Montana is known for retaining its scenic appearance, despite the considerable changes to the environment after World War III. Tall mountains decorated with pine trees reach the cloudless blue skies, against the beautiful, flower-filled prairies with wild grass that flows in the wind. Life in this state is peaceful & quiet, barely touched by civilization except in the cities. One of them, Ohmtown, is where our story begins.

It was a sunny afternoon in 3010. Amidst the little traffic in the quiet city, a white car made its way down the streets. In the driver's seat, a young girl of 16 was at the wheel, her long golden hair flowing in the wind. Clad in a simple white dress, the girl had soft peach fur & beautiful blue eyes that matched the color of the skies. A smile was on her cherubic face as she drove up to a ratty old building. Once she had gotten to her destination, the girl got out of her car, & made her way inside the building.

Things were awfully quiet in the main room of Mylar's Restaurant & Nightclub. On the stage, against a blue background with large orange stripes, four teenagers were busy practicing their instruments. One of them was around 19 years old, & his name was Omar. With a shock of wild red hair that mostly fell down to his shoulders, he scatted quite harshly as he strummed his loud guitar.

The second teen, a girl named Angel, was the same age as Omar. Dressed in a red jacket with a slinky black sweatsuit, Angel was indeed a sight to behold—she too had long golden hair & soft blue eyes, which twinkled in their sockets as she concentrated on playing the keys on her synthesizer.

The third one was another boy, named Dizzy. At 22 years old, he was the oldest of the bunch, not to mention the smartest. He was a portly fellow, with bunned brown hair & green glasses, as well as a mole's head, which bobbed to the beat of the drums that he played.

17-year-old Stretch, with short orange hair & a nose like that of Mylar's, was Dizzy's polar opposite, being the youngest & the most naïve. He, too, was playing a guitar, not paying attention to the world around him, as he was wont.

As Omar continued to strum on his beloved instrument, his ears perked up to the sound of footsteps, & he turned around to see a girl in a white dress posing meekly in front of him. "Is Mylar here?" questioned the girl. "I really need to see him."

"If you're looking for Mylar," Omar replied, "he's busy."

"I'm afraid you don't understand, sir," the girl said as politely as she could. "I'm Mylar's niece."

"Oh, really?" Putting up his guitar & turning to face the visitor, Omar asked with a smug grin, "What's his favorite color?"

"It's," Upon hearing the girl's answer, Omar made a buzzer-type sound & said, "Wrong guess, but thanks for playing anyway. Bye now!"

"Omar," Angel scolded, "quit being a jerk!"

"Come on," Omar whined, "Mylar will have our heads if we interrupt him while he's paying his bills!"

"Well," the girl said as she went over to the office door, "if you won't let me in to see my uncle, I'll just have to get to him myself!" Omar & the others winced, as the girl knocked on the door. From inside, a sharp voice called out, "I'm coming, I'm coming!"

Immediately, the door opened to reveal a tall, skinny man. With a prominent rat-like nose & ears, a bucktooth, green eyes, & slicked-back black hair, he was dressed in an orange tweed suit with brown loafers & a black bow-tie. He did not look too happy upon exiting his office, but once he saw the girl in the white dress, his frown immediately turned upside-down.

"Annie!" the man cried merrily, before going over to hug the girl.

"Uncle Mylar!" the girl said happily, embracing the man tightly. Angel, Dizzy, & Stretch looked on with adoring faces, but Omar's reaction to the scene was considerably less enthusiastic. Nonetheless, Mylar & Annie parted from their embrace, & looked at each other with wide smiles.

"Oh, Annie, it's great to see you again!" Mylar said, tousling his niece's hair. "You've grown up so much since our last family reunion, I hardly even recognize you! But don't worry, that won't be a problem anymore!"

"Pardon me for asking, Mr. Mylar," Dizzy said politely, "but what are you talking about?"

"Annie here is coming to stay in Ohmtown permanently," Mylar explained, circling the four teenagers. "You see, her parents have become addicted to certain items—& I think you know what those are—& were deemed as unfit after they were caught abusing her in public & tried in a court of law. So Annie is coming to live with me, since all her other relatives live too far away...

"Now," Mylar continued as he headed back for his office, "this is the first time Annie's actually been to Ohmtown, so I want you to be nice to her at all costs. Oh, & make her feel comfortable! She's gonna have to get used to life in a small town like this, after years of living in the big city!"

