Against All Odds

Story by Charity and Nathan Vasquez, and Dillon Decicio. This is an unofficial, fanfiction novel. Rated T for mischief, violence/gore, occasional profanity, and occasional adult themes. Please disregard the statements in previous chapters of this story being M rated. After extensive research and discussion, the former rating has been altered to better fit the content of the story.

Super Smash Bros. is (c) Nintendo and HAL Laboratory, Inc.

Sonic the Hedgehog and Co. (c) Sega

CHAPTER 8: IN COMPLETE CONTROL

Daisy stared out of the seat-side view port in sheer boredom. Space was only interesting for so long. After all, staring at tiny white dots scattered over a sea of unchanging blackness grew old very quickly, and the surging streaks of hyperspace were even less appealing to the eye. If anything they made her motion sick.

The princess sat back in her chair and closed her eyes, hoping to get some rest, but of course, that was wishful thinking. Just as she got comfortable, the yelling, screaming, and arguing that had been going on the entire time escalated, and a half-eaten banana flew over the seat back in front of her and hit her in the face. Daisy sat up quickly and reached to wipe the sticky fruit off, but Yoshi, who had been restlessly wandering the aisles and sneaking snacks from everybody, awkwardly shoved his way to her seat and licked the soggy mush from her face with a quick mopping of his tongue.

Daisy (taking a deep breath and pursing her lips to contain her disgust): …Thank you, Yoshi, I needed that.

At that instant, another banana flew over the seat back and landed on top of her head, after which a loud roar of laughter echoed from several rows in front. Falco peered over the headrest and pointed mockingly at the princess.

Falco (still laughing): Heheh… sorry, Tulip. I bet Peachy fifty clams she wouldn't tickle that hairy ape, and it turned out… (He paused to take in a breath before continuing.) We got her loaded up on those green mushrooms we stole from Mario's tool belt, so she actually did it, and now Donkey's gone berserk!

He fell over in his seat, still cracking up from the monkey shaking the entire transport. Daisy carefully plucked the soft fruit off of her head; but it was gone in Yoshi's gullet before she could drop it in the receptacle behind her row.

Daisy (Raising her voice to combat the cacophony): That doesn't explain the food someone's throwing back here!

An apple core landed squarely on her nose and rolled off onto the ground.

Falco (Yelling from behind the seat): Well, we need somewhere to throw our trash! There is a can back there, and don't blame me if Donkey misses!

Daisy (crossing her arms and shouting even louder): I swear you people have the intelligence of goldfish and the attention spans of second graders!

Falco: Hey, it took a lot of thought to organize this exactly right to get the most fun outta hitting you in the face with garbage!

Kirby (standing up on his seat in front of Daisy): Be quiet, pinhead! Some of us are trying to sleep here!

As he spoke the last word, the transport lurched forward, causing Daisy to hit her head on her tray table and Kirby to tumble to the floor.

Daisy (Rubbing her head and looking up to see Falcon rolling down the aisle in his blanket towards the back of the ship, and finally crashing into the bathroom door): What was that?

Pilot (over the intercom): Uh… sorry about that there folks, almost dozed off for a second there… accidentally hit the thrusters… but… uh… we should be fine. Enjoy your flight.

Daisy (leaning into the aisle and glancing back at the dazed Captain): At least one of us can sleep through almost anything…. (She turned to face the front again and yelled to Falco.) If you throw anything else back here, I'll pluck you bald, dip you in tar, and roll you in your own feathers, Dust Mop!

A pie tin filled with spray cheese sailed through the air and impacted its target.

Falco (holding a can of Cheese Whiz up): The monkey's the one throwing stuff!

Daisy (standing up, marching to Falco's row, and snatching the can from the bird's hand): Oh yeah, then where did you get this? (She chucked it at his head, and the can bounced off with a hollow clank before landing in the walkway and rolling down the aisle, tripping Falcon, who had gotten up and was beginning to hop back to his seat, still wrapped tightly in his blanket.) And I thought you were flying your Arwing! Why in the universe are you riding with us and wasting our valuable oxygen?

Falco (rubbing his head, but still snickering): I remotely jettisoned the emergency pods and docked my ship in the E-bay… emergency bay… (he continued talking as the transport tilted and Falcon slowly rolled back across the floor.) … Because I was getting bored and it's more fun to bother you guys.

Daisy: You did WHAT?

Captain Falcon rolled to the back of the transport along with the cheese can, coming to a sudden halt as he awkwardly tumbled into the wall next to the lavatory.

Falcon (mumbling): Oh bothers… I'll just sleep here.

He positioned himself to get comfortable, when the bathroom door swung open and slammed against his forehead.

Marth walked out of the lavatory and went to sit down, not even noticing Falcon was crunched behind the door. He flopped down in his chair and pulled out a newspaper, pretending to be interested in the headlines.

Marth (scanning the paper carefully): … So… canned cheese prices up.

Roy: Tell that to Mashihyuti washitami!

The two laughed heartily.

Kirby (inhaling to make himself look bigger): Hey! I told you meatheads to shush!

Popo (looking up from the aisle floor): Stop yelling! Me 'n Nana are trying to play cards!

Daisy (glancing down at the children): Don't you think it would be wise to play cards in a place where you won't get stepped on? (Nana and Popo both looked up at her with wide, puppy dog eyes.) Fine. Stay here and get trampled for all I care.

Daisy turned away and started heading back to her own seat, but not before another piece of trash hit her in the back. Furiously, the princess whirled around and stormed over to Falco's seat, leaning over the back.

What she found when she got there angered her even more. Falco had a collection of garbage piled on the floor in front of him, and he was keeping a steady stream of the discarded waste going to Donkey Kong. The ape was sitting in the row in front of Falco, next to Peach, who was laughing hysterically and keeping DK riled up enough that he threw every piece of trash that Falco gave him.

Daisy: Knock it OFF!

Falco: Or what? You'll use your flower power on me?

Daisy (smacking the article of garbage that he was holding out of his hands): Shut up Falco! People are trying to rest or at least have a semi comfortable ride until we get to the torture chambers, and that's kind of hard to do when it's raining rubbish!

Falco: Oh, I'm so sorry. I'd pick all of it up for you, but I'm afraid your enormous rear-end takes up the whole aisle! I'll just wait 'til we get there.

Daisy: Why you little—! (She raised her hand to smack him, but then decided it wasn't a very dignified thing to do. Instead, she balled her fists and took a deep breath.) Loser. (She started walking back to her seat.)

Falco (similarly raising his arm and balling his fist): What are you gonna do, your royal lowness? Throw your proclamations at me? Hah! You don't even have your own castle. At least Miss Mushroom has her own kingdom… (He spoke louder.) And even if she didn't, she could always fall into the hands of her darling marshmallow, go live with him and his parents, and have several hundred messed up little children.

