"C'mon, let's get outta here!" Kevin yelled.

"I'm with ya!" Lana answered.

Kevin turned and ran into the warp zone, with Simon and Duke right behind
him, followed by Lana, Kid Icarus, and Mega Man.




When they emerged from the warp in the Palace of Power, Lana looked out a
window. Monsters were still roaming around outside. Mother Brain's troops
were still storming the Palace.

Lana turned to face Kevin. "Help me wipe 'em out?"

Kevin smiled and nodded. "Sure!"

"But you're out of power." Lana remembered. "We gotta find a way to
recharge your Zapper first." She held out her left hand.

Kevin looked down at the belt, felt around, and unsnapped it in the back.
He handed the belt over to Lana.

Lana took it. "C'mon, I think I know a way we can recharge this."

Kevin turned around and motioned to man's best friend with his right
hand, smiling. "C'mon, Duke!"

Duke followed Kevin and Lana down the corridor.



They came to a closed double-door. There was a keypad to the left of the
door.

Lana typed in 8 6 7 5 3 0 9 with her left index finger. There was a short
beep, and the doors slid open.

"Follow me." Lana said, looking at Kevin, and then she went inside.

Kevin looked at his pup while following Lana. "C'mon, Duke."

Duke, noticing that nothing but black could be seen past the doorway,
reluctantly followed Kevin.

As soon as all three of them were past the doorway, the double-door
closed shut behind them.

Duke barked in a panic. Then they could see each other after Lana turned
on the flashlight that was mounted on the wall.

Carrying the flashlight in her left hand, she looked at Kevin. "This
way."

Lana pointed the flashlight in front of them, and the three of them
walked silently for five minutes.

They came to a dead end. Against the wall was something that resembled a
fireplace.

Lana handed the flashlight to Kevin, who held it in his right hand. She
then crouched down and removed the metal cover from the "fireplace", setting
it down on the floor.

Instantly, a bright light appeared.

"Woah!" Kevin said, and covered his eyes with his left arm. Lana did the
same. Duke lay down on the floor and covered his eyes with his paws.

The three of them uncovered their eyes after thirty seconds. Duke got up.

Kevin went over to Lana's right and crouched down next to her, looking
into the "fireplace" with her. Duke also went over and looked inside.

There was a large glowing rock inside. It gave off a brilliant white
light. It was about the size of a filled trash bag.

"This is the Sun Stone." Lana said. "It provides all the energy for the
Palace."

"Cool!" Kevin said. He reached out with his left hand to touch it, then
pulled back. He looked at Lana.

Lana nodded. "It's all right, go ahead."

Kevin placed his hand on it. It felt warm, but not hot.

He removed his hand and looked at Lana. "You think it'll recharge my
Zapper?"

Lana looked at Kevin. "There's only one way to find out!" She removed
Kevin's Zapper from its holster with her left hand and carefully laid it on
top of the Sun Stone.

After ten seconds, she removed the Zapper with her left hand, turned,
pointed in the direction from which they came, and pressed the trigger.

Nothing.

"Guess that won't work!" Kevin said.

"Wait a minute." Lana said, and then placed Kevin's belt, with the Power
Pad attached to it, on the Sun Stone.

She deliberately placed the Power Pad so that the power meter on top
faced them.

The three of them watched as the lights on the power meter slowly turned
on. When they were all on, Lana turned again and pressed the trigger on the
Zapper.

A brilliant laser beam lighted the hallway for a moment.

"Bingo!" Lana said with a smile, looking at the Zapper.

"I don't get it." Kevin said, confused.

"The two share the same power source!" Lana exclaimed, looking at Kevin.
"Power up the Power Pad, and the Zapper will work, too!"

"Ahhh, cool!" Kevin said, smiling.

Lana took the belt off of the Sun Stone and placed the Zapper back in its
holster.

The Sun Stone had immediately replaced the energy used when Lana fired
the Zapper, so the power meter was all the way up.

Lana replaced the metal cover. She and Kevin got up.

"Let's go." Lana said.

Kevin pointed the flashlight and led the way. Lana walked behind him, and
Duke behind her.

"Now that we know how to power your weapons, we outta build a machine
to do it for us." Lana said. "It'll be more convenient than to walk all
the way here every time you need a refill!"

Kevin frowned as he thought of home, and how he must go back.

Lana didn't see it. "We'll start working on it tomorrow." she said.

They reached the double-door in five minutes. Kevin found the keypad and
shined the light on it.

