mchappy took a deep breath. Even though, as the General of ACP, he shouldn’t be intimidated by the high ranking soldiers in the stadium, he always got a little nervous before speeches.
“You’re on in 10, General,” the man with the clipboard said. Mchappy nodded and took another deep breath.
It’s just an introduction, Mchappy thought to himself. You’re not even doing the speech. You can do this.
“On in 5,” the man with the clipboard whispered as he shoved a microphone into Mchappy’s hand, “4, 3, 2, 1!”
Mchappy walked briskly onto the stage and began to speak.
“Hello, fellow officers. Now, I know that this is a rare occasion. We usually don’t do ‘stage performance’ sort of things. You guys don’t even know why you’re here, and right now I will relieve you of your confusion.”
“There is a man who is supposed to dead, yet who is alive. A man who no one knew had survived the battle that brought us into the Dark Ages. A man who has new ideas about how to bring the ACP into a new Golden Age.”
“From the description I just gave you, it may seem like this man was not particularly well known. Just a survivor of a battle who has ideas. Well, you’re wrong. You all either know this man or have heard of him. This man is probably even more capable of being Head General than I am.”
“I introduce to you… former Head General… Oagalthorp.”
Mchappy walked across the stage to the side area as Oagalthorp came into view and approached him. Mchappy held out his hand with the microphone so Oagal could take it, but Oagal mouthed, Keep it, and Mchappy obeyed.
Meanwhile, the crowd was going nuts. There were cries of fury, cries of elation. Shouts of vengeance, shouts of joy. Some were beating their fists and grinding their teeth, others had tears of joy running down their cheeks.
Oagal remained completely calm until the chaos subsided. Then, he began to speak.
And Mchappy, standing in the side stage area, experienced, for the first time in a long time, one of Oagal’s speeches.
No matter how many times Mchappy witnessed this phenomenon, he was amazed. Oagal was so persuasive that there was not even a word to describe how persuasive he was. His words were logical, yet there was emotion behind those words. His tone held friendliness, yet it also held incredible power. His words were concise and simple, yet they explained everything and more.
Oagal spoke for a few minutes about his capture by the Nachos, how after the battle of Mammoth they had spread rumors that he was dead, but had really kept Oagal and tortured him for information, and how he had performed a daring escape.
Suddenly, Mchappy understood Oagal’s choice of clothing. He didn’t need to wear a suit and tie. His incredible aura of power and strength that filled the room was so mesmerizing he could have been out there in his underwear and he would have still seemed like a god.
The reaction of the crowd was almost as incredible as Oagal’s speaking. The 1,000 most intimidating, strongest, wisest, people in the most powerful army looked liked they were going to bow down at Oagal’s feet any second. And it had only been two minutes.
Mchappy looked up at the balcony of the stadium, where the 3 third in commands and the 2 second in commands were sitting. Kenneth, who Mchappy thought could never be surprised by anything and had nerves of steel, was staring, with his mouth slightly open and his eyes glazing over. Bobcatboy, who could have easily beaten up Oagal, seemed like he was about to run down to the stage and start kissing Oagal’s feet.
Oagalthorp… he could do… anything… Mchappy thought. He could convince a man to kill his son. Or his sister. Or his wife. Or even himself. He could drive someone insane or heal them with his voice. He crushes and builds up with words alone… and with his words alone… he could take over the world.
Then Mchappy remembered that that was exactly what Oagal wanted to do, and he doubted anyone could stop him.
Oagal continued to speak. He told people about his mistakes, how he realized his mistakes, and how he had changed because of those mistakes. He spoke about a new Golden Age and new ideas with the crowd hanging on his every word.
“And now… concerning these two children, the murderers of the Nacho high rank Hades. Though we have not officially stated our position, there are rumors about what we believe. Many of you think that the Nachos themselves hired the children to kill their officer, and then blamed it on ACP to make us look bad. That is, yes, not a horribly illogical theory, but it is not what I believe is true.”
“Have you ever noticed that the Warfare World is turning paranoid? We look at every little thing that happens in every battle, and we think every single one of those little things is a sign that this Army A is horrible, or that Army B is out to destroy us.”
“Have you ever considered the theory that those children might be… innocent?”
Confusion rose among the crowd, along with whispers and quiet voices.
“Have you ever considered that these children are perfectly innocent, that they’re just two kids that somehow got in the middle of the situation and were trying to save themselves? Maybe their uncle or whoever took them on a tour of the Server Dome that day. Maybe their parents weren’t home, so they had to spend their day at the Server Dome with a relative or friend who works there and the invasion started while they were in there.”
“How is that less reasonable than the theory that the Nachos, who we always respected, hired these youth, two people under 16 years of age, to kill off their own officer? Think about that. Their own officer. Do you understand how desperate of a theory is? These children are not murderers. They are innocent, and yet the Nachos claim that they were hired by us to kill their officer. Both the Nachos’ theory and our supposed theory are paranoid.”
“Right now, these children are probably in hiding. Hiding in some lonely little alley, too scared to show their faces because they were framed for a crime they did not commit. Right now, these children are the symbol of innocence. We need to find them, show them we mean them no harm, and deliver them to safety. It shows we care about, that we protect the blameless.”
And also condemns the Nachos, Mchappy thought.
Oagal concluded his speech with a few more minutes of his concise but amazing sentences, accepted a standing ovation and a round of thundering applause and wild cheers, then calmly walked off the stage to the side area.
“Brilliant,” Mchappy told him as he passed him.
“Thank you,” Oagal replied smugly.
“The store will close in 30 minutes,” a cool detached female voice said.
“Alright, now we hang around and pretend like we care about this crap,” Kate said, looking distastefully at the clothing racks around her.
“I thought girls liked clothes,” Joey said, smiling.
“Not ALL girls are obsessed with clothes, Mr. Clueless. Come on, let’s go to the teen section.”
They wandered around Iris’s, avoiding the employees and the customers for fear of recognition.
“Dude, I am totally stealing this,” Joey said, holding up a black hoodie with a cool design on the front. “Wow, never thought I’d say that.”
“Hey, keep your eye on sunglasses, too. We need to stuff to hide our face, since we have a million dollar reward over our heads now.” Kate said, examining a shelf of all different types of sunglasses.