Daisy: What the heck? You know what Falco? I think you're the one who's messed up. (She marched back to her seat and flopped down, muttering to herself.) I knew I should never have joined this accursed organization. This is what I get for being adventurous.

**On Galacia**

The canine and the bounty hunter trudged on through the icy wind, which menacingly paused every few minutes and picked up again as a faster breeze, carrying more powder with every frosty gust. Fox limped forward, barely able to walk through the deep snow blanketing the ground. He was holding his arm-no longer bleeding-tightly at his side.

As the duo passed a dune of white powder and scattered rocky hills, they were confronted with the path ahead-a seemingly endless expansion of nothing but wintry mounds and fields. There were mountains behind them and far in front of them, and many stone crannies every several hundred feet, but it was mostly a blank, untouched wilderness. The moonlight bounced wildly off of the terrain, revealing every grim detail about the difficulty of treading the course.

The disheartened fox looked forward at their route.

Fox: Sam, when do you think we'll be there? I'm really getting exhausted now….

Samus: It's a long trek, so I wouldn't expect to be there any earlier than next evening, but if we get caught in a storm we'll be in real trouble. That's why we have to hurry. (She kept walking through the silvery blue landscape, navigating over the slick rocks.)

Fox gazed once again at the trail before them, and quietly whimpered, exuding his breath in a faint cloud that was quickly blown away with the wind.

**At the Stadium**

Mario reluctantly led the band of strange animals to a hotel room, if only to get them out of his hair so that he could think straight. The female bat continued to push Mario to allow them to join, and at this point, the only excuse Mario had left was that it was time for bed. He stopped in front of a room, unlocked it with a card key, and threw the door open to reveal the suite that Rouge had promised to pay for despite the protests of her travel companions.

Mario (tossing the keycard on the floor in the room): Well, here it is. You get what you pay for. And so far, none of you have paid anything, so you can go in there, but you have to sleep on the floor until I get my many pesos.

Knuckles: Oh, we have to pay in pesos? I didn't think we would, so… I didn't bring any.

Mario stared at him as his own eyelids fell and rose out of sync.

Mario (turning to Rouge): Is he serious?

Rouge: Yes. (She leaned over and whispered in Mario's ear.) Don't mind Knuckles. He's slightly lacking in the intelligence department.

Mario: Listen here, batty girl, I control all the departments here, and I don't recall ever seeing an intelligence department.

Rouge smirked and Shadow raised an eyebrow.

Rouge: Well, I guess that's good then. Perhaps I can be your entrepreneur. (She winked.)

Mario: … Just go to your room.

As Mario began to push the door open fully, a blue blur rushed by into the suite and hastily inspected its every quality.

Sonic: Where's the TV, and the tiny refrigerator? I need some place to keep my shoes fresh while I'm dozin'! And I need somethin' I can watch while I put my feet up and relax. Oh, and where's the beanbag I need to relax on? There's not nearly enough running space….

Mario (struggling to keep his eyes open): Look, it's not like we actually care about the customer here, okay? The stadium is closed anyway! I typed in "last minute freeloader suite, party size of doesn't matter, children: expected to act as such, payment type: stupid" into the central computer thing we just hooked up the other day, and this is the room you got. It's how the system works, and if you have a problem with that, well, then you can just stay somewhere else, Speedy.

Rouge: Oh he doesn't have a problem with it at all. It'll be perfect.

Shadow: . . . I am afraid that I disagree.

Rouge (irritably) : Just work with me here, Shadow.

The black hedgehog crossed his arms.

Rouge: Oh, don't be so pouty. Sharing a room isn't so bad.

Mario: Yeah, Darkness. You and your vampire friend can share the closet.

Tails: Just because he's colored evil and has an evil voice and has evil intentions half the time doesn't make him evil! And Rouge is just weird.

Mario: Hey, you're almost annoying as another fox I know… except you have two tails and are… um… apparently "different."

Sonic: He's not like that, he just doesn't know any better. He's young!

Tails (shooting confused glances between Mario and Sonic): … What are you talking about?

Mario: I don't care at this point anymore. You're all different in some special way that's making me angry. Oh, I know what it is! You won't BE QUIET AND GO TO SLEEP! Leave me alone already, and be good little freaks and play nicely in your room. Please.

Rouge (getting behind Mario and quickly ushering him out the door): Now, now. No need to get upset. I'll handle everything and we'll see you tomorrow to sign up. Goodnight, thank you, and sweet dreams, Sugar. (She slammed the door and turned around to face the group, sighing and slumping to the floor.) Thank goodness that's over with. I've never seen anybody so worked up about such silly little things.

Sonic: … So when you say silly little things….

Knuckles: We don't usually get along, treasure hunter!

Sonic: Yeah, and me and Shady here don't exactly make a happy bunch. (He flopped down on the unmade bed.) We'll have to be friends for now, so no underhanded business! You guys'll tell us why you're really here. We can talk about joining this here health club later… (He leaned back and kicked off his shoes.) which I never said I wanted to join anyway. Looks like you got us all in a bind, Rouge!

Rouge: Well you're the ones who wanted a vacation, and I'm trying to get us the best deal possible. Preferably free.

Shadow: Rouge…your "charm" doesn't seem to be working on Mario. (He walked over to the corner and leaned against the wall.) It would be best to leave now before you end up getting us into something that we can't get out of.

Rouge: Oh, Shadow, you're just being difficult. (She made her way to a chair and took a seat.) If we can join, we'll have benefits. That's how major, well-run organizations work.

Shadow (scowling): This place doesn't strike me as well-run.

Rouge: So the boss was pushy and disgruntled. (She put her hands on her hips.) That shouldn't be a big deal.

Sonic: Yeah, that's great and all, but I dig the way you dodged my question. Why are you following us?

Rouge: . . . (She paused and smiled.) I'm not following you.

Sonic: … … … Oh. Well there you go. (He rested his head on his arms and laid back.)

Knuckles: Wait! Earlier today, you said you were following me because you thought I knew where treasure was, then you said you were following Shadow. Who are you following, and why?

Rouge: Well I was following you for the treasure. Then I started following Shadow. Now I think that all of you boys are following me.

Sonic exploded with laughter.

Tails: … I don't get it.

Knuckles: Enough playing around, Rouge! Your flirting won't get you far this time!

Rouge: Well, flirting or no flirting, I got us this room didn't I? (She stuck her nose in the air.) I think you should be more appreciative of me.

Knuckles (clenching his fists and gritting his teeth): You're pushing it, Rouge!

Sonic: Why do you have such a problem with answering a little question? Doesn't matter, I'll just have to get it out of you another way. You up for another hot dog contest, Shadow?

Shadow (glaring): No.

