"Commencing final preparations for Rayshift."

All she could feel was heat.

"Coordinates: January 30th, 2004 CE. Fuyuki, Japan."

There'd been no time to react, only a sudden rush of flame and destruction.

"Laplace conversion protection in place."

Now she was pinned under rubble, barely able to hear Fou's crying out to her.

"Additional factor frame towards the Singularity secured."

All around her was fire and death.

"Unsummon Program set."

Mash Kyrielight knew she was going to die here. And that was… okay. She would've liked to know Senpai a little more, though.

"Masters, please enter the final adjustments."

But then, a weak, shaky voice called out to her from above.

"Uh… h-hello? Are you, uh alive down there?"

The girl looked up, wincing as pain jolted through her body at the gesture. Through cracked glasses, she struggled to see the owner of the voice that had spoken.

A… boy. Young. Brown-haired. Incredibly average, from his plain features to his featureless yellow t-shirt. He was scrambling toward her, despite the devastation surrounding them.

"H-Hey, can you hear me?" he shouted, right before he tripped on a stray rock and cried "Oh shit!", tumbling down and rolling to a stop before her and Fou. "Ow, goddamn it…"

"Who… who…?" Mash breathed, her voice hitched. It hurt to even speak.

"Ugh, jeez Rick," the boy groaned, rubbing his now-bleeding knee. "Why'd you want me come down here, anyway?"

"I already told you, ding-dong!" shouted a harsh, much-older voice from the boy's watch. "That, that, that place is ground zero for whatever freaky shit made us crash here! I n-need you to fi-urp-nd any clues while I try to repair this ass-backwards back-up generator!"

"W-Well, I just found a girl that looks trapped, so, so I'm gonna help her out," the boy replied, getting up with a wince.

"This isn't the time to worry about scoring, Morty!" the other voice, "Rick", scolded angrily. "All reality's at stake, and, and, and here you are, trying to get laid! That's pretty selfish, Morty!"

"Like you're one to t-talk, Rick," the boy retorted, before he made eye contact with the increasingly-confused Mash. "Oh, h-hey, um, can you move?"

Mash blinked at him, before letting out a sigh and sagging to the ground. "It's no use," she murmured, already feeling her own blood start to pool out from beneath the rubble.

"Aw, jeez," the boy said, starting to fidget with his watch. "Hey R-Rick, isn't there some kind of laser beam or, or, or tractor beam on this thing?"

"Do I look like some kind of hack to you, Morty? You think I can just shove every plot-convenient sci-fi magic wand into a tiny little, little package! That's not how it works, Morty! Just leave her, she'll be fine once I get there!"

"She doesn't look fine, Rick," Morty shot back, bending over to try and grab the rubble, only to recoil instantly. "Ah shit, it's hot!"

"Please, just leave me," Mash begged. Having a complete stranger die for her sake would be… "Take Fou with you and save yourself…"

Right then, another siren started to blare through the ruined chamber.

"Warning to observation staff," began the cold, automated voice from the speakers. "Chaldeas's condition has changed."

"Oh no…" Mash breathed, eyes widening with horror. She looked to the right, and Morty followed her gaze.

Chaldeas. The mirror of the planet's soul. It was molten.

"Um… is that bad?" Morty asked.

"Shiva's near-future observational data will be rewritten," the voice continued. "The survival of the human race on Earth for the next 100 years cannot be confirmed. The future of humanity cannot be guaranteed."

"Chaldeas is…" Mash started to say, until she was cut off by a different automated voice.

"Central bulkhead will now be sealed."

The sound of heavy metal slamming shut rang out, causing the entire room to shudder.

"Commencing interior cleansing in 90 seconds."

"R-Rick, now would be a good time to get us out of here!" Morty cried out in panic. "Looks like this reality is gonna blow!"

"We can't bail on this one, Morty!" For the first time, Rick sounded serious. "We crashed here because, because we're trapped in this reality! Just, just hang on, Grandpa's coming!"

"Aw jeez," Morty groaned, palming his sweaty face and dropping to his knees. "Ow," he added as an afterthought.

"I'm sorry…" Mash offered. "May I ask… who are you?"

"Hm? Oh, uh, my name's Morty," he answered, his earlier panic mostly faded. "My grandpa and I kinda crashed into this, uh, base right before all this stuff happened."

"I see…" She really didn't, but pressing further didn't seem all that important right then. "I'm Mash, Mash Kyrielight. I work here." She paused, a bitter smile forming on her dried lips. "Perhaps 'worked here' would make more sense…"

"Seeking qualified Masters… Seeking…"

"Don't sweat it," Morty assured her, wiping his brow again and shrugging. "Honestly, this kinda thing happens a lot to us, so I'm not too-"

"Morty, quit flirting and listen to me!" Rick cut him off. "I need you to open the magic circuits I implanted in you, Morty!"

"W-Wait, the what?!"

"Isn't it obvious, Morty?! I implanted a chip in your spine that activates the nanomachines I installed into your body that will create artificial magic circuits once you send the signal! It's just like when you turned into a car, Morty! Just, just do the same thing! It's-it's-it's the same basic principle!"

"W-W-What? It worked, like, like twelve hours afterward!" Morty shouted. "Y-Y-You're not making any sense, Rick!"

"Just shut up and do it, Morty! If you don't, y-you're gonna die, Morty! You're gonna die, and then I gotta replace you and then lie to your mother about it! Do you want that, Morty, for me-urp!-e to lie to your own mother?!"

"Y-You lie to Mom all the time, Rick!"

Mash could only stare, utterly baffled, as the two continued to bicker while everything crumbled around them. More and more rubble fell from above, and the fires raged and grew.

"Resetting contact with suitable designee number 49," chimed in the automated voice.

Her purple eyes became wide as saucers. "Wait, that actually worked?!" she shouted in utter disbelief, even as the pain of that action raked at her lungs. How was that possible?! Magic circuits weren't supposed to work like that!

But evidently they did, because right then Morty began screaming in existential agony and fell to the floor. His entire body writhed and rolled as his face contorted in pain.

"Atta boy, Morty!" Rick's voice cheered from the watch, even as his supposed grandson moaned and screamed in pain. "Y-You're set, buddy! Everything's gonna be gre~eat!"

"Starting Unsummon Program."

Mash looked around. Chaldea was ripping apart at the seams. A young boy who'd tried to help her was now a contorted mess on the floor. And now she was going to die.


The puffy white critter mewled at her side, nuzzling her face as if in consolation.

"This… could've gone better," Mash admitted before blinding light encompassed her broken body.

"Beginning Spiritron conversion. Rayshift beginning in 3… 2… 1… All operations cleared. Beginning First Order verification."

And so began the greatest Holy Grail War, with one of its heroes resigned to her death and the other in so much pain he couldn't even see straight.

The other "hero" was too busy taking a pull from his flask and muttering about "made up" words to notice much else.