“Iris’s is now closed. Come again soon!” the detached voice said.
“Hurry! To the bathroom stalls!” Joey whispered urgently.
“All the employees check there now, that stunt’s been in too many movies. A vent is where we need to go.” She pointed to the vent on the wall even with their ankles. “Tell me if anyone’s coming.”
She bent down, took out a screwdriver they had found in a trash can, and set to work while Joey watched for any employees or customers.
“Almost done… almost… there! Get in!” she whispered.
They crawled into the vent. Joey took some tape he had found in the garbage and taped the grate to the entrance of the vent to make it look like they had never taken it off. They squeezed themselves a few dozen feet up the vent until they were invisible to the employees.
“Now we wait until everyone’s gone, and then take out the guard in the security camera room thingy,” Joey reminded himself and Kate.
It took about half an hour, but finally, finally, he heard the manager lock up the place and leave.
“Ok, I’ll take care of the guard.” Kate began to army crawl up the vent.
“Where are you going?”
“There’s another grate on the ceiling of the security room. I’ll use that. If I don’t come back in five minutes…”
Joey listened to the sound of Kate working her way through the vents until he couldn’t hear her anymore.
A few minutes later, Joey faintly heard a man’s surprised gasp as Kate did whatever she did to the poor man, and he knew the job was done. He crawled back down to the grate, unfastened it, and slid out.
He met up with Kate about a minute later. “Take as much as you need,” Kate said.
For the next 10 minutes, Joey and Kate robbed the store. They took clean underwear, 6 pairs of sweatpants, two pairs of tennis shoes, 8 long-sleeved shirts, 4 hoodies, 2 pairs of sunglasses, and two pairs of gloves. I can’t believe I’m doing this, Joey thought sadly.
“To the window,” Joey said after they were done. They walked over to the window Kate had made possible to open by unscrewing the screws that locked it, opened it up, and quietly slipped through it. Kate slid the window closed and put the screws back in.
Joey shivered. Ever since the cold front had blown in this morning, the two teenagers’ lack of food, warm clothing, and their physically taxing adventure two days ago had taken its toll. Joey had never been so cold, weak, and hungry in his life.
Clothes in their arms, they headed back to the alley in which they now lived.
“Ok, let’s change into these. Finally, thank God, I’m freezing,” Kate said.
Joey jumped, and Kate gasped. They both spun around.
A man stood in front of them. He had a protruding belly, a black beard, and dark brown eyes. He looked about 45, and wore a short-sleeved shirt that showed arms that looked like they had probably been heavily muscled at one point, but had weakened from lack of use.
“Ummm… ummm…” Joey stammered. His heart was hammering.
The man was smiling slightly. “Come with me,” he said quietly. He said it in a friendly way, not like he was forcing two youth with a million dollar reward over their heads to come with him so he could turn them in.
Joey glanced at Kate, and got a quick, silent message. Run.
Joey turned around to start running, and Kate copied his movements. But he felt a strong arm with an iron grip grab his shoulder, and he froze.
“Why are you running? I won’t hurt you,” the man said calmly, but Joey didn’t believe him. He hadn’t trusted anyone, not one person, since the invasion two days ago. No one but Kate, anyway.
“Come with me,” the man repeated. He steered Joey and Kate to the right and started guiding them down different alleys to the downtown area of Snow Fort. Joey tried to break from his grip a few times, but failed miserably. He glanced at Kate, and could almost see the gears in her mind going a million miles an hour, formulating a plan to escape.
He led them into a small house. It was warm and cozy, and reminded Joey of his own home. Then he remembered that his home was gone, and sadness started to creep into him.
They walked through the living room into the kitchen. “Sit,” the man said, gesturing towards a small, round table with three wooden chairs. Kate and Joey obeyed.
The man starting taking things out of the refrigerator, freezer, and all of the drawers in the kitchen. A pan. A wooden spoon. A large bowl.
Meanwhile, Joey had a silent conversation with Kate.
What’s the plan? Joey mouthed.
Let’s just get up as quietly as possible and sneak out, Kate answered. Joey nodded and started getting out of his chair, trying to be silent.
He felt that huge, rough hand on his shoulder again, and he winced. “Sit,” the man repeated, gently pushing him towards the table. Joey and Kate sat down again, feeling defeated.
The man continued to cook. As the aroma of the food reached Joey’s nostrils, his mouth began to water, and his hunger became almost unbearable.
Joey and Kate sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the man placed two plates, silverware, and napkins in front of them. On Joey’s plate was a slab of grilled chicken, with green beans and cooked carrots. A glass of what looked like Coke was next to it.
The man walked towards them with his own plate, put it on the table, and slid into the remaining chair across from Joey. “Hungry?” he asked, and Joey couldn’t help but nod.
He began to eat. Even though the food was delicious and he was starving, he ate slowly, not keeping his eyes off the man in front of him. Finally, he gathered the courage to ask, “Who are you?”
“I used to go by the name Fatal Rodent, but you can call me Dan.”
Despite his fear of the man, Joey tried not to laugh. Fatal Rodent?
Dan continued. “I was once an officer for ACP. Three ranks away from third in command, actually. But aging got the better of me, and I retired. That was six years ago. Now, I’m what ACP calls a Watcher. Technically, I guess I’m a spy, since Snow Fort is owned by DCP, not ACP. Anyway, ACP pays me a small amount of money every month to keep an eye out for suspicious things here and report back weekly. Also, if they send any spies- real spies, I guess-here, I’m the one who’s supposed to house them.”
ACP? Joey thought. He knew that the Nachos absolutely despised them, but he hadn’t thought about what the other armies thought about him and Kate. Was this man an enemy or a friend?
“Yesterday, I got a letter from the ACP. They told me to look for two children, the two killers of that Nacho officer.”
Joey’s heart started to race again.
“And I believe we all know that you are those killers. Am I right?”
Joey hesitated. “I suppose,” he said slowly.
“The ACP said that you might be in this server, since Snow Fort is just west of Klondike. They said that if I find you, I am to deliver you to them.”
“So…” Kate said cautiously, “You’re not going to turn us in to the Nachos? Or kill us?”
