"TO RESCUE THE BAND"
Captain N: The Game Master
"TO RESCUE THE BAND"
Saturday, September 21, 1996, 9:20 AM
Stacey drove her convertible down a street in downtown Capital City. Lana was in the passenger seat, and Kevin and Mike were in the back seat.
Kevin pointed. "Hey, guys, check out the concert hall."
There were a lot of people standing in front of the Megaland concert hall. They were yelling phrases such as "We want more VGM!" and "When's the next concert gonna be?!"
"Gee, looks like we're in demand." Stacey said.
"Of course we are." Mike said. "We haven't performed a concert in over a year. Our fans are suffering from VGM withdrawal?"
"VGM withdrawal?" Lana asked uncertainly. "Well, in any case, it's about time we gave them another concert. Let's go get our instruments."
"Hang on, I'm taking this baby to the skies!" Stacey said.
Stacey pressed a button on the dashboard and activated the car's hover conversion that Dr. Right had added just an hour before. The wheels turned and became lifters. The convertible rose into the air, and Stacey flew back to the N Team's house.
The streets were wet, due to the rain that had just ended.
Mike drove Rick's truck down a street, splashing water onto Stacey's convertible.
"Hey!" Stacey yelled in annoyance. She activated her windshield wipers.
Mike and Kevin, who was riding in the back of the truck, laughed.
"Immature idiots." Stacey grumbled.
Lana, who was riding in the passenger seat, laughed. "Don't let 'em get to you."
They parked the vehicles in front of H&S Storage.
As they walked to their storage space, they noticed that the place was still for sale.
Kevin unlocked the door, and they went inside. Everything was just as they had left it over a year earlier.
"Hey, guys, while we're here, why not practice?" Mike suggested.
"Good idea, Mike!" Lana said.
"Like, totally!" Stacey agreed.
"Sure." Kevin said. He went over and took the plastic cover off of the mirror. "Let me take this cover off, though. I wanna see myself while I play."
Lana smiled and shook her head.
Kevin plugged in the amplifier. Stacey plugged in her keyboard. Mike sat behind his drums and twirled his sticks. Kevin and Lana plugged their guitars into the amplifier.
"What should we play?" Mike asked.
Kevin opened up a folder filled with their sheet music. He pulled out four copies of a song and passed them out.
"Let's play this." Kevin suggested. "It's not ours, but it's one of my favorite songs. We'll sing the first verse and the ending."
"Sounds good." Lana said.
"Let's do it!" Kevin said. "1, 2, 3, 4!"
They began playing the music. Kevin's voice was the loudest, but the others could be heard as well:
It's gonna be goin'.
It's gonna be movin' on.
Looked on my system.
I'm playin' it on and on.
If you say I'm crazy,
Cuz I'm always on my own.
Hi-Fi's around me,
High-tech just turns me on,
From my video to my radio.
It's gonna be rockin'.
It's gonna be movin' on,
From my video to my radio.
Suddenly, they heard a painful noise. The four of them covered their ears.
A white light appeared in the mirror, and then a man. It was a cartoon man sitting on a high-tech chair. He was nearly bald, except for some gray hair sticking outward. He was wearing a dark gray suit with a flower on his left breast.
The band stared at him in surprise.
The man grinned and laughed. "I am taking you to the Flipside!"
He pressed a button, and a bright white light filled the room.
When the light disappeared, the band members found themselves trapped inside a bubble of some kind, and they were floating through the air.
Not only that - they were animated as well.
"What happened?" Mike asked.
"We're animated!" Kevin exclaimed. "Where are we?!"
The bubble was approaching a flying fortress of some kind. Through a window in the front, they could see the man sitting there, grinning.
"You will be my musical slaves - forever!" the man said.
Suddenly, a small fairy flew over to the side of the bubble, but it wasn't Spryte. This woman was dressed in what looked like a purple workout outfit, and she had short brown hair and a purple headband.
"One sneeze and I'll - I'll - I'll save you! Aaah-choo!"
The fairy's sneeze destroyed the bubble, and Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey fell to the ground.
"What's going on here?!" Lana demanded.
"I'll explain later!" the fairy said. "Let's go!"
The fairy flew off. The band members looked at each other and shrugged, then followed her.
"Where are we going?" Kevin asked.
"To some friends." the fairy replied. "I'm Glitter, by the way."
The group approached a large golden vehicle sitting on a track.
"Is this the Ark?" Stacey asked.
Glitter shook her head. "No, this is the Kiddmobile."
The side door opened, and the group went inside.
"Hey, guys, I'm back!" Glitter said.
