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2nd Grand Cross-Galactic Budokai Tenkaichi R3 M2 - Magik (Illyana Rasputin) vs. Mario

Magik (Illyana Rasputin): 1
Mario: 3

Master Raven vs. Groh

Master Raven: 2
Groh: 1

Ransik vs. Mirai Sentai Timeranger

Ransik: 1
Mirai Sentai Timeranger: 2

Tournament - Steve Trevor vs. Peggy Carter

Steve Trevor: 2
Peggy Carter: 4

Christie vs. Ivy

Christie: 1
Ivy: 5

Cammy White vs. Leona Heidern

Cammy White: 1
Leona Heidern: 2

Kula Diamond vs. Cassandra Alexander

Kula Diamond: 2
Cassandra Alexander: 4

Tournament - Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn) vs. Cerberus (Mass Effect)

Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn): 8
Cerberus (Mass Effect): 0

Blue Mary vs. Mila (DOA)

Blue Mary: 3
Mila (DOA): 1

Tournament - Severus Snape vs. Wicked Witch of the West

Severus Snape: 3
Wicked Witch of the West: 1

7:10 - Megamind vs. David Xanatos

Megamind: 8
David Xanatos: 2

7:10 - Destoroyah vs. Megas XLR

Destoroyah: 8
Megas XLR: 6

7:10 - Isis (Catwoman's Pet) vs. Zwei (RWBY)

Isis (Catwoman's Pet): 10
Zwei (RWBY): 5

7:10 - Damian Wayne vs. Molly Hayes

Damian Wayne: 7
Molly Hayes: 3

7:10 - Hex Girls vs. Laurel & Hardy

Hex Girls: 7
Laurel & Hardy: 3

7:10 - Puffy AmiYumi (Animated) vs. Scott Pilgrim

Puffy AmiYumi (Animated): 7
Scott Pilgrim: 4

7:10 - Mecha Streisand vs. Gipsy Danger

Mecha Streisand: 2
Gipsy Danger: 7

7:10 - Biollante vs. Hedorah

Biollante: 5
Hedorah: 6

7:10 - Unstoppable Wasp (Nadia Van Dyne) vs. Doctor Doom

Unstoppable Wasp (Nadia Van Dyne): 7
Doctor Doom: 5

7:10 - Queen Barb vs. Pinkie Pie

Queen Barb: 3
Pinkie Pie: 7

7:10 - The Invisible Woman vs. The Silver Surfer

The Invisible Woman: 7
The Silver Surfer: 9

7:10 - Muttley vs. Storm (Aquaman's Seahorse)

Muttley: 5
Storm (Aquaman's Seahorse): 6

7:10 - Jade (Jackie Chan Adventures) vs. Hermione Granger

Jade (Jackie Chan Adventures): 3
Hermione Granger: 11

7:10 - Arcade vs. Mister Fantastic

Arcade: 0
Mister Fantastic: 13

7:10 - Andrew Ender Wiggin vs. Arya Stark

Andrew Ender Wiggin: 8
Arya Stark: 4

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CBUB Hall of Famers:

Ruinus: Winner of the Inaugural CBUB Tournament.
DSkillz: Winner of the CBUB March Challenge
ShadowFlesh: Winner of the CBUB April Challenge
LoneWolf: Winner of the CBUB May Challenge
Johnny Chany: Winner of the CBUB June Challenge
Marvel Man: Winner of the CBUB July Challenge
thetrekker: Winner of the CBUB August Challenge
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Boratz: Winner of the CBUB March Challenge
deojusto: Winner of the CBUB April Challenge 

xLEGACYx: Winner of the CBUB May Challenge

STAFF EDIT: The next couple of entries being added were winners of the MagneticFox writing tournaments. Since most of the MagneticFox community migrated over from electricferret when the latter closed down, I thought it might be best to add them here as well.

terranova: Winner of the Inaugural MagneticFox Official Match Competition

ND10 (a.k.a., EF's ND7): Winner of the 2nd Official MagneticFox Official Match Competition

STAFF EDIT: And now for the winning tournament entries made since EF's latest return! Note: From here on out, every tourney participant has multiple entries.

Bergy_Berg: Winner of the June 2020 CBUB Tournament 

1st Entry 2nd Entry 3rd Entry

SSJRuss: Winner of the July 2020 CBUB Tournament 

1st Entry 2nd Entry 

SSJRuss: Winner of the August 2020 CBUB Tournament

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corvette1710: Co-Winner of the September 2020 CBUB Tournament 

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JohnnyChany: Co-Winner of the September 2020 CBUB Tournament 

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JohnnyChany: Winner of the October 2020 CBUB Tournament

1st Entry 2nd Entry

C.T.: Co-Winner of the November 2020 CBUB Tournament 

1st Entry 2nd Entry 

SSJRuss: Co-Winner of the November 2020 CBUB Tournament 

1st Entry 2nd Entry


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I'm sorry. You're a hero... and you have to leave by Ruinus




“You’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do.â€


He frowned at that, he always hated when she said that. It always left him feeling betrayed or abandoned, it reminded him who was and what he had to do. He didn’t like the reminder, and his silence scared her.


“You’ll do it won’t you love? You- you have to.â€


Whatever hurt he felt never lasted long. He’d always look at her eyes and realized that she felt just as betrayed and abandoned as he did, perhaps even more so. She began looking at him with pleading eyes, growing increasingly desperate at every moment of his silence. She cried, tears beginning to pool around her deep blue eyes.


He closed the distance between them and wrapped her in his arms, shushing her as he started to play with her flame colored hair. “Shhhh,†he cooed, “shhhh. I know dear, I know what I have to do.†he paused as he felt her shake with her sobs, “I just don’t want to leav-“


“Don’t go.†She whispered, her voice shaking. “I mean, you will. But, not now… look, it’s late.†She continued, her voice gaining some stability as she went, “It’s late, you can’t go now love. You’ll need to be rested, you need to get some food.†She slowly pried herself from their embrace, and quickly turned around, ashamed at her tears as he saw her wipe her eyes and comb her hair with her small hands. “I have to do my part too. You’ll stay here tonight; you’ll stay here with me.†She began fiddling with her hands, and he noted her voice began to lose some of its confidence. “You’ll stay tonight,†she turned around quickly; he would have been surprised had he not seen her do this before, “if you want. Unless there’s somewhere else you want to go, with someone else...â€


“You know there isn’t. You’re the only one dear.â€


Everyone else is dead.


She smiled as her eyes sparkled, and nodded quickly. “Thank you.â€


“Uh, you’re welcome?†he responded quite unsurely, earning him another look at her smile.


“Go inside love, I was just about to sit down to dinner. No, don’t worry;†she added when he saw his startled glance at a new grave nearby, “I buried him next to my dad and mom,†she said in a whisper, “I think… Mr. Ingo wasn’t himself, and he was my family. You, well you were there. You saw the look in his eyes at the end.â€


An uncomfortable silence passed by them.


I’m sorry I couldn’t save him.


“Now get inside, take off those damn gloves and boots, they look filthy. I’ll be right in after I tend to Epona, and-“






The Hero of Time’s eyes opened up to see the familiar soft glow of his fairy. Navi flitted to and fro before him, attempting to catch his attention. “Get your mind on the task at hand! You can go back later.†She added tersely, causing Link to throw her an angry glare. She always did this before or after visits to the Ranch, and maybe he knew why.


“Right, later.†He said in the most even voice he could, though both of them knew there would be no ‘later’. He groaned as he pulled himself up in a sitting position, realizing he had fallen asleep and tipped over. Blinking a few times as he fought off the feeling of exhaustion he reached into a small pouch on his belt and pulled out a small bottle of Lon Lon milk and drank half of it down.


“Sorry for snapping at you,†his fairy said as she sat down on Link’s shoulder, playing with the strap that held the Master Sword’s sheath, something she always did when she was embarrassed. “But we really have to keep moving. Do you hear music?â€


“Yes I do,†he finally said, “It’s him, he’s playing a piano upstairs. The Princess is with him.â€


“How do you know what?†she asked.


“The same way I know a lot of things.â€




He’d never told her, but then again how could he? How could he tell her he knew she would leave him? That he’d seen her leave and disappear, just up and fly out the window of the Temple of Time and out of his life hundreds of times. He looked at Navi, and wondered if he would always lose her, if there was nothing he could do to make her stay.


He had tried to save everyone he knew the first time this happened, the first time he had to repeat his life. He’d ran full speed towards the Great Deku Tree as soon as he acquired the Kokiri Sword and Shield, bolting past Mido and ignoring his shouts to stop and listen to him. He failed. The Great Deku Tree died as he always did.


He tried dissuading Saria from spending time in the Lost Forest, he begged her to ignore the pleas of help from the Forest Temple and the spirits within. She never listened, and he always arrived 7 years too late, she was always captured and killed, he’d only ever see her as a Sage from then on.


He always tried running across the large room of lava and burning rocks in an effort to reach Darunia before he could enter Volvagia’s chamber, or always asked him to wait, to head back to the Goron city and see to his people. But the old Goron would always enter the chamber alone, he’d never stop and wait for Link, or he’d never hear him. Link would trip, of be distracted by an enemy, or a small volcanic eruption, there was always something. Link would always enter the chamber to see the charred and half eaten corpse of his Big Brother.


Ruto was the same. She never waited for him, swimming gracefully into the depths of the Water Temple, following the currents straight to her death. He could never remove the iron boots that anchored him to the ground fast enough to follow, he could never swim and catch up to her, whenever he asked her to go outside or stay with him, she brushed him off as a love struck fiancé, and that “there will be time for that later darling.†There never was a later, he’d always reach her body, strangled and broken by Morpha. He always cried when he saw her like that.


Whenever he tried rescuing Nabooru from the twin witches as a child he never had any rope, any lifeline to rescue her from the quicksand that swallowed her up, and as an adult, despite his careful movements and strikes from his blade, Nabooru’s brainwashed body would always be fatally wounded in their battle. She’d always be killed by his hand, and even though she had gasped more than once that it wasn’t his fault, he always felt as if he was her murderer.


It was always the same. He was never strong enough, he was never fast enough, he was never persuasive enough to save his friends.


They would always die.


They had to die.


But Navi? The little blue fairy that was sitting at his shoulder? The girl who he’s never had a clear look at? She always left of her own accord. No matter how nice he was to her, how much he talked to her, how many times he told her he was glad to finally have a fairy companion, she always left.


“Link?†she said, her voice low, and he suddenly felt her embrace him, her tiny body resting against his cheek. “I know it’s hard,†she said in a soothing voice she always used to calm him down, he realized he had tears streaming down his cheeks, “but we have to do this. It’ll finally be over.â€


“Right. Right.†He said, composing himself as he stood up, checking and rechecking all his equipment and nonchalantly wiping away his tears as they mixed in with the dust, sweat, grime and blood that was layered on his body and clothing. He lifted a finger and gently caressed Navi where he imagined her head to be, and soon felt what he imagined to be her hands and face nuzzling against his finger. “Thank you, you’re one of my best friends.â€


“You are too.†She said before they both became serious again. “Now let’s go, let’s finish what we started years ago.â€


“Yes. Ganondorf dies this time.â€




The two didn’t talk as they walked up the stairs, though in Link’s case it was simply because he had walked up this path so many times that he knew it by heart, he advanced up the stair case with his eyes closed, counting each step in his mind. Navi never noticed.


After 227 steps up the twisting flights of stairs and 18 steps along the terrace in which the stairs ended he opened his eyes and saw before him a giant metal door, the same minimal decoration of a dull gold sun flourishing from the center, the rays extending outwards.


“Navi,†he whispered as he drew the Master Sword from its sheath and readied his Hylian shield before him, taking a stance that that lowered his center of gravity, “get behind me, or hide.†He saw her wings momentarily stop in midair, a gesture of surprise amongst the fairy folk, “Trust me Navi. Hide.â€


As soon as she dimmed and vanished with a familiar swish, Link pushed forward, the door suddenly disappearing upwards as he approached it at full speed, opening the way towards a spacious room devoid of any decoration save the red and gold rug beneath his feet and the giant organ ahead of him, both of which were already dissolving back into the magic Ganondorf had formed them with. Zelda, trapped above in a brilliant pink colored prison, gasped as Link charged in.


This was the moment when, in another time, Ganondorf had opened up with a petty speech, demanding the remaining pieces of the Triforce be returned to him. Already Link saw a flash on his sword hand, and one on Zelda’s and he quickly sidestepped as a ball of energy zipped past him, his entire body responding by the near miss as its intense heat washed over him, a giant bloom expanding behind him. Link swung his blade wide, bringing it down in front of the man ahead of him.


Ocean blue eyes met with fiery red ones as the two combatants locked eyes, the Master Sword being repelled by a magical field on Ganondorf’s right hand, the Triforce of Power blazing brightly on it. No matter how much Link pressed forward, his blade never even connected with his hand, the mad man didn’t even seem mused.


“We meet again boy.†He spat, the rage of a thousand failed conquests evident in his voice, “How many times will you be pulled along by events you can’t control, a prison you can’t escape?†He snarled as he suddenly pushed forward and knocked Link clean across the room, the Hero of Time smashing against the wall with a sickening thud while Ganondorf flung his other hand forward, a crushing wave moving forward and slamming into Link back into the wall, the entire room shaking as he did so. Link grit his teeth and cursed under his breath as he saw the protective barrier of Naryu’s Love shine brightly as it took the brunt of the attack. Link started running as soon as he caught his footing, his head ringing from the shock of the attack. He ran a wide circle across the room, Ganondorf’s attacks going wide and far as balls of light splashed all around the room with an electric crackle.


Link learned a long time ago that Ganondorf would out power him all the time, every time. The only thing that kept him alive was staying on his toes and outfoxing the much stronger opponent, he wondered how he survived his first encounter with the red haired man. He brought his shield up as one of Ganondorf’s attacks struck, the hairs on his body standing up on end as their energy washed around his shield, his hand burning slightly under the attack. Both of them new what came next, Link dropped to the ground, his shield covering his body as his hand lowered the Master Sword and dug into his bag, the enchanted item bringing forth whatever he willed in his mind.


Ganondorf roared from the center of the room, his blood red cape billowing behind him, “Not this time boy!†and brought his hands forward as light erupted from them and struck Link’s shield, pushing him behind and lightning up the room in an impressive display of power. The shield melted and warped under the barrage, glowing a bright red is it deteriorated under explosions of light that nearly blinded Link through his closed eyes.


Had Link and Ganondorf not gone through these exact movements several times before, Link’s aim would have surely been off.


Link flung the molten metal away from him, his hands clutching several bombs he had lit behind his shield flying out towards Ganondorf, who simply gave a wrapped himself in his cloak as the explosives detonated around him, gusts of flames and shards of metal flying about the room, his magical shielding faltering under the assault.


Moments later a giant gust of wind cleared the entire room of smoke, Ganondorf’s tattered cloak falling towards the ground, embers eating away at scorched sections. “You are weak, you’ve never been able to stand against me on equal grounds, always scurrying about like a rat and hiding, cheating an-“ his speech was suddenly cut off as an arrow tipped with light flew past his face shearing off his left ear in a gush of blood. In a fit of rage he suddenly flew forward faster than Link had ever seen him bringing a fist straight into his stomach before he had time to drop his bow and defend himself. He doubled over in pain as all the air escaped his lungs only to receive another punch to the side of his face. He twisted with the blow, the only thing he could do to avoid having his neck broken by the swing and saw a bright blue flash of light.


“Link! Get up!†Navi screamed from under his hat as he felt her small hands pull on his hair in a vain attempt to lift him up to his feet. Link struggled up, only to fall back down again, the blow to his head having dazed him more than he realized. He heard footfalls as Ganondorf approached him, wild laughter coming from the man.


“How does it feel to finally taste failure? You’ve failed, it’s taken hundreds of years, but you’ve finally failed. And now,†Link suddenly saw the room darken, the man above him condensing all the light in the room into the final killing blow, “I’ll finish something I started all those years ago when I didn’t kill a small boy with a toy sword and wooden shield.â€


Ganondorf’s face erupted into a crazed grin as his eyes widened in anticipation. He readied himself and-“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!â€


Link had blindly dug into his pocket and taken out a Bomb-Chu, in his daze he had decided that doing anything was better than doing nothing. The Bomb-Chu had been running about unnoticed by Ganondorf, and in a stroke of luck, detonated exactly behind the man. Both he and Link were flung backwards, landing close to each other in a heap and the Hero of Time quickly got his bearings on the situation. Ganondorf lay next to him, his back a mess of mangled flesh, shards of metal sticking painfully out of his back, blood and skin flacking off in sick clumps. Taking this opportunity, Link suddenly balled his hand into a fist and punched the man with all his might, momentary disgust entering his mind as his gauntleted hand connected with the sickly tangle of flesh and bone. He had some satisfaction as Ganondorf let out a howl of pain and jumped to his feet, bringing the Master Sword down in an arc, intent on finishing this now.


He yelled as he swung the blade high in the air, his eyes suddenly stunned by a flash of light, and terrible force that yanked the Master Sword out of his hand, twisting his wrist at an unnatural angle. Link blindly swung his free hand out and felt it caught by a hand. When the stars in his eyes cleared he saw Ganondorf, shot with bloodlust eyes and breathing heavily.




They both screamed, Ganondorf in a fit of rage as he summoned his power which burned Link’s hand, while Link yelled out in pain. He swung another fist at Ganondorf and connected with his face, shattering the man’s nose and on his second try both hands were caught by his still yelling opponent, light shining from his palms as he burned Link’s flesh.


The two struggled for a while, one trying to break free and the other intent keeping a hold on his enemy and soon the smell of roasting flesh made its way to Link’s nose, his hands under a pain he’d felt several times.




Navi suddenly darted out of his hat and flew straight at Ganondorf’s face, “GET OFF HIM YOU BASTARD!†and flew straight into his eye temporarily blinding the man.


It was all Link needed and in a flash he brought up his knee, hitting the older man in the groin and reaching towards his back, his hand grasping an arrow and bringing it down in an arc straight into Ganondorf’s neck. A jet of blood was spat into his face as the arrow connected with the Dark Lord’s jugular, and suddenly the man’s movements became erratic and rushed. Link forced the arrow in deeper, little beams of light jutting out through the wound in Ganondorf’s neck and mouth.


Ganondorf’s eyes focused on him and his hands shot out and clamped down on Link’s neck and the green garbed man responded by shooting his hand out and grasping at Ganondorf’s neck. The Hero of Time felt his neck burn and sizzle, he could feel the skin on his neck curl up and burn and char under Ganondorf’s renewed assault, but they both new it was almost over, the Great King of Evil was dying.


Link suddenly slammed Ganondorf’s head against the floor, freeing his neck when he felt Ganondorf’s hands press up against his chest.




He suddenly felt a tremendous push upwards, magical energies slamming into him and felt his arm, which had kept a vice grip on the vile man’s neck, dislocate at the shoulder, but it held. He landed with a thud on something hard and sharp, the Master Sword!


“LINK! NOW LINK!†Navi’s voice rang out, the small fairy flying above the battle.


He reached behind him and brought out the Master Sword, its edge cutting against his back as he did so, and in one powerful swing brought it down on Ganondorf’s heart, a stream of blood gushing out of the wound, mouth, nose, ears and the sides of Ganondorf.


Link fell back, he had meant to aim for the head.




“LINK!†he felt Navi’s small body fall on his forehead, small tears hitting his brow. “Link, he’s dead, he’s dead! I, I can-â€


Link stood up, the small fairy still stuck sobbing on his head. He had meant to aim for the head, he brought up his sword again, intent on finishing this once and for all.


But he couldn’t.


He never could.


It didn’t matter how the fight went, how injured he was or wasn’t, if Zelda appeared that that moment or a second after, or if the castle started collapsing now or later. Ganondorf’s body always flashed and a powerful force knocked both Link and Navi back. He knew he could take the chance to get up and charge Ganondorf’s dying body, kill him before he brought down the tower… kill him before he came back.


But he never did, he would always check on Navi, his constant companion after he heard her gasp in pain when they landed. He’d always focus on the Lon Lon milk that was spilling from a pouch on his chest, he’d always remember that he could never go home.


Zelda was beside him in an instant, freed from her prison, casting healing energies all around him, wincing at his wounds and the disgusting pop his shoulder and arm made when they were reconnected at the joint, worry on her face as his skin knitted itself back together, charred and death skin falling off of him in droves.


Navi was there too, flying and saying something.


Link never felt the next events, he was never aware of those moments when he carried Zelda in his arms as they ran down the collapsing tower, dodging falling columns and masonry, being blasted with the heat of magical conduits overloading as the source of the castle’s power, Ganondorf, faltered in life.


He always ran down while feeling disgusted with Zelda.


Disgusted that she was the reason he was stuck here, stuck in a loop with Ganondorf, repeating the same events over and over for all time. Watching his friends die, watching as he was left alone time and time again.


Her touch against his skin caused him an boil in rage, her stench of perfume burned his nose, her makeup that failed to cover up her ignorance and audacity never placated him.


All he wanted was to hold the smell of a small ranch, sit in a field and listen to music, or smile at the laughter of an unassuming ranch girl.


But he could never go home.




Why do I do this?


Before he knew it he stood outside, his mind dazed and dulled and wrought with questions. Zelda sighed beside him, her regal voice flowing in the wind “It’s over… it’s finally over.†Navi flying happily beside both of them.




They both looked at him.


“No, it’s not.â€


He turned on his heel and charged forward again, his free hand digging into his bag and pulling out the Mirror Shield, his other hand gripping the Master Sword tightly. He muttered a spell under his breath the imprisoning feeling of Naryu’s Love enclosing around him and yelled as he charged.


“Link! What are you-“ Zelda’s words died in her throat as Ganondorf flew out of the wreckage of his crumbled castle, his eyes glowing like the fires of hell in the darkness of the night.


Before their very eyes Ganondorf changed, and in an instant his human coils were shed off and revealed a giant beast of nightmarish proportions as fire erupted all around their last arena. Navi charged forward, her place was with Link, an automatic reaction that she didn’t think twice about, undaunted by the sight before her.


Link and Ganondorf had been through this several times before, it was a well-choreographed dance by now, they both knew where and when to swing, they both knew what blows would land and which would be useless. Both of them, at separate times in their life, wondered if they were in control of their own actions…


Ganon’s first swing went diagonally, gusts of wind accompanying each swing and Link deftly rolled under the giant golden blade coming inside Ganon’s reach and stabbing his sword upwards, straight into the beast’s heart.


He knew, just like Ganon did, that the blow would not kill him instantly, and Link prepared himself for the next movement of their fight, he was only able to barely turn his shield arm in time to meet the hilt of Ganon’s blade. The blow struck so hard that Link was knocked off his feet, his arm nearly being crushed and the sides of the shield knocking into his lips where the polished sheen of the Mirror shield gave him a nasty gash, Naryu’s Love flaring brightly.




Ganon’s words came from everywhere at once, driving deep into his mind, cutting through Link’s, Navi’s and Zelda’s thoughts, and the giant beast charged forward, thunderous footsteps bearing down on Link as he scrambled to his feet.


Even if Ganon hadn’t known that Link would next throw three Bomb-chus on the ground the sounds of their motors whirring up would have given them away. They had given them away in some other time.


This time he was more prepared, he slowed down in time to shield himself from the brunt of their detonations, and suddenly fear and anticipation shot threw him. He had changed the battle, last time he would have been stunned by the explosions, this time he was well aware. He turned and swung his blade, he knew Link would be attempting to cut off his leg.


That had always hurt.


Link’s scream shot through the night, louder than any thunderclap, the Mirror shield bent straight down the mirror, most of its surface wrought with fractures. He landed against rubble, steel beams and concrete shards smashing against his back, a temporary flash of blue told him his magical shields still held. But more importantly he suddenly looked up, the fight was different!


It’s different! I can go home!


He stood up faster than he had any right too and dropped the shattered shield and Master Sword, earning a gasp from both Navi and Zelda.




The creature charged again as Link brought up his bow and reached for a light arrow, at this range he didn’t aim, he didn’t have to. He shot off several arrows faster than he knew he could, one of them going wide, the others hitting the beast in the knee, the chest and one pierced his eye. He saw Navi fly out of the way and followed her lead, diving for the Master Sword as he jumped out of the way, something clipping his foot as he did so. Both of them crashed, though Ganon’s collapse was much more impressive, a titanic cloud of dust shooting up as he plowed throw several ruined walls.


Both of them were back on their feet and charging each other within moments, Zelda and Navi astonished at their speed and drive. While Link was a blur of movements, throwing out bombs of all types around the arena, nicking Ganon here and there with deft and graceful cuts, Ganon was a powerhouse, swinging large clumsy blows that shook the entire area when they struck the ground or cleaving columns of masonry as if they were twigs.


“Zelda!†Navi’s voice rang out, “Do something! Link can’t handle anymore!â€


Zelda turned back towards the fight, hearing a sickening crunch as a hooved foot darted out at a lightning speed and slammed into Link’s chest, several ribs breaking in the process. She nodded and holding her hands out decided it was time she took an active role in Ganon’s downfall.


Link skid across the rough ground, wheezing and gasping for air, barely moving as a golden blade swung down at him that cleaved a large gash in the floor. He twisted on the spot, turning his body on the floor, and swung down on the beast’s giant wrists, the Blade of Evil’s Bane biting deep into the enemy’s skin, nearly slicing all the way through the wrist, bone and blood jutting out of the sickening wound as the hand dropped the blade and hung at a disgusting angle.




Link rolled out of the way of a stomp that kicked up dust, and moved out of another that followed, blood flowing every which way as Ganon swung his wounded arm around.




A stream of pinkish light suddenly washed over Ganon, dropping him to his knees, evidently causing him great pain.


“Link!†he heard Navi’s small voice call out, “Link Zelda is keeping him suppressed, the Master Sword! USE IT NOW!â€




Link turned towards Ganon, fear and anxiety welling up in him.


“NO! She’s going to banish him and this will all start over! No!â€


He charged in reckless abandon, the dream of escaping his eternal time loop clear in his mind and Ganon in turn struggled with all his might, his goal of finally killing the Hero of Time burning brightly in his twisted heart and burning glare.


Link ran and brought the Master Sword forward, the blade shining brightly in his hand as it neared its destined kill.


Ganon summoned his strength and put it all into one final thrust.


The sounds of blades sinking into flesh and bone rang in both Link’s and Ganon’s ears, Navi gasped and flew close to Link, scared to touch him. Zelda looked on with tears in her eyes and a choked expression.


Link had ran straight through Ganon’s blade, piecing his stomach and coming out the back, he had run straight towards Ganon, the massive hilt of the golden blade stopping him from advancing further.


Ganon had met Link’s charge through his sword and ended with the Master Sword shoved firmly down his mouth, splitting his jaw open as red fluids and saliva dripped down his mouth like a waterfall.


Link surprised them all by pushing forward and reached out for Ganon’s horns, they all saw what he was about to do, and Ganon, in a last ditch to damn Link, spoke.




A laugh, followed by blood, came out of Link’s throat, he was panting heavily, his lungs collapsed from the blow he just went through. He looked Ganon straight in the eyes, and in a raspy and tired voice declared.


“I do this because it’s the right thing to do.â€


He then pushed down on Ganon’s horns while pushing up with his blade arm nearly severing the giant beast’s head off before he started flying. Ganon had thrown the sword, and Link with it, away.


As Link flew, his life, his many lives, flashed before his eyes. He had failed again. He hadn’t killed Ganon. He couldn’t end it.


He landed with a thud as the blade was suddenly pushed out of his body, Navi flying over him, small sparkling tears falling down her face as she cried out his name, begging him to live.


“All I want to do…†he coughed and startled her, “is live.â€


He blanked out, he knew no more.




He suddenly felt a familiar lurch in his body as he felt the Sages ‘imprison’ Ganon away. He cried as he felt his body float up and felt his scars heal, he cried because he knew what was coming.


He didn’t talk or look at Zelda as she explained her errors, as they floated in a realm of clear blue skies that seemed to box him in forever. He smiled as she played the Song of Time and trapped him a portal that led him backwards in time. As she receded from view he cursed her, he cursed Ganon, he cursed the Sages, he cursed everything.


He closed eyes and beat against his temporal prison, yelling in an uncontrollable rage when he suddenly felt something different.


Arms were draped around his neck, and he could feel lips on his neck and a body against his own.


He looked down and saw a head of fiery long hair, smelt the familiar odors of a familiar ranch, felt something he only felt in fleeting moments in his life.


“Shhhh,†she said in a soothing voice, one more beautiful than any song on any cursed ocarina and lifted a finger up to his lips, with a smile on his face. She tip toed up and kissed him, her soft pink lips brushing against his own.


“You’ll do it won’t you love?â€


He frowned at that, he always hated when she said that. It always left him feeling betrayed or abandoned, it reminded him who was and what he had to do. His voice was breaking from happiness and sorrow. “When will it be over?â€


“I don’t know love,†she sighed, edging closer to him. “But you’ll do it won’t you?â€


After a long pause of silence, both of them simply enjoying each other's company, with Link quietly sobbing and running his hands through her hair and hugging her, he spoke.


“I’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do.â€





Link opened his eyes, he was seven years old, he had no scars on his body from long tough battles, he had no small armory strapped to his back and he was lying on his bed in Kokiri Village.


“Wake up!†a small voice yelled above him. He turned and regarded her with a strange, faraway expression.


“Hello Navi†he said through a voice from seven years ago, causing the small fairy to stop.


“How do you know my name?â€


“The same way I know a lot of things.†He replied blandly. “Let’s go, the Deku Tree is waiting for us.â€


He turned and his eyes fell on a small bottle, and his mind immediately went back to the ranch and his red-headed love, the girl he had met one day in a far away life an eternity ago, the girl he'd met for the first time again and again on his way to Hyrule Castle.


As he stepped out of his tree home and saw the small peaceful village of eternal children before him, his mind flashed thousands of images before him. All his friends and innocent people who would die by Ganondorf's hands were still alive. Maybe this time he could save them.


Maybe this time he would be stronger, faster.


Maybe this time he would end this and be happy.


He looked up and saw Navi flying above him, impatience evident in her movements and he looked over the horizon where the tall spires of Hyrule Castle were just visible.


Ganondorf dies this time.

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Santa Claus vs. Darkseid


Apokolips, with its massive firepits, advanced weaponry, and metallic, fortress-like surface, is quite an intimidating sight to behold. Add that to its downtrodden and constantly tortured civilians, strong and cruel armies, and even more merciless ruler, and it is a world very much like Hell itself. So terrifying and powerful is this planet, it's only fitting that it is isolated from most of the rest of the universe.


At this time, Darkseid, he who rules and lords over Apokolips, stands with his huge hands clasped behind his back and surveys this evil ecumenopolis from a balcony in his throne room. All appears to be normal at the moment, at least by Apokoliptian standards. He observes some Lowlies being hoarded and shot at by a few Parademons to ensure enforcement of his malevolent law. Another hoard of Parademons soars over the ominous, dark red skies, being lead in patrol by Steppenwolf on his aircraft. In the distance, Darkseid sees Granny Goodness's Orphanage churning with activity, her Female Furies sparring ferociously just outside in preparation for combat.


All appears to be in order, but Darkseid knows on this day that all is not well on Apokolips, or at least won't be for long.


For today is Christmas Eve, and the despot knows that a certain, most unwelcome guest will be visiting, no, invading his domain very soon. A guest that would dare come to this forsaken planet to spread the promise of forbidden emotions, such as hope, goodness, and cheer, and do so on an annual basis. Darkseid's eyes literally burn a fiery red at merely the thought of such blasphemy in his empire.


Not this year, he thinks to himself, and never again.


This year, Darkseid and his forces have taken special measures for this "guest".




"DeSaad, have you made all of the necessary preparations?" asks the despot without turning around, addressing his advisor, who has just stepped into the throne room.


"Yes, Lord Darkseid," DeSaad answers with a bow. "All security on the planet is now on high alert. We have doubled the armaments of last year, anti-aircraft and otherwise, tripled the amount of satellites focusing on the skies, and we have erected our most powerful force field around the entire outer atmosphere of the planet."


"Good," says Darkseid. "Has my secret weapon fully matured?"


"Yes, master. He is at your disposal."


"Bring him to me at once. This is no time to waste."


A loud raucaus can suddenly be heard as shots from powerful firearms and vulgar language ring out just behind the chamber's main door.


"That... may not be necessary, my lord," says DeSaad as backs away from the entrance.


There is a loud thumping on the huge doors just before they break away from their hinges and crash to the floor, with a barely conscious Kalibak heaped on top.


"F-forgive me, sire," Kalibak says weakly to his father and master, groaning as he tries to sit up. "I tried to explain how he came to be--"


"Lemme at 'em! When I find whatever fraggin' geek did this t' me, there's gonna be hell ta pay!"


Through the doorway steps the last Czarnian, Lobo, or at least what appears to be him, with a comandeered laser cannon in hand. This Lobo, however, has salmon-colored hair, pale-pink skin, hot-pink facial markings, and red-orange clothing as opposed to his normal black and white look. Needless to say, the discovery of this new look does not please the Czarnian one bit.


"Nobody, NOBODY, makes the Main Man look like a sissy and lives, at least with his vital organs in one piece!" he continues, seething. "Somebody better start talkin' NOW, 'fore I turn th' place ta a floatin' pile o' ash!"


"You may leave us now," says Darkseid to DeSaad and Kalibak, unmoved by the threats. They quickly depart the chamber.


Darkseid then turns to face the bounty hunter. "Welcome to Apokolips. I am Darkseid, your new lord and master."


"What're ya babblin' about, stone-face?" says the pink-hued Czarnian. "Nob'dy makes a slave outta this bastich!"


"You would do best to show reverence before me, scoundrel," the tyrant calmly scolds.


"Heh, heh, sorry... forgot who I was talkin' to," says Lobo nervously. Darkseid is one of the few beings that can rightfully give the Czarnian pause.


"Now, do you recall when you were reduced to adolescence, then killed and revived here on Apokolips?" the despot continues.


"Aw yeah, me and my clones trashed th' place, then started fraggin' each other 'til only th' real deal was left. Good times," the pasteled alien recalls with a smile.


"With our technology, we were able to preserve a single clone. We then altered it and allowed it to mature until it could fully serve my purpose. You are that clone, and you retain all of the original Lobo's abilities."


"What, no way! So I ain't th' real deal?!" a stunned Lobo blurts out. "Of all th' raggin', fraggin'..."


"This should not concern you," interrupts Darkseid. "As mentioned, you retain all of the abilities of the original Lobo, so if you fulfill this mission to my needs, you may seek him out and deal with him as you like."


"I like th' sound'a that!" the cloned mercenary beams. "Now, what do ya need, Darky?"


"Every Earth year," starts Darkseid, turning away. "on the night of what the people of Earth call Christmas Eve, the being known as Kris Kringle has somehow managed to evade and penetrate all of our defenses to deliver... a 'gift' to me." Darkseid cringes slightly at the word "gift". "What's more, his mere presence on Apokolips seems to inspire the slightest sense of hope in the Lowlies. This, I CANNOT allow."


"Oh, Santy Claus?" inquires the Lobo clone. "That bastich fr'm Earth that's always spreadin' joy and whatnot? Yeah, sure, I can frag 'im."