“No, no, no,” Dan (or Fatal Rodent) said, chuckling, and Joey’s heart lightened a bit. “No, I don’t want to kill you or turn you in. I’m not that cruel. I’m sending you to the ACP’s main base, first thing in the morning. Those were the instructions.”
“Now, I’m curious: Were you hired by ACP to kill Hades?”
“No,” Kate said. She, with Joey’s help, told their story. She explained everything, from their afternoon at Blue Sky’s to the present.
Afterwards, Joey and Kate waited. Dan didn’t say anything for a long time, two or three full minutes. Finally…
“So you’re innocent. The ACP didn’t hire to kill Hades, nor did the Nachos hire you to kill their own officer and blame ACP to make ACP look bad.”
“You’re totally innocent. Interesting. When I first heard the story, that seemed like the least likely theory.”
“So you believe us,” Joey said.
“What do the ACP believe about us?” Kate asked nervously.
“Well, there is no official statement about what they think. The leader hasn’t said anything, I mean,” Dan said, sipping from his glass. “But, there are two main rumors of what the ACP believe:
“The first one is that the ACP really did hire you to kill Hades, and they obviously don’t hate you, since you’re on their side.”
“The second theory is that they think the Nachos hired you to kill their own officer, then the Nachos blamed ACP. Some believe that the ACP hate your guts because of that. So, either they hate you or they know you’re on their side.”
“And you’re sending us to the ACP main base tomorrow,” Kate said.
“Correct,” Dan confirmed.
“So basically, depending on what the ACP think about you guys,” Dan continued, “You’re either safe… or dead.”
“How long will it take to get to the base?” Kate said, slipping on her tennis shoes.
“Oh, 8 hours at least,” Dan said. “Actually, probably around 10.”
Bleah, Joey thought. He hated long car trips.
Dan walked over to a door Joey hadn’t noticed before, in the corner of the living room. He opened it and gestured for Joey and Kate to walk through. They obeyed, and found themselves in a garage, crammed with boxes and junk. In the middle of the garage, looking out of place, was a sleek black…
“Convertible!?” Joey said in surprise.
“Hey, I used to be a high rank in ACP. What did you think I spent all that retirement money on?” Dan said, grinning. “Too cold to leave the hood down, though.”
Dan reached into the car’s driver seat and pushed a button next to the steering wheel. The hood of the car slowly popped out from the back and moved forward until it reached the front of the car.
Joey watched as Dan threw a large bag into the shotgun seat. Joey still had mixed feelings about this man. On one hand, Dan had been incredibly kind to them. He took in Joey and Kate, even though they were dirty, ratty, beaten down and supposed criminals. He had given them two amazing meals (last night’s dinner and a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and eggs), and a place to sleep. He was always nice to them, sympathizing with them and joking around with them.
But yet, one thing about Dan bothered Joey: he didn’t seem bothered by the fact that he could be delivering Joey and Kate to their deaths. Dan didn’t know whether ACP was going to kill them, or take them in and keep them safe, but he was going to deliver Joey and Kate to the ACP anyway. Joey knew if Dan really cared about him and Kate, he would have kept them from the ACP altogether.
Dan walked over to the right back door of the car and opened it up. Joey and Kate slid into the back seats of the convertible.
The car trip was certainly long, as Dan said it would be, but it was definitely not boring. Dan joked with them and told them amazing stories. He also bought them fast food for lunch and dinner, and let them listen to radio stations whose songs had lyrics so inappropriate, Joey was glad his parents weren’t around.
Of course, your parents are dead… Joey realized, but he pushed the thought away.
Around 6 in the evening that day, when the golden light of the sunset shone into the black convertible as Joey and Kate were eating hamburgers, fries, and chocolate milkshakes, a faint, but absolutely massive silhouette caught Joey’s eye.
“What is that?” Joey said, pointing to the huge shape in the distance.
“That, my friend,” Dan said, “Is the ACP main base.”
“ ‘Woah’ is correct. We should be coming up to the perimeter gate in a few minutes.”
Sure enough, 15 minutes later, they came upon a 20 foot high chain link fence with barbed wire at the top. Signs had been hung on the fence every 50 feet; they read: “Caution, electrocuted fence,” and “Stop: you may not enter the premises unless authorized.” Soldiers in green camo paced back and forth outside the fence, watching for any intruders.
Dan continued to drive down the road until they came to a giant chain link gate, which was guarded by four ACP soldiers. Dan rolled down his window as one of the soldiers approached him, holding a gun exactly like the one Joey and Kate used on the day of the invasion.
“ID card, sir,” the man said curtly. Dan took out a card and handed it to the soldier. He examined it for a few moments. Suddenly, he caught sight of Joey and Kate.
“What are these children doing here?” he asked, eyes becoming alert and suspicious.
“Classified information, my friend,” Dan said, locking eyes with the soldier. There was about a minute of silence as the soldier narrowed his eyes and stared at Dan, as if trying to read his mind. Finally…
“Fair enough,” he said. Then, he turned to his other three fellow soldiers. “All clear. Open it.”
Dan, Joey and Kate waited as the four men worked to unlock the gate, undoing all sorts of mechanisms and voice-activated locks. Then, the gates slowly opened, and Dan drove down the road which ran straight through the middle of the world within the chain link fence.
The word “base” didn’t seem to be the right word to describe the place. In Joey’s opinion, “small city” would be a better word. The chain link fence made up the perimeter of at least 5 square miles. For the first few minutes, Dan just drove through what Joey guessed was a training field. Men all dressed in the same uniform sprinted, shot at targets, lifted weights, and pushed tires, all while drill sergeants screamed at them.
After they passed a bunch of small buildings, they finally came to the main part of the base, which looked like a modern castle. In the middle was a huge 10-story building. Connected to the building on either side were a few 7-8 storied buildings, connected to those were some 5-storied buildings, connected to those were 2-3 storied buildings, and finally, on the edge, were small one storied buildings. Another, identical chain link fence surrounded the whole thing, guarded by four more soldiers.
“What is this, a prison?” Kate asked, hands and face pressed to her window.
Dan had to, once again, show a card to the guards, and they opened up the gate, but insisted that they leave the car and enter on foot. Dan parallel parked the car along the fence, and Joey and Kate slid out of the car.
When the guards saw them, Joey noticed when they fought to keep their composure as alarm leaped into their eyes. Joey knew they recognized them from TV and prepared to run from them, but the guards did nothing but watch them as they walked through the gate towards the main part of the base.