Lana stepped in front of him and typed in 8 6 7 5 3 0 9 with her left
index finger. There was a short beep, and the doors slid open.

Lana walked out. Kevin put the flashlight back in its place on the wall
and followed her. Duke followed his master.

The doors slid closed again.

Lana turned to Kevin. "Let's go back to my room. I gotta get my weapon."

Kevin nodded.



They walked up to the doors to Lana's room.

"What happened here?!" Lana asked, looking at the big hole in the
doors.

"Uh, I made it with my Zapper when King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard came to
kidnap you. I'm sorry, Your Highness."

Lana smiled and placed her left hand on Kevin's right shoulder. "That's
okay, Kevin, you were trying to help me!"

Kevin smiled.

"And, . . . since I didn't say anything before, thank you for rescuing
me."

Kevin's smile widened. "No problem."

Lana then turned and walked into her room. Kevin went in after her,
followed by Duke.

Lana went to her closet, opened the door, and pulled out her weapon.

"Cool!" Kevin said. "What is it?"

"A laser rifle." Lana said. "My father gave it to me for my birthday this
year."

Kevin smiled, kind of amused at the thought of someone getting a gun for
their birthday, but then again, he understood, considering what Videoland
was going through.

Lana checked the green power meter on top of the white weapon. All the
lights were on. The weapon was fully charged.

Kevin saw the way Lana held the rifle. "You're left-handed, aren't you?"

Lana looked up at him. "Mostly, why?"

"My mom is kind of suspicious of left-handed people."

"Why?" Lana asked. She didn't understand.

Kevin shrugged and shook his head. "I really don't know."

Lana nodded. "You ready?"

Kevin nodded.

The two of them left the room, with Duke right behind them.



Lana, Kevin, and Duke went into another room ten floors above.

Lana slid open the sliding door leading out to the balcony. Immediately,
the eerie chants of the invading forces down below could be heard.

Duke whined, afraid.

Kevin turned to Duke, his expression serious. "You better stay here,
boy!"

The canine got behind a chair and watched.

Lana turned to face Kevin. "Okay, when we get out there, start shooting
like your life depends on it, 'cause it does."

Kevin looked straight ahead, then nodded. "Gotcha."

Lana patted Kevin on the back with her right hand, and then the two of
them walked, side by side, out onto the balcony.

Kevin and Lana looked down at the army storming the Palace.

"There's still a lot of them left." Lana said. "But we can take care of
them!" And with that, Lana pointed her weapon down at the troops and began
firing.

Fast laser bolts shot downward, mowing down the monsters.

Kevin smiled and began firing his Zapper at the invading force.

Duke watched as Kevin and Lana kept shooting.

After a minute, the laser beams stopped.

"I outta power!" Kevin yelled, looking at his Zapper.

Lana looked at him. "Me, too, but it doesn't matter!" She pointed with
her right index finger downward.

Kevin looked down.

They stood there in silence for a moment. There was no one left. No
monsters. No robotic soldiers. Kevin and Lana had killed all of them. Every
single one.

Lana looked up at Kevin and smiled. "C'mon, let's get you recharged."

Kevin smiled back at her.

The two of them walked back into the room. Lana closed the sliding door
and locked it. Duke got up off the floor and followed them out of the room.



After another recharge from the Sun Stone, and after Lana had put her
laser rifle back in her closet, they all met in the Throne Room.

















Kevin put his Zapper back in its holster.

The warp closed.

Kevin turned to face Lana.

"Well," Lana said, "we're gonna have dinner now."

Kevin smiled. "Great! I'm starved!!! You guys pulled me from my world
before I ate!"

Lana smiled. "Sorry! Bad timing!"

"What are you guys having?"

"Well, since this is your first night here, you get to decide!" Lana
answered.

"Well, um, . . . how 'bout roasted chicken and mashed potatoes with
gravy?"

Lana nodded. "Okay." She turned to leave. "I'll go get started."

"I'll help you." Kevin said, following her.

Duke followed Kevin and Lana to the Palace's kitchen.



In the kitchen, Lana began asking: "Captain N,-"

"Kevin." Kevin said. "Please, call me Kevin. All my friends do."

Lana smiled. "Kevin." She stared at him for a moment, then remembered her
original thought. "Uh, could you please get a small pan for me?"

"Sure." Kevin went and got a small pan from the many that were hanging on
hooks. Lana, meanwhile, got all the ingredients to make gravy.