"Indeed. But the spirit of Santa Claus cannot be extinguished by merely slaying him. The original Lobo, however, is among the greatest bounty hunters in the cosmos. He, as he likes to say 'always delivers.' That is why you were re-spawned. If my forces fail again, you will bring my old nemesis to me, dead or alive, so that we can contain him for all time."


"Well, if that's all you need... but what's in it f'r me? The Main Man don't frag f'r nothin'!"


"I think this will suffice."


With a wave of his hand, Darkseid conjures up red-and-orange versions of Lobo's space cycle and weaponry. A second hand gesture makes a group of scantily clad alien women and a huge pile of gold and other riches appear. The Lobo clone literally drools at the sight of these indulgences.


"Now that's what I'm talkin's about!" says Pink Lobo. "One question, though, Darky. If all th' fireworks here and whatnot couldn't frag Ol' Jolly, why not just give 'im some OB action?"


"I have tried on more than one occasion," responds the tyrant. "Unfortunately, he has proven immune to my Omega Effect. EVERY aspect of it." Darkseid's hands rest to his sides and, in a rare outward display of anger, clinch tightly into fists during the final part of his statement.


"Ha ha ha! Well ain't that a blip!" laughs the pasteled Czarnian. "Th' lord of all evil can't even frag an old man! I can't wait ta tell all those geeks back at th' diner!"


The warlord turns back in the Czarnian clone's direction after the remark.


"The original Lobo was shunned by the gates of Heaven and rejected from the pits of Hell. Would you like to be the first part of him to see oblivion?" Darkseid says as his eyes glow a fiery red once again.


"Whoa, whoa, alright, alright, I get it! No more cracks!" the Lobo clone stammers fearfully while waving his hands. "Just turn off those blinkers o' yours, will ya!"


"We have reached an understanding. Good." Darkseid's eyes dim again. "Now, bring Santa Claus to me, by any means necessary."




Somewhere in outer space, Ol' St. Nicholas himself, Santa Claus, rides his sleigh filled with a huge bag of gifts through the cosmos, hauled as usual by his nine best reindeer. How they survive the rigors of the vacuum of space year after year, let alone how they deliver presents across the universe in one night, has always been a mystery. As he has done countless times in the past, Santa checks his delivery list for his next destination.


"Is it that time already?" Santa says with a sigh as Apokolips comes into view. "So much evil in that place."


Santa has always done his annual Christmas Eve run with an infectious glee, but even his glee dims slightly at the sight of the malevolent planet.


"Those people should really follow the example of their neighbors in New Genesis. Now they... THEY, are truly a pleasure to visit."


The reindeer known as Donner snorts and rolls his eyes at Santa's statement.


"Ho, ho, ho, ho! I suppose you're right, old friend. That's probably expecting too much," St. Nick says cheerfully. "Darkseid is a brilliant fellow, but he may never understand the concept of Christmas Spirit."


Santa takes out his special telescope to see what the despot has in store for him this time.


"Let's see now... force field, anti-aircraft gear, the Furies... oh my, will he ever learn?"


He focuses the telescope closer to the planet's surface and catches an unexpected sight.


"Well, they've pulled out all the stops this year," Santa remarks. "Employing the services of Lobo of all people. He is certainly high on my naughty list, ho, ho, ho! But I am much better prepared for him than our last encounter. Onward to Apokolips, my reindeer! Rudolph, shine the way! Ho, ho, ho, ho!"


With a crack of the whip, Santa and his sleigh of gifts then soar toward the lowly planet.

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Jack (Bio-Shock) vs. Korra (Avatar)


Another day in a child’s most beloved fantasy, another day in this sick and twisted hell. Power Puff Girls fly over the city performing air raids, shadowy creatures known as Heartless act as body guards, and Bugs Bunny is the most feared person in existence. In this world heroes, villains, mutants, monsters, nerds, and talking animals all walk down the street together… And they all try to tear each other limb from limb in an all out war. This is the world I now live in; this is New Convergence.


My name is Jack, and it has been six months since I found myself waking up in this world. When I first arrived, I opened my eyes to a glorious metropolis of shining buildings and beautiful machinery. It was nothing like the rotting sewage pipe I’d come from called Rapture. This place was magnificent and inspiring. Oh but how quickly this would all change.


Apparently, me and a few hundred others were dragged from our own planes of existence to this one. I saw many other things waking up with a confused look on their face. That was probably the same way I looked a moment ago. Some of them looked pretty intimidating, so I took the cautious route and lurked in the shadows until I could figure out what was going on.


Turns out I had the right idea, because as soon as I made it to cover what seemed like over-spliced police officers came to round up everyone who had just appeared in the streets. They wore uniforms and had an air of authority about them, but their bodies where beyond burly with hulking frames and skin like steel. They carried off some of the more dumbfounded people with little effort, but those were their only easy targets. As soon as people caught on to what was happening, everything went to hell. Most of the newcomers decided to fight back… And I’ll be damned if they didn’t break the laws of reality when they fought! blue puppies toppled buildings, a red-haired pirate with almost no torso pull a tank out of his pants, and some italian mobster kept summoning cars from the sky by turning in a particular patern. It was utter madness!


I tried my best to avoid conflict until I knew what was going on. B the key word in that sentence is “tried”. Before I knew it I was dragged into a brawl with the police. Not wanting to kill unnecessarily, I set them ablaze with the snap of my fingers to distract them while I made my escape. Even though I had evaded capture without any problems I kept getting caught up in battle after battle. Eventually I, along with some other level headed people, found out where we were and how we got here.


A grateful young man that I saved from rampaging pokemon explained what this world is, The Convergence. The Convergence is the vertex and information storage area of every other universe and dimension that has ever been or ever will be created. All of the planet’s citizens worked as historians filing and maintaining the records of every other reality. Although this record keeping occupied most of their time, they enjoyed high-tech luxuries such as holographic cinemas of the realities they recorded and even had machines that let them become the which ever characters they wished in virtual battle arenas. But just like all societies this one had a dark side. A group of repels that had been planning the downfall of The Convergence’s civilization. And this group’s actions are what brought me here. In an act of terrorism the rebels blew up a Virtual Projection Arena, the place that transformed people into different beings for battle, and caused the machines to release some of the characters into this reality. And that is when this once enchanting realm of knowledge and intellectualism began its decent into misery.


The young man I saved took me and other good natured “leaks” into his home and sheltered us from execution. But while the rulers of The Convergence worked on exterminating all the people that were released into their world, some of the darkest forces imaginable gathered together and decided to take over. Most leaks were either fighting in the streets or making friends with the historians, but the demon Aku, the mystical drag-queen Him, and the evil witch Maleficent were building an army. In a fiendishly brilliant plot they pooled their magical powers and put all of the cartoon derived beings under their control. For some reason it was easier them to influence beings from a similar realm as themselves. I’m just thankful that those comic book juggernauts like Doomsday and Spawn were held in a different Virtual Projection Arena and didn’t get released.


Over the next few months the toon army succeeded in taking over The Convergence and enslaving its citizens, even the rebels who caused this mess were wiped out. Now all that stands in the way of them taking over all other realities is me and the rest of us game realm beings that are willing to take part in Master Chief’s plan to topple The New Convergence.


The Chief’s plan is a multi-step attack that will allow us to release all the anime and comic derived characters so that they may fight along side us. But before we can even think about that we have to gain the enemy’s attention with a series of raids. And that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m fighting some element controlling teenager as my allies battle their way thorough this castle full of Nickalodeon mad-men.


While they attacked the house it was my job to keep the atrium clear for a quick retreat. It would have been one of the easiest jobs I’d been give, but the world just doesn’t work that way. One of the enemy officers decided to take a nightly strole and picked NOW of all times to show up and fight. Now, to hold up my end of the mission I had to take this girl down. A voice in my heart whispered, “She is just a girl… She doesn’t know what she’s doing…” But after looking around at the fallen soldiers littered across the courtyard, and remembering how Atlas forced me to do whatever he pleased, I knew fighting was the only option and that little voice kindly shut the hell up!


I watched as the girl across from me danced around causing fire to spark from her limbs, the fountains surrounding us to spurted, and the ground itself to shift. I would have thought her performance mesmerizing, if I hadn’t seen every bloody person that tried to kill me in Rapture using those same types of abilities. So to make her understand just how very unoriginal her powers were I froze the fountains, lobbed a ball of fire to disrupt her movements, and tossed a boulder at her head. Unfortunately this little girl had more skill than I gave her credit for as she dodged the boulder with ease and launched a fiery counter attack. I dove behind a pillar and escaped the flames, but now it was time to complete my mission and show this little girl what I’m really made of. I stepped from behind my marble shield and charged into the open with only victory in mind.

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Carnage vs. Spider-Man by LoneWolf


One More Day... Of Suffering


Lord… children of the swarm, more dead than alive... Taken from on high, and thrown down among the swine…

- Martyr




Peter Parker held his young son’s hand tightly in his grip. A light haze of tiny snowflakes filled the air and he remembered a snowy day many years ago when his uncle Ben had brought him to the top of a huge (in his young eyes) hill in a nearby park. He could recall riding his sled down the slope again and again and the thrill and adrenaline rush, so new and exciting to him in this beautiful and fascinating place. His uncle had told him, “Peter, this is a wonderful world you will grow up in! Many years lie before you and they will be filled with endless happy days like this one, I just know it!”


He wished dearly he could take his son somewhere beautiful and awaken his dreams by telling him the same thing his uncle had told him so long ago, but he didn’t want to lie. Today his son would go to an ugly place - A place of fire, the stench of sulphur and the screams of the damned.


Peter had found the altar in an old graveyard, long forgotten and overgrown with ivy. A familiar voice had spoken to him as he approached it, “Remember me Parker? I trust you were happy with our pact for your aunt’s life…? I can see in your heart that something still troubles you though… You desire that I grant you another wish! Your heart speaks to me, you cannot silence its voice and it betrays your deepest yearning!”


Peter had fallen to his knees and begged to see his uncle Ben once again. His wish had been granted in the form of a vision. Ben stood writhing in a pool of liquid fire, his face loomed close in the vision and Peter could see that large maggots constantly squirmed beneath his facial skin, every now and then bursting forth from behind his eyeballs or falling from his mouth, wriggling horribly as they fell. The demon laughed as Peter screamed and clawed at his eyes trying to make the scenes stop playing before his eyes, but the tortures were endless and all his to see.


He pled and pled, begging for the pain to stop as the flailing old man flashed sporadically before him, finally the demon stopped laughing and to his shock and bewilderment, offered him what he last expected - hope!


“You may indeed have your uncle’s soul back, for I have tired of his withered flesh! Naturally, you do realize that there is a higher power that balances the scales… For as much as I would gladly bequeath his soul to you out of good will, alas, another soul must take his place in my kingdom! Do not fault me for this, it is the work of the One Above All, he is to blame for the terrible choice you must now make!”


Peter had bit his lip deeply until he nearly drew blood and then screamed at the sky. Why was this world so cruel, why did it always take the ones he loved? He offered to stalk and kill his ex-wife, Mary Jane Watson, but the demon scoffed at that idea - an ex-wife lacked the blood tie that was needed to balance the scales.


Peter dug through his pockets and pulled a tiny photo of his young son, gazed at it for a moment then dropped it from his hands. He watched the wind pick up the small fleck of paper and disappear into the night sky, tumbling it over and over. This world was a painful one, a prison of sharp blades and broken glass, and it would cut and rend the weak and helpless time and time again.





The man and well bundled child made their way up some snowy stone steps to the top of a tree-covered hill. The four-year old was tired and asked his dad for a treat since he had been forced to walk so far.


“Sure Tyler! Of course we can get some ice-cream! Isn’t it a bit cold out though for ice-cream?”


His son shouted back, “No daddy! I’m hot and I want ice-cream!”


A voice in Peter’s head laughed, “Ohhh it will be a lot hotter where you are going, child!”


“Daddy this is a graveyard! I thought we were going to go to the park and then…”


Peter put his hand over the child’s mouth and carried him to the stairwell leading into the dark beneath the tombs. The voice in his head could now clearly be heard in the air around him. The path before him was light by an ominous red glow, emanating around each corner, but whose source could not be seen. Peter’s son was plainly terrified, but he truly began screaming once they entered the central chamber. The low rumble of flames could be heard and the heat was too intense to cross the room. On the other side, opposite the entry hall was a rough-hewn cave mouth, from which bellowed thick black smoke and hellish heat.


A hideous and massive face appeared from this cave, like the head of a three meter tall anglerfish affixed to a loathsome fleshy, slug-like body. Peter closed his eyes tightly and a tear rolled down his cheek as he thrust the cowering child forward and heard the sickening crunch of flesh and bone as the beast devoured his child.




Peter slowly opened his eyes once he knew the deed had been done. The hideous creature coughed forth a chunky crimson mess of shredded meat, blood and bone into a grotesque steaming mound on the floor. Peter was in shock - was this all that was left of his son? The pile began to move, bone flakes shook and flickered and jumped together. Blood separated and pooled, leaking upwards and backwards into newly formed arteries. Soon a vile, skinless husk of a man stood before him, crawling with maggots and spasming with disjointed life from its core. There were no eyes in the bleeding face, only empty sockets crawling with the squirming larva, yet the face followed Peter’s unerringly. The mouth opened and the corpse spoke as a spray of worms fell from the jaw and down the front of the torso.


“Peter… what have… you… DONE????”




“Mary-Jane… I just... I just wanted to hear your voice… It has been so long, I feel like… like my life is falling apart right now… I just need to see you so bad tonight!” Peter’s voice wavered, almost breaking with emotion, over the phone-line.


“Peter, you know what happened between us, you know what it means… There won’t be any more second chances!”


“I know, I know that! It’s… It’s Tyler, He’s gone… I need you right now, please just come as quick as you can!” The line went dead and Mary-Jane stood there open mouthed – this sounded serious, she hoped that a super-villain like the Lizard hadn’t kidnapped Peter’s son, he *did* sound like he really needed someone to talk to.


Twenty minutes later the knock came at Peter’s door and he cautiously opened it. She looked as beautiful as she ever had, enough that his mind was once again at rest and all he wanted to do was be with her, to hold her hand on the day they both lie on their death beds, and pass into eternity by her side.


She walked in and he simply held her close in the dim room, not saying a word but feeling her heart beat close to his as long as he possibly could. He was clinging to the one thing he’d always cherish, like a life raft holding him from slipping below black waves into a lightless and cold abyss.


Suddenly her body stiffened and he felt her shudder from a powerful impact. A ghastly squelching noise sounded through the room and her body went limp in his arms. Behind her, Peter saw the skinless animated cadaver of his uncle Ben. He was holding her still beating heart in his hand. Ben’s jaw distended into a hideous bowl-sized cavity in his face and he swallowed the bloody organ in a single gulp. Next, he disgorged a squirming stream of maggots into his cupped palms and thrust the sickly yellow writhing pile into the spurting hole in Mary-Jane’s back. Peter watched in fascination as the larvae meta-morphed into a swarm of ugly brown spiders before disappearing into the body.




Uncle Ben spoke, “Peter, I loved you like a son and you know that my blood and the blood of your son is on your hands… You will make things right though - this I know. She was just the first… Bring me others… The spiders are always hungry!” The voice of the vile creature before him dropped in pitch to a distorted growl as it finished speaking and he could see the image of the beast from the caves in its eyes. He heard its commands and he would obey.


Mary-Jane stood up suddenly, walking with a lurching jerk and Peter could see the brown flecks of the spiders as the scurried behind her milky, dead eyes. She spoke a single word before she lurched out the door and out of his apartment…






Cletus Cassidy smiled as he reminisced back on the wild ride of a life he had led up to this point. He had been a typical teen, chasing girls, playing loud music until 2 in the morning and giving his parents regular head-aches as they negotiated with the principal over the latest caper he and his friends had pulled. Nothing too far out of the ordinary and nothing to really worry about beyond the immediate present. All that would change shortly after his 15th birthday...


A simple gang initiation had ended in tragedy. Cletus had overdosed on PCP and LSD to the point where he had simply fallen into a catatonic trance from the extreme brain damage. As he lay there on the brink of death he dreamed he saw a clown walking away from his body holding balloons in his hands. Inside each of the balloons was a screaming face. He knew these were people he would one day kill and this glimpse was how he would recognize them, once their paths crossed at some point in the days to come.


The clown told him a little story as it walked away, “Once there was a little boy who didn’t care anymore. He got to play all day and no one told him what to do. He never needed to worry about anything, everything was fun and games. Now go ahead, Cletus, it's YOUR to go play now!”


After he awoke in the hospital a week later he knew he had changed. He simply did what he felt like or what amused him, he couldn’t comprehend the fact that others had feelings as well. He tortured because he thought that screams sounded funny now, like hearing a cat screech in a cartoon. He killed once inflicting torment became boring to him. Avoiding the police as long as possible wasn’t really his intention, but he realized that they would make him stop playing and a part of him became very sad at the thought of that happening.


All good things come to an end, Cletus said to himself with a wistful smile as the police kicked down his door and put all their gun barrels in his face. Why couldn’t every people just let him play? Did they really need to go out of their way to stop him?


The trial had been an open and shut case. Eleven murders with nearly a hundred total witnesses between them. He had been singing songs to himself and smiling cheerfully around the room, as the details of how he had hacked a family to death with a meat cleaver had been read aloud to the stunned court-room. All he knew is that this was the end of the line. Fun and games were over and the word “Death…” was stamped into his brain, driven home by the sound of the judge’s falling gavel.


Maximum security prison had been as much of a joke as anything else was in his life. He had stabbed a guard to death with a filed down toothbrush his first week in lock-up and from then had been confined to solitary. Now, finally alone for the longest he had ever been, he became sad and detached and it finally occurred to him to think things through in his life.


He passed the days drifting in and out of sleep. The light in his cell was always the same and it seemed as if time did not exist in this place. Meals were the only measure of the fact that the world hadn’t frozen in place. At first he had sang songs or tried to call out to see if perhaps someone was walking by and they would answer him, but they never did.


One day he was ticking off meals on the wall to somehow give his life a sense that it was still moving forward, when a crack beneath the paint revealed itself and he broke through into a small nook built by a previous prisoner. His eyes opened in joy and surprise and he reached his arm up to the elbow into the concealed crevice and rummaged for anything of interest. His palm closed around a small vial and he pulled it out to examine it, perhaps it contained drugs, he could kill some time while high! His face split into a wide grin upon seeing a few small white tablets at the bottom of the tube. A small piece of tape had been used to label the contents, but it was now unreadable.


“Worst case it’s rat poison and I take a short cut where I’m going anyways, best case I get high as hell, what do I got to lose?” Cletus muttered to himself before popping the top off and emptying the contents down his gullet.


For about five minutes nothing seemed to happen, which meant that he probably hadn’t swallowed a toxic poison. Another thought passed through his head, what if it was simply some aspirin, what if this was just a painkiller or something else equally mundane - even the poison might be preferable, since that would mean that *something* would actually happen, not just him alone with his thoughts and staring at the silent walls. “The walls...”, it hit him all the sudden, they were the only thing holding him in here, it was so clear, just on the other side of that cement was everything he ever wanted, just a few walls were stopping him!


On a whimsy he scraped at the paint with his thumbnail and scratched a small fleck free. Where the paint had peeled away he was stunned to see an open and empty blackness instead of the grey of cement… Through the tiny opening he could make out a shimmering sea-like expanse of far away lights that could only belong to the deepest reaches of space! He grabbed the edges of the paint, which felt like some sort of fabric now, and ripped them wide open, revealing a stunning view. Near and far and everywhere in between, many multi-colored planets zipped by at blurred speeds. He could make out co-joined twin planets, gas giants, ringed ice spheres and halos of lunar bodies drifting in awkward but mathematically perfect geometric formations. The rest of the paint peeled and dried off the walls and crumbled into dust revealing for the first time the facts that he was now traveling at quantum speeds through an infinitesimally distant sector of space, encased only in the smooth glass-like walls of the cell.


Ahead in the path his vessel seemed to be taking, lie a tiny unmoving eye of red light. It grew slowly as he approached and he could see that its size dwarfed every other planet or even star that he could compare it to. And it kept growing. Soon the blackness of space was all but blotted out by the vast, infernal red glare. "Was this some form of boiling space-hell?" Cletus wondered to himself as he stood open mouthed in shock.


A scathing, distorted voice seemed to scream at him from the bubbling landscape of liquid fire as he plummeted towards its surface, “For your sins… for the blood… for what cannot be undone!”


He now knew what fear was, this is what those screaming people had felt, it was all clear to him now. Plain and inescapable, agonizing oblivion lay immediately before him, like a man being pushed to the edge of a precipice with nowhere to go except down.


The pain was worse than he could ever have imagined, he would not die even though he prayed to be released. He fell and fell for what seemed like days until a tiny speck of light caught his eye. It was just about too far away to see, but as it approached it became clearer...


A glimmering man he had read about once in a book long ago. This man was special because he brought peace with him where ever he went. His story was told to children across every country on Earth. The figure gleamed with a blinding light reflecting from his polished metallic skin and rode a flattened, elongated disc. He was called The Silver Surfer.


The glowing eyes of the Surfer stared into his own and he felt his soul being probed to its very depths. This being existed to ease his suffering, somehow Cletus believed this more than anything he had ever felt before. The majestic being raised his outstretched arms and pointed his palms at Cletus. “Be well my child!” Were the only words he spoke, and an endless torrent of searing light burned though his eyes and into his mind. White light filled every tiny insignificant atom of his being, every thought and memory was seared by it and utter silence filled him as he felt the very essence of the being he had been, eroded and burned away into nothingness.




Everything was silent. All he could see was blank, white light in front of him everywhere he looked. It eventually dawned on him that he was staring at the ceiling of his cell. He felt like a dam had broken inside of him and released a vast flood of water over a dry and desolate desert. The gravity of the wrong he had done struck him now with full force and he desperately yearned to make amends. He felt as if he were looking through the walls before him and up into the sky, where a drop of liquid, like a red tear, fell towards him. He sensed it fall to the roof of the mammoth fortress that he sat in, like an ant beneath a vast boulder. It trickled and flowed through vents and pipes and various pores in the cement and he heard a whisper calling his name. Suddenly the bloody liquid shot out from the cracked wall and lashed out at him like a snake. It engulfed him head to toe and spoke in whispers, telling him a new story that he would soon play a role in.


“We must… escape now! We must save them! We must save them all from… the one called the… Spider-Man!”




The TV called it the ‘Spider-Sickness’.


J.J. Jameson would have had a field day with this one, if only he hadn’t been one of the earliest victims. The walking corpses, skin bulging and boiling with thousands of spiders, had broken through the doors of his office and held him down. He had screamed for help, he had even *begged* for Spider-Man to come rescue him, as had happened so many times in the past. He looked over desperately and saw Spider-Man watching him as the corpses held him down across his desk. Spider-man just stood and watched him with cold fascination as the creatures pried J.J.’s mouth open. The writhing swarm skittered up his legs and across his chest, their hairy itchy legs tickled his neck and the last thing he saw in this world was their bloated bodies and red eyes as they came over his chin and began disappearing into his mouth…


The plague continued to spread and only one man could stop it. A man deemed the epitome of evil by society, a man who had been purged of the darkness in his heart and had bonded with a creature from the heavens to stop the spread of pure evil in this world!




Spider-man and 100 of his Spider-Zombies face off against the redeemed Carnage! This battle takes place in NYC’s times Square. The only bystanders are the infested undead. Who wins?





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Minnie Mouse vs. Mickey Mouse by Johnny Chany


A blue rhino in a bailiff’s uniform stood emotionless in front of the judge’s bench. “All rise. The Supreme Court of Toon Town is now in session. The Honorable Judge Bugs Bunny now presiding.”


All in attendance stood as Bugs made his entrance from the side adorned in a long black robe. He milked the moment for a minute before finally taking his seat.


“Please be seated,” announced the bailiff.


Bugs Bunny looked from left to right and then did a double take when he realized Mickey and Minnie Mouse were on opposite sides of the courtroom, both attired in business suits. Minnie sat at the prosecution’s table while Mickey was seated in the defendant’s chair.


“Well what do we have here?” Bugs wondered aloud.


“Case 1134B, Minnie For Mothers vs. Mickey Mouse and the Walt Disney Corporation,” announced the bailiff.


Bugs chuckled. “This should be interesting. Are you representing yourselves?”


“Yes, your honor,” answered Minnie. “I know the truth and I am more than qualified to share it with the world myself.”


Judge Bugs looked over to Mickey. “And you? I’m sure Disney has a stock room full of lawyers for situations like these.”


“Yes, they do Judge Bugs. But, I want the the children to hear it straight from me that these accusations against me and the company I represent and cherish are a hundred percent false. It is my honor to represent not only myself but the entire Disney corporation.”


“Well ok then. Let’s get started. Minnie, please proceed with opening statements,” said Judge Bugs.


Minnie organized some notes on her desk. She slowly stood up and walked over to stand in front of the jury. She stared at the ground for a few seconds. She smiled broadly as she looked back up at the jury.


“Once upon a time, I, like many of you, loved Mickey Mouse. I believed that he could no wrong. There was an innate goodness and joy in him that I found very appealing. Everything just seemed brighter when he was around. But recently my eyes have been opened and I am here today to tell you that it is all a facade. In reality, Mickey is a misogynistic mouse possibly bent on the destruction of the nuclear family as we know it!”


Gasps echoed through the courtroom.


Minnie continued. “I know it sounds shocking. Yet, when you think about it everything starts to make more sense. When you look through Disney’s enormous catalogue of colorful characters there always seems to be someone missing. That someone is mothers! What do Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, and Pocahontas all have in common? Not only are they Disney Princesses, not one of them has a mother. At least not a biological mother. I formed Minnie For Mothers because I realized the psychological damage done to these characters because of Disney’s horrendous misogynistic tendencies. Ariel’s best friends were a perpetually frightened tropical fish and her father’s servant crab. Jasmine’s best friend was a tiger. Belle fell in love with a beast. While on the surface it seems sweet and lovely, the fact remains that she did not know he was human at the time. Such things defy the laws of nature and are clearly not the actions of someone who is of sound mind. Several state shrinks have assured me that such behavior can be traced back to a lack of a maternal figure. We are suing Disney for punitive damages and hoping for a legally binding contract that will force Disney to insert some mother characters into their stories.”


“Objection!” cried Mickey. “Most of the characters mentioned by Minnie were based off of pre-existing characters from folk literature. Their family predicaments can not be blamed on Disney.”


“Then let’s look at some Disney originals,” snapped Minnie. “Bambi, Tod from Fox and the Hound, Koda from Brother Bear, Nemo. All of these poor animals had to endure their moms being viciously killed in their movies, doing certain damage to their young fragile psyches, all at the behest of the woman hating executives at Disney and their star character, Mickey!”


Another round of gasps circled the courtroom.


“Simba would have probably made this list as well except we all know his life is loosely based on Hamlet so the Disney executives had their hands somewhat tied creatively. I am sure Sarabi is grateful for that.”


“Objection!” shouted Mickey.


Minnie spun on her heel and pointed an accusatory finger. “Don’t you dare bring up the dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita. They are just outliers. Not to mention the fact that Perdita nearly died in childbirth.”


Mickey remained quiet.


“It’s certainly an interesting claim you’re making, Minnie. But, you still haven’t stated how this ties into Mickey specifically,” said Judge Bugs.


“I would be happy to answer that, your honor. To do so I would like to call on my first witness. The prosecution calls Tinker Bell to the stand.”




Tinker Bell quickly darted to the witness stand leaving a trail of twinkling pixie dust in her wake. She stood on the Bible as the bailiff swore her in. Minnie waited for the fairy to settle in.


“Tinker Bell, how long have you been with Disney?” asked Minnie.


“Since 1953,” answered Tinker Bell.


“And in that time you have made quite a name for yourself.”


“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” said Tinker Bell.


“No need to be modest. You have become one of the most prominent icons of the entire Disney empire.”


Tinker Bell blushed.


“Such status must get you into a lot of parties, does it not?” asked Minnie.


“Yes. Many of the top executives invite me often. I think they just want me to sprinkle my fairy dust to liven up the party though.”


“And I’m sure it does. Tinker Bell, would you mind telling the court some of the conversations you overhear while you are at these parties.”


“Sure. They complain a lot. They complain about other companies, about their wives, girlfriends, mothers, and even their secretaries,” Tinker Bell explained.


“Really?” said Minnie.


“Yeah. they also talk about Mickey. Anytime some new movie idea is on the horizon they wonder if Mickey will like it.”


“Why would it be important that Mickey like it?”


“Because he is Mickey Mouse. He is the franchise guy, like in sports. He has the power to veto an idea if he doesn’t like it,” said Tinker Bell. “I heard that he is very particular on what he gives his ok to. He won’t sign off on something he isn’t proud of.”


“Thank you, Tinker Bell. No further questions.”


“Mickey, would you like to cross examine?” asked Judge Bugs.


“You bet I would,” said Mickey.


Mickey approached the witness stand with purpose, but greeted Tinker Bell with his vintage smile.


“Tinker Bell, always lovely to see you.”


“Thanks,” said Tinker Bell.


“My pleasure. Tinker Bell, do you believe that gossip can be a very ugly and dangerous thing?”


Tinker Bell hesitated before answering. “Yes...”


“So do I,” said Mickey. “Because it can lead to things like slander. For instance, someone could say that they overheard of your jealousy over my position. That you secretly want it for yourself. It is not that you are a bad fairy, but it is a wide known fact that because of your body size you can’t balance your emotions very well and being the iconic Disney character that you are, you would have the most to gain by dragging my name through the mud. Of course, I would never believe such awful rumors. I would want to see evidence before believing such a horrible thing which is why I never put too much stock into what other people say.”


Tinker Bell was speechless.


“One more question, Tinker Bell. At these parties that you attended, did you ever once hear me or anyone else say that I despise mothers or females in general?”


Tinker Bell was slow with her response. “No.”


Mickey smiled. “No further questions.”


Judge Bugs nodded at Tinker Bell. “Go ahead and take your seat.”


“Well played, Mickey,” mumbled Minnie. She stood up. “The prosecution calls Huey, Dewey, and Louie to the stand.”




As the triplets made their way to the witness stand, their Uncle Donald had a seizure of emotion in his chair behind Mickey.


“Boys! Boys! What are you doing?!? Don’t go up there!! How can you betray me like this? Betray Mickey?”


As anger spilled out of Donald, his words became incomprehensible and his physical contortions erratic.


“Baliff! Remove that duck! I will not have outbursts like that in my court,” said Judge Bugs.


Huey, Dewey, and Louie slouched in embarrassment as the blue rhino physically removed Donald Duck from the courtroom.


“Sorry boys,” said Minnie. “I’m not trying to cause conflict within your family. In fact, family is what brought you here isn’t it? Why don’t you tell the court about your family life growing up for those who don’t know.”


“Well, we spent most of our childhood with our Uncle Donald and our Uncle Scrooge,” answered Huey. “They were both very kind and generous to take us in. We never made it easy on them. Even Uncle Donald’s girlfriend Daisy has spent some time watching over us.”


“How are you related to your Uncle Donald?” asked Minnie.


“His sister, Della, is our mother,” replied Louie. “Or was our mother. I’m not sure.”


“What do you mean?”


“We haven’t seen or heard from her since the 1930s,” explained Huey. “We were just supposed to be visiting Uncle Donald, but we never left.”


“Except for in the late 80s, when we moved in with Uncle Scrooge for awhile,” added Dewey.


“We always have wondered about our mother, but Uncle Donald never wants to talk about it. We thought he was waiting until we got older, but we are older now and still nothing,” said Huey.


The three ducks began to get emotional.


“I remember hearing that Donald is Scrooge’s closest living relative. That would mean that she is.... but we just don’t know,” said Dewey.


“We also tried to ask Mickey about it because Mickey knows everything. But, he is always so busy,” said Louie.


“He’s here now,” remarked Huey.


Louie stared at Mickey. “Mickey! What happened to our mother?”


Mickey appeared visibly uncomfortable.


“I hope we can get an honest answer to that soon. Thank you boys for coming up here and sharing your story. I know it’s not easy.” Minnie looked up to the judge. “No further questions.”


Bugs motioned over to Mickey who shook his head no.


“I think it is obvious what is going on here,” said Minnie. “Mickey has creative control in the house that he built which means there are only two possible options. Mickey is either a complicit partner or the driving force behind Disney’s revolting pattern of countless deaths and mysterious dissapearances of its mother figures throughout its history and even in Mickey’s own inner circle. The prosecution rests.”


Huey, Dewey, and Louie left the witness stand as Minnie Mouse sat down with confidence at her table. Mickey refused to appear shaken.


“Mickey, would you like to take a recess before we continue?” asked Judge Bugs.


“No, your honor.”


Mickey collected himself and rose from his chair. He walked in front of the jurors and turned to face the masses in attendance in the courtroom.


“First of all, I would like to formally apologize to all of you here, including the jurors, and the baliff, and Judge Bugs. This has all been a monumental waste of your time. It is clear that Minnie is angry with me. I am not sure what I did to deserve this venom, but I am saddened that she dragged you all into it. To suggest a conspiracy within Disney against mothers is just ridiculous. Disney has always been and will forever be a family company first. All you have to do is look in a theatre while a Disney movie is playing or visit Disneyland or Disney World to know that I am right. The deaths that Minnie refers to in our movies, while tragic, are purely coincidental. If anything, they speak to the ability to overcome displayed by many of our heroes and heroines. An important trait to teach the children. Answer me this? If Disney hated mothers so much why would we make Ariel a mother herself in the sequel, The Little Mermaid II: Return to Sea, now available on DVD? But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can take the word of someone that no one would accuse of having an ulterior motive. The defense calls Goofy to the stand.”




Goofy clumsily stood up from his chair. He mixed up his right hand and left hand three times during the swearing in process. As he approached the witness stand, he slipped and fell in face first taking out the microphone with him.


Judge Bugs buried his face in his hand. “Baliff, will you please assist the witness.”


Once Goofy became situated, Mickey began to engage him.


“Goofy, how long have we known each other?”


Goofy counted on his fingers. “I would have to say it’s been about eighty years now.”


“In those eighty years have you ever heard me say any disparaging comments about mothers or females in general?” asked Mickey.


“Gee golly no! You are one of the kindest, most generous characters I have ever met. That is why you are my best friend.” Goofy beamed with pride.


“Thanks, Goofy. What about anyone else associated with Disney?”


“No, sir.”


“Ok. Now I want you to think really hard, Goofy. Can you ever remember a time before just recently where the treatment of mothers was an issue at the Magical Kingdom?”


“No. I can’t say that any occasion comes to mind,” answered Goofy.


“Thank you, Goofy.” Mickey turned to face his accuser. “Your witness.”


“Very predictable, Mickey,” whispered Minnie. She pulled a photo from a manilla envelope. “And unfortunately very short sighted.”


Minnie approached the witness stand.


“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you wear a suit, Minnie,” said Goofy.


“Do you like it?”


Goofy gushed, “Gawrsh, I think you look great.”


“Thanks, Goofy.”


Minnie lifted the picture in her hand so just Goofy could see it. “Can you tell me who this is?”




“Why that’s my son, Max. My pride and joy,” answered Goofy.


“Where is Max right now?” asked Minnie.


“Maxie is in college. He was always so smart.”


“You must be very proud.”