Three men and a woman walked over to them. They appeared to be in their late twenties or early thirties. The first man had short brown hair. The second man had curly dark-brown hair. The third man had short blond hair and wore glasses. He looked like a nerd. The woman had long, curly, black hair.
"These are Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey." Glitter introduced to her friends. "I rescued them from the Master Blaster. And these are my friends, Kidd, Ash, Whiz, and Carla."
Kevin smiled and offered Kidd his right hand. "Hi."
Kidd shook Kevin's hand. "Hey. Did Glitter say the Master Blaster had you?"
"If you mean some fat guy, yeah." Kevin replied. "He brought us here somehow and floated us up to his huge air fortress in a bubble."
"What do you mean 'here'?!" Carla asked anxiously.
"To this goofy-ass cartoon place." Mike answered. "He appeared in a mirror while we were practicing a song."
"You're a band?" Kidd asked, mostly to himself. "The Master Blaster of Bad Vibes brought you here from Earth to be his musical slaves - just like he kidnapped us!"
"What's your band called?" Ash asked.
"Captain N & The Video Game Masters." Kevin replied. "Yours?"
"Kidd Video." Kidd replied.
Kevin grinned. "Hey, we're big fans of yours! We've got a tape of your music!"
Kidd grinned. "Cool!"
"How long have you been here in this...Flipside?" Lana asked.
Carla shook her head. "We dunno. We kinda lost track of time here."
"When did you leave?" Stacey asked.
"Saturday, September 15, 1984." Kidd answered.
Kevin whistled. "Today is Saturday, September 21, 1996."
"Aw, man!" Kidd said. "Over twelve years!"
"Relax." Kevin said. He took out a warp zone opener. "This device can get us back home."
Kidd, Ash, Whiz, and Carla cheered.
"Good thing you had it on you, Keene." Mike whispered to him.
"Yeah, I nearly left it in the truck." Kevin whispered back. "Man, would we have been screwed!"
"What's that?" Kidd asked.
"Oh, nothing." Kevin said with a cheerful smile. "Say, you guys have missed over half of the awesome '80s! It's been a while since you've heard Earth music, huh?"
"You mean other than our own songs and Ash's stupid lyrics?" Whiz asked. "Yeah."
"Hey!" Ash yelled.
Kevin took a tape out of his front right jeans pocket. "Care for a little nostalgia?"
"Sure! Put it in here!" Kidd indicated a tape deck on the Kiddmobile's dashboard.
Kevin put the tape in. Soon, 'We Built This City' by Starship started playing on the speakers as the auto-pilot took the Kiddmobile across the Flipside.
They all started dancing.
After the song was over, Kevin ejected the tape and put it back in his pocket.
"Hey, why are you putting it away?" Kidd asked. "Let's listen to some more tunes."
"You can listen to all the music you want when you get back home." Kevin said.
"Great, let's go!" Ash said.
"I'm afraid we can't leave just yet." Kevin said. "The Master Blaster still has our instruments. They were in another bubble. We can't leave without them."
Kidd placed his hands on Kevin's shoulders. "Don't worry! We'll help you get them back!"
Whiz groaned. "Oh, no! Why do I have a bad feeling about this?!"
"Copy Cats! Get in here!" Master Blaster ordered.
The three Copy Cats ran into the room and screeched to a halt.
Cool Kitty wore sunglasses and acted hip. She-Lion, the only female Copy Cat, had a whining voice. Fat Cat was,...well,...fat. He loved to eat a lot.
"You called for us, Your Most Unholy Slave-Driverness?" Fat Cat asked with a salute.
"Yes. Kidd Video and Captain N are on their way hear to retrieve the instruments. When the Kiddmobile arrives, I want you down on the ground to welcome them."
"Of course, our beloved Master Blaster." She-Lion said.
"When do we leave, Boss?" Cool Kitty asked.
The Copy Cats were lying on a catapult.
"Me and my big mouth." Cool Kitty muttered.
"3, 2, 1," Master Blaster said, "blast-off!"
The Copy Cats screamed as they were launched through a window in the ceiling.
The Kiddmobile landed on the ground. The door opened.
Kidd, Ash, Whiz, Carla, Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey exited the Kiddmobile.
"How are we going to get into the Fortress?" Kevin asked.
Just then, three felines landed on the ground in front of them.
"Get off me, man!" Cool Kitty complained.
"Sorry." Fat Cat said. "My aim was off."
The three of them stood up.
"The Copy Cats!" Kidd, Ash, Whiz, and Carla exclaimed.
"That's right, Kidd Video, and Master Blaster is expecting us to deliver all of you to him." Cool Kitty said.