Kevin came back with the pan. "Here ya go." he said, handing it to Lana.

"Thanks." Lana said, taking it. She began to make the gravy.

Kevin watched her.

"So, um," Lana said, starting a conversation. "I guess you've got a lot
of questions, huh?"

"Yeah!" Kevin said, nodding.

"Well, this is Videoland. It is a universe where the characters of the
games you play in your world live."

Kevin nodded. "I've played this game before. That's how I knew how to
rescue you. Of course, Simon insisted he was right, and we ended up in
Kongo Land before we got to Metroid!"

Lana laughed. "Leave it to Simon to make a mistake like that!"

Kevin laughed. "Yeah, anyway, we were chased by Donkey Kong, but we
finally managed to get out of there and get to Metroid."

Lana nodded.

"So, um, this war is about Mother Brain trying to conquer Videoland,
right?"

Lana nodded, painful memories coming back. "Seven years ago, Mother Brain
sent her troops to lay siege on the Palace. My father, King Charles, was
Ruler of Videoland in those days. Then, a month ago, he mysteriously
disappeared."

"Yeah." Kevin nodded, remembering the story given in the Videoland game
manual that came with the game.

"My brother, Prince Lyle, was supposed to take his place as Ruler of
Videoland, but he left a year ago during the night without leaving any
message, so I have absolutely no idea where he is. So, I had to take over as
Ruler of Videoland. I didn't want to, but I had no choice!"

"Well, couldn't you try to contact him?" Kevin asked.

"Even if I knew where he was, I couldn't. Mother Brain's forces have
completely knocked out the Palace's entire communications system. I couldn't
even call for reinforcements!"

Kevin nodded.

"The war has been going very badly for us. I've lost most of the Palace's
army. Finally, I decided to summon the most courageous heroes in all of
Videoland to help me: Simon Belmont of Castlevania, Mega Man of Mega Land,
and Kid Icarus of Mount Icarus."

Kevin nodded. "Yeah, it's all in the game manual I read."

"They're all old friends of me and my father. They've been to the Palace
before. So, naturally, when I called them last month, they came right
away!"

"They would!" Kevin said. "Between saving their own worlds, and
saving all of Videoland, they would definitely pick Videoland!"

Lana nodded. "Yeah, great friends. I, uh, I knew the end was near. In
fact, right before you came, I was ready to die."

Kevin really felt sorry for her. She'd been through a lot.

"Then," Lana said, "an ancient prophecy was fulfilled, and the Ultimate
Warp Zone brought you, the best game player from your world, here to save
us!"

Kevin put his hands in front of him and shook his head. "Woah, woah,
wait a minute! I am not the best game player from my world!"

"But you have to be! If the Ultimate Warp Zone picked you, then-"

"Okay," Kevin interrupted, "I think the reason the Ultimate Warp Zone
picked me is not because of my game-playing skills - obviously! I mean,
I'm absolutely horrible at most games!"

Lana was surprised.

"It's because I know a lot of things about the games! Secrets most
other people don't know!"

"Ahhh." Lana nodded, understanding.

Kevin smiled, curious. "So, uh, how old is this prophecy, anyway?"

"Well, the Prophecy, itself, is thousands of years old."

"So people have known that I was coming thousands of years before I was
born?!" Kevin asked, astonished.

Lana shook her head, laughing. "No, that requires a bit more of an
explanation! The part of the Prophecy dealing with your arrival is only
seven years old. My father told me about it. I was eight at the time."

"So you're fifteen now?"

Lana nodded. "Yeah."

"When's your birthday?"

"June first." Lana said.

Kevin smiled. "So's mine! Hey, we're the same age!"

Lana smiled. "Yeah."

"Cool." Kevin said. "So, this Prophecy told your dad in 1982 that I was
coming to Videoland?"

Lana nodded. "Yeah."

After a few seconds, Kevin realized something. "Hey! Wait a minute!
These video games weren't around back then!"

"That's something else I have to tell you." Lana had started cooking
the mashed potatoes, and was now working on the chicken. "Your people
created Videoland."

"Huh?!" Kevin asked, surprised. He was assisting Lana with the dead bird.

Lana nodded, smiling. "That's right! You sound surprised."

"Well, . . . I am. I didn't think humans could make a universe!"

"Well, they did!" Lana said, smiling. "Anyway, this universe itself has
only existed for four years."

"When the games first started coming out." Kevin realized.