"Will do, Mr. Mylar," Dizzy said, saluting. Mylar smiled at the four kids, then went back into his office & shut the door.

Stretch turned to Annie, blushing a little as he smiled nervously, his hands behind his back as he said sheepishly, "So, um, Annie...why don't you tell us about yourself?"

"Well," Annie began, "I'm 16 years old, & I'm from Boston."

"Boston, huh?" Omar said as he went back to playing his guitar. "Do your parents drink any beer? I hear it's famous there."

"Omar!" Angel scolded once more, before turning back to Annie & smiling as she said, "Don't mind him, Annie; he just doesn't know how to behave. So, what are your interests? Do you have any hobbies?"

"Lots!" Annie cried, gesturing her words with animated movements. "I like playing with toys, & shopping, & singing..."

"Whoa, wait a minute!" Stretch exclaimed, looking impressed. "You can sing?"

"Sure," Annie said, reaching for Omar's guitar. "Wanna hear me?" Just before she could strum a simple tune, Omar snatched the instrument away from her, as he snapped, "Hands off the merchandise, sweetie!"

"Omar, you're forgetting what Mr. Mylar told us," Dizzy admonished, wagging a finger. Omar stuck out his tongue, then started playing his guitar again. It was then that Angel & the others noticed Annie's bulging suitcases. "Say, Annie," Stretch asked, "what's in your bags?"

Smiling, Annie carefully opened her luggage to reveal a vast assortment of items: toys & games, a sketchbook, colored pencils, a few DVDs, some books & magazines, a silver laptop, a pen & journal, a small CD player with earphones, & plenty of music discs.

"Wow!" Stretch cried, peering down at Annie's items. "Look at all this stuff! You must have a lot of spare time on your hands!"

"Well, it gave me something to do when I was feeling down at home," Annie explained simply, closing up her bags. "I can't wait to unpack when I get to Uncle Mylar's house. Then I can get down to the things I love most."

"As fine & dandy as that is," Dizzy said, cleaning his glasses & putting them back on his head, "I'm afraid you're gonna need much more than toys & comics. You're missing clothes, & from what Mylar told us, you'll need lots of them!"

"Come on, Annie," Angel said, taking the girl & her bags, "why don't we go to the mall?" Turning to her boyfriend, she asked, "You wanna come, Omar?"

"No thanks," Omar said flatly, still playing his guitar. "I'd rather choke on a chicken bone than go shopping, much less for...clothes." He spat out that last word as though it were poison.

"Suit yourself," Stretch said as he followed his friends outside.

Ohmtown Mall was the hub of the city. Everyone gathered here not only to shop, but also to check out the entertainment & spend time with their friends, not to mention escape from the dreary lives they led in this equally-dull city. In a particular clothing store, Angel, Stretch, & Dizzy were rooting through the various assortments of outfits, checking to see which ones were just right for Annie, who waited patiently by a dressing room.

"What do you guys think?" Angel said, pulling out two differently-colored nightgowns. "Should Annie have a lavender chemise, or a fuschia one?" Dizzy & Stretch looked at one another, then made their unified reply: "Lavender." After Annie had tried on the nightgown & ensured it was a perfect fit, Angel put it in the shopping cart with the rest of the clothes they planned to buy.

"There," Angel said as she brought the cart over to the check-out. "I think that takes care of that." Just after she handed the cashier her money & grabbed the bags of clothes, however, a wild eruption of screams burst forth from the massive volcano of the mall. Annie, Angel, & the boys turned around to see the shoppers running around, shouting & yelling wildly as they fled for their lives. From the great skylight on the roof of the mall, a large blimp with a stylized "M" on its side could be seen floating through the air.

Annie was rather surprised, but the faces of Angel, Dizzy, & Stretch were those of pure terror. None of them could speak, except for Angel, who managed to whisper, "Oh, God, it can't be..."

In the interior of the blimp (which was more of a futuristic throne room), an elderly man dressed in a fancy black suit & a frilly pink cravat was standing near the window, looking at the chaotic scene below him. A wicked smile was pasted on his hideous, withered face as he said to himself, "Yes...that's it! Run, run for your lives, fellow citizens! You won't want to be there when I, Mok, seek my unholy revenge against you for turning on me in my darkest hour!"

"Here he goes again," Toad Schlepper, a tall, burly man in a red silk jacket, a black bow-tie, & purple trousers, whined, rolling his eyes. "Blabbing on & on about his unholy revenge..."

