The Chronometal Panic
By Humanity, for Humanity
"That's enough." Dexter spits out. "I have stared into the eyes of angels and devils alike, seen and heard the end myself. This world won't just be lifeless: the world itself will die. This new malignancy seeks to end all life and destroy the very planet. To what end? I don't know. And that is why I am so scared of it. It is a mindless enemy that seeks nothing but death."
He walks to the door, opening it, but Blossom catches him before he leaves. "Wait!" She catches the ear of Bubbles, Buttercup and Dexter. "What is it?" Dexter asks, seeing if she wants to follow him on his quest.
"What if..." She lets out, almost uncertain of the very words leaving her mouth. A shade rises from Buttercup's shadow. "Yes, Leader girl? What is it?" It lets out, softly. She nods, almost comforted by Him. "What if, we give into the Military's demands... to an extent?" Dexter closes the door and walks toward Blossom. "Meaning?"
She looks up, relieved that this is being taken somewhat seriously. "Okay, now hear me out. What if we contact them of our own free will... and say we won't interfere in the Chronometal Affair." - "That's crazy! Humanity can't stop this alone!" - "Think about it... if we go out there, they will try to stop us, wasting their resources... if we stay here, they will have more manpower to use against Model M..."
Dexter ponders the situation as the Professor opens the basement door and enters the room himself. "That... doesn't sound like a half bad idea..." Everyone in the room is in thought except Bubbles. "It's not half bad, it's all great!" She yells. "That way, we can all be safe, and they won't think we are bad!" Dexter sighs...
"I... can't say I'm too sure about this..." Buttercup looks to Dexter and shrugs. He sighs again, but this time he rises with a smile. "I guess we can give it a try... for you, Blossom!" Blossom rises from the couch, relieved that this passing thought was put into surprisingly powerful fruition. The Professor heads back down the stairs. "I'll let the nearest base know we will have no part in this affair and we will stay out of it until they trust us enough to put us in it."
*A few hours later, a squad of Military men converges on the house, but none of them open fire. They waste no expense on completely making sure the house is under guard, attack helicopters, snipers, tanks; the whole.*
*A day passes, and more and more of the men are called away from guard duty, and put on the front line, until in three days, all of the soldiers are called away.*
"I guess that's it..." Blossom says. Bubbles walks into the room from upstairs. "Can we help yet?" - "Not yet, a sergeant visited earlier today, they said that they trust us enough to no longer have military personnel here at all times, but the Government is still very uneasy about us." Bubbles mopes back upstairs.
Buttercup walks into the room, plops onto the couch and turns on the TV. She flips through the channels, but eventually stops on the news... Blossom and Buttercup squint as they keep track of the news at hand...
*On the news, it is stated that the Justice League has been disbanded due to 'unknown circumstances.' The news eventually turns to a segment on the southern hemisphere, and the battle going on. It mentions that the battle is going well, but no details are given.*
*Another day passes and Dexter drops by.*
He walks into the house with a gloomy face, Blossom realizes that he isn't wearing Model D. "Where's your Chronometal?" She asks. He sighs and explains: "Well, with everything going on, and our house arrests, there's no real reason to have it on all the time..." Blossom shrugs. "I've forgotten what it feels like to not have mine on..." Dexter laughs a small bit. "Well, having a built in cleaner makes it irrelevant to take showers... but they still feel good, I've discovered."
*The two exchange small talk as if nothing in the world was wrong. People come and go... it seems as if everything is fine... until one day...*
*Now seven days into their 'surrendering' to Humanity, they flip the news on, and this time it seems as if a shroud has been lifted from their eyes, and they are looking into the face of truth!*
"Mexico has been evacuated to the northern states as this new enemy continues its assault with a newfound vigor." Blossom and Dexter watch the news alone, everyone else doing their own things. "Is this... is this real?" Blossom asks, shocked. Dexter says nothing, face buried in his hand. "D...Dexter?" He raises his head, avoiding her questions to focus on the news.
"The men and women of the United States Military assure us that they will never let these beasts reach the states. We give our best wishes to you brave souls!" He rises from the couch and nears the door, Buttercup and Bubbles entering the room. "Where are you going?" Blossom asks. "I have a Chronometal to put back on... I knew this was all too good to be true...!" He says angrily as he leaves sight.