Sonic: Well I got enough energy in me to run a mile! I'm not going to sleep until you nuts crack!

Tails: But Sonic… I'm tired.

Rouge (leaning back in her chair and patting her hand to her mouth): So am I. Maybe we should call it a day, huh? (She opened one eye to look at Sonic.)

Knuckles: Fine then! I'm not taking my eye off you! I'll stay up and make sure you don't pull anything funny!

Sonic: Give it up, Knuckles. If she's really that insecure….

Rouge: Well it seems to me that you boys are the insecure ones. Interrogating an innocent lady as if she were a common criminal.

Knuckles: You are a common criminal! You can't be trusted!

Sonic: Aw, forget her. I think we'll get more out of Shadow than we will some dumb ol' bat. (He turned over in the bed to face Shadow.) So, are you gonna talk or are we gonna have to beat it out of you?

Shadow: Hmph. We both know there's nothing you can do to me. (He shook his head.) Besides, you don't need to know why I'm here.

Sonic: Y'know, the whole thing's kinda stupid… you're following me, and I know it… in fact, we're sleeping in the same room, and you won't tell me why? That's not cool.

Shadow (glowering): I'm not sharing a room with you because I want to. You'll have to take that one up with Rouge.

Sonic: You really have to pay more attention, Shadow. All Rouge does is talk in circles to get out of whatever corner she's in, and that paired with her overzealous attempts of using her body to distract kinda takes her out of our little picture. (He glanced at Rouge.) And I'm no philosopher, but I think one who uses so much makeup is called a tramp!

Rouge (gasping): I can NOT believe you just called me that! You have absolutely no respect for women!

Shadow: Just be quiet, Rouge.

Rouge: Huh! I can't believe you're taking sides with him! You and me always stick together.

Shadow: I don't know where you get your delusions, but just so that there's no confusion, I really don't care about what happens to you.

Rouge: What?

Sonic: Hehe. See, Rouge? Even your own partner is fed up with you!

Tails: Do you think that in her own mind, she sees herself as good looking?

Sonic: Whoa, Tails! (He leaned over and raised his hand.) High-five, buddy!

Rouge (standing up and stomping her foot): Of all the ill-mannered, disrespectful, downright rude

Shadow: Drop it.

Rouge: But didn't you hear what they just said? What a lot of nerve!

Shadow: I don't think you should complain. You got us the room.

Sonic: Yeah, Rouge. Don't scowl so much, you might get a wrinkle.

Rouge: Oh! That's it! (She stormed into the bathroom and locked the door.) A few minutes later they heard the water turn on. Shadow smirked, but didn't comment.

Knuckles: Now, Shadow, you can tell us why you're here! We've got you outnumbered!

Shadow (grin fading): Hm. That doesn't bother me.

Sonic: C'mon, Shadow. Don't be like Rouge. The only difference is we can beat you up without being nagged to death!

Shadow (scowling): If you tried to fight me, it would hardly be a fair match for your friends. (He uncrossed his arms and straightened up.)

Sonic: Well, maybe for Tails, but we're in a hotel room! Knuckles could knock your lights out easily while I run circles around you!

Shadow: I think you've forgotten who I am. (He closed his eyes.) And anyway…you'll find out soon enough why I'm here.

Sonic: … I don't really care. (He reclined on the bed.) It's just weird that you would be following me when I'm on vacation.

Shadow: . . .

**On the Transport**

Kirby: Are we there yet?

The pilot peered over his shoulder at the little pink balloon and frowned.

Kirby: … How 'bout now?

Pilot: Look, kid. It's hard enough stayin' awake since we've been flyin' so long. The last thing I need is a bubble gum ball followin' me around and pokin' me askin' when we'll get there.

Kirby: Hmph. But it's boring out there. At least you could turn on some really loud music on the radio.

Pilot (chuckling): Haha… that's what you said about the air conditioning. And my answer's not changin' to either of 'em… it don't work, kid!

Kirby thought about sucking him up, but decided against it after remembering what happened last time the uncoordinated Bros. had to pilot a transport. He sighed heavily, took a seat next to the pilot, and buckled up.

Pilot: … Kid, you can't be up here. I got sensitive instruments and stuff goin'.

Kirby: Well I'm NOT going back in the cabin!

—Meanwhile—

Daisy tried desperately not to fall asleep. She had made that mistake before, and she wasn't about to do it again. She watched and listened anxiously as objects sailed through the cabin, splattering or breaking on the walls, and every few seconds, somebody screamed in pain or anger.

She observed with an arched brow as Peach clumsily wrestled the huge, hairy ape through the aisle, stumbling and falling all over with every move. Finally the two of them just tumbled by, and Captain Falcon was flattened into the floor for the hundredth time in twelve minutes. Daisy wanted to order the others back to their seats, since she was certain that they would be there soon, but the princess also knew that the cabin fever-infected bunch would probably turn on her. Instead she got up and wandered down the aisle to the cockpit, stepping over the minefield of garbage and flailing bodies.

Daisy (peering through the door): Excuse me, sir, but are we almost there? I don't know how much longer I can hold down the fort.

Pilot: Okay, princess. If you people will quit asking… we'll be there in about 30 minutes.

Kirby: Hey! You could've told me that!

Daisy: What a relief. (She sat on the floor next to the pilot seat.)

Pilot: You guys aren't even allowed in here! Is it that bad back there?

Kirby: I'm surprised that you can't hear it up here. (As Kirby spoke, an egg came sailing from behind the bunch and messily shattered upon the control panel.) Where are they getting eggs from?

Daisy (rubbing her forehead in distress): Yoshi….

Falco (shouting and laughing hysterically from the cabin): How can he even lay eggs? He's a freaking GUY!

Kirby (peering over the back of the seat and speaking innocently): So? Captain Falcon is a guy, and most of what he does, only girls do.

Falcon (in a muffled voice from the floor): For your information, Pinky, makeup makes me very attractive to the ladies!

Daisy (her expression distorting with disgust as she tried not to gag): Maybe to the ladies inside your head. And the fact that you have ladies in your head explains a lot.

The ship lurched to the side as the pilot burst out in laughter, but he quickly ceased and steadied the craft.

Pilot (chuckling slightly as his kept his sight on the monitors): Heheh… you're not just makin' fun of him, you're makin' fun of him intelligently. That makes you… like… a comedic genius, or somethin'.

Falcon (calling from behind): Then what does that make me?

Falco: A monkey.

Donkey Kong growled and chucked a barrel at Falco, who nimbly dodged.

Falco: I didn't mean that all monkeys are ugly, spandex-wearing losers! Just… well… I suppose we'll have to put the Cap'n in a category of his own.

Daisy (nodding in total agreement): Excellent idea. I just wonder…is there any space for another category below single-celled organisms?