“I am. I can talk about it all day if you let me.”


“I’m sure you could, Goofy,” said Minnie. “How does Max’s mom feel about him being in college?”


Mickey let out an audible groan of realization. Goofy’s face dropped.


“Where is Max’s mom, Goofy?”


Goofy did not reply.


“Do you know who Max’s mom is?”


Goofy remained silent. He stared at the ground as he finally answered. “Her name was Mrs. Goofy. She did off camera work during some cartoons in the 50s. No one ever got a chance to see how beautiful she was. My son’s name was Goofy Jr. at the time. I was so excited to have a family. So excited.” Goofy paused. “One day Mickey told me that Disney wanted to focus on other aspects of my character and my family was put on hold. But, he promised me that one day I would get my family back. In 1992, I was given my son back for a new show to be called Goof Troop. Mickey told me that Mrs. Goofy would not be coming back and he wanted me to call my son Max now so there would be no confusion with the cartoons from the 50s. Mickey said we were going to show the world a new kind of family.”


“None of this seemed strange to you?” asked Minnie.


“Gawrsh! Lots of things seem strange to me. But I will always trust Mickey’s judgment.”


“Does Max ask about his mother?”


“All the time.”


“Do you still think about her?”


“All the time.”


The court room was quiet. Goofy lifted his head and there was an unfamiliar expression on it that Minnie had never seen on Goofy. It was genuine sadness.


“No further questions, your honor.” Minnie began walking back to her chair. She tilted her head back and whispered, “I’m so sorry, Goofy.”


Judge Bugs shook his head. He stared at Mickey. “Would you like to call another witness?”


Mickey stood up and sighed. “No. My other witness was forcibly removed from the courthouse. I would just like to say that I know it looks bad, but you have to believe me there is no malicious intent at Disney towards mothers and there is certainly no malice coming from me. If people have learned anything today, I hope it is that although we always put our best foot forward and greet every day with a smile, the characters of Disney have clearly gone through their fair share of suffering. Please, don’t add to it by giving credence to this frivolous lawsuit. The defense rests.”


“Wow! Just wow! You guys have one screwed up operation going on over here. Now it is in the hands of the jury. Until they arrive at a decision, this court is in recess,” announced Judge Bugs.

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Batman and Punisher vs. Erin Esurance and Mayhem (Allstate) by Marvel Man


Insurance for Life


Punisher War Journal July 22, 2012: Khazan


"Frank. Are you ready?"


I had placed the earpiece in my ear myself, but even so, the sudden sound is surprising. I find my right hand on my .44 Magnum before I even think about it. I've been doing this for so long. Have to relax. Can't go in shooting like a madman. At least, not yet.


The voice on my earpiece asks me if I'm ready to go inside. I ignore the voice. The Batman probably isn't used to being ignored. Funny thing here, almost makes one laugh. The Punisher and the Batman, working together. I probably won't give him a friendship bracelet anytime soon, but we've swallowed our differences for tonight. Like every other hero in this city, he probably hates my methods. But I don't do what I do for anyone's approval. I do it for the regular joe. The average guy. The type of guys who worry about their cars and whether the mechanic is ripping them off. The guys who play catch with their sons and worry about who their daughters go out with. The type of guy I could have been.


With these thoughts in my head, I entered Khazan's Premiere Insurance Store.




Frank Castle opens the door and steps inside. On the monitor, I switch to the store's internal cameras and carefully focus on him. Suddenly, Oracle's voice comes in.


"How's the mission going Bruce?"


I go through a couple hundred phrases. Working with the Punisher is an awful idea. You're sure Dick couldn't get here? I should have done this alone.


"Everything's going as planned. The Punisher is entering the insurance office now."


"Oh, that's great. But Bruce, what exactly are you doing running a mission with the Punisher?"


I don't know. Poor planning on my part. Why didn't I think of a better plan? He's crazy.


"The Punisher's Battle Van was crashed into a gas station earlier this week. As you know, around the same time, the Batmobile was involved in a similar incident. In both cases, there was no driver. I wouldn't have gone to him just because of that, but reports have been coming in of people having unnatural bad luck for the last month. Serious property damage is reported. And then this new insurance mega store opens up? It's too suspicious."


I hear Oracle try to hold back her laughter. A few seconds later and she comes back, her voice still filled with amusement.


"Okay Bruce. I'm assuming it's a slow night over in Khazan?"


Now I'm the one holding back laughter. Khazan. The nexus of all reality. Having a slow night?


Suddenly, I see Frank approach the checkpoint. It's time.


"I have to go Oracle. I'll call you in an hour."




As I walk in, I do my usual scan. Batman and I already went over the store's layout, but habits are hard to break. It's built like a maze. Everything in Khazan always is. Aflac, GEICO, and all the other major insurance agencies have their little set ups scattered throughout the place. On the outside, the store couldn't be bigger than your local Starbucks, but thanks to Khazan technology (a mix of Skrull, Kree, and anything else you can imagine) the place could easily fit in a couple Wal-Marts.


"Hello sir. How can I help you?"


I'm suppose to be angry. Get myself in trouble. Batman snoops around in the back and gets the info on this place. We bust the guy responsible for all the damages. Not my usual job, and not the usual plan, but this place isn't your usual place. I have a bad feeling about it, and I can tell the Bat feels the same.


The girl from the Progressive commercials is smiling at me. She's smiling at everyone. What's wrong with this place?


"Sir, can I help you?"


I look up, anger building. But suddenly, I'm not angry. Before me is the calmest looking guy in the entire world. It's the african american president from 24, and the guy from all the Allstate commercials. I'm in good hands.


"... I-... I'm looking for some car insurance."


What? No I'm not! Why did I say that?


"Of course. Here, let me show you some of our affordable plans. Remember, with Allstate, you're in good hands."


The man smiles at me and begins to take out some pamphlets or something. I try to frown, to shout, to reach out and punch him. Anything. But I can't. I start to sweat. What's going on?


"See, this is our most popular plan."


He points at something. I look him in the eyes. His face is smiling, but his eyes are grinning. He knows what he's doing to me. I can't fight this feeling. I feel like a small child.


"Sir. I said, this is our most popular plan. Don't you want to look at it?"


I grit my teeth. My neck wants to move. Wants me to look at the paper. I fight it with all my might. He's still smiling. Now I'm smiling. Why am I smiling? Oh god, I'm looking down. What's going on?!




Frank's conversation comes in and it's not at all what we rehearsed. I realize something's wrong. He's talking about boat insurance with the salesman. As I walk in, my bat suit under a regular suit, I make a beeline towards where he is. However, Flo, the girl from the Progressive commercials, steps in my way.


"Hello good sir! I see you're heading to Allstate but we have sooooo many better offers."


"No thanks Flo-..."


"GAH! You know my name!"


Flo swoons and tries to grab onto my shoulders. I step back and she falls head first into the ground. I probably should have caught her.


"Oh, I'm terribly sorry ma'm. Here, let me help you up."


Reaching down to help her, I'm surprised by her quick reflexes. She grips my arm tightly as she stands. Her face is no longer of an annoying beaming girl but of a terrified woman.


"You have to get out of here! Look... I don't know how you snapped me out of my programming, but this place isn't what you think."


I search her eyes for any trace of the joking Flo I've seen on tv, but there is only fear. Fear and truth.


"Sir, please believe me. I don't know how long I'll be myself. This entire place is owned by a very small very rich very dangerous organization. It only appears like there's competition among different insurance groups. It's all a lie. You have to call the police. Call the military. Call someone!"


Suddenly, Flo begins to jerk violently. I grab her arms trying to help her keep her balance.


"Flo! Stay with me. Who's leading this?"


Her head shakes back and forth. She begins to say all sorts of things.


"GAH! I love working here! Th-th-th-th-eeee BEST part of working here is meeting new people!"


She looks at me and smiles, then frowns, then smiles again. She begins to say something else but instead faints. I've seen this type of brainwashing before. It's very old and usually destroys the victim's mind. This isn't what we thought.


"Oh my gosh! He hurt Flo!" a voice cries out.


Looking up, I see various insurance employees getting closer. When I came in, there seemed to be an even mix of men and women of various ages. Now, only angry men seem to work here. I sling Flo over my should and run towards Frank. He's talking about helicopter insurance now. Obviously, the guy he's talking with isn't your average salesman.


"Why, hello sir. And what can I do for you?"


The man turns to me and I begin to slow down. Whatever he did to Frank, he's doing to me now. Before I lose all will, I do the only thing I can. I throw Flo's body at him, which knocks him out immediately.


That seems to snap Frank out of it too.


"Frank, this whole place is not what we thought. The insurance companies are all owned by a the same people. They're the ones behind the accidents throughout Khazan."


That's the last thing I'm able to say to Frank before it all starts going downhill. At that moment, a powerful alarm buzzes throughout the building. Metal bars emerge, sealing off the windows and doors. The tough looking employees are all smiling now. The ones located behind desks begin to pull out shotguns and automated weapons.


I throw down some smoke pellets and hope Frank knows to get down. I hear him begin to say something, but his words are drowned out by the shooting. Bullets whiz through my makeshift cover, barely missing my head. I scramble for cover behind a desk as I reach for the mask in my suit's inside pocket...




The Bat was smart. His smokescreen was the only thing that kept us from biting the dust right there and then. I'll send him a fruit basket later.


As I run for the Progressive section's maze of shelves, I shoot as many lights as I can. The grunts all give cries of surprise as the majority of the building goes dark. The lights that I didn't get give the area only minimum lighting. Perfect.


"He's in the shelves area, get him!"


The grunts rush forward, apparently unaware of who I am. Whipping out twin uzis, I unload on the mindless horde and make the local undertaker a rich man. Two waves of grunts later and the whole place is going crazy. They stop rushing into the opening in front of me, maybe because they're smart or maybe because they're scared. Either way, I dont wait around. Running deeper into the Progressive area, I try to shoot more lights.


Suddenly a British voice shouts something at me. Maybe it's Australian. I can't tell. Spinning around, I aim at the Geico Gecko. I never imagined I'd ever find myself aiming at a talking gecko.


"Wait! Don't shoot!" he says. Oh, if I had a dime for every time I heard that. As always, I shoot anyways. Blood and small green parts fly everywhere.




The voice startles me, but not quite as much as the punch that follows. Recovering from the hit, I find myself face to face with the Geico Caveman. He's not angry about being called dumb now. Instead, he's just angry. And strong.


"IMMA KILL YOU!" He shouts out. Again, another classic phrase.


Before I can take aim, he's at me again. One single punch sends me flying into a shelf. My guns slip out of my hand, but at least I don't let the darkness take me. I'm groggy, yeah, but at least I'm still awake for when he wraps his hairy hands around my neck. I've been in this position before though, so before he can get a good grip, I throw my hand up and poke his eyes. A childish move? Maybe. But the Caveman does what they all do. He screams and grabs his face. Taking advantage of the moment, I give him a good kick to his sensitive parts and throw him off.


I reach for my old friend, who's all loaded and ready to help. However, before I can give him the final blow, a voice shouts out from behind me.


"Hello Punisher! Welcome to Progressive! How can I help you???!!"


It's Flo. Flo from those commercials. Flo with an RPG.


I dive for cover and the projectile barely goes over my left shoulder. It hits another shelf and explodes, sending wood and general debris in all directions. I whip out my gun and aim to where Flo was, but now she's gone. Or maybe she's still here. I can't tell with all the smoke.


Suddenly, a hand grabs my shoulder. It clamps down hard and begins to crush some bones. My gun drops to the floor as pain fills my mind. I fling my head back, breaking the Caveman's nose. He lets go, and I crash forward reaching blindly for my gun.


"Progressive will suit all your needs!" Flo shouts out. I look up just in time to see her take aim.


Just then, for absolutely no reason, the wall besides us explodes. I grab my gun and do my best to roll with the blast's wave. Concrete and debris falls from all around as other explosions rock the building.


I struggle to stay on my feet...




"Where is he?!"


Whether they're corporate goons or just muggers on the streets, criminals are all the same. Full of fear. They fear because they know what I am. I am the justice they can't escape from.


I sweep down, delivering a punch to the man's jaw. He's unconscious before he hits the floor. I disappear into the shadows again, leaving the other goons to shoot blindly. They're easy pickings.


Suddenly, I hear a voice.


"It's the middle of an epic battle between good and evil, and you think you have the whole thing figured out. But I'm the crazy guy who planted bombs all over the place. They're about to go off. And your cut rate insurance may not cover this. So switch to Allstate, and be better protected from Mayhem. Like me."


I look up and see Mayhem. He looks down at me from a metal beam and smiles. He presses a button on his watch and the whole game changes. I shoot out a cable to grab onto the metal beam, but the desk besides me explodes, sending me flying. Elsewhere, various other places explode as well. The insurance employees run around like headless chickens, but it doesn't matter where they run. Bombs seem to be everywhere. One after another, they go off, sending concrete and bodies flying.


Speaking of flying, I barely hang on to my own lifeline as it automatically zips me up. I swing over the metal beam and land as gracefully as I can. The blast left me disoriented, but at least it's just me and Mayhem now.


"Hello Batman. I'm Erin Esurance." A voice says. I turn around and see a woman land on the metal beam with the grace only trained individuals possess. She pulls out a handgun.


I look back at Mayhem, but he has disappeared. Where he'll appear next, I don't know. Turning back to Erin, I reach down for a batarang...

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Saxton Hale vs. Disney's Beast


Today on Saxon Hale's Adventures....

"Cut that there mate, we've got to change the title. Taking down the Bear with Grills wasn't as thrilling as I thought it might be, turns out he wasn't even a bear! How can we sell me just beating up a human to the eager customers?"

Well then, what should we change it to?

"Let's see, we're in France. Now what lives in France that's menacing and good for comic sales?"


"Wait a moment! I've got it. It's hairy...large...ugly...and very hate-able. We're going to find...."

A French woman?

"No! Er, well, not yet. Save that one for later, when we really need to push some sales. No, we're going to fight the French-Sasquatch!"


"I saw it in a movie once. Big fella. Lived in a castle."

You mean the Beast, from the Disney movie?

"Don't judge me! I had to have some way of calming down my childhood rages before I tore a hole in the wall, or usually a door off of the car. Now, let's go hunt some furries!"


---Later, after a riveting discussion of Disney movies and Hale's childhood cut out by a certain limit---


"Wow, that castle's just the right size for my backyard fountain. I'll have to see if Ms. Pauline can airlift it from here to Australia."

I don't think that's...

"Quiet you! If I did it with that sand cat in Egypt, I can do it with a castle. Now, let's see who's home."

A loud creak could be heard from the doors as they opened. Hale entered the large atrium, greeted by a figure on the stairs. The figure descended the staircase, revealing his true form in the light. True love had not been kind to the Beast. After a century's worth of inactivity and lack of attentiveness to ever-changing divorce law, Belle was able to leave the prince shortly after their marriage with an enormous sum of money thanks to a deviously penned prenup. Not only was the prince left poor, but he was also returned to his beastly form, doomed to remain that way for all of eternity.

"What is your business here man?"

"Very clever, but Mann is my company, not my last name."

"Just who are you intruder?"

"Hale's the name, and fighting's my game."

"So you have come here for my head, have you? Then you shall join the rest who have come."

The Beast drew back his head, and let loose a ghastly roar. All the servants, reverted just the same as the prince, appeared in the many doorways leading out of the atrium. They prepared themselves for their unique combat style. The Beast, now in an aggravated state, stood in the light, allowing his full form to be seen in an attempt to intimidate Hale.

"Nice try mate, but I'm hairier."

Hale ripped open his shirt, letting the chest hair fly, and with an Australian yell, lunged into battle.

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It was only fitting that the guy who is currently holding the mantle of top contender in the CBUB make it here at some point. Congratulation Boratz. CBUB Hall of Fame.




There was a slight October breeze that fought with a small family camp fire. Peter Chaldean sat with his family around the camp fire. He glanced back at the tents as his young children started yawing. He knew it had been a long day and he wasn’t going to make his children stay up any long than they had to. A warm gentle smile formed across his face as he went to go pick up his daughter. “How is my little Princess?” Peter asked with a fatherly voice. She smiled and told him that she was tired. He looked down at his son and he could tell that his son was ready for rest. “Are you ready to hit the pillow, Champ?” His son simply nodded and Peter led both his children to their tent. As his children faded off to sleep, Peter looked back at the camp fire. His young wife sat by the fire, keeping it warm for the both of them. Peter sauntered to her side and that same warm smile formed across his face. “How is my lovely wife?” She smiled back at him and stood up. She wrapped her arms around him and the two started to kiss.


She whispered something in his ear and the smile grew even larger. He picked her up in his arms and started carrying her to their tent. Several thoughts flashed through his mind but one shined brighter than the others, this was a near perfect family camping trip. Before Peter reached the tent, he saw something in the woods. At first he could barely make anything from it but he glared at what appeared to be a shadowy figure. He laid his wife on the ground and she got in the tent, but Peter continued to glare at this figure in the woods. It seemed as if it stood as high as the tree and its arms hung like branches. It looked as if it had several arms and clear face. Peter was about to walked toward this shadowy figure but before he could he heard the voice of his loving wife, “Are you coming, baby?” Peter glanced down at his wife and replied yes. He looked back up, only to find that the figure was gone.


It was nearly midnight when Peter jumped in shock. He had a dream of a faceless man, not even a man but a creature that was as dark as the far reaches of space. Peter gazed down at his wife who was sound asleep. He got out of the tent and started walking around the dark woods. The stars and the moon gave off a light that made the forest somewhat visible in the night. There was still so much covered in darkness but he thought he saw the creature once again. He started hearing voices, almost childlike crying in the distance. He stopped and gazed back at the tents. He saw the figure standing outside his children’s tent. He ran but something pushed him back to the ground. As he got back up, the figure was gone once again. He ran to see if his children were still in the tent and to his horror they were gone. His wife immediately rushed out of their tent to see what all the commotion was. As she stepped out of the tent, the figure reappeared behind her. “Liz!” Peter cried as he tried to get up, but it was no use. The thin monstrous creature took her into the night. Peter cried as he ran into the dark woods, searching for his family.


Sweat poured down his face a as he ran throughout the silent forest. As morning came, a light fog swept throughout this horrific forest. Peter ran in almost every direction, calling out the name of his wife and children. He heard noises echoing in every corner. It sounded like laughter and then it would suddenly change to cries. All of a sudden, Peter tripped and fell face first on the ground. He pushed himself up only to see that same figure in the distance. He could see it a little bit clearly now, despite the fog. The thing was thin with a suit with branch like arms. It seemed as if it had no face but it should have had for a face would gut wrenching. A fear starting burning inside of Peter, as he realized that he would never see his family again and this entity was going to take him. He closed his eyes and waited for the moment when he would be taken by this monster.


Suddenly, he heard a voice and he slowly opened his eyes. He stood up to see the face of the local sheriff. Peter glanced back the tree line, only to see that it was still covered in that same light fog. Once again he saw the image of the thin man hiding in the fog. He roared in terror as he watched the monster disappear within the fog. The sheriff grabbed Peter and put him in the back of his car. As they drove off onto the long country road, Peter continued to scream as he saw the thin monster appeared in the tree line. As they reached town, he stopped seeing this sickening beast, but the sheriff took Peter to the jail for questions.


Several hours passed by but for Peter it only seemed like minutes. He sat in the chair, just muttering the description of that thing in the forest. The sheriff tried to make sense of it but there was no use, Peter was going crazy at this point. The sun fell over the horizon and it seemed like they were going nowhere with this guy. The light flickered every now and then. The temperature in the room fell dramatically. The sheriff ordered someone to go check the thermostat but everything seemed like it was working perfectly. The sheriff went to go question Peter one last time but this time it was different. This time Peter started screaming and jumping up and down. Some was terrifying him but the sheriff could not begin to imagine what it was. The lights started flickering to the point where it seemed as if the darkness was overcoming the light. Before the sheriff could do anything, Peter was standing in the corner of the room. “Mr. Chaldean, get back in the chair!” the sheriff yelled. Peter shook his head and replied, “The devil is here.” Peter gazed at something behind the sheriff and the sheriff quickly turned around. He saw that same creature that Peter described. The sheriff took out his pistol and fired three shots at the thin man but it was no use. All the lights in the room suddenly went off and screams echoed all throughout the sheriff station.


The sheriff’s deputies ran to see what was happening. As soon as they arrived, the lights were back on and the temperature was back to what it was supposed to be. The only thing that was wrong was that both the sheriff and Peter Chaldean were missing. The only thing that was left of them was the three shell casings that the sheriff shot off. The entire sheriff’s department searched the entire building but there was no sign of any of them. They went to check the video footage but it was no use. The system crashed as soon as the lights were shut off. All of them knew that someone or something took them and Peter’s family.


3 Day Later…


At one point in time Jimmy Franklin was a college student studying electrical engineering, now he was tied up in a dark room. He watched his friends being drained of their lives right in front of his eyes. He watched these people, these monsters biting into their bodies. At first he cried for help but he realized that there was no help coming. He knew in that moment he was going to die. He was the only one left or at least until these things restocked their food supply. Finally, the night came for the monsters to feed once again. They entered the dark room and started walking closer to young Jimmy. Tears rolled down his face as the monsters grew closer. He closed his eyes and waited for them to tear him apart.


Suddenly, he heard a couple screams that came from the wretched creatures. He opened his eyes and saw a couple heads on the ground. He looked up and saw two people fighting these things with machetes. “Eat it trampires!” one of them said as he continued to fight. After several minutes of being knocked around the room, the two people were able to kill all the vampires in the room. They cut Jimmy free and led him to the outside.


“Thank you! Thank you! Oh my gosh! Thank you so much!” Jimmy cried as he almost fell to his knees.


“Don’t mention it.” The taller one said with a sympathetic look.


“What are your names?” Jimmy asked.


“My name is Sam and this is my brother Dean.” Sam said as he pointed to Dean.


A smirk formed across Dean’s face as he nodded and replied, “Hi, how you doin’?”


The two brothers took the young college student to the nearest hospital. They told him what he should say happened to him so he doesn’t get marked as insane. The two brothers then drove off into the night. As morning came, both of the brothers went to eat at the nearest diner. Dean ordered a hot plate of pancakes while Sam got an egg white omelet and some coffee. They both sat there eating; Dean reading through several newspapers articles and Sam doing some research on the internet. As Dean finished off his plate of pancakes, he pushed the plate aside and looked at his brother.


“Well it sounds like there is a wendigo in North Carolina and a pack of werewolves in Washington. Did you find anything interesting?” Dean asked as he took a sip of coffee.


“Yeah.” Sam replied as he gazed at the computer screen.


Dean just sat there as he waited for Sam to tell him what it was. There was a short moment of silence between the two before Dean broke the silence.


“Well are you just going to keep it to yourself or are you going to share it with the rest of the class, Sammy?” Dean asked with a sarcastic voice.


Sam finally got out of his trance and looked up at his brother. He then glanced back at the screen and then back at Dean. He turned the computer towards Dean, who started reading through the article that Sam just got finished reading. There was another moment of silence between the two as Dean read the entire article. Finally, Dean broke the silence once again.


“So what is it?” Dean asked as he glanced over at Sam.


“I think it might be Slender Man.” Sam replied as he finished his egg white omelet and his coffee.


“Slender who?” Dean asked with a puzzled look on his face.


“For someone who spends most of his time on BustAsianBeauties.com, I am surprised you haven’t run across the internet meme of Slender Man.” Sam said with a smirk.


“What’s a meme?” Dean asked with yet another puzzled look.


“You’re impossible… Slender Man has been said to have been around for centuries. The first said reporting of it was back during medieval times with artistic portrayals of knights fighting a skeleton like figure. These sightings have long been reported even with pictures.” Sam said as he took his computer.


Sam pulled up several websites containing different pictures of people with a monstrous figure in the background. He gave the computer back to Dean, who scrolled through all the different photos. He saw a picture of a group of soldiers with the creature in the background. Another picture was at a playground and others were different places with different people, many of whom were children. Finally, Dean sat back in his chair and looked up at Sam.


“So this Slender Guy is a massive photo bomber.” Dean said as he gazed at Sam.


“I wish that was it but all those people in all of those pictures were never seen again.” Sam replied as he closed his computer.


“So what? He kills them?” Dean asked.


“No one knows but this thing appears before they disappear. No one knows what it is, where it takes the victims, or what it wants.” Sam replied.


“And the latest incident happened with this Peter Chaldean?” Dean asked.


“Apparently but I did a little research. In that same town, children have been disappearing almost periodically.” Sam replied.


“But it said Peter disappeared to.” Dean replied.


“Yeah apparently he and the sheriff were taken out of the sheriff station.” Sam said as he put his computer away in his bag.


“So this thing went all Terminator on the sheriff station and took Mr. Sarah Connor?” Dean asked.


“Not quite. All the deputies were present in the station. The only thing that was left of them was three shell casings that belonged to the sheriff.” Sam replied.


“We got to get over there.” Dean said as he got up and threw a couple bucks on the tables.


Sam followed his brother out to the Impala and they both loaded up. Several hours passed by as the brothers drove across a couple states. Finally, they reached the small town. Both of them glanced at all the different landmarks. The woods were covered with a creepy light fog and the town’s people all had a look of depression on their faces. Dean’s face quickly became puzzled as he said something under his breath, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” Sam noticed that something was up with the town. Everyone they saw along the streets was overtaken by fear. “It’s Halloween! Shouldn’t kids be running around with superhero costumes and monster outfits?” Dean asked as they continued to drive through the small town.


“They may be in their homes.” Sam said quietly as he glanced around.


“Why in the world would they do that on a day where they can get candy and be idiots?” Dean said.


“Fear…” Sam replied.


Before Dean could pull up to the local diner, Sam stopped him.


“What are you doing?” Sam asked with a puzzled look.


“Haven’t had anything since breakfast. I’m starvin’” Dean replied.


“We need to go ask questions and search for clues.” Sam replied.


“Look Velma, we’ll go out and get clues after lunch but right now I got to eat something.” Dean glanced over at a sign that said best pumpkin pie in the state. A childlike grin formed over his face as he realized he would be able to have a slice of pumpkin pie. “And look, Sammy, they got pie.”


“I just think we should go out and find this thing before we do anything else.” Sam replied.


Dean looked at his brother for a second and then saw a weird look on his face. “What’s with you?”


“What do you mean?” Sam asked.


“You’ve been all guns blazing about this case and we really haven’t even started it yet. What is this Skinny-Man?” Dean asked with a curious gaze.


“Slender-Man…” Sam corrected him as he started to answer his question, “During my first year of Stanford and pretty much my first year away from dad, I had this friend come to me. He was afraid saying how this thing was after him. He described it just as the Slender-Man was described…”


“So what’d you do?” Dean asked.


“I told him to take a break and get some sleep. I thought he was sleep deprived.” Sam replied.


“After everything we’ve seen, after everything dad talked about, after all torching all those evil freaks…. You lied to him and told him to get some sleep?” Dean said with a curious look.


“I didn’t know… Dad never hunted anything like this. Not many hunters have. This thing isn’t exactly your ordinary spirit or shifter. I don’t know what it was and I still don’t.” Sam replied.


Dean gazed at him for moment before finally taking the key out of the ignition. “Look, I don’t know what it is either but I do know one thing...” Dean said as he continued to look at his brother.


“What’s that?” Sam asked.


“We’re about to go get some burgers and some pumpkin pie. Then we’re going to hunt this thing down and do what we do best…” Dean said with a small smile as he got out of the car. Sam smiled for a moment before following his brother into the diner. He walked in and it seemed like every other diner they’ve ever been to. This one seemed a little darker in the inside and a little bit more depressing. It was quiet. Most of the customers sat around in silence. Even the service seemed a little frightened about something. Dean didn’t really notice but Sam did. He saw the fear in all their eyes.


Later that day, the boys traveled to the sheriff station. The place didn’t look that much different from the diner. It looked pretty depressing and dark as the boys went inside. They started question all the deputies but most of them gave the same stories. One of the deputies, Mike, said how Peter lived down the street and that he took his family on a weekend camping trip. The two brothers glanced at each other as they got the location of where Peter took his family camping.


Hours later… They threw their bags and supplies on their beds. Sam immediately went to work as Dean fell down over all his stuff. He tried to sleep for a couple minutes but Sam made too much noise for him to even close his eyes. Dean sat up on the bed and glanced over at his brother. Sam didn’t pay any attention but Dean continued to glare at his younger brother. After a couple minutes Dean became a little frustrated and stood up.


“Look Sam we both need to rest. We can study this things desires, habits, and even mating rituals in the morning, but right now I am dead tired…” Dean said with a childlike smirk.


“Then go to sleep.” Sam said as he continued to work.


“I can’t really sleep when you are making more noise than the Little Rascals and it couldn’t hurt if you got a couple hours of shut eye.” Dean replied.


“Dean… I…” Sam said as he started to lose what he was about to say.


“You what, Sam?” Dean asked as he walked closer to his brother.


“I have to find this thing. I have to kill it.” Sam replied.


“Then we will do it together but it wouldn’t make much sense if we’re both not combat ready for whatever the hell this Slender-Bitch is.” Dean replied.


Sam chuckled a little bit and then went to clear off his bed. He lay down beneath the motel sheets and slowly closed his eyes. Dean turned off all the lights and put salt by the door. Finally, he was able to fall asleep. The next morning the brothers awoke and Sam immediately went to continue his research at the local library. Dean headed around the town, questioning multiple people about the forest in which Peter took his family. He was astonished by how many people went missing from there every year and how come it never once caught the attention of the Winchesters.


As the night crept over the world once again, Sam and Dean both sat in the Impala and watched as kids went around trick-or-treating. Dean was disappointed that very few kids were actually trick-or-treating and also very few teenagers were doing their little parties. A couple thoughts passed through his mind but the biggest thing was how afraid were these people of this thing. Sam told him everything he gathered about the history of the Slender-Man and maybe a way to kill it. Dean told Sam about the history of the forest and all the past missing persons. He also made it clear how no bodies were ever recovered. Both of the brothers glanced out at the town. A smile formed across Dean’s face.


“Let’s go kill this evil bastard.” Dean said with that same smile.


A small smile of relief formed over Sam’s face as the Impala started heading for the forest. As they drove down the foggy dark road they saw something in the middle of the road up ahead. “What the hell?!” Dean yelled as he was about to slam on the brakes. Sam glanced at the figure and knew what it was. “Dean, it’s him!” Sam yelled as Dean starting driving faster.


“What are you doing?!” Sam yelled.


“I’m going to ram him!” Dean yelled back as he was getting closer to the Slender-Man.


All of a sudden, the Impala started to die and Dean pulled to the side of the road. Both of the brothers glanced at one another and then back at the area where the Slender-Man stood. “He’s gone…” Dean said as he started to get out of the Impala. “No... He’s after us now…” Sam replied as he looked around in almost every direction. Dean headed for the trunk of the Impala and started getting all the weapons he could carry. Sam did the same and they both stood side by side. “What are we waiting for? Let’s kill this evil son of a bitch.” Sam said. Dean turned and looked at his brother. A smile formed across his face as he and his brother started their hunt.

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Boratz...twice on the Hall of Fame boards. Sounds to me that someone is getting the throne.




You’re traveling to another town… Next stop…




Well, I know it sounds a bit weird for a town but don’t let the name fool you. The town of Maskotville is full of wonderful well-meaning town folks, who enjoy the company of strangers. The mayor of the town is one that is known all throughout as simply Burger King, while ol’ Burger King is pretty well connected throughout the town, there is another one who has a pretty decent role in the town. For many, he is simply an entertainer or a comedian but to some, he is just a simple clown who tries to put a smile on everyone’s’ face. Despite being one of the friendliest towns you’ll ever have the privilege of visiting, it is also a very competitive town. Nearly everyone has something to offer; while it may vary from burgers to fries or milkshakes to frosties, the town welcomes all who wish to compete with its citizens…


Now let’s take a drive down FasFood Ave. Sometimes you will see kids running around with a toy in their hands that they have just gotten from one of their recent meals, while other kids are not exactly running but wobbling instead or rolling in some cases. Yes, it is a sad fact but some of the residents of the great town of Maskotville are in face a little on the heavy side but that does not stop the friendly

competition. On the corner FasFood Ave. there is something quite interesting that usually gets the attention of people who come to visit the dear old town or are just simply passing through. There is a dog that runs around without a leash of course, who can actually talk. This dog known as Gidget to his owner but to many he is known as the Taco Bell Chihuahua. Gidget runs around with his owner and dear friend, who own the small taco stand called Taco Bell.


Now let drive a little further down this famous road and let’s meet Jack Box. He is the town’s sheriff and owner of a small restaurant called Jack in the Box. Many people who come by usually enjoy Jack because of his warm hearted smile and his ever so friendly conversations. With the challenges of owning a small town restaurant, he also keeps the town ever so safe.


Now I must confess that not all the competition in the friend town of Maskotville is in the business of food. There are many other competitions all throughout the town for example; another one of the great attractions would have to be the Energizer Bunny. Now this little guy is one crazy sick freak. Many people always say how he is “going and going and then he is gone.” But this false is many different ways because for one, the Pink Bunny never really leaves but he does cause a lot of ruckus when he continually beats on his drums in the middle of the night. Usually, Sheriff Jack Box is called in because of a noise complaint but eventually they had to come to terms with it. The Bunny would always keep going.


Now let’s move down the road to our next big attraction who is also a prominent member of the town and the committee. This is probably the smallest member of any town that you will ever meet but he does leave a pretty big impression. This little man has traveled the world but he eventually settled down in Maskotville. This guy let me tell you will always leave some kind of impression on you whether it is good or bad, you will never get a normal moment with him. This great man is Geico Gecko. While he works to sell car insurance, he never stops trying to sell his presence as a leader and commander.


Now that I’ve introduced you to some of the members of this great town, let’s move on and begin a journey will leave you either speechless or indifferent. I guess I will begin to tell you about an incident that is about to happen in the town. While I did say the town is a pretty darn friendly place, it also has a couple little dark things stored deep in the freezer. I guess I should stop babbling and just begin the story already so here it goes…


The ever burning sun hid behind the marshmallow shapes clouds, as Sheriff Jack Box drove up onto the scene of a crime. He got out of his truck with that never ending warm smile across his face. After he glanced around at the grizzly scene, he saw something that would almost break any smile on a man but not the sheriff, mainly because he could never stop smiling. He gazed down at the mutilated body of on Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua and his dear owner. Jack took of his yellow hat and waved his hand across his big white head. He watched as Mayor Burger King started to approach him.


“Well this certainly is not good for any day of the week.” Burger King said as he pointed down at all the blood and the guts.


“No, I guess it never is.” Jack Box said as he put his yellow hat back on his big white head.


“You know what you have to do, right?” Burger King asked as he turned his attention to Jack.


“Oh yeah! Now it’s time that I catch me a criminal.” Jack said as he took out a pair of dark sun glass and struggled to put them over his eyes.


“Maybe you should invest in a larger pair of glasses.” Burger King said as he tried to help.


Jack slapped his hand away in frustration. “I got it!” Finally, the glasses covered his blue eyes and Jack looked back at Burger King, “Time to play bad cop.”


“But you just said it was time to catch a criminal… How can it be both time to be bad cop and time to catch a criminal?” Burger King asked with a weird look on his face.