"Toad, I do not need your input," Mok said calmly, trying to hide the rage he felt inside. "What I do need from you is your full co-operation! And that goes double for you, Sleazy & Zip!"

"Aw, gee, Boss," Sleazy complained, "do we have to?"

"YES, YOU INFERNAL BASTARDS!!!" Mok creeched, his eyes burning with anger. "For as long as you live under my roof, you will abide by my laws! I am king here!"

"Don't remind me," Zip, the youngest of the Schlepper brothers, moaned, fiddling with the Uncle Mikey doll he had retrieved a while back. Doing his best to refrain from striking out at his subordinates, Mok took a minute to seethe, then immediately settled down, adjusting his long bluish-gray hair as he strolled back to the window & said, "Regardless of your interruptions, I, Mok, plan to get my revenge with a most insidious scheme!"

"And that would be...?" the Schleppers asked in unison, looking jadedly at their master.

"To get rid of those infernal Drats once & for all!" Mok cried, clenching his fists in a menacing gesture. "But here is how my deed will be accomplished: I will kidnap that new girl—I believe the computer told me her name was Annie—then I will take her with me to Nuke York & hold her for ransom. When those stupid kids come rushing to save Annie, I will turn her loose, then take the Drats & murder them right before her very eyes!" Mok then burst into malicious laughter. "But before we do that, we'll need to find a way to put our plan into action..."

As she walked back to Mylar's Nightclub with her friends & their newly-bought items, Angel tried to shrug off the horrifying image she had seen earlier. Maybe it was just her imagination; after all, Mok had been pulled into the dimension his evil beast came out of. There was no way in hell he could have returned to Earth, much less that quickly. Angel decided not to think about it anymore. Things were going to be all right; she was sure of it.

When the four friends got into the nightclub, they were surprised to see that Omar was still on the stage, playing his guitar as before. The only thing he said was, "What took you so long?"

Angel decided not to tell her lover about what she saw that afternoon. Handing the shopping bags & Annie's suitcases to Dizzy & Stretch, she lied, "Nothing, Omar. Just doing what girls do."

"Yeah, whatever." Omar went right back to playing, but he stopped as soon as he saw Annie. Not only had she gotten a fresh change of clothes, but she had also gotten a makeover at the mall salon. She literally looked like an angel, only in a light-blue dress as opposed to the usual white.

Omar was stunned, to say the least. He could barely speak, let alone move his jaw. When he managed to talk, however, he tried to keep his cool as he said, "Lookin' great, Annie!"

"Thanks," Annie said, & she rushed up to kiss Omar on the cheek. The teenage boy grimaced inwardly, but tried his best to show the opposite of how he really felt. Only when Annie followed Dizzy & Stretch up to her room, did he let out a gag, wiping his cheek with his hand. "That's it!" Omar spat in disgust. "Annie's going back to Boston tonight!"

"Omar," Angel reprimanded harshly, "you're not giving Annie a chance. She needs us, her only friends, & all you do is act like a jerk towards her!"

"Hey, is it my fault Annie's ruining my life?" Omar snapped, putting down his guitar & going over to his girlfriend. "No—quite the opposite!"

Angel wanted to argue, but decided not to. Going upstairs to help Annie get settled in her new home, she only turned around to say, "Goodnight, Omar. I pray you'll have a change of heart soon...if not tonight."

Annie's new room above the club was simple, but a far cry from unattractive. A canopy bed was in the corner, next to a bookcase, which stored Annie's books, magazines, DVDs, & CDs. The laptop rested on a desk in front of the window (next to her journal, sketchbook, & pencils), & all the toys & games were in large plastic boxes. The newly-bought clothes hung in an ornate oak armoire, which also housed a TV with a DVD player.

"Goodnight, Annie," Angel said, kissing her friend's cheek as she settled into bed. "Sweet dreams." When her friends had left her room & shut off the lights, Annie cuddled under her covers, dozing peacefully as she dreamed of the new life she was now living.

Unbeknownst to everyone, however, Toad was sneaking upon the roof of the nightclub, making sure he wasn't seen by anyone as he crawled down the fire escape, opened the window, & entered the room of his captive. Upon hearing the sound of his footsteps, Annie stirred from her sleep, then gasped as she saw Toad reaching for her. She was about to scream, but the thug's massive hand clamped over her mouth, muffling her cries for help as he dragged her out of bed, placed a note on the pillow, & dashed off for outside—that is, after he had torn a piece of his red silk jacket on the window latch.