Kirby (acting scientific): I don't think he's an organism as much as he is hot air filling a tight, misshapen rubber balloon that simply takes up space and leaks out a stupid comment every once in awhile.

Daisy (with a flat expression as her eyebrow twitched): Um..yeah….

**At the Stadium**

Shadow did not allow himself to fall asleep all night, and although he didn't know it, neither did anyone else except for Rouge and Tails. The tension and distrust that hovered in the room and weighed on everyone's spirits kept Sonic, Knuckles, and Shadow wide awake long past the early morning hours.

The room was dark with the lights off and the curtains closed, but Shadow knew when the morning had arrived by the sound of people's voices in the hallway and the warbling songs of birds flowing in from outside. He opened his eyes slightly, just enough to stare at the dull pattern on the wallpaper, and he found that he was relieved. The night had been nightmarishly long, and the knowledge that everyone would soon be up and about made the hedgehog feel less trapped.

He got up quietly, scanning the room briefly before walking towards the door. His shoes made a soft padding noise against the dirty carpet as he moved, and the sound was enough to catch the attention of those who were awake.

Sonic: Hey Shady! (He yawned.) Where you headed to so fast?

Shadow (pausing to glance over his shoulder): Staying in here is pointless. I'm going to find that man….

Sonic: That stumpy guy? What do you want with him?

Shadow: Now that we've been dragged into this, I have some questions for him.

Sonic (looking up at the ceiling): I'm seeing less and less of a point in being here anyway. Sure, it's been fun poking Rouge around, but… this was hardly my idea of a little R and R.

Shadow: Hmph. Regardless, now I am forced to deal with the situation that Rouge has put us in…and that's what I intend to do. (He started walking out of the room and down the hallway, still talking to Sonic as he went.) There may be some use in staying here. Although I disagree with Rouge that joining is the best idea, we may learn something from these people. Even though it seems impossible from first glance.

Sonic (since he was still on the bed, Sonic began talking louder to reach Shadow): So now we're stuck in a lousy after-school special thanks to Rouge, and we're supposed to learn some heart-warming lesson by the end of the day? Or did you actually plan to come here?

Shadow: . . . I intended to come as you did. (He glanced over his shoulder slightly as he walked.) And I doubt there is any heartwarming lesson to learn here. But perhaps there is something more useful.

Sonic (almost yelling): Like what?

Tails (sleepily): Sonic! Please stop shouting!

Knuckles (from a chair in the corner): What's going on?

Shadow (halting for a minute when he heard everyone in the room talking behind him, he waited for a minute before it was quiet again, and then he answered Sonic, still speaking in a relatively quiet tone): Sometimes there are lessons to learn that are unseen. (He paused and decided to answer Knuckles as well.) If you must know what's going on, Knuckles, I am going to find Mario.

Knuckles: Okay. I'll go with you.

Shadow stood silent as a squeak sounded from Knuckles' chair and the wary echidna emerged from the room. The black hedgehog raised an eyebrow at Knuckles and waited for a minute before turning to begin walking again.

Shadow: If you wish.

Shadow half-expected Sonic to try to come along as well, but he wasn't about to ask, because he didn't want to make the journey any more chaotic than it was bound to be. His bright red companion walked next to him, although neither knew exactly where they were headed… or what they were getting into.

Knuckles: This is a strange place. It's like a big mall with an amusement park, but everything is just a side attraction to the coliseum. (He waited for Shadow to reply, but the hedgehog didn't respond.) So, you wouldn't tell Sonic and the others, and neither would Rouge, but… are you here following us, or are you here for a reason not involving us? At least tell me that, Shadow.

Shadow (taking quite a long while to say anything): My business is my own, but if you think I'd come here to have fun, then you're wrong. If you must know, I have been sent here for scientific research.

Knuckles: What I'm getting at is are you researching us or this planet?

Shadow: I'm not researching you, so don't worry about it. (The black hedgehog scowled.)

Knuckles: That's good to know.

They turned a corner, only to reveal another corridor of hotel rooms.

Knuckles: … Do you know where we're going?

Shadow: …I do have a vague sense of direction that allows me to recall places I've been before. (He frowned, staring straight ahead as they got onto the elevator and punched in the number of the first floor. As the door closed, Shadow turned and looked at Knuckles.) We are going to Mario's office.

**In the Main Office**

Again, mushrooms pranced about the room, singing a merry little tune. Then a dark, ominous figure emerged from the corner, growing like an inflating balloon, and ultimately engulfing the helpless plumber. But this time, it popped. A vast field of lush green grass appeared. In the distance behind stood a sturdy wall, and in the expanse ahead, thousands and thousands of shadows, growing like the one in the room.

Mario awoke calmly this time, forgetting his perplexing dreams almost instantly as the open magazine resting on his nose slid off to the floor. The sleepy plumber grudgingly lifted his hand to view his watch.

Mario: Crap! Why is it so early? (He threw the watch to the floor.) Stupid watch. Must be broken.

He reached over to pick up the fallen catalog from the floor and placed it back over his face. Sighing and closing his eyes, he scratched his mustache and folded his hands on his chest… then his ear twitched as a barely audible click came from the door.

Mario (His voice slightly muffled): … Why is someone coming into MY office in the middle of my sleep time when I should be sleeping and that someone coming into my office should be DEAD?

Mario was answered by a cold voice.

Shadow: Hmph. If anyone should be upset it's me. I could have drowned in your theme park. And besides…. You haven't been treating any of us very well since we've gotten here. (Shadow crossed his arms and observed the fat plumber's expression.)

Mario (the magazine bobbing as he speaks): So what? Now you've come to lodge a complaint at this hour? If your room smells, too bad! As far as I can remember, you haven't even PAID for your room!

Shadow (walking over and stopping right beside the couch, his arms remaining folded): I remember Rouge saying that she would pay you for it. (The creature's voice seemed slightly annoyed.) I think that a life or death matter needs to be addressed, but even so, that's not what I came here for. I came to clarify some things. Apparently you run this operation, and it seems to have some sort of potential, as useless or minuscule as it might be. I want to find out just how we sign up. There's no reason to hide our abilities if we are going to stay here anyway.

The man was quiet from under the periodical. Knuckles plodded in through the open door and stood next to Shadow, observing the strange character with the reading material on his head.

Knuckles: Life or death situation? Shadow, if you're here for that kind of research, we have the right to know what you're doing.

Mario: … Um… yeah. What was the part about life or death again?

Shadow: (glaring) I was only referring to the pools of water in the park. But that's not important right now. Tell me what I need to do to join here.