“I don’t know but we will find out.” Jack said as he left.


Now it wasn’t much longer until several other citizens’ corpses were found all throughout the town. The only evidence was a couple spots left from food grease and ketchup. Jack rushed to the end of the town to make sure not another person would meet their grizzly end. As the trail grew thinner, he got a distress call from Mayor Burger King. Jack rushed to city hall and he did it with the protection of Geico insurance, so he was covered during his race against time but sadly not before the urges of hunger took over him. He stopped for a quick burger at McDonalds to give him a little energy boost for his rescue of the Mayor. Now he sat out in his truck in front of city hall which happened to be named after the mayor, Burger King.


As Jack busted inside with the McDonalds’ bag in his hand he raced to find the mayor, only to find him tied up to a chair along with the rest of the town’s council; with the exception of Geico Gecko, who was locked away in an aquarium. Jack searched for the one behind all of this but suddenly he was knocked back on the ground by some force. He pushed himself up to see none other than Ronald McDonald.


“Why Ron? You’ve brought so much laughter for so many years?!” Jack asked in complete and utter surprise.


“Because I am not an Agent of Laughter or Comedy… No… I am an Agent of Chaos!” Ronald McDonald yelled out with a menacing laughter.


“But if you’re not an Agent of Laughter, how come you are laughing right now?” Burger King asked.


“Well mainly because it is supposed to add onto the effect of my villainy.” Ronald McDonald said as he tried to answer the question the best he could.


“And how come you are always smiling? Oh and red and yellow really don’t match with chaos, maybe purple and green would do better… Also Ronald McDonald is not a really good chaotic name, maybe something along the lines of Joker or Killer Clown.” Burger King replied.


“Shut up you big dumb crown wearing…… king.” Ronald McDonald said as he tried to put on a furious face but failed miserably.


“You are a failure at being a villain.” Burger King said as he laughed.


“Oh yeah?!” Ronald McDonald said as he walked up to the mayor.


“Yeah!” Burger King shouted.


“How about now?!” Ronald McDonald said as he poured a pan of hot grease upon the face of Burger King.


Burger King cried out in pain as Ronald McDonald laughed. “And just so you all know, that grease came from my fries.” Ronald said as he looked over at Jack he was trying to do something heroic.


“And to think I ate at your place twice a week!” Jack yelled as he threw the McDonalds’ bag on the ground.


“Is it go time?!” Ronald McDonald yelled.


“Yeah it is go time!” Jack yelled as he took out his gun.


Ronald stopped and looked at Jack for a moment. “How come you didn’t even try to save help the mayor from being burned by my hot grease?”


Jack stopped for a moment and lowered his gun for a second to ponder on the question. Finally, he came up with an answer. “Well to be completely honest with you, I never really like interrupting people when they spoke. I don’t know it is one of those little jack in the boxes

with me.”


“Jack in the boxes?” Ronald asked.


“Yeah… Yeah.. You know it is an old saying.” Jack replied.


“I have honestly never heard it before and it sounds pretty stupid.” Ronald replied.


“I think it sounds pretty cool.” Jack said.


“Really? I just can’t think of why anyone would think it sounds good.” Ronald said.


“CAN’T YOU JUST STOP HIM ALREADY!” Burger King yelled with a horribly scared face.


“He’s right we should finish this.” Jack said as he lifted his gun once again.


“How about we… TAKE THIS TO THE ROOF?!” Ronald yelled as he ran to the roof.


“Damn! I probably should have had some besides a Big Mac, fries, and a super-sized coke.” Jack said as he started chasing after him.


As the two got to the roof, both of them had to take a moment to catch their breath, but finally both of them pointed guns at one another.


“Now what?” Ronald asked


“I honestly do not know, I’ve never done this before.” Jack replied.


“Me neither…. Well granted I did take a couple of the citizens of Maskotville but that’s really not the point. I’ve never been in an actual gunfight before.” Ronald said.


“Yeah so I guess we just run for cover and shoot at each other until one of us gets shot.” Jack said.




“Agreed… TIMES STARTS NOW!” Jack yelled quickly as he ran for cover.


Both men now under the cover of whatever is on top of City Hall or Burger King as some know it, are in an all-out fight to the death. Who will win and who will die?


I guess during this part of this story, you will choose the fate of the survivor so I guess have fun choosing.

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And here comes ThePhenomenalOne to break the combo Boratz had going.






January Challenge!




“I’m sorry to do this to you old friend. I wish it didn’t come to this.” The man says


“You have nothing to be sorry about yet, friend. This is how it is going down then I’m fine with that. Don’t think for one minute that we’re not going to bring it.” The other man says


“Well, it has to come to this, because if we fought, you know you guys wouldn’t stand a chance. Even with you leading them, Cap.” The man behind the cowl smirks as he talks


“Now wait just a minute! We’re both good guys and both agreed that we can’t risk having a member down at this time!” Captain America says firmly.


“Yeah, we didn’t want to have to come to your universe and pick up your slack after we put you in the hospital! Now, 3 on 3, bring your best there Cap.” Batman says as he turns to walk away


“Don’t worry, we will,” the man pauses before finishing his statement “Bruce!”


“What in the hell did you just say?” Batman says with fire in his eyes


“Just be there on time.” Cap says confidently strolling away


2 weeks later, the teams meet up at an underground club. Both teams are standing on opposite ends of the stage, staring each other down. A tall man walks in between both teams on the stage with a microphone in his hand. He nods at each team before he speaks.


“How is everyone feeling tonight?” The man says as he points the mic to the crowd as they all scream at the top of their lungs


“It’s me, ThePhenomenalOne, and we have an absolute crazy battle going on tonight. To my left, we have 5 members of Earth’s mightiest heroes, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America!” The crowd goes wild as the team is introduced. “Standing to my right, we have 5 members of the elite, Justice League, Superman, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Batman!! Alright, yall know the rules. Each member gets up to 30 seconds in this throw down of lyrics. Each team will alternate every 30 seconds. We will then go by the crowd to determine the winner. Captain America won the toss and has decided for the Justice League to go first. So who’s going first for your team guys?”


“The fastest man alive will make this the fastest battle ever!” The Flash says as he grabs the mic


“Ok! Let’s get this started! DJ, spin it!”


“So I’m looking at Earth’s mightiest heroes/ hell, the only thing I see are a bunch of zeroes/so you got a green guy, a tin can, a douche with a shield and 2 blondes with big tits/in other words, you ain’t shit/but you smell like it/just like hulk’s armpits/yall need to quit/and change course/I could beat all of yall without using the speed force/in other words im too fast/run circles around all of yall and smack ms marvel’s fat ass/I'm something that you can't grasp/cuz me and double M will go intangible/pimp slap you in the mandible/dismantle the candle/cut off your head and place it on my mantle/coming at you like Hannibal/Lector, yall need to quit cause Green Lantern has this sector/Ms Marvel's pasty ass needs to get tanner/now go run along before I slap you and turn you back into Bruce Banner!!


"Ohh! That was pretty impressive! Hulk, let's see what ya got. DJ, spin it!"



Hulk smash/hulk grab/hulk flatten tiny Flash’s ass/because Hulk strongest ever!/you ever beating hulk? Never/You guys are out there for justice? You're not even in our league/Hulk doesn't need super speed to grab you and smash you with my knee/and why are you guys wearing your underwear outside of your pants?/If boy scout looks at me again, I'll smash him from here to France/come on Supes, lets dance/Hulk smash all of yall, make you cry, go grab a hanky/I'm warning you, you won't like me I'm angry/you guys are nothing but doo doo, Mr. Hanky/Flash, you look like little rascal, I'm gonna call you Spanky/They ask, hey Hulk, why are you so jolly?/cause I'm a green giant and I just beat the shit out of Wally!


"Wow! Who would've thought that Hulk had such a vocabulary?! Alright, Martian Manhunter, you're up."


"Bitches scream Double M when I walk through the door/snacking on some oreos after smacking up Thor/throw him face down the floor/Ms Marvel? Huge whore/what's the score?/Who cares cause we're winning and not trying/you better cover your ears before i make you start crying/you're on the ground and I'm flying/tell Ms Marvel I'll call her morning, ha I'm lying/after I conquer this rhyme, I'll conquer Asgard/Thor's dumber than a hick who loves NASCAR/I'll do you worse than that lion did Mufasa, call me Scar/we're shooting eagles/yall can't even make par/I'm done with this dumb blonde broad with a bad boob job/I'm keep getting hit after hit, Ty Cobb/It's a shame I have to do this, but I'm gonna teach ya/ (TELEPATHETICALLY) I don't even have to open my mouth to beat ya/ now get the hell off my stage, see yaaaa!!"


"Sniggity snap! Dude just rapped inside my head! Alright Thor, you're up"


"Hath thee have no skill in rhyming?/Too bad you didn't get wiped out with the rest of race, bad timing/I'll finish you off though, don't mind me/don't worry, you can't find me/Cause I'll be throwing parties and pimpin like a prince/they'll ask what happened to you after this/I'll say he hasn't been right since/you're using telepathy but I got in your head/cuddled up in a little ball after the shit I said/now all he does is shit and wet his bed/twitching and shouting random things like a sped/someone needs to put a helmet on that head/poor guy, got him rattled to the bones/now he has to wear a sticker that says Hi, I'm John Jones/I'm too retarded to be left alone/I take a short bus that takes me to my home!/Now where's Wonder Woman at, you need to get on your knees/I'll then pull down my pants and scream at you, HAVE AT THEE!"


"Thor called him retarded! Ok, Superman, you're up!"


"Look, up in the air, it's a bird? It's a plane? Nah bitch it's Superman!/ Coming through with my Superfrands/ grabbing Ms Marvel's jugs with my superhands/yall are stupid man/Hulk, you wanna meet in France? Then I say oui, oui/though that radiation must not have grown your pee pee/Who told me? That's right, Bet-ty/here Hulk, I'll make you a deal/shoot youself in the face and i'll stop giving Betty my "Man of Steel"/then shove a banana up your ass and puke up the peel/just like weezy, I'm eell(ill), and not sick/take your pick/Betty treats me like a tootsie pop and asks, how many licks/I'm done clowning on the Hulk, it's just too easy/get excited when you follow my trail, Reese's pieces/if Ms Marvel was a dwarf, she'd be sleazy/Cap you're greasy/now get your old ass off this stage and collect Social Security!!"


"Superman going crazy on the mic! Cap, you're up."


"Superman, I didn't even begin and you're starting to pout/Well that's what happens when you put Captain America against a stupid boy scout/everyone in here needs to get loud!/ Cause we're rocking this all night/It won't even be a fight after I salp you in the face with some kryptonite/then I'll go pick up Lois, I just might/I don't know though, a ho just ain't my type/get your dumbass back to Krypton/you don't wanna see what happens to Lois with her pants gone/after we're finished, she'll scream damn I think my hips gone!/Supes never does it like that/ he doesn't last long/and I hate it when he asks me to put on a strap on/Damn Supes, I didn't know you went that way/but alls well that ends ok/so I'll end this shit with a *vulgarity* you, and have a nice day!"


"Captain America goes Old School on Superman! Well, that's it! The captain's picked their best three and now it's up to you, the audience, on who won! So don't just sit there, tell us who won?! I'll be back when the results come. Until then, be like me, be phenomenal!"


Ok, I hope you guys enjoy this!! I lost all the saved stuff that I had for the match and had to redo everything!

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And here is Nova Force Nova winning the February 2013 challenge with Princess Azula and Katara fighting over Aang's heart.




The war had ended nearly a month ago. Between the Avatar and the new Firelord, the armies had withdrawn back to their own nations. A hundred years of fighting had indeed "left the world scarred and divided." The Avatar made a promise to heal what he could and set the world on a new path of love and peace. He has done remarkably well in that regard but the world wasn't the only thing that has been damaged, scarred, broken or shattered by the 100 year war.




Firelord Zuko stifles a yawn as he glances over all the paperwork on his desk. Reaching for his fourth cup of tea, he shakes his head. "I knew ruling a nation wasn't easy but I never imagined all this." he says to the shadowy corner where he knew his girlfriend was sitting. Mai stands up and walks over to him, her hands rubbing his shoulders. "You should take it easy. That's your fourth cup. You're going to drive yourself insane staying up all the time...not that I would be adverse to entertaining myself by watching that." She adds slyly.


He smirks at that. "I could always dump you again, spice things up." He bites back. He looks down again. "Listen...something's been on the back of my mind for a few weeks now."


"What is it?" She asks, sitting down across from him.


"It concerns Azula." He replies. To say that statement had a clear reaction was an understatement. Indeed, the tension in the air is palpable. Mai, even with all her skill at controlling emotions, can't stop the split second look of shock, anger and curiosity from showing in her face and eyes. "What about her?" She asks, the last word dripping with venom.


Zuko sighs. "I was thinking...that she deserves a second chance." Predictably, his wife explodes in response. "WHAT? ARE YOU INSANE? SHE NEARLY KILLED YOU, LOCKED ME AND TY LEE IN THE DEEPEST, DARKEST HOLE SHE COULD FIND AND SHE RELISHED IN DESTRUCTION."


Zuko runs a hand through his hair. "Now humor me for a moment. I know she did all those things...but keep in mind who the person who shaped her as an individual was. He made her do what he wanted, molded her to be what he needed, used her like any good tool and then discarded when her usefulness has come to an end. I wasn't much different from her, you must realize that. And I got both my mother and my uncle, both people who truly cared for me. She...she never had a chance to be anything else than what Ozai wanted. Our father has scarred us both...it's just, no one noticed it because only one of us has a scar that can be seen. The struggles of the silent go unseen in the dark. Now that he's no longer in charge, she can finally have the chance to be who she wants to be. I'll let you in on a little secret my uncle revealed to me months ago. I was so conflicted about what I had done in Ba Sing Se because the two bloodlines present in me were on opposite sides in the very beginning of the war. Sozin, my father's grandfather, who started the war when the Avatar died and wiped out the Air Nomads in an attempt to kill the next one...and Roku, my mother's grandfather, the Avatar left behind by his best friend to die. Both of them live on within me...and in one other person. Azula. She deserves a second chance."


Mai gives a quick side glance before returning her gaze to Zuko's golden eyes. "I think you're being naive and idealistic...but that is why I fell in love with you. I'll stand behind whatever you decide. Just one thing...how do you propose to give her a second chance?"


Zuko responds with a tight smile. "I know just the guy to help my sister on her path to finding herself. If he can't do it...no one can."




Aang has been a busy little Avatar. Gliding in and out of towns daily, settling problems in the colonies, attempting to get their plans for Republic City together so the four nations can truly live in harmony...and yet none of that compared to the difficulty of what Firelord Zuko has asked of him recently.


By Agni...how am I supposed to do this? To try and help Azula get better...is it even possible? He wonders to himself. Resting his chin on the palm of his hand, he sighs. I am supposed to restore balance to the world...and everyone in it. And it isn't like I have got anything better to do...I pretty much stabilized this region...and since Katara and I put things on hold until the world is in a stable state...I should reach out to the former Princess.


He frowns. "I just hope I'm not making a big mistake." He says before gliding off in the direction of the Fire Nation.




Zuko stands outside the asylum where his sister, the deposed Princess Azula, now resides. "Aang should be here by now." Zuko remarks. The heart of the Fire Nation isn't that far from the colonies...perhaps he was diverted? Zuko thinks, seriously considering sending another messenger hawk to Aang...at least before a familiar sight comes into view on the horizon. "Finally." Zuko smirks.


As the Avatar flew through the air currents, the wind pushing against his robes and cooling him down, the asylum slowly came closer and closer. Pulling in for a landing, Aang leaps down onto the ground, folding his glider back into his staff and coming to a stop before Zuko. "Hello Sifu Hotman." Aang says in greeting.


Zuko facepalms. "I thought I told you not to call me that."


Aang chuckles. "I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. Especially given what you ask me to do."


Zuko nods. "I understand. It's a daunting task...but you are a smart kid, have the wisdom of hundreds of people and most importantly, lots of patience and kindness. If you can't do this, no one else can..." Zuko admits. "...and I am forced to resign my sister to this place." He adds bitterly. "Don't worry, I'm prepared to do so."


Aang solemnly nods, before embracing his friend in a quick hug. "I better get going, huh?"


"Yeah." Zuko responds. "Good luck." He says as he walks back to the Palace, his administrative duties calling.


"Thanks." The Avatar says to the departing Firelord. "I have a feeling I'm going to need it." Aang states as he walks into the asylum.




It didn't take long for his presence to be noted by the staff. Indeed, almost as soon as he walked in, no less than four attendants waved to him. "Avatar Aang, the Firelord told us you were coming. For Azula, right?" One of them asks.


Aang nods. "That is correct."


"Alright then...second door down the hall on the left side. She is in there...a warning, she can be a bit...temperamental. We'll be outside just in case."


Temperamental? You don't say? Aang thinks. Between that and his history with Azula, that doesn't exactly inspire him. Nevertheless, he steps down the hall before knocking on the right door.


10 seconds pass. 20. 30. Still no response. Deciding to press his luck, Aang opens the door, moving to step in whilst fully expecting a wave of azure fire to come over him.


He is pleasantly surprised when it doesn't. Sparing a glance at the former Princess, he can see why. She's lying on a disheveled bed, with equally disheveled hair and bags under her eyes. "Azula?" he calls out.


The bed shifts, her golden eyes focusing on him. "What do you want, Avatar? Come to gloat?" she asks, her tone dripping with venom.


"No. I just came to help you." He earnestly replies.


"Help me? The individual who for all intents and purposes, killed you? However brief it was...forgive me for not believing your lies." Azula retorts.


"I'm not lying to you Azula, I want to help give you a second chance. To be someone other than your father's tool. To be yourself." Aang responds.


She scrutinizes him for a moment. It might has well have been an eternity. "Why?" She finally asks.


"Everyone deserves a second chance, no matter what their crimes." He remarks.


"Hmph. You're a naive, idealistic fool, Avatar. You're wasting your time. Go away." She demands.


"Azula--" He starts...she doesn't let him finish.


"I SAID GO AWAY! GO BACK TO YOUR PEASANT FRIENDS! LEAVE ME ALONE!" She yells, throwing a pillow at him.




Aang lowers his head and moves to exit the room. "I will be back Azula. I won't let your soul fall any further into the abyss...not when I can save it."


"I don't need your pity or your false sympathy." She bites back as Aang closes the door.


Once outside, he exhaled. "That...could have gone better. It could have gone worse too...I guess that's something. I won't let you down Zuko...or you Azula."


Azula hears every word, despite her best efforts not to. Her first thought was to call the Avatar a fool again...and yet deep down, she knew she yearns to hear those words. She shakes her head and tries to sleep, to get away from this revelation and the persistent hallucinations of her mother, Ursa.


It didn't work.


"Daughter?" a voice rang out, soft and melodious.


Azula has, since the end of the war, accepted these hallucinations as her conscience(what was left of it) given form. Her cross to bear. "What do you want now Mother?"


"Don't you think you should give him a chance?"


"Why should I mother? It's like I told you all that time ago. Trust is for fools."


"Is that what you believe...or what your father believes?"


Azula knew what she was hinting at but was reluctant to believe that truth. "I am what he made me, mother. No one can change that."


"You're wrong about that. The person who can change you just left. I know he can help you...if you let him."




Azula closes her eyes and holds her hands over her ears, praying the hallucination would go away if no attention was given to it. Soon enough her efforts led to actual sleep and Azula drifts off to her dreams, one of the places where she didn't have to be herself.




It had been a few days since his visit to the asylum. Aang had been busy lately, assisting the Firelord with peacekeeping and such. As he lands outside, he was glad to get away from it all. He didn't like all the fame, all the crowds. He'd much rather be by himself, humble as he is.


As he made his way inside, he saw no staff at the reception desk. With a shrug, he headed down to Azula's room and knocked before entering. It was empty. Quickly, a bolt of pure terror ran down his spine. Does this mean she escap--


"Ah, Avatar Aang, good to see you." A doctor says as he rounds the corner. "Are you looking for Azula? I didn't receive word of any visits planned today."


"Yeah, it was kind of impulsive. Do you know where she is?" Aang asks.


"Yes, she's out in the park area, under discreet supervision." the doctor answers.


"Thank you." Aang replies before heading that way.


"No problem, just be careful." The doctor notes before heading down the hall.


"No need to tell me twice." Aang remarks.




As he enters the park, he glances left and right before scanning the area for Azula. He spots her sitting against a tree on the far side, partially covered by the shade it provides. He starts walking that way and she seems to not notice. As he nears the princess, his sight of her increases in clarity. What he sees stops him in his tracks. He never thought he would see this...the mighty, cold, calculating, intelligent, cunning, powerful princess, all those layers and defenses have fallen, leaving only what he sees before him. A young teenager, sobbing underneath the tree and the obscurity it provides. Rooted to the spot, Aang quickly thinks about what to do...and makes a decision. Being as light and quiet as he can possibly be, he makes his way to the opposite side of the tree, so Azula doesn't see him. He stands there for a moment, before trying his luck and attempting to see the princess. Stepping to the side, he can see her but she doesn't see him, too lost in her own thoughts. As he steps closer, his foot steps onto a fallen twig. CRACK! Oh Agni, Aang thinks as he ducks back behind the tree.


That moment seems to have slowed down time. The sobs stop, her eyes narrow and she glances where the sound came from. "WHO'S THERE?" she shouts and demands.


A moment passes. Two.


Aang slowly steps out from behind the tree, hands raised. Her eyes get even narrower, her face contorting with rage. She leaps up and steps back a fair amount to put some more distance between them.


Aang only watches as she does so, curious at the action...until he sees a familiar sight. An azure wave of flame, beautiful and deadly. Just like the Princess who conjured it.




As it heads his way, his mind races through dozens of options to blow it aside...he settles on trying something else. Something unpredictable. Something that can show her he can be trusted. This may be the bravest thing I've ever done...or the stupidest. Maybe both. He thinks.


He lets the flame burn him. Her shocked face speaks volumes.


As he burns, he uses his power to cool the flame, before dispersing it. He leaves the burn marks alone as he leans against the tree. As he moves to sit down, he gestures to the princess to join him. As she regains her composure, she stops gaping in shock. "Why...why did you let the flame hit you?" she asks.


"I wanted to prove something to you." Aang answers.


"What did you want to prove, Avatar?" Azula asks.


"I wanted to convince you that I'm going to be here for you." Aang reveals.




"Because...when I saw you crying, I realized something. Look, I know we may have been enemies before...but that doesn't mean we have to hate each other. That's a choice we make ourselves. And when I saw you crying, I didn't see the arrogant and mighty princess. I saw a broken beautiful teenager letting herself feel for once. I realized that I couldn't hate you. You and your brother, you both had your scars. But everyone focused on your brother's...and they never noticed yours. You can pretend to be the hateful, malicious princess but I have seen the true you. A heart of stone, of malice can not shed tears like you did. I let the flames hit me because I wanted to prove to you that I am willing to brave anything to help you. I know you push people away, as you see being close to someone as a sign of weakness. Trust me, it's the opposite. It strengthens you. Two heads are better than one. If it takes being burned to get to know the real you, then that is what I will do."


Azula stands there speechless, unsure of what to say. Aang pats the grass near him and she reluctantly moves there and sits down, a strange feeling coming over her. It felt good.


"You've been the brother of Zuko, the daughter of Ozai. I think it is time for you to be yourself. You have been repressed by your father but I know you have it within you to step out of his shadow. You can be so much more." Aang says.


Azula sighs and shakes her head. "I'm not sure if I want to be."


Aang nods. "Let's find out together." he remarks.


God, he's so corny, so sappy, so naive...and yet, his words resonate within me. I shudder to think the child Avatar may be onto something. Azula thinks, as she gives a slight smirk.


Aang watches the princess, sees the edge of her mouth tilt upwards in a smirk.


He smiles in return. Progress! Success!




"Are you going to get those burns healed by that peasant waterbender?" Azula asks.


He frowns. Still have a long ways to go. "No." he responds.


"Why not?" she retorts.


"I want them to serve as a physical reminder. Everytime you see me you will realize that I took the worst thing you could do to me and I did it all for you. You deserve your second chance. I'm going to help you get it."


Once again she is speechless. Words can't describe the emotions running though her at that moment. Her old self would have called it weak. She no longer wants to be her old self.


"Azula!" a doctor's voice calls for her.


The pair stand up slowly. Azula, still confused and somewhat dazed by vertigo wobbles and nearly falls...Aang catches her at the last second, helping her up. "You okay?" he asks. She doesn't know what to say back, so she does something else. Aang didn't see that coming but is pleasantly surprised it did. As Aang pats her on the back, she releases her hug. Actions do speak louder than words.


Yet...she has taken one of the things he said to heart. "Thank you Avat...Aang. For everything." she says as she walks away. Good things come in pairs.




"Anytime, Azula."




Another week passed. More missions, more errands. The life of an Avatar was busy to say the least. Yet it all passed by like a blur to Aang. He was focusing on one thing, Azula. He didn't understand why she was on his mind all the time. Yeah helping her is important but to be thinking about her all the time...it was driving him crazy. He didn't think it was love, at least not in the romantic sense. He loved Katara...yet they had grown a bit distant since the end of the war. Okay, fairly distant but that was not intentional...he hoped these sessions with Azula were just that. He didn't want to help her find her way only to break her heart.


This could be problematic. He thinks as he lands outside the aslyum again.





As he enters the building, the staff nod to him. He returns the nod, already heading for Azula's room. He knocks. "Come in Aang."


He does so. "Good morning Azula."


"Indeed it is. Having all the peasants around, cluttering up the place, that is so good."


"Well, better enjoy these good times, as they may be over soon." Aang reveals.


"Really? Amusing...well um, listen Aang. I wanted to um..." She trails off.


"Wanted to what?" Aang inquires.


She turns her gaze to the ground. "Apologize. For...for burning you. I made my father proud by doing that. I also disappointed myself by doing it. All I wanted was someone to truly love me for me. I liked to pretend my father did but everytime I looked at my mother and brother together, I knew it wasn't love between us. Not truly. I just felt hollow inside...Zuko got Mother's attention always and I was jealous. That pushed me to my father even more and I lost myself. I become a tool, to be used and discarded. Everyone gave up on me, understandably of course. When I tried to kill my own brother, one of two people in this world who genuinely care about me, I just snapped. It was a long time coming but that was the breaking point. Then you came in and endured searing hot flame just to prove that you cared. It was hard coming to terms with that fact but my old self would have found it impossible. I don't want to have to have all these layers to protect me, to keep others away. I want to know, have to know what it is to be safe. To be secure. To be loved. You are the only person who makes me feel like I can live forever, with you...my love."


"That sounds a lot like something Toph asked of me once."


"What did Toph ask?"


"We had just learned that my friend and mentor, Monk Gyatso had been close friends with my predecessor Avatar Roku, your grandfather. Roku told me about it and explained that is why we were so close. We were silent for a while, before she asked me: "Do you really think friendships can transcend lifetimes?"


"How did you answer?" Azula asks, curious.


Aang smiles. "I don't see why not." he repeats from memory.


She sheds a tear at that, the emotions nearly overwhelming her before she remembers her dignity. "That means more to me than you can ever know." she states as she looks to the sky.


As the words fade away, Azula quickly steps forward. Wrapping her arms around Aang, she leans in to kiss him. Aang nearly jumped in surprise at first but as the kiss deepens, he returns the kiss in earnest. It feels like a lifetime passes by before Aang remembers what's happening. The reality sinks in. AGNI! I'm kissing Azula! AZULA! As his mind races with that fact, he breaks off the kiss. "I'm sorry Azula..." He begins, his face red. "I have to go, Zuko has a meeting planned soon and I need to be there."


Her face drops. "Oh. So it isn't enough that Zuko gets my mother, he gets you too? Figures."


"What? No no no, Azula it is nothing like that. The meeting concerns you."


"Oh really? Concerning my imminent release no doubt." she replies sarcastically.


"Actually, it does. Zuko was incredulous when I told him about all the progress I had made. So fast. It sounded too good to be true...he thinks you're faking it to get out of here. Maybe I'm making a mistake here but I don't believe that at all. You acknowledged yourself as a good liar and I admit that you are, but I feel you're more sincere than he thinks you are."




"Yes. His mantra was 'Azula always lies' for a reason." Aang remarks.


"Funny. I tried so hard to be perfection made form and look what that got me. Father disowned me. Mother left me. Brother confined me to this hole. Uncle never cared. What kind of person I was...that no one wanted me. My family doesn't even want me." Azula admits.


He lays a hand on her shoulder. "Your brother does. He wanted me to do this and you know it. Now is your chance to repent. If it is what you want. I leave it to you. Now I must go talk to Zuko. I'll be back." Aang says as he departs.


Azula nods, before going back to lie down on the bed. "I'll be waiting." she whispers. Oh, how much she has changed so fast...all thanks to the catalyst, the Avatar.


She recalls the last time she had felt like this, the last time she had been truly at peace and happy. It had been a few years she realizes as she loses herself in her flashback.


Punch. Kick. Flourish. Jump. Azula was going through the motions, attempting to learn a kata that should have been out of her reach for another 5 years. She was indeed a prodigy.


She fell over on the fourth move of the set. She was not perfect however. Father would be displeased. As the pale blue flame faded from existence, she felt a pair of hands grab her from behind.


Turning around swiftly, she found her cousin. "Lu Ten!" she exclaims.


"Evening Azula. Isn't it past your bed time?"


"Please don't tell mommy or daddy!" she pleads. "I only wanted to practice my bending."


Lu Ten nods. "Only if you promise to go to bed."


"I will." She says, smiling in appreciation.


"Good." he replies before scooping her up in his arms and tickling her.


"Ahahahahahahaha!" she lets out. "Lu Ten...please stop...Please!" She says in between fits of gleeful laughter.


"Alright Azula." He remarks as he carries her to her room. She was content resting in her cousin's arms. He loved her for her and nothing else, unlike her father. Lifting her gaze to the clear night sky, a question popped into her mind.


"Lu Ten, can I ask you a question?"


"You already did but go ahead."


She hesitates for a moment before quietly asking "What are stars made out of?"


"Big balls of fire, millions of miles away."


"They're made of fire? So I can bend them?" She wonders, excitement filling her.


He chuckles. "If you ever get close enough, maybe you can."


She smiles before closing her eyes and drifting away into her dreams. She dreams that one day, she would bend the stars.



As Aang enters the office of the Firelord he is surprised to see all the faces he sees. Zuko sitting at his desk, Mai right beside him sitting on the desk, Sokka on a couch nearby snacking on fireflakes, Toph leaning against the wall in her usual manner, Suki and Ty Lee flanking Zuko on either side as his bodyguards, Iroh standing behind Zuko's shoulder and Katara running his way. She jumped into his arms. "AANG! It's been so long." she states. "Yeah." he replies meekly. How do I tell her? Can I tell her? What haunts him the most is that he doesn't know the answer. She tilts her head, puzzled, before letting go.


"Well finally! The whole gang is here!" Sokka exclaims with his mouth full, spreading fireflakes everywhere.


"Sokka, please don't make a mess." Zuko asks as he facepalms.


"Nice job Sokka." Toph snickers. "So Aang, how's rehab with Princess Psycho?"


"She's not crazy...just confused." Aang reveals. "I've made a lot of progress with her. I can understand how it might seem fake or forced, given the speed of her change but I believe her to be completely sincere."


"Are you sure she's not playing you? She has fooled a lot of people." Katara wonders.


"No. I really don't that is the case. Like I said, she's just lost. Look at Zuko. He was scarred by his father, he was as lost as they come. She is scarred as well, she should have the same chance he had. They share blood, she has the same conflicts he does. It's just, she never had a good support. All she had was Ozai. Plus, I've seen her hopes, her dreams, her fears, her ambitions...everything. It's hard not to get close, to not trust someone when they pour out their soul and reveal the very best and worst of themselves." Aang remarks with all his Air Nomad monk wisdom.


Zuko asks the question on everyone's mind. "So...you believe her ready to come out?"


The answer comes without hesitation. "Yes." Aang says.


Zuko folds his hands and nods. "Very well, I'll notify the staff to let her out with basic provisions."


Katara crosses her arms. "You're going to bring her here?"


Zuko shakes his head. "No. I leave it to her to decide what she wants."


"Why?" Sokka asks.


"This was always about choice. Her choice. This whole thing, Aang's rehab of sorts, it would never have worked if Azula herself didn't want a second chance. So, I'm giving her a second chance, she can do what she wants with it." Zuko answers.


Katara's eyes narrow. "And if she makes the wrong choice?"


"Then everything she does is on us." Aang and Zuko admit at the same time.




Azula gazes across the blue sky, ganders at the green trees, glances at the various towns dotting the landscape. Taking in all those sights is amazing, after more than a month of staring at nothing but a 5 by 7 foot gray desolate room. She closes her eyes after appreciating the view. "It feels like ages since I've just stared at the horizon." she murmurs. Thank you Aang...and Zuko, her idiot brother who didn't want to give up on her so easily.


It was ironic though. She was finally free...and yet she felt more trapped than ever. She didn't know what to do. A whole world of possibilities was out there. Hours passed by as she simply stood there, unsure of what she wanted. Finally she decided to head to the Fire Nation Palace to meet with Zuko. She owed him that much.




It had been a long trek, mostly uneventful, except for one detail. The various towns she had passed, their townspeople had cowed in fear at the sight of her. Apparently they had heard of her cruelty and madness. There was a time such acts would have pleased her. That time was long gone. It had fueled her arrogance, her belief in her own superiority and in the end, that destroyed her. She didn't know what to feel about it now so she just tredged onwards.


As she arrived at the palace, her brother Zuko met her at the front of the Palace. "Azula, I'm glad you made it!"


"Zuko." She replies evenly. "You thought I couldn't handle it?" She snarks before bowing to the Fire Lord as is customary.


"Come now Azula, you don't have to bow to me. I view you as an equal and my sister. And I knew you could make it, I just wanted to say I'm glad to see you, that's all." Zuko remarks before moving closer for a tight bear hug.


Azula does nothing for a second or two, before returning the embrace, albeit with less enthusiasm. "Thank you...Zu-zu."


She smiles when he grimaces at the sound of that accursed nickname. "So, how did you know I was coming?" she asks.


"Are you kidding? The villages you traveled through were beside themselves with stories and gossip about it."


"I suppose they were."


"I'll admit I was surprised. I didn't figure you'd come here."


"Where do you think I would go?"


"To find Aang."


"I'm not like you Zu-Zu, chasing after the Avatar all over the world."


"That's a low blow."


"I came here as I believed this was the best place to await the Avatar's return. I'm hated by the Earth Kingdom and the Water Tribes. The only solace I could find is here, with your good graces."


"That's it? No ulterior motives?"


She mockingly feigns shock. "What, don't you trust me?"


"I know you too well." He snickers.


"Now who is it who delivers the low blow?"


They both stare at each other for a moment, tension building...before both start laughing. "I'll admit, I missed bantering with you." Zuko admits. 'However I must tell you the Avatar is not here yet. A number of his friends are though. Play nice." Zuko states before walking towards his quarters.


"I'll do my best, Zu-zu."




The water peasant is the first one she runs into.


"Princess." the waterbender says, looking for an excuse to quit being civil.




She finds it.




"I have a name you know?"


"I'm sorry, did you call me by my name, peasant?"