When they reached the base of the huge, 10-story building that served as the very middle of the cluster of connected buildings, Dan had to, for a third time, show his card. As they entered the building, Joey got the feeling he was being watched, and he knew the guards were staring at him and Kate.
The first room they walked into reminded Joey of a hotel lobby, only there was no front desk. Dan led them into an elevator, and pressed a white button that read “9”. “We need to get to the 10th floor, but you can’t get in there without permission,” Dan said, leaning against the back elevator wall. When a loud “ding” told them they had reached their destination and the doors slowly opened, the two teenagers and the former ACP officer walked out.
The place was like maze, with almost identical hallways, turns, and doors, but Dan seemed to know what he was doing, leading them through it all with ease. Finally, they came to another elevator, this time guarded by an ACP soldier.
“No access to the 10th floor unless you have the papers and your card,” the man said quickly, stepping in front of the elevator.
His eyes fell on the Joey and Kate, and widened. A sneer crept upon his face. “So, this is why you’ve come.”
“Yes, sir,” Dan said.
“There was no need to come all the way up here. You don’t need even a third command to deliver the fate of these two. Anyone could do it.”
He whipped out a pistol and fired.
A lot of things happened at once. Kate let out a sound of surprise, a bullet whizzed past Joey, coming so close to hitting him it tore off a small piece of his hoodie sleeve, and Dan attacked the guard, tackling him football-style.
For moment, the only thing Joey heard was the man’s pistol sliding across the floor as Dan knocked it out of his hand, stopping at Kate’s feet.
Then, Joey heard the sound of dozens of people shouting and running. No one found them, however, except for two men, who burst out of the door a few dozen yards around them.
One of the men was so huge and ripped, his uniform, which was similar to Hades’s except it was a dark green, was probably at least size XXL. Despite this man’s size, it was not him that caught Joey’s attention.
The second man, unlike the first, looked somewhat normal. He was a head shorter than the almost-7-foot-tall man next to him, and not as muscular, though it did look like he worked out. He had short, brown hair, dark eyes, and an overall average face.
But yet the man was not average at all. Joey couldn’t quite explain how or why, but the man seemed like a deity. He could almost see a faint, golden aura of complete power around him. Joey was both awed and terrified.
“What is this?” the huge man asked, staring at Dan, the man he had just tackled, and the pistol at Kate’s feet.
“They… them… evil…” the man sputtered, gasping for breath as Dan’s huge frame crushed his lungs.
“Get up,” the godly man said calmly. His voice was nothing Joey had ever experienced before, even more powerful than his appearance; it sent a shiver down his spine.
“But… he shot at them!” Dan protested, pointing at the pistol.
“Get up,” the godly man repeated, a little more forcefully, and this time, Dan obeyed.
“Show me your card,” the huge man said to the guard. The soldier quickly stood up and handed him a card that resembled Dan’s. The man examined the card.
“Hmm… Sector 119B… under the authority of… Jcapp, hmm? Anyway, I do not wish for you to think that every person that walks into this building is an enemy.”
He went over to a flat, silver square with tiny holes on the wall next to the elevator. Next to the square was a button. The huge man held down the button, held his mouth near the panel, and spoke into it. “This is General Mchappy. The gunshot was not intentional; please return to your duties immediately. Thank you.”
Suddenly, Joey realized he recognized the huge man, as he had seen him on TV half a dozen times before. Duh, it’s Mchappy. Get with the program, he thought. He wasn’t sure he knew who the other man was, but he had a nagging suspicion that he had seen his picture in a history book before.
After Mchappy finished speaking, he went back to his original spot next to the godly man. Both men’s eyes fell upon him and Kate. Mchappy raised his eyebrows, the corners of the godly man’s lips raised slightly. “Ah,” the godly man said. “You have brought them.”
“Yes, sir,” Dan said, bowing his head a little.
“Good. You have done well. Come with me, children. We have much to talk about.”
“Good job today, guys. You are dismissed.”
Joey wiped the sweat off the back of his neck with a towel. After he and Kate told their trainer goodbye, they headed out the door back to their rooms.
“Joey, you know what I just realized?” Kate said as they weaved through the maze of hallways of the ACP main base.
“It’s been exactly one month.”
To the average person, this sentence would be meaningless and confusing, but Joey understood immediately. It had been one month. Exactly one month since the invasion.
“Wow,” Joey said quietly. The invasion seemed like a lifetime ago, yet it had only been 4 short weeks since the Nachos attacked Klondike.
He mulled over everything that had happened in the past month: the invasion, their flight from the server, Dan finding them, Oagalthorp convincing them to become ACP’s “mascots”. How they were the “Symbol of Innocence” since they were falsely accused of murdering someone and how becoming ACP’s mascots would benefit ACP and condemn the Nachos.
Joey didn’t exactly like the idea of being used like that, but it was either be used, or be thrown back out on the streets, handed over to the Nachos, or executed. So, he did everything everyone told him. He went to photo shoots. He did interviews. He exercised with Bobcatboy, his and Kate’s trainer, to keep in shape.
Joey was so occupied by these thoughts, he wasn’t watching where he was going. When he finally focused on his surroundings again, he realized he had no idea where he was. Even though he had been living in the ACP’s main base for almost a month now, he and Kate still had trouble navigating the place. It was just so huge, they decided just to stick to one small section of the base to avoid getting lost.
“Where… where are we?” Joey asked. “I don’t know, I was just following you,” Kate said.
They worked their way through the building, trying to find their way back.
“Let’s try this door,” Kate said 20 minutes later, stopping at a random door in one of the dozens of identical hallways in the building.
“Whoa…” Kate said, her eyes widening as she opened the door. “What is it?” Joey said curiously, walking quickly to the doorway.
Joey looked inside the room and saw a garden.
The room was absolutely huge and filled with color. There were all kinds of flowers, flowers of all different hues. It was the most beautiful thing Joey had ever seen.
The garden was made up of four smaller (but still large) squares, which held flowers, bushes, and even small trees. Joey was about to explore it when he heard a slightly accented voice behind him.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
Joey and Kate whirled around. A few feet away from them stood an olive-skinned man with blue eyes and brown hair. He was dressed in ratty gardener’s clothes and was covered in dirt.
