AUTHOR NOTES: All SSB characters are owned by Nintendo. Story idea by Peter David. (I'm sure you can guess which one)
Don't fret if you don't understand what's happened to some of the characters. Flashbacks throughout the story will explain everything eventually.



For as long as man has walked the earth, he has carried with him the legends of times gone past. The world and its affairs seem grander in retrospect; those of us today can barely fathom life back at the dawn of time, when great civilizations and larger-than-life heroes and villains played their epic games, with the world as their playground. Some of these legends are based in fact, some are embellished with retellings, and some are completely fictional. But the one thing all legends – mythical and historical – have in common is that they provide ideals. Standards. Ways that we can measure ourselves against the greats who have come before us.

And not all legends are ancient, you know. Some of them have operated within the confines of recent memory. Perhaps you even know some of them. I do.

They were bold, the original twelve. Most of them had never met before, and yet they all answered the call. From the darkest regions of the universe a hideous parody of life had spawned; the Master Hand. Taking on the form of a large white glove – whether this was intended to be a practical form or simply symbolic we may never know – this twisted fiend desired the dominion of nothing left than the entire Nintendoverse – all of those within its confines would be his slaves.

And so, thanks some convenient portals that allowed them to battle the Master Hand on his own territory, they came. But of course they did. They were heroes. Legends. It would be disappointing to see them do anything less.

They were bold. If they were fearful, they did not show it. From several universes they converged on the hub where the Hand awaited all challengers. He came at them with hostility, and they responded with bravery. They were twelve strong, and representative of several different universes. All united against a common cause.

From the Mushroom Kingdom came the Mario Brothers, legends in red and green. Mario and Luigi, the brave plumbers who never backed down from evil, no matter how hopeless the situation. And with them came Yoshi, the energetic and cheerful dinosaur from Yoshi's Island. And not to be forgotten was the mighty and fearless Donkey Kong, King of the Kongo Isles. They all were already immortalized in legend. They were merely expanding their repertoire.

Hyrule did not disappoint, sending forth a crusader in Lincoln green. Link, the Hero of Time, the defender of Hyrule time and again. His courage steadfast, his determination unwavering. The steel of his blade matched only by the steel within his heart.

From the distant Zebes system hailed Samus Aran. On the exterior, an emotionless shell of metal and fire, hiding the features of the galaxy's most feared mercenary and Metroid hunter. On the interior, to the ignorance of many and the astonishment of many more, a woman. Sleek, graceful, exotic and lethal when the situation required. And this was just such a situation.

From the planet Popstar came forth the most unlikely of defenders. Kirby's small size and cute features masked the unwavering courage and strong sense of justice within. Boldly throwing himself into any fray, Kirby never hesitated for anything. And woe be unto any overconfident foe who would take the Dream Land native on, only to be struck back with their own powers. For that was Kirby's forte. Turn power against itself, and even mountains will crumble.

The Lylat galaxy provided another mysterious rogue; Fox McCloud, the star-crossing vigilante. Cool, sly, soft-spoken and driven, McCloud was a fox, both literally and metaphorically. Combining his natural animalistic abilities with space-age technology, Star Fox's leader was ready for anything.

The continent of Kanto produced two most unusual warriors. In their own world, they were simply two other anonymous Pokémon, born to be captured and bred for battle. Instead, these two – fearless Pikachu, who crashed like thunder despite his small size, and Jigglypuff, who despite her physical weaknesses could misdirect even the most tenacious enemy – became so much more. Legendary Pokémon are not unheard of, but these two were not legends because they were ancient or all-powerful. Instead, it was their courage and compassion that made the difference. No mindless battling creatures, these.

The city of Onett in the land of Eagleland brought forth a small boy named Ness. From the outset Ness seemed no different from any other child his age – a lover of toys, games, food, pets and friendship. But Ness' mind was far from normal, with telekinetic powers that could, in time, make him one of the most powerful beings in the universe. And he had a strong strain of steel running within him, as well. He had saved the day once, and was more than willing to save the day.