No sooner had Toad disappeared with Annie, than Mylar had come into the room, tiptoeing quietly over to the bed. Pulling back the curtains, Mylar was shocked to see a note in place of his sleeping niece. His heart racing frantically, Mylar grabbed the note, & read it. When he saw the message on the paper, tears started to come out of his eyes. Mylar immediately started bawling like a baby as he crumpled the note in his hands, beating the floor until pain shot through his clenched fists.

Dizzy was the first of the four teenagers to arrive. "Mr. Mylar," he asked in concern, "what's wrong?"

Mylar looked at the kids, sniffling & dabbing at his eyes with a pink handkerchief as he sobbed, "Annie's been kidnapped! And Mok won't return her to me unless I pay a huge amount of money by Friday! I'm going to lose the fruit of my sister's womb at the hands of that monster!"

"No, you're not, Mylar," Angel said softly, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"But how?" Mylar wept. "The club earnings—heck, even my life savings—won't get Annie back!"

"Maybe not, but we can save her!" Dizzy exclaimed, heading for the phone downstairs. "I'll call Officer Quadhole & ask him to search for evidence!"

An hour had passed, & the clock was still slowly ticking. Angel & her friends tried to be patient, but inside, they were getting quite edgy. Time was of the essence, & if Officer Quadhole didn't find enough evidence soon, they would never be able to save Annie.

It wasn't much longer before Officer Quadhole finally emerged from the crime scene with a torn piece of red fabric. The kids were shocked, but Mylar was even more, before he started seething in rage. Jumping up & down in his pajamas, the club owner shouted angrily, "My niece has been kidnapped by Mok & taken to God-knows-where, & all you can find is a stupid piece of fabric?!"

"Wait, Mr. Mylar!" Dizzy cried, taking the small baggie & investigating the red scrap inside. "Notice the gloss on the cloth? It's silk! And there's a tag," he added as he pointed to it. "It says..."—he squinted his eyes to read the tiny text—"'Made in Nuke York'." Dizzy immediately brightened. "Nuke York!" he cried cheerfully, rushing down the stairs into the empty club as his friends followed close behind. "Come on, you guys, follow me! I know exactly where Annie is!" The sound of a car screeching down the road could be heard next, followed by Omar's complaint, "Oh, no...You're not hauling my ass all the way to Nuke York just to rescue a little brat!"

When familiar sirens started squealing, Officer Quadhole's face fell. "Aw, crud."

Annie slowly opened her eyes, then rubbed the sleep out of them. When she had adjusted her vision, she was surprised to find out that she was not in the room her uncle Mylar had prepared for her above his club. Instead, she found herself in a vast, opulent parlor, filled with portraits, potted plants, mirrors, & large, overstuffed chairs. Annie was just about to get up & leave, but suddenly, she gasped, as a tall figure in a fancy suit with blue hair smiled coldly at her. "Good morning, Annie," Mok said, the icy grin never leaving his hideous, withered lips.

"How did you know my name?" Annie asked anxiously.

"That doesn't matter," was Mok's simply reply. "What matters is that you, my dear, are about to assist me in my grand scheme. Won't that be most delightful?" he asked evilly as Toad & Sleazy grabbed Annie by the arms, restraining her.

"If you don't let me go right now," Annie snarled as she struggled to break free, "I'll tell my uncle Mylar! And when he finds out what you're doing, he's gonna kick your bum!"

"You know, Annie," Mok said, "you're a real firecracker!" Caressing her face, he added, "But don't worry, I'll put you out faster than you can say..." Before Mok could finish, however, Annie spat in his face. An aghast Mok made a sound of disgust as he wiped the saliva off his cheek, then slapped Annie, who fell to her knees. After commanding the Schleppers to head a course for Nuke York, Mok only turned around to sneer & growl to Annie, "As long as you're staying with me, you'd better watch it. Because if you again act insolently in such a horrendous manner, you will suffer the consequences." When Mok had headed for his throne room, Annie looked down at the ever-shrinking sight of her home, before bursting into tears.

It takes about 3 days to get from Ohmtown to Nuke York, & as they went on their long journey to the big city, Angel, Dizzy, & Stretch talked over their various ideas for a rescue plan. Omar, as he sat in the back seat, did not even offer his input. He had none, considering he didn't want to rescue the girl who had turned his life upside-down. And yet she hadn't quite messed things up, at least in the way he imagined...then again, maybe Annie wasn't so bad after all. Regardless, the two different feelings clashed against one another in Omar's brain, fighting for control of his emotions.