“Why is this here?” Kate asked, gesturing towards the garden.
“A long time ago, when most people believed in the Religion of the Ancients, armies grew gardens as temples to the goddess Pyragmis, the deity of beauty and life. Armies believed that if they built gardens in her honor and worshiped her, not as many soldiers would die, and Pyragmis would grant them many victories. Of course, hardly anyone believes in the Religion of the Ancients anymore, but the tradition of growing gardens in armies’ bases still lives on.”
“Huh,” Joey said. He walked among the flowers, caressing the plants and admiring their beauty. The gardener walked out of the room and left Kate and Joey by themselves.
“What’s your favorite flower?” Kate asked, touching the soft petals of a blue flower Joey didn’t recognize.
“I don’t know…” Joey said slowly, thinking hard. “Roses, maybe.”
“I guess it reminds me to never give up. That there’s beauty in everything, there’s a good outcome to every situation. Because no matter how many thorns there are, there’s always a rose.”
Kate nodded. She began to say something, but she was interrupted by a high, shrill siren that eerily reminded Joey of the invasion siren back at Blue Sky’s.
They sprinted out of the room, trying to figure out what was going on.
“Troops,” the frantic voice of Mchappy rang out throughout the building, “The main base of ACP is under attack.”
The words echoed in Joey’s mind. ACP is under attack. ACP is under attack.
A jerk on Joey’s arm snapped him out of his shock. “Let’s go!” Kate screamed, pulling him towards the door.
They sprinted down the hall, not knowing where they were or where they were going. Joey’s body filled with adrenaline, his legs and lungs burned. Panic occupied his mind. Just like the invasion.
But this was much worse than the invasion. Not only did Joey have to deal with horrible feelings of the current situation, but also the memories that came with those feelings. As adrenaline coursed through him, his mind replayed the last time adrenaline had filled him, as he ran past screaming people, dead, lifeless bodies, and Nachos coming from the sky. As his lungs burned, his mind jumped to the memory of him and Kate running through the slaughterhouse/ Server Square.
The things he had been trying so hard to forget for almost a month, flooded over him. The mind-scars that those terrible memories created split open. This was indeed much, much worse than his state during the invasion.
“Joey!” Kate shouted after less than a minute of running. “Mchappy’s office is right here!”
She was right. This hallway looked familiar to Joey. He caught sight of the door at the end of the hallway, the Head General’s office. “Get in!”
They sprinted to the end of the hallway, flung open the door, and ran into Mchappy’s large, roomy office. Mchappy and Oagalthorp were near the door, probably about to exit before the two teenagers had stormed in.
“Oh, there you are,” Oagal said calmly.
Mchappy locked his office door. He then pressed a button on his watch, which Joey knew was a communication device. “Tect-squad 7, this is code name Mcdonald’s Joyful 37. Me, Oagal, Kate, and Joey are in my office. Retrieve us and lead us to the protection bunker ASAP. Mcdonald’s is out.”
At the word “bunker” made both Kate and Joey tense. Don’t worry, Joey reassured himself. This bunker is safe. The Nachos will not come out of this bunker.
For a few tense, silent minutes, the four waited for the protection squad. Joey faintly heard the sounds of shouting and gunfire.
“Here they come,” Kate whispered, listening to the pounding feet, coming closer and closer as they ran down the hall.
“Joey,” Mchappy said suddenly. Joey turned.
“Just… remember who the enemy is.”
They were interrupted by a deep voice that came from the other side of the door. He yelled what Joey guessed was some sort of password or code. Oagal unlocked the door, and in came 6 tall, brawny men wearing heavy armor and carrying rifles.
The leader of the squad, the owner of the deep voice Joey heard, quickly arranged Oagal, Mchappy, Joey and Kate. Soon, they were in two horizontal lines. Kate and Mchappy made up the first one, while Joey and Oagal made up the second. The six protection squad members formed a tight circle around all four of them.
“Let’s move,” the deep-voiced man said. Joey, Kate, Oagalthorp and Mchappy followed the head of the squad leader, who, like the other squad members, had his gun out in front of him, ready to shoot.
The squad leader led them down cases of stairs. They met no opposition for the first 5 floors, as they had started on the 10th floor and the Nachos hadn’t fought their way to the top yet. It was 4th floor where they ran into trouble.
Joey was startled. How could the Nachos fought their way to the 4th floor so fast? It had been less than 15 minutes since the invasion siren went off. If it took them less than that amount of time to get to the 4th floor, how much time would Joey and Kate have before they took over the entire base?
“Go, go, go!” the squad leader yelled. The squad fired at any opposition. They got through the 4th and 3rd floor relatively quickly. But the second floor was flooded. Not by water, but by orange. Nachos, in their orange-camo uniforms, were everywhere, and Joey had a painful flashback to the Server Square. In the sea of orange were groups of green ACP soldiers, fighting for their lives. Many dead bodies lay on the ground.
It took them a good 20 minutes and 2 squad members sacrificing their lives to ensure the safety of Joey, Kate, Oagal, and Mchappy, but they finally got to the bunker’s entrance on the first floor: a trapdoor. It was difficult to see because the trapdoor was made of the same material as the floor, but Joey could see the hinges of the trapdoor, the keyhole that gave or prohibited access to whatever was below, and the handle. Fortunately, both the ACP and the Nachos seemed to ignore the trapdoor.
Mchappy, Oagal, Joey, Kate, and the remaining 4 squad members slowly fought their way to the door. The squad leader shoved a key into the keyhole, grabbed the handle, opened the trapdoor, and gestured for them to enter. Joey leaped into the hole. His stomach tingled for a second, and then he hit the ground, landing on his feet. The others did the same.
The squad leader quickly locked the trapdoor. He looked at Joey, and, as if reading his thoughts, said, “Don’t worry. You can’t use those explosives you used to get into that office. You can only bust in through special explosives, which are heavily guarded.”
The bunker was a lot smaller than Joey imagined. It was just one dimly lit hallway, with three doors on either side. The squad leader walked over to the first door on the left and opened it. The eight of them entered the room.
The bunker room was completely empty, save for a light that hung from the ceiling, what looked like TV screen on the side wall, and speaker in the top corner of the room.