Finally, a man whose past was shrouded in mystery arrived from a distant galaxy. Douglas Jay Falcon. High-speed professional racer. Bounty hunter. And perhaps one of the most intimidating figures you could ever have the misfortune of meeting. Equal parts cocky and ominous, he lived hard and fast – almost self-destructive – and grimly faced every obstacle in life as he would a racing opponent. Either destroy it or go beyond it. No compromise. He wasn't interested in saving the world, he said. He was only in this for the glory. Regardless of his intentions, however, they needed him. Because he was almost as good as he said he was.

These twelve became the Super Smash Brothers. United they stood strong, and together they had succeeded in sealing off the Master Hand's power, ending his coup. And they did it as a team, despite the many differences between them. It had been Mario – wasn't it always? – who had urged them to overlook their suspicions and doubts, and to stand together against the common threat. They had met as strangers, and parted as friends. Mario and Link shook hands in silent mutual respect. Jigglypuff nearly wept when it was time to separate from Kirby. Captain Falcon and Samus, who had wanted to tear each other's heads off within seconds of their first meeting, parted with a curt but comradely nod. It was a bittersweet moment, as all 12 were convinced that they would never meet again.

But destiny has its ways. Where there is a right hand, there must be a left. Within a few years, Master Hand was in power once more, freed by its deranged twin, the Crazy Hand. Now twice as powerful, the two twisted fiends created their ultimate weapon, fashioned from the nightmares of Mario and Luigi – Giga Bowser. A walking manifestation of death and destruction, Giga Bowser began demolishing universes with his army of wire-frame warriors. Once word of this got out, the Super Smash Brothers knew, without so much of a word between them, that it was time to reunite.

And reunite they did. The original twelve returned once more, and they had brought reinforcements.

From the Mushroom Kingdom now came Peach, the kingdom's crown princess; elegant beauty combined with fearlessness and a pure heart. Almost as contrast, the Mushroom Kingdom's sworn enemy, Bowser, King of the Koopas, joined the ranks. Raw power and fire lurked within that spiked, scaly shell, purpose behind each tooth and claw. There was also, for reasons not quite explained, another Mario, this one from another dimension. In his own dimension, it seemed, this version of Mario had become a doctor instead of a plumber. Regardless of his occupation, he was still Mario, and he boldly took his place amongst the other Super Smash Brothers.

The Mushroom Kingdom wasn't the only realm to bring a courageous princess and a rival king. From Hyrule came the stately, regal Zelda, with the beauty of an angel and the boldness of a warrior. As well, the sinister Ganondorf of the Gerudo came forth, his incredible physical and magical might focussed not on Hyrule for once, but at a common enemy. And from a dark corner of the Kokiri Forest came another Link… or rather, Link as he once was. Perhaps it was a side-effect of Link's journeys through time in his younger years, but for whatever reason Link appeared in two forms; his true form, and a version of himself seven years younger. Despite only being a boy of ten, Young Link was just as courageous and steadfast as his senior counterpart.

Accompanying Fox from the Lylat system came Falco Lombardi, another member of the Star Fox team. Brash, arrogant, and reckless, Falco stood in contrast to the more mature and responsible Fox, but as fighters the two were dead even.

More Pokémon emerged from Kanto, including an adorable baby Pikachu; a Pichu. Despite her small size and inexperience, Pichu was just as tenacious a fighter as Pikachu. As well, there was the enigmatic Mewtwo, the product of an unethical experiment in an attempt to create the ultimate fighting machine. A cold, emotionless genetic monstrosity, Mewtwo joined the fight in hopes to find clues as to the purpose of his existence.

From the continent of Akaneia came Marth, exiled prince of Altea, and Lord Roy of Pharae. Neither were strangers to war. His throne overturned by invaders from Dolua, Marth single-handedly lead a popular revolt against them. It was he who slew the dragon Medeus with Falchion, his divinely-blessed blade. However, a betrayal by the ambitious King Hardin snatched victory from Marth's grasp. The rebellion terminated and the kingdom crushed, Hardin now sat on Altea's throne, and Marth was once more in exile. Roy, on the other hand, went from a studious boy to the leader of a mighty army nearly overnight, forced to defend Pharae from the kingdom of Bern in his ailing father's stead. Roy's own sword, the Sword of Seals, was said to share some mystic bond with Falchion, thus bringing the two together. Despite their differences, both Prince Marth and Lord Roy refused to ignore injustice, and nobly pledged their support to the Super Smash Brothers.