Listening to the news, Bubbles seems to tremble, before walking up the stairs silently. Him rises from Buttercup's shadow and addresses the group. "This is... unfortunate, isn't it?" - "Shut up Him, we have a job to do." Buttercup snaps. "Of course, my Buttercup... your wish is my command..." - "I told you to stop saying that! You are not a genie!" Buttercup nears the door, getting ready to follow Dexter, before she is interrupted by Blossom.
"Buttercup... can I talk to Him when you go?" A short pause crosses them before she sighs. "Whatever, I don't care anymore. Come back in about an hour, Him." She says as her dress turns from brown to green. She leaves the house, with Him still in it. Blossom turns off the TV and looks at him.
"You know... I never asked before, but why are you doing this for Buttercup?" - "Doing what?" - "You know what..." Him re-materializes his legs and sits on the couch alongside Blossom. A view that no-one alive would expect to see if it wasn't for these wars.
"It's not a long story, per say... but it is a complex one... actually- it's very simple..." - "If it's short and simple, why don't you spit it out?" He shrugs and laughs deviously. "After you got your Chronometal during the beginning of the second major war, Buttercup grew jealous of your power... and she came to me for power."
"That's it?" - "Well, isn't that what you wanted to know?" - "No, I know you are giving her power, but why are you giving it to her?" - "She asked nicely..." - "Nice try, but seriously. Why, Him?" - "Why is this important?" - "Because I feel if I don't know now, I never will." Him pauses at her words and breaks into a toothy smile.
"Very well, but be warned... it's not a pretty story, nor does it have a happy ending... for her, anyway." - "For... her?! What do you mean?!" He raises a claw to keep her from talking and he rises from the couch and beckons her outside.
*A few minutes pass, and they find themselves on the roof, right above their room.*
"A few days after you got Model B, an android kidnapped Bubbles and threatened to kill her if Buttercup didn't pledge fealty to the Knights." - "Threatened to kill her? With what?" - "Antidote X." Blossom gulps, knowing exactly what that could do to any of them... "Wait... why didn't I know about this?" - "This was when they headed to Townsville after the First War." - "Oh, yeah... come to think of it, the next I saw them, was when World's End was being constructed above Megaville, I never had any time to ask what was going on with her clothing."
She continues. "So, Buttercup stopped the android I assume?" - "Well... with my help." - "Oh... I see." A short pause crosses them. "Well... why did you help her?" - "Oh, I was so happy to see them returning to Townsville that I gave them a freebie." - "How unlike you..." Him laughs.
"Well after that, Bubbles went on her way after a hesitant 'thank you,' but Buttercup stayed and asked a question not unlike your own. Why did I indeed help her? Well, I just wanted to throw my hat into this Chronometal battle myself; I was bored doing evil in small ways in a town in the middle of nowhere..."
He continues. "One conversation led to another and she grew almost 'comfortable' around me, it was a very strange feeling I might add. She eventually asked me to help them stop these wars. I was skeptical of course, I am a source of ultimate evil... and I have to be compensated as such." - "Compensated...?! Is that what this is all about?!" Blossom yells out, hostile.
Him shakes his head. "She was desperate, she was sure that these wars would spiral out of control... and behold at the situation that was born of the Second War's end." Blossom looks away in remembrance. "She thought... or maybe even KNEW that something horrible was going to happen... so she made a little deal with me." Blossom gulps as color leaves her face, she almost knows what he is about to say.
He removes his smile and goes into an almost aggressive stance, one she has never seen him adopt throughout these entire wars.
"I grant her a fraction of my power to make her Immortal forever." - "Forever?" - "Until Model M no longer threatens her sisters, and by proxy- the world... she will be immortal by my hand. And in exchange..."
"Once it is all over... once Model M can no longer harm anyone... her soul will join me in eternal servitude." - "N-No... I can't... I mean... Buttercup, what have you done..."
A wrenching silence crosses them.
"Whether or not the world manages to destroy Model M, she will know nothing but sorrow in the end." - "HOW THE FUCK DID YOU MANAGE TO MAKE HER AGREE TO THAT?!" - "It was not my idea..."
Blossom mind goes blank as her stomach drops. "Wh... what...?" - "She came to me with the deal... I grant her the power to save her sisters... she grants me her soul willingly... All living things eventually come to me in the end, but a blood bond is worth infinitely more... and a superhero, pledging a blood oath to me? I could not turn it down... so here we are, Blossom."
Blossom falls to her knees and almost cries. Him doesn't bother trying to comfort her. "What now..." She asks, catching him off guard. "What do you mean?" - "We have run out of waiting time... we are going to be over-run... what can we do?" Him pauses. "Is there anything we could have done to prevent this?"