“Here we are,” the squad leader said.
“Lovely,” Oagalthrop said.
They sat in silence for hours. And hours. And hours. Or at least, it seemed that way. Joey sat in the corner of the room, hugging his knees. Kate sat next to him, doing the same. Mchappy paced the room, wringing his hands, and Oagal leaned against the wall. The four squad members had gone back out the door to guard the hallway. All Joey could do was listen to the shouts, cries of pain, and gunshots above him.
Suddenly, something caught Joey’s eye. He turned his attention to the TV screen. A thumbnail-sized clear button on the corner of the screen was blinking red. “Why is that blinking?” Joey asked.
Mchappy stopped pacing and looked over at the TV. “The soldiers in the security room have sent us footage.”
He walked quickly over to the screen and pressed the blinking button. Sure enough, footage appeared on the screen.
It showed 5 second clips of each floor of every single building in the ACP’s main base. The main base had turned into exactly what the Server Dome had turned into: a slaughterhouse.
There were men everywhere. Nacho men, ACP men, wounded men, dying men, dead men. Everywhere.
Everything but the main building had either been taken or was about to be taken. Dead ACP soldiers were everywhere. The main building had not been quite taken, but the ACP soldiers in there were fighting a losing battle. The Nachos had fought their way to the 7th floor and were close to making it to the 8th.
All of these clips saddened Joey, but it was nothing compared to the last clip.
The final video was footage of everything outside the buildings: the driveway Dan had driven down and everything around it, the training fields, and in between the buildings.
It was all an ocean of orange. Nachos swarmed the place. But the most depressing part was not ACP’s enemies flooding their main base, but the ACP soldiers fighting all of those Nachos. Joey saw a few small groups of men yell out a war cry, dive into the sea of orange, and quickly be slaughtered by the horde of Nachos.
The footage stopped. For a moment, there was nothing but silence. Kate started to say something, but was interrupted by a voice coming from the speaker. A familiar voice.
“Ah, ACP. So dumb, yet so persistent,” the voice of Tan said. “Yes, we have taken over the speaker system, and soon, we will take over the entire base.”
“This message is for Oagal, Mchappy, and those two upstarts Joey and Kate.”
A shiver ran down Joey’s spine. His heart started to pound.
“We are attacking this base because of you four, and your four alone. Give yourselves over to me, and your soldiers and base will be spared. Don’t give yourselves over, and we will slaughter every single one of your soldiers, storm into the bunker in which you are hiding, and kill you. In fact, I myself will personally kill you And yes, I do have the explosives to get into the bunker.”
“As of now, I will withdraw all of my troops from the base. Withdraw them all, for five minutes. Just enough time to decide whether to come to me or to cower and keep hiding. Thank you.”
And Joey heard Tan’s voice no more.
Five minutes. To give ourselves over, or stay.
For a moment, no one said anything. Finally, Kate spoke up.
“Let’s go. All of the ACP soldiers at this base are NOT going to die just because of us. Four lives must be sacrificed to save thousands.”
“Yeah,” Joey agreed, nodding.
More silence. Joey watched as Mchappy went back to the TV screen. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Re-running the footage. I think we forgot to turn on the sound,” Mchappy said. Joey thought it was strange that Mchappy was thinking about the footage 5 seconds after Tan had given them that horrible message, but he didn’t say anything.
The footage popped up once again on the screen, this time with sound. The sound was nothing that surprised Joey. Gunshots. Dying screams. More gunshots. More dying screams. Nothing unexpected, until the last clip, the one of everything outside the buildings, where the Nachos swarmed.
There was by far more sound on this video than any of the others, as there were many more people. Nevertheless, Joey could just barely make out the two words those ACP soldiers were shouting before they sprinted to their deaths.
For Oagal! For Oagal!
Joey had completely forgotten about Oagalthorp, who was still casually leaning against the wall. Everyone turned and faced him, waiting for a comment.
Suddenly, Joey realized just how powerful Oagal was. He had always known he was a good speaker, and of course, his appearance was extremely intimidating, but other than that, there seemed to be nothing extraordinary about the man. But he was wrong.
Oagal was so incredibly powerful, so persuasive, he had brainwashed every single ACP soldier, even the high ranks. They were so insanely loyal to Oagal, they would dive into a horde of Nachos and be slaughtered for him, without thinking about their own selves. For the first time, Joey completely understood Oagal’s full power.
Joey expected Oagal to look grateful, or say he would reward those loyal soldiers by giving himself over and saving the ones that were still alive, or have sadness in his eyes to see those loyal to him dying.
But Joey saw none of that. All there was in Oagal’s eyes was hardness. There was no sympathy for these men, who were being slaughtered because of him. There was no sadness, no nothing. Nothing but a cold hardness.
“Oagal,” Mchappy said. “These men are dying in your name. Should you not give yourself over to reward them? Relieve them of their misery?”
“No,” Oagalthorp said. “Let them die. Let us stay here.”
“We are staying. You are under my command, Mchappy. Joey and Kate, you are under Mchappy’s command. Therefore, none of you are leaving. End of discussion.”
“So you’re letting all of these men die so we can live a little longer?” Kate asked.
“Absolutely,” Oagal replied calmly.
“I see,” the voice of Tan said from the speaker, making Joey jump. “You decide to stay. Alright, then. We will continue to kill your soldiers, until we can get to that bunker. What a shame, to let so many people die. Anyway, onward, Nachos! We will destroy every last ACP soldier, if we have to, to get to you four.”
Though Joey was far away from the entrance of the base, he could hear the Nachos re-enter it. Thousands and thousands of pairs of feet, sprinting back into base, yelling at the top of their lungs. Joey thought of what a frightening sight it must be to see that scene.
Once again, the sounds of the battle returned. Sadness and frustration flooded over Joey. All of these men were dying because he, one person, wouldn’t sacrifice himself. Lives lost, because of him.
Joey looked over at Kate and Mchappy and guessed that they were thinking similar thoughts, judging from the depressed looks on their faces. Oagal looked calm as usual, with an almost bored look on his face.
Joey caught Mchappy’s eye. He raised his eyebrows, shifted his eyes to Oagal and back to Joey, and then made a finger gun with his hand. At first, Joey was confused. What was Mchappy doing? Then…
He’s trying to tell me something, he thought. Mchappy repeated the action, and Joey understood.