Once they got to the city gates, Dizzy's face fell once he saw what was in front of the wheel. "Oh, no," he whined, "it's the guard!" Soon, the stolen police car had to come to a screeching halt.

Getting out of the car as his friends waited inside, Omar went up to the border patrol guard. "What is it now, Wayne?" he complained. "Blackout? Riot? A gas leak?"

Officer Wayne peered through his pink glasses, then his face went up in shock. "Hey, it's you!" he snarled. "You're the kid who tried to run the barricade a month ago!"

"Yeah," Omar said, trying to smile as he attempted to walk through the gates. "Can you believe it's been a month already?"

"No wise cracks," gruffed Wayne, stopping Omar in his tracks & gesturing to the road with his nightstick. "Now hit the road before I call back-up!"

"But we have to save Annie!" Dizzy protested. When Officer Wayne requested why they were on their mission, he continued in a passionate tirade, "Because she's been kidnapped & is being held hostage here! And if you don't help us, all will be lost!" Touched by the teen's story, Officer Wayne wiped a tear from his eye, then opened the gates...

Meanwhile, in a large room filled with millions of toys, games, & stuffed animals, Annie was sitting on a small playmat, sobbing her heart out. 3 long days had passed, & already, her hopes of returning home were beginning to crumble.

Drying her eyes with a pink lace hankie, Mok petted Annie's face as he said sweetly, "Now, now, Annie, don't cry. You'll have lots of fun when Cinderella comes to see you!"

"Who's Cinderella?" Annie sniffled. Immediately, the door to the playroom opened to reveal the Schleppers & a tall, buxomly young lady with blonde hair just like Annie's, only in little pigtails. She was much like the three brothers in height & build, & she wore the same rollerskates & the lavender shirt with the blue lightning bolt on it, but she also wore a really short red miniskirt that often flounced up to reveal her white drawers & the winged-heart tattoo on her rump. As she was being dragged into the playroom, the girl whined, "Do I have to stay in this dumb room? I wanna go out!"

"Don't think so, little lady," Toad said with a sneer. "You're grounded for punching me in the face, remember?"

"Oh, & now it's my fault that you wouldn't give me my pancakes when I asked for them over a thousand times?" Cinderella shot back, before she was released from her brothers' grasp & fell to the floor with a thud. As she rubbed her sore bum, Cinderella glared at Toad, who blew a raspberry at her, before walking out of the room with Sleazy, Mok, & Zip, who said in his little voice as he shut the door, "OK, Cinderella, be a good girl & stay in your room."

When she was alone, Cinderella pouted. "I hate this dumb room," she griped. "I don't even play with this stuff anymore! I'm 15 years old, for crying out loud! I deserve to do something that's really awesome & age-appropriate, like, oh, I don't know...going to Club 666! Besides, it's a lot more fun being out there than in here!"

"I know what you mean!" Upon hearing Annie's sudden outburst, a startled Cinderella sprang into the air, then landed gracefully on her rollerskate-clad feet, before turning to see the newcomer. "Oh, golly," Cinderella breathed, "you gave me a case of the creeps there!"

"Sorry," Annie apologized.

"Oh, that's OK, doll!" Cinderella said, now sporting a smile. Going over to get some toys, she asked, "So what's your name, sweetie?" When Annie had introduced herself, the bosomy girl replied, "Nice name. So, you wanna play? While we're stuck here, we might as well do something."

A short time had passed, or at least it seemed to Annie & Cinderella as they sat on the floor, playing with various toys & games as they chatted about various subjects ranging from interests to family life. Cinderella was in the midst of talking about her brothers, but suddenly, Annie had to interrupt, as she inquired about the tattoo on her new friend's rump.

"Oh, that?" Cinderella noted. "Well, I was 14 years old when I got it from this lady named Edith. You see, she owns a tattoo parlor downtown, & she was nice enough to give me this one for half-price as a birthday present. So anyway, Edith & I started talking, & now I go to visit her every day."

It was then that Annie remembered something: Dizzy had told her about his Aunt Edith while they were at the mall the other day. And she ran a tattoo parlor in this very city...if she could get to Aunt Edith without getting caught by Mok or those stupid thugs of his, then she would have a chance to escape!