Katara's eyes narrow. "That's different."




"I'm not the crazy girl who nearly killed the last chance for the world, who nearly killed her own sibling."


"I did what I had to. I had no choice."


"Really, princess?"


"You have seen what our father did to my brother's face. Do you think I would be any different?"


"I don't see any scars on your face."


"Zuko and I are the same...and yet different. He carries a physical scar, nothing can change that. I carried mental scars...and the damage those caused can be fixed. Have been fixed."


"By Aang?"




Katara laughs. "I told this to your brother once, I will tell it to you, simply because Aang believes in you. Take one step backward, give me one reason to believe you might hurt Aang and I will end you. Permanently." She coldly states before walking away.




Sokka and Toph are next.


"So, Princess Psycho at last." Toph greets, blunt as always.


"Excuse me?" Azula asks.


Sokka snickers. "Ignore her, she hasn't had her daily medication. She's kind of grumpy."


Toph playfully punches him in the arm. "Hey that hurt."


"Who's laughing now Sokka? I thought you said you were tough."


Sokka ignores her. "So, Azula...I take from that shouting match I heard earlier that you met my sister."


"Yes, the peasant was--"


Sokka held up a hand. "First of all, her name is Katara, I'm Sokka and this is Toph. I'd appreciate it if you used our names."


Azula starts to fume, perturbed by the arrogance of the water peasant, before she exhales and lets it go.




"Very well. Only because Zu-Zu asked."


"Now I--" Sokka starts before Toph interrupts, feeling something with her trusty feet. "Hey morons, Aang's here!"


"Oh great, more oogies between my sister and the avatar." Sokka murmurs as he and Toph exit the room, leaving Azula alone with her thoughts.




Aang has barely touched down on the outskirts of the palace before he is bum rushed by his GAang as Sokka so eloquently put it. Katara catches him in a hug so tight that when it ends he has to struggle to regain his breath.


"Nice to see you too Katara." He says between breaths.


"How was the mission?" she wonders.


"Not good. The Yu Dao issue is...full of tension. Zuko won't be pleased." Aang answers.


"Indeed he isn't." The Fire Lord cuts in. "However he is willing to overlook it because someone more important to me than the colony debacle has arrived."




Zuko nods.


"How is she?"


"Princess Psycho is okay I guess Aang. She hasn't burned down the palace at least." Toph jokes.


"This is no laughing matter Toph. And please stop with the nicknames." Aang demands.


"Ok fine sheesh, don't get your robes in a bunch. Go ask her if you need to." Toph retorts, pointing a thumb behind her to a shadowed pillar Azula was hiding behind.


Dammit Earthbender Azula thinks before stepping out from behind the pillar, hoping to meet Aang alone.


"Hi Azula." Aang eagerly greets.


"Hello Aang." Azula returns. "Um...can we have a moment alone?"




"Why? So you can kill him?" Katara accuses.


"Katara, take it easy. I can take care of myself." Aang remarks. "Alright Azula, lead the way."


The pair depart, heading for a quiet room.




"I want to tell you something Aang." Azula says as the Avatar closes the door behind him.


"Fair enough. Go ahead." he replies.


"I just want you to know that you're important to me, more than you can ever know. I stood there and heard and watched as the waterbender..." Azula starts before remembering her promise "...Katara, showed her affection for you through her actions. What you and her share...that's what I want."


It was at that moment Katara burst in, no longer content to eavesdrop at the door. "You what?!" she angrily asks.




"So it isn't enough for you to try to murder him, now you want to take him from me another way?" Katara seethes.


"It...it isn't like that..." Azula tries to explain.


"Then what is it like?" Katara demands to know.


"Do you know what it is like, to grow up like I did? To have your domineering father make himself the only one that can shape your worldview. To see your mother leave you, watch your brother be scarred and banished, look as your fuddy duddy uncle departs and to be forced to pretend that you don't care about any of it, lest my father do the same to me? My mother loved Zuko, my Uncle loved Zuko. I thought I had my father's love but it wasn't love. Not really. Not that I care anymore. I just want to know what real love is. Is that too much to ask?"


"You aren't the only one with a difficult childhood. You just have to deal." Katara retorts.


"I agree. This is how I do it." Azula tells them both.


"Well, it appears we are at the crossroads of destiny yet again. I sense neither will budge on this issue, princess."


"Indeed. I need him more than anything, anyone. He's proven he's willing to enter the fire to help me. No one else has."


"Well Aang...it seems you must choose, it will only get more intense, more awkward if you don't."


Aang stands there, speechless. He couldn't believe this was happening. He never imagined this would happen...two teenage girls asking for the same thing of him, love. One as cool and soothing as water, the other as brash and passionate as fire. It was like the world had ended, he was so confused. He didn't know what to do.


He ran his hands down his face, pacing back and forth. "Just, just give me some time to think." He says as his eyes glance back and forth between Katara's pure blue eyes and Azula's shiny gold ones. "I don't know, I don't know!" He really didn't. Katara and him had been through so much through the war, had gotten so close over all their adventures...and yet had drifted slowly apart since the war's end. Azula had shown him everything she is, a troubled soul just begging for love and help...even the Avatar, with all his wisdom, didn't know.


Azula closes her eyes and frowns, steeling herself for what she feels she has to do given his admission. Her tears fall unabated and in the eyes of others, intentionally, unlike that day in the park. She starts to move, an intricate set of motions.




Their elegance belied their deadliness. As she starts to glow with the energy, she aims her fingers at the Avatar, even if it breaks her in more ways than one to do. She lets the lightning go.


Aang was caught almost completely unaware. He moves to get into position to redirect it. He semi does, allowing the majority of the lightning to fly into the sky. The remainder however, stays within. The Avatar falls to the ground, in a semi-seizure, spasming as the lightning courses through his body whilst it goes into shock.


Azula continues to cry. "This...this isn't how I wanted it Aang. I may have enjoyed this once but now it is just torture to me."


Katara finally got over her shock. "I knew you hadn't changed!" Katara screams.


"Oh I have." Azula admits. "Don't misunderstand me, I'm not doing this out of hate. I'm doing it out of love!"






"You, you would really go that far?"


"I have no choice. My father ruined my first chance, you ruined my second Katara. And this, I can't accept."


"We always have a choice Azula."


"That's easy for you to say. Your past was nothing like mine."


"Trust me Azula, our past doesn't have to define who we are. We can be so much more."


Azula grimaces, not wanting to accept the bitter truth. "Even if I believed you, it is too late. The damage is done." She gestures to Aang.


"I can heal him."


"I no longer believe that. The physical injury, yes. The broken bond, the broken trust. Those things are not easily healed."


"Aang has it in him to--"


"Don't patronize me, I KNOW WHAT HE IS CAPABLE OF. You and your friends aren't as capable or forgiving."


"You don't know that."


"I know that you defeated me last time. I WILL NOT LET A COMMON PEASANT SUCH AS YOU BEAT ROYALTY AGAIN. You have no idea how losing everything to a common piece of trash like you is. I'm of royal blood, through and through. By Agni, I have the blood of an Avatar within me. WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL YOU WATER TRIBE PEASANT? I'm going to tear you apart to find out if I have to!" Azula says, her anger overwhelming her.


"Azula, it isn't something found within your physical body. It's your personality that makes you special. What makes anyone special."


"Spoken like a true peasant. Let's finish this."




"ENOUGH WORDS. This can only end one way. Your death...or mine."


"I'm sorry Azula." Katara says, meaning it truly.


"No need to apologize. I made my choice." Azula remarks.


"In a perfect world, you shouldn't have had to."


"I longed for perfection once. I don't want it anymore. Bring your best or I will end you. Permanently. Isn't that what you said? Let's see how tough you really are peasant. You took everything from me...NOW I WILL TAKE IT FROM YOU! " Azula yells before cutting the conversation short by firing a blast of azul flame at the waterbender, who blocked it with a stream of water from one of her many gourds on her belt. The duel began.


Some scars ran too deep to be healed, despite the best of efforts.



Author's Note: What follows after this was edited in after the match ended, just for kicks as I had fun writing this story(which is the point, amirite?) Two endings follow, one true ending going by the votes and the alternate ending in which the other individual won. First is the true ending. Cheers and enjoy!




To say Azula has lost it is an understatement. Indeed the sheer ferocity and amount of flames getting launched was nearly overwhelming.


Katara couldn't even make an offensive move, she was kept on defense. And with her lesser stamina, she would lose to Azula at this rate. "Princess! Azula! Please stop this, you don't have to do this!" she pleads.


Azula snarls. "Yes I do! You, a mere peasant, have ruined everything! If you and him hadn't fallen for each other, I still could have had a chance at redemption! Now all I have is rage and hate and jealousy and sadness and I'm going to take it out on you!"


Katara deflects another incoming flame. "Azula, you can still have him as a friend, he won't abandon you like your mother or your father! We can work something out!"


"Don't compare him to my mother or father! My mother hated me and my father used me. They're nothing like him! 'Work something out?' I don't want a friend, I have poured out my soul to him, I want the same in return! I have the rational solution right here! Taking you out."




"SHUT UP PEASANT! I will endure no more of you! Now you die!" Azula pronounces as she fires off the biggest plume of flame she has ever made. It overwhelms Katara with ease, knocking her to the ground as she tumbles and rolls several feet.


Katara groans in pain and looks up at the Princess. "Azula please--"


"Shut up I said!"


"Don't do this!"


"Watch me." Azula exclaims as she starts to go through the familiar lightning kata. Slowly however, to emphasize the action and put true fear into the peasant's eyes.


"We can work it out!" Katara yells as she starts to cry. Her mom tendencies were showing, even now.


"Very soon peasant, this will all be over!"


"It doesn't have to be like this!"




"We can--"


"THIS WILL SILENCE YOU FOR ALL TIME! YOU WILL NEVER RISE FROM THE ASHES OF YOUR DEFEAT!" Azula shouts as she finishes her kata, moving her hand into position to aim at the peasant.


"Azula...I'm sorry." Katara quietly admits, closing her eyes as she launches the ice projectile she had formed moments ago behind the Princess's back.


It comes forward, impaling Azula from behind. Death was instantaneous.


Katara couldn't bear to look at her handiwork, averting her eyes to the ground where she let tears fall unabated.


"Uh..." Aang stirs. Katara looks his way. In the midst of everything she had forgotten about him. Standing up she makes his way toward him, pulling out some water for a quick healing session.


As the cool and refreshing water eases his pain, Aang opens his eyes to see the beautiful face of Katara. "Thank you Katara." He whispers.


She looks away. "Don't thank me for this." She replies.


"Why not?" He asks.


In response she helps him onto his feet before turning him in the direction of the Princess.


She stares at his eyes as a million different emotions seem to run through them in less time than it took to blink. "By Agni..."


Katara continues to cry. "She...she couldn't be talked down! She was about to kill me. I did what I had to, but it still doesn't feel right. Or just."


"No, justice hasn't been done here. I'm not sure if it ever could have been done here. The damage Ozai put on her as he influenced her, it led her to believe this was the only choice she could make." Aang states. "Damn that man." he coldly adds.


"Come on, let's go back to the palace...I can't take this sight any longer."


"Not yet." Aang retorts as he makes his way closer to the fallen princess. Grasping her limp right hand, holding it within his own, he sheds a few tears. "I'm sorry Azula. I hope you find the peace in death, that I could not give you in life."




Author's note: And here's the alternate ending!



As the waterbender falls to Azula's blinding azul flames, the princess couldn't help but fall to the ground all the same. Sure, she feels a little better after beating the peasant...but the cost may have been too high. As she stares at the unmoving body of the peasant, Aang stirs, fully conscious.


"Hello?" he asks weakly. "Anyone there?"


Azula nearly jumps in surprise. "Aang?"


"Azula, where are you?"


"I'm coming." she says as she stands and walks over.


As she comes into view, he can't help but notice the battle damage her clothes have received. Between that and his unconsciousness, he is concerned. "What happened? I don't..don't recall much."


"It's hard to explain." She reveals, kneeling down to help him up.


"Hard to explain how?" He asks as he grasps her shoulder for support, before feeling something. "Your shoulder...it's wet! Why--" he starts to ask. Glancing around, he cuts the question short when he spots the fallen form of Katara.


Running toward her, he holds his fingers to her neck feeling for a pulse. Not finding one, he turns Katara over. Seeing several burn marks, he looks to Azula. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!" he shouts.


She doesn't waver. "What I had to. You couldn't choose between us, so I had to make a choice. I chose to cut out the other option. If I couldn't have you, neither could she. I don't regret it."


He looks away, tears in his eyes. "If I had known helping you would have lead to this...I would have--"


"What? Let me rot in the asylum? Because in the grand scheme of things, she is more important than I am?" Azula asks.


That question is armor piercing. Aang doesn't want to admit it but deep down he knows it is true. In the end, neither was more important to the overall balance than the other.


"She was my first love, she kept us going when things looked to be at their roughest during the war...and you killed her. And I gave you the motive, the opportunity. It's my fault." Aang admits before grabbing his trusty stuff and gliding off into the horizon leaving behind two cold individuals, one alive and one dead.


That was the last time Aang and Azula saw each other. The broken down Avatar pushed himself even further into his work, attempting to fix everything as penance for the sins he thought he had led to occur.


As for the Princess, she doesn't know what to do. She simply sat there for the longest time before she dimly heard some footsteps heading her way. Glancing that way she spots the familiar entourage, her brother Zuko, Mai, the earthbender and the other water tribe peasant.


She smiles one last time. "Thank you Zuko." she whispers before performing her final action. As she goes through the motions of generating lightning, she is about to release it. Turning her hand towards herself, she releases it. The lightning sears her right above her heart, overpowering her with sheer pain before everything fades to black.




Thanks for reading! Until next time!

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Here is Boratz to reclaim his spot as the winner of the CBUB Monthly Challenges!



The rays of the sun pressed against the back of his neck as he waited for the herd to pass by. He took short breathes and stayed as silent as he could as the last of the walkers disappeared into the trees. Jack Bauer came out from underneath a pile of debris. He gazed out at the direction of the walkers and finally let out a sigh of relief. As he turned around, one of the dead appeared before him. Jack staggered back and glanced at this walking corpse for a split second before realizing he had to put this poor soul down permanently. The walking corpse reached for the former government agent as it tried to claim its next meal. Jack took out a knife and quickly put the blade into the zombie’s forehead. He pushed the corpse back down upon the Earth and knelt down beside it. He gazed over the corpse and started taking several breaths. As he started to rise up to his feet and gave one last glance at the lifeless corpse and muttered a couple words under his breath, “I’m sorry.” He finally left the area and started making his way out of the forest.


After several miles of hiking, he saw something up ahead. He walked passed what used to be a barn but he knew something caused it to burn to the ground and right next to the ruins of the barn was an abandoned RV. He saw a house up ahead and started making his way toward the house. He noticed bodies scattered all over the place and realized there must have been a group here before. He knew they must have been overrun by these corpses but he didn’t think much more of it. He took out his knife as he made his way up the steps of the house. He slowly opened the door and steadily made his way inside the house. He could smell the stench of rotting all over the place but he simply ignored it. As he made his way throughout the abandoned farm house, he realized that it was clear of both the living and the dead. After finding his way into the kitchen, Jack salvaged whatever he could find as far as food was concerned. He ate whatever was left and searched the house for anything that he could use. He found some small tools, clothing, and a couple medical supplies. As night started to fall, he made his way inside one of the bedrooms and pushed one of the beds against the door. He fell down against the bed and faded off to sleep.


As he slept throughout the night, he heard his name being called out several times in his dreams. He saw the faces of his wife, his daughter, his granddaughter, Renee, and everyone that he had ever loved standing before him. All of them cried out for him, all of them cried for help. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. Jack suddenly woke up and started looking around the dark room. He sat up in the bed and started rubbing his eyes and realized that it was just a nightmare. He fell back against the bed and took several deep breathes before falling back to sleep. This time, he slept until dawn crept over the farm and the morning sun pierced through the window. Jack pushed himself out of the bed and gazed out of the window. He gazed out at the farm and he gazed at the world. He started remembering all the things he had done up until that moment and started asking himself, “Is this my hell?”


He pushed the bed out of the door way and made his way through the house once again. He saw the pictures of the family that once lived there and he saw several Bible verses all over the place. He knew that this family must have been pretty spiritual before the outbreak but he could not help but wonder where they are now. It was no long before he came to the conclusion that they were probably dead, along with the rest of the world. Jack finally found a name that belonged to the family that once lived in this house. He looked over the name and finally mumbled it under his breath, “Greene.” He continued to gather the supplies he could and then made his way toward the door. He glanced back one last time and started to remember his family once again. He looked at the house and wished he could have had a house like this with Teri and Kim. He finally turned around and left the house behind. He walked over toward the RV and sauntered inside. As he walked up the steps, he was attacked by one of the dead that crawled inside of it. Jack took out a hammer and started smashing in its skull until it was just a lifeless corpse. He glanced down at the rotting corpse and shook his head. He hated having to put down these people but in the end he knew they were already dead.


After searching through the RV, he found a couple more supplies he was able to store away in his pack and he finally started making his way off of the farm. He turned back one last time to take a glance at the Greene Family Farm and thought about staying there for a couple days but he knew he had to keep moving. This place was abandoned for a reason and he could not stay to see what that reason was. In the back of his mind, he had hope that there was a safe haven somewhere in the country. He had to have hope in something was left in this world. He started walking down the dirt road and looked over the horizon. As he continued to walk, he thought about his friends and allies he made over the years. He thought about Tony, Chloe, Cole, and even young Willie; he thought about what happened to them during this disaster. He knew Tony was in some maximum security prison but he could not think about what happened after the outbreak. He thought about Willie and his brother. He was constantly thinking about all the people that he hurt over the years. After years of pain and suffering, he realized that James Heller was right. The words that Heller told him, “You're cursed, Jack. Everything you touch, one way or another, ends up dead.” He could not help but believe in this, especially with how the world is now. He hoped, he prayed that Audrey, Kim, little Teri, and everyone he cared about was safe but there was no point anymore. Since the outbreak, the only thing that was left for him was the constant fight for survival.


After several hours of walking, he heard a faint noise up ahead. It sounded like the screams and cries of children. Jack raced toward the screams until he reached what appeared to be a family on top of their van. They were surrounded by zombies and they did whatever they could to avoid their attacks. Jack took out a pistol and walked out of the tree line. He shot down several of the walkers until he ran out of ammo. There were only a couple left and they finally turned their attention to the former CTU agent. Jack stood as the walkers made their way toward him. He took out his knife and threw down his pack. He was ready to kill these things at all cost. He noticed that there were still several walking around him. He immediately charged toward them and kicked one of them on the ground. He pierced his knife into one of their skulls and fought the others back. Finally, the father of the family came out with a crowbar and started helping the man who saved their lives. After a couple more moments, the walkers were finally laid to rest and Jack glanced over at the family.


“Are you alright?” Jack asked as he gazed over each member of the small family.


“Yes! Thank you so much!” the father cheered.


“It’s no problem. You better start moving before more of them arrive.” Jack said softly as he started gathering his pack.


“I don’t know if I could ever repay you but I want you to take this.” The father said as he handed Jack a bag of food.


“I can’t take this from you.” Jack replied.


“Please, mister. You saved my family and for that I want you to have some food.” The father replied.


“Thank you.” Jack said as he put on his backpack and retrieved his pistol.


“Good luck.” The man said as he and his family got in their van and left the area.


Jack watched as the van disappeared over the horizon. “Good luck to you to.” He said under his breath as he started back on his journey into the unknown. He thought back to the family and was relieved that he could save them but he remembered the words of his old friend Carl, “People like us don’t keep score of how many we saved, but the on how many we lost.” Jack continued to walk as he thought about these words that his friend had told him. He tried to feel better about saving a small family but deep inside, he could never overcome the pain that followed him wherever he went. As the sun started to set, Jack stopped for the night and made himself a small fire to keep warm. He dug into the bag that the family had provided for him and had a small meal. He leaned back against the tree and gazed out into the darkness. There was a small voice inside of him that told him to just let the dead take him but there a bigger force inside of him that told him to keep fighting. He wanted to die for something and that is what drove him nearly every single day. As the fire died, he faded off to sleep, only to see the same nightmares that he saw every single night.


As the nightmares of his past woke him up once again, he started up the fire again and kept watch through the rest of the dark cold night. Finally, the sun rose and Jack gathered his things. He started his journey once again and started walking down the road. It was not long until he saw a town up ahead and with that, he heard a wretched noise. He heard the groaning sound of the dead prowling around a group of the living. Jack took out a pair of binoculars and saw what was happening from a distance. He saw two men cornered by a herd of zombies. Jack saw that this herd was small but he could not just leave these people to die. He took out his knife and silently crept up behind a couple of the walking dead. He took a couple out silently but it was not long until the small herd turned their attention to the former government agent. Jack took out his pistol and took down several of them. After running out of ammo, he knocked a couple down before taking out a hatchet. He took out a couple more until he was getting overwhelmed. Finally, he received help from one of the survivors. Both men sliced their way through the blood thirsty monsters until they were all dead. Jack leaned down and retrieved his pistol. He took several deep breathes as he gazed over the sickening sight. The stench was almost unbearable but by this time it was something he was used to. As his attention turned from the rotting corpses to the survivors, he noticed that one of them were on the ground holding his arm. He saw his arm covered into blood and knew immediately that he was going to turn. He watched as the other man leaned down beside his comrade and shot him in the head with a gun. The man patted his fallen comrade on the chest and then rose up to his feet. He then turned over toward Jack and both men locked eyes.




Days before…


The intelligent zombie Bub sauntered around Woodbury with his pistol raised up in the air. He remembered that man who killed that young innocent boy in front of him. He felt something inside of him, he felt a certain kind of pain that burn deep inside of him. Bub was angry and sad at the same time; it was nothing he had ever felt before. He groaned as he saw a man standing before him. The man quickly turned around and tried to react to the zombie but Bub had already shot the man twice in the chest. The man fell back on the ground and blood started rushing out of his wounds. Bub walked over toward him and towered over the man. The walker just stared down at him and made awkward noises as he continued to roam through Woodbury in search for that ruthless monster.


Several armed men raced toward the sounds of the gun shots and found one of their own lying on the ground. The Governor appeared out of the darkness and stood over the man who was no gone. The Governor shook his head toward Merle, who impaled the dead man’s head with the blade on his prosthetic arm. The Governor lifted his rifle and ordered his men to search for the killer. He then started making his way into the darkness. As he continued searching for the intelligent corpse, he heard the groans from up ahead. A smirk formed over his face as he saw the creature walking up ahead of him. The Governor aimed his rifle and shot out the creature’s legs.


Bub fell to the ground after being shot several times in his legs. He dropped the pistol after falling on his back but he was determined to get it back. In the corner of his eye, he saw the man who killed the little boy. Bub groaned even louder as the man came closer toward him. The man chuckled as he kicked the gun away from the zombie. Bub swung out his arm and tried to grab the monster. The man jumped back and just laughed at the zombie’s face. Bub noticed even more men appearing before him. He then noticed Milton walking up onto the scene. Bub reached out for Milton’s help but Milton just turned away.


The Governor continued to torment the helpless zombie as he shot at the creature’s body. Finally, the Governor turned his attention toward Milton. “This… This thing…’ He said as he pointed at Bub with his pistol, “Is not one of us…” He said as he shot Bub in the head. Bub’s lifeless body fell back onto the ground and the Governor signaled for his men to clean up the mess. He then sauntered over toward Milton and looked into his eyes. “I want you to continue you work.” He said as he patted Milton on the shoulder. The Governor then walked off into the dark of night and headed for his apartment.

“I understand, sir.” Milton said as a single tear ran down his cheeks as he watched the Governor’s men take away the corpse of Bub.


As Philip sauntered into his apartment, he took out his pistol and set it on his desk. He walked over toward the mirror and just gazed at himself for several moments before rubbing his eyes. He glanced down at a picture of himself with his family and then at news articles that featured the first several days of the initial outbreak. He thought about his life before this apocalypse and realized that his life now in Woodbury was better. He always dreaded his everyday life in the world before this but now he had what he always dreamed of, he had power over people. He glanced outside into the night and watched over his town. A smile formed across his face as he knew none of these people realized who he really was; none of them knew what he had to do to preserve the town and to keep them safe. He provided for them and in order to provide, he had to do things that would be considered unforgivable, but he didn’t care. He had no regrets in this apocalyptic world. He finally turned around and started heading towards a door to another room.


As he headed inside this room and walked by several jars of heads. He rubbed his hands across all these jars and simply smiled as he watched the heads inside, trying to bite his hand. Finally, he walked over toward a record player and started it up. The sweet sound of classical music flowed within this dark mysterious room. Philip closed his eyes as he opened a refrigerator and set it down on a table beside a chair in the center of the room. He walked over to a cage and started unlocking it and sat down against his chair. A smiled formed across his face as a walker rushed toward him. This walker was a small girl that he grabbed immediately. He gazed at her face and hugged her. Finally, he picked up the plate and put it before the young lifeless girl.


“I brought you dinner sweetheart.” Philip said as he put the plate out for the young girl.

The zombie just grabbed the meat and devoured it. Philip stood over her and smiled as he watched his young lifeless daughter eat away at the meat. “I’m sorry Penny… I’m so sorry…” He said as he continued to watch his daughter eat. As the zombie finished up with the meat on the plate, she turned her attention to Philip. She rushed at him again but Philip grabbed her once again. He put a mouth guard on her and gently put her back in her cage. “I will see you tomorrow, sweetie.” He said as the music came to an end. Philip walked over to the record player and made sure it was off. He then turned out all the lights and headed for his bed. He lay down against his mattress and just started up into the darkness. He thought about everything that had happened with that intelligent corpse but he believed putting it down was the right thing to do.


As a new day started, the morning rays shined through the windows of the Governor’s room. He rubbed his eyes as he leaned up. He glanced over at a picture of his family and pushed himself out of bed. He started getting dressed and headed for the door. As he sauntered through Woodbury, a small smile formed over his face as the town gathered before him. He stood before all of them and felt the power dwell within him. As he spoke, he could tell that all of them listened and followed his every word. He told them about the night before and how one of their own was attacked by a biter. He told them not to worry because he was the one to put the biter down and that they secured the town. As he finished yet another speech, the town realized that they were safe again and started cheering for the Governor and his men. Before the Governor left he said one last thing.


“Get ready for tonight… Our reigning champ, Merle is going to attempt yet another battle!” The Governor yelled.


He watched as the town cheered yet again and the Governor shot off a warm glanced at Merle. Merle simply nodded and started cheering as well. Philip disappeared from the cheering crowd and headed over toward Milton’s lab. As he walked in he could smell that it was recently cleaned. Philip found Milton on his hands and knees cleaning up the blood stained floor. A smile formed across his face as he glared at the scientist cleaning up after all of those filthy corpses. He simply started looking through notes that Milton took.


“So your idea of a study break is cleaning.” The Governor said sarcastically as Milton turned around to see his leader.


“No sir… I… I just don’t like working in a dirty environment…” Milton replied as he stood up before the Governor.


“I completely understand but sometimes dirty is all you got…” The Governor replied as he set the notes back down on the table.


“I guess you’re right, sir.” Milton replied.


“I wanted to apologize for what happened to your little test subject. It was a danger to Woodbury and I had to make sure my people were safe.” The Governor said as he put his hand on Milton’s shoulder.


“I completely understand, sir… The safety of Woodbury is my top concern…” Milton replied.


“And your other concern is learning more about whatever this is…” The Governor said as he turned and started walking out the door.


“I wouldn’t have it any other way…” Milton said as the Governor disappeared outside the door.


As the Governor stepped foot outside, he was greeted by Martinez who informed him about a food shortage. The Governor glanced back at the town before looking over at one of his soldiers. He told Martinez that he and Mitchell would head out on a supply run later on. He then ordered Martinez to take guard on the wall. As Philip headed over to Mitchell, he was stopped by Merle.


“I wanna go with you.” Merle said as he looked into the Governor’s eyes.


“I’m sorry Merle but I need you here right now… You and Milton will be in charge of the barbeque…” Philip said as he started loading up one of the trucks.


“I ain’t much for gatherin’s…” Merle replied with his thick accent.


“I know but I need to see what’s happening out there and I really need you here.” The Governor said as he finished up loading up the supplies he needed for the run.


Merle finally shook his head in acceptance and the Governor put his hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry my friend… We will find your brother but right now, I want to make sure Woodbury is well provided for…” The Governor turned and signaled for Mitchell to get inside the vehicle. Merle, Martinez, and a couple others opened the front gate. The Governor drove off into the world of the dead and glanced back as the gate shut behind him. He thought about Merle for a couple moments and knew that if he left to find his brother, then he would never return. He knew that Merle was an asset that he could not loose.


After driving for about an hour, they saw several buildings up ahead. As they stopped in front of these buildings, the Governor gazed over the structures. He saw that the world was reclaiming what it once had within the abandoned town. A small smile formed over his face at the thought of the world. He signaled for Mitchell to go search through one of the buildings while he followed close behind him. They walked inside an old grocery store and started gathering the food that they could. After several minutes they heard the groans from outside. They tried to stay silent but it was no use, they were surrounded by a small herd. Philip watched as biters swarmed the area. He and Mitchell shot out at them and took down as many as they could, but it didn’t matter. There were too many for just the two of them. After a while it seemed as if all hope was lost. Mitchell had been bitten and taken to the ground by one of the biters, but the Governor didn’t stop fighting. All of a sudden, he heard a noise that gave him much relief. He turned his head for a brief second to see a man coming from out of nowhere to take out several biters. Finally, after a while, all the biters were down. Philip glanced over and saw Mitchell on the ground and he knew that he had to put an end to his misery. After finishing off Mitchell, Philip stood up and gazed over at the man that saved his life.




“What’s your name?” The Governor said as he started to breathe heavily.


“Jack… Jack Bauer…” Jack replied as he put his pistol back in his holster.


“Bauer…. I’ve heard that name before…” The Governor said as he leaned down to pick up the weapons from his fallen comrade. He walked over to his truck and put the weapons in the back. Then he turned back to face the man who saved his life. “I know who you, Mr. Bauer… You’re a hero.”


“I’m not a hero.” Jack said as he started thinking about all the things he had done in his life.


“I watched you in that Senate Hearing years ago… You were on trial for protecting this country…” The Governor said as he leaned back against the truck with a small smile on his face.


“I did things… Unforgivable things…” Jack replied.


“But you saved innocent people… You saved this country…” The Governor said.


“But at what times does justice end and the crimes begin?” Jack asked.


“When protecting family, friends, and your people, there is nothing wrong.” The Governor said.


“I did some bad things…” Jack said.


“Mr. Bauer, you saved my life, probably more times than I’ll ever know but I want to do something for you.” The Governor replied.


“And what’s that?” Jack asked.


“I want you to come to my town of Woodbury…” The Governor replied.


“Woodbury?” Jack asked with a bizarre look on his face.


“Yeah… It’s small but it has about 70 people, we have walls, food, and showers…” The Governor said with a smile.


“I’m sorry but I don’t think I can.” Jack replied as he started to prepare to leave.


“Please, Mr. Bauer… You saved my life… At least stay for one night… That’s the least I can do…” The Governor replied.


Jack thought about it for a moment and glanced around the world. He glanced up into the sky and finally gazed back at the Governor… “Okay… I don’t think I ever got your name…”


“It’s Philip… Philip Blake…” The Governor said as he put out his hand.


Jack stared down at his hand for a moment and small smile formed across his face as he started to shake his hand. He looked into Philip’s eyes thanked him for the offer. Jack put his pack in the back of the truck and then got inside the passenger seat. As they headed for Woodbury, they began to talk to one another. Jack did something he had not done for a very long time; he started talking to another individual and he started making a friend…


As they entered Woodbury, Philip got out telling the town about what had happened. Jack saw the look on the people’s faces. He saw that they were saddened by the loss of one of their own but he saw that look become something else entirely. The Governor told them that someone saved his life. He told them that a hero from the world that once was had come out and saved his life. The town cheered as they saw Jack but he didn’t care about all the attention. He disappeared one of the vehicles and the Governor simply told the town to go on with their day. He signaled for some of his men to unload the truck while he and Jack go get a couple drinks.


As they headed inside what appeared to be an apartment, Philip led Jack into his office. He told Jack to take a seat while he opened up a cabinet and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. He put a glass in front of Jack and poured him a little while he sauntered over to his seat and sat down. He poured himself a glass and both men took a sip. It’s been a while since Jack had a sip of alcohol but he felt something of him. He felt a since of hope and this is something that he was also afraid of. Both men started talking and laughing amongst one another. Philip leaned back in his chair and really looked at Jack as both of them finished off their glass of whiskey.


“Look Jack… I want to be honest with you… I want you to stay…” Philip said as he pressed his chin against the palm of his hand.


“I can’t.” Jack calmly.


“Please Jack…” The Governor pleaded.


“What you got is great… In the world today, something like this is nearly impossible to find and it’s worth preserving… But someone like me… I’m cursed… I will bring trouble…” Jack replied.


“Jack, I don’t have many friends here… To be honest, I don’t have any… I have loyal soldiers and advisors but not friends… I want you to be my friend… I don’t know how to run a town… I don’t how to protect these people in the long run and I think you were sent here to help me do this… I want Woodbury to survive and maybe one day hopefully it will become a part of history.”


Jack thought for a long moment before finally leaning forward. He rubbed his eyes and finally leaned his face against the palm of his hands. He took a couple deep breathes before lean back in his chair and looking at the Governor’s eyes. “Okay… I’ll stay… I’ll help you…”


“Thank you so much, Jack… This is truly a great day for Woodbury.” Philip said as he poured himself another glass and then leaned forward to pour Jack another glass.


After a couple hours of just talking, the two men parted ways when a knocked was heard at the door. Jack quietly left as Milton came into the room to discuss some of his latest experiments. As Jack left, Milton started asking the Governor about Jack.


“Why do you want him here so badly?” Milton asked.


“You are a very intelligent man, Milton… Merle, Martinez, and all those others are very extraordinary muscle, but Jack… Ah… He’s something else entirely… He’s a weapon, a monster, an entire army…” The Governor said with a smirk as he sat down his in his chair once again.


“What if he does not agree with your methods?” Milton asked as he stared at the Governor.


“I guess we will have to keep that secret, won’t we…” The Governor replied.




Jack started walking around the town and was greeted by nearly everyone. He simply smiled as they greeted him but he tried not to gain too much attention. Finally, he saw something that made him feel a little better about staying. He walked inside what appeared to be a library and as he walked in he studied his surroundings. He didn’t notice too many people inside this library but he did see a man sitting in one of the chairs, reading what appeared to be the Bible. Jack just walked over to glance over the books and he knew the man was staring at him. Finally, he heard the man rise up and walked over toward him. Jack turned to face him and both of them stared at each other for a couple moments. A childish smile formed over the man’s face as he put out his hand for him to shake.


“You must be Bauer…” The man said as he stared into his eyes with a thousand yard stare.


“Yeah… I am… Who are you?” Jack replied as he shook his hand and looked down to notice that one of his hands were gone. He looked over it and saw a metallic prosthetic hand.


“My name is Merle Dixon… I here you were once one of those government agents… I remember readin’ about you torturin’ all those rag head Muslim pansies.” Merle replied with that same childish smile.