From the Infinite Glacier hailed Popo and Nana, two small, humble little figures who had spent their entire lives traversing the glaciers and defending their home from invaders. Despite their small size, the Ice Climbers had the strength of heart to move mountains, in every sense of the word.

And finally, the Ancient came forth. The one who had summoned the original Smash Brothers into action now joined them in battle. From the Flatzone that spawned all Nintendo universes came the mysterious Mr. Game & Watch. He spoke not a word of English, and he seemed to be more comical than powerful, but appearances are often deceiving. With his bizarre style of combat, Mr. Game & Watch was more than ready to defend the universes he had spent his life watching, and had grown to love.

They were bold, these twenty-five. Master Hand had raised the stakes and the Super Smash Brothers had responded in kind. And in the end, teamwork had won the day just as it did before. This time the Hands were drained of their power and hurled into the abyss; there was no chance of either of them returning again. The wire-frames were all destroyed, and Giga Bowser… simply disappeared. It was assumed that without the Hands' power to sustain him, he simply ceased to exist. The universe now safe, the Super Smash Brothers were now faced with an intriguing conundrum.

Yes, they could simply return to their home universes as they did before. But the hub – Master Hand's dimension that linked all dimensions in the Nintendoverse together – was too vital to be left unguarded. It was the keystone of their universe. And so, after much deliberation, Smash Central was founded. Refurbishing Master Hand's headquarters into a high-tech complex, the Super Smash Brothers could now travel back and forth between the universes at will, monitoring them for threats and dispatching heroes to counter them. While the entire team would never need to stay there at once, they could all come and go as they pleased, and they could all get together to tackle larger threats. The Super Smash Brothers thus establishing themselves as guardians of the Nintendoverse, peace and harmony seemed all but assured.

That was 20 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Maybe too much. Can the old legends still win the day? Let us see.

Luigi looked up at the sky, watching the swirling clusters of light and the streaking comets. In the universal hub, it always appeared to be nighttime, and yet the stars illuminated the skies just as well as any sun could do. It was a warm, uniform glow that was haunting and yet comforting at the same time.

The stars… Luigi sighed. He could never watch the stars without thinking of Mario. Mario was up there at this very moment, watching over him. Just as he'd promised. Mario… Luigi hugged his chest and hung his head. If ever there was a time he wanted his brother with him, it was now. For years the Mario Brothers had been lauded as the Nintendoverse's greatest heroes… with the emphasis on Mario, of course. Although it annoyed him, Luigi didn't mind being in his older brother's shadow. But it certainly didn't make things easy for him to assert his own identity. And if you think it's hard living in the shadow of a hero, try living in the shadow of a martyr…

Luigi stood up. It was nearly time for the meeting. While he'd always wanted to be in the tribunal, he'd never have seen the day in which he was the leader. Maybe some of them assumed that he'd just take over and handle everything just like Mario. Maybe they figured that the ability to make everything right again was an inherent quality of the Mario Brothers. Well, Luigi was certainly about to prove that little line of thinking wrong. He heaved a wistful sigh as he entered the complex, walking through the scorched and ruined remains of Smash Central. Fortunately, the east wing had suffered relatively minor damage; just enough for them to meet again. Stepping into the conference room, Luigi was greeted with the sight of the other two senior members of the Smash Council. Despite the fact that they were old friends, the green-clad plumber fidgeted slightly. This was the first time he'd approached them as their leader.

On one side of the table sat Young Link. Well… perhaps Younger Link would be more appropriate. While he was still the younger of the two Links, he had aged two decades just like everybody else. And while his older counterpart had affairs in Hyrule to attend to, Young Link had considerably more freedom, and thus agreed to take the elder Link's place on the council. The other member of the triumvirate was Samus Aran, whose only greeting, in contrast to Young Link's polite smile, was a slight nod. Samus was clearly still bearing scars from the incident a year ago. They all were. But to somebody who kept her emotions buried like Samus, it meant the end of any pretence of polite cheerfulness or approachability. She was almost as cold and flat as the armour of her suit.