Lana nodded. "Right. Anyway, whenever a new game comes out in your
world, a new video world is created in our universe, but that world has
its own history, which could go back a million years! Get it?"

Kevin nodded. "So, what happens when a new world is created. Are your
memories automatically altered to include memories of it?"

Lana shook her head. "No. In fact, I don't even know all of the worlds
in Videoland. And whenever a new one is created, I don't even find out about
it unless I stumble across it! I have to introduce myself whenever I go to
a world that we haven't contacted yet!"

"Really?!" Kevin asked.

Lana nodded. "Yep." She and Kevin placed the stuffed chicken in the oven,
and Lana raised the temperature. "This'll take about an hour. C'mon, let's
sit and talk for a while."

She and Kevin sat next to each other at the kitchen table, with Kevin at
Lana's right. Duke came near Kevin, then laid down on the floor and listened
to their conversation.

"So, um, you seem to know a lot about me." Lana started. "What about
you?"

"Well, uh," Kevin said, "I'm from Northridge, California. I go to
Northridge High School. I'm in tenth grade." He pointed at his jacket. "This
is my school jacket."

Lana smiled. "N for Northridge!"

Kevin nodded, smiling. "Yep! Uh, what does the N in Captain N stand for,
anyway?"

"The same thing as in N-Team: Nintendo!" Lana said.

"Oh, yeah." Kevin said, remembering reading in the game manual that
N-Team meant Nintendo Team."

"The N on the jacket is a nice coincidence!" Lana said.

Kevin nodded. "Yeah!"

"Where are my manners?" Lana asked, disgusted at herself. "Would you like
something to drink?"

"Do you have Pepsi in Videoland?" Kevin asked.

"We might - on another video world!" Lana answered. "What is it?"

"A soda."

"Soda?" Lana asked, scratching her head.

"It's a carbonated drink with caffeine and flavoring." Kevin shook his
head. "Never mind."

"Do you want orange juice?" Lana asked.

"Okay." Kevin said, nodding and smiling.

Lana got up and went to the fridge. She opened it and took out a carton
of orange juice. She closed the fridge, went to a cabinet, pulled out two
big glasses, and closed the cabinet. She poured herself and Kevin an equal
amount, filling both glasses almost fully, and then threw the empty carton
into the recycling bin. "SAVE THE UNIVERSE" was written on the bin.

Lana carried both glasses back to the table and took her seat. "So, what
do you like to do for fun?"

"Play video games mostly." Kevin replied. "I'm also on the
junior-varsity swim team at my school. It was my mom's idea. She felt I
needed the exercise." He laughed. "C'mon! I ride my bike to and from
school every weekday!"

Lana laughed. "Your mom means well!" She shook her head. "Don't worry,
I won't make you swim!"

Kevin and Lana laughed out loud for a few moments.

"So," Kevin said after they finished, "what about your mom?"

Lana lost her smile. She set her glass down on the table. "She's dead."

"Oh," Kevin said, surprised, "I'm so sorry."

"Thanks." Lana said.

"If you don't mind me asking, how'd it happen?"

"It happened when I was born. She died giving birth to me." Lana
shook her head. "I never knew her."

Kevin just looked at her, inviting her to go on.

"My father raised me. And when Mother Brain attacked, he taught me how
to fight. I first picked up a gun when I was eight years old. I'm a fast
learner, and so I also learned how to swordfight."

"Can I see your sword later on?" Kevin asked.

Lana smiled. "Sure. I'll also show you my power sceptor."

"Thanks." Kevin said, smiling. "Uh, I gotta admit, this is a little
weird for me. You know, being surrounded by cartoons, and being a cartoon
myself."

"What?" Lana asked, confused.

"Well, on my world, everything here, and everyone, including me,
would be called cartoons, animated drawings, you know."

Lana nodded. "Ah, I remember hearing that things in your universe look
different."

Kevin nodded.

"So," Lana said, "tell me about your parents."

"Well," Kevin said, "my dad sells insurance, and my mom's a bank teller."

Lana listened with great interest as Kevin talked about his parents.










































They were walking down a corridor, when Lana stopped at a large round
cover on the wall. She pulled on the cover. It turned out to be a door.
Behind it was a warp zone, the same swirling blue color as the warp zone
that brought Kevin to this new world.

"All the warp zones in this Palace are behind doors just like this
one." Lana explained. "This particular warp leads to Mega Land."

"Cool!" Kevin said, looking at the warp.

Lana closed the door. "Now, c'mon," she said, turning and walking away, "there's