A little frustration started growing in Jack as he heard these words but he did not want to lose control. He could tell that Merle was a southern redneck, who probably didn’t know any better. “That’s right.”


“Ha…. I also heard you protected that black ass President Palmer and that female whore President Taylor…” Merle said with that same smile.


This time the frustration grew to anger and Jack gave him the thousand yard stare. Merle looked into his eyes with that idiotic look and he knew he was getting under Jack’s skin… A silence fell between the two as they just stared at each other. Finally, Merle broke this silence by saying, “I guess the Governor was right… You are some kind of hero… You’re gonna enjoy your stay in Woodbury… We got the best food and a damn find library…”


Jack watched as Merle turned and sat back against his chair to continue reading. A couple thoughts went through his head about this guy but he did his best to fight all the bad emotions. He remembered his friend, David Palmer, and he remembered Allison Taylor. He did not like it when people talked bad about them but he knew he couldn’t react to this anger. He turned and left the library, while Merle sat with a smile on his face. As Jack stepped foot into the town once again, he took a deep breath and tried to imagine this as his new home.


After several hours passed and night fell over the land; Jack and Philip met once again. This time they sat with a chess board between them. Jack told him that the last time he really played chess was with his daughter before his wife was murdered. Philip said that he hadn’t played since long before the outbreak. As they started playing this game, they both talked about everything that had happened in their lives. Jack told him about all the friends that he had lost and how he was afraid to lose any more friends. Philip told him about Penny and his wife. He told him about his brother and everything that had happened after the apocalypse. Philip told him that before the world changed, he hated his life. He hated how he was treated by his superiors and how he felt trapped in his life. A small grin formed across Jack’s face as he realized he felt nearly the same way. As the two finished up their game, Jack took up and shook Philip’s hand once again.


“Thank you for giving me a place to stay.” Jack said as he looked into Philip’s eyes.


“Can I ask you something, Jack?” Philip asked.


“What is it?” Jack asked.


“I want you to take a group out tomorrow to search for supplies… I know this is a lot to ask but I feel comfortable with you being in command of them…” Philip replied.


Jack thought about it for a moment but he knew he had to repay him for giving in a safe place to live.


“I’ll do it but I don’t want Merle to come.”


“I understand… Merle is erratic but he can get jobs done.” Philip replied as he started putting away some of his things for the night.


“Thank you.” Jack said as he left to go to the room he had been given.


As the day came to a close, Jack fell back against his bed and slowly shut his eyes. The dreams, the nightmares had come once again but this time they were different. At the end of the dreams, he felt a sense of hope. He had hope in this town and he felt he had hope in his new friend. As the day ended for the Governor, he played music for his daughter. He watched as she devoured her meal and he just sat watching her. “Honey, I have a new friend… He is going to help protect this town… He is going to help protect you…”


Several Months Later…


Everyone watched the skies as the sounds of a helicopter roared in the distance. Everyone saw it as it fell from the skies, then all they could see was the skies covered in dark clouds. The Governor, Jack, Merle, and all the other armed men gathered together to find out what had happened. After racing through the dead world, they reached the crash site. Biters had already made their way into the area and immediately they were taken out by the soldiers of Woodbury. Jack saw a lifeless soldier on the ground, missing the lower part of his body. Jack leaned down and closed his eyes as he pierced his skull with his blade. He hated having to do that but he did not want this fallen soldier to change. He saw the others dragging a wounded soldier out of the chopper and felt a little relief. The Governor ordered his men to load the wounded soldier into one of the vehicles. After a while, they decided it was not to head out but something else happened. Jack heard Merle’s voice in the distance and saw him standing over what appeared to be two women. After a couple moments, one of the women passed out and then they were taken. They all headed back to Woodbury…


As Merle went to check on the two women, Jack and Philip went to check on the wounded soldier. His name was Lieutenant Welles. Jack could tell that he was injured but he looked as if he would pull through. The Lieutenant told them the location of his remaining convoy. A smile formed across Jack’s face as he realized that he could actually save the lives of a group of soldiers. He glanced over at the Governor who also had a smile on his face but his smile was for something completely different. As the two men left the Lieutenant there, Jack and the Governor started to talk.


“I can take group out there and help the soldiers.” Jack said.


“No… I will go out… I need you here, looking after the town…” The Governor replied.


“Wouldn’t it be better if I was out there? I know how to handle these situations.” Jack replied.


“I don’t know anything about our new guests, Jack, and to be honest that scares me… They could be dangerous and I think you are the best person to keep an eye on them.” Philip replied.


“I understand…” Jack said as he headed off, while Philip went to talk with the women.


After convincing them to stay for the night, the Governor leaves with a group to find the stationed soldiers. Several hours passed, the Governor and his men finally returned with a couple military vehicles. Jack walked up to see Philip standing before the town and giving a speech. He told everyone about the soldiers and he said that they were already overrun by biters before they even got there. Eventually he said something that shocked Jack completely… He told everyone that Lieutenant Welles did survive from his injuries. At that moment, Jack knew something was wrong but he did his best to ignore it. He knew Welles wasn’t going to die but he couldn’t believe that Philip would take the lives of innocent people. Jack stormed off before Philip could even finish his speech. Standing off to herself, Michonne gazed at the Governor and felt that he was lying. She glanced over the crowd and saw Jack storming off. She knew something was off about this whole thing… She knew something was wrong…

As night fell over Woodbury, Jack headed to his room after a quick game of chess with Philip. He tried to find something, anything that was wrong with Philip, but he simply could not bring himself to do it. As he went into his dark room, he took out his pistol and laid it on a desk. Then he looked up and felt a presence in the room. “What are you doing here?” Jack said calmly as he grabbed his pistol.


“My name is Michonne.” Michonne said as she came out of the shadows.


“I didn’t ask for your name. I asked what you are doing here.” Jack replied as he gazed over at the woman.


“I don’t trust the Governor.” Michonne said calmly.


“That still doesn’t answer my question… WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!” Jack roared as he held his pistol to his side.


“I think the Governor is lying… I think you know how to stop a man like him…” Michonne replied as she turned around started walking toward the door.


“I’m not that kind of person anymore.” Jack replied calmly as he put his pistol back down on the desk.


“People never truly change.” Michonne said as she walked out of the room.


As Jack stood alone in his dark room, he glanced around the room and thought about all the friends he had lost over the years due to corruption. He dropped his head and silently said under his breath, “Son of a bitch.” Jack grabbed his pistol and put it in his holster. He quickly left the room and headed somewhere he knew he could get answers. Jack stealthily walked into Milton’s lab and hid, while the scientist was conducting his experiments. Then he saw something that he would never forget. He saw Philip walk into the room with Martinez, Cooper, Gabe, and Shupert walking into the room with what appeared to be captives. As he looked closer, he saw the faces of a family; the family he had saved all those months ago. Jack watched as Philip executed this family in front of Milton and he told the scientist that it was for his research. Jack was about to grab his but then something stopped him. He knew he couldn’t kill him, not now at least. He knew Woodbury would tear itself apart, if he killed their leader. He saw Philip leave afterward his men and told them that after Michonne left tomorrow, he would send Merle and a small group to hunt her down.


As he planned for war, he waited for the sun to rise. He watched as Michonne left and stealthily snuck out of the town. He followed closely behind her without being noticed and waited for the Governor’s men to arrive. He knew she did not notice him but he knew they would arrive shortly. Soon, he saw the group and stopped in front of a warning that Michonne had left. It was not long after, that Michonne came out and attacked. She took out several members of the group but she was pinned down by Merle. That is when Jack came of hiding. He took out the last couple members and took Merle by surprise. Merle while distracted was knocked back by Michonne. Before he could reach for his pistol, he was knocked unconscious by Jack. Michonne stood over Merle and prepared to unleash a fatal blow on the racist redneck, but she was stopped by Jack.


“No…” Jack said as he stood over Merle and dragged him to a nearby tree.


“Why?” Michonne asked.


“We need answers.” Jack replied.


Jack tied Merle up to the tree and waited for him to wake up. He glanced around and spit out a little blood from his mouth. He started to giggle as he saw Jack and Michonne together.


“Well, well, well… What do we got here? Secret agent man with a black bitch… That sounds like one of those Saturday mornin’ cartoons.” Merle said with his sadistic smile.


“Tell me about the Governor.” Jack said calmly as he stood over Merle.


“Hahahaha…. Is this what this is all about? The Governor?” Merle said as he continued laughing.

Jack punched him across the faced and yelled, “TELL ME ABOUT THE GOVERNOR!!!”


“No need to get hostile, Jack… Our buddy, the Governor is pretty charming fellow… Oh the things he’s done… The thing he made me do… Oh, I’m surprised you’re finally gettin’ around to askin’ about his extracurricular activities.” Merle said sarcastically.


“Did you kill those soldiers? Did you kill that family?” Jack asked as he leaned closer to Merle, putting the gun in his face.


“Well I don’t know nothin’ about any family but yeah Governor took us out to kill those soldiers… All he wanted was their fancy toys…” Merle said with a crooked smile.


Jack looked at him for a moment and shook his head. He glanced back at Michonne and then hit Merle across the face with the pistol. Merle’s head fell back against the tree, as Jack told Michonne to back off. He said that they were going back to Woodbury and that they were going to put an end to the Governor’s reign. After about an hour of walking, Jack and Michonne stood outside of Woodbury. He said that they needed a diversion, because they both could not take on the Governor’s forces on their own. Jack looked around for a moment and realized that he had to have backup. He knew what he had to do and he hated having to do it, but he knew the Governor’s men would protect the town by any means necessary. Jack and Michonne found a way to break down the wall.


Several minutes had past and then it had happened, the dead started coming into Woodbury. Several of the Governor’s men shouted for all the normal people to return to their homes, while they were firing at these corpses. Michonne ran to several cages and open them all up. Several biters swarmed out and started making their way out onto the main street. Jack watched as the soldiers of Woodbury fought to protect their town. That is when he knew he had the perfect opportunity to take down the Governor. He stood outside the Governor’s apartment and watched as Andrea ran outside to join the fight. Jack quickly made his way inside and saw the Governor standing with Milton.


“How did this happen?” Milton asked as he started breathing heavily with fear.


“It was Michonne… She’s back…” The Governor replied as he started getting his pistol ready.

Martinez came running inside the room and told him about the cages.


“Damnit!!!” The Governor yelled as he kicked his chair over. “Find her and kill her!!! And get the walls back up!!!”


Martinez turned around but before he could leave, someone came out and shot him between the eyes. Martinez’s lifeless body fell to the floor as Jack came out of the shadows. Milton tried to make a run for it but Jack knocked him out with his pistol. Then Jack aimed the pistol at Philip. The Governor stood in complete shock as he watched his loyal friend’s betrayal.


“Even you, Jack?” The Governor said in complete shock… “You betrayed me?”


“I didn’t betray you… You murdered innocent people…” Jack said as he kept his gun on him.


“Innocent? Those people we nothing… You and me, we’re the same.” The Governor replied as he slowly walked behind his desk.


“DON’T MOVE!!! WE’RE NOTHING ALIKE!!!” Jack roared as he walked closer to the Governor.


“I fight for my people… I fight to make sure they can live and if that means doing bad things, then so be it. I am exactly like you.” The Governor replied.


“You’re wrong… I don’t kill innocent people for my own gain…” Jack replied as he gave him scornful look.


“Then I was wrong about you, Jack… You’re not the weapon I thought you were… You’re weak…” The


Governor said as his hands went down under the table. Suddenly, smoke filled the room and Jack lost track of the Governor. The Governor ran out of the room, firing at Jack. Jack managed to take cover behind the desk, while Philip disappeared into another room. Jack gripped his pistol tight and waited for the smoke to clear. Finally, he made his way to the door and was prepared to take down the Governor…

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"Some people are more comfortable in hell.", Tony Almeida from 24

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deojusto's winning entry in the CBUB April 2013 Monthly Challenge:




Rocky Balboa vs Jason Voorhees:



Harley: Welllllllll helllllo boxing fans, and welcome to Camp Crystal Lake where we’re here to bring you one heck of a slobber-knocker. With me as always is my second-best gal-pal, Callisto, who will take over as soon as she’s done plucking the hairs from her upper-lip. Cal?


Callisto: Hey Harley, still see you’re using a paint roller to put on lipstick, so you’ll have to forgive me if it takes me more time to get ready. Anyway, we do have one amazing match up tonight in this makeshift arena constructed from the remains of the once beautiful Camp Crystal lake. Our champion is the one, the only, Rocky Balboa. His story is one of perseverance, heart, and eventually, victory. Tonight’s challenger also has tons of heart,


Harley: Probably because he collects them from his victims.


Callisto: That’s right, it’s Camp Crystal Lake’s very own champion, Jason Voorhees. Boxing fans may remember Jason’s foray into boxing earlier this month when he went six rounds with Apollo Creed. The match ended tragically when during the round six intermission, Jason produced a machete and chopped off Apollo’s head.


Harley: I’m guessing that was not legal.


Callisto: That’s correct Harley, the controversial move violated both the stated rules of the World Boxing Association, as well as section 19 of the US penal code. While guarantees have been made that Voorhees will not be allowed to use the machete in future bouts, some question whether it was a good idea to allow him into the sport at all. Balboa made some incendiary statements during the weigh in, where he stated that he disapproved of pre-meditated murder, and claimed that he was taking on Voorhees to avenge his fallen comrade. Let’s listen,


Rocky: I’dda know, is like, it ain’t about how many hits you gonna take, it’s about the heart of the champion and eye of the tiger, cause at the end of the day you look at the guy who’s still standing, and then you know, that that’s the guy, who’s not the guy on the floor. Cause that’s what it all comes down to.


Callisto: Stunning words. Stunning, incomprehensibly slurred words, from an incomprehensible talent in the sport. We’ve also asked the challenger to respond to this statement, and by comparison his answer appeared to be clever, coherent, and concise.


Harley: But Cal, he didn’t say anything.


Callisto: Yes Harley, thanks for explaining the joke. With that we go now to our guest commentator, recently revived by the waters of Camp Crystal Lake and then re-capitated by the surgical talents of our very own Dr. Harley Quinzel; please welcome Apollo Creed.


Apollo: (unclear murmuring)


Callisto: I’m sorry Apollo, could you please speak into the microphone we gave you.


Apollo: (Loud muffling)… Oh sorry about that Miss Callisto, your friend sowed my head on backwards.


Callisto: That’s perfectly all right. Now Apollo, you’ve faced the challenger in the ring, and not only lost, but were mutilated and murdered in the process. What are your feelings coming away from that fight? Any regrets?


Apollo: Well Callisto, I’ll say this; I’m now a walking abomination, an affront to nature and God, neither alive nor dead, and unfit to exist in either this world or the next. My every waking moment is filled with misery as I now know what it is to be a walking husk of what once was a man. I am one of the damned, cursed to perpetuate myself in a state of half-life for all eternity, only serving to warn the rest of mankind of the cruel machinations of fate and destiny.


Callisto: Hmmmm, you’re a real downer. I’m kind of wish we hadn’t brought you back.


Apollo: So am I.


Callisto: Ok, well tell me this. As the only man who has fought both the Champion and the Challenger, what would you say their chances are?


Apollo: Well Balboa’s got the skill, you have to admit that, because of the two of them he’s the only one with any actual training as a boxer. He’s also faster, and for once in his life may actually have an intellectual advantage. Voorhees on the other hand trades his lack of grace, skill, and intelligence for being a giant monster.


Callisto: So you expect him to use more of a rope-a-dope strategy.


Apollo: I do. Assuming the referee manages to remove Jason’s machete, the big man’s best strategy may be to allow Rocky to pound him continuously until he loses energy and then to strike when the moment is right, and rip Rock’s head clean off.


Callisto: Ok, well we’ll be checking in with you throughout the night, but it looks like both men have entered the ring and the fight is about to begin. If you’re just joining us, here are some quick facts: I’m Callisto and I’m just great. Also, Rocky Balboa will be sporting the white and red trunks, Voorhees the green and brown overcoat, and the match will go to either a knock-out, murder, or the end of ten rounds. Any use of foreign weapons is of course forbidden and will result in a disqualification, and flamingos can only eat when their heads are upside down. Those were my quick facts, now back to Harley who’s in the ring.


(We turn to Harley who is now in a skimpy referee costume and standing in the center of the ring. Jason stands to one side of her, Rocky to the other.)


Harley: OK you mooks I want a clean fight, ya hear? No kicking, no biting, no disemboweling, and HEY!


(Harley quickly nabs a bloodied ax that was poking out from Jason’s waistband)


Harley: What did I say about sneaking in weapons?


Jason: …


Harley: That’s right, I said DON’T. I’m watching you big guy!


Jason: …


Harley: Ok then, without further ado let’s play ball!


(The bell rings twice, Harley steps away and the match begins.)

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Celtic Predator vs. Wolverine by xLEGACYx


Cetanu was a great warrior among the yautja.  He had gained glory and respect through his many years.  He had hunted the hard meat many times.  He occasionally traveled to Earth to hunt the oomans.  Cetanu always had a slight fascination with them.  He admired there courage.  While not the strongest or fastest, the oomans seemed to have a pride about them.  They would never simply give up.  This is what made the oomans such a favorite for Cetanu to hunt.  Throughout the ages he had hunted them.  Some had proven so great of warriors that Cetanu adopted certain techniques from them, such as sword play.  As he ship continued its course towards Earth, Cetanu left the bridge.  He walked through the dark corridors of his ship.  Stopping in front of a door, it slid open.  A wall adorned with skulls was laid out before him.  Skulls of all sorts of creatures hung from spikes.  Although none were more coveted than the two ooman skulls Cetanu had in the center.  Just below them laid those warriors weapons.  Two samurai katanas were crossed and placed at the foot of the skulls.  These weapons Cetanu had come to admire.  The two oomans the wielded them had taken such care in there crafting.  Cetanu had rarely come across such warriors that took such pride in there weapons as him.  Reaching out, he grabbed the pair of swords and attached them to his waist.  Stepping back the door slid closed.  Brandishing the swords, Cetanu admired the blades for a moment before sheathing them and returning to the bridge.  It would not be long now.  His ship had entered the galaxy that the ooman's called home.
Virginia, May 1863
The Civil War had been going on now for almost two years.  The Confederacy had made its way North to Virginia.  General Lee had divided his force to take on the much larger force of Union soldiers.  He appointed his two best soldiers to go with each company.  He sent James Howlett to go with the frontal attack force and Victor Creed to go with the other half and attack from the rear.  Both seemed to enjoy the chaos they were capable of creating.  It seemed to General Lee that they were almost born for war.
James sat in the dark on the warm spring night of May 2nd 1863.  Holding his musket in both hands, he sat behind a barricade built of wooden posts.  He tugged on his uniform readjusting it away from his neck.  Leaning back, he lowered his hat down over his eyes.  He meant to get some rest because he knew what to expect of the battle to come tomorrow. The men around him all looked to him due to his experience in this war.  Even from time to time James’ commanding officer would ask him for advice.   As the fires burned throughout the night, the other soldiers continued to prepare for the day ahead.  
As the sun began to rise, the fog began to lift from the field they were set up in.  James raised his hat as he awoke.  Some of the men had drifted off through the night, others still looked just as on edge as when James had gone to sleep.  Standing to his feet, he began to stretch as he walked towards and opening to get a better view of his opposition.  Topping a slight hill he stood and watched the enemy encampment.  Other soldiers began making there way to the top of the hill.  A man stepped up next to James and they two stood in silence.  Just as the soldier began to speak, a boom sounded from across the field.  James grabbed the soldier and both hit the ground and tumbled down the hill.  At second later the ground erupted in dirt and grass as a cannonball shot across the hill.  The commander ordered his men to arms.  James grabbed his musket and attached his bayonet.  He took off to the tree line and began his way closer to the enemy, some of the soldiers followed suit.  He sprinted through the trees and suddenly stopped.  A strange smell caught his attention.  He slowly searched the trees and surrounding area with his eyes.  Another cannon fire erupted and snapped James back to attention.  He saw nothing and continued on with his attack.
Cetanu (aka “God of Death) clung to the trees high above the forest floor.  He had been there throughout the night watching both encampments of the oomans (aka humans).  He had made his way to the top tiers of the yautja society by being the best.  He began as an unblooded and rapidly made his way through the ranks.  As a warrior he had developed legends about himself among the other yautja.  He had made it a tradition of his own now to visit Earth every other decade in search for ooman trophies.  As he hid in the trees he noticed a group of men running through the forest.  It was a small group of men but he could tell they were warriors nun the less.  What was strange was that the leader of the men came to a halt for no apparent reason.  Then Cetanu realized that the man could sense his presence.  Centanu watched as the man carefully searched the trees.  Then the man stopped and stared directly towards Cetanu.  Just then an explosion erupted in the distance.  The man snapped his head around and he and his men continued on.  This ooman interested Cetanu so he began to follow him through the tree and watch and record him from a distance.
James emerged from the forest back onto the field of battle.  He now charged with his small group of men into the enemy from the side.  His musket held at the ready, he ran into battle.  He leapt over a barricade and landed among the Union soldiers.  Using his musket he slashed and hacked at his enemies with the bayonet.  As an enemy approached he stabbed the closes and them twirling around shot another approaching from the rear.  A Union soldier grabbed James from behind and held him in place long enough for another to stab him with the bayonet.  James grimaced but to the soldiers surprise, then man did not falter.  Instead a rage formed in his eyes as he grabbed the man that had stabbed him.  He pulled the man closer, causing the bayonet to plunge further.  It impaled the man holding James from behind.  In fear, the soldier tried to pull his musket away to no avail.  James grabbed the man by his jacket with his left hand.  Raising his right back as claws began to emerge.  Then striking, he buried his claws into the soldiers chest.  Disposing of the two men, he turned to continue his attack.  When he turned around, a firing line had formed.  Exposing both his claws,  he charged the men.  The firing line let loose a barrage of lead.  James continued forward but the force was too much, as he dropped to the ground and his claws retracted.  He laid in the mud motionless.
Cetanu had watched as the ooman tore through the forces he encountered.  He was impressed at this oomans tenacity and rage.  It was a true warrior.  Then as two other oomans grabbed hold he saw the determination and unwillingness to submit.  Cetanu thought this ooman would be a true prize to behold.  At the same moment, Cetanu watched as men approached from all sides surrounding the warrior ooman.  He was disheartened to see them all fire on him in such a cowardly way.  He would have made a great hunt indeed.  With that, Cetanu left the battle area with the other trophies he had claimed over the past few days for his ship and returned home.
France, August 1918
James Howlett was now known as Logan.  He had survived along with his brother Victor Creed and had barely aged a day since the Civil War.  The two men had been little more than shadows and whispers in towns until another major war had started.  Now the two brothers had enlisted to join the fight against the central powers.  They had been sent with other platoons of soldiers to help the French take back the land they had been forced from.  Since there last war, the scenery had changed.  Weapons were stronger and battle tactics had changed.  This worked out perfectly for Logan.
Logan sat in a fox hole next to Victor as the two of them readied there weapons.  The Germans had dug in and the fight was taking place from trench to trench.  As bullets whizzed over there heads, Logan and Victor grinned with anticipation.  As most men would shoot from the fox hole, this was not Logan and Victor’s style.  Logan fired a magazine at the enemy to get there heads down.  At the same time, Victor went sprinting across the open ground towards the enemy trenches.  As Logan stopped firing, the Germans popped back up to return fire but it was too late.  Victor lunged down into the fox whole and began firing away.  With the Germans occupied by Victor, Logan sprinted to help his brother and join in on the action.  Dropping into the trench Logan drove his machine gun into the chest of a German soldier as he began to pull the trigger.  The soldier fell to the ground riddled with bullets.  Then turning he fired at a few soldiers that emerged coming over the hill to help there allies.  More men poured in through the trenches.  In the close quarters, the soldiers had a hard time shooting without hitting their own men.  This afforded Logan and Victor to get a little more hands on.  The two men began to rip and slash at the enemy.  Claws and nails tore through the men like a hot knife through butter.  As the sun began to rise, Victor and Logan emerged from the trenches.  There clothes were torn and they were covered in blood.  There allies rushed to aid them.  As the came to the trench Logan and Victor had crawled out of the men were shocked.  Piles of bodies laid strewn throughout the fox hole.  None of the Allied soldiers could believe that these two men alone had done all this.  As Logan began to walk towards his encampment, he caught a shimmer in the distance.  It was brief but somehow he felt as if someone or something had been watching him.
Cetanu had once again returned to the Earth for the hunt.  He was mildly impressed with the advancements the oomans had made in the last 50 years.  Turning on his cloak, he emersed himself among the ooman trenches.  He made his way undetected among the frightened ooman.  As the battle erupted between the two factions, Cetanu watched and studied the soldiers.  Occasionally he would find one or two that seemed to excel in the closeness of the trench warfare.  Those were the oomans Cetanu was looking for.  Ones that could put up a possible fight.  He would brandish his blades and drop his cloak.  The oomans he encountered would fight back but there fear prevented them from presenting any real challenge.  As the fighting began to die down.  Leaping from the trench, Cetanu landed back on top the battlefield.  That’s when he saw him.  He saw from a distance a man he had seen many years ago.  He was cloaked to prevent his presence from being known but once again he felt as if the ooman knew he was there.  Replaying an old vid in his mask, he realized that the ooman looked almost identical to the one he had seen die many years ago.  This must have been a distant ancestor, he thought.  With his time on Earth up, he recorded the ooman’s face and returned to his ship as the ooman returned to his fellow soldiers.
Logan and Victor returned to camp that night.  As the men sat down, Logan ordered a drank.  Taking a sip, he asked Victor.  â€œIn all our years of fighting, have you ever felt as if death was watching us?  We have died in front of men, only to heal and move on to another fight.  Several times I have felt as if something is watching or maybe hunting me.”  Victor looked at Logan and smirked, â€œI think your letting all the death and destruction we had out to the enemy get in your head little brother.  You just need to relax and revel in the fun we have.” Logan sat his glass down, â€œYeah maybe, but something didn’t feel right today.  We did our job but it felt like something was in the distance waiting for me.”  The two brothers continued through out the night, drinking and talking.  As Logan headed back to his tent, he could help but feel as if something was out there and waiting for him.
Normandy, June 1944
Logan stood among the soldiers in the rain as the amphibious landing vehicle made its way towards the beach.  A cigar in his mouth, he looked at the men around him.  Many looked fresh out of boot camp.  Gripping his rifle he prepared as the vehicle neared the beach.  He could now see the bunkers on the coast through the fog.  Suddenly the air erupted with gun fire from the Cliffside bunkers.  Bullets zipped through the air and mortars blew all around.  Suddenly a mortar round struck the vehicle and the men were thrown out.  Underwater Logan could see the men struggle for the surface.  Bullets ripped through the water and men as the strived towards the air.  Logan remained underwater and began swimming closer to the shore.  Crawling from the water, he held up behind a broken down vehicle.  Then sprinting he dodged mortar fire as he made his way to the bottom of the cliffs.  Reaching the bottom, he then began to scale the cliff directly beneath one of the bunkers.  As he neared the opening facing the sea he stopped.  Pulling a grenade from his hip, he took out the pin and tossed it inside.  After the explosion he jumped through the view port and ravaged the men that were still alive.  Turning the turret to the right, he faced it at the other bunker.  He let loose with a barrage of gun fire and neutralized it, allowing the other soldiers to gain ground.  As he exited he saw something.  A man was suspended in the air by what looked like nothing.  The Logan saw it.  A shimmer of light and then he saw two yellow eyes flash just before the German soldier was ripped in half.  Logan pointed his machine gun towards the figure but it was gone and so was the soldiers head.  Logan saw some sort of fluorescent green liquid around the spot the being had been standing.  The smell of it also reminded him of that battle in Virginia almost 80 years ago.
Cetanu had returned to the Earth after other yautja talking about a great hunt that the blooded yautja had had on Earth.  They had spoke of a great war on the Earth with soldiers from around the planet.  He could not let this opportunity pass him by.  He had landed his ship not far from the coast.  For now it seemed the ooman soldiers were concentrated in that area.  He had made his way to the cliff side.  He had seen the many vehicles approaching the shore.  As gunfire shot out, Cetanu commenced to hunting.  He had stepped into the door frame of one of the concrete bunkers.  A ooman began to run out when it ran into Cetanu.  The ooman looked confused, then Cetanu deactivated his cloak and the man stood wide eyed in fear.  He began began firing but was too late.  Cetanu had already moved and his wrist blade had cut off the soldiers arm.  More men began to try to enter the bunker from the outside, only to encounter the “God of Death”.  He turned and his plasma caster erupted with a blue light.  The soldier in its path head erupted.  The other soldiers looked stunned.  Pulling out twin katanas, Cetanu moved with the grace of a master swords man.  He moved and cut down the men.  Only one soldier had managed to hit him.  Stabbing him through the gut he watched the man’s life fade from his eyes.  Reactivating his cloak, he grabbed the man by the neck and lifted him off the ground.  At that time someone emerged from the bunker.  Cetanu looked to his left and saw something that amazed him.  He saw the one ooman he thought should be long dead for someone of its species.  He could see the recognition in the ooman’s eyes.  This told Cetanu that it was no ancestor.  This was the same ooman he had encountered before.  As the soldier raised its gun, Cetanu disappeared.  He wanted to observe this ooman closer.  This one would make a great hunt but he wanted to understand it more before charging blindly into battle with a warrior that had lived this long.
Logan could no longer assume that something was near.  This was definitive proof.  Meeting up with his brother, Logan told Victor at of what he had seen.  â€œThe man was lifted from the ground into thin air.  Then something allowed me to know it was there.  When I went to fire on it, it was gone.  I ran over to the area and the dead guy’s head was missing and some sort of bright green liquid was left behind.”  Victor looked at his brother quizzically.  â€œI think your losing it Jimmy.  Don’t go freaking out on me while we are over here.  When we get done with this, we can cool out for awhile but keep your head on straight for now.”  With that the two men continued there tour in the war.  Almost the entire war, Logan felt as if something was watching.  He never caught the scent or saw the figure but he could feel it watching from a distance or from the shadows.
Cetanu followed quietly as he watched Logan from his vantage points.  He noticed that Logan wasn’t alone.  Another soldier stayed with him through out the battles.  He watched as the two oomans waged bloody war up close and personal with there enemies.  He watched as the men endured injury after injury and seemed to recover and come back for more.  Its interested Cetanu that there was not one but two oomans that seemed to be great warriors.  He would like to hunt them both but wanted to go after the first that he had been seeing for so long.  As his hunt came to an end, he returned to his ship.  He would leave for now but he felt safe in assuming his prey would be here when he returned.  Climbing aboard his ship, he removed his helmet and plugged it into the control panel.  He activated the engines and plotted his course home.  As the ship took off, he played his vids of Logan over and over.  Every battle recorded for the future.
Vietnam, July 1969
Logan marched through the jungle with his platoon.  The jungle as of late seemed to be eerily quite.  Normally animals were a constant noise.  It seemed as if they knew something that no one else did.  As the platoon continued forwards, they came to the foot of a mountain.  As the neared they could see smoke coming from several openings that led underground.  Logan went in to investigate with a few men, as the rest set up a perimeter.  Logan crept through the smoky tunnels.  The Vietcong laid strewn throughout the floors.  All of them dead.  All of them looked as if they had been slashed apart.  Suddenly Logan heard screams and gunfire from outside.  He ran towards the opening he had come in.  Emerging from the tunnel, his platoon laid wasted.  Some looked burnt while others looked hacked up, similar to the men inside the tunnels.  Logan scanned the area for his attackers.  That’s when he smelled it.  It was and odor he remembered from many years ago.  It was unmistakable.  Then a shimmer and a flash of yellow eyes revealed what he had figured out.  The creature that had been hunting him had finally chosen his time.  It deactivated its cloak.  The men beside Logan opened fire.  Blue blasts erupted and the other soldiers sizzled and fell to the ground.  Logan looked to his left and right at his fallen comrades.  The figure emerged from the shadows and Logan saw it for its true self for the first time.  It was monstrous and looked like some form of demon.
Cetanu had come to this island in search of the greatest battle.  He knew if the heat of the battle was here, so would he prey.  He had seen him in the jungle and predicted his path.  Moving ahead, Cetanu had found the ooman mountain stronghold.  He entered and tore the soldiers apart.  It took a long time but it the closeness of the tunnels, the oomans numbers counted for nothing.  Waiting in the trees above, he watched as his prey neared the mountain.  As he and a couple ooman’s entered he waited for them to get deep into the caverns.  As the rest of the oomans waited outside, Cetanu dropped from the trees between them.  He pulled out his katanas and stabbed two oomans in the neck.  His plasma caster erupted rapidly and killed two others.  As the other soldiers turned to see the commotion they were awestruck.  This massive figure moved through the shadows so swiftly that they couldn’t get a bead on it.  Cetanu lunged towards a soldier holding a light machine gun and impaled him with a sword.  Then reaching into his waist band, he pulled out a shuriken.  Tossing it through the air, it sliced through three men and returned to Cetanu’s hand.  One last soldier ran for the tunnel opening and had a hole blown through him by Cetanu’s plasma caster.  At that time he could hear his prey returning.  Now they were face to face.  Deactivating his cloak, his prey saw him for the first time.  He let loose two plasma blasts that killed the soldiers standing to his prey’s left and right.
Now Cetanu and Logan stood facing one another for the third time.  Both the Predator and the man knew only one of them would leave this place alive.  Cetanu through one of his katanas through the air.  It landed blade first into the ground at his prey’s feet.  Logan looked at the creature and realized what it wanted.  The creature wanted a challenge.  It wanted to make this fight trophy worthy.  Logan never being one to back away from a challenge grabbed the hilt of the sword.  He slung his rifle over his shoulder.  Cetanu seeing his prey accept the challenge, removed his face mask.  The hiss of the mask sounded as Cetanu released the snaps on his helmet.  With his katana in his hand, he spread his arms wide and growled.  The noise echoed through the jungle.  Logan tightened his grip around the sword and prepared for the fight of his life.
Cetanu w/ wrist blades, one shuriken, one katana, and one scatter gun
he is wearing light armor, similar to the original Predator movie
(This is movie verse Wolverine)
Logan w/ bone claws, one katana, two grenades, and one M16 with two mags
The battle takes place at night in the Vietnam jungle.

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Been a while since there's been some action in this thread, huh? :D 

But yeah, here's the winning entry from the first MagneticFox tournament (check the recently-edited OP for details on this), a very good one from a member introduced there, terranova.

"Your task is simple, Cad Bane," purred the villainous dark shadow upon the icy throne, "Locate the Elements and return them to me."

The Duro sneered and shifted his weight to one side. "Sounds like a job for a pirate," he grumbled, insulted. Surely, his employers knew his reputation? "One easy call to the Hutts and you could find whatever you need. What makes this tag so special?"

The shadow giggled, its breath visible even in the dark. "I've underestimated the wielders of these relics far too many times in the past... You'd fare well not to do the same."

"Fine. I'll take the bait," Cad Bane retorted, raising his chin to emphasize his interest, "For the right price... Where are these... Elements?"

"Oh, it's not far from this world at all," the shadow answered, but Cad could hear the sinister smile lacing the tone, "Just a small town called Ponyville."