Mario: Well gee, I clearly wasn't paying attention to your mindless dribble! (He vaguely pointed across the room to a wall with a posted sign on it.) See? It says you do everything at your own risk. (He began reciting the 'fine print' from memory in a mocking tone.) "The Super Smash Brothers, including (but not limited to) the Brothers Mario, are not liable for any damages, pains, aches, regrets, disappointments, etc. mentally, physically, or otherwise resulting from you doing anything within Stadium property. In other words, it's all your fault." So if you almost drown in a fountain, you must have some sort of condition.

Shadow (maintaining his glare): I hope this isn't how you treat your PAYING customers. (The hedgehog growled in irritation.) I'm willing to work with you if you let me, but I warn you not to get in my way.

Mario: Now what are you talking about, your way? I still don't know why you just BARGED into my office in the middle of who knows what time it is.

The hedgehog lowered his arms and clenched his fists.

Shadow: I came in here to talk to you about your organization. But apparently talking isn't something that they train you in the circus.

Mario: Pretty big words coming from a real circus freak. Do you happen to know that you're a black and red-striped hedgehog who can't swim and talks like he's narrating a movie commercial? Admitting is the first step, oh queen of the darned. So go ahead, talk to me about my wonderful organization.

Shadow: … I want to know what the process is for our team to join.

Mario gasped and nearly choked on the martini he'd rather be drinking at that moment than listening to the shady character.

Mario (sitting up, the magazine sliding to his lap): SO you really do want to JOIN? Well, Mr. I'm-such-a-cool-guy-'cause-I-can-pretend-to-control-my-temper, it's a very long and complicated process. Most people die. You might as well just give up now.

Shadow (stepping towards Mario, his red eyes glinting in annoyance):Hmph. You think I can't stand up to whatever challenge you give us? I can't speak for the others, but I know what I'm doing.

Mario (chuckling sarcastically): You have YET to prove you know what you're doing… you just randomly waltz in here one day, almost sue me for your own incompetence and lack of ability to swim, and you want to join. It's like a broken record… you won't GO AWAY!

Shadow (seeing no more reason to waste his time with the portly baffoon in charge): Come on, Knuckles. Let's go.

He turned away from Mario to face the bright red echidna, and he was about ready to start walking to the door when he heard an odd, high pitched buzzing noise, and a thin, radiant beam suddenly shot down though the ceiling.

The little beam stayed still for a brief moment, then it started to burn a circle in the floor around Knuckle's feet. When the beam shut off, vanishing and leaving its mark, Shadow raised an eyebrow, and although he wasn't aware of it, Knuckles and Mario bore the same dumbfounded expression as they stared at the burnt ellipse.

Shadow was about to start walking again, when he heard another sound: a faint pounding noise that began to grow louder and louder with each thump. The trio looked up, and without warning, the carved-out circular section of the roof gave way in a spray of asbestos as an unidentified object crashed through, crushing Knuckles beneath it.

Mario and Shadow hadn't moved, nor had their expressions changed, and they stared down at the hole in the floor as the dust began to clear.

Coated heavily in the white powder from head to toe, the janitor's head emerged from the hole, coughing. When he noticed that he was being watched and couldn't just sneak away unnoticed, he felt the need to explain.

Jan: ….I (He sputtered again.) Must have swept too hard. (He crawled out of the hole and onto the floor, accidentally stepping on Knuckles' face in the process.) Darn laser guided brooming system…must have forgotten to change the setting from kill to stun….

Mario (staring blankly): … I didn't know there was anything above my office.

Jan (brushing himself off): There isn't.

Mario: So you were sweeping the roof?

The janitor began walking away slowly, Knuckles grunting from the weight of his boot squishing its imprint into his face.

Jan: Guess so…. Well, better go get back to work….

His voice faded off as he left the room.

**On the Transport**

The pilot rested his chin in his hand, leaning against the sensitive instruments on the control panel and gripping the flight stick weakly with his other. He yawned and looked around. At least six more Bros. had decided to rest up, the odd individuals strewn randomly about the cockpit.

He took a deep breath and sighed right as a faint beeping came from the controls.

Kirby (sleepily, but still awake): … What's that?

Pilot: Eh, how the heck should I know. Stuff makes noise like that all the time. Don't worry, kid… it'll stop after awhile.

Kirby: Oh okay.

Marth (twisting his head around to see the pilot from his awkward spot under his seat): Should you be worried?

Pilot: Oh, right. I guess I should. (He sits up straight, takes a long, drawn-out breath, and lunges for the panel, grasping the stick tightly and randomly slamming his finger down on blinking lights and buttons.) Oh no! We're in trouble! One of these many lights is blinkin', and it's probably somethin' bad!

Peach (screaming as the pilot started hammering spastically on the panel, causing MORE alarms and buttons to go off): What are you doing? (She dove at him and wrapped her arms around his neck in terror, screaming even louder.) You're making it worse! You're making it WORSE!

The shrieking princess tightened her grip, air-headedly unaware that she wasn't helping the situation.

Pilot (choking): I—I WAS JUST KIDDIN'! Lemme go! (He coughed.)

Unfortunately, the pilot was not heard over the screaming princess, and all the other Bros. started to awake. Over the rising buzz of chatter, a voice finally yelled out, "Oh no! We're gonna die!" and the whole cockpit broke into an uproar of flailing limbs and angry shouts. Marth squealed and shoved himself back under the seat as Falco tackled the pilot, pulling Peach down along with them and snapping the back of the headrest. Kirby puffed himself up and broke out of his seat belt, ripping it from the seat and swinging it wildly.

Daisy, ever the helpless onlooker tried to yell to get everyone's attention, but when nobody listened, and the princess realized that now there was nobody actually flying the ship, she tried to desperately shove her way through to get there. She had no experience in flying a ship of course, but she knew that even though they may not have been in trouble before, they certainly were now.

Snatching Kirby's seat belt as he was still swinging it, she jerked it away, taking the little pink balloon with it, and she thrust it forward to knock Yoshi off of the dash that he was now sitting on as he covered his head and trembled in terror. With Kirby acting like the end of a mace, he slammed into Yoshi and sent the dinosaur crashing into Donkey Kong, who was beating his chest.

Daisy let go of the seat belt at that point, causing DK to be knocked backwards, bowling over several other Bros. as the princess flopped down in the pilot's seat and tried to yell over the pandemonium.

Daisy: FALCO HOW DO YOU FLY THIS D*MN THING?

Falco was too busy beating the pilot senseless to hear Daisy… throwing every excuse he had to at him to do so, and why he should have been the pilot in the first place. Popo yelled loudly and jumped up onto the broken seat, holding his hammer high above his head, then bringing it down repeatedly on Daisy. Donkey Kong attempted to regain his footing, only to topple over again and squish Falcon against the side of the cockpit, pressing into several buttons and levers, causing the ship to shake violently. The vibrations shook loose a piece of the flat ceiling, which crashed down on Falco and the pilot. The blue bird let go of the disgruntled man and turned to knock Daisy out of the seat with a swift kick to the side, but Kirby bounced off of a wall panel and came rocketing towards him, hitting him in the back of the head and knocking him straight into the princess, swiveling the seat around and crunching Marth beneath.