"Fat chance!" Kevin yelled.
"Hey, I resent that." Fat Cat said, pointing at himself.
Kevin reached for his Zapper.
Kidd placed his hand on the Game Master's. "No, Kevin."
"Say what?" Kevin asked in surprise.
Kidd grinned. "Play along. Let's get captured."
Kevin grinned back. "I gotcha!"
"You win, Copy Cats." Kidd said. "We surrender."
"Oh, Master Blaster will be so pleased!" Cool Kitty said.
Fat Cat contacted Master Blaster on a video watch. "We got 'em."
"Excellent." Master Blaster said. "I'm going to lower the chute. You and the prisoners will board it, and I will bring you up to the Fortress. Got that?"
Fat Cat saluted. "We got it, Your Music Vampireness."
"Then do it!!!!!!!!!!!!" Master Blaster bellowed.
The chute lowered down.
"In you go." She-Lion said.
The band members and the Copy Cats walked into the chute. It went back up to the Fortress.
The chute opened in the Fortress. Everybody got out.
"Walk real slowly." She-Lion ordered.
So they did. They walked so slowly, in fact, that they almost came to a halt.
Then Kevin tripped Fat Cat. Kidd tripped Cool Kitty. Fat Cat landed on Cool Kitty.
"Huh?!" She-Lion asked in surprise.
Lana did a roundhouse kick and knocked her down on the floor.
"Awesome moves, guys!" Stacey praised.
Whiz pointed. "This way!"
Kevin blasted a hole in the door, and the entire group ran into the room.
Master Blaster jumped to the floor. "What happened to the Copy Cats?!"
"You have to ask?" Ash asked.
Master Blaster growled. "I'll take care of you myself."
Kevin drew his Zapper and pointed it at Master Blaster. "Uh-uh."
Mike and Lana likewise drew their Zappers.
"Try it, fatso." Mike tempted.
Carla walked over to the instruments. "Hey, guys."
Everybody looked at her.
"I think these are yours."
The band members were all riding in the Kiddmobile again.
"Well, we made some new friends, we kicked ass, and we got our instruments back." Kevin said. "I'll say it's been a pretty good day so far."
"Can we go home now?" Mike asked.
"Yeah, can we?" Whiz asked.
Kevin grinned. "You bet!"
Ash took out a device that can best be described as two white oval pieces that were a bit larger than phone receivers. The two oval pieces were joined at shorter ends. He opened the device like you would open a stapler. Inside were a bunch of musical keys.
"What's that?" Lana asked.
Carla shuddered. "The Groove Machine."
Ash played a tune on the Groove Machine as he sang: "We're going back home, back to Earth. VGM saved the day and made the Copy Cats eat dirt."
"Ash, those are terrible lyrics!" Kevin said.
"And we've been listening to them for over a decade." Kidd said.
The Kiddmobile stopped. The door opened. Everybody got out.
"Well, I guess this is good-bye." Glitter said. She hugged Carla. "I'm sure gonna miss you guys!"
"We're gonna miss you, too, Glitter!" Carla said.
"Hey, where's Toolbot?" Whiz asked.
Just then, Toolbot walked out of the Kiddmobile. "Here I am, Whiz."
"What's Toolbot?" Mike asked.
"A sort of robotic toolbox I built." Whiz explained.
Stacey grinned. "Neat! Kinda like Eddie!"
Kevin took out the warp zone opener and opened up a warp. "This is it - a warp back to Earth."
Kidd, Ash, Whiz, and Carla said good-bye to Glitter and Toolbot, and vice-versa.
Then the band members boarded the Kiddmobile and took their seats.
Kidd was about to sit in the driver's seat.
Whiz stopped him. "No, Kidd. This is my truck. I should drive us home."
"No, I got us in this mess in the first place." Kidd said. "I should drive us home."
"Oh, will someone just drive already?!" Mike yelled.
Whiz sat in the driver's seat and started the engine.
He drove the Kiddmobile through the warp.
The next thing they knew, they had come to a stop.
Whiz was sitting in the driver's seat. Kidd sat to his right. Ash, Carla, Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey sat behind them with their instruments.
They were no longer animated. They were sitting in Whiz's truck.
"We're back home!" Kidd exclaimed.
He, Ash, Whiz, and Carla cheered.
Just then, they heard honking.
"Move it!" a frustrated driver yelled. "You're holding up traffic!"
Carla smiled. "Ah, I miss California!"
Late that afternoon, Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey led Kidd, Ash, Whiz, and Carla into Dr. Right's laboratory.
"C'mon, guys, please tell us!" Carla begged. "What's the surprise?!"