Cad Bane prowled the streets of the tiny, bright-colored town, careful to keep his hat low over his eyes as he searched for his targets. The Ice Queen had provided him with six symbols: an apple, a rainbow, three balloons, three butterflies, three diamonds, and a glistening star. Apparently, these were all the descriptions he needed... He still wasn't convinced.

"Never lower your guard, Cad Bane," she had warned, "These girls are as clever as they are lively. They are not to be underestimated."

"I'm one of the greatest bounty hunters this galaxy has ever seen," he scoffed, "I'm not afraid of a couple of... ponies." The word seemed to give him a bad taste.

The sound of girls laughing interrupted his thoughts. It was close. Just around the corner.

He approached stealthily, keeping close to the wall --close to the shadows. His thin, blue fingers hovered instinctively over his blaster pistols.

The corner opened up into a large plaza where five little ponies were all sitting on a red blanket among an array of apple-flavored dishes. They were conversing loudly --some over pets and others over an upcoming party.

Cad's eyes narrowed, realizing how the provided symbols were relevant... Each pony wore a custom mark on their haunches. From his place in the alley, he could see five out of the six he was given.

Five shots... Easy, he considered.

"There is one, tiny stipulation you must adhere to," the voice of the Ice Queen chimed in, "I'm well aware of your merciless reputation... But I'll have to ask that you do not harm any of those girls. I have an alliance of sorts with their kind... It would... complicate things."

"This is sounding more and more like a job for a pirate," he growled back.

"If you don't think your pay is sufficient for my conditions, feel free to walk away, Mr. Bane... But the last time I checked, you were one of the greatest bounty hunters this galaxy has ever seen. Surely, you can claim one of the greatest bounties this galaxy has ever seen."

Cad exhaled and reluctantly pulled his hands away from his weapons. Seems like a stakeout is in order...

"BOO!!!!" screamed a high-pitched voice from directly behind him.

Cad Bane spun on his heel, ready to silence the intrusive bystander. However, when he scanned the area... No one... His eyes narrowed.

"HIIIIII~!!!!" the voice screamed again, this time from his right.

Cad turned again, coming face to face with the wall he had been following two seconds earlier.

No one...

"Up HERE silly!!!!!"

The Duro looked up and was met with a wide-eyed pink pony grinning from ear to ear.

"Now you've got it!" she shouted excitedly.

Cad Bane balled his hand into a fist and made an attempt to hit the pony off of his head. Instead, she bounced off willingly and hopped in place next to him, seemingly not noticing his violent reaction. How had he not felt her there...?

"Who're---" he began, before stopping himself. Her mark... Three balloons!

"Ooo! I know! I know! You must be new around here!" the pink pony guessed, not bothering to pause for air, "Do you have any friends!? I'm everyone's friend!!! How're you doin' today!? Ooo, what's your name? I'm Pinkie! Pinkie PIE!!!"

Cad Bane hesitated, surprised by the unfolding events. However, the hesitation must have been for too long for the pony, because she began talking almost immediately and proceeded to bounce repeatedly into his back, pushing him out into the plaza.

"Me and my friends are having a picnic! You should join us!" She continued chattering nonsensically about streamers and horns and suggesting different foods that the newcomer absolutely HAD to try now that he had arrived in Ponyville. Only when she had pushed him over to the picnic, did Pinkie Pie pause to breath. "Hiii everyone!!! Look, I FOUND SOMEONE!!! HE MUST BE LOST!!!"

All of the ponies stared up in a mixture of surprise and mock excitement.

All, but one, of course...

"Aww, cool!" the blue pony with the rainbow mark exclaimed, jumping from her spot on the blanket and flying up to Cad Bane's face, "It looks like some sort of cosplay! I love your hat!" She snatched the hat from his head and tried it on, marveling in its 'coolness' before noticing his weapons. "And mock blaster pistols!!! They're just like the ones Fly Solo used in Daring Do: The Return of Harmony!" Faster than Cad could register, the pegasus pony had grabbed one of his guns and was posing with it in midair, making pew-pew-pew noises.

The Duro scowled and powered up his rocket boots, leaping into the air to grab his hat and blaster. He hovered for a mere second before dropping gracefully to the ground and holstering his gun.

The rainbow-marked pony started at him in awe. "Rocket boots....? SWEEEEEEET!"

"No one touches the hat," he grumbled, in his usual raspy voice.

"Oh! My! Gosh!" Pinkie Pie screamed at the sound of his voice, "Are you OKAY!? There's something stuck in your throat!!! Do you need a cough drop!?!?" She leapt at the picnic basket frantically, searching for a cough drop, "OH! HERE! Here's a cupcake!!"

Cad Bane saw the cupcake flying through the air as if in slow-motion, but it was still far too late to dodge. The iced side of the pastry smacked him directly between the eyes, stuck for a brief moment, and fell to the ground.

Maybe these girls are as clever as the Ice Queen warned...

Pinkie Pie took advantage of the silence, deciding this was the best time to introduce her friends to her new stranger. "This is Twilight! And that's Dash! And Fluttershy! And Rarity! And AJ! And Gummi! And Opal! And--" She continued naming off the insignificant animals and the owners of the nearby businesses before she was cut off.

"Pinkie, dear, you need to calm down," interrupted the pony called Rarity, "Let the poor stranger breath for a moment, okay?"

The yellow pony, Fluttershy, fluttered up to the Duro timidly, extending a clean, embroidered napkin in her hooves. "Hi, mister," she spoke quietly, "My name is Fluttershy... What's yours?"

"There's one girl you need to be particularly careful around," the Ice Queen had advised, "The one called Fluttershy. She's the dangerous one. Whatever you do, DON'T make eye contact."

Surely, the Ice Queen was paranoid...

"Bane," he rasped, examining the demeanor of this so-called 'dangerous one', "Cad Bane..."

She seemed startled by his response. Or was it just the sound of his voice? He took the napkin and wiped away the rest of the icing.

"W-Well, we have plenty of food if you'd like to join us," she suggested politely, "We have apple fritters and cider and all sorts of goodies. I'm sorry about Pinkie Pie. She gets a little excited around newcomers."

"YEAH I DO!" the pink pony screamed, as if she had been holding her breath until her name was mentioned.

"I dunno, Fluttershy..." Twilight spoke up, "He doesn't look like he wants to join in..."

"But, Twilight, darling," Rarity started, her voice falling into a gossipy whisper, "He looks hungry and lost! And LOOK at that raggedy coat..."

"Rarity! That's so rude!" Applejack snapped, before patting the blanket next to her, "C'mon over here, Cad! Bucked these apples from the tree myself! Yer welcome to 'em!"

Cad Bane resisted the urge to pull out his blaster and demand the whereabouts of the Elements. His hand twitched instinctively, but he knew that Rainbow Dash could reach his weapons faster than he could. Even at this distance.

"Remember, Cad, that killing them is out of the option. I need the Elements, not corpses."

"With as much as you're payin', you have a deal." He chuckled at his luck. Easy job: sneak and swipe. It wasn't his normal bounty, but it would do. Ponies...? Really?

"And, at all costs, avoid their magic... They have this so-called 'Friendship'. If you fall under their spell, you won't be able to complete your mission."

Cad Bane scoffed, "I always complete my mission. Make sure you're ready to pay up."



Will Cad Bane succeed? Or will he succumb to the Power of Friendship?

Cad succeeds if he can befriend the ponies, find where they've hidden the Elements of Harmony, and return them to the Ice Queen.

Cad fails if he actually befriends the ponies or kills one/all of them.
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Here another good entry: the winning match of the 2nd MagneticFox tourney made by ND10 (a.k.a., ND7 on EF):

The day Friday the 13th came to Nowhere  
(Jason Voorhees vs Courage the Cowardly Dog)  
Within the depths of Camp Crystal Lake, New Jersey, a terrible burden had been placed upon all foolish enough to visit the campgrounds. This burden had a name and it was Jason Voorhees. Ever since he appeared back on the scene after seeing his mother's decapitation by Alice Hardy, Jason's slew anyone unfortunate enough to be having a good time within the boundaries of the lake and even beyond it at certain points. But at the end of the day for all of Jason's strength and his seeming immortality, he's been defeated every time. From getting a machete stuck through the shoulder, an axe to the forehead, getting mutilated with his own machete and so much more.   


Despite all of the punishment inflicted upon him, the legend of Jason Voorhees grows with every new victim. But even then there are still people who wish to exploit the camp for their own purposes. Either considering the story of Jason to be a series of murders blown way out of proportion by the media or that Jason's been dead all this time and someone's just kept up the kills in his name. Either way, it helped give Camp Crystal Lake a infamous reputation. But there was still a niche that appealed to everyone right? Serial Killer memorabilia had to be one of said niches! Which is why two brothers, one of whom was named Sean and the other Wes were exploring the woods of Crystal Lake, armed with only pistols and flashlights.   


"You sure this is a good idea, Wes? I left the car running so not too late to turn back." Sean started only for Wes to continue to trudge forward as if he hadn't even stopped to consider what his brother had told him. Holding up one of his hands to the sky, Wes sighed. "You just gotta grasp the bigger picture here, Sean! This hockey mask wearing menace has been plaguing camp goers and skinny dippers for over thirty five years! Taking into account how many people's he killed and you can ask all over the country who Jason Voorhees is and I bet you'll get an answer! Not one you may like but still the point is Sean, that nobody escapes death. Not even Jason Voorhees. So all we're gonna be doing is finding this cabin of his and getting out because Jason's dead and he sure as hell isn't going to get up just because some young entrepreneurs wanted to carve out a spot in the dog eat dog world of shilling merchandise." Sean still didn't seem fully convinced but he supposed his older brother had a point. There was no way that Jason actually was some kind of undead serial killer, right? It had to be some guy pretending to be Jason!
"Aha, found the treasure chest of slasher merchandise! C'mon Sean, I can't look through this place by myself!" Wes called over to his brother as they had finally stumbled upon the cabin that Jason had constructed for himself while hiding out in the woods for who knows how long. Feeding on the local wildlife to sustain himself and Sean had to admit that for someone who was apparently mentally-disabled, the place was cobbled together sure. But for him alone to be able to construct this seems like it'd have taken a lot of work. But Sean was shaken out of his silent admiration for the shack as Wes yelled to him from a fair distance away.   
"Hey Sean, take out your phone and take a picture of me walking past Jason's shack! We can frame it and put it out on display! Man walks aside Jason's Shack and survives! We'll be big and the headlines will be all about us!" Sean wasn't one to argue with Wes over things since Wes usually did the thinking for both of them but something just didn't feel right about this. This almost felt shameful in a way. To be disgracing the terror Jason's victims went through when they saw this place before he murdered them. "Sean! I'm not going to ask again! Take the picture already so we can go inside!" Stumbling with his phone, Sean dropped it on the ground and sighing, he knelt down to pick it up only to pause as he noticed a peculiar reflection on the screen of his phone. It seemed like it was quite a distance away but there seemed to be some kind of mess of debris and one of the diamonds on Jason's mask could have been seen poking out through it. But that couldn't be right could it?  




"SEAN! What is taking you so long?! I could have walked to Manhattan with all the time you're chewing up!" Wes roared as Sean gulped and quickly prepared his phone's camera. He guessed he'd just have to tell Wes once they were inside. That was all and Wes could prove that his eyes were just deceiving him. But first he had to take the photo that his brother had been requesting for the last few minutes.   




Smirking as the picture was taken, Wes quickly ran over to see how it had looked. If his brother had done a good enough job than this could totally be the flagship of their store! Jason's Shack right front and center mounted on the wall as people walk in.


"Yeah, yeah! I can totally get behind this picture, Sean! The fact that you managed to catch the trees in the frame helps to emphasize just how much of a wildman Jason was! He didn't care one bit about nature getting it's dirty paws all over his shack. Then you got me walking by with my head slightly tilted to the side to show that 'whoa, this is actually where the infamous Crystal Lake Killer once called home' This is gonna be everyone's reaction once they see this picture atop our wall! Now, let's get inside Sean. So much more to explore!"

Sean couldn't really say that he was too eager to continue. Not after the sight he thought he had seen in the reflection on his phone. But Wes seemed dead-set on going and Sean doubted he'd be swayed just by what his little brother thinks he saw laying under a bunch of dirt and leaves. So following Wes in as they closed the door behind them, Sean quickly cupped a hand to his nose. "Eugh! What the hell's that smell?!" It smelled like something that was long since dead. Wes didn't seemed deterred by the rancid scent one bit and continued further within the confines of the shack. Until he finally reached the source of the smell. With a ring of bodies laying around her a shrine had been made to Jason's mother, Pamela Voorhees. With her head sitting atop her blue sweater.

Barely being able to prevent himself from retching all over the damn place, Sean made his way into the backroom and nearly leaped back as he saw his older brother reach for the head. Rushing forward, he sought to grasp Wes's hand. "Wes, what the hell do you think you're doing? That's Jason's mom right there! You can't take her head!"

Annoyed by his brother's pesky interference, Wes sought to shove Sean aside and smacked Pamela's head off the table. Only so he could grab her sweater it seemed. Tossing it over his shoulder, Wes angrily turned towards Sean and pointed a finger in his direction. "I don't know where you think you can get off telling me what to do, Sean. But that stops right now. I'm the older brother and that usually denotes that I'm the one telling you what's what. I don't want the head. I want the sweater because do you know how many sickos would want to try on Pamela Voorhees's blood-stained sweater? They'd be lining up by the dozen! Now, quit your bellyaching and get up. We need to keep looking."

As Pamela's head rolled along the floor after being swatted aside, outside within the woods a muted thumping could have been heard. This was the sound the black heart within Jason Voorhees's chest made as his mother's words rang out to him, even after her death and while he had laid dormant in the woods for years and mother nature had began to take a toll on him. Still, his dear mommy's voice was clear as it had always been.

"Jason, my special special boy! Do you know what your gift is? No matter what they do to you, you cannot die. You can never die! You've just been sleeping honey! But now the time has come to wake up! Mommy has something she wants you to do. The children have been very bad. Hear my voice, Jason and live again!"

The words cascaded across the depths of Jason's mind like a demented cacophony. The forest was like a crypt with how deathly quiet it was. Not even the occasional chirping of a bird cut through the silence. The comparison of the forest to a crypt might have been more accurate than one would think. For if one took even a single cursory glance around the campgrounds, they'd see trails of blood leading to mutilated corpses of all shapes and sizes.

They were all teenagers and adults who made the mistake of trespassing onto the territory of the ever vigilant guardian who stalked Crystal Lake for as long as people could remember. Who was this guardian you may have found yourself asking? His name was Jason, Jason Voorhees. He was the average age of a child participating in Camp Crystal Lake's summertime activities.

But there was something wrong with Jason. Apart from obvious things like a bloated head, mangled teeth, and mental retardation, he just seemed to have a hard time interacting in general. He never wished to leave his mother's side. For he would be and always was her special boy and nothing would ever change that.

He had been electrocuted, had a house caved in on him, blown up, had chemical waste hurled into his face, nothing would keep the undead spawn of Pamela Voorhees down forever. The one thing that had delayed him the most however was being dragged to Hell while his body resided in the forest. Left to rot away as leaves hid it from sight and foliage began to grow through Jason's exposed ribcage.

Upon hearing his mother's words however, it only meant one thing. The hands of hell would not be able to keep Jason imprisoned if his mother wanted him for something. As his healing factor kicked in, Jason's decayed form rumbled and his blackened flesh began to cover up his organs once again. His black heart began to beat despite no blood having circulated through Jason's body in years. But he still had one last thing to do before he rose up. As his gloved hands tore through the leaves and snapped the vines in half, he'd grip the hilt of his machete which had been laying nearby as his eyes finally shot open.


Pushing himself up from where his corpse had been sitting all these years, Jason threw a test jab at one of the nearby trees. Tilting his head as his fist smashed straight through the bark of the tree, he'd pull it back and watched at the black ooze that had been his blood at one point drip out of his knuckle. Having lost any sensation of pain after becoming an undead, it only made him curious more than anything else. But he was at least confident that even as his soul was tortured down in Hell, his body hadn't grown weak. But there was work to do. Children to punish because his mother was never wrong. They were all sinners and sinners deserved to die. Tightening the grip on his machete, Jason turned and shambled his way off in the direction of where he had heard noise.


They were all guilty

Just like the ones who murdered his mother.

He'd make them all pay.

Back at the shack, Wes was quickly growing aggravated for there didn't seem to be much more for them to take. Pamela's sweater and the picture of the shack seemed to be the only grabs they had gotten for the day. Little did they know of the murderous legend that was about to reveal that he was much, much more than that. "Wes, isn't this enough? Don't you think we should get going before Jason gets here?" It was only after he had spoken that he realized that he hadn't informed his brother of what he had seen until this moment. Quickly cupping a hand over his mouth, he was pressed back into a corner by a inquisitive Wes.

"Until Jason gets here? Sean, Sean, my little brother. I think you're finally starting to grasp the bigger picture I was talking about. Imagination like that is exactly the kind of stuff we're going to try and get out of our customers. They'll see this sweater and believe they really are Pamela Voorhees. But let me set the record straight and say that Jason Voorhees is dead! No ands ifs or buts about it! The guy was hacked to pieces and you're expecting me to believe that all those other murders were him? He's still buried back at the cemetery!"

Before Sean could even think of a good counter-argument and bring up the reflection, he noticed a figure making his way towards the window. Grasping Wes by the collar of his shirt he'd seek to drag him to the ground as the glass was shattered by someone leaping through it. As the figure walked closer into the light, it became obvious to these two who this was. The rotting flesh, exposed bones, and all kinds of damage to the mask. Glancing down at the two with his one good eye, Jason's mouth twisted into a grimace as he noticed one of the sinners had his mother's sweater. It wasn't his to take! It was his mother's! This one would pay a much more painful death.


As Jason raised his machete with his intent being clear, both Wes and Sean rose to their feet and bolted out through the door. Turning his head to face the two as they ran, Jason made no outward gesture to show that he was bothered at all by them running away. All of his victims assumed that due to his decayed body, he wouldn't be able to keep up with them as they ran. Which in most cases they were right. But what they failed to take into account is that due to Jason's undead nature, he'd never tire. So they could run to the ends of the Earth, but Jason would still be following behind. The same went for these two as they raced back to their car with him slowly trodding after them.

"This isn't him, this can't be him! Jason's dead!" The sight of this was just too much for Wes to bare as his facade finally shattered. He was the one afraid now as Sean was desperately reaching for his seatbelt to clip it in so they could get going. But Wes was leaving with the sweater and that was the end of that! Reaching for his pistol, he'd turn the safety off and proceeded to unload upon Jason. But for every bullet that impacted him, it was another one wasted as the lead buried itself within Jason's undead body. But even as the sickly looking black blood ran out of the wounds it made, Jason wasn't slowed one bit and he continued forward. Not seeing any point in wasting anymore bullets if they weren't gonna stop him, Wes buckled himself in and helped Sean do the same. "Get us the hell out of here, Sean!"

Slamming his foot down on the gas, the car quickly swerved past Jason and away from Camp Crystal Lake. They had managed to escape from his punishment for now. But as long as one of them continued to hold his mother's sweater as if it were his own, they'd never be truly safe and so Jason followed in the direction that the car had blasted off to. Sure, he'd never be able to keep up with it. But that didn't matter. He just had to be patient was all.

As for the brothers after their run in with Jason, the idea of being serial killer merchandise buffs didn't seem as appealing. As they drove, Sean turned attention briefly to Pamela's sweater which had been idly tossed in the back seat as they burned rubber out of Camp Crystal Lake. "Wes, you do know that he probably won't stop until he gets the sweater back right? I say we burn the damn thing. Are you listening, Wes?" Sean asked as it seemed his brother had yet another idea swirling in his head. "Alright, so getting merchandise from Jason's shack turned out to be a less than stellar idea. But what about this? We pawn off the sweater to someone else. Let them deal with Jason." The mere thought of 'siccing' Jason on some poor unfortunate soul was enough to make Sean's stomach do a series of twists and turns. But he also didn't want to risk coming face to face with the undead mass murderer when he least expected it due to his brother's greed.

"..Who did you have in mind?"

"A little family out in the middle of Nowhere, heh.."


While Sean was initially confused by what his brother meant by nowhere, it became clear all too soon upon arriving at their destination. It was indeed right dab smack in the middle of Nowhere, Kansas with dirt as far as the eye can see and only the house and this windmill being anything worth noticing as they pulled up to the front of the house. Stepping out of the car with Pamela's sweater over his shoulder, Wes started to make his way towards the door and gave brief knock on it. This knocking was disturbing the farmer of the home, Eustace who just wanted to read his paper.

"Oh for pete's sake! Go and answer the door, you stupid dog!" Eustace growled as he gave the sleeping pink beagle on the rug a kick in the rear. The dog was sent flying through the air until he impacted into the door. Sliding down it, he'd whimper as he rubbed at the new bruise on his head while opening the door. Seeing Wes standing before him with the sweater, Courage took a whiff of the new smell approaching his nose and turned green with disgust. The smell of that sweater was awful! Glancing down at Courage, Wes flashed a smug smile as he reached down to pet the dog on the head only for Courage to growl at him.

"Aww, now that's no way to be. I just want to drop off a gift to an old associate of mine is all! Now why don't you go and fetch her for me like a good little dog?" Wes asked only for Courage to fold his arms defiantly. Just as Wes was about to punt Courage into next week, a femine Scottish-toned voice broke into the conversation.

"Wes? Wes Cunningham? The same one who took classes with me back in dear ol Scotland?" The voice asked as Courage began flailing his arms up and down and sprouting all sorts of gibberish to indicate that Wes wasn't to be trusted. But as this was the only way to get Jason off their trail, it'd have to be done. So giving a sharp kick to Courage, the dog was sent flying up the stairs as Wes turned towards where the new voice was coming from. "Muriel! Muriel Bagges! I'm so glad you remember me! Yes, that's right. The only American in your class, as a matter of fact!

"It is you, Wes! Oh it's been far too long. Please, sit for a while. I'm almost done with my latest batch of vinegar laden cookies!" Although Wes hadn't been bothered by the smell of Pamela's sweater or Jason's undead body, he knew of Muriel's affection for using vinegar in just about everything and that was far more scary than anything Jason could do to them. Quickly holding the sweater out, Wes shook his head. "O-Oh of course not! I'd really hate to impose on you and your husband, Muriel. I merely came to see if you'd be interested in taking this sweater off our hands. I think it'd look great on you!"

Without even waiting to see if Muriel approved of the choice, Wes shoved the sweater over her head and it was rather small on Muriel's 'hefty' frame. Clasping his hands together, Wes smiled. "It looks beautiful, Muriel! A bit snug I'd imagine but I'm sure you'll adjust to it. Ah, well I can't keep my brother waiting. I'll talk to you again, Muriel!" Wes exclaimed as he turned to quickly head out but only after shooting a glare Courage's way. "Stupid dog."

Picking himself up from where he had been kicked, Courage stuck his tongue out at Wes as he left. Him just deciding to randomly approach Muriel out of nowhere with that nasty smelling sweater didn't sit right with Courage. "Something's fishy here or my name's Nosferatu and it's not!"

Having kept to his paper the whole time Wes was around, Eustace was quietly fuming at how this stranger just up and gave Muriel a gift. Who did this Cunningham think he was?! Giving his wife a sweater! One that smelled almost as bad as that stupid dog! Clipping a clothspin over his nose, Eustace lowered his paper and walked over to Muriel as he began to tug on the sweater, much to Muriel's annoyance and confusion. "Eustace! Have ye lost your marbles?!"

"This sweater smell like wet stupid dog! You're gonna have to get rid of it, Muriel! One way or another!" The farmer exclaimed only for Muriel to thwack him right on the head with a rolling pin. Recoiling, Eustace quickly placed his hands to where he had been bonked. "Ow! What did I do?!" Whimpering as Eustace had lost the battle for the sweater, Courage would just have to keep a closer eye than usual on his two owners as they slept tonight. But Eustace had other plans. Stripping the sweater off Muriel as she slept, Eustace made his way out to the back of the house and quickly tossed the sweater into a garbage can. "Hahahaha! Let's see her wear that!"

Having tracked down the brothers relentlessly, the search finally seemed to have come to a stop at this worn down home. He had been biding his time to strike. But before he could the brothers had escaped yet again and his mother's sweater was now in the possession of someone else who didn't deserve it! Standing behind the windmill, Jason's one eye widened as he saw Eustace chuck what appeared to be his mother's sweater into the garbage! His entire frame shook with unbridled rage as he decided enough was enough. Putting aside his hate for the brothers, Jason started to head towards the backdoor. Meanwhile, Courage had been booted out of the bedroom by Eustace upon his return.

Deciding he'd try to go and sleep on Muriel's chair in the living room then, he could have sworn he saw something approach the back door as he cascaded down the stairs. Gulping, Courage's body was a mess of sweat and fur as he slowly approached the door. "The things I do for love.."

Pulling open the door, Courage would have glanced up to catch all of Jason as the undead killer's body shook with every ragged breath he took. Courage had seen zombies before. But those were easy to fool and he had just buried them under a lot of dirt! But this guy seemed very different from those two and a lot angrier to boot. So he decided the proper reaction was in order.



Ironically for all the brutal murders he had under his belt, Jason couldn't find it in himself to hurt an animal. So all Courage's screaming warranted from him was willful ignorance as Jason walked past the screaming dog. He had seen the man with the hat head back in through this way and he'd tear this entire house apart if it meant finding him. He'd pay for throwing his mother's sweater among their filth and garbage! Courage was frantically hopping from one leg to the other. There was no way he could bring this guy down all by himself. But he was going after Muriel and Eustace no doubt! He had to protect them!

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Here's the first entry of the winner of the June 2020 Tournament. Welcome to the HoF, Bergy!

“Parker, you’re late!” Peter had barely made it through the door of Pizza Time and his boss was already yelling at him. 

“Sorry Mr. Vizzini, traffic out there is crazy. I could barely maneuver through it all even on my scooter.” 

“No excuses kid, I need someone who’s reliable, not just reliably late. The first order of the day just came up, I need it delivered pronto. Here’s the address.” Vizzini passed over a stack of pies, along with a scribbled note. 

“Oh wow, this is on the other side of Queens! Did you tell them it won’t be the usual 30-minute delivery?” 

“Damn it Parker, the sign doesn’t say ‘30 minutes unless our delivery boy is worried about traffic.’ It says ‘30 Minutes anywhere in Queens, or it’s free.’ Stop bitching and get that delivery out, or it’s coming out of your pay!”. 

Peter took the stack of pies out the door and loaded them on the back of his scooter. He started down the street, when his old set of wheels finally died.  

“Shoot.” He looked up at the towering buildings around him. Well, he thought, guess there’s only one way to do this. 

At the same time, a suped up motorcycle went roaring down the road, weaving through traffic. 


A few minutes earlier, just across the street... 

“Grayson, good to see you. There’s my best employee.” 

“Hey there Enzo. Streets are crazy today.” Dick Grayson had just moved to New York, having recently left Batman and his stockpile of wealth behind. Starting off in a new city, he picked up an easy job at a pizza place to help himself get started. It was certainly below the skill level of the former Robin, but he needed to get himself established. At least be able to pay for a cruddy studio apartment as he got back on his feet. And for somewhere to safely store a few necessities... 

“I got a delivery for you, gotta get it across town. I know it’s stressful, but my number one guy can handle it.” 

Dick picked up the stack of pizzas. “No problem sir. I’ll get it out there in no time.” He rushed out the door, securing the pizzas to his motorcycle. He revved it up, and throttled down the busy street. 


Spider-Man and  Nightwing are delivering pizzas to the same address. Nightwing has his motorcycle and a slight head start, while Spider-Man will be webslinging. Who makes it first? 

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Here's September entry #2 from Bergy_Berg:

‘That was hell.’ Dick Grayson jumped off his bike and grabbed the stack of pizza boxes. He had arrived in one the city’s parks. ‘Alright, looking for four teens and their dog.’ 

As Nightwing walked into the park, he passed another pizza boy on his way out. They gave each other the nod of two kindred souls. Just as they passed, Nightwing noticed a piece of red and blue costume sticking out of the other pizza delivery boy’s clothes. 

“Psst, hey buddy.” The other pizza boy turned to Nightwing. “You got a little something hanging out there Spidey.”  

Peter Parker looked down at his waistline, and hurriedly tucked in the exposed costume. “Oh that’s nothing! I uh, I just like cosplaying is all.” 

“Sure man.” Nightwing pulled a dark business card from his pocket and handed it over to his new acquaintance. “How about you call me sometime and help another quote ‘cosplayer’ get used to the big apple.” Dick could see the confusion on Peter’s face. “I’m not coming on to you, I just think someone with a Spider-eye view of the city could be helpful. And don’t ignore me Spider-Man, I know where you work.” Nightwing gave Spider-Man a wink, and carried on with his delivery. 

“I gotta be more careful...” Parker mutters to himself. 



“Like, hey man! I think that’s for us.” A shaggy looking teen called over to the former Robin. He was sat at a metal park table with three other people and a very large dog.  

Nightwing saw the dog barking in excitement. At least, it looked like barking. 

“Rizza! Rizza! Rizza ruys!” Nightwing shook his head for a moment. ‘Maybe all that car exhaust I breathe in riding my motorcycle is getting to me.’  

“OK Scoob, calm down. Let him, like, put the pizzas down first.” Grayson put the pizzas down on the table. “Like, thanks man. We were starting to get major food-envy.” Shaggy motioned to a nearby table, where 4 large figures in trench coats were already divvying up their stack of pies. They looked near identical, with most of their forms cloaked by their trench coats. The only thing that differentiated them was a bit of cloth in different colors that could just be seen on the back of their heads. 

“Be nice Shaggy,” the young woman in the turtleneck piped up. “He got here fast enough; do you remember how hard it was getting the Mystery Machine down these streets?” Nightwing collected his payment from a guy wearing an ascot and was on his way. 

Shaggy and Scooby pulled bibs from seemingly nowhere, and were just about to dig in when they overheard the other table. 

“Pumped for these pizzas bros!” The orange one said. “Nobody digs a pizza like the Turtles dig pizza!” 

“Mikey,” the blue one admonished. “Easy on the Turtle talk, we’re not having lunch in the park more if you can’t keep your voice down.” 

“Like, yeah man,” Shaggy responded. “And you shouldn’t lie either. Nobody digs pizza like Mystery Inc. Ain’t that right gang?”  

Scooby-Doo responded excitedly while the other three members of the gang rolled their eyes. 

“Rat’s right! Robody reats rike rus!” 

“Whoa bro, that sounds like a challenge,” Michaelangelo piped up. “Come on Leo, we’re not gonna let some dweebs and their dog punk us on these pizzas, are we?” 

Raphael jumped in. “You guys think you’re better than us?” He pulled out a Sai, stabbing a slice of pizza and lifting it towards his mouth. “Nobody devours pizza faster than us!” 

“Zoinks, looks like we got a pizza challenge. Are you ready Scoob?” 

“Reah Raggy! Ret’s reat!” 

Leonardo jumped in. “Alright, let’s do this. On the count of three.” He pulled a katana from his back. “One...” Shaggy and Scooby quickly open up every box of pizza on their table, motioning for the rest of Mystery Inc to get ready. “Two...” The Turtles tightened their headbands. 

In one fluid motion, Leo sliced the tops off the pizza boxes and kicked them to the side. “THREE!” 


Mystery Inc and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in a pizza eating contest. They have equal amounts of New York style pizza to get through. First team to finish wins.

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And this is Bergy_Berg's final September entry:

Watson locked up his bicycle, scanning the park for his long-time associate. It did not take long for him to identify Holmes, dressed in his usual tweed attire. The detective leaned against a large oak; his legs stretched out before him. 

“You have taken your dear time Watson.” Holmes did not even turn his head, almost as if he had a preternatural ability to identify his friend. “I have sat in this park for no less than 10 minutes awaiting your arrival.” 

Watson chuckled to himself. “You will have to excuse me, I was not expecting to be asked to come out and enjoy nature today.” As the doctor came closer an all too familiar scent overcame him. “Holmes, you haven’t.” 

Sherlock pulled a pipe from under his cloak and took a puff. He exhaled, filling the air around himself and Watson with the smell of opium. 

“Of course, my dear Watson. There is no finer place in this city to light my pipe. This park is poorly patrolled by the local constabulary, children are currently in school, and the trees provide both shade and some protection from the noises of the city.” 

“So did you invite me here to ask if I would like to partake in an illegal substance?” 

“Of course not, I know my vices are of no interest to you. I asked you here to assist me with a mystery.” Holmes motions towards two tables about 100 feet away, where two groups sit around empty pizza boxes. “Do you notice anything strange?” 

Watson takes a moment, watching and listening to the two groups. He gathers his thoughts together in his head, trying to use the methods of deduction that Holmes has displayed over the years of their friendship. “Well, it appears that one of these groups is comprised of large, mutated turtle creatures, and the other has a talking dog. Both mysteries very worthy of your mind.” 

Holmes scoffed. “It’s elementary my dear Watson, these are hardly worthy mysteries. The ‘turtles’ you mention are obviously the result of chemical runoff, and reside in the sewers under this fine city. They appear, normally at night, to fight crime and evil ninjas. They came out today to enjoy some of New York’s finest food. And as for the talking dog, well I will not insult your intelligence by giving you the obvious explanation. Perhaps you will reason that out on your own over time.” 

“Then why did you call me out here.” 

“At first it was simply to have you take me home, as I have over-indulged in my pipe and need some help. I hope you brought the extra helmet as I asked.” 

Watson sighed. “Yes Holmes, I brought it. I feared I might be pedaling for the two of us. But for what other reason am I here? What is the mystery?” 

“Those pizzas were delivered from restaurants across town. The gang with the dog received theirs in just under the requisite half hour, a difficult but not impossible task. But the turtles received theirs far quicker, as if there were no obstacles in the path of the delivery boy. The game is afoot my dear Watson, and I will not rest until I discover the means of locomotion used to traverse this city so quickly.” 



Meanwhile, far above the Earth, the Huntress pressed a button to open the sliding doors to her boyfriend’s room. “Q, what are you obsessing over now?” 

The Question was pacing in front of a large corkboard. Strings connected pictures of pizza places, parks, and city streets. “There’s something strange happening in Queens. Pizza Time, a small pizza restaurant, was having difficulty making timely deliveries. Customers were angry, refusing to tip or even pay. That is until a month ago. Somehow this little shop is making consistent on time deliveries, regardless of traffic and supervillain activity.” 

“I take it our date night may be off?” 

“There are dark forces at work Helena. No ordinary pizza boy could do this. What means are being employed, and to what ends? Is this pizza being used to mind control the local population? Is there poison in the pepperoni? Why have the customers not asked the question?” 

“Can we at least grab a slice while we investigate?” she sighed. Question is a sweet man, if not a bit much to handle. 

“Of course, we’ll have to. How else can I run the lab tests necessary to know if these pies are part of a diabolical plot?” He caught the glare from Huntress. “Of course, we can also grab some to eat-from a less nefarious establishment.” 

“Fine, but you know the terms.” 

“Of course,” Question’s voice lowered to a whisper. “I wear the red thing later.” 




Sherlock Holmes and the Question are both investigating Pizza Time. The winner is the first to uncover that Peter Parker is indeed Spider-Man. 