Falco: JUST TELL ME WHAT THE FLIGHT COMPUTER SAYS!

Daisy (painfully throwing the pile of Bros. off of her and trying to get out of the contortion that had resulted from the sudden outburst): I don't know! (She clawed her way through the mound of limp victims and grasped for the controls where the screen was, and through the arms and legs, she found a place to look through, and she shouted as best she could.) It says WARNING!

Before Daisy could read the rest of the small print under the over-sized blinking letters, Kirby rose out of the mound of arms and legs, thrashing about wildly and finally taking a deep breath, inhaling nearly half of the Bros., then blowing them all out furiously… causing a mass of bodies to slam against the side of the cockpit, making the ship lurch even more. Falco found himself wrapped awkwardly around Daisy's head, who was desperately smashing every button and pulling every lever she could to hopefully regain control of the vessel. The ship itself had started spinning as it continued straight on its course due to Kirby's exhaling.

Peach's screaming still hadn't ceased, and sounded as if it was going to continue for the remainder of the flight. Daisy was desperately struggling, trying to find the pilot in all the commotion, and having no luck. She called out for him several times, but since she did not know his name, all she could do was scream "hey you" and "pilot guy."

She was also trying to locate Falco, so that she could pummel him if the ship ever stopped spinning, but as it was, there was little chance of her even standing up straight for more than half a second, much less find anyone.

Daisy: Somebody do something!

In response she received several shouts of rage and annoyance from half the Bros. and screams of pain and terror from the rest, the disgruntled characters tumbling through the space as if they were in a cement truck. Zooming past her, the pilot crashed into the control panel, reaching out and grasping one of the many levers to keep from flying about the cockpit… pulling it all the way and activating the warp thrusters. The overhead lights dimmed as the majority of power was drawn to the engine and the chaos gradually shifted backwards.

Pilot: … Oops….

Daisy (eyes widening): You did NOT just say oops! Tell me you didn't say oops!

Pilot: Okay. Crap.

Kirby (twirling in a vortex above Daisy's head slowly): Is there a problem?

As if to answer the question, the lush green surface of the planet Rylan IV appeared in the viewport, growing larger and more detailed as the ship came closer.

Daisy: Look what you did, Kirby! We're gonna crash because of you!

Kirby: Me? Falco's the one who dropkicked the pilot!

The cacophony of the Bros. exploded once again as they noticed the fast approaching planet in the window.

Peach (running in circles as best she could, despite not really being able to move. She ended up dragging people with her as she scrambled about, flailing her arms): I told you we were going to die!

Ness: Who said anything about we? Pilot… isn't there a way to make the engine stop involving shoving someone into it?

Pilot (observing Rylan IV drawing nearer in the viewport): … well, we could try.

Peach: No no no no!

Yoshi: Falcon! We can use Falcon!

Daisy: No! Wait—yes—I mean NO! We can't stop the engine! THAT will only make us fall faster!

Pilot: Oh, we're that close to it already? I didn't even notice.

Falco (strangling Donkey Kong): PLEASE tell me you're being sarcastic!

Pilot (correcting his posture in his seat and pressing buttons randomly): I guess I should turn on the landing sequence. That usually helps things, right?

Daisy: Landing procedure?

Peach: Landing procedure? How could you think of landing at a time like this?

Daisy (shoving peach out of the cockpit): I thought we were spiraling out of control? Do you mean to tell me that we were never in any danger whatsoever?

Pilot: … Okay first off I said landing sequence… and no, not really. Just gotta straighten the ship if we don't wanna land upside-down.

Daisy (smacking the pilot on the back of the head): Your fired!

Yoshi: You can't fire me, I quit!

Peach (shoving her way through the crowd back into the room): You can't quit! Who will carry me across the kingdom on Mario's days off?

Yoshi: Mario has days off?

Daisy: If you've forgotten he's the only one with days off! Now get out!

Yoshi: Me? No! I quit! Now you have to treat me with dignity and respect!

Nana: Diggity and 'spect? What's that?

Daisy: Would you get out of here?

Nana started crying.

Peach: Now look what you did! (She knelt down and patted Nana's shoulder.) There, there. Evil Daisy will never scare you again. I promise.

Daisy: Get out so people can think! If that's possible! (She got behind Peach and Nana, and shoved them together into a group with nearly all of the remaining Bros. in the cabin, forcing them out the door in a tangled pile. She turned back around and pointed at the control panel, shouting to Falco, who was the only one left in the room besides Daisy and the pilot.) Land!

Pilot: Don't I get a second opinion?

Falco pressed the safety button on the bottom of the pilot's seat, causing it to slam forward and embed the man's head in the control panel.

Pilot: … Ouch.

Falco (sitting atop the collapsed chair and flicking several overhead switches): Looks like he had it on autopilot the whole time.

Daisy (grabbing the pilot's shirt collar and shaking him violently while his head rolled around limply) I can't believe you did this to us! How could you mess around like that? People were really scared you know? We'll sue!

Pilot (his voice muffled): I told you morons I was kiddin' in the first place! A guy in my line of work oughtta have a sense of humor! It's not my fault none of you can take a joke! I should be the one to sue… I think my head's broken.

Daisy: Oh, it was just your head? Here, lemme break everything else.

She went on shaking him the entire time that Falco was landing the ship.

**On Galacia**

The sun soared in the Galacian sky, but it's golden light never reached the ground. The planet, thrust into turmoil, seemed to be trying to right itself. At least, that's what Samus imagined. It was tossing and turning, like a child in disturbed slumber, trying to escape from something only it could see. Unfortunately, this nightmare would be made real in short time.

Even still, Samus found it difficult to imagine the blistering ice rock that they stood on now would be engulfed in flame. All she could think about now was the chapping wind and the ice, tearing by them violently. Visibility had been reduced to zero, and sheets of pure white swallowed everything. Samus and Fox frequently tripped over even small obstacles, unable to see them clearly in the storm. The cold bit so intensely, that even though Samus' suit regulated the temperature over her skin, she still felt an odd chill. Glancing over at Fox though, she knew this minor discomfort was nothing compared to what the anthropomorphic animal was going through.

Ice and snow covered every fur on his coat, making him look almost as white as the snowy world around them, except for where the caked packs of frozen water separated slightly, revealing hints of brown underneath.

Fox (stumbling on a snowdrift): Samus, couldn't we have flown over all this instead of walking all the way to wherever the heck we're going? (He snapped an icicle off the end of his nose and whimpered.) I'm beginning to think this was a really stupid idea.