"H-Hello." Luigi said at last. "Who else is all here?"

"Not many, I fear." Young Link replied. "Yoshi, Raichu, and Sir Game & Watch were the only ones who could arrive on such short notice."

"And Fox's kid." Samus' voice coldly rasped from the voicebox in her helmet. Young Link nodded in affirmation.

Luigi took a moment to take this all in. So this is what it had come to. The other Smashers were either retired to be with family, had kingdoms to run, and some of them were no longer among the living. It was almost enough to bring him to tears, but he got a hold of himself. There was serious business to attend to.

Normally Mario would try to break the ice to begin with, but Luigi simply awkwardly fumbled with the data disk in his hand. "This was found in the security recordings." He stammered, inserting the disk into the nearby video monitor. Dimming the lights, the three heroes watched as images appeared on the screen.

Smash Central was in flames, black oily clouds of smoke choking the once tranquil atmosphere. And into this tableau of horror stormed a face none of the Smashers had ever expected to see again… the leering grin of the monstrous Giga Bowser. Like a demon ripped from the darkest of nightmares – as indeed he was – the beastly Koopa lumbered towards the camera, his eyes burning with hellfire. In one clawed hand he held a crumpled army helmet; it was unknown, perhaps for the best, as to what had happened to the head that normally resided in that helmet.

The giant turtle was now staring directly into the camera. Even though it was a recording, Luigi still trembled. He still didn't know how his heart managed to keep beating when they had battled Giga Bowser. Mario had later claimed that he was just as afraid as Luigi was, but he had hidden it better. Somehow Luigi thought that his brother was just being modest. He honestly didn't think that Mario truly feared anything. Even as he collected himself, the hideous beast began to speak.

"I have been insulted!" the Koopa fiend roared, crushing the helmet within scaly fist as though it were an aluminum can and tossing it aside. "One year ago I gave my challenge to the Super Smash Brothers. And when I arrive for our final battle, who do I find? These useless straw men!" Fire and smoke burst from his nostrils as he continued, still addressing the camera. "I should destroy every realm in the Nintendoverse for this insult, but I give you one final chance." He took a moment to collect himself slightly. "I give you two weeks. Two weeks for the true Super Smash Brothers to reunite. Two weeks from tonight I will return. And if I do not find the Super Smash Brothers here for us to have our final battle, I swear that I will burn every single universe to ash! It is your decision; do not disappoint me again." He then breathed a burst of flame at the camera, and the image dissolved into static. The lights came back on.

"It is worse than I had imagined." Young Link remarked. "We must stop this beast for once and for all, or countless millions will surely perish."

"That's what I'm thinking." Luigi commented. "We've got to gather as many of the remaining Smashers as we can, and make our last stand here."

"I don't care about that." Samus said sharply, cutting into the conversation.

"Lady Aran, please." Young Link insisted. "We must think the of the innocents we are sworn to…"

"I said I don't care about that." Samus brusquely commented. "I want to fry that monster's entrails all over the galaxy just like you do, but I don't care about your little ideals. I want revenge, and that's it."

"Samus…" Luigi timidly piped up. "We're Super Smash Brothers. We don't seek revenge. It's not our…"

"Tell that to Falcon!" Samus barked, emotion finally entering her voice as she rose to her feet, pulling herself to her full height. "Tell him about your cozy little mission statement! That won't make him any less dead, will it?" Her ragged breathing could be heard through her helmet.

"That was nobody's fault, m'lady." Young Link calmly replied. "It is not…"

"If we were more decisive about taking care of that creep twenty years ago, we wouldn't be in this mess." Samus snarled. "I'm going to avenge Falcon, and I don't care about what anybody else says I should be fighting for! Is that clear?"

"I'm sorry…" Luigi stammered. "I didn't mean to… to…" he began to choke. He just couldn't deal with this. "Ex-excuse me." He muttered as he exited the room. Samus sat down with a clank. There was a brief pause.

"You are not the only person suffering from this." Young Link said at last. "With all due respect, m'lady, we're all in this together. It's not simply your fight."

"I'm aware of that." Samus replied.