They looked. In the lab with Dr. Right were some old friends.
"Glitter!" Carla exclaimed with a smile.
The fairy flew over and hugged her.
"Toolbot!" Whiz exclaimed with a smile.
"Hi, Whiz!" Toolbot said.
Eddie was standing with Toolbot. "Toolbot and Eddie have become good friends! Ain't that right, Doctor...Right? Hee, hee!"
Dr. Right chuckled. "Yes. The similarities between them are remarkable."
"How'd you get here?" Ash asked.
"Kevin and the others came back to Flipside for us." Glitter explained. "I may not be able to live on the Earth, but Toolbot and I can come here whenever we want, thanks to the device Dr. Right installed in Toolbot."
Lana smiled. "And we're giving you guys warp zone openers so you can come and visit them whenever you want."
"Neato!" Whiz said.
"Yeah, uh, just don't tell anyone about this place." Mike said.
"You have our word." Carla assured them.
Kevin smiled. "Hey, I got an idea. How about we play a concert together tonight?"
"Us together?" Kidd asked.
Kevin nodded. "Yeah! We haven't performed in over a year, and our fans are demanding a concert! Kidd Video is very popular here, cuz I uploaded your songs onto the Videoland Information Network. A joint concert would drive everybody wild!"
Kidd offered Kevin his right hand. "Okay, we'll do it!"
Kevin shook Kidd's hand. "Great!"
"I'll spread the word!" Stacey said.
She ran over to the viewscreen to send out a transmission.
"Keep Kidd Video a secret!" Lana quickly told her. "Let's surprise everyone!"
Both bands had spent the few hours after Stacey's transmission practicing. They kept the TV on in the living room to listen to VNN's coverage of local reaction to the announcement of the concert.
It wasn't long before everybody in Videoland had heard of the VGM concert. People rushed in multitudes to the Megaland concert hall. Billions of people arrived. Therefore, holographic projectors had to set up outside the concert hall for miles around. Millions of security 'droids policed the area.
All sorts of rumors were flying about what music would be played. Everybody was hoping for some new stuff. Those that couldn't make it to the concert watched it on TV at home.
There was excitement in the air. It was VGM's first concert in quite a while. Everybody was psyched. Chants of "VGM! VGM! VGM!" filled the concert hall and the night sky.
The crowds quieted as a man walked out from backstage. It was Dr. Thomas Xavier Right. He walked up to the microphone in the center of the stage and turned it on.
"Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, giving their first concert in over a year - Captain N & The Video Game Masters!"
The crowds cheered again. Dr. Right walked off the stage and took his seat in the front row.
Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey walked out onto the stage. They took bows. Kevin turned on the amplifier. Stacey turned on her keyboard. Mike sat down behind his drum set. Kevin and Lana plugged in their guitars and warmed up. Stacey warmed up on her keyboard. Mike practiced twirling his drumsticks.
Then they turned on their microphones.
"Good evening!" Kevin said.
He waited for everyone to quiet down.
"We've been watching the news, and we know what you want, so we're giving it to you - new tunes!"
The crowds cheered again, then quieted down again.
"Just a reminder that CDs will begin being burned immediately following the concert." Mike said. "Be sure to pick up your copy before you leave."
"Let's do it!" Kevin said. "1, 2, 3, 4!"
The band started off by playing the opening theme music to Mega Man III on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Then came the stage select screen music. That was followed by the Hard Man stage music. After that came the Spark Man stage music. They finished with the Top Man stage music.
The cheering, applauding, and shouting that soon followed the last note was deafening. The ground shook.
"Now for a surprise performance!" Kevin said. "Please welcome some new friends of ours - Kidd Video!"
People all over Videoland went wild at this announcement.
Kevin, Lana, Mike, and Stacey walked backstage. Kidd, Ash, Whiz, and Carla walked on stage.
Kidd picked up Kevin's guitar. Whiz picked up Lana's guitar. Ash stood behind Stacey's keyboard. Carla sat behind Mike's drum set, picked up his drumsticks, and twirled them.
"Let's hit it, guys!" Kidd said. "5, 6, 7, 8!"
Kidd Video began playing one of their biggest hits in Videoland - 'Run'. Whiz and Kidd sang the lead vocals, but Ash and Carla could be heard as well. Words unspoken for many years were now heard:
Run, run, you better run, run.
Just open your mind; your heart is the key.
Run, run, you better run, run.
So much to learn and so much to see.
You better run!
Start living out your wildest dreams.
They'll guide you. They're inside you, yeah.
You gotta build your self-esteem
To provide you, satisfy you, yeah.
Run, run, you better run, run.