Joey knew where Mchappy was coming from. If they killed Oagal (all of them had pistols they carried with them at all times), they could get out hand themselves over, and save many lives. But if only three out of the four went over to Tan, would he accept them and stop the fight, or let the battle continue, because Oagal wasn’t there?
Crack! The ceiling rumbled. A loud crashing sound followed.
They’ve used the special explosives to get in¸ Joey thought frantically. He whipped out his pistol. Kate, Mchappy, and Oagal did the same. Joey held his breath.
Gunfire filled the hallway on the other side of the door. Joey heard terrible screams, and he knew that the squad members had just been killed. Joey’s heart pounded, threatening to leap out of his chest. This is it, Joey thought sadly.
The door burst open, and Joey found himself staring at Tanman, along with four or five Nacho soldiers.
“Kill them!” Oagal ordered, firing his pistol.
The world seemed to go to slow motion. This is it, Joey thought again.
Suddenly, Joey’s eyes turned to Mchappy. Remember who the enemy is, he had said to him. Joey thought of Tanman.
He is not my enemy, Joey thought. Sure, Tanman despised him because he thought he had killed a Nacho officer on purpose. But Joey couldn’t blame him. If he were the Nacho General, if Tan had killed one of his officers, Joey would have thought Tan had killed him on purpose, too.
Joey understood Tan, and he couldn’t blame him. Tan was not a friend, but he was certainly not an enemy.
Well, if Tan isn’t my enemy, then who is? Who had taken advantage of him? Who had used him, and made him feel helpless? Who seemed good on the outside, but on the inside, was evil almost to the point of insanity? Who was so cruel he did nothing, absolutely nothing, when thousands of men were dying in his name?
As if in reply, Joey’s aim shifted away from Tan. He pulled the trigger and fired.
Straight at Oagal’s heart.
Kate’s eyes fluttered open.
She was lying on her stomach, on an old, worn mattress. The air smelled musty and, strangely, faintly of cinnamon. All was silent, save for a few cheerful birds and a cool, refreshing breeze brushing the leaves of the trees.
But Kate ignored all of this. The only thing she could focus on was the deep numbness and cold that filled her body.
Her home was gone, destroyed by the Nachos. Her parents were dead, her server had been annihilated. Her new life as one of the Symbols of Innocence was ruined. It didn’t quite make since to represent “the innocent, who were to be fiercely protected” when she had almost been killed by the Nachos. “Fiercely protected” seemed almost like a joke now. She knew ACP would quietly shove her to the side, as she was now useless to them.
But these things did not especially make Kate feel this terrible, this empty. It was not those things, but the latest, most terrible wound she had to endure. The wound that had been inflicted upon her only last night.
Kate replayed everything that had happened last night. The invasion siren, getting to the bunker, watching that awful footage, TanMan bursting into their bunker room, Joey killing Oagal.
And worst of all, a Nacho soldier killing Joey a millisecond later.
Kate’s heart plummeted just thinking about it. Her best friend was dead. Gone.
And even worse, not only had he been incredibly noble, he had done Kate a huge, life-saving favor she could never repay. The Nacho soldiers and Tanman were so shocked that Joey had killed Oagal and that Joey was dead, they just stood there dumbfounded, giving Kate and Mchappy the chance to push past them and escape.
Not only did she lose her best friend, because Joey had, in a way, sacrificed himself so Kate could escape, she didn’t even deserve to live anymore.
Though she was still alive, her life was gone. The fire of life, which had always flickered in her soul, even the day after the Klondike invasion when all she had to think about were her dead parents, had never gone out. Even on that day, very deep inside, Kate knew she would be alright, that she could survive. Though she had lost her parents and home, on that day, she had not lost her will to live.
But this feeling was different, and much, much worse. The fire of life in her soul had been sucked out of her, leaving nothing but a cold, hard, empty shell.
This was not sadness. This was depression.
Kate slowly sat up, slid off of her mattress, and walked towards the entrance/exit of the small, abandoned shack that was now her home, at least for now.
She walked slowly into the sparse forest, which was a mile from ACP’s base. Kate could just make out the place. Even though it had been less than 24 hours since the invasion, ACP had already begun to repair the base. Strangely, the Nachos had not taken the base as TanMan had ordered all of his troops to withdraw from it after Joey had been killed. Perhaps he felt sorry for them, or perhaps he was so shocked that Joey had murdered Oagal he was not in his right mind when he ordered the retreat.
Great. He caused the Nachos to retreat. Yet another thing no one could repay. Kate’s guilt and misery increased even more than before.
Kate continued to go deeper into the forest, stewing in her emptiness.
Suddenly, a flash of color in the midst of the dull-colored vegetation caught her eye. Red. Bright red.
Beautiful, crimson roses covered a bush a few yards away from her. She slowly approached the bush and touched the delicate petals of a particularly large one. She gently picked the rose from the bush, remembering the conversation she had had with Joey only yesterday about this very flower.
What’s your favorite flower? Kate had asked Joey.
I don’t know… roses, maybe.
I guess it reminds me to never give up. That there’s beauty in everything, there’s a good outcome to every situation. Because no matter how many thorns there are, there’s always a rose.
Kate continued to stare at the rose. At the time, that conversation had seemed so unimportant and harmless. Now, Kate understood its true meaning, and realized that Joey was right.
No matter how many thorns there are, there’s always a rose.
The fire of life flickered in Kate’s heart once more.
A Nacho Story
By: Time689Once upon a time, a universe, far, far, away…
Shadow was polishing his decoy rocks, while Person was recruiting, while Aka was on his PS3, while Shaq was training, while Linkin was just being Linkin, while Puckley was counting his lemons, while Terr was bored, while Smeeble slept, while Time was training, ACP invaded Mammoth.
“Get your butts to Mammoth!!” Shadow yelled.
“Yes sir!” Puckley responded.
Billybob was strolling through Mammoth, until ACP surrounded him.
“WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!?” Billybob screamed in rage.
“We are invading this server, SO BACK OFF!” Oagalthorp said.
“Yeah!…” Shaboomboom back’d up sarcastically.
Suddenly, the Nacho division, Army, showed up. It was a battle.