"And you had no right to attack Sir Luigi like you did either." Young Link added. "He is doing the best he can."

"He'd be doing better if he'd do something as himself instead of playing 'What Would Mario Do'." Samus insisted. "Mario was a good leader, but he's not Mario. He shouldn't be trying to be Mario."

"Shhh." Young Link whispered as the door opened. A pale and haggard Luigi stepped back in. He looked up to apologize, but Young Link cut him off. "We must get organized." He insisted. "We have but a fortnight until Giga Bowser returns, and we must be as prepared as we can possibly be." Luigi nodded.

"Just tell me what to do." Samus muttered, making a half-hearted attempt to sound courteous.

"All right." Luigi said at last. "Here's what we'll tell everybody…"

Smash Central's common area was once the heart and soul of the building. Many parties, get-togethers and even simple daily interactions happened here. There was a time not long ago when Pikmin and Nintendogs were scampering around as the Smashers chatted, ate, playfully sparred, and celebrated together. But now the area was mostly wrecked, save the corner of the room that bordered the conference room. In this small section sat a small group of Smashers who were not in the tribunal, but who had shown up nonetheless to aid in whatever way they could.

"So… what's it like being a Smasher?" asked the youngest of the group, the only one who was not a true Super Smash Brother. Kit McCloud was the son of Fox and Krystal McCloud, and his mixed heritage was very clear. Although he was a dead ringer for his father at his age, Kit's fur was the same shade of blue as his mother's. And while Kit wore the flight suit of a Star Fox pilot and had a blaster pistol holstered at his hip, his weapon of choice was the Krazoan war staff he cradled across his lap. Fox and Falco were unavailable when the distress signal went off, and so Kit, with his mother's hesitant permission, went in their place. But Kit could handle himself. He was 16, the same age his father was when he had taken down Andross.

"Yoshiiiii!" replied the plucky green dinosaur sitting next to him. Along with Luigi and Samus, Yoshi was the only member of the original twelve who had shown up to this meeting. Although two decades had gone by, Yoshi was still Yoshi. Goofy, clumsy, gluttonous, loyal, and ready to help out whenever his friends were in danger. The jolly dino tossed an apple into the air before snaring it with his sticky prehensile tongue and gulping it down in a single bite.

"Raichu!" remarked the third creature of the little group. When it came to lifetime membership, Raichu definitely had spent the largest percentage of her life as a Super Smash Brother. After all, she had joined virtually the day she had hatched from her egg. That was back when she was a tiny, fidgety Pichu. Now she was much larger, stronger, and more confident with her electric attacks than ever before. She hoped that Pikachu would have been proud of her. Jigglypuff had once assured her that it was so.

"Yeah, that's more or less what Dad and Uncle Falco always say." Kit shrugged. Deciphering these creatures' dialects was no easy task, but he had a knack for these sorts of things. "Maybe I'll find out if…"

"BEEEP! FNEEEP!" remarked a busy little figure, marching up to the group with a tray of lemonades.

"Oh, uh, thanks, G&W." Kit replied, taking a drink from the tray.

"Yoshi!" Yoshi squealed, snagging a glass with his tongue. Unfortunately, this knocked over the other glasses, sending Mr. Game & Watch into a frenzy of two-frame gesticulations and binary epithets.

Mr. Game & Watch was the "old man of the Smashers", as Captain Falcon had once called him, and despite his advanced age, he still took care of duties in Smash Central, even if it only meant cooking and cleaning. Still, the old codger refused to outright retire; it seems the thought had never occurred to him. Hopefully, he still didn't think he was still in shape for battling, though; at his age a solid blow could shatter his silicon body like glass.

Even as Mr. Game & Watch whipped out his two-dimensional mop and Oil Panic bucket and began cleaning up the mess, the door opened and Luigi stepped out. All four turned towards the taller Mario Brother to hear the news.

"All right." Luigi said at last. "We have 13 days. We're going to track down every single former Smasher and get as many of them as possible to show up. And we're also going to go through every name on our reserve list and see how many of them can show up as well. We're going to need all the help we can get, and we don't have much time."

"Sounds like we have a lot of work ahead of us." Kit remarked.

"You have no idea." Luigi replied with a sigh.