"Say," Annie said coyly, "is there any way you can take me to see her? She sounds like a very interesting person..." Cindy only looked up from her toys to ask, "Are you a good fibber?"

Surprisingly, Mok had bought into Cinderella's story that she was going out to have some dinner. Annie, as she had expected, would be accompanying Cinderella so she wouldn't wander off to the clubs she was forbidden to visit for the week. Now the two friends were making their way through the mean streets of Nuke York. Annie, having been born in Boston, was accustomed to city life, but she wasn't prepared for what she was seeing. Women of easy virtue, drug dealers, shady salesmen, & suchnot were selling their wares, & the smell of filth was everywhere.

Luckily, Annie did not have to put up with it long—they had just reached an underground tattoo parlor. Cinderella opened the door, & stepped inside, Annie following close behind.

In the parlor, a thick, busty woman in welder's garb (& goggles) was busy tattooing a rainbow on this beautiful woman in a skimpy purple outfit, trying to concentrate as she chatted on her cell phone: "Yeah...uh-huh...OK, I'll keep an eye out for her. OK, Alphonse, I'll call if there's any news...I love you, too, sweetie, bye-bye!" Then she hung up, just as Cinderella & Annie entered the building.

Finishing up the tattoo & taking up her customer's money, Aunt Edith greeted, "Oh, Cindy, great to see you again, doll!"

"Thanks, Miss Brown," Cinderella said, sitting down by Annie on a couch by the window. "Nice to see you again, too."

It was then that Aunt Edith noticed the other girl. "And who is this adorable little thing?" she asked, pinching her cheek. When Cinderella had introduced Annie, Edith couldn't help but take off her welding goggles & scrutinize every detail of the lass, making sure that this was the one her nephew Dizzy had told her about on the phone. Upon realizing she had found her, Aunt Edith was careful to approach the subject as she asked, "Say, Annie, what are you doin' here? Shouldn't you be in Ohmtown with Alphonse & his friends?"

"I was kidnapped, ma'am," Annie said honestly.

"I knew that freakazoid Mok was up to no good," Edith growled under her breath, then smiled at Annie as she said, "But don't worry, sweet cheeks. I'll watch over you till your friends come to take you home. How's that sound?"

"That sounds fine, Miss Edith," Annie said, then waved to Cinderella as she bade her farewell. When the burly girl had gone, Aunt Edith led Annie upstairs to her temporary quarters, then went back downstairs to make some tea.

The sun was almost gone by the time Cinderella had reached the penthouse. Imagine her surprise when she saw Mok in her room, wearing an ornate silk robe & an angry grimace on his face.

"Where the hell have you been?" Mok snarled in his raspy voice. Cinderella tried not to show any fear, as she said nervously, "I was out at the restaurant..."

"Don't lie to me, you little wench! I want to know where Annie is, & I want to know now!" Mok creeched, grabbing Cinderella by the throat & proceeding to strangle her. As she struggled to breathe, Cinderella choked out, "I'll...never...tell you!" Mok seethed for a bit, then released Cinderella, who gasped for much-needed air as she stumbled to the floor.

As he entered his dark bedroom, Mok flopped down on his bed, his blood boiling as he snarled, "Damn that girl...damn her to hell!" Mok then got up, & strolled over to his massive, strange-looking computer. When the machine had asked for orders, the musician replied, "Show me the location of Annie LeDay." When the pointer on the map slanted towards the image of a tattoo parlor, Mok smiled his most wicked grin ever...

The sound of tea boiling woke Aunt Edith up from her light nap. She made her way to the kitchen, & served herself a drink, before taking a sip...& gasping as she dropped her cup, which crashed as it hit the floor. "Why, Toad," Aunt Edith said nervously, "what a lovely surprise to see you here! Come in for a tattoo?"

"Quit playin' games!" Toad growled, grabbing Aunt Edith & pinning her arms behind her back. "Where's da goil?"

"The girl?" Aunt Edith asked innocently. Suddenly, she winced as Toad twisted her arm. "You can hurt me all you want, Schlepper, but I won't tell you where she is!" Edith said angrily.

"Aw, da lady doesn't wanna spill da beans on Annie's location!" Toad said sarcastically, before kicking Edith in the rump...hard.

"It's gonna take a lot more than a butt-kickin' to make me betray a friend!" Edith retorted defiantly. Suddenly, she gasped, as Toad's fist went flying straight into her face. With a loud blast, everything went black.