“FIRE!” Person yelled.
“King Kinz, get into the Cat Tank!” Linkin said.
“Sir, I don’t have a liscence…” King Kinz responded.
“Okay, Time get into the Cat Tank!” Linkin tried again.
“Yes sir!” Time answered.
So Time fired at the Pepto Bismol© building. (Oagalthorp LOVED Pepto Bismol)
While the town was being fought over, the Air Force division was protecting Shadow’s ‘Decoy Rock Factory’.
“Guard the entrances Rabo! Guard it with your life.” Shaq ordered.
“Okay, I’ll die over it…” Rabo answered.
While they were fighting over the warehouse, the Navy division were at the Ice Berg. (Linkin was leading)
Linkin yelled, “Come on Tomb you slow-poke!”
“Yes sir…*pant pant*” Tomb gasped.
Linkin and Tomb took the ‘Secret Tunnel’, they surprisingly met Aunt Arctic on the way. “Why hello, boys! Have a cookie.” Aunt Arctic said softly.
“Ehh, OKAY!” Linkin said.
So Linkin and Tomb and some others were on there way. The tunnel lead them to the Pizza Parlor, Linkin peeked up, and saw Boomer in a port-a-potty, it said, “Occupied FOREVER”
“Hmmph, should’ve known.” Linkin laughed.
At the town, Time was firing the cat tank, the rest were fighting on ground.
Bat showed up, and asked, “Person, can UMA help fight?”
“Sure, but you have to get the army here…NOW.” Person smiled.
A couple minutes later, UMA was ALL over Club Penguin; Person and the others smiled cheerfully.
UMA, Nachos, and ACP went to the Snow Forts, it was now a huge war.
Puckley felt something weird in his pocket, he pulled out a lemon. “This ought to do the trick!”
Millions of lemons attacked ACP soldiers.
Person told Aka to lead the rest of the battle, he was happy.
Oagalthorp whispered to Shab, “Are your boxers on too tight, mine are!”
Aka took charge of the Cat Tank, he fired at the “Boxer store”, Oagal looked like he was going to wet himself.
Aka saw a butt-load of ACP soldiers (coming up the rear O_O) and threw his specially designed sombreo and cut them all in half near-instantly.
Bat had to leave, so Lots of Pie took over, he was determined to win.
The battle was almost over, the Nachos and UMA took the final charge. Half of ACP were still recovering from the crazy lemon attack. So the 2 armies took the battle, and finished it.
ACP were gone.
“WE WON!!” Everyone yelled.
Moral: ACP shouldn’t invade Mammoth.
One day the Gentlemen were hanging out by 2fort, waiting for the evil (ACP) Blue Team to arrive. Soon, the Gentlemen, thanks to Jayson’s scope, noticed a Blue Helmet cross over the battle lines. The War was on.
Puckley quickly started building a sentry gun, Qwerty was spy checking, and Aka was smoking 700 ciggarettes at once and coughed up a lung in the process. Suddenly, Police lit a Spy on fire! It was Seanehawk! Seanehawk tried running away, only to run into Linkin’s Mini-gun and was made into swiss cheese. Linkin the proceeded to pick up Seanehawk’s dead body, put him in a Sandvich, and ate him, killing Quince instantly. One down, 8 to go.
The Gentlemen were guarding the Intelligence (yes, everyone was), when suddenly the Blu Medic (Saint) and the Blu Heavy (Dryvit) ran in, Uber-charged! However, they fell short when Policeman used his compression blast and blasted him outside the Intelligence room, cancelling the Uber-charge. Jayson just so happend to see the whole thing, and used his machete to kill Saint, while Aka came out of…. uh…. nowhere…. and back-stabbed Dryvit. Jayson started Sniper humping and Aka started Spy crabbing over the dead bodies, lol.
Meanwhile, Naruto and and Korei were sitting up by the spawn, watching for enemies. Suddenly, the Blu Pyro (Boomer) runs in and starts trying to flame everybody! Puckley ran in from the stair case going to the intelligence, and fires 6 shotgun blasts, which (along with Naruto firing madly) eventually kills the mumbling beast. However, Korei was beyond repair, and exploded into a million pieces.Puckley then picked up all of the pieces, and built a new Korei, Korei4.
“WE HAVE TAKEN THE ENEMY INTELLIGENCE” said Mcnuggetboy, while Pringle was bobbing and weaving all over the place, bonking the Blu Scout (Flappy) over the head, killing him instantly. Pringle runs, runs, runs, and finally jumps onto the 2forts bridge cover/roof, and runs to the Red Battlements, where he promptly says “BONK!”, but his head then explodes backward from getting shot in the head, by the Blu Sniper (Stev). His body laying in a crumpled heap, King Kinz swears that maggot will pay. Dodging sniper shots, King rocket jumps up into their battlements and smacks that sorry look off Stev’s face with his trench shovel. King then says “This is MY world! You are not welcome in MY world!”
6 down, 3 to go. Too bad it wouldn’t last long.
In a desperate bid to end the match quickly, the Blu Engineer (Clintos), and the Blu Demo-man (Divotoo) start setting up a base right next to the Gentlemen spawn after Divotoo blew up Puck and his all machines (or did he?). However, Aka had unnoticingly killed the Blu Soldier (Thebest22), and disguised as him, getting behind enemy lines. Aka then stood by the dispenser, waiting for the perfect moment. Divitoo didn’t realize this match was sudden death, so he had his back turned, while Clintos was upgrading his sentry. Aka seized the oppurtunity, and then: “SPY SAPPIN MAH SENTRY!” Aka then quickly back-stabbed the Engineer while he cloaked and ran back to the Intelligence room. One more to go.
Divitoo started freaking out and became paranoid, setting up stickies aat every entrance and swinging his bottle everywhere, making a back-stab impossible. However, Divitoo forgot the teleporters (50 cent and Tomb), and all the Gentlemen still alive teleported into the battlements. Everyone started madly firing at all the stickies guarding the entrance, and pushed them over by the Demo-man. Rca blocked his only escape (the area below the Red Spawn), so now HE was trapped in the room. Divitoo paniked, and decided to run out, where Rca promptly killed him, blasting his pieces all over the room. “VICTORY” said Mcnuggetboy, and the round was over.