Samus (answering him loudly to be heard over the roar of the wind that threatened to lift both the huntress and her companion off the ground and send them hurtling away): There weren't any safe places to land outside of the mountain range. The lowlands were the only place we could get to that had any good sort of landing site large enough to accommodate the whole ship. You can't land on the side of a mountain or the sheer face of a cliff. Not to mention the winds in the valleys is much stronger than in the foothills because the surrounding mountains channel it in. It's too dangerous to land in this area.

She tried to lift her feet above the deep snow, but only succeeded in trudging through it, leaving a line behind her instead of footprints.

Fox (mumbling): Stupid snow… stupid cold, stupid ship. My Arwing could easily have landed anywhere in this stupid place….

Samus: Yeah, well next time we come here, providing we survive this, you'll have to prove it. Then I can laugh when you crash in the white out.

Fox: Easy for you to say, survive. You're in a suit of armor and I'm in a fashionable but nonetheless useless getup… and yet you still do nothing. I would have been better off in that cave or in the Sheegoth's stomach. (He sneezed.) Hmph. I'll take the sky any day… this is just plain stupid.

Samus (laughing, although she didn't mean to): I do nothing? Well, I would, but you haven't suggested anything. What do you want me to do? I could make you some hot cocoa, or do you like tea? Maybe you'd like some coffee and a rug by a cabin fireplace? Or a fuzzy blankie with teddy bears on it? (She smirked, though Fox wouldn't be able to tell.) There are about ten thousand ways to keep warm. A quarter of which are only recommended to professionals, another quarter of which are a little impossible at the moment, another quarter of which could be considered less than functional, the last quarter of which would leave scars. Some of the methods have a lemony aftertaste, but it's a universal truth that most warming techniques are probably not good ideas anyway.

Fox (after a bout of feigned laughter): Yeah, or you could die and I could cut you open and live inside you until this snowball melts.

Samus: Yeah… (She made a brief hissing sound through her teeth.) …That would fall under the "not a good idea" category.

Fox (chuckling despite his discomfort): I think that would be the best thing for everyone involved. Your insides would be awfully nasty though… full of crap. (He paused for a moment then sniffled.) Come to think of it, I think it was warmer under that rock….

Samus: Now, you know what would have been the best for everyone? I should club you over the head and roast you for dinner. You probably taste like you smell though…which needless to say is not a good thing.

Fox: I'm sure you've gone for weeks without changing your jumpsuit, or maybe even your armor before. And despite the disputable theory that you're a woman, you've probably smelled worse than your dragon's breath… which I'm sure you're quite familiar with anyways. You just can't tell because you're so used to it in your face. And also your stupid suit makes it more comfortable in there than most five-star hotels.

Samus: Doesn't make me not hungry though. (She laughed and replaced her footing after almost tripping on a snow-concealed stone.) And since my suit is so much like a five-star hotel, I always smell like a rose. Unlike you, the aromatically challenged. Or would it be more like aromatically corrupted?

Fox: Aromatically superior is the word you're looking for. At least I attract members of my own species… and no, Captain Falcon doesn't count in your case.

Samus: I'm so good I attract members of all species, even obsolete and unnecessary ones. Captain Falcon case in point. I'm like the piece of pie everyone wants, but no one, namely greasy monkeys, stumpy bubble gum, or you, can have.

Fox (laughing): Haha… me want you? That's like the king of all things handsome wanting a clump of dirt. I'm sure you remember making 'mud pies' as a little kid? Well, I think that phrase would fit in perfectly with what you just said.

Samus: Poor little Fox. I can't believe you're still in denial.

Fox: I'm not the one in denial, you always dodge my insults and never defend yourself decently. I think everything I say about you is true, simply because you make it seem like that. Or maybe you're just too immature to argue properly.

Samus (giving it everything she had to avoid collapsing in the snow and breaking out in uncontrolled laughter): Yup. Denial. This "mud-pie" is pure chocolate, and you know it.

Fox: … I hate chocolate. (His voice faded as he looked around, observing what little he could of the bleak terrain.) … Makes me sick to my stomach.

Samus (rolling her eyes over-dramatically and speaking in snide a tone that suggested it): Sure that's not the butterflies?

Fox: There's a word for people like you… starts with a B and ends with an itch.

Samus (sneering): Just your type huh?

Fox: No, I prefer things with enough morality to stick to their own kind… and with enough common decency to not lock their comrades in a freaking closet for several dozen hours. I also prefer things with more intelligence than your average female you can pick up on the streets of Earth after nine p.m.

Samus (no longer being entertained): You deserved being locked in that closet, and you do now too, come to think of it. (She scooped up a ball of snow and contemplated throwing it at Fox's head in hopes that it was already freezing solid.) If I were like those girls, Captain Falcon wouldn't still be suffering now would he? Nor would just about everyone else. (She tested the strength of the ball by squeezing it slightly.)

Fox: Heheh, I don't know, Sam… I wouldn't be surprised. It's always the ones who think they're better than everyone else you've got to watch out for… but I guess you would know that already, you just find a way you think is clever to weasel out of any accusations.

Samus: It's not weaseling if none of it is true. Now I hope you enjoy the snow.

Fox (standing still): Oh sure… I love not being able to see the end of my nose. It's probably not even there anymore. What the h*ll kind of a question is that?

In answer, the snowball that Samus had been holding came whizzing through the are sharply, right at the back of his head.

The canine could sense the incoming projectile, but he was too stiff to react. The icy missile crashed into his cranium, flattening him in the deep powder on the ground. Samus laughed softly at how fast Fox had disappeared into the snow, but grew silent as she couldn't make out if he was getting back up to retaliate. Regardless of the visibility, she crouched and prepared herself for a cold revenge… but none came in the passing minutes.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, without any sign of movement from beneath the heavy white blanket, Samus frowned to herself. The hole already seemed to be filling with new snow from the storm, and with a grunt of irritation, the huntress decided she ought to check on Fox to make sure he was alright.

She wandered over, trying to look as casually as possible, and peeked down into the hole.

Samus: Fox?

All that remained in the cavity were a few fading crimson spots tainting the white. The bounty huntress leaned down to see clearer, when behind her a mass of snow and frozen chunks of ice erupted, and out from the cloud of dust pounced Fox, catching her off guard and pinning her to the ground. He whipped out his laser pistol and held it to her head.

Fox (snarling): YOU'RE LUCKY THIS D*MN THING DOESN'T WORK, BECAUSE YOU'RE REALLY STARTING TO PISS ME OFF!

A warm drop of blood from the wound on the back of his head fell silently onto Samus' suit and immediately froze. With each heavy breath, he was pushing the two deeper into the seemingly bottomless ground.