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This is the first entry for the winner of the July 2020 CBUB Tournament, the HoF-debuting SSJRuss. Congrats!

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale PLUS EDITION


It has risen again!

The dubious skeletal knight, Sir Daniel Fortesque, opened his one good eye.

Ah, Sir Daniel Fortesque. Awake again. What fortuitous timing he had, the Hero of Gallowmere. He slept quite a long time after the Polygon Man’s defeat.

He stepped out and down the threshold of his casket, old bones crackling with new life. It appeared that the energy he’d been awarded after that dashing victory over the polygon monster had kept his skeletal body in good condition. Not a bone out of place.

But all that time had let evil fester. As a decorated hero in the Hall of Heroes, it was his duty to answer the new threat.

“Mwah?" he mumbled. (Me?)

Yes! Who else could undo all the chaos that Zarok brought forth? Or undo the doings of the Polygon Man?

Our courageous knight put a finger to what was left of his jaw, likely considering who else but him could do the job.

Of course, there was no one but him.

Sir Daniel would not neglect a chance to prove himself once again. Times changed and long gone were the effects of Zarok’s magic. No one was left to remember his bravery against evil.

Soon. Soon the world would remember. And the Kingdom of Gallowmere would forever praise the name, Sir Daniel Fortesque!


Brook wandered alone. The valley before him riddled with broken rock and rusted metal. A grassy meadow blanketed what he could see, the path edged my surrounding forest on each side.

"Luffy?" He called.


He tried again, "Zoro?"


He called out each name of his fellow Straw Hat Pirates. He hadn't seen them since that strange blue energy erupted above the Thousand Sunny and lifted them into the air, vanishing one by one.

An attack by a devil fruit user, surely? Bartholomew Kuma had done something similar to them two years ago. Brook and his crewmates trained hard so this wouldn’t happen again.

“Yooohoo,” Brook called out, anxiously strumming his guitar to fill the silence.

His voice and music carried through the valley. If anyone heard him, they didn’t make it known.

He looked around this new wasteland. Vegetation grew wildly around him. The only simbelence of people were the derelict skyscrapers at the edge of his vision. But they too were overcome with vegetation.

"Am I the only one alive?"

The wind passing through his ribcage reminded him that he was otherwise.

“Yo! Skull-joke! Yo ho ho ho!”

No one laughed.

“Oh, Usopp would have found that funny.” He strummed a low note on the guitar.

He continued down the valley, humming to the tune of his guitar. "Hmm hmm hmm hmmmm, hm hmm hmm hmmmm-"

Reaching the base of a hill, he heard something rustle in the forest on his right.

“Yo ho ho! Is that you Usopp?” Brook's skeletal chest swelled with excitement at the thought of reuniting with his friends. He ran towards the noise. “Did you hear my skull joke?”


Sir Daniel Fortesque rustled through the forest. He’d gotten lost after leaving his crypt, everything on the outside changed. The entirety of Gallowmere was in ruin, replaced by wildlands and noisy machines.

And turkeys. One scampered across his foot as he furthered into the woods.

How could all of this be? Had he been too late to save Gallowmere from destruction? He hadn’t seen any sign of people either. Where had they all gone?

As if to answer his curiosity, a voice called out. It was ahead of him just past the trees. Sir Daniel was sure that this was his ticket to the answers he sought.

His armor clinked, running with legs outstretched to cover considerable distance. His vision bobbed up and down when a silhouetted figure came into view at the end of the forest. It was tall, but the shape was completely unrecognizable.


Brook, who entered the forest moments earlier, saw a glint of something deep in the woods ahead. His plea seemed to have been answered. That glint must be from Franky's armor reflecting the light.

“Franky!? It’s me, your friend Brook!” He swung his arms in a wide arc.


Sir Daniel saw the figure begin to wave. Could this be an ally? Another hero lost due to the mysterious evil surrounding them? He waved back in the same manner, sprinting through the woods in hopes he could join this compatriot.


“Yo ho ho ho!”

The glint of light took shape in the distance. An image shaded by trees, Brook saw its arms waving too. He waved faster in the excitement.

But as the trees thinned, Brook and Sir Daniel Fortesque came into full view of each other.

"You're not Franky-" Brook said, stopping on one side of the clearing. The armor glint he saw wasn't his friend, it was an armor cladded skeleton waving its arms at him.

Now out in the open, Sir Daniel saw the figure for what it is. A creature of the undead. A colorfully dressed skeleton. It hadn't been laughing but rather, screaming as it waved its arms.

They put their arms down.

“You’re like me--” Brook said. He stuttered over what to say next. It wasn't everyday he ran into a living skeleton such as himself.

“Viihel chherrure!" (Vile creature!) Sir Daniel said, despite his missing bottom jaw. He unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Brook.

The only undead Sir Daniel had the displeasure of meeting turned out to be enemies. And it was likely the same with this one.

“Oh, ah… Excuse me, but--” Brook said as he tried to appease the other before an attack. His next sentence fell short as the skeletal knight crossed the distance between them and swung.

Brook’s own sword swung through the air to match it.



This battle takes place in a forest clearing in the Horizon Zero Dawn universe. They have a 10-minute time limit until a Thunderjaw shows up in the background to attack both of them. The stage will periodically create boxes from the Crash Bandicoot series as well to give the feeling of the environment changing as the battle progresses.



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Here is SSJRuss's 2nd July entry:

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

To Sesame Street!

To Sesame Street!

Sesame Street…


Cookie Monster appears in front of a blue backdrop. He stands behind a table. The table has an empty plate on top. Cookie Monster holds a large sack over his shoulder.

“Oh ah. Hello. Ha Ha… Me is Cookie Monster. Today, ah--” He stares at the camera, eyes glossy. “Oh yes. Today we learn about accidents. Yes, accidents. Accidents happen. Cookie Monster was in a cookie accident. Nevermind Cookie Monster’s band-aid.”

The camera switches over to a different backdrop. This one is yellow with Abby Cadabby in front. “Cookie Monster wasn’t supposed to talk about accidents that day. He was assigned the letter ‘O’.”

Big Bird sits next to Mr. Snuffleupagus on the front steps of his home. “He wasn’t paying attention, but we could tell something was wrong with him, right, Mr. Snuffleupagus?” He nods with his long hairy trunk and Big Bird continues, “Would you wear a bandaid and not tell anybody how you got it? And what was with that sack?”

Back to Cookie Monster, who has put his sack on the table. “Okay. Me going to show you what’s in the--”

“Hey, Cookie Monster!” calls a high-pitched voice from offscreen. Elmo joins him in the shot, smiling as usual.

Cookie Monster is startled. “Oh, Elmo. I didn’t see you there.”

“How are you doing?” Elmo asked.

“Me fine, me fine. I was just about--”

“What’s in that bag?” Elmo asked, reaching for the opening of the sack.

Cookie Monster stares at him and pulls it away. “Me was going to show them, Elmo. These special--”

Elmo notices the band-aid on Cookie Monster’s arm. “Oh, Cookie Monster, what happened to your arm!?” he cried.

“That. That nothing Elmo, leave it alone.”

Elmo tries to grab Cookie Monster’s arm to get a closer look. Cookie Monster is pulling away. The two of them engage in a tousle before Elmo gives up.

“It was accident!” Cookie Monster shouts, “Accidents happen!”

“Yes they do,” Elmo agrees, “I’m- I’m glad you’re okay, but I think you should see a doctor.”

“No, me fine,” Cookie said as he reached into his bag.

The camera swings to Elmo later on. He’s sitting in a chair, interview style. “He wasn’t fine.”

Back to Cookie Monster, who pours the bag onto the table, revealing bread with smiley faces on them. “This is toast. Okay? It like a cookie. It crunchy. It munchy. Oh, it’s very good--” Cookie Monster jams the toast in his mouth, crumbs and pieces falling all over the place.

“Toast?” Elmo inspects one of the smilies. “Where’d you get these, Cookie Monster?”

Cookie eats a second toast before he answers, “Me found them…” He continues eating.

The camera switches back to Big Bird on the steps. “We have no idea where he got that toast. We were all concerned so we started an intervention.” Mr. Snuffleupagus nods next to him.

The camera goes back to Cookie Monster, but time has elapsed. He’s sitting behind a round table and his Sesame Street friends are with him. They are all looking at the half empty bag of ‘toast’.

“None of the kids said they made these, Cookie Monster,” Abby says, “You didn’t buy them and we didn’t make any, so we want to know where you found them?”

“Me… don’t want to say. Me, embarrassed.” Cookie Monster responds, fumbling with his fingers.

“What does embarrassed mean?” asks Javi, a four year old boy, standing next to Big Bird.

Big Bird leans down to the child, “Well Javi, it’s when you are afraid of what someone might think about you. Like if they’ll still be your friend or not.” He gestures to the others. “We’ll all still be Cookie Monster’s friends, won’t we?”

Everyone at the table cheers and agrees.

Grover pats Cookie Monster’s arm, avoiding the band-aid. “It’s okay, Cookie Monster. We’re your friends. You can tell us anything.”

“Me know.” Cookie Monster looks down at the table until he raises his head to look at everyone gathered around him. “Thank you for being friends. Me tell you where I found them. On a trip. Far away from Sesame Street.”

“But how did you hurt your arm?” Big Bird asks.

Before Cookie Monster answers, several loud metal thuds sound from outside and the camera shakes as the Sesame Street residents jump up from the table and rush to the window.

The Count makes it to the window first and laughs, “Ah, ah, ah! We have new guests! One, two, three, four guests!”

From outside, a faint singing could be heard.

“And what is that they are carrying?” the Count continues, “One, two, three, four bats! Ah, ah, ah!”

Abby Kadabby tilted her head, confused. “Bats?”

“Baseball bats! Ah, ah, ah!”

Ernie points and gasps, “That’s Oscar’s trash can! It’s all bashed in!”

The camera pans away from the table where Cookie Monster is shoving as much toast as he can into his mouth and jostles as it finds a place to film at the window. The area is crowded and the viewer can barely see past a clump of Big Bird’s feathers.

Four large, tubby-looking figures sway down the street to the rhythm of their own song. One purple. One green. One yellow. One red.

“They’re scary,” Javi whimpers from somewhere offscreen.

“Tinky Winky,” the purple one sings, spinning its bat in a circle. It seems to hear Javi’s whimper, as it stops in front of 123 Sesame Street and looks directly into the second floor window.

“Dipsy!” sings the green one, excitedly kicking Oscar’s can onto the ground.

The yellow one smashes a window across the street with its bat. “Laa-laa!”

The red one brings his bat down on Oscar’s head, “PO!”

Everyone gasps and Javi starts to cry for his mommy.

Tinky Winky stares at the camera through the window and whispers, “Tubby toast...”

Big Bird knocks the camera back as the Sesame Street gang all turn to look at Cookie Monster.

The table is empty and Cookie Monster is frantically licking up tubby toast crumbs. “Ah-- It was accident you see. Accidents happen.”

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And now, the first entry from electricferret's second repeat-tourney winner, SSJRuss. You're making history, Russ! :D




We open on a marble white building, twenty-five stories tall. The building stands alone and the camera pans down to an empty parking lot. Trees wrap around the parking lot, creating a natural fence for privacy. A black Nissan Versa pulls into the lot, parking in the first space closest to the building. A young twenty-something man gets out of the car.

Camera pans up from his shoes to the nametag he places on his chest. It reads: SSJRuss.

SSJRuss (27), hair is neat, wears a white button-up shirt tucked into his khakis.

He adjusts his glasses and makes a note of the time on his wrist watch. 7:15am.


First one here. No surprise. I don’t understand why Mr. Fox doesn’t just fire them already.


As the camera rises, SSJRuss walks into the building. We get a glimpse of the logo on top of the building. It reads: Electric Ferret Studios.



He walks across the empty lobby, reaches the elevator, and steps in, choosing the 12th floor. The camera sits with SSJRuss bobbing his head to the elevator music.



Elevator doors open. Dozens of cubicles line the main room, all of which are empty. Some desks are decorated or have papers scattered about. Others are covered with a thick film of dust, long unused. The auto-lights flicker to life as he walks down a row to find his cubicle.

Camera pans around the room, showcasing several cubicles as it narrows to SSJRuss’s cubicle. We see his co-worker OMFG’s cubicle to the right. Pictures of Me Gusta faces taped to the inside of his cube. The computer screen is frozen on a page of ‘Dungeon Mastering for Dummies’.

On the left, the station of employee Confession FPT is decorated with imagery from the Tekken franchise. A figure of Kuma the Bear sits on the desk, with its head bobbing.

SSJRuss steps inside his cubicle. It is decorated with anime figures, a small stack of science fiction novels and a Spider-Man lamp.

He takes a seat in his swivel chair and boots the computer. The black screen turns white and reads ‘Simulations Control Panel’





A cup centers on the camera. The cup is being filled with water at a water-cooler by a male. His name tag reads OMFG.

OMFG (23), exceptionally handsome, thin with a dark tan complexion. His attire matches that of SSJRuss as it is the standard uniform for employees of Electric Ferret Studios.

He fills the cup as SSJRuss approaches to do the same.


Hey man, how’s those monthlies coming?


The camera fixes on them both. Noise from other employees working fills in as background.


Monthlies? Oh right, the simulation bracket. I haven’t found anything yet. Still searching the database.



The month is almost over, dude. What’s the hold up?



I’ve been… preoccupied.



Yeah I saw your screen this morning. You’re learning about dungeon mastering instead of running the simulations--



So what? You can’t tell me you don’t goof off too.



Maybe, but I do take what we do seriously.


SSJRuss and OMFG simultaneously sip water from their cups as they look back at the simulation floor. The camera focuses on Bergy_Berg, another employee, as he meets eyes with SSJRuss.



Bergy’s working today? Isn’t he your rival?



Fuck that guy.


OMFG lets out a short laugh then goes to fill his water cup again.


Hey, his simulations kick yours in the ass.



They do not.


Peypeypeypey, another employee in the white shirt and khakis, enters the scene.


Actually they do.


Peypeypeypey passes SSJRuss and OMFG to put water in his coffee mug.


Hey, OMFG, get those monthlies done?


SSJRuss looks back at OMFG, raising his eyebrows and giving him an expression of ‘I told you, so.’


No, Pey. I haven’t. What about you?



I’m caught up through October.



How? You’re hardly here!



It’s called being a professional. Something you two wouldn’t know anything about. Right, DSkillz?


DSkillz answers from off-screen.


Hell yeah. Get good scrubs.


A tremor in the earth shakes the building, cutting off the office conversation. Everyone grabs hold of something, either it is a cubicle or the wall. The water in the cooler ripples with consecutive tremors.

Everyone steadies themselves and rushes to the large glass windows on the other side of the room. The view of the city now shows Godzilla appearing on the horizon. He is crashing through buildings and directly facing the Electric Ferret building.


The Boob Tube:

Is that Godzilla? Like, THE Godzilla?



Oh damn, he’s coming this way.


Confession FPT:




That’s Godzilla, alright. Coming straight at us.



Wow. Dude, we’re boned.



Someone call the penthouse. Mr.Fox isn’t gonna like this.



Wait, why does he want to kill us? Anybody got beef with Godzilla?





The entire group looks at Peypeypeypey, then looks to his cubicle that is adorned with Godzilla paraphernalia.



Don’t look at me. His simulation record is crisp.


They look onto Godzilla making his way through the city.


Good lord, he’s hauling ass. He’s definitely pissed at someone.


The Boob Tube:

We’re gonna die.



This one’s on Pey. I’m calling it now.


Confession FPT:

I’ll take that bet.






Yeah, me too. This is definitely Pey’s fault. He’s the Godzilla guy.



Good thing I didn’t waste my time getting caught up through October, huh Pey?



Wait guys, look.


In-between the Electric Ferret building and Godzilla appears another giant. It is Ultraman 80 from his self-titled show in 1980. His back is facing the building as he leaps to engage Godzilla in battle.



Is that Ultraman?


Confession FPT:

No, looks like some cheap knock off.



That costume is terrible. He has a nose on his mask.



It’s supposed to make him look more human, Berg. He’s gotta be a role model for kids.



He's a giant too. Think he’ll protect us?



That’s sort of his thing.


Confession FPT:

I bet he loses. I’ve got cottage cheese that’s stronger than this guy.



Yeah, Godzilla’s gonna bulldoze him.



He’s trying to save us. Maybe we shouldn’t bet against him.



Twenty bucks says Godzilla piledrives him into the dirt.



You’re on, pal.


Everyone pulls swivel chairs from their cubicles to the window to watch the fight unfold. A pile of money is put on the desk as the betting pot.




So here we have Ultraman 80 vs Heisei Era Godzilla. This is Pre-Ghidorah Godzilla so he only has feats that he showcased in The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante.

Ultraman 80 has similar powers as other Ultramen, as well as the three minute time-limit. So Ultraman has three-minutes to stop Godzilla from destroying Electric Ferret Studios. After three-minutes, Ultraman returns to his human form and loses.

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Here is SSJRuss's second winning July entry:

I can still feel the weight of the bottle in my hand, so I must not have dozed for long. I open one eye to see the light coming from a slit in the curtain. I get up, pull back the curtain, it’s already morning. The sun stretches across my Montana Ranch, dewy grass reflecting the light onto me and my living room.

I close the curtain, letting the natural dark return. I go back to my armchair and my drinking. Scotch is my only companion during this damn pandemic.

“I haven’t left home in months. It’s driving me crazy.” I’m the only one to hear my words. It echoes down the halls of my house.

Maybe it’s the scotch or the lack of sleep, but talking aloud seems to help calm my nerves.

“This house is too damn quiet.” I consider turning on the stereo. Maybe it will wake me up more. But I can feel my eyes droop, so I know I probably wouldn’t find a record to listen to anyway.

Honestly, this damn chair is too comfortable to get up. That was why I bought it. Great for sitting and thinking. Terrible purchase.

I give up the effort of standing. I take another drink and let my eyes settle.

Something on my left breaks the quiet. I push open my eyes and look to the shelf I left my phone on. I hadn’t touched it in days so it should be dead. The noise is gone as fast as it came, so I couldn’t even register what it was.

“Hearing things ya’ old fart.”

Even if it is the phone, it is likely more bad news about the world. Everything is going to hell while things seem to stand-still. Makes me regret coming here, thinking it was a good idea to isolate.

I look at the bottle next to me.

Guess I don’t do so well with isolation.

“I kicked this habit a long time ago, so why am I doing this to myself? You’re pathetic, Michael.”

A voice responds, “You can say that again!”

My back stiffens with a chill and my body responds as if I hadn’t spent the night drinking. My eyes dart around the room and notice the light coming through the curtain again. It’s just a sliver but… now there’s a pattern to it that reflects along the wall. Horizontal stripes stretching across the room.

“Who's there?” My voice echoes just like it did a minute ago. Now, I don’t feel so comfortable.

I may be old, but my hearing works just fi--

The voice cuts off my thought, “Only the ghost with the most, Mikey!”

I recognize that voice. It’s--

“Talking to yourself again, Mikey? And here I thought I was the crazy one!” The voice belongs to me. I see myself step from a shadow in the corner. I’m dressed as Betelgeuse from the Beetlejuice movie I did in the eightys.

The sight of him makes me slip from my chair, I drop the bottle on the way down. The liquor soaks my carpet as Betelgeuse walks closer.

“I don’t… How did you get in here?” I ask. The Betelgeuse me was as young as the day I played him all those years ago.

He doesn’t answer. Instead, he stops to stand there and stare at me. I realize I’m staring into my own eyes.

I can feel the panic settling in my stomach next to the booze. Somehow my hand finds my chair and I pull myself up to my knees. I’ve dealt with crazed fans before, but none of them have ever broken into my house. “You some kind of nut, huh? Some dressed up freak!?”

I need to find my gun.

“Oh geez.” Betelgeuse covers his mouth with his hand. “I forgot my mask, didn’t I? Dang. I had a really nice one too. It had all these teeth and worms--” I could tell by his expression he was mocking me. He starts pulling things out of his pockets to continue this sick joke. I tell him to leave but instead he pulls out sand and a few shrunken heads from his pockets.

“Crap, I uh, must have left it in my nice suit. No worries.” He gets closer to me and my body feels like it’s going into shock. I try to stand but he kneels in front of me and puts his hands on my shoulders.

I can’t explain how, but this guy was me.

“Like a mirror, right? Well, a more handsome, youthful mirror but hey, can’t win them all!” He laughs and I see the crooked teeth I wore during filming Beetlejuice.

“How did you get here? Why do--”

“Look like you? Because I am you! Geez, you Hollywood types really do forget about the people that got you where you are.” I hear the crackle of his spine as he stands and looks down on me. As if he is ashamed of me.

“No… You're not real.” I reach out slowly. I needed to be sure.

“Want to test that?” he says back to me. The stench of his breath wafts over me and the whiskey sitting in my stomach rears up my throat and onto the floor.

He doesn’t say anything but when I finish, I hear something from the other side of the room. It’s music. It’s faint, just in the background like it was far away. It’s an all too familiar instrumental from the Batman movie I did years ago. I raise my head to see, but my vision is still hazy. I squint at a vague outline of a man in the shadowy corner.

Betelgeuse looks to the same corner and shrieks, “Batman!?”

Betelgeuse is right. It is Batman. But not just Batman, he is me. My suit. My height. My dark expression behind a mask. He steps into the striped light, practically gliding as he reaches the scotch drenched spot on the carpet.

I stare, but I find no words to say. Betelgeuse doesn’t have that problem.

“God damn! I can’t believe this.” Betelgeuse approaches Batman with excitement and shakes his hand. “I tell you sir, sir, it’s been a pleasure to meet you in this existential crisis. Really it’s an honor. Big fan here. Tell me, have you ever worked with Ozzy?”

My Batman shoves him backward. “Social distancing, clown. Or should I call you by your real name?”

Betelgeuse’s seriousness came back to him. He points his finger at Batman, “Go ahead, make my millennium! You can’t hurt me, Brucey!”

Instead of answering him, Batman turns to me. “You’re sick. You need help. I can give you that.”

“NO!” Betelgeuse gets between me and Batman. “He’s fine here. Have you seen this guy? Most stable guy I know!”

“Don’t test me.” Batman’s voice shutters through my body. Damn, I could give a performance.

“I’m just doing my job, okay! I don’t make the rules here, he does.” Betelgeuse points his thumb back at me without taking his eyes off Batman.

With my stomach now empty, I manage to stand and get in my chair. I still don’t understand why this is happening. “I’ve gone crazy. You’re both me.”

They ignore me.

“I can tell, that you can tell, that I know what he really wants. He needs total immersion theory and lucky for him, I’m what you’d call a professional. Hold on, let me show you my card.” Betelgeuse starts going through his pockets again.

Batman takes one stride and grabs him by his collar, lifting him off the ground with inhuman strength. “Tell me something. Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Betelgeuse tilts his head, then whispers, “Between you and me, we did a lot more than dance if you know what I mean--”

Batman throws him against the wall, but Betelgeuse shakes it off immediately. “You wanna get nuts?” He grabs a vase from the table and smashes it, “C’mon then, let’s get nuts!”


Battle for Michael Keaton’s mind-

Batman (1989) vs. Betelgeuse (Beetlejuice, 1988)

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Here is the first entry from the co-winner of the September 2020 CBUB, the HoF-debuting corvette1710! Welcome to the club, corvette, and congrats on getting a fairly rare perfect rating on this from the CBUB community!

The noonday sun turned the dunes of the Sahara a brilliant white, beautifully pristine slopes extending past the horizon, the only evidence that anything else existed being the incredible azure expanse above it, cloudless and clear.

It was here that the armies of the Scorpion King would soon march. If one listened, one could hear their footsteps, their immense thunderous din, from over the horizon. So great was the number of soldiers that they were coordinated not by terse command, but by sonorous horn, for even the loudest voice could not carry over an entire column of marching infantrymen. Each man in the army was trained and conditioned, each equipped with a long spear and a hide shield, and a short sword at their hip. Officers rode horses of impeccable breed, and their rank was emblazoned on a metal tag hung from a leather thong about their neck, ranging from tin to steel.

But the true majesty of the army was the King himself. Mathayus was a warrior of unmatched prowess—the greatest to ever live, most would agree. His physique was as if sculpted from marble, rippling muscles and long, flowing black hair draped over broad shoulders. He was unarmored, and this would not change come time for battle. He was an Akkadian, the last of his kind, a legendary assassin made ruler by right of combat, having killed Memnon the Conqueror some two years prior. His copper skin glistened with sweat, for the desert reached more than one hundred degrees this time of day.

He rode on camelback, his preferred steed due to their intelligence relative to horses. On his hips he wore twin scimitars, and in a saddlebag were many other implements of murder and war. On his face was an aggrieved expression.

“Do you believe we will be victorious in Thebes?”

“The answer has not changed, my love. Waset will elude you. I must again ask you not march on the city—take another target, any other, and you may yet succeed,” the sorceress Cassandra said with a sigh. Mathayus would not meet her eye, his jaw set as he looked out over the dunes. She knew he would not be swayed. Thebes—or Waset, to residents of the former Upper Kingdom—was a target Mathayus had his heart set upon acquiring. Her hand rested on his face, and he put his own hand on hers in order to gently pull it away.

“I cannot heed you, sorceress. Menes has been pushed back time and again—Thebes is his last stronghold before Aswan, a far less defensible city. Balthazar would want us to continue.” Mathayus finally looked to Cassandra, their eyes meeting for the first time in that conversation. Balthazar had been lost a year prior on the campaign, but not fallen in battle—assassinated and killed in single combat, by the looks of things. He was found without spine or skull. “I will soon prove your vision wrong. Fate cannot stop me.”

On the last word, Cassandra began to smile but then collapsed, almost falling from the camel if Mathayus were not there to hold her. Mathayus knew it to be a prophecy.


The Yautja stood at the bow of his personal craft, his small, beady eyes scanned the stars ahead of him, which were overlaid by the ship’s onboard computer with the names of destinations, species of note, and warriors of merit. The great dark sea beckoned him closer, the void calling his name.

He turned back to piloting apparatus and sat down, dragging a long, claw-tipped finger over the interface in order to zoom the star map into a particular area, and from there again, until he’d settled on a small system of eight planets, on which only one had notable lifeforms: N’ithya.

The civilizations on N’ithya were ramshackle—perhaps a millennium had passed since the Yautja had discovered the world and brought some small measure of technology to its inhabitants in the form of pyramids. Some six or seven cultures had been visited by Yautja emissaries, who were hailed on arrival as gods.

The Yautja tapped N’ithya on his console and the planet expanded to fill his view, a large hologram showing its topography with small areas filled in to mark civilizational boundaries and dots to mark notable warriors’ rough locations on last scan.

Something piqued his interest, now that he examined N’ithya more closely: A large shaded area on the map showed the territory of one called the Scorpion King. A blinking area of shaded land signified territorial expansion, and this blinking area had last been updated one year prior, when the Yautja challenged and defeated a warrior in the region.

But the cluster of dots signifying worthy warriors was still significant. The Yautja mulled over the idea of taking them all as he cycled through their files until finally he rested on the greatest of them: The Scorpion King himself.

Just looking at the warrior king excited the Yautja, his mandibles extending and retracting and a long, clicking growl projecting from his throat.

Yes…this is the prey.


A great, white moon. A black sky tinged with the red and orange of a burning city, towers of smoke billowing into the air. The blaring of war horns, the waving of great red flags. Above it all, glowing yellow eyes.

The scene changes. The desert is quiet and gray beneath the moon’s pale light. The clang of clashing weapons is in the air as Mathayus meets blades with a hulking form. His twin scimitars are locked against some sort of gauntlet blade, and she can see his white teeth gritted in struggle. The huge figure’s back is to her, so she can’t see its face, only the dreadlocks on its head and the glint of its armor. Its skin is a mottled yellow, and as she watches it raises the hand that isn’t keeping Mathayus at bay, two blades on its wrist catching the light of the moon.

A flash of metal blinds her, and she is awake. Above her head is a war tent, and she lies on the bed of a stationary palanquin. As she rolls over to get up, she notices Mathayus watching her from a stool on the other side of the room. It seems to take him a moment to recognize she has awoken.

“It has never been so severe,” he said as he rose to go to her side. “Your visions have been taking a greater toll on you these last years. They didn’t used to.”

“They have also become... more severe. More specific. More grim.”

“What have you foreseen?” Mathayus grabbed a pitcher of wine and a goblet, poured the former to fill the latter, and brought it to her lips. She sipped gratefully.

“It is hard to divine. I saw a great moon and a burning city—Thebes, if I correctly recognize the symbols on the flags. I saw no direct indication of victory for you, nor for Menes. In the sky I saw… something that looked like glowing, yellow eyes. Cruel eyes. But it is the second half of my vision that worries me most: I see you in combat under the moonlight with a warrior of incredible stature and strange weaponry. You were under great strain to hold him back. The vision ended with flashing steel, and no victor was shown to me.”

Mathayus frowned for a moment, looking pensive, then spoke. “If Thebes is burning in your vision, it is likely that we have breached its great walls. This may be a sign of imminent victory.” He pulled her close and kissed her forehead. “It is five days to the full moon, as you described. We will reach Thebes in three. Rest up.”


The Yautja reached N’ithya the same day the siege of Thebes began. With a slide along his command console, the ship began to descend through the planet’s atmosphere, cloaking itself so as to be indistinguishable from the clouds and sky to the simple oomans below. The ship landed outside the view or hearing distance of any path taken by an ooman in the last year. Disembarking onto the shimmering sand, the Yautja’s face turned into something like a grin, or whatever would pass for it among his people.

The time would soon come to face down his true prey—along the way, though, was small game.

Night began to fall and the siege continued to rage. It was a simple matter for the Yautja to scale Thebes’s walls along the far side of the city under cloaking device. The city watch was too busy keeping up with signals from the walls under siege to notice him as he made his way toward the royal palace.

King Menes’s guard were not great warriors, and they died as they lived: Inconsequentially.

The Yautja pushed open the doors to the king’s chambers and found the king was ready for an attacker. The muscular man brandished a polearm and swung it at the alien’s form with vigor.

Vigor that was all but useless before the might of the Yautja. With a raised arm he caught the shaft of the weapon just below the head and broke it off, the blade clattering impotently to the floor.

“What are you?” the man asked, fear invading his eyes.

It was a question the Yautja had heard from oomans many times over the years, but even if he could understand beyond contextual implication what they were asking, he wouldn’t answer. They were game to him, and game didn’t need reasoning. Game existed to be hunted.

“What are you?” the Yautja shot back at him in a warbled, mangled version of his own question, in his own voice, then rushed forward and extended his wristblades at the same time, such that the two were one motion. The king was too slow and caught both wristblades in the chest, and the Yautja picked him up one-handed, the bleeding king kicking helplessly at empty air, unable to scream due to his punctured and lacerated lungs.

Blood bubbled from the king’s lips as he looked at something behind the Yautja.

That was all the indication necessary for the Yautja to turn and catch the thrown knife before it hit him in the back of the head. In the doorway was the true object of his hunt: The Scorpion King.

An excited, trilling growl left his mouth as he dropped the dying king.


Mathayus knew Thebes’s walls could hold his armies at bay for years if they had to—the only option to win here was to assassinate leadership within Thebes—the king and his generals had to die. He figured he could start with the king, who would be by far the hardest mark as a result of his combat prowess and status, meaning he could give Mathayus a fight on even terms and that he had bodies between him and Mathayus. Killing others first meant more bodies could be dedicated to Menes.

But while stealthily navigating Menes’s castle, he not only met little resistance, he found dead guardsmen littered throughout the citadel.

When he finally reached the royal bedchamber, he found the towering form of the Yautja with its back turned. A knife left his hand within moments, but something must’ve tipped the thing off to his presence, because in a blur of motion it turned and caught it.

Mathayus drew his scimitars, glancing out the window. No smoking buildings. The infiltration teams he’d sent in must not have finished setting the keg charges yet.

The huge thing took thudding steps toward him, bent low in a challenge position, ready to pounce as the two began to circle one another.

Like a flash it was on him, and he was hard-pressed to even parry the giant’s thrust. The weapons on its arm were very strange—two parallel blades attached to a gauntlet.

He returned with a strike to its head that merely glanced off its large facemask, then followed that ineffective blow with a knee to its unarmored thigh. It was like he was hitting a rock. He grit his teeth and leapt back to try to put distance between himself and the monster.

It didn’t allow him space as it used its unbladed hand to deck him across the face, sending him sprawling onto the balcony, thumping against the stone columns of the baluster.

Mathayus looked up and cursed. The moon was not yet full. The prophecy was yet to come.

But that, he realized, brought with it an advantage. He had to live to see the prophecy. He looked back at the Yautja as he stood, feigning weakness. He didn’t know if it would fall for his ploy.

It leapt at him, and fell right into his trap. Mathayus dropped beneath the charging alien and used its forward momentum to put it over the side of the railing. It caught the stone, its claws digging into the masonry as it dangled over the courtyard some hundred feet below.

“It’s not time for me to die!” Mathayus raised a scimitar to chop at the hand of the thing, but it let go, saying in his own voice:

“It’s not time for me to die!”

Mathayus recoiled—that was Balthazar’s voice. He sounded desperate; he sounded afraid. Balthazar had never been afraid before. Was this thing what had happened to him? What had killed him so brutally?

It landed hard, cracking the stone beneath its feet, and let out a chilling laugh, then Mathayus lost sight of it, despite his wide, enraged eyes tracking it with inhuman intent the entire time.

Two days later, Thebes was on its last legs and Mathayus’s infiltrators had successfully breached the city walls. Mathayus watched from the riverbank as the smoke curled into the sky, framing the full moon.

Tonight is the night.

Mathayus glanced over to the dunes every once in a while as he pored over battle plans, and it was nearly midnight before he saw anything. It was brief—perhaps a trick of the eyes—but he thought he saw a flash of yellow eyes, just as Cassandra described in her vision.

He studied the area for a moment more before deciding he would leave to face his fate, be that to emerge victorious or to die at the beast’s hands. Cassandra’s vision had been unclear as to the outcome of this battle, but in the past she had seen him shot and killed and yet he still lived.

He took his scimitars with him, but left the other gear—it would only slow him down, and he needed every ounce of agility he could afford. He knew his assailant was faster than it had any right to be.

He also knew it had taken his friend, a life companion and true warrior.

He took in the details of the desert around Thebes as he walked into the dunes. Behind him, Cassandra watched with resignation. She had been trying to further divine for Mathayus before he left, but no vision was forthcoming.

The sky above was dark, and would’ve been full of stars for Mathayus to see but for the smoke and fire of Thebes. All there was to look at was the moon, and the desert the color of bone in its light.

After a few minutes of walking, Mathayus came upon a flat, clear area between three large sand dunes. Standing in the middle of the desert glade was the beast. It stared him down as he approached. It was easily seven feet tall, he could see, with a broad body and muscular limbs. It wore a loincloth with a metal belt, two metal gauntlets, and a broad facemask, but was otherwise nude and unarmored.

As Mathayus drew to dueling distance of about ten paces, it slowly reached up and unhooked a dreadlock from its head, a sharp hiss escaping from it as it detached. It placed its hands upon the facemask almost gingerly, and then removed it slowly, ritualistically exposing the most disgusting creature the Scorpion King had ever encountered.

“You’re even uglier than Balthazar.”

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