Annie immediately woke up. She was frightened—& surprised—to see herself in Mok's bedroom. Oh, my God, she thought to herself, I'm not in Aunt Edith's house! I'm in...

"Big trouble, missy!" Toad said with a smirk, as he tied her up & pinned her onto the bed. Annie gasped as Mok arrived, still dressed in his robe.

With a snap of his fingers, Mok commanded, "Toad, open her mouth." Annie wanted to scream, but all that came out was guttural noises, as Toad pried her jaws open with a pair of tongs. Going over to Annie & stroking her hair gently, Mok said in a sweet-as-honey voice, "There, there,'ll all be over soon..."

"What are you gonna do to me?" Annie tried to say, her voice quivering, but she was silenced by Mok's finger gently touching her lips.

"Shhh..." Mok whispered softly, kissing Annie's forehead. Annie immediately burst into tears, but Mok didn't seem to care, as he unscrewed a large pink bottle, & poured the liquid down into Annie's throat.

Annie tried desperately to cough up what she had just consumed, but Sleazy hit her hard, causing her to swallow the drug that had just entered her body. Soon, Annie began to feel weak & disoriented. The room began to spin, & everything she saw was turning into colorful, oblong shapes...She didn't even notice Mok placing a glowing choker around her neck & Toad taking the tongs out of her mouth.

Gently caressing his captive's face as she lay on the bed, Mok ordered, "Now...sing!"

Annie soon began to sing a progression of nonverbal tones. Slowly, a glowing stream of light flowed out of Annie's open mouth, filling the room with a most heavenly sound that could come from nothing on this planet...before Annie's visible voice seeped into a locket, which Mok immediately shut closed. The musician then looked up at Annie, his eyes with an evil gleam.

Soon, Annie woke up from her spell of delirium. She was about to ask where she was...but she was surprised to see that nothing came from her mouth. Annie tried desperately to make noises, but when her attempts failed, she began to sob silently. After watching Annie cry for a while, Toad finally said, "Aw, gee, Boss...that was the best trick I've seen you do in years!" He then chuckled wickedly as he poked Sleazy in the ribs.

Annie wanted to cry some more, but she let out a silent gasp as Mok pinned her to his bed, kissing & touching her wantonly...

Nuke York was indeed a big city, so it did take quite a while for Omar & his friends to get to Edith's tattoo parlor. Once they went inside, they were shocked to see the scene that lay before them. The lights had been turned off, the parlor was a wreck, & Aunt Edith lay still on the floor, blood seeping from her mouth.

"Oh, no," Dizzy cried as he rushed over to his beloved relative, "Aunt Edith!" The older woman let out a small moan as she stirred slightly in Dizzy's arms. "Please speak to me!" he pleaded, tears streaming from his bespectacled eyes. You can well imagine his relief & shock when Edith opened her eyes & got up on her feet, saying in her Nuke York accent, "I'm OK, Alphonse."

As the other kids watched on, Dizzy looked around the empty, demolished building, then ran up to his aunt as he asked anxiously, "How did this happen? Who did this to you?"

"That bastard Toad!" Edith snapped. "He came in here during the night & snatched Annie from right under my nose! That little mongrel..."

"We have to find her!" Stretch exclaimed. "But where could she be?" Suddenly, Angel let out a cry of shock as she pointed to the top of the Radioactive City Music Hall, on which a tiny figure could be seen hoisting up another over his head...

Annie tried to scream for help, but no matter how hard her lungs worked, no sound would burst forth from her lips. All she could do was cry as Mok spoke to the massive crowd that had gathered below: "Hear me, citizens of Nuke York! I, Mok, am back from the hellish world I was taken into! And I have come to tell you that—"

"You better drop my friend right now!" Omar screamed angrily, stepping forward. (You can well imagine the pleasantly-surprised expressions on his friends' faces upon realizing he had started to change his opinion about Annie.)

"With pleasure!" Mok immediately dropped Annie, & she hurtled towards the ground with a silent scream. Omar & the others averted their eyes for a moment, then looked back to see Annie's battered body crumpled on the pavement. A distraught Angel immediately burst into tears, as Dizzy & Stretch tried vainly to comfort her. Omar, however, was beside himself with rage...

Upon seeing Annie's motionless form stained with blood, Mok burst into demonic cackles, then looked up with a gasp, as Omar screamed maniacally, swinging his guitar towards him.