Samus (squirming, but not making escape any easier): Fox! Take it easy man! (When she saw that she had actually injured Fox, she winced slightly. Knocking him around had sounded like fun, but she hadn't meant to draw blood.) I'm sorry, okay? (She groaned, feeling the snow crunch underneath her as she slipped further under and the cold dust started to collect on her suit.) Here…get up. Let me see it.

Fox: Oh, now you act all kind and good like it was okay to throw a damn ball of ice at me… now you act like you could care less about a damn thing I say! Well, I got news for you, Sammy… YOU'RE FAR FROM PERFECT, SO QUIT ACTING LIKE IT!

He jumped off of her, pushing her deeper, and holstered his frozen weapon while coughing harshly from overexertion.

Samus (tempted to shout back, but managing to raise her voice only slightly): You're not exactly King Flawless yourself, Chewbacca.

She let her arms fall to her sides, the snow so deep that her fingertips now dragged in it.

She was frustrated, but she knew better than to start a new fight all over again. They had a long way to go, and the weather was enough of a problem without them being at each other's throats. The bounty hunter sighed, but didn't say anything.

**On The Planet of Rylan IV**

Peach stepped off of the transport vessel, parasol in hand, and blonde hair looking terribly tousled. Her dress looked wrinkled, and as she took out her makeup bag to look into the pocket-sized mirror, she started complaining about little bags under her eyes and how rough flights did a number on her pale complexion.

Yoshi ignored Peach's laments, and dashed down the ramp and out into the bright green fields. Rylan was a sparse land, virtually no trees at all, but plenty of different kinds of plants nonetheless. It looked like a green version of the African plains. The color of the grass closely matched Yoshi's scales, and he immediately crouched down and started to slink through the roughage, head low as if he was stalking something. In actuality, it was only his imagination, but he didn't care, and soon the younger Smashers in the party joined him in play.

Daisy was among the last to get off, and as she stepped forth, she looked into the distance. The sky was a steely purple-gray. A strange color to be sure, but more interesting than disturbing. Daisy vaguely remembered their first trip here. It had been after the Great War of the Machines. The Econos had been crushed in their own planet, and after the final victory songs were sung, the Super Smash Brothers left the system in their flying base, a battleship of massive proportions, capable of launching fleets of fighter ships.

Their tremendous battleship became nothing after that though. War had damaged it severely, causing it to begin to fall apart. There was little left to do with it, except retire the grand vessel. Rylan IV was the chosen landing site. It wasn't far away from the place that the Smashers called home, and since the planet was near-deserted, the ship wasn't causing anyone any problems there, whereas if they took it back to Minerva, they would be in violation of all sorts of city pollution codes. Mario didn't have time for that nonsense, so they deserted it and flew back home in public transports, watching as the monument to their biggest victory faded into the distance.

Of course they had all thought they'd never be back, but everyone leaves things behind on trips—bars of soap, travel bags, assortments of useless but sentimental items. It seemed that, other than to get the Bros. out of the way, Mario had sent them there to simply rummage through the junk and think about what they had done…whatever that happened to be.

Daisy (spotting the large structure not too far off in the distance): Well, here we are. Guess it's time to clean house until Mario tells us to come home.

Falco (carrying a large box on his shoulder): Why do we listen to that fat little man anyway?

Falcon (carrying a much smaller box but acting as if it was massive): I told you guys putting Mario in charge instead of me was a terrible idea, but no… you went ahead and did it just because I'm too sexy for that job.

Falco: … Y'know, I take it back… I'd much rather listen to that fat little man than this moron with the big fat head. (He purposefully dropped his luggage on Falcon's foot as he passed.) So… what's ol' Noodles and Pizza want us to do here exactly? If it's anything to do with the septic system no one bothered unclogging all those years ago, count me out… Mr. Overalls could'a done that himself.

Daisy (shrugging her shoulders): I guess we're just supposed to be going through and gathering anything that can still be used, and cleaning up what can't. (She hesitated.) We'll skip the septic system though. Lest we put dear Peachy in any sort of position where she might get dirty. I'd say gathering equipment that we could use back at the Stadium would be the most productive.

Ness (telekinetically manipulating loose metal objects): That's dumb. Most of the stuff here will be kinda rusty, won't it? He should have thought about that before we just left it here. It must have been a fortune to build and maintain.

Daisy (laughing out loud): Since when was forethought a skill of any one of the Smash Brothers?

She shook her head in amusement as the rest of the Smashers started following her around the perimeter of the base, looking for any signs that there might be some sort of usable weapon still remaining outside. Daisy noticed remnants of a satellite, which she thought might be the shield generator, but when she asked, discovered it was for the television.

Peach: What did I tell you about my soaps?

Falcon: What? What about your soaps?

Falco: All I know is you need your soap, Cap'n… and a lot of it.

Daisy (in exasperation): Please…. Let's not discuss the Captain's hygiene. It makes the septic system cleanup sound almost pleasurable.

Peach shook her head.

Peach: Uh uh. No way are you gonna get me in some filthy, grimy sewer.

Daisy: I'm sure I could, but I'm not that mean.

Peach: You certainly haven't ever been nice to me.

Daisy: No, I meant I couldn't be that mean to the others by forcing them to listen to you whine and complain.

She walked around the back of the base slowly, the massive metal structure looming over her like a miniature city combined into one huge building. The whole thing was nearly the size of the stadium, only built to fly.

Daisy (running her hand over the rough surface): Well I think it's safe to say we won't find anything of use out here. It's all rusted away. If there's anything left we can polish up, it'll be inside. (She turned around to face the crew.) Hope you're all ready for a vacation of a lifetime.

Only a small amount of sarcasm crept into her voice, but it was enough to make all of the Smash Brothers groan.


Author's Note: It's become quite obvious that traveling through space with any of the bros. is a terrible idea, especially if you're a pilot with a sense of humor. Best behave, and don't start spazzing out when the little lights blink.

It seems to me that Daisy might be coming to understand just why Mario is so frustrated all the time. Being in charge of everyone requires more patience than Dr. Mario himself could ever have. (HAR HAR, HAR HAR. Doctor. Patience. LAUGH WITH ME!) At least they made it to Rylan IV alive, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's as far as they got.

As for Sonic and Co. it's beginning to get as clear as mud just WHAT Shadow's reason is for following them. But "research" can't be a good thing. Mario's gonna need to do something soon, or else the lot of them are gonna wind up taking over the stadium...as if they haven't already. With his hands so full managing Jan's laser-guided brooming system and trying to get some shuteye, it won't be long before things get sticky.

Samus and Fox seem to be getting along better than ever, but does it strike you as interesting that Samus would be picking at him and suggesting that he finds her attractive? Either A) Samus just likes to harass him. B) She HOPES he's attracted to her. C) She just likes to harass him. D) One of the above. Take your pick.