Him kneels down to her level, still without a comforting face. "Fight. That's all that is left."
*Without any zeal left in her, Blossom still goes into the battle against Model M. Days pass before humanity is pushed to the cold north... where they prepare to make their last stand.*
"Sir, they are coming soon, is the pod ready?" - "Yes... just about..." He somberly states as he closes it and welds it shut. The men in the tent are shivering and depressed. The tent is blowing in the harsh arctic wind. He hands the pod to the Private who salutes and exits the tent.
As he leaves he is confronted by Buttercup. "Is that it?" - "Yes, Ms. Buttercup." She takes it and nods to the man who runs off elsewhere. She floats up slowly, almost blinded by the Blizzard, but she can hear them approaching. She flies away from the camp, and away from the impending war with the pod in her hands... she approaches the North Pole alone...
Bubbles flies into the camp, catching Blossom in conversation. "Oh, Bubbles... where is he...?" She shakes her head, shivering... "Wh... what...?" It is almost impossible to tell if she is crying in this blinding wind, but when she looks Blossom in the eye that is all she needs to know.
"... ... ... I see..." She says plainly. "But..." - "It's... fine... this is our last stand, all we can do is hope Buttercup can protect the Pod when we are gone..." Bubbles collapses on the ground and begins to cry, which some of the soldiers see.
The noises of the approaching death storm is nearer, they have less than ten minutes before the final battle begins.
Blossom somberly patrols the camp, and talks to the men inside before someone catches her eye. "Is that... you...? Barasia?!" She slowly approaches Blossom with an emotion she has never shown before surrounding her body: Sadness...
"Hey, Blossom..." - "What's... wrong?" She looks up with artificial tears in her eyes. "What isn't wrong? Everyone is either dead or going to be... there is nothing left but to fight a pointless fight..." She says before turning her back on Blossom. Blossom can tell that Barasia has lost someone dear to her, but she has no idea who.
As she begins to walk away she asks... "This is our last day... can you tell me what happened...?" Barasia snickers at her words. "I don't know what good it will do, but fine... Ruby is dead, Blossom." Blossom recoils, remembering Ruby, the girl in the first war that Barasia saved from certain death.
"What about... her mother?" She shakes her head. "She died far before she did... I was actually..." She laughs a little again... "I was trying to take over her part for a while before this all happened. I thought that I could be a good mother for Ruby... but now look... she didn't even know my real name before she died...! SHE DOESN'T KNOW THIS WAS ALL MY FAULT!" She roars out! She collapses on the ground.
Blossom comforts her as the noises of the oncoming onslaught get louder and louder, only a few moments remain until the final battle...
"I guess that's it." Buttercup says, underwater with the pod safely in place in an undersea bunker. Him floats over her, noticing she is hurt inside. "It's all we can do, Buttercup..." - "I... know..." She says, merely looking at the bunker. "Let's get back to the camp, and give these bastards a fight they will never forget..."
They fly out of the Arctic Ocean and to the camp, which is already in mid battle.
The pod will remain for thousands... maybe hundreds of thousands of years... it contains within it all information Man has ever gathered. If something or someone comes across it they will learn of the achievements... and mistakes of Humanity.
It is all they will have left when Model M is done with this world, Buttercup and Him will remain even if all others fall, they will fight Model M and attempt to keep the world alive for as long as they draw breath.
The never ending war has begun, in which there will be no victor... this is the world wrought of Model M... This is all that is left.
The world has ended, all they can do is dream now...
Author's Notes: I originally planned 2 Alternate Endings for The Panic during the creation process, but the second one turned into one of the very few times I scrap entire segments. Most of the time I just touch things up and submit them anyway, or just rewrite them a bit, but that second ending just wasn't turning out right, and I never finished it, scrapped what was worked on. It was essentially supposed to cover Naga and Blossom on the moon, an Alternate Ending not too dissimilar to this one, focusing on another middle path where, instead of staying still- like here, Blossom would run away, never to be seen again, until she is found by Naga on the moon. I scrapped the part mostly because I didn't, and still don't truly understand Naga as a character. I would leave that to Beeare to explain exactly what that guy's angle is.
But I digress. This Alternate Ending takes place near the end of Chapter 2, like where all of the tangents split, instead this happened. It's a very cold and lifeless part that explains the horrible possibilities should the heroes choose inaction instead of action. As Otto once said, "Tragedy is the only certainty."