Mok tried to duck out of the way, but Omar was too quick for him. The musician tumbled off the rooftop, but managed to hold onto the ledge. Staring into Omar's enraged face, Mok laughed & smiled nervously as he said, "Oh, Omar, don't be so angry!"

"Why shouldn't I be?" Omar spat. "You killed my best friend!"

"Yes, but it was entirely an accident!" Mok tried to persuade. Omar glared, then raised his foot above Mok's wizened hands. With a crunch of his fingers, Mok screamed in pain, then let go of the ledge. He never saw the ground coming towards him...

When he was satisfied that Mok was finally dead, Omar smiled triumphantly, then rushed over to his friends, the Schlepper siblings following close behind. Angel, Dizzy, Aunt Edith, & Stretch were still grieving over Annie, & eventually, so did Cinderella & her three brothers, who really felt sorry for how they had treated her.

"I can't believe it," Stretch said, blowing his nose with Aunt Edith's moistened handkerchief. "Annie's gone..."—he sniffled, then hugged Angel & his friends—"she's gone forever!" The whole group started crying again, but Zip shed the most tears.

"Don't worry, Annie," Zip said in a choked voice, "you're OK now. This whole scary thing is over..." Still crying & whimpering, Zip went over to Annie's lifeless body, gingerly caressed her long golden hair, & tenderly placed his Uncle Mikey doll beside her. "There," he sniffled, patting her limp hand. "Now you won't be so lonely when you go to heaven..."

Unbeknownst to everyone, Mok's locket had broken during the fall, & slowly, Annie's voice floated back into her mouth. The girl moaned a little as she opened her eyes, then asked, "What's going on?" Upon hearing Annie speak, Omar, Angel, & the others gasped in delight, before going over to hug their beloved friend.

"Oh, Annie, you're OK!" Angel cried happily, embracing the girl.

"Just wait till Mr. Mylar hears about this!" Dizzy cried, rushing off. "I'll go call a cab right away!" Annie smiled, then remembered the Uncle Mikey doll Zip had given her. She offered it to the young man, but he smiled & handed it back to her as he said, "It's OK, you can keep it." Annie smiled back at Zip, then gave him another hug.

The TV in Mylar's office flickered a bit, before showing a black-&-white image of a news reporter, who droned, "It was chaos at Radioactive Music Hall, as Mok, the Magic Man, fell to his untimely death from the roof of his penthouse above..." Footage of Mok's unmoving body being taking by a coroner's vehicle started playing on the screen.

Mylar immediately spat out his wine. "Holy schizz, do my ears deceive me?! Mok" Immediately, Mylar took out his handkerchief, & dabbed his eyes as he said mournfully, "Oh, Mok...I was one of your biggest fans..." He sniffled a bit, before switching the TV off, & going outside.

Unbeknownst to Mylar, Aunt Edith's car had just pulled into the driveway. As Omar & everyone else got out, Aunt Edith said, "OK, kids, you're 'ohm sweet ohm' now!"

"Thank you so very much, Aunt Edith," Dizzy said gratefully. "I'll never forget this!"

"No problem, Alphonse," Edith said, before laughing wildly as she backed out, & began to drive back to Nuke York. Dizzy waved "goodbye" to his beloved aunt, before joining the others as they made their way into the nightclub.

"Mr. Mylar! Mr. Mylar!" Dizzy said happily, literally bouncing into the main room.

"This is no time to be happy!" Mylar snapped, wiping the tears off his face. "Don't you know that Mok is dead?"

"Actually, Mr. Mylar, there is good reason to be happy," Dizzy said, before gesturing grandly to Annie, who was smiling sweetly as she was dressed in a sparkling white gown. Mylar was shocked, & yet at the same time, pleasantly surprised. " that you?" Annie nodded, before going over to hug her uncle. Mylar immediately began to cry again, this time for joy, as he embraced his niece tightly & said, "Oh, Annie, I thought I'd never see you again!"

"Don't worry, Uncle Mylar, I'm OK." Annie kissed Mylar's nose, before hugging him once again.

Upon looking at the heartwarming sight, Omar, Stretch, Dizzy, & Angel all smiled at each other...then Omar remembered something. Going over to pick up his guitar, he handed it to Annie, smiling warmly as he said, "Why don't you show us your singing?" Annie was more than happy to oblige, & as her dainty fingers danced across the strings & her beautiful voice sang in perfect harmony, Omar smiled again, this time to himself. He was actually going to